Wonder Woman #64 // Review
One of Diana’s greatest enemies makes her return in Wonder Woman #64, written by G. Willow Wilson, with pencils by Jesus Merino, inks by Andy Owens, and colors by Romulo Fajardo Jr., and she’s carrying secrets that could change the titular heroine’s life forever. Previously, billionaire business owner Veronica Cale’s daughter was cursed by the twin gods Phobos and Deimos, causing her soul to be tied to Themyscira, the home island of Wonder Woman. She begrudgingly left her daughter on the island to live out her life among the Amazons, after spending years trying to get her back home. Now, still harboring an immense amount of hatred for Diana, she has returned to destroy her by any means necessary.
After taking a brief break between arcs, Wilson...doesn’t exactly hit the ground running with this issue, but gets off to a decent enough start. The mystery of gods and all manner of mythical creatures being abandoned on Earth deepens, and a few answers are given, so a decent momentum is kept, but there still seems like something is off. Maybe it’s the ridiculous trap that Wonder Woman falls into, or the oddly pointless use of Nemesis (Goddess of Grudges), or just the simple fact that nothing all that exciting happens in the issue, but everything just feels like it’s lacking. Of course, the same could be said about the first issue of Wilson’s opening Wonder Woman arc, so maybe she’s earned her readers’ patience.
The good news is that Veronica Cale is back, and she’s got a plan...maybe. The villainess has been in and out of Wonder Woman’s life since Greg Rucka’s run in 2003, and is, essentially, Diana’s “Lex Luthor”--a mere mortal who is obsessed with destroying her insanely powerful archenemy. Recently, Rucka took advantage of DC’s rewritten history to add a few more personal touches to Veronica’s backstory, including a cursed daughter that gives her a more valid reason to hate Wonder Woman. Now, Wilson is picking up that ball, and running with it, but her take on Cale feels uninspired. From the get-go, Veronica has somehow restrained a goddess, and forced her to do her bidding, but there’s no real explanation for how she does it, which comes off as being extremely convenient writing. Then, it’s revealed that her reasons for using Nemesis were to...trick Wonder Woman into a possible lawsuit? The plan doesn’t really hold up to scrutiny at all, considering it’s unlikely that Diana could be legally sued, being a demigod that isn’t even a citizen of the United States. Of course, there’s also the possibility that maybe Cale is doing this just to drag Wonder Woman’s name through the mud, but at this point in her career, Wonder Woman is a hero that has saved the world countless times, and Veronica is a complaining billionaire, so who are the people more likely to side with?
Jesus Merino, normally a superstar artist, turns in lukewarm work this issue, with odd facial expressions, and stilted action sequences. Maybe he was rushing to meet a deadline, but these pencils turned out to be some of his worst work in years. Owens and Fajardo turn in good work, themselves, bolstering the so-so pencils, but there’s only so much they can do to save the visuals. Hopefully, if Merino sticks around for the rest of the story, he’ll be bringing the A-game that everybody knows he is capable of.
All in all, this wasn’t a terrible opening to Wilson’s new arc by any means, but it should have been stronger in order to win over possible new readers, or people who were on the fence after the first arc. There’s no strong hook for the story, and that is a must in a first chapter. Wilson has earned enough good will on the title so far, but it will run out quick if she doesn’t pull up out of her nosedive fast.