Mariko Tamaki has kicked off her run on Wonder Woman by introducing a new part of Maxwell Lord’s life through an unknown daughter he had. Lord’s daughter, Emma, turned out to be Wonder Woman’s new neighbor and villain calling herself Liar Liar. What’s worked to the benefit of this Tamaki’s first arc is that she has not wasted time in getting the story moving. We’ve already learned that Emma is behind all the hallucinations and she has revealed herself to be the Liar Liar villain to Wonder Woman. Now with this out of the way what surprises will Tamaki have in store for us next? Let’s find out with Wonder Woman #763.
Writer: Mariko Tamaki
Artist: Carlo Barberi
Inker: Matt Santorelli
Colorist: Alejandro Sanchez
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Emma recounts how her mother lied to her in the past and how her mom drove into incoming traffic.
In the present Emma goads Maxwell Lord about what she should call him. Wonder Woman tries to reason with Emma. Emma turns Etta Candy and some soldiers she is controlling against Wonder Woman and Max Lord.
Wonder Woman quickly disarms Etta and the soldiers. At the same time, Max Lord reprimands Emma, telling her that Lord’s fight for themselves.
Emma flashes back to the car accident that killed her mom again and reveals that she actually used her telepathic powers to command her mom to drive into the semi-truck.
Back in the present Wonder Woman uses her Lasso of Truth to break Etta out of Emma’s control.
Meanwhile, Max Lord tells his daughter she is no match for him. Emma decides to prove him wrong by using her powers to transform her pet rabbit into a demonic energy monster.
Max Lord quickly uses his powers on Wonder Woman so she doesn’t fall under Emma’s mind control and sees past the rabbit monster hallucination. Wonder Woman approaches Emma and opens her mind up. Emma sees how Wonder Woman’s past that has similar amount of lies the Amazons told her but learned to move past it
Even after seeing this Emma still wants to get revenge on her dad. Emma uses her powers to overwhelm Max Lord by showing him the other continuity where Wonder Woman killed him. Max Lord is stunned by this vision.
Emma attempts to kill Max Lord with this opening but is stopped by Wonder Woman. Max Lord breaks free from Emma’s control and uses his powers to shut Emma down.
One week later Wonder Woman goes to check on Emma, who is locked up in Stryker’s Island. Wonder Woman asks Etta what they doing with Max Lord. Etta says that Max Lord is working for them because they need to take down all of the Lord Industry tech that Emma flooded the black market with.
Etta then reveals she is going to have Wonder Woman and Max Lord working together. While still remembering the vision of the other continuity Max Lord says he is ready to help. End of issue.
The Good: Wonder Woman #763 got the job done in ending this “Liar Lar” arc and setting up what the immediate future of the series will be about. How we got there doesn’t make everything about what happens next exciting but one of interest.
Where Mariko Tamaki does nail her writing is with Wonder Woman. Throughout this arc we have seen how Tamaki has shown Wonder Woman’s greatest strength is empathizing with others. That is shown with how she does not fight seriously, instead only acts out of defense and makes sure not to hurt anyone Emma turns against her. Even how she is able to disarm Emma by trying to relate to her shows that Wonder Woman understands this is not a conflict that she can resolve through fighting.
Which amplifies the aggressive way that Max Lord was trying to deal with his newly discovered daughter. Tamaki does not hide how Max Lord is not in this for the kindness of his heart. He is pissed off that someone else would use his technology for their own purposes. Him calling for Etta to put a power dampener on Emma when they are finally able to knock her out is an example of this. His aggressive tone showed that seeing continuity where Wonder Woman killed him because of his evil acts did shake him. That all made how Wonder Woman interacted with him in a cautious manor understandable.
The backstory for Emma and what made her become Liar Liar all made sense. Tamaki basing it around her still being a kid and frustrated that the truth was being kept from her by everyone, including her mom, was the right move to build her character up as Liar Liar. Adding in the timing of her telepathy powers manifesting and her transformation into a villain is something you understand even though you don’t agree with her methods. Given the state she was left in there is still room to explore her relationship with Max Lord in the future.
Carlo Barberi’s artwork was solid throughout Wonder Woman #763. His artwork had an animated feel to it that include the overexaggerated neck that Max Lord had. In the brief instance we got some action in this issue Barberi did show off how well-trained Wonder Woman is.
The Bad: While fine for an introductory story arc directly partnering Wonder Woman and Maxwell Lord doesn’t create a lot of excitement. Particularly having Wonder Woman now focus on getting all the Lord Industry tech comes across as small. More than anything as soon as Etta said that this was Wonder Woman’s mission there was a feeling that Max Lord is being shoehorned into this series.
A major reason why this story with Max Lord is set-up to feel small is that we don’t have an actual idea of how far reaching Lord Industry tech is. Tamaki just keeps it vague by saying it is being used in the black market. Little things like media coverage for a couple panels would shown how the tech Lord Industries was impacting the world would’ve been better set-up than Etta giving vague exposition about it. Without that type of context the upcoming storyline doesn’t have the weight you expect from a Wonder Woman comic.
Which is all a reminder of how Tamaki hasn’t touched on the big status quo shift that was the reason why Wonder Woman moved to Washington, D.C., in the first place. That reason is around the fact that the Amazons have decided to create a mobile embassy so to break Themyscira away from being an isolated island nation since New 52 began. Not hinting at that story just to focus on Max Lord feels like a waste of a long-term storyline that this series could build around.
Overall: Wonder Woman #763 did what it needed to do to conclude the “Liar Liar” arc in a satisfying way. Through the course of this story arc Mariko Tamaki showed she understands how to write a compelling Wonder Woman. Which for the first story in a creative run is what you want to see. Its to bad that the Max Lord’s development was so uneven that the prospects of him sticking around long-term isn’t something to look forward too. Which is all exemplified with the execution of the big hook at the end of Wonder Woman #763 lacking excitement.
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