DC’s Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman got off to a really great start last year, but somewhere along the way, it kind of lost its momentum with some really odd stories that seemed to be shoehorned in, for no reason at all. And that’s kind of why I felt turned off from the experience of reading the comics, and even writing the reviews, because I didn’t want to review what I saw as less-than-expected. There were some good stories in the middle, sure, but mostly, it was all just rather boring.
Thankfully, issues #33 through #35 provide something of a revival in that respect. Some of the recent stories have been really good, and I think that it is this arc, Vendetta, that puts it all into perspective. Written by Josh Elder, this arc is all about a fateful encounter between Diana and Ares, set against the backdrop of a racial civil war in a war-torn African country. It feels simplistic at first, but it has a great message, and that’s the true value of it. The art by Jamal Igle, Juan Castro, Wendy Broome and Deron Bennett is also fairly decent, though it could use some improvements.
The premise of this 3-part story is that Diana is called in to act as a mediator between the Uwange majority and the Mbindi minority of the African country of Itari. A summit has been called between the leaders of the two factions, and it is up to Diana to come up with a lasting peaceful solution that will end the violence raging throughout the country. And into this mess does come Ares, bloated and hungry for the promise of war to be had in Itari.
Scribe Josh Elder does a very good job here of making Diana someone you can really relate to. Too often superheroics come down to punching bad things and calling it a day. But there’s always another side, and that’s what he explores here. Diana as a diplomat shouldn’t be too surprising a concept, especially given her position among the Amazons, and so getting to see that side of the character proved to be a boon of sorts. I certainly enjoyed reading about Diana trying to contextualize all the hate and violence she is seeing in Itari and trying to come up with a solid way to end all the suffering.
As such, Josh seems to have a good handle on the character, and he certainly does her justice. But where he kind of falls short of is in his characterization of Ares, the Greek god of war. Ares comes off as a massive jerk here, and also a bit of a caricature, more suited to a sunday morning cartoon rather than in a story like this in comics. But then again, I really liked the rest of the arc as it pertained to him, and his fight against Diana was definitely something of a spectacle. Of course, this comic has nothing to do with the main Wonder Woman series, where Diana was forced to kill Ares and has become the God of War herself, with some rather disastrous ongoing results.
The finale of the story in #35 is perhaps something of a simple expectation, and it doesn’t really leave much to the imagination, but that’s fine too I suppose. The format of the digital comics prevents something much more meaningful, and anyway, the seeds are there regardless, so that’s something for the books I suppose. But yes, Elder started the arc on a really good note, and he ended it on a fairly decent one, which is what matters.
The art by Igle, Castro, Broome and Bennett is pretty decent as well. There are some scenes where the characters have really awkward poses and the artists don’t really seem to get Ares’ look down properly, but by and large the internal artwork was good. There are some really exhilarating moments in here and they are captured quite well enough for my tastes. The cover is by Stephane Roux, and while it doesn’t exactly match some of the great covers that have come before, it does stand on its own.
Pretty fun to get back into the series with this arc, and am looking forward to more.