Wonder Woman #45 // Review
Wonder Woman #45, by writer James Robinson and artists Ema Lupacchino, Ray McCarthy, and Marco Santucci, is the finale to the Amazons Attacked arc, and what a disappointment it is. Darkseid has opened a portal to Themyscira in order to use the Amazons as fodder for a new Parademon army, and it’s up to Wonder Woman, her brother Jason, Steve Trevor, and a small group of ARGUS agents to stop him. Sounds exciting, right? Wrong.
The pacing to this entire arc has been out of whack from the beginning, with a weak start, filler in the middle, and a conclusion that went nowhere and ended far too fast. It’s unclear if Robinson really had a plan when he started writing this story, but, with Wonder Woman facing off against Darkseid, this should have been an instant classic. Instead, the audience was served something that was instantly forgettable, and fizzled out without serving hardly any of the characters involved.
Darkseid, arguably the toughest villain in the DC universe, is taken down so easily, and in such a cheesy manner that it’s almost laughable. For a character that has taken on the Justice League single-handedly (actually referenced in this issue) in a story arc titled “Amazons Attacked”, anything short of an epic, knock-down, drag-out battle against Wonder Woman, her brother, and the entire Amazon army, is a letdown. Grail, the daughter of Darkseid and an Amazon, is also underserved in this issue, getting taken down in a few panels by Hippolyta as an afterthought.
Speaking of the Amazons, the audience barely gets to see them, as Wonder Woman herself is barred from entering the portal to Themyscira. Only a handful of panels are devoted to Jason seeing the tail end of his mother defeating Grail and their brief reunion. What little we get of the Amazons is nice, but again, given the name of this story, the readers were probably expecting more.
The art this issue is also a mixed bag, due to having three different artists on the book. It’s all serviceable to the story, with clear action and uncluttered panels, but nothing stands out as great until the final few pages showing the fates of Darkseid and Grail. Romulo Fajardo Jr.’s colors, as always, elevate the storytelling, especially in instances where Jason uses his powers, or Darkseid fires off his deadly Omega Beams, but it’s still not enough for the art to leave a lasting impression.
All in all, the only thing the reader can take away from this arc is that it could have, and should have, been better. Robinson clearly phoned in this story, and it shows. All of the right ingredients were there, and it just fell apart in the end. As the next series of issues deal with fallout from Scott Snyder’s Dark Nights: Metal event, hopefully Robinson will be able to draw inspiration from the wealth of material provided by another superstar writer. Until then, readers will likely be stuck with the bad taste in their mouth from this arc.