The main Wonder Woman series makes its return this week. Steve Orlando looks to pick up where he last left off with the Four Horsewomen that Warmaster assembled continuing their plot against Wonder Woman. Especially with Warmaster seemingly completing her Four Horsewomen group as she added Genocide to the team Wonder Woman will likely be made aware of what is going on against her soon. Will Wonder Woman #754 be were we see the big confrontation with Warmaster’s Four Horsewomen? Let’s find that out right now.
Writer: Steve Orlando
Artist: Jesus Merino
Inker: Vicente Cifuentes
Colorist: Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: In Manhattan, Donna Troy saves a little girl from a burning apartment complex.
Devastation and Armageddon show up with an offer for Donna. Donna does not want to hear any offer the two may have. Devastation comments that they know how far Donna has fallen since her Wonder Girl days.
Over in Boston, Diana Prince is giving a lecture about the history and ideals of the Amazons to some local kids. Detective Nora Nunes eventually stops the lesson, reminding Diana that not all of Themysciran concepts should leave the island. Diana thinks that the children can benefit from Themyscira’s ideas in a positive way. She then offers to give Detective Nunes a private lesson on these ideals.
An hour later, back at Diana’s home, Diana reveals to Detective Nunes that she does have Helen Paul on her mind because it was her birthday today. Diana goes over how she tried to protect Helen when she was younger but Helen ended up disappearing during the Event Leviathan crisis. Detective Nunes wonders if Diana keeping things from kids to protect them is helpful in the long run. Diana says that Detective Nunes makes a good point.
Suddenly, Diana notices something the size of mosquito flying around. When Diana crushes it she is suddenly teleported away.
Somewhere in Norway, Warmaster welcomes Wonder Woman to her headquarters. Wonder Woman is shocked to see Helen Paul is still alive. Helen reveals she has become Leviathan’s Warmaster. Wonder Woman wonders why Helen joined Leviathan. Warmaster reveals she is just using Leviathan for her own ends just like her ancestors did when working for the Nazis. She then reveals she knows her true name is Paula Von Gunther.
Back in Manhattan Donna agrees that she has been through a lot but that doesn’t make her less dangerous. Devastation says she knows that like them Donna was created to destroy Wonder Woman but they know she can be more. She goes on to state they can give Donna closure with Wonder Woman. Donna thinks its funny that they think she would turn on Wonder Woman. She then asks which one, Devastation or Armageddon.
Back in Norway, Warmaster gives Wonder Woman a chance to explain her actions. Wonder Woman admits that she did rescue Paula from her parents and placed her in a loving home that could set her on a hopeful path that would shield her from hate. Wonder Woman says that Warmaster is her sister like so many others and only wants the best for her.
Warmaster reveals that her ancestors, who she communicated with when she touched the Spear of Gudra, told her Wonder Woman wouldn’t admit anything. She goes on to reveal that she learned about how the Valkyries blood runs through her and how the Amazons betrayed the Valkyries. Wonder Woman reminds Warmaster that the Valkyries tried to conquer and the Amazons only fought to defend themselves, with that fight long being over.
Warmaster wonders about that and asks if Wonder Woman renounces her title as Champion of the Amazons. Wonder Woman says she never will or need to. Warmaster says that she will not let go of her name or power.
Warmaster and Wonder Woman begin fighting as the Valkyries and Amazon Champions, respectively. As they fight Wonder Woman tries to reason with Warmaster that she just tried to help Paula. Warmaster does not believe Wonder Woman and questions if Diana was actually just afraid of her.
Warmaster and Wonder Woman continue going back and forth in both their fight and respective views on what led them to where they are now. No matter what Wonder Woman says Warmaster will not listen. Eventually Warmaster is able to stab Wonder Woman’s shoulder and pin her against a wall.
Wonder Woman wraps her Lasso of Truth around her right arm to honestly tell Warmaster that the Amazons did not strike first. Warmaster believes the Amazons are just framing themselves as victims and she saw the truth after getting the memories of her ancestors through the spear. She goes on to reveal that she saw that the Valkyries were only explores seeking knowledge when they happened upon Themyscira where the Amazons own fear made them kill all the Valkyries.
Wonder Woman reveals she is well aware of Gudra’s Valyries Attack and that it has been a cautionary tale within the Amazons about trusting outsiders. She goes on to say she will not apologize for the Amazons defending themselves but is sorry she hid the story from Warmaster before.
Warmaster grabs the Lasso of Truth and says she knows that Wonder Woman is only stating what she believes to be true. Warmaster then question if the Amazons are above such an attack on the Valkyries she is saying and being able to lie about it all this time, as we see events with Grail (Wonder Woman #75) and Maxima (Wonder Woman #754). Wonder Woman admits it is possible.
