Steve Orlando’s run on Wonder Woman has been solid thus far. Going the route of building the overarching Four Horsewomen storyline as a sub-plot while Wonder Woman deals with other threats has been a good choice. This route allows the reader to become familiar with the other characters Warmaster is recruiting for her Four Horsewomen. This will allow them to be a bigger threat when they finally clash with Wonder Woman. As for Wonder Woman, the previous issue of the series ended with Princess Maxima crashing through Diana’s kitchen. What does Princess Maxima’s sudden appearance for Wonder Woman? Let’s find out with Wonder Woman #754.
Writer: Steve Orlando
Artist: Gleb Melnikov
Colorist: Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: In Wonder Woman’s home in Boston Princess Maxima apologizes for crashing in so unexpectedly. Princess Maxima reveals she was attacked by assassins sent by Prince Ultraa, Almerac’s incumbent ruler, and who she was told she must marry. She talks about how on Almerac there is a rule that a man and women must rule as King and Queen. Princess Maxima then reveals that Almerac’s power structure is all based on a lie and she can rule with a Queen by her side if they can stop Ultraa from being coronated.
Wonder Woman hesitates in interfering but as she thinks back to her own love problems, particularly what caused her break up with Steve Trevor, agrees to help Princess Maxima.
As soon as Wonder Woman and Princess Maxima step outside Detective Nunes confronts them over the loud noise she heard. Wonder Woman stays vague and says he current mission does not fall in Detective Nunes jurisdiction.
Wonder Woman then summons her Invisible Jet and makes adjustments to it so it can travel through space.
As they fly to Almerac Wonder Woman and Princess Maxima bond over their respective experiences with their homes and love interests.
On Almerac Prince Ultraa is shown ordering servants around. One of them reveals the assassination attempt. Prince Ultraa is not concerned as Princess Maxima is out of time from stopping him.
Elsewhere Wonder Woman and Princess Maxima land in the Forbidden Forest on Almerac. Princess Maxima reveals that she used the Forbidden forest to meet her first lovers in secret and they are meeting her contact there.
Wonder Woman senses someone nearby and throws her lasso at the person. Primaa suddenly appears and catches Wonder Woman’s lasso. Wonder Woman states she is there to help Princess Maxima. Primaa tells Princess Maxima while she has her supporters there may not be enough to break the tradition if Prince Ultraa takes the throne.
Primaa then reveals if they can stop the coronation then they can use the Absorbascon they found to prove that Almarac’s first royalty were actually two women. Primaa finishes by saying they only have hours to stop Prince Ultraa.
Over in Manhattan, Donna Troy returns to her apartment after recovering from being one of Batman Who Laughs’ Infected. When she plays her voicemails she hears one from Vixen offering her a photography job. This makes Donna think how Diana has tried to reconnect but she is not ready for that yet.
Back on Almerac Prince Ultraa walks to his coronation ceremony. As soon as he gets there the ceremony is attacked by a rebel group led by Princess Maxima and Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman is quick to tie Prince Ultraa up with her lasso.
This gives Princess Maxima the opportunity to show everyone in attendance the contents in the Absorbascon. The video shows that the founders of Almerac were in fact two women not one male and one female like everyone on Almerac was led to believe. Prince Ultraa calls the footage fake. Princess Maxima reminds him that the Absorbasco is a psychic device that can’t have its footage altered.
Princess Maxima then announce that as Queen she will make sure to create a coequal council to check her actions. Princess Maxima then kisses Primaa to show her choice to symbolize her as the other Queen of Almerac. Everyone in attendance of the coronation claps and yells out Maxima’s name.
Later, Queen Maxima thanks Wonder Woman for her help. She then questions Wonder Woman how many times she has set her heart aside for her duty. Wonder Woman, remembering her previous relationships with Superman and Steve Trevor, responds by saying too many times. Maxima says Wonder Woman has the strength to at least pick up a phone and be with who she loves.
Maxima then wonders if Wonder Woman gave up on a fight as well.
Back on Earth, Warmaster leads Devastation and Armageddon in attack on the people of Tyrrhenia Sea. Eventually Warmaster leaves Devastation and Armageddon with the last remaining fighters.
