Wonder Woman #61 // Review
Enter Aphrodite! But whose side is she on, and what does she want? Find out in Wonder Woman #61, written by G. Willow Wilson, with art by Xermanico, and colors by Romulo Fajardo Jr. Previously, Steve Trevor went missing while protecting the small country of Durovnia’s Prime Minister from an uprising. This prompted Wonder Woman to enter the country to find her love, but she found a newly-”reformed” Ares instead. Dedicated to justice now, instead of war, he chose to side with Durovnia’s rebels against the Prime Minister. Diana tried to make him see that choosing sides in a civil war was a bad idea, but his sense of justice was a little different from hers, and they came to blows. Meanwhile, Steve was found by a group of lost mythical creatures that escorted him to their leader: Aphrodite, Goddess of Love. Now, Steve must convince Aphrodite to help him reunite with Diana, so they can find a way to stop Ares and the war he ignited.
This arc started out a little slow, and had its share of problems in the department of Wonder Woman’s characterization, but Wilson was able to smooth out the wrinkles fairly quickly. It’s now turned into a solid story about Diana opposing a war, and her need to bring peace to the land of Durovnia, rather than choose a “right” side. This is what this book should be all about, and Wilson is nailing it. Wonder Woman came to man’s world to teach peace. Yes, she is a skilled warrior, but she doesn’t like to fight, unless she has to. She cares about everyone, and truly feels that peace can always be reached in any situation. Putting her in the middle of a civil war, against her polar opposite (Ares) perfectly illustrates who Wonder Woman is. Instead of crushing tanks, Wilson has her saving children. Instead of simply crushing the insurgents, she works to get the Prime Minister to the insurgent leaders to talk things out. She will, inevitably, be pushed to her limits, and have to fight the bad guys, but Wilson understands that it is always peace first for Diana.
Aphrodite is a surprising breath of fresh air in this issue, after several chapters of Ares bungling his new mission statement. With the ex-God of War, his harsh take on justice seemed like well-trodden territory. The readers have seen the likes of Black Adam and Red Hood go down this road before, and it’s always entertaining, but how many times can it be done? Aphrodite, on the other hand, is introduced with much better results. Like Ares, she is questioning her role as a Goddess of Love. She has seen love go wrong, and lead to disastrous results so many times that she is looking for a new concept to devote herself to. Fortunately, unlike Ares, she seems a lot more reasonable, and is willing to help Steve and Diana. Can their love make her see that the thing she has dedicated her existence to isn’t all bad? Only time will tell, but Wilson seems to be having fun exploring the idea.
Xermanico, this issue’s new artist, steps in and knocks it out of the park on his first try. Wilson’s previous issues were penciled by Cary Nord, who is a skilled artist, but never quite seemed to find his groove on the book. Xermanico, on the other hand, has taken to Wonder Woman just fine, and will hopefully be sticking around a while. Fajardo, the colorist, and veteran of the book, continues to provide his unique (but well-chosen) palette to the new pencils, and seems to blend well with Xermanico’s style.
This story has gotten better with each issue, and this chapter was no exception. If you had worries about Wilson not fitting the book quite right in the beginning, they should be gone at this point. She has proven that she understands the character, and can bring fresh ideas to the book. Particularly, her version of the Greek Gods having identity crisis is a fun idea that could be explored in great detail as she gets deeper into her run.