I was completely unimpressed with Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #1. It was a fairly average story that moved at a slow pace and offered the reader little more than what we have gotten in the countless other Blackest Night tie-in issues.
However, I figured that I would go ahead and give this second issue a chance. After all, this is only a three-issue mini-series, so it does not require that much commitment from me. Plus, I absolutely adored Nicola Scott’s artwork. So, I figured if nothing else Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #2 would be pretty to look at. Let’s go ahead and do this review.
Writer: Greg Rucka
Pencils: Nicola Scott
Inks: Jonathan Glapion
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Mera battling Black Lantern Wonder Woman. During the fight, Wonder Woman’s inner voice pleads for Mera to stop her at any costs. Wonder Woman thinks how this is not her. Meanwhile the black power ring keeps saying “Flesh.”
Black Lantern Wonder Woman engages in tons of trash talking about how Mera is the queen of nothing. That Mera’s kingdom is gone, her husband is dead and her son is dead. Black Lantern Wonder Woman beats the hell out of Mera.
Finally, Black Lantern Wonder Woman’s trash talking fills Mera with rage. Mera then makes a rally and uses water to blast Black Lantern Wonder Woman. Mera then takes her trident and stabs Black Lantern Wonder Woman through her chest.
Black Lantern Wonder Woman pulls out the trident and then grabs Mera by the neck. Black Lantern Wonder Woman is about to snap Mera’s neck. Mera says that Wonder Woman was a friend of hers and then spits in Black Lantern Wonder Woman’s face.
Wonder Woman’s inner voice then gains temporary control over Black Lantern Wonder Woman. Black Lantern Wondy tells Mera to run. Black Lantern Wonder Woman then flies off into the sky.
Black Lantern Wondy then lands and thinks how she would rather die than become this abomination that she is now. Suddenly, Cassie arrives on the scene and tells Black Lantern Wonder Woman that she can fight the influence of the black power ring.
Black Lantern Donna Troy then arrives on the scene. Black Lantern Donna says that she has always hated Cassie. That Cassie doesn’t fit in with them. That Cassie is annoying. Black Lantern Donna says that she has always wanted to hear Cassie scream.
Wonder Woman’s inner voice is horrified over what she has just done. Black Lantern Wonder Woman then attacks Black Lantern Donna and hacks Black Lantern Donna in half and kills her.
Suddenly, Wonder Woman’s mother, Hippolyta, appears on the scene and attacks Black Lantern Wonder Woman. Hippolyta says that Black Lantern Wonder Woman is not her daughter. Black Lantern Wonder Woman takes down Hippolyta and is just about to cut Hippolyta’s head off when a batarang hits Black Lantern Wonder Woman in the face.
Wondy looks up and we see Batman (Bruce Wayne) on the scene. Bruce tells Wondy to stop. Black Lantern Wonder Woman attacks Batman. Batman grabs Wondy by her throat and tells her that this is not her. Wonder Woman’s inner voice stammers that this cannot be real. That Bruce is dead.
We then see the Star Sapphire power ring flying toward Black Lantern Wonder Woman. We then see Batman and Black Lantern Wonder Woman in full embrace and kissing each other. (Wow! I did not see that coming!) Wonder Woman’s inner voice says “Bruce…”
The Star Sapphire power ring then flies up to Wonder Woman. Aphrodite then also appears on the scene. Aphrodite says that the color for love of all creation is Wonder Woman’s true color. Wonder Woman says that she cannot forgive herself for what she has done.
Aphrodite says that Wonder Woman has done nothing. That Aphrodite made this place and it is a figment. A place where Wonder Woman’s possession could play out without hurting anyone. Aphrodite says that she would not allow Wondy to be destroyed by evil. Aphrodite says that in darkness that love must survive.
The Star Sapphire power ring then slides onto Wondy’s finger. The black power ring then explodes into little pieces as its connection to Wondy is severed. The Star Sapphire ring says, “Welcome to the Star Sapphire Corps.”
The Good: Wow, I cannot believe it, but Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #2 was a good read. I was fully expecting another pedestrian read. However, Rucka delivered a much stronger issue with Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #2 than he did with the debut issue on this mini-series.
Now, it is incumbent upon me to openly disclose that I have never been a fan of Wonder Woman. I have never read her comic book and I know little about Wonder Woman outside of what I have read of her character in titles like Justice League of America and such.
Having said that, Rucka actually managed to get me to like Wonder Woman’s character in this issue. Rucka constructs some solid dialogue. Rucka obviously feels comfortable writing Wonder Woman’s character and it shows. I liked the trash talking from Black Lantern Wonder Woman during her fight with Mera. That was a nice way to remind the reader of all the losses that Mera has sustained.
Rucka also served up some good character work on Wonder Woman. After all, Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #2 was simply a character study. The reader already knew the outcome of the fight in this issue that we got over in Blackest Night #6. The only purpose of this issue was to allow Rucka to show the reader the internal struggle in Black Lantern Wonder Woman’s soul and to help explain why the pink power ring chose Wonder Woman.
I have to admit that I was not too keen on Wonder Woman being picked by the Star Sapphire ring in Blackest Night #6. However, I did a little research and came across an article by Marguerite Lamb in which she said that William Moulton Marston struck upon an idea for a new kind of superhero, one who would triumph not with fists or firepower, but with love.
Rucka does an excellent job picking up on that essential theme of Wonder Woman’s character in this issue and, in particular, in the final scene. I enjoyed how Rucka emphasized the fact that Wonder Woman is a noble warrior who fights for the preservation of life. That it is Wonder Woman’s great love for all things living and the Earth itself that is the impetus for her being a hero.
