Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Wonder Woman Annual #3 Review

Only the Beginning

Written by: Steve Orlando
Art by: V. Ken Marion, Sandu Florea, Wi-Fim and Pat Brosseau
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: October 30, 2019

You never know what you're going to get on Annuals week from DC Comics, right?  I mean, we kinda know we will get some Annuals, but even those can be a grab bag of sorts.  One-Shot stories, continuations of current storylines, setup for something coming down the line, or even a tie-in to an event.  This one is a couple of those but also the return of Steve Orlando to Wonder Woman before he officially takes over the book in issue #82.  That seems like a lot of things to shoulder, but I have a feeling that Wonder Woman might just be up to the task, but is everything else?  Let's find out...

If you are worried about this Annual being heavy into Event Leviathan, let me ease your worried mind a bit.  The Leviathan stuff does play a part, but Steve Orlando uses most of the issue to get to that point and does a good job of setting things up along the way.  The issue is mostly about Diana, Steve and Helen Paul kicking ass and taking names in Gorilla City for Argus.  Yep, that Argus...the one taken out by Leviathan.  This is a prequel to all that and an origin story to boot as learn all about Helen and her connection with Diana.  

I have had an up and down relationship with Orlando and his DC books, but I really like the way he writes Diana in this issue.  You get a good mix of action and compassion from Wonder Woman and while it gets close, it didn't feel forced in one direction or another.  She spends most of her time cussin' and a fussin' with Gorilla Grodd and I love Grodd so I'm always down with that. The problem I have is that we don't focus enough on Helen. 

Like I said, we do get Helen's origin story as we see Wonder Woman save her from terrorists and quickly see her get older, graduate into Argus and then BAM! she's off to Gorilla City with Steve and Diana.  By the end of the issue, we see that we will get more of her and I'm guessing that Orlando wants to save some stuff for his regular run, but there is just not enough here for me to get a real grip on the character.  

Like I said, a large chunk of the oversized issue is taken up by Diana and Grodd fighting and throwing shade and it does get a little repetitive but does give a good look at their differing ideologies and even shows a little wavering on Wonder Woman's part.  We also get a crazy new (at least new to me) power of the Lasso that was cool, but anytime these things pop up I get worried it will be overplayed later.  

Really, this issue is pretty much set up just to get to the cliffhanger and the big reveal.  Orlando plays it cool by mixing in Leviathan and the current events with Argus to skew things over to the bad side of town, but is it the bad side?  One of the interesting things (maybe the only thing for this guy) with Leviathan is that a lot of his message makes sense, especially with the state of the current DCU and here it makes a ton of sense for a girl who feels betrayed by the person she trusts the most.  I'm hoping that it is all lies because I need at least one likable hero in the comics I love and Orlando usually can give me that from this book.

Steve Orlando jumps back on Wonder Woman and I am happy about it.  This is a very quick read that can be completely skipped if you only showed up for Leviathan, but sets up things if you are here for Wonder Woman.

There are a couple artists that I always love and V Ken Marion is one of them!  This book looks great and his style fits the action-packed nature of it so well.  I am a fanboy and proudly admit it, but anyone who can make Eric Shea look good in an issue (see Trinity #13) must be dealing in some black magic!  Joking aside, this is one of Marion's best-looking issues and he keeps getting better and better.  I really hope DC realizes and puts a ring on that finger!!!

Bits and Pieces:

While this isn't close to being a necessary tie-in to Event Leviathan, it's a nice look at what to expect from Steve Orlando's upcoming story in Wonder Woman.  It's a quick read that looks great and that's good enough for me.


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