Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Wonder Woman #785 Review


Rules are Made to be Broken

Written by: Becky Cloonan, Michael Conrad
Art by: Rosi Kämpe 
Colors by: Tamra Bonvillain
Letters by: Pat Brosseau
Cover art by: Travis Moore, Tamra Bonvillain
Cover price: $3.99
Release date: March 15, 2022
 
Wonder Woman #785 takes a break from the action to fill in as Trial of the Amazons part 3. Tensions flair as Diana aggressively pushes to discover Hippolyta's killer. Meanwhile, the tribes assemble to reveal their chosen champions for the competition to be crowned the Amazonian champion.

 Was It Good?

Taking a break from the action is a mild understatement. Wonder Woman #785 has minimal action to speak of as it takes its cues from the previous two entries in the Trial of the Amazons event by having most of the key players stand around and talk and meet and talk and meet and talk. There's so much meeting and talking you get the distinct impression this long-overdue Wonder Woman event has made barely ten pages worth of plot progress after three issues.
The plot progress that IS made in this issue is somewhat exciting and baffling. Each tribe announces a respective champion, and the selections make sense to varying degrees. Two selections are spot on and fit the goals of their tribes on a personal and collective level. The two selections that don't make sense (for different reasons) need a spoiler warning.




[SPOILER WARNING]




Nubia chooses Philippus to represent Themyscira and Bana-Mighdall chooses Donna Troy. You could argue for or against those selections, but it makes sense in the context of how they're chosen in the issue.

Where things get dicey is in the selection of two more champions. "Wait, what? There are only three tribes. How can there be a fourth champion?" you might be tempted to think. I'll get to that in a second.
The Esquecidas choose Yara Flor. It's an odd choice because up to now, nearly a year after Yara's character introduction, we've seen Yara have almost no interaction with the Esquecidas. How she came to be integral to the tribe, respected by her peers, and ultimately chosen to represent them is wholly absent. So Deus ex machina'd away with a choosing ceremony involving the Esquecidas present drinking an elixir, letting the visions do the choosing. It's too convenient and lazy, but having Yara lead them is inevitable, so you'll likely expect it.

Now the fourth champion is... Diana. How? It's not clear. Diana shows up at the last moment to throw her hat into the ring. However, it doesn't make sense because the champion is supposed to represent a specific tribe and is chosen by a quorum of 20 peers (see Trial of the Amazons #1). For Diana to show up and say "I'm fighting, too" breaks the rules of the competition before it's begun and sets up a possible contrivance that Diana will win to give editorial an excuse to remove her from man's world. Will it work? Maybe, but it would be a bummer to think the best DC could do to displace Diana is to have her sit in front of a door for the next several centuries.




In between the talking and meeting and arguing, Diana takes the bold step of insisting everyone on the island submit to her Lasso of Truth to sus out the killer. But, of course, nobody agrees to the fastest and easiest route to putting the murder mystery to bed. You get the impression the collaborators of this event are trying to draw the murder mystery out, but it's unclear why when a) it's not particularly interesting, b) it's distracting away from the Trial, and c) the execution of the investigation is plodding and forced in an event that's already plodding and forced.

Further still, Doom's Doorway is showing signs of breaking. Enough darkness seeps through to result in the death of two out of the three guards, but nobody on the island seems particularly concerned or urgently focused on figuring out why the door is fracturing now. So again, another plodding and forced development.




I'm picking on the plot points, but there's something that strikes you almost immediately - the stiff, stilted narration and dialog. The words don't flow, they don't sound natural, and a few times, I had to re-read a caption to understand what was being said. To be blunt, the language is amateurish and unacceptable in an event book for one of DC's Holy Trinity.

Regarding the art, it's serviceable but not great. Close-up panels look good enough, but the broader panels with establishing shots look a bit sloppy.

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Bits and Pieces

Wonder Woman #785 aka Trial of the Amazons, part #3 is consistent with the previous entries in the event in that most of the characters stand around in meetings and talk. However, the few plot points that progress is forced, and the overall issue is a drag. The art is decent if you focus on the close-up work and accept the wide shots lack detail.

6/10

 

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