Wonder Woman #43
Wonder Woman #43, by writer James Robinson and artist Marco Santucci, is part three of the Amazons Attacked arc, and...it’s a bit of a disappointment. So far, this story has been moving at a glacial pace, but the tease at the end of last issue promised some excitement, with Darkseid saying, “then, what are we waiting for,” in regards to attacking the A.R.G.U.S. headquarters. Well, apparently, he was waiting for another entire issue to pass, because the story gets stretched a little more in this leg of the arc.
Darkseid, who is always a fun villain, does little more than explain why he’s not attacking the A.R.G.U.S. headquarters this issue, despite his eagerness to get to it before. Just as in the previous issues of this story, it seems like Robinson didn’t have enough story to fill all of the proposed issues of this arc. Instead of the immediate attack we were promised, this issue is filled with a lot of preparation.
Robinson does provide a nice beat in this issue, though, with the alone time between Steve Trevor and Jason, Diana’s long-lost brother. With Jason recently coming into Wonder Woman’s life, first as an enemy, then as an ally, then disappearing and reappearing with memory loss and a new armor that enhances his powers, Steve is justifiably concerned about his intentions. These two characters haven’t had much time to talk, so it’s good to see them hash out their problems. Steve is basically voicing the concerns of the readers, but he is also fiercely protective of Diana, so the interaction rings true to his character. Unfortunately, the scene does very little to uncover anything more about Jason and his mysterious disappearance, so the readers will have to wait a little longer for that story to be resolved.
The other big focus of the issue is Diana’s interrogation of Lashina and Mad Harriet, two of Darkseid’s captured Furies. Nothing about this scene makes sense...at all. With time of the essence and a room full of artifacts that Wonder Woman knows Darkseid will want to get his hands on, Diana decides to forgo using her magic lasso to get the information she needs out of the Furies. Instead, her plan is to release them from their bonds and fight with them to earn their respect. This, of course, does not work, because they were raised on what is basically a hell planet and the only person they fear/respect is Darkseid, so they’re not about to betray him. Not only is it out of character for Wonder Woman, who, despite being a skilled warrior, doesn’t love violence, it’s also just crazy, considering she acknowledges that the lasso is an option she is just choosing not to use. It’s like Robinson completely forgot everything he ever knew about Wonder Woman before he sat down to write this issue.
Diana’s strange interrogation tactics aren’t the end of it though, because logic continues to evade Robinson throughout this story. The nature of this arc, and the fact that Wonder Woman and A.R.G.U.S. are up against Darkseid (the biggest, baddest villain in the entire DC universe), should lead to her picking up a phone and calling the Justice League in for help. Any sane person would do that in this situation, because the only times in recent history Diana has fought Darkseid has been at the side of the League, and they have nearly lost every single one of those battles. She wouldn’t dream of trying to handle him on her own. In fact, the only thing she and Steve Trevor have done to prepare for the inevitable confrontation has been to assemble a handpicked team of A.R.G.U.S. agents to protect the relics Darkseid is after. It would be fine if the League didn’t show up in this story. The tension is greatly heightened due to the fact that it’s just Wonder Woman, her sketchy brother, and a handful of government agents against Darkseid, but the burden is on the writer to provide a reason why her good friends and teammates couldn’t be there to help her. Not one decent attempt is made at an explanation, and it hurts the story.
On the visual side of things, Marco Santucci does an amazing job with the art, starting the book with a great full page shot of Wonder Woman holding her lasso. He continues to stun with action sequences involving Jason training against A.R.G.U.S. drones and Wonder Woman taking on the Furies. Darkseid isn’t as strong as his other figures, but Santucci’s overall a spectacular artist for this title. Romulo Fajardo Jr.’s colors are a perfect compliment to Santucci’s work, not being overly flashy, but still providing the right tone to this darker story.
All in all, this issue felt like filler, and poor filler at that. By the end of the book, Robinson finally delivered on the promise of the teaser from the issue before, but it’s too little, too late. If this arc has any hope of being saved, the pace is going to have to pick up on the back half.