Monday, July 6, 2020

Wonder Woman #758 Review

Stranger No More

Writer: Steve Orlando
Artist: Emanuela Lupacchino, Ray McCarthy, Romulo Fajardo Jr., and Pat Brosseau
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: July 7, 2020

Steve Orlando's time on Wonder Woman is coming to a close, and it's a shame because I believe in my heart that he respects and loves the character of Wonder Woman.  He centers on her compassion and love, and that is something I can get behind 100%, especially when other writers force so much death and misery on readers.  That said, something was off by the end of the last issue.  After a lengthy setup to the Four Horsewomen story, we got an out of nowhere Phantom Stranger as a cliffhanger that had my head spinning.  So, did Steve Orlando salvage something out of the craziness?  Let's find out...

I want to start by talking a bit about the last issue's ending.  It came out of nowhere, and while I have had problems with some of Steve Orlando's writing at DC, characters just showing up out of thin air was never one of them.  I think he sometimes sets up things a bit too much at times, and honestly, I wouldn't say the Phantom Stranger is a character that Orlando has a hard-on for, though he does look snazzy in that trench coat and hat!  It just didn't seem like a Steve Orlando thing to do, and I have read everything he has written.  Sure, I haven't loved it all, but he taught me what Pistol Shrimp are, and so, I am forever in his debt.

After all that, though, he does a decent job making it work for his story.  I thought that we would get redemption for Paula by the end, and Orlando goes one better by giving us hope, but in a way that Paula must earn it.  I like that she is doing this for Diana as well as herself.

Paula finally realized that Diana was in her corner because she took down the Phantom Stranger at the Pearly Gates of Heaven.  I mean, you can't get more badass than that!  I have no idea why the Phantom Stranger was ever in this book because it doesn't make a lick of sense, but seeing Diana bring him down by calling him out on his own game felt 100% like Steve Orlando and why I enjoy him writing Wonder Woman.

The issue also ends with a few exciting things going on.  Diana convinces her mother that other Amazon's should be able to leave the Island as she did.  If I were them, I'd stay put, but who am I to tell them how to live their lives?  We also get an Amazonian Embassy that I hope turns out to be more like the Love Boat and less like the Atlantian Embassy we had a while back in Aquaman.  I wonder if they would let Issac bartend because that would be awesome!

Overall, I think that Steve Orlando made some lemonade for those who had a sour taste in their mouths after the last issue.  It still was an odd way to end his story, but we get back to the basics of love and compassion, and he even sets up some neat things for Mariko Tamaki to play with when she jumps on the book.  I am a huge Emanuela Lupacchino fan, and her art is fantastic here, but that's no surprise.  I am back to wishing Steve Orlando was staying on this book, but also wishing he got to tell his story, his way.

Bits and Pieces:

Steve Orlando rebounds from the crazy, out-of-nowhere cliffhanger of the last issue to get back to what he does best, give fans a Wonder Woman who wins the day with love and compassion.  Now that is a tune we can all dance to, especially if Issac is serving up the cocktails!



  1. Something seems really off here. The Phantom Stranger has a power level which is roughly equal to the Spectre. WW can’t take down the Spectre, so if she really beats the Phantom Stranger, then this is not a good story.

  2. I am not looking too much into it really. I don’t think Phantom Stranger was ever supposed to be in this book and I think Orlando is doing his best to finish the story the way he would have without him there

  3. Thanks for the review Jim. The Phantom Stranger's inclusion was definitely weird, and the role could've been filled by any other long-lived oracle type character. I'm still iffy on how he was defeated, granted I wasn't even sure The Presence was still around with everything else going on in the DC universe. It seemed like all the major powers just vanished like the New Gods when Perpetual showed up. The Amazon Embassy does have merit, let's see if DC writers do anything good with it. And yes, hopefully it does go better than the Atlantean Embassy.

  4. I'm kinda bummed we didn't get resolution with Donna. She played a pretty key role in this story, so for them to just drop that storyline at the end is a let down. (Also: is Phantom Stranger a Judas???)

  5. Thought the final outcome with the Stranger was garbage. Basically, he was the villain of the issue and far out of character despite allosions to the New 52 backstory of his misdeeds and origin.

  6. I agree, the outcome was garbage. Not even the right costume or hair color. And, WW had no business calling him a “ghost”. He never died. To my recollection, WW and PS have never been enemies, although she has been a bit wary of him. Hell, even Batman trusts him.

    If Orlando had been true to the character, he would have had WW simply talk to PS. PS is very merciful towards those with a little good in them. He is not the Spectre. And there is no way the lasso would work on him. It hasn’t in the past. He could have simply shrunk down a bit and slipped out, or dematerialized.

    I strongly dislike the new 52 origin, as do many of his fans. To now re-authentic it? Ugh.

  7. Huge Phantom Stranger fan. I tolerated the New 52 version much preferring the origin Alan Moore wrote in a Secret Origins issue. Was grateful to even have a series even like the short series with Pandora and the Question.While sometimes the Stranger lets things play out for the villain he has NVER put his own needs ahead of others. Still chafing over the Batman Who Laughs 'supposedly' breaking him. This appearance should be written off as an impostor or Tanarack making troubles for him down the road building mistrust.