G. Willow Wilson’s run on Wonder Woman didn’t get off to the best start. There were certainly enough to get me back to see how Wilson first story goes. She sure showed that she understands how to write a strong Wonder Woman. Unfortunately everything else around Wonder Woman in the first issue of Wilson’s run left a lot to be desired. There was just something about Wonder Woman #58 that made it tough to connect to the story Wilson was crafting. Will that change with part two of “The Just War”? Let’s find out with Wonder Woman #59.
Writer: G. Willow Wilson
Artist: Cary Nord
Inker: Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Colorist: Pat Brosseau
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 3 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 4.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: The kid and creatures Wonder Woman saved earlier arrive to a location in Durovnia that has an Olympus-like structure. They go inside and find other creatures from Olympus there with Steve Trevor being held as their prisoner.
Meanwhile Wonder Woman asks Ares how he got to Durovnia. Ares says while he’s not sure how he got to Durovnia he does reveal he was reborn to set right the wrongs he has committed.
Suddenly a rocket is fired overhead. Wonder Woman and Ares fly to stop it. Ares gets to it first and decides to redirect it to a small village below. The rocket hits the ground and blows up the village.
Ares then declares to turn “tyrant” weapons against his own people is the greatest poetry.
Wonder Woman tackles Ares to the ground and calls him a liar and murderer who hasn’t changed at all. Wonder Woman then uses her lasso to force Ares to throw his axe aside and declares she will send him back to his eternal prison.
Wonder Woman then demands to know the truth of his reappearance. Ares says he has not lied about anything. He goes on to say the village that was destroyed supported a government that persecuted and debased their neighbors. Ares then asks if that is not the reason Wonder Woman carries her sword. Wonder Woman states she only takes up arms against others that have done the same. Ares states there is no difference.
Suddenly more military jets fly over head. Ares flies and destroys one of the jets engine with his sword. Wonder Woman grabs the damaged jet and is able to use her powers to safely land it on the ground.
While checking on the pilot Ares tackles Wonder Woman from behind. Ares states Wonder Woman is helping a tyrant against the oppressed and because of that she has abandoned justice. He then raises his axe ready to kill Wonder Woman.
At the Olympus building the creatures spot a storm nearby that signals that an angry God is nearby. The kid reveals that Wonder Woman is in Durovnia, which gets Steve’s attention. Steve says they must let him go as Wonder Woman is there to save him. When they don’t Steve creates an opening for himself to run away.
The creatures are able to quickly chase Steve down and decide to take him to meet their leader. End of issue.
The Good: Wonder Woman #59 is a comic book that is completely carried by its two leads, Wonder Woman and Ares. The new dynamic that G. Willow Wilson has created for these two characters drove all of the interest behind “The Just War” storyline. It’s just unfortunate that the rest of the developments that don’t involve Wonder Woman or Ares couldn’t help carry the story forward.
When it comes to the DC Universe’s version of Greek Mythology there are no two more compelling characters than Wonder Woman and Ares. These two characters have long since had a rivalry that has spanned many incarnations. That built in rivalry is exactly what Wilson plays with and uses it to drive her first story, “The Just War,” forward.
What made the portrayal of Wonder Woman and Ares’ rivalry here is that Wilson is now trying to play up how these two are the the opposite side of the same coin. With Ares new rebirth Wilson is presenting a version of the character that is looking to create world of justice rather than chaos. There is very much a black and white outlook in the way Wilson presents Ares vision of a hero.
This new approach for the God of War created an interesting back-and-forth between Ares and Wonder Woman. What was particularly interesting about this interaction was that it was almost the exact flip of the discussion Wonder Woman and Etta had in the previous issue. This time it was Wonder Woman telling Ares that his destructive approach was not the right way to do things. Ares standing his ground on what he was doing being correct created an interesting take on how he will play a different type of antagonist for Wonder Woman moving forward.
At the same time, this confrontation with Ares did show exactly what Wonder Woman approach to being a superhero is. Unlike Ares, Wonder Woman is doing what she can to save lives rather than take them in the name of justice. Like her peers, Wonder Woman will do her best to disable her foes so no one is hurt. And even when she does have to take on a more deadly fighting style she only does that if it is her last resort. Which is something we see with how she does wants to make Ares answer for killing the villagers with a rocket.
The Bad: While Wonder Woman and Ares carry this issue they are not enough to make the entire comic compelling. Wonder Woman #59 falters because of everything not involving these two characters fails to grab the reader’s attention. The big problem is the fact that the creatures and kid from Olympus are nameless characters. All of these creatures are just to random to care about.
The random nature of these creatures made all of the dialogue Wilson writes for them come off as if they were speaking in the same voice. There is no discerning characteristic to separate them outside of their appearances. In the process Wilson failed to make whatever these characters are doing in Durovnia something that we should care about.
This in turn made the whole mystery around Olympus location moving to somewhere near Durovnia something that is hard to care about. As is presented Wilson has not given us a reason why this is happening. The only clue we have is the fact that Ares killing himself did something to cause this to happen. But even that might not be the case since that is not a strong clue. Without some actual clarification on what is going on with Olympus this sub-plot has yet to go get out of its parking spot.
The failure in creating a connection with the Olympus sub-plot affected the impact of the reveal that Steve Trevor was their captive. Seeing Steve as their prisoner just came across as Wilson trying to get the character to be directly involved with Wonder Woman’s current story. There was nothing about this sub-plot that made it feel like it could be Steve Trevor’s own story. He is just playing the person waiting for the superhero to rescue them. And because of that Wilson could easily replace Steve’s role in the story with another Wonder Woman-related character and it there would’ve been no difference at all.
Not helping the weakness of Wonder Woman #59 was the inconsistent artwork by Cary Nord. The major problem with the artwork was the fact that there are many instances in which Nord’s artwork did not match Wilson’s dialogue. This made the transition from panel to panel just took you out of the reading experience because of the lack of consistency. There were also certain characters like Steve Trevor that did not look great either. Steve in particular looked like he was a 70 year old man who had not had anything to eat for weeks.
Overall: Wonder Woman #59 is a comic book that is completely carried by its two lead characters. The dynamic that G. Willow Wilson has created between Wonder Woman and Ares is the main driving force for keeping this issue afloat. It’s just unfortunate that everything else around the story in Wonder Woman #59 completely falls flat. Unless these problems can be fixed immediately “The Just War” storyline may very well sinking due to all the leaks.