Wonder Woman #50 // Review
Wonder Woman #50, written by James Robinson, with art by Stephen Segovia, Jesus Merino, Andy Owens, Emanuela Lupacchino, and Ray McCarthy, and colors by Romulo Fajardo Jr and Chris Sotomayor, marks the conclusion of the Dark Gods arc--and Robinson’s run--and it can’t come soon enough. Previously, Wonder Woman accidentally wished a new, dark pantheon of Gods into her reality. When they showed up, they began driving people mad with religious faith, which led to her fighting Cheetah and Supergirl. Even with the intervention of the Justice League and her brother Jason, there seemed to be no hope in sight. Finally, Jason was ambushed and seemingly turned against Diana by the Dark Gods’ magic.
Since Jason is the star of the Robinson’s entire run, it only makes sense to talk about him first. He has been on the hero’s journey for the entirety of this story, starting out as the mysterious, never-before-seen brother of Diana, then manipulated into siding with Grail against her, then seeing the error of his ways and joining Diana to try to contribute to the world with his abilities. Unfortunately, that’s where the story started falling apart. Jason was abducted and given magical armor that allowed him to access the powers of the full pantheon of Greek Gods--a story beat that cheated him mastering his own powers. Then, given a chance to succeed in Diana’s absence, he failed miserably. Now, in this final issue, he does finally manage to step up to become a true hero, and, without spoiling how he does so, it does require somewhat of a sacrifice. But still, his actions manage to ring hollow. Maybe it’s because he never really earned his character growth and heroism. Maybe it’s that he took over the book that should have been about its title character. Either way, Jason seems like a failed experiment, and that’s unfortunate, because he has all the ingredients to make an interesting addition to the DC universe. Hopefully, another writer will see the potential and find a better way to use him in the future.
Diana, on the other hand, finally shines in this concluding issue of Robinson’s run. No, she isn’t the hero of the book, but, in her interactions with Steve Trevor and her dealing with loss, Robinson showed that he does understand her character. With Steve having to leave for a while in her time of need, there is no dramatic break-up. Instead, she just accepts that their relationship has always worked like that. Sometimes, she has to go away, sometimes he has to go away, but they always come back to each other. That kind of relationship may not work for most couples, but, given the nature of the two people involved and the fact that they truly understand each other’s lives and jobs, they make it work. Robinson also displays Diana’s superheroic ability to focus on the positive and keep moving forward, no matter what. She deals with some tough things this issue, but, by the end, she makes a decision to not be brought down by it and “look to tomorrow.” Yes, that decision might have been made in order to tidy up for the next writer that comes along, but Robinson wrote it in a way that made perfect sense for Diana’s character. She has dealt with a lot of terrible things happening to her in life, but she always shows up to the next adventure with a smile on her face.
The art on this issue is a mixed bag. Segovia and Merino, Wonder Woman’s two semi-regular artists on the Robinson run, do a fantastic job, as usual. They have been the best thing about Robinson’s take on Diana, providing dynamic, beautiful work at every turn. Sadly, probably because this was an extra-sized issue, they were joined by other artists that didn’t quite match their style or abilities as artists. Owens, Lupacchino, and McCarthy do a fine enough job, but their styles are so jarringly different from Segovia and Merino that it hurts the flow of the story. Romulo Fajardo Jr. is also joined by Chris Sotomayor on the color duties, but they seem to work well together, providing a seamless palette for the issue that really makes Wonder Woman shine, even in the darker moments.
In the end, if you haven’t been loving James Robinson’s run on Wonder Woman, this issue won’t change your mind. He is quickly clearing the table for the next writer, with varying degrees of success. Starting off with an exciting rivalry between Grail, Darkseid, and Diana and introducing WW’s long-lost brother, Robinson showed a lot of potential in the beginning. Alas, it was doomed to fall apart, with Robinson seemingly losing his inspiration halfway through his story. No one knows what happened behind the scenes except for the creative team and editors, but the readers are left with a mediocre story that could have been one of the best Wonder Woman runs of all time.