A new era for Wonder Woman begins as Mariko Tamaki takes over as the writer of the series. Tamaki is coming off a great run on Ghost-Spider over at Marvel that I was a big fan of. Through her work on Ghost-Spider, Tamaki showed she knows how to build an entire world around a superhero. Joining Tamaki for her first arc on Wonder Woman are the top-tier artistic talents of Mikel Janin and Jordie Bellaire. With this all-star team taking over the series I have no doubt that Wonder Woman will continue the strong trend of storytelling that Steve Orlando did during his run. Let’s see how it all begins with Wonder Woman #759.
Writer: Mariko Tamaki
Artist: Mikel Janin
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: At an unknown prison a riot begins to break out as one of the inmates thinks about how heroes are the only ones truly fighting for justice. The person thinks how Wonder Woman is one of those heroes.
We then see flashes of the different things Wonder Woman has done to save the world including fighting Cheetah and Ares alone and the Parademons with the Justice League. The inmate then thinks how Wonder Woman also took down Maxwell Lord when the villain tried to use his powers to stop a hero.
Over in Washington, D.C., Diana Prince, with some help from her Amazon sisters, moves into her new apartment. A young woman chases her pet rabbit into the apartment and apologizes if it caused any problems. She introduces herself as Emma, who lives in the same complex as Diana. Emma is stunned to see all the Amazon artifacts in Diana’s apartment.
Diana notices that Emma has “Rug” written on one of her hands. Emma reveals that she was in a car accident when she was young that caused a brain injury but she is part of a support group of people with similar brain injuries that helps her. Diana then asks Emma if she has a car.
At a furniture store, Diana struggles to pick out furniture for her new place. After making a decision Diana is then left confused that she has to assemble the furniture herself. Emma says that is the fun of having furniture as there is a sense of accomplishment when building it.
A car suddenly speeds away with a guy yelling at the driver, Sarah, to stop. Diana immediately chases after the speeding car as it enters the highway.
Inside the speeding car, a baby cries while Sarah, who has glowing red eyes, is stuck in a trance of telling the baby they are getting ice cream.
Diana is able to make a giant leap that allows her to get on top of the speeding car. Diana then attempts to slow the car down but just then a semi-truck is coming right at them. Diana is able to get in between the car and semi-truck, stopping them both before the collision caused a major accident. This near-death experience snaps Sarah out of whatever trance she was in.
A little later Sarah tells Diana that she had no idea what she was doing. Diana believes her.
Sometime later, Wonder Woman works with federal agents to enter a prison that was created to contain prisoners with special abilities. Wonder Woman makes it inside and is immediately surrounded by a gang of prisoners all under some sort of trance. Wonder Woman fights all of the prisoners off.
Suddenly Max Lord orders the prisoners to stop. The prisoners all stab themselves.
Max then asks Wonder Woman if she is there to save or kill him. Wonder Woman says that all depends on Max. End of issue.
The Good: There is no time wasted in Wonder Woman #759. Mariko Tamaki and Mikel Janin get right into setting the stage for the latest clash between Wonder Woman and Maxwell Lord. In the process, they plant the seeds for what the future of their run will be about.
Right away one thing that stood out was how Tamaki is continuing the plot thread that Steve Orlando set up with Diana Prince becoming an ambassador for Themyscira. Tamaki shows that with Diana’s move to Washington, DC, being the first step in establishing this direction for the character. Having Diana set up a home directly in Washington, DC, shows that this is the new path for the character when she is not on missions as Wonder Woman.
At the same time, we see how as Wonder Woman that Diana will also be working alongside the various governments to keep peace in the world. Having this dynamic between both the Diana Prince and Wonder Woman part of the character opens the potential for different types of stories to be told. Much like Clark Kent and Superman, Tamaki can show how there are different sides to Wonder Woman beyond the superhero with this new direction.
Establishing a relationship between Diana and one of her neighbors in Emma was a good choice. As a regular person, Emma can help ground Diana’s character as she builds a connection with the community around her. Tamaki also nicely works in a sub-plot for Emma so she can have her own character arc when interacting with Diana as we learn that she suffered a brain injury as a young child. Learning that immediately gets you invested in learning more about Emma. And the connection between Diana and Emma came across as natural, which is helpful in building the supporting cast of Wonder Woman to be more than just Amazons and government officials.
The set-up of Maxwell Lord as the first main antagonist that Tamaki has Wonder Woman take on was handled well. Tamaki clues us into how Maxwell Lord’s plans are going to be more complicated than simply looking for revenge on Wonder Woman or other heroes. Rather than revenge, it seems that Maxwell Lord’s warped views on heroes that he sees as positives is forcing him to manipulate things with his powers.
What exactly this means is a mystery that only builds with the tone the character takes when Maxwell Lord finally meets Wonder Woman again. There is a great unease when we finally see Maxwell Lord. Tamaki plays into how his full intentions are not clear to make him an antagonist that worries the reader for whatever he is planning. That makes what happens next something that hooks you in as we aren’t sure what Maxwell Lord is planning.
Mikel Janin and Jordie Bellaire’s artwork is fantastic throughout Wonder Woman #759. The multiple double-page spreads that keep open this issue up all get across both what kind of superhero Wonder Woman is and what she has been through in her current history. Those pages immediately welcome in readers for what is to come in Tamaki’s run. From there Janin and Bellaire make sure all the dialogue flowed well together with how characters are designed. They also do a great job with all the action in this issue from the double-page spread of Wonder Woman chasing down the car and when Wonder Woman fights all the prisoners. The confidence Tamaki had in Janin and Bellaire’s artistic abilities shined with how the artwork told the story in all these various points.
The Bad: The one spot that does not completely work with Wonder Woman #759 is explaining to new readers why Diana Prince has moved to Washington, DC. To make sure new readers are fully brought into the direction this series is going it would have helped if Tamaki dropped a reference to the new Themyscira Embassy. That would have made it clear why Diana is setting up a home in Washington, DC, for readers not familiar with the events at the end of Orlando’s run. Hopefully, that is something that is explained in future issues.
Overall: Wonder Woman #759 is a very good start that welcomes both new and long-time fans of Wonder Woman into what will happen next in this series. Mariko Tamaki showed a strong understanding of who Wonder Woman is and sets up a story with Maxwell Lord as the main antagonist that you are immediately invested in. Add in the fantastic artwork from the team of Mikel Janin and Jordie Bellaire and you have a comic book Wonder Woman fans should all be checking out.
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