When it comes to Wonder Woman I’ve never read her solo series on a consistent basis. The only times I did was during Gail Simone and Brian Azzarello’s respective runs on the series. Outside of Simone and Azzarello’s time on this title I have not been able to get into other creative team runs on the Wonder Woman series. That includes the recent runs by Greg Rucka and James Robinson, two writers I normally enjoy reading their work. With all that I said I am very intrigued G. Willow Wilson writing Wonder Woman. She has done a good job with Miss Marvel. Now with getting one of the biggest comics from DC Comics publishing line can Wilson deliver? Let’s find out with Wonder Woman #58.
Writer: G. Willow Wilson
Artist: Cory Nord
Inker: Mick Gray
Colorist: Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Story Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 4.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: While walking down down a cave prison on Themyscira Queen Hippolyta talks to Philippus about how no matter how much sunlight there is nothing can light the darkness in the cave. Queen Hippolyta comments that she fears what it would mean if Ares the God of War learned his lesson from being in this cave prison.
Deep in the cave Grail comments on how being stuck there with Ares is a greater punishment than she deserves. Ares talks about how there is a message in the cave they are in from those that wielded the swords Grail keeps looking at. He goes on to admit that the victor of the world is not war but time.
Ares then states that there is something that transcends time which is why Mithridates (the first Parthian ruler to call himself “King of Kings” on his coinage) was forgotten. Grail thinks its love but Ares says it is not. He says that it is “Justice” and now all he wants is final justice.
Ares grabs Grail’s hand and tells her to give him that. Grail takes one of the swords that is named “God-Killer” and kills Ares with it. Grail is shocked at what she has done.
As Queen Hippolyta and Philippus reach the prison they find the cave being torn apart around Grail and Ares. Queen Hippolyta suddenly starts hearing the island scream.
Elsewhere, in Northern Virginia, Diana wakes up to see Steve Trevor getting dressed to go to work. Steve and Diana joke around about how Diana is a deep sleeper. Diana then tells Steve to stay safe. Steve comments that is not his job and he will be back before she has a chance to miss him.
The room suddenly fills with blood that covers Steve. Steve asks what is wrong as Diana looks like she has seen a ghost.
Diana suddenly wakes up from her dream screaming. Diana gets a call from Etta. Etta tells Diana that Steve’s unit has taken heavy fire during their covert operation defending a Prime Minister from a resident insurgents group. Etta goes on to state that Steve is now MIA. Etta says her unit is taking the steps to contact the insurgents group but she wants to make sure Diana doesn’t make things worse by showing up.
Etta asks Diana if she understands but gets nothing back as Diana has already left without her phone.
Sometime later in Durovnia a pair of guys with guns find a kid in an abandoned house. Wonder Woman suddenly shows up and quickly takes both guys out. A sniper starts shooting and Wonder Woman is able to block the bullets with her shield. When he runs out of bullets she grabs the sniper and demands to know what he is doing firing on a child. The sniper, with fear in his voice, thinks Wonder Woman is part of some creatures that came through someplace.
Etta appears in a helicopter and tells Wonder Woman to stand down so they can discuss things. Etta reveals that Wonder Woman took out ally soldiers and that the US has a long standing treaty with the country’s government. Etta goes on to state that the new warlord of the country has given an opening to a new wave of violence and he may have Steve.
On the ground a kid tells a couple Greek mythological creatures to follow him since they still don’t know how they got from Olympus to Durovnia.
Flying over the city Wonder Woman questions Etta if they are fighting with the right side. Etta says they are backing the side that their treaty requires them to. Wonder Woman laughs that the world’s most powerful country’s army continues to claim they have their hands tied.
Wonder Woman then jumps out of the helicopter to look for Steve.
When Wonder Woman lands she comes across soldiers holding a woman and her baby at gunpoint. Wonder Woman quickly knocks both soldiers down. One of the soldiers tells Wonder Woman that “he” will show her what justice is.
Wonder Woman stops someone on a cliff nearby and thinks he is the leader. Woman Woman charges at the guy but stops when he swings his axe at her and blocks that attack with her shield.
