Mariko Tamaki has had a very good start to her run on Wonder Woman as she brings in Maxwell Lord as a major player for this first story arc. Maxwell Lord’s involvement thus far is not surprising given how he is set to be one of the lead antagonists in the upcoming Wonder Woman 1984 movie. Starting to position him back into Wonder Woman’s world is a smart play for the long term. The mystery around all the people falling under some form of mind control took a major turn in the last issue as well. Wonder Woman falling prey to the effects of the mind control led her to cause untold damage and injuries. What is next for this storyline and how does Maxwell Lord factor in? Let’s find out with Wonder Woman #761.
Writer: Mariko Tamaki
Artist: Carlo Barberi
Inker: Matt Santorelli
Colorist: Alejandro Sanchez
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: In Flagstaff, Arizona a guy named George is celebrating his 60th birthday. When he takes a selfie with someone George freaks out and believes they are under attack. George rushes to his car.
Over at a hospital Etta Candy and some doctors are running tests on Wonder Woman to make sure she is okay. Etta tells Wonder Woman about how she attacked two squadrons of marines after she was made to hallucinate. Wonder Woman still feels the effects of the hallucination fights back seeing Cheetah in front of her.
At a military base in Flagstaff, George smashes through the entrance and starts firing on soldiers while saying they are under attack.
Wonder Woman asks Etta what happened to her. Etta reveals that a photo app named Odypix sends a specific signal that allows a signal to be sent to the user that in turn causes some hallucination. Etta says they’ve tracked the app to a large multinational corporation.
Wonder Woman sees Maxwell Lord in the room and asks what he is doing there. Maxwell reveals the app originates from one of the Lord Enterprises subsections called Odysseus that was shuttered when his company folded due to his arrest. Wonder Woman grabs Maxwell believing he is responsible.
Wonder Woman ties Maxwell up with her Lasso of Truth. Maxwell reveals that the app uses blueprints from technology he was developing years ago and he can help take it all down.
Wonder Woman still doesn’t believe Maxwell is telling the full truth. This leads to them remembering there recent history with each other that includes the Justice League fighting the Suicide Squad and the Source Wall fell.
Maxwell pleads with Wonder Woman to let him help. Wonder Woman starts falling under the hallucination again.
As that happens Etta gets an alert that someone activated a nuclear weapon in Arizona.
George is then seen a military base bleeding heavily as he activates the nuclear weapon.
Maxwell once again asks Wonder Woman to let him help. Wonder Woman suddenly sees Maxwell turn into Ares. She fights against the hallucination and breaks Maxwell free from his power dampening collar. Maxwell then uses his powers to help Wonder Woman see past that hallucinations.
With no time left Wonder Woman, Etta and Maxwell take a plane to stop the nuclear weapon. They track the weapon down and Wonder Woman immediately flies as fast as she can in an attempt to stop it from destroying anything.
Over at Odysseus corporate headquarters Emma is shown being the one in control of the Odypix app. Emma talks to her pet rabbit about how this will help make her dad proud of her. End of issue.
The Good: Once again Mariko Tamaki provides a new chapter in her first story arc on this series that moves with a purpose. The pacing of Wonder Woman #761 keeps the story moving forward, understanding that answers need to be given about what is going on. Having that type of progress allowed the main interactions between Wonder Woman, Maxwell Lord, and Etta Candy.
Through the revelation of how the Odypix photo app has been the cause of all the hallucination Tamaki moves right into the next phase of the story. There is no more messing around as quickly understand how this photo app was able to cause all the people, including Wonder Woman, to fall under its hallucination mind-control. Establishing that the app is tied to Lord Enterprises puts over how all of this was able to be done given the history of similar plotlines Maxwell Lord has been involved in.
The surprise of Emma, Wonder Woman’s new neighbor, being the one who is causing all of this was a nice twist. Emma’s dialogue about this being to make her dad proud of her immediately raises the question if she is Maxwell Lord’s daughter. That is not fully clear based on the ending dialogue but if it is then it creates even more questions for why Emma is doing this. Having that and other questions makes Emma a character the reader wants to learn more about.
Having that immediate tie to Maxwell Lord opened the door for Tamaki to get into the history of the character. Using the Justice League vs Suicide Squad and No Justice storylines as the launching point for this version of Maxwell Lord was a smart play. By reminding the reader of Maxwell Lord’s involvement in those storylines Tamaki is able to give a sense of history for the character and why he was locked up when we first saw him again. Spending one page on each of those storylines was a nice touch as the exposition didn’t overstay its welcome and while still being informative enough for readers who forgot or didn’t read those comic books.
It helped to get over why Wonder Woman had such a tough time trusting Maxwell Lord throughout this issue. There shared history throws immediate red flags for Wonder Woman as she knows better than most what Maxwell Lord is capable of. This creates an uneasy alliance between them that has a lot of potential to go in multiple different directions depending on how things turn out.
Tamaki did a good showing how mentally strong Wonder Woman was as she had to constantly fight against the hallucinations that she kept seeing. Once she learned about the hallucination she was able to use her own willpower to fight against it. The struggle was a good way of showing how Wonder Woman is a mentally strong hero on top of being physically powerful.
Wonder Woman #761 also did a good job further using Etta Candy as one of Wonder Woman’s trusted allies. As with any good story, the supporting cast is just as important as the lead. Having Etta be there to help Wonder Woman out and give her the information she needs showed how valuable of a friend and ally she is. Expanding more on Wonder Woman’s supporting cast with Etta and others will help make this series even stronger and compliment the superhero adventures.
Carlo Barberi provided solid artwork as he took over the art duties from Mikel Janin. Barberi’s style is very different from Janin’s but still worked for the superhero story that Tamaki was telling. The two pages that flashbacked to Justice League vs. Suicide Squad and No Justice told a good summary of both stories. He also did a good job showing how hard Wonder Woman was fighting against the hallucinations of Cheetah and Ares.
The Bad: The one missed opportunity Wonder Woman #761 had was in showing the ramifications of Diana falling under the hallucination in the previous issue. There was a quick mention that Wonder Woman made the news for attacking the military and that was it. The lack of fallout from Wonder Woman’s actions lessened the severity of what the hallucination did. Having Wonder Woman deal with the fallout in some way would’ve added to the sense of responsibility she had in stopping whoever is the mastermind of these hallucinations.
Presenting the fallout in such a way also makes the story feel more throw away. Having consequences for the people that do horrible things under these hallucinations would’ve added to how dangerous Emma is. The sense of urgency is taken away by making any sort of consequences for the chaos Emma is causing.
Overall: Wonder Woman #761 was another solid chapter for Mariko Tamaki’s first storyline in this series. The story is moving at a good pace that keeps the story moving forward. The way Maxwell Lord is brought into the story and Wonder Woman’s reaction added greater interest in how things will turn out when all is said and done.
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