Wonder Woman #40
Wonder Woman #40, by writer James Robinson, and pencilers Emanuela Lupacchino and Carmen Carnero, concludes the Swan’s Song arc. This story has been the reinvention of Silver Swan, one of Wonder Woman’s staple enemies, for the Rebirth era. Though the name of the character (Vanessa Kapatelis) has stayed the same, she is now a product of nanites and mental problems, instead of a pawn of Dr. Psycho, with cybernetic enhancements forced upon her.
Diana’s brother Jason, however, continues to be the most compelling thing about Robinson’s run, so far. He grew up living a peaceful life in seclusion, not acting as a warrior or hero, like Diana, so he’s still finding his way, trying to decide what he wants to do with his power. In fact, he is still discovering his full range of powers, like the opening scene where he is surprised by a particularly nasty neck wound healing within minutes. This is a cool way to approach the character, and it makes Jason into a slowly-unfolding puzzle of sorts. The question of the kind of person he will become, and the power he will wield keeps this story moving, even when there’s not much else going on.
Silver Swan, herself, also gets a little more development in this issue. It is clearly shown that Swan no longer believes that she is Vanessa Kapatelis, and she is completely consumed with destroying Diana, specifically by attacking Jason. It’s particularly sad when Diana tries reaching out to her, only for her to refuse even answering to the name Vanessa, forcing Wonder Woman into a physical confrontation. The personal ties to Wonder Woman, and Swan’s motivations for attacking her are a bit flimsy, but it can be forgiven, considering Vanessa is supposed to be enduring some sort of delusional breakdown.
The issue wraps up with a couple of surprises: one that possibly ties Silver Swan a little back to her original origins, and another that sets up a mystery about the fate of Jason. Both of these teasers are pulled off well by Robinson, and hint at a lot of potentially fun stories coming in the future.
The art had a lot of people contributing this issue, with multiple pencilers (as mentioned above), multiple inkers (Ray McCarthy and Carnero), and multiple colorists (Romulo Fajardo Jr. and Hi-Fi Colors), but it certainly didn’t hurt the book at all. Every panel looked great, and the action flowed extremely well. The only negative would be that the new Silver Swan design seems a little too busy, but there is time to tweak that as they go.
Altogether, this book had a good bit of action, but simultaneously did not get a lot accomplished storywise. Silver Swan is defeated, and Jason feels inadequate in his ability to follow in Diana’s footsteps. That’s the gist of it. Unfortunately, it feels like the entire arc was just filler, or a prelude to the real story. One could say that every story arc in a comic book hints at what will be happening next, but it truly felt like nothing important happened in this one, except for the big story beats at the end. Hopefully, there will be further development for Silver Swan coming.