Steve Orlando has found his stride with his work on developing the rivalry between Wonder Woman and Warmaster. Things have gotten incredibly personal between these two rivals as Warmaster has launched a full scale war against the Amazons along with her Four Horsewomen. Now it looks like Wonder Woman will be able to turn things around as Donna Troy has appeared to help Diana out. With the two Wonder Women back together and ready to take the fight to Warmaster how will things turn out? Let’s find out with Wonder Woman #757.
Writer: Steve Orlando
Artist: Jesus Merino
Inker: Vicente Ciuentes
Colorist: Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Centuries ago on Themyscira Hippolyta tells the Valkyrie Gudra to stand down as her army has been defeated. Gudra at first refuses but Hippolyta reminds her she can bury her dead people if she leaves now.
Sometime later Gudra sails on a boat filled with her dead Valkyrie army. Gudra swears to get revenge on the Amazons for what they did to the Valkyries.
A spirit suddenly appears and tells Gudra that her curse will way heavy on the Von Gunthers for a long time and they will return when the time is right.
In the present Warmaster faces off against Hippolyta while Genocide takes on all the other Amazons.
As Genocide is about to kill some of the Amazons Wonder Woman and Donna Troy appear and tie up Genocide with the Lasso of Truth and Persuasion. They then toss Genocide halfway across the island. This gives Wonder Woman and Donna time to rally the Amazons to continue fighting.
Wonder Woman and Donna then team up against Genocide. They are easily able to overpower Genocide with their teamwork. As they fight Wonder Woman realizes Warmaster is controlling Genocide so they should break that connection.
Wonder Woman goes to where Warmaster is fighting Hippolyta and immediately destroys Warmaster’s mechanical Pegasus. Wonder Woman tells Warmaster that they have to stop fighting. Warmaster does not surrender and instead rides off on one of the Amazon’s horses. Wonder Woman tells her mother that she will deal with Warmaster while Hippolyta prepares the Supposium.
While Donna continues to fight Genocide, Orana brings a God killer sword. Orana then gives the God killer sword to Donna.
Elsewhere Wonder Woman chases down Warmaster and tackles her off the horse. Wonder Woman tries to reason with Warmaster that she wants to protect her. Warmaster turns the offer down. When she does Wonder Woman uses her speed to tie up Warmaster in her Lasso of Truth.
Wonder Woman admits her role in Paula’s transformation into Warmaster. She goes on to say that Paula has allowed herself to believe the visions of Valkyries she saw because of how angry she is.
The longer Warmaster is tied up with the Lasso of Truth she becomes more confused about her feelings.
With Warmaster confused this causes the connection with Genocide to be disrupted. Donna uses this opportunity to use the God killer sword to defeat Genocide.
Wonder Woman tells Warmaster she should surrender. Warmaster fires back saying that the Amazons continue to hide the truth by forgetting what happened in the past. Wonder Woman offers Warmaster the chance for them to learn what really happened in the past together.
As Warmaster is about to take Wonder Woman up on her offer she is suddenly turned into stone.
The Phantom Stranger appears much to Wonder Woman and the Amazons anger. Phantom Stranger reveals that he is there to make Paula face judgement for the crimes of the Von Gunther and offer a path of redemption. Wonder Woman states that Paula can find redemption herself. Phantom Stranger says without someone with Paula there is no hope for redemption. Wonder Woman says she will be by Paula’s side.
Hearing this Phantom Stranger presents Wonder Woman the Gates of Heaven where beyond the gates the redeemer whose power is greater than either of theirs is located. Phantom Stranger wonders if Wonder Woman is willing to take such a risky journey. Wonder Woman says she is ready. End of issue.
The Good: Wonder Woman #757 takes an unexpected left turn with how the “The Four Horsewomen” story arc ended up concluding. This isn’t so much a conclusion but more of the start of another story that Wonder Woman has been thrusted into. Which is an odd thing to see happen after all the build-up. But it seems this is all part of the greater narrative Steve Orlando has built around Paula Von Gunther’s rise as Warmaster.
With how everything has gone down in “The Four Horsewomen” arc thus far Wonder Woman #757 makes sure it always has its foot on the gas until the last few pages. This is a non-stop action set piece as Wonder Woman and Donna Troy return to Themyscira to fight Warmaster. Even when it does look like you have down time Orlando quickly moves to the next set piece.
What makes all the constant action work is that every panel meant something. Orlando had a clear purpose for everything that was happening. From showing how effectively Wonder Woman and Donna Troy work together to advancing the dynamic between Wonder Woman and Warmaster. Every action set piece and dialogue furthered the greater “The Four Horsewomen” arc.
Seeing Wonder Woman and Donna Troy team-up and take on Genocide together was a great payoff to how the previous issue ended. No matter their problems, Diana and Donna were able to easily slip back into how well they work as a team. There was no missing beat with how Diana and Donna where able to quickly overwhelm Genocide. They showed greater timing with how Diana trusted Donna to know the exact time to strike Genocide when Diana cut off Warmaster’s connection to the Horsewoman.
And since we already saw Wonder Woman and Warmaster brawl before it was good that we didn’t see another extended fight. Orlando already showed that Wonder Woman is the superior fighter even when holding back Warmaster only held Diana back but never truly overpowered her. Wonder Woman using her superior powers and skills to quickly capture Warmaster made the talk they ended up having much more impactful. Orlando was able to keep the focus on how much Diana wants to help Paula not be drowned by her family’s past.
Diana accepting that Paula getting past her family heritage was not going to be easy was a great character moment. It showed that Diana was in it for the long run to help show Paula that they can be better together. This made Paula eventually accepting Diana’s offer be a much more rewarding outcome as we do see that Diana’s words finally reach her.
With Wonder Woman #757 being an action heavy issue Jesus Merino delivered very consistent artwork that helped elevate the story Orlando was telling. The action heavy story gave Merino a chance to show how well he is able to work choreography with a lot of different characters on screen. It all helped to keep the momentum of this issue moving forward. That flow made how Wonder Woman used her speed and agility to capture Warmaster so they can talk look even more impressive.
The Bad: The last minute introduction of Phantom Stranger just did not hit the way Orlando intended. While Phantom Stranger’s appearance leads us into the next arc in Orlando’s run it was not the best transition. The entire Phantom Stranger appearance just did not make sense with the direction of “The Four Horsewoman.” Especially considering how Phantom Stranger is not a character you connect with Wonder Woman or the Amazons you are left just scratching your head with how sudden his appearance is.
Even when Orlando tries to set up Phantom Stranger’s appearance by connecting him to the Valkyries past attack on the Amazons it did not work at all. The way it was handled made it look like Orlando just ran out of time to properly introduce why Phantom Stranger is important. With how strong Orlando made Warmaster it would’ve been better to just give this arc one more issue to have Wonder Woman resolve the history of the Amazons and Valkyries alongside Paula.
Overall: The first 17 pages of Wonder Woman #757 delivered a strong third chapter in “The Four Horsewomen” story arc. The battle Wonder Woman and Donna Troy lead the Amazons to fight against Warmaster and Genocide all had great plot progression. Unfortunately, the story completely fell apart with the final three pages with Phantom Stranger appearing out of nowhere in the final second. Luckily the first 17 pages were good enough to still make Wonder Woman #757 a solid comic book, but one that could’ve been greater.
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