Writers: Becky Cloonan, Michael W Conrad, L.L. McKinney
Art: Mark Morales, Jen Bartel, Alitha E. Martinez
Publisher: DC COMICS
Release Date: January 19th, 2021
FUTURE STATE! DC’s latest and greatest event is finally here! If you are a little lost as to what this means, allow me to help: everything in DC is now continuity. This event was set up at the end of issue 7 of Dark Nights: Death Metal. If you have yet to read the issue (or the review), stop what you’re doing and click HERE. Trust me when I say everything will make much more sense.
If you’re interested in this comic or any of the others mentioned, simply click on the title/link to snag a copy through Amazon.
Diana freaking Prince. Wonder Woman. I am smiling as I am typing this review because Wonder Woman is one of the (if not THE) biggest heroine AND superheroes of all time. At a minimum, we all know her iconic outfit and that she is a total warrior. Historically, Diana has always been portrayed as a beautiful woman. Jen Bartel captures this quality of Diana throughout the entirety of this issue. But what truly captures this? Maybe the beauty is in the panels in which you see Diana flying in the sunrise with her Lasso of Truth illuminated by the rays. But then again, it could be Bartel’s take on a Kirby era villain or even Themysciara itself. There is an old saying somewhere that,” you eat with your eyes first.” That is what I did for the bulk of this issue. I feasted on Bartels artwork like I was a kid in a candy shop. Candy art…But I digress.
Our first Wonder Woman issue opens with Diana walking into an abandoned cave. The Lasso of Truth is glowing in the darkness as she walks down the stairs. Diana is in her own thoughts. She is noticing the sadness of the cave, but then quickly realizes that there has always been sadness and that even the bats were missing. When I read that part, I literally had to pause and give kudos to Cloonan and Conrad. They were able to say that Batman was gone without saying “Batman is gone.” Diana walks around the cave and we see familiar Batcave items such as the Dinosaur and the various Bat Costumes. After Diana seemingly speaks with a ghost version of Batman (or maybe it was a hologram), she takes his utility belt and flies on top of the ruins of what one can presume is Wayne Manor. As she is gazing into the sky, she notices an extremely bright star. She realizes that something is wrong and immediately flies to Themysciara.
Meanwhile, on Apokolips, Darkseid is musing the meaning of life (because why not). After an intense conversation with Big Barda, Darkseid flees Apokolips and sets course to Earth. As he flies through space, who does he happen to run into? The man. The myth. The legend! Superman. Back on Themysciara, Diana has a brief conversation with a dying Swamp Thing. After a brief conversation with him, Diana flies away to a War Council with her sisters. They too had seen the extremely bright star and they were preparing for battle. Being Wonder Woman, Diana naturally attempts to persuade her sisters into fleeing the planet; it was dying. Her sisters, however, had already made up their minds: The Amazons do not run from fights. They will fight whatever threat is coming their way.
Still not knowing what (or in this case who) is coming to Earth, Diana readies her sisters for a battle. Darkseid and Superman’s battle takes them onto Earth, leaving a crater upon their impact. As Darkseid is about to deliver a solid blow to the Man of Steel, his arm is suddenly stopped in midair by the Lasso of Truth. He turns around and sees Diana and a battle begins. This panel gave me total Elle Drive and the Bride fight scene vibes in Tarantino’s Kill Bill vol. 2. Superman tries to interfere, but Diana stops him. THIS is what makes Wonder Woman stands out compared to her other DC peers. She is a warrior. Fighting and defending the planet from threats, is what she does best. As Claremont era’s Wolverine would say, “she is good in a scrap.” As the fight between Diana and Darkseid rages on, Darkseid gains the upper hand and smacks Diana against Swamp Thing. Seeing this, the other Amazons move in to attack. Darkseid looks at them and immediately obliterates them without a second thought. It appears as if Swamp Thing gives Diana a portion of his essence to keep her alive to fight Darkseid. This issue closes with a crying Diana promising to Swamp Things sacrifice would not be in vain. At the same time, Darkseid holding Superman by the neck. Life is about to get interesting!
The second Wonder Woman issue is centered around Nubia. Now Nubia appears in and out of comics, but her history is pretty much the same. She is one of Diana’s sisters who left Themyscira and is now living in America (and in this case, Atlanta, GA). Nubia’s issue opens with a robbery in progress. As typical with most robberies, the robber (in this case Grail) is thrown into a battle with Nubia. Now I would like to pause for a second and really dive into Nubia’s hair. It is the perfect combination between Diana Ross and Cher in the ’80s: wild and beyond beautiful. Maybe Nubia is Scary Spice in disguise?
As the fight between Nubia and Grail continues, Grail mocks Nubia. At this point, Nubia pauses and strikes the classic Wonder Woman pose (lasso in hand and ready to battle) as she officially claims the title of Wonder Woman. Grail ends up knocking Nubia down and she flees with the rock she was after.
The next couple of pages takes us to a club that is apparently for mythical creatures. The best interaction in this comic is between Nubia and the Minotaur (who uses Avocado polish to keep his horns shiny). Nubia walks to the back of the club and into the office of the club owner: her Aunt Nancy. After a surface level conversation, Nubia asks her aunt if she knows anything about the robbery. According to her Aunt, long ago, there were 9 artifacts that were hidden. These artifacts had the power to open gateways, portals, and other things that mere mortals did not necessarily need to open. With 8 of the artifacts missing, Nubia asks her aunt where the 9th one was hiding. Her Aunt states that it is safe right before a portal opens and sucks Nubia through. This issue ends with Aunt Nancy taking a drink and looking quite annoyed.
Both of these issues have pros and cons. In the Diana issue, I love the artwork. Again, I felt like a kid at Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. Whereas the inner dialogue with the characters seemed solid, their overall interactions with one another seemed somehow awkward. The Nubia issue is the complete opposite. The art looks like something straight from a comic that would’ve been released in the early to mid-2000s. McKinney’s writing, however, moves at a decent pace and introduced a modern touch to this particular comic (the Avocado polish and Nubia apparently moisturizes her edges). I went into this comic expecting much more from Diana’s story and less from Nubia’s. However, the inverse happened. Diana’s seemed stale while Nubia’s had life and energy ranging from the club to her interactions with Aunt Nancy and Grail. Perhaps this is on purpose? I mean, the world is apparently ending in Diana’s story. Lackluster dialogue may reflect this reality. All in all, I am really interested in seeing how both of these stories end. Hopefully, Nubia eventually has her own title in the very near future. When it is all said and done, if you are not necessarily craving a new Wonder Woman, I would skip this issue. Diana has had way better stories and Nubia may not be your cup of tea. But if you are willing to read about a different version of Wonder Woman, go to you LCS asap and pick up this comic!