Wonder Woman #52 // Review
Wonder Woman #52, written by Steve Orlando, with pencils by Aco, inks by David Lorenzo, and colors by Romulo Fajardo Jr., is part one of The Enemy of Both Sides arc, which has Wonder Woman teaming up with her old frenemy, Artemis, and the new Aztec from Orlando’s Justice League run.
Orlando does a good job making this a self-contained story, with Wonder Woman carrying no baggage into the issue and everything you need to know about Aztec being explained, while still managing to be light on exposition. Unfortunately, there has been a lot going on with Artemis over in Red Hood and the Outlaws, so some of her parts of the story might leave readers confused. Why is she interrogating someone in a bar when Wonder Woman and Aztec find her, and what is this Bow of Ra she has that Diana is so dead set against her using? Cutting back on exposition is great, but sometimes it’s a necessary evil. Artemis is still the most enjoyable part of the issue, though, with her boisterous personality, biting remarks towards her allies, and her “fight first, ask questions” later attitude. It’s too bad she has to go back to Red Hood after this, because she would make a great supporting character for Wonder Woman’s book moving forward.
Aztec is also a ton of fun in this issue, as she isn’t exactly starstruck upon meeting Wonder Woman. Diana gives as good as she gets though, which it makes for an interesting dynamic between the seasoned vet and the newer hero. Orlando introduced this version of Aztec in his Justice League of America run, but didn’t get much time to develop her there before the book ended, so it’s nice to see him get a little more room to add to her story. She doesn’t get an opportunity to really show us what she can do in this chapter, outside of a few tricks her helmet and suit are capable of, but hopefully she’ll get a chance to shine in battle next issue.
Aco’s pencils are very polished in this issue, and he does especially beautiful work on the splash page of Wonder Woman at the end, but there are times when his panel layout and the extreme close-up angles he chooses to work with can be confusing or clutter the page. The inks and colors of Lorenzo and Fajardo are both solid, too, lending to and enhancing Aco’s distinct visual style. If Aco could back up the “camera” a little, so the readers could take in the action more easily, this art team would be unstoppable on a title like this.
Overall, Orlando has been hit and miss on JLA in the past, but he seems to have a good handle on the character of Wonder Woman and what makes her tick. Add in Aztec, one of the strongest new characters from his League run, and the extremely entertaining Artemis, and you’ve got a story that is off to a fun start. If you weren’t a fan of James Robinson’s recent run on this title, give Orlando’s mini-run a shot. It’s sure to wash the bad taste out of your mouth.