Now that all of the set-up is out of the way the Trial of the Amazons that will crown the new Champion of the Amazons and Guardian of Doom’s Doorway is about to get underway. Each Amazon Tribe has selected their Champions to represent them. They are Donna Troy, Yara Flor, and Philippus. Not looking to be left out Diana Prince entered the Trial of the Amazons as the representative of not one single tribe but rather as the representative for all Amazonians. Now with the four competitors set what will happen next in the Trial of the Amazons event? Let’s find out with Wonder Woman #786.
Writers: Michael W. Conrad and Becky Cloonan (Trial of the Amazons); Jordie Bellaire (Young Diana)
Artists: Rosi Kampe and Becky Cloonan (Trial of the Amazons); Paulina Ganucheau (Young Diana)
Colorist: Marissa Louise (Trial of the Amazons); Kendall Goode (Young Diana)
At a colosseum Diana Prince, Donna Troy, Yara Flor, and Philippus are set to begin the Trial. The Oracles for each tribe give the competors the feat they each must complete. Yara’s is titled The Hunt, Donna’s is The Puzzle, and Philippus is Navigation. Since she doesn’t belong to a tribe Diana is allowed to select her trial. Diana selects Battle with her sword as its representation.
Underground Altuum the Survivor, cursing the Amazons, uses a special horn to causes the ground of the colosseum to collapse and send Diana Prince, Donna Troy, Yara Flor, and Philippus falling underground.
This sudden attack leads all the members of the different Amazon Tribes to call foul play on each other. Nubia, Faruka, and Potira work together to gain some control over what is going on.
Underground Diana, Donna, Yara, and Philippus recover from the fall to discover they are in an unknown tomb. Remembering the feats they each must complete the four decide to work together to get out of the tomb.
Back at the colosseum Cassandra Sandsmark realizes that the majority of Amazonians aren’t listening to reason. The Amazon Oracles work together to try to control things. Seeing all this Faruka believes this is likely being caused by what is coming through Doom’s Doorway.
Back underground Diana, Donna, Yara, and Philippus face off against Echidna, a giant snake creature. Echidna is able to overpower the four in battle. Diana and Yara work together to launch a combo attack that allows Diana to grab hold of Echidna.
Seeing that they were brought to Doom’s Doorway Donna and Philippus work together to open it. Diana, Donna, Yara, and Philippus then work together to push Echidna through the portal. As they do so an dark energy hits Diana and she senses Chaos.
The tomb then starts to collapse. Diana holds up the pillars to give Donna, Yara, and Philippus the chance to escape. Before the tomb collapses Diana tells Donna to tell Nubia that Chaos is behind everything.
Above ground while Donna takes Diana’s sacrifice hard Yara and Philippus remind her that they need to give Diana’s warning to Nubia fast.
Elsewhere Nubia, Faruka, and Potira stand side-by-side against the coming threat. End of issue.
Wonder Woman #786 picks up the pace for the Trial of the Amazons event. This was definitely needed with how the last two chapters felt like the same narrative told from two perspective. Moving forward with the Trial of the Amazons for the four competitors was a great decision. Though you could see how the recap nature of previous chapters did impact how the story progressed.
What particularly stood out as a major stumble was how random the appearance of Altuum the Survivor. Out of all the characters that could’ve been used to escalate the story of Trial of the Amazons we get a random villain whose only other appearance before this was in the 2021 Wonder Woman Annual. Even as he launched his attack Altuum never came across as a big threat. He was simply a means to an end to get the four competitors in the catacombs setting for their Trial.
It is extremely disappointing since this could’ve been a chance to delve more into the mythology that Wonder Woman’s franchise is built around. Having one of the iconic Gods from any of the mythologies we’ve seen recently would’ve worked. Altumm the Survivor just lacked a presence to make you feel what he was doing was a major deal.
This certainly impacted the rest of the story as it does feel like the feats that Diana Prince, Donna Troy, Yara Flor, and Philippus were assigned were never fully explored. It just ended up being left up to interpretation since the setting they were placed wasn’t built for the Trial. This minimized what Diana, Donna, Yara, and Philippus had to overcome as part of the feats they each needed to accomplish. Even though you could see what Conrad, Cloonan, and Kampe were going for with the catacombs setting it didn’t fully work to feel like the four competitors truly showed why they should be Champions.
That said, what did work from this part of the story was the dynamic between Diana, Donna, Yara, and Philippus. Diana bringing the four together by reminding them of what the feats they were assigned were was a good way to rally the group. This showed Diana’s leadership abilities. It also worked to establish how none of them were going to try to make the others look bad in order to win. At the end of the day Diana, Donna, Yara, and Philippus are Amazon sisters who understand the bigger picture when unexpected situations.
Though I will say the one character that didn’t come out looking great was Donna. There was something artificial with her entire attitude throughout Wonder Woman #786. Maybe this would’ve been different if Donna was developed more before Trial of the Amazons that her attitude would be more understandable. But because Donna is such an underdeveloped character her dialogue felt hollow compared to Diana, Yara, and Philippus.
The fight with Echidna was a good way to summarize their dynamic. We see how at first Diana, Donna, Yara, and Philippus attack Echidna as individual warriors. But as the fight progresses Diana, Donna, Yara, and Philippus naturally start working together as it becomes clear Echidna won’t go down in a straight forward fight. It showed the maturity of the four and the best example of why any of them is worthy of being Champion.
This leading to the reveal that a character named Chaos is behind everything is something I’m not sure how to feel. The way Wonder Woman gave this warning you know Chaos is a major threat. But since I don’t have context for how powerful Chaos is beyond Wonder Woman’s reaction it is tough to judge whether this is a good or bad development in terms of interest. Which adds to how important the next chapter of the Trial of the Amazons is to get over this Chaos as a threat worthy of a big event.
Going back to the positives, it was great to see Nubia, Faruka, and Potira stepping up as leaders in the midst of things going south with the Trial of the Amazons. The three standing side by side further pushed how while there is animosity between the three Amazon Tribes when major things happen they will put aside their differences. It is a subtle way to the reader Nubia, Faruka, and Potira as leaders who you want to stand with.
The Young Diana back-up story by Jordie Bellaire and Paulina Ganucheau continues to be the standout of this Wonder Woman series. Bellaire and Ganucheau do a wonderful job showing how Diana did grow up in a family environment with Hippolyta, Georgina, and Lena. This story highlighting Hippolyta worked well to show us a different side of a character that normally is very serious. It worked well with the family atmosphere that Bellaire and Ganucheau created for this latest Young Diana story.
Wonder Woman #786 works well in progressing the overall plot of Trial of the Amazons. The story rapidly moves, especially compared to the previous two chapters. Though not every plot beat ends up working as the threats presented are extremely underdeveloped. The artwork also isn’t as strong as the previous chapters as the switches between artists isn’t as smooth as it needed to be. That all makes this a mix bag of a chapter for Trial of the Amazons.
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 5.5 Night Girls out of 10