Steve Orlando has written some of the biggest heroes in the DC Universe, and now he prepares to continue that record with more adventures of Wonder Woman. But before we renew the earth-shattering events, we pull back with a tale that spans the past and future, and asks, can one person really make a difference? Wonder Woman #51 from DC Comics is in stores now.
Writer: Steve Orlando
Illustrated: Laura Braga
Colorist: Romulo Fajardo, Jr.
Letterer: Saida Temofonte
Cover Art: Stanley “Artgerm” Lau
Variant Cover: Jenny Frison
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously in Wonder Woman: Wonder Woman has been through a lot recently, the battles with the Dark Gods, upon which everything was at stake, ending only with the loss of her brother Jason as part of the appeasement of those gods. However, Wonder Woman is not defined only by the earthshaking battles where she uses her physical powers to conquer her foes, sometimes she does more good with an open heart and an outstretched hand.
A CAPTIVE AUDIENCE
The story begins in Wonder Woman #28, when Diana faced the speedster/assassin known as Mayfly. That battle ended with the villain being defeated, as many do, but in this particular case, we get to see more of the story. We move forward to the present day and Moon Robinson, aka Mayfly, is incarcerated at the Slabside Prison in Antarctica. She gets a surprise visit from the woman responsible for putting her there and it is clear she is not over her defeat. She tells Wonder Woman of her childhood, intent on making it clear that they have nothing in common, but she only succeeds in giving Diana a base to build future visits on. On the second visit, Diana enters Moon’s cell and is struck by a mirror. On the third, she takes a chair to the Amazon. The fourth, the fifth, the sixth, all these visits start with Moon Robinson attacking her visitor while Wonder Woman lets her work out her anger with no retribution. By the seventh visit, there is nothing in the room but a pair of chairs and the two women have a sit-down discussion. Diana opens up and admits that killing Moon in battle would have been the easiest choice, the weakest, but that visiting her was the hard way. The two finally settle in and have an honest talk.
And the talks continue. A year from the beginning of the visits, Diana arrives in a formal gown and cape, having come directly from the U.N. because she had told Moon that she would be there. Diana, Princess of the Amazons, has decided that keeping her promise to visit Moon Robinson, speedster villain, was more important than anything else on her agenda. So the visits continue and the talks grow more productive. Not everyone at The Slab is happy about Wonder Woman’s attention to this inmate, and before long, conflict arises that threaten to set back all the good work which had been done.
WITH AN OPEN HEART AND AN OUTSTRETCHED HAND
Steve Orlando (Supergirl, Justice League of America) has written some of the most action-packed stories in the DC Universe. He takes on characters and shows you sides that other writers sometimes miss and this issue of Wonder Woman is no exception. Diana took on her mission to “Man’s World” to make a difference, to show how things don’t have to be. This is often overshadowed by the big, arching stories that play up her warrior side and focus less on her diplomatic abilities. This is an exception. Orlando shows us a Wonder Woman who is focusing on a single person, helping her fellow sister as a sort of metahuman counselor. Gandhi was quoted as saying, “In a gentle way, you can shake the world.” Orlando allows Mayfly to slowly open up to Diana, to realize that there is no personal agenda on her visits and in the process she discovers the deep-rooted issues that led to her imprisonment. The story doesn’t preach to her or the reader, it lets you discover it. This is, in many ways, the core of Wonder Woman.
The artwork of Laura Braga (DC Bombshells, Witchblade) is a treat. She draws a Wonder Woman who is not sexualized and looks as if you could actually exist in the real world. She uses a unique technique with her panel construction, placing heavy black lines around the panels and varying the panels to fit the flow of the words. I have no proof, but it feels that the boundaries which Moon has placed on herself are mirrored in the thick black panel lines. On a more basic level, we are treated to Wonder Woman in a variety of outfits. I counted at least six versions of her costume, and some of them are now my new favorites.
BOTTOM LINE: AN UPLIFTING STORY OF DISCOVERY AND PERSEVERANCE
This story is a nice pallet cleanser before we jump into a new story arc, but it also may have hints at future plans. Orlando’s pages give hints of events which have not happened yet, either outright or through subtle storytelling. It is a much more elegant way to say, “Hey, here is some stories I have on the horizon.” than to simply spew out a few action panels at the end of the book. The issue leaves me wanting to see Mayfly again and I hope that she finds room in the DC and is not simply swept under the rug.