Wonder Woman #759 is about as standard as standard gets for a new creative team on a long-running title, but with Diana Prince’s big sequel originally slated to hit theaters this year, it's not hard to understand why.
Written by Mariko Tamaki
Art by Mikal Janin and Jordie Bellaire
Lettering by Pat Broasseau
Published by DC
'Rama Rating: 6 out of 10
New series writer Mariko Tamaki restates the core of who Wonder Woman is, catches us up on where she's been, and builds out a little bit of her current status quo. It's effective — if a little dull — but exactly the kind of book you want on the shelves when someone is looking for more Wonder Woman after seeing the movie. Thankfully, artists Mikel Janin and Jordie Bellaire turn in some interesting work to help elevate the fairly standard plotting.
Tamaki is a talented writer, but it's easy to get the feeling that she's padding out the page count around making her thesis statement about Wonder Woman and justice. But there’s writing Diana as a fish out of water, and then there's portraying her as someone who doesn’t understand how stores work, which isn't even good for a cheap laugh. (Diana's been around for a while, I’m sure she's encountered commerce earlier than 2020.)
But Tamaki does decent work elsewhere — I enjoyed that we got a recap of what's happened earlier in the series, especially because it acts as a sort of primer for possible future threats. And I genuinely like Tamaki's approach to Diana’s heroism even if it is a little bit boilerplate at this juncture — Max Lord is clearly a bit of a mandated villain, but Tamaki establishes his threat level effectively early on. While this issue does feel a little "small," it does check a lot of 'first issue of an arc' boxes and gives the creative something to build on.
Mikel Janin's work looks great here. He’s an artist that thrives with facial expressions and honestly it felt like the dour nature of his time on Batman was holding him back. Wonder Woman is a bit more fun and a bit more joyous. There's an underlying darkness to the narrative but in the issue, Janin gets to draw everything from dinosaurs, a bevy of Diana's rogues, and the inside of an Ikea. The linework is extremely clean, lending a certain strength to the proceedings. And Jordie Bellaire's colors are bright exactly when they need to be — using details in the panel to help lead a reader's eye and aid in Janin’s visual storytelling. It's a good-looking book and one that bucks expectations with a sequence toward the end told in stark blacks and reds.
Wonder Woman #759 won’t impress everyone. It’s not reinventing the wheel, but it's a solid enough issue. The art is outstanding, and the writing has the potential to get there. We saw Tamaki able to explore Jennifer Walters' psyche during her run on She-Hulk and I hope we’ll get a similar examination here. Max Lord is back — a villain that Diana killed back in the days of Infinite Crisis — and that's got to weigh on her in some way. But the art is the real star in this issue — did I mention that Janin draws great dinosaurs? Because he totally does — and I hope that Tamaki is able to challenge her art team to make this arc truly memorable.