Writers: Becky Cloonan, Michael W. Conrad and Josie Campbell
Art: Amancay Nahuelpan and Caitlin Yarsky
Colors: Tamra Bonvillain and Jordie Bellaire
Letters: Pat Brosseau and Clayton Cowles
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: March 21st, 2023
In Lazarus Planet: Revenge of the Gods #1, the gods, enraged that mankind has forgotten them, launch an assault on the world and the Earth’s heroes to reassert themselves and their power. Hera has murdered Zeus and taken control of Olympus. Hoping Themyscira would be saved, Wonder Woman reluctantly agreed to stand with Hera and become a god. But in Wonder Woman #797, we find yet again that you can’t make deals with a god, especially Hera, who has become so cold and vindictive she makes Michael Corleone from “The Godfather” look like Mister Rogers.
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We get two stories in Wonder Woman #797. The main story features Wonder Woman and continues the events of Lazarus Planet: Revenge of the Gods #1 and it starts with an explosive betrayal by Hera, quickly taking a turn into horror as Hera punishes Wonder Woman in that horrifying way all gods punish mortals, in the most excruciating and prolonged way. This section of the book is harrowing, intense and really makes you feel the dire situation Wonder Woman (as well as all humanity) is in. The arrival of a mysterious cloaked warrior (the same man to pop up in the aforementioned Lazarus Planet book) turns the tide of the story but the horror remains, especially when Euronymous appears. He’s a mammoth being from the underworld who feeds on both rotting corpses and the living and he wants to devour all the warm flesh in his path. Euronymous is truly disturbing, with his massive tusked skull head and spidery body, skittering out of the ocean with an army of the undead rising out of the water before him, heralding his arrival.
The whole story reminded me of a much darker version of “Clash of the Titans”. Instead of high-flying Pegasus and battles with Poseidon on sun-drenched beaches, we get battles with a god of the undead, shadowy cloaked warriors and permanent nightfall. There’s even a beautifully haunting sequence straight out of “The Ring”, where the undead start climbing out of a well on Themyscira, their sinewy rotting fingers groping at the rim of the well to pull themselves out. It reinforces the idea that Wonder Woman is a good fit for any type of story, whether it’s science fiction, horror, superhero opera, or any other genre. The second story features Mary Marvel and though it’s much shorter, I enjoyed it also. Because not only does Mary fight alongside the other Amazons on Themyscira, we also get an appearance by Hoppy the teleporting Bunny too! It’s a fun tale that shows how Mary still struggles with her confidence but also shows the wonderful camaraderie between the Amazons, as they lift her up. It made me want to see Mary get her own series where she stays on Themyscira, having adventures and glorious battles with the Amazons. Can we get this, please?
Amancay Nahuelpan and Tamra Bonvillain’s art in the main story of Wonder Woman #797 perfectly captures the darkness of the story. The skies perpetually resemble the colors of bruising, a foreboding combination of blacks and other hues that are especially striking on page 2, which is a beautiful splash page of Wonder Woman suffering Hera’s punishment. The design for the monstrous Euronymous is ghastly and Wonder Woman’s expressions vary from crazed to heroic to desperate, showing sides of her we rarely see. Caitlin Yarsky and Jordie Bellaire’s art on the second story with Mary Marvel is much brighter but is equally beautiful, featuring Ms. Yarsky’s usual wonderfully detailed art complemented by Ms. Bellaire’s vibrant colors. I’ve always felt Ms. Yarsky’s art looks much like the epic art that accompanies a Tolkien book and it fits the landscape of Themyscira like a finely tailored suit. Beautiful work all around.
Wonder Woman #797 is a great continuation of the “Revenge of the Gods” story and features a great horror-themed main story complemented by an equally wonderful second tale, and sets up perfectly for Wonder Woman and Mary Marvel’s stories to continue in Lazarus Planet: Revenge of the Gods #2.