I loved the final scene with Aphrodite approaching Wonder Woman and encouraging her to accept the Star Sapphire power ring and reject the black ring. Rucka takes a cue from Wonder Woman’s pre-Crisis origin when Wonder Woman owed her abilities to the goddess Aphrodite. The use of Aphrodite as Wonder Woman’s guiding force worked seamlessly with the theme of the Star Sapphires and their belief in love allowing them to overcome all evil. The scene with Aphrodite made Wonder Woman being chosen by the pink power ring an obvious and logical choice.
I liked the use of Cassie, Donna and Hippolyta in this issue. Particularly enjoyable was when Black Lantern Donna trash talked Cassie. Cassie has always seemed like the odd man out in the Wonder Woman family to me. Rucka does a good job playing with this dynamic.
Of course, in the end, what made Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #2 more than an average read for me was the appearance of Batman at the end of this issue. And I mean the real Batman, Bruce Wayne. I loved it. This plot wrinkle totally caught me by surprise. Rucka takes a cue from the DCU Animated stories that played with the idea of a romance between Bruce and Diana. I liked it during the Justice League cartoon and I liked it here in this issue.
I know that Catwoman is a classic pairing with Batman, but I have to admit that I have lost just about any and all interest in Bruce and Selina. We have been down that road too many times. The Zatanna/Bruce pairing that Dini played with over on Detective Comics was certainly interesting. However, it seemed more like Dini just inserting one of his pet characters into the story rather than a logical romance blossoming between the two characters.
However, the Wonder Woman/Batman pairing is the one that intrigues me the most. This relationship is such an interesting study in contrasts. You have the ultimate human in Bruce Wayne who is the very embodiment of the human spirit and potential. On the other hand, you have Wonder Woman who is a creature of myth and magic. It is interesting to see the man of science who has become, quite literally, a god-killer being paired with a woman created by the gods from clay. I would like to see DC play with this relationship a bit more.
Even though this issue was first and foremost a characters study, that does not mean it was a slow read full of nothing but endless amounts of dialogue. Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #2 provided the reader with tons of bloody action. Rucka kept the action scenes flying at the reader from start to finish. The pacing was nicely done, as this story never drags for a moment. The story has a pleasant flow as each scene unfolds into the next one. Rucka had a clear direction in mind with this issue and the story moved with a purpose.
Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #2 boasts some fantastic artwork. Nicola Scott’s artwork was just beautiful. If nothing else, I am glad I decided to get the Blackest Night: Wonder Woman mini-series because it introduced me to such a wonderful talent in Nicola Scott. I have never seen Scott’s work before. Scott has never been the artist on any title that I normally read.
Needless to say, I remain blown away by Scott’s attention to detail. Scott certainly produces plenty of dynamic splash shots. However, Scott is just as good at sequential story telling as she is as making dramatic splash pages. Scott was able to inject plenty of emotion into the characters and helped to bring Rucka’s story to life in a proper fashion.
The Bad: While I enjoyed the character work in Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #2, the fact that the reader already knew the outcome of this fight from over in Blackest Night #6 effectively robbed this issue of much impact or excitement. There was no tension at all in this story. The reader simply flips through the pages in order to get the inevitable conclusion of seeing the Star Sapphire ring destroying the black power ring.
I know this is a minor complaint, but is it possible for editors and writers on these big event tie-in issues to make sure they mesh properly with what happens on Blackest Night itself. In Blackest Night #6 we saw Black Lantern Wonder Woman and Mera engaged in a titanic battle on land in Coast City where the rest of the heroes were brawling with the Black Lanterns when the Star Sapphire ring approached Wonder Woman. Hal and Carol then watched as Black Lantern Wonder Woman tried to fight off the Star Sapphire ring before the pink power ring slid onto Wonder Woman’s finger and destroyed the Black power ring.
However, in Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #2, Rucka has Black Lantern Wonder Woman telling Mera to run and then Black Lantern Wonder Woman flies away from the fight scene. There, in the other location created by Aphrodite, is where Wonder Woman gets the Star Sapphire ring and the black ring is destroyed. Wonder Woman, in her Star Sapphire outfit, then flies away from that location and back to the battle scene.
It is the editor’s job to make sure writers on tie-in issues are kept in line with what is going on over on the main story. Little details like this is what can give a story a nice professional look. In the matter at hand, the editor fell asleep at the wheel and did not make sure that Rucka’s accounting of this fight meshed properly with Johns’ version of this fight.
The result is that the reader gets the feeling that there is no communication over at DC between the different editors and the different writers. It also gives the story a generally sloppy and chaotic feel to it. I know this is nitpicking, but a company like DC should be held to a higher professional standard than some bush league independent comic book publisher.
This just furthers the impression that I have had about DiDio’s tenure at DC, which has been marred by a lack of communication between editors and other editors as well as a lack of communication between editors and writers. This lack of communication has prevented DC from being able to generate cohesive stories that mesh together in a proper and consistent manner.
Overall: Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #2 was a solid issue. This issue was certainly better than the debut issue of this mini-series. However, even though I liked this issue, there was really nothing that occurred in this issue that you did not already get over in Blackest Night #6. Therefore, readers who are reading Blackest Night should not feel required at all to pick up Blackest Night: Wonder Woman. I would only recommend picking up Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #2 if you are a Wonder Woman fan.