Wonder Woman #49 // Review
Wonder Woman #49, by writer James Robinson, artist Jesus Merino, and colorist Romulo Fajardo Jr, is part four of The Dark Gods arc, and it finally picks up the pace, but still manages to work in its share of head scratching moments. Previously, a new “dark” pantheon of Gods arrived on Earth, causing mass religious hysteria, including Wonder Woman being attacked by Cheetah and Supergirl. Diana was then whisked away on a side adventure, leaving her brother Jason to team up with the Justice League, which ended with the entire League being absorbed by the Dark Gods. Wonder Woman finally showed back up to help her brother, but it might have been too little, too late.
This issue is the strongest of a pretty weak arc, so far. Focusing mostly on action, and finally showing the audience what King Best, the leader of the Dark Gods, is capable of, Robinson manages to keep the story entertaining and moving along at a good pace. The ending is even somewhat satisfying, as a big character is caught up in the Dark Gods’ thrall. If only Robinson had moved this entire arc along at this pace, it might have resulted in a good story as a whole.
If there is a major weakness in this issue, other than its wonky pacing, it is that these Dark Gods are completely flat characters. They’re just there as obstacles for Wonder Woman and Jason to overcome, and they barely even talk. On top of that, they’re not even great obstacles. Working together, Diana and Jason manage to pick up King Best (the supposed most powerful of the group) and dunk him in the ocean, giving themselves time to go pick off the others. Yes, they do manage to drive a good chunk of the planet insane, but, with the two heroes of the book working together, they should be able to overcome these villains in time.
Robinson does address that the siblings need to be split up in order for the Dark Gods to be a real threat, but he does it in the worst way possible. After working together to put a halt to King Best, Diana and Jason inexplicably split up. Jason has already proven he is not ready for this level of heroics, but he decides to go off to fight the Dark God of War by himself. Meanwhile, Wonder Woman...stops to have a leisurely talk with Steve Trevor. From this point on, the story unravels and becomes too stupid for words.
On the flipside, Jesus Merino’s art for this issue is great. He has a good handle on Wonder Woman and Jason, and the action scenes flow well throughout the book. Even when dealing with the somewhat boring design of King Best (he’s just a giant statue that walks around shooting lasers from his eyes), Merino makes the action work and keeps the story fun. Romulo Fajardo Jr.’s colors also up the entertainment factor, especially any time Jason is in a scene, lighting up the skies with his lightning. Fajardo is consistently a superior colorist when it comes to dealing with these type of magic-filled stories.
Overall, Robinson showed some improvement this issue, but he could use an editor that would challenge him as a storyteller and not let him get away with giant, confusing plot holes that negate the effectiveness of the story. He has improved his pacing with this issue, but, considering the next part of the arc is the conclusion, it’s just not enough for this story as a whole to be recommended to anyone.