Warmaster rushes into a temple where she discovers a sarcophagus sculpted with Wonder Woman’s image on it as an insult. Warmaster cuts her arms and covers the sarcophagus with her blood.
Suddenly Genocide bursts out of the sarcophagus. Warmaster happily welcomes Genocide back. End of issue.
The Good: Wonder Woman #754 isn’t a comic that will change the future of the series. It will act more as a footnote in the greater story that Steve Orlando is weaving together. But even then Orlando shows he knows how to deliver a fun story even if it is mostly filler content.
One of the strengths of Orlando’s run thus far is how he writes Wonder Woman’s interactions with other characters. That is once again on display in Wonder Woman #754 with the Princess Maxima team-up. There is solid, natural chemistry between Wonder Woman and Princess Maxima. Orlando writes dialogue in a way that you understand that there is history between Wonder Woman and Princess Maxima but you don’t need to read that in order to understand why they are teaming up.
Being straight forward with this one-shot story was the best way to go especially with how it stars Princess Maxima. While hardocre DC Comcs fans will know who Princess Maxima is she is not going to be instantly recognizable to most readers. To Orlando’s credit he uses the story around Almerac’s power struggle to provide backstory for Princess Maxima. In the process he makes sure the story keeps moving forward as the backstory feeds into understanding why Wonder Woman and Princess Maxima are teaming up in this issue.
As someone who doesn’t really know much about Princess Maxima I did feel like I was given enough information to connect with the character. It’s never easy to govern a nation much less an entire world. Princess Maxima clearly has been dealing with a lot as she deals with not only trying to do right by her people but also following her heart. Her story is easy to get behind and made me happy when she was able to show her people the truth about the planet’s founders and be with Primaa as dual Queens.
Primaa was also well realized within the story of Wonder Woman #754. The tension between Maxima and Primaa was noticeable as soon as the latter appeared. Even if you don’t know what they’ve been through as love interests their connection was nicely handled. Primaa showed strong support for Maxima even as they only had a few hours to take down Prince Ultraa. It added to how well done the kiss towards the end of Wonder Woman #754 was received well by the Almerac people.
The conflict on Almerac was a good way for Orlando to continue to spotlight how Wonder Woman is still trying to reconnect with her supporting cast. Wonder Woman has been out on her own for so long without a consistent supporting cast that she is awkward when it comes to reaching out. It is actually a very relatable characteristic for Wonder Woman to have. It shows that not even Wonder Woman is perfect. And I’m glad Maxima recognized this and called Wonder Woman out as Diana definitely needed to say something to her.
Finally bringing in Donna Troy to continue this sub-plot was a good choice. Now that Donna is freed up from being Batman Who Laughs Infected, Orlando can dive into what Diana and Donna’s relationship is. Hopefully Donna’s time as an Infected is used as that can be a source of important developments in Diana and Donna’s relationship.
Orlando also does a solid job keeping the Four Horsewomen sub-plot going in the background. Taking a more methodical approach with building out Warmaster’s Four Horsewomen has benefitted their group. We now have a good idea of how powerful Warmaster, Devastation, and Armageddon are together. Adding a villain with a wicked design like the one Genocide has sets the Four Horsewomen to be formidable foes that Wonder Woman will have a tough time against.
Gleb Melnikov got the job done. It wasn’t extraordinary artwork nor did it match the style set by Jan Duursema and Max Raynor. That said, Melnikov got across the story that was being told. He was able to make sure the expressions on characters’ faces matched the dialogue. His design of Genocide was by far the standout.
The Bad: The one spot where Wonder Woman #754 does not work is with making Prince Ultraa a credible threat. The guy was just a typical jerk who was taken down as quickly as the battle began. There was absolutely no struggle or major battle. Prince Ultraa just got tied up and then thrown to the side. It was definitely what the character deserved but it does give the main story of Wonder Woman #754 was just a filler with how easy things were.
Overall: Wonder Woman #754 has big aspirations with Diana racing off to help Princess Maxima with a major conflict on Almerac. That adventure turns out to be just a fun one-and-done deal rather than the epic the beginning of the issue leads you to believe. Still, Steve Orlando’s writing continues to be on point that even this type of filler story turns out to be enjoyable enough.
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