Warmaster then shows a video of Genocide defeating Wonder Woman’s allies to gain access to Themyscira’s portal and crush everything in her path. Warmaster says that Genocide will kill everyone if Wonder Woman does not open the portal willingly.
Warmaster then gives Wonder Woman 33 seconds to decide whether she’ll save Boston or continue protecting Themyscira like she is doing. End of issue.
The Good: After all the build-up, which ramped up post-Wonder Woman #750, we finally saw “The Four Horsewomen” story start with full force. This was a welcome change as we’ve been spending many issues with this storyline building in the shadows. It was the right time to put Warmaster’s plans at the forefront to create greater interest in what is going on.
Steve Orlando was smart to use part one of “The Four Horsewomen” story arc to full dig into the beef between Wonder Woman and Warmaster. As someone who isn’t familiar with their history together this was something I have been wondering about. Orlando made sure to take the time to delve into that history so new readers like myself who aren’t familiar with Warmaster understand the villains motives. In the process, Orlando is able to modernize the character while sticking to clear character points that were established in her previous incarnations.
With all the build up focus on Warmaster building her Four Horsewomen delving into Paula Von Gunther was very much needed. You get why this storyline is personal for not only Warmaster but Wonder Woman as well. Warmaster discovering her family lineage as a Valkyrie and how Wonder Woman took that life from her is something that understandably fueled her. It is made clear that while Wonder Woman had great intentions in trying to give Paula Von Gunther a better life as Helen Paul that left a hole in Warmaster’s heart. Helen Paul discovering her real name and family history filled that emptiness. It also created a hate for Wonder Woman and desire for destroying the Amazons that comes across as unique for her character.
For Wonder Woman’s part, she was clearly holding back as she was trying to get Warmaster understand what she did was to make her life better. That is all Wonder Woman wanted because she knew what the path would’ve been for Helen Paul if she was fully raised as a Valkyrie from the beginning. Those intentions further the narrative of how Wonder Woman does try to use the things she was taught as a kid on Themyscira to be a positive force for good for others.
That is where the scene Detective Nora Nunes works as a great compliment for the back-and-forth that Wonder Woman and Warmaster were having. Detective Nunes has become the voice that Wonder Woman needs to understand that her views are not absolute. There is room to question her own teachings. At the same time, it allows Wonder Woman to see that she can use what she has learned to better understand others, which we see with how she speaks with both Detective Nunes and Warmaster.
Orlando also does a very good job positioning Warmaster as a powerful enemy that Wonder Woman would struggle against. This is a smart move as Orlando is delving into the Norse mythology that exists within the DC Universe. It’s something we don’t see often as Wonder Woman has been mostly involved with Greek mythology and the roster of DC Universe villains. Changing things up by adding in Norse mythology through Warmaster’s history as a Valkyrie is a great way to expand things. And Orlando gives instant credibility for how big of a threat the Valkyries are with how Warmaster was able to match Wonder Woman in their fight here.
Adding in the other Four Horsewoman has also worked to elevate Warmaster’s plans. The different designs add an element of danger during their short time on screen. Having them working on two other parts of Warmaster’s grand plan also worked to show that they aren’t all needed to take on Wonder Woman. They each can play a part in a bigger plan on their own. It adds a greater sense of danger with what they are doing respectively.
The involvement of Donna Troy in this story is also an exciting development. We’ve seen how Orlando has been slowly working in the sub-plot of the current standing between Wonder Woman and Donna Troy. In the process Orlando has been re-establishing the classic character history of Donna, which was never fully established in her post-New 52 introduction. Sticking with classic character history points makes it easier to understand that even with how rocky their relationship is at the moment Donna is still extremely loyal to Wonder Woman when all is said and done. This all builds excitement for when we will finally see Wonder Woman and Donna Troy together again.
Jesus Merino artwork was solid throughout Wonder Woman #755. With how heavy this issue was on dialogue Merino kept the story moving forward with his artwork. His artwork made sure to enhance the dialogue each character was speaking. And once the fight broke out between Wonder Woman and Warmaster he got over how they were able to counter each other as they were trading shots.
The Bad: The one thing that worked against Wonder Woman #755, especially for long-time readers, will be the heavy use of exposition. Even when the action started there was still a lot of dialogue happening. It would’ve been good if when the fight between Wonder Woman and Warmaster broke out the big splash page did not have any dialogue. That way the seriousness of the fight would’ve been put over more by Merino’s artwork.
Overall: Wonder Woman #755 finally kicked off “The Four Horsewomen” story arc. To Steve Orlando’s credit he was able to give this story he has been building up during his rune the hot start it needed. He got you to fully understand Warmaster’s motives for going after Wonder Woman. This better positions “The Four Horsewomen” arc to be one of the most intriguing storylines taking place in the DC Universe right now.
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