Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Short Reviews: Wonder Woman #3 and #4

Back to the Cheetah plot before going back to the origin.

Wonder Woman #3

Diana tries to appeal to Cheetah and the friendship they once had. It seems like Cheetah either saw things from "a certain point of view" or the fake memories are messing with her too. I'm not sure as the whole thing is unclear to me right now. It makes no sense for anyone else to remember the truth if Diana doesn't because the lie wouldn't hold for so long if others could poke holes through the story. Yet Steve has her picture from the new origin possibly implying he remembers?

I'm not really sure what's up with the Cheetah origin either. I'm making an effort to read up on lot of Wonder Woman stories in the coming months so maybe this is related to the old origin. But I'm not sure how this works right now even though I've read up to issue #7. Usually I do reviews as I'm reading comics for a fresh impression but these are mostly from memory after a couple read-throughs.

For now I'll focus on not getting why Cheetah married this God in the first place. This might be shown as some point but why would she? Did she love him? Was she promised power? I know that her "unfaithfulness" by not being a virgin is part of a Cheetah origin I just don't recall the details. How would that be Diana's fault even if she sees things from a different POV? Why hasn't Diana freed her of the curse before? Was she unsure how?

Steve and his team go after the missing girls then get captured.

Overall: The friend/enemy interactions between Diana and Cheetah are the strongest part of this issue. I understand that having two different plots going on through every other issue makes sense for the art to be finished but it is very irksome for an ongoing series. This section still isn't as strong as the origin issues mainly because it feels like the plot is dragging. We don't even see Steve and his men fight before their captured. Diana talks to Cheetah as they flee from the "worshipers."

As I admitted there are things I don't get yet that make this a little confusing. It feels like the Cheetah story is being stretched out while the origin has a more natural pace to it. I have no problem with the characters themselves or the art which greatly helps Cheetah gain sympathy for her plight by showing her humanity.

Wonder Woman #4

Before I read this series I was thinking about how unpleasant Paradise Island had become in New 52. It was no longer a place I wanted to see characters visit and was uncomfortable to deal with due to the changes. You can see what's great about this place as these women are not only warriors their also compassionate and wise. This is a place that shaped Diana into the person she becomes, into Wonder Woman, that didn't really come across in the last telling.

The council scene really gets across how the Amazons are ruled and deal with threats. All of their concerns are valid and we see that Hippolyta has the wisdom to rule. The signs from the gods is a nice touch as was Philipus reaction to Hippolyta keeping the whole truth of Diana's illness from her. It's another parent getting pissed that they didn't know something was wrong with their kid and getting mad at the other parent keeping them in the dark.

The introduction of Diana and Steve was wonderful with them not understanding any words beyond each others' names yet still understanding what their trying to convey. She knows he's asking about his friends, he knows their dead and she comforts him as he grieves. It's beautiful. Prior to this Diana patiently watches over him and her eagerness to let him know that she promises to protect him is endearing.

I might have been too forgiving of the Finches and the Donna Troy massacre because this really shows why it's didn't work. The conversation with Diana and her mother about Steve grieving highlights it well. Hippolyta doesn't berate Steve mourning, nor suggest his reaction is any different from their own. Instead they feel sympathy for his loss and recognize that their not so different.

This version has Hippolyta and Philipus both knowing Diana will win and the queen doesn't attempt to stop her daughter other than mentioning her lingering illness. I did like the motherly protectiveness of prior versions although it did raise the question how they couldn't have known. On an island for so long with the same women you'd know all of them. They would at least know Diana's fighting style. Since the will of the gods is involved they can't really hinder the results. The gun deflecting test happens and I adore Steve freaking out. We never see Diana deflect the bullets but the iconic pose already let's you know she does.

Overall: There's a lot of weight in many of the scenes especially when the queen brings out the gun. We know she's going to hurt the other two Amazons we just don't know how badly. The fact Hippolyta has to turn the gun on her own child is especially tense. The art really gives more personality to these pages especially things that aren't said in the text. When Steve rambles to himself Philipus keeps eyeing him in annoyance making it clear she wants him to shut up. You really feel for all of them when Diana has to say her goodbyes.

The most confusing thing for me is something that will likely be explained. The whole deal with Diana supposedly not being able to return again. Yet Cheetah claims in the other story that Diana has (or in this case will) return many times. Is that false memories? If not how does she remember it?

I loved the invisible jet, seeing the Amazons make the uniform based on what they found from the crash site. Steve's awe that they helped him and are returning him home really adds to the whole "Amazons are awesome" experience. They were missing their heart before, what made them so great beyond fighting and it's great to have that back.

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