Writer: Tom King
Art: Daniel Sampere
Colors: Tomeo Morey
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: October 24th, 2023
Wonder Woman #2 continues the controversial story arc, pitting Wonder Woman against the US military and putting her at odds with Steve Trevor. All the while, Sargent Steel (who’s apparently competing for the title of biggest jerk of the year) is hungry for revenge against Diana after his devastating battle with her last issue.
Wonder Woman #2 is both a deeply personal character and a big-screen action epic. The issue shines in the scenes between Diana and Steve Trevor and begins with the two characters facing each other in a barren desert landscape. If there was no dialogue, it would look like two lovers reuniting after a long time apart, staring into each other’s eyes longingly. Unfortunately, it’s actually a stand-off, as Steve desperately pleads with Diana to surrender to the US authorities. As Amazons across the country are being forcibly deported, Diana refuses to leave, trying to find a way to mend relations between Themyscira and the world.
It’s a tense bittersweet beginning to the issue, alternating to a confrontation in Diana’s past that’s equally bittersweet. This leads into the bulk of the issue and Diana’s battle with a battalion of US soldiers including tanks, choppers and infantry. The battle is something you’d see in a big Hollywood blockbuster, incredibly thrilling as Wonder Woman takes on enough military to conquer a small country. All the while, Sargent Steel gleefully watches, commanding the soldiers from afar.
As amazing as this issue is, with tender moments mixed with great action set pieces, my one big gripe is the way Sargent Steel is written. Steel is very much a one-dimensional villain with no redeeming qualities and no depth. It’s like Tom King wants us to hate him so much that even the slightest thing Steel does is vile. The guy even makes Steve Trevor light his cigar, for crying out loud, and calls him an awful slur I can’t even repeat here. Nobody is this big of a jerk. Steel makes the sniveling and dreadful Frank Burns from “MASH” look like a lovable guy by comparison.
We get it, Tom, Steel’s a nasty person, but there are more subtle ways of showing how awful he is while making him more interesting too. Instead, Steel comes off like a cliché scene-chewing baddie from a generic 1980’s action film. Aside from that, the issue’s fantastic and really shows how formidable Wonder Woman can be, as well as how deeply she cares for humanity. Even as she battles the massive wave of soldiers and the US government wants to lock her up, she’s heart-broken over hurting and killing the soldiers. After all this time in “man’s world”, she still can’t understand why countries seem to prefer war over peace, and that reinforces why she’s so special.
Daniel Sampere’s art on Wonder Woman #2 perfectly captures both the quiet tender moments with Steve Trevor and the action set pieces. One panel, behind Diana as the infantry, tanks and choppers face her, is especially powerful and sets the stage for what’s to come. The flashback scenes to an arena in Themyscira are rich with detail and the fight Diana has there is as gripping as the fight in modern day. Both scenes are loaded with great fight choreography.
Wonder Woman #2 continues the story arc with a mixture of great character moments and action. Like the best stories, this tale holds a mirror up to our current political climate and issues we’re wrestling with in the real world. Though Sargent Steel is a hammy villain who detracts from the grimness of the story, there’s still a lot to love here and I look forward to seeing what happens next.