Early on into his run on Wonder Woman we are seeing all the good and bad of Tom King’s approach to storytelling. The rollercoaster of a ride Wonder Woman: Outlaw story has been is something that has created mix results for the direction. On one hand we are seeing Wonder Woman stay true to the superhero and leader she always is. On the other hand the real world political nature of the storyline is proving to both provide plenty of intriguing and questionable decisions. Let’s see how things go next with Wonder Woman #4.
Writer: Tom King (Wonder Woman: Outlaw and World’s Finest)
Artist: Daniel Sampere (Wonder Woman: Outlaw); Belen Ortega (World’s Finest)
Colorist: Tomeu Morey (Wonder Woman: Outlaw); Alejandro Sanchez (World’s Finest)
Letterer: Clayton Cowles (Wonder Woman: Outlaw and World’s Finest)
“WILL DIANA LOSE HOPE IN A WORLD TURNED AGAINST HER? With the world losing trust in the Amazons, Wonder Woman takes a moment to grant the wish of a dying boy and gives him the perfect day. Meanwhile, the Sovereign constricts his grip on the government. Will Wonder Woman be able to hold out hope as the world around her grows darker? Plus, Trinity spends the night at the Fortress of Solitude with her babysitters, the Super Sons!” – DC Comics
Wonder Woman #4 tells two distinct stories being told that build a narrative for both sides of the Wonder Woman: Outlaw story. On one end is Wonder Woman proving she is the John Cena of the DC Universe as she grants a Make-A-Wish for one of her biggest fans. On the other end is the wheels turning as the United States government and media is manipulated to turn on Wonder Woman. The intention of how these two stories compliment is clear, though that does not make the section without Wonder Woman better.
As a standalone Wonder Woman story Tom King and Daniel Sampere tapped fully into what has made other Make-A-Wish stories be the best of any comic book run. That exactly the potential King and Sampere tap into here. It speaks to the strength of Wonder Woman’s character that she is able to drop everything to grant the wish of a very sick child to spend a day with her.
What made it work was how Wonder Woman did not hesitate to do this. That same desire to do this made why Queen Nubia accepted Wonder Woman’s request to let Diana and the boy spend the day on Themyscira unbothered well done. Even in the current state of things Nubia trusts Wonder Woman’s judgement, something that could come into play in the future.
That said, it would have made the two-page spread of how Wonder Woman gave the Make-A-Wish kid a day to remember more memorable if King did not interject himself into the story. Sampere does such an excellent job telling the story of the day that King should’ve simply trusted the art to do the job. It would’ve made the conversation Wonder Woman has with the boy at night even more powerful. If King would’ve done that this story could’ve been an even better standalone story.
With the story told with Diana involved Wonder Woman #4 would have been a great one-shot if the Make-A-Wish section was just that. But that’s not what Wonder Woman #4 was. We got a lot of developments of how the narrative was being manipulated by Sovereign through his influence over the media and United States government. King certainly taps into all the real world things to draw the reader into believing how things would turn against Wonder Woman and the Amazons so quickly.
Sovereign being the lead villain who is manipulating things is what somewhat holds things together. The way Sovereign is able to get things to go his way certainly puts over the power of the Lasso of Lies that he wields.
Though, because of how quickly things fall into place for Sovereign, it continues to be odd the lack of urgency on any of the heroes. King makes the scope of this story feel small because there is a lack of reaction beyond those Sovereign is manipulating in the media or government. The way things are developing should give Wonder Woman and others an urgency to find Sovereign and resolve things. This is a story that has a world impact but is not being treated that way.
Mixing in the response from Wonder Woman’s allies beyond Steve Trevor would certainly break up the monotony of news reports and government officials talking. There is only so much of this being the way this story is developing before the story becomes boring. It results in it feeling like we are spinning our wheels with truly dealing with the fallout of Emelie being a rogue Amazon.
The lack of urgency is even more noticeable when we see that Nubia and the Amazons aren’t doing anything. After four issues it should be shown that the Amazons aren’t going to stand by as the world is turning against them. Even if she grants Wonder Woman’s request for a day on Themyscira we should’ve seen her also preparing for how to respond to things going on outside the island.
At least we do see Philippus planning something of a response. It does make Philippus look more like the leader the Amazons need than Nubia. Which may be the point of Philippus and Artemis scene. Still, not having Diana and Nubia meet is glaring to what type of weight King is going for with this story.
Given the heavy political and emotional nature of the main story in Wonder Woman #4 it is surprising King is the same writer for the “World’s Finest” back-up story. King is certainly showing his flexibility as a writer that he goes with a more fun direction showing the sibling dynamic between Jon Kent, Damian Wayne, and Lizzie Prince. There is a Super Sons energy to the story that is helping establish the foundation for the strong relationship as the future Trinity that Jon, Damian, and Lizzie will share.
Belen Ortega deserves as much credit for the fun of this story. The artwork works well with the youthful energy of this story. There is an emphasis on this being Jon Kent, Damian Wayne, and Lizzie Prince rather than another superhero story with Superman, Robin, and Wonder Girl.
Wonder Woman #4 showcases both the strengths and weaknesses of Tom King as a creator. The Wonder Woman portion works as a standalone story. Though it does not work in the context of everything else going on. The sense of urgency for the world turning against the Amazons needs to be picked up. Luckily King has Daniel Sampere and Belen Ortega for both stories in Wonder Woman #4 to lift the storytelling up.
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10