The guy says he knows Wonder Woman and asks her if she recognizes him. He takes off his helmet to reveal himself as a reincarnated and blonde Ares (who may or may not be in Steve Trevor’s body given how he is drawn). Ares tells Wonder Woman to join him in his battle against tyranny and injustice. End of issue
The Good: G. Willow Wilson does not waste time getting her run started with Wonder Woman #58. Putting Wonder Woman right into the action showed the reader exactly what kind of character she is. As appealing as that was there are a few things that keep it back from being the strong entry point for readers not up on Wonder Woman’s recent history.
Out of all of DC Comics major characters Wonder Woman is by far the best suited to explore the current state of the world. Her character is one that has always been more of a world protector in her solo adventures compared to Batman and Superman who mostly stick to Gotham City and Metropolis.
Wilson does well in putting over how Wonder Woman is not someone that is necessarily tied to a country. Her loyalties are more to the people of Earth and ensuring that everyone’s basic human rights are followed. The way Wonder Woman springs into action shows this as we see her constantly go into action to protect those who can’t protect themselves.
The best thing about the way Wilson portrays this throughout Wonder Woman #58 is the fact that Diana is never the instigator of violence. Every time she acts it is in defense of innocent people or to stop those attacking her. This is an important fact to establish about Wonder Woman’s way of doing things. Seeing her disable weapons also showed that Wonder Woman isn’t going to use excessive force and knows when to hold back when necessary.
At the same time Wilson does a good job positioning where the US army stands. Wilson does not sugarcoat what the military directive is and why they do what they do. Through that Wilson makes sure not to paint them in a bad light, rather soldiers like Etta are doing what they see as best under the orders they are given. Setting things up in that way opens the door for a running sub-plot of how Wonder Woman as a solo hero deals with various officials from around the world that she will likely run across.
Cory Nord’s artwork was solid enough. Nord’s artwork was at its best when getting to draw action. He did a good job at showing Wonder Woman in motion. He also did a good job with drawing the dream sequence by incorporating the blood that covered the panel towards the end.
The Bad: While Wilson does a good job writing Wonder Woman’s character this issue was not the most new reader friendly issue. There is a lot of missing information that makes it tough to understand where we find the characters involved in Wonder Woman #58. Where this pops up the most is with the opening and overall story around Ares. Wilson does not really go into how Ares and Grail ended up in the same prison.
This is particularly problematic given Grail’s last major appearance was in the Darkseid Wars where she ended up on her own. Not getting any sort of details on how Grail got imprisoned by the Amazons created a lot of questions for what happened to her since Darkseid Wars. Even if it was one quick sentence by Queen Hippolyta that mentions how long she has been in the special prison would’ve added much needed context to the opening of Wonder Woman #58. Without that context the portrayal of Grail ended up falling flat.
Similarly, without actually having Queen Hippolyta mention how long Ares has been their prisoner it was tough to believe Ares would have this big revelation in such a short time. Ares is such a constant presence in Wonder Woman’s comics that it did not seem like he was chained up for very long. This is where adding in what makes the cave special outside of it being extremely dark would’ve made Ares speech much more effective. Since we don’t get that Ares entire motivation is tough to actually get behind as an antagonist.
Not having that made Ares sudden turn to wanting to be resurrected come off as very odd. There was no surprise to this since Ares didn’t change up his look, making Wonder Woman’s surprise when he took off his helmet not work. Afterall, Wonder Woman has fought Ares enough to recognize his normal armor. It was made worse by the fact that Nord drew the resurrected form of Ares to look exactly like how he drew Steve Trevor. But since Wilson didn’t have Wonder Woman’s shock by his new appearance this final reveal is another thing about this issue that fails to hit the way Wilson intended it too.
The other part that was off with Nord’s artwork was how he drew Grail to look more like a teenager when she is supposed to be around Wonder Woman’s age. Her overall design just did not speak to the badass she was previously established to be.
Overall: Wonder Woman #58 is a comic that you can spot the potential for but just ends up missing the mark. By far the strength of this issue was G. Willow Wilson’s writing of Wonder Woman. Unfortunately from a lack of context around Wonder Woman’s current continuity and the failed execution of Ares’ storyline that strength is outweighed by all the problems faced by this issue’s story. Hopefully these problems are fixed in the next issue, something I believe Wilson will be able to do given her past work.