Wonder Woman begins her journey across the blasted remains of Earth to Themyscira, the last of humanity in tow. Yet, what awaits her in paradise will shake the princess to her core. Your Major Spoilers review of Wonder Woman: Dead Earth #2 awaits!
Writer: Daniel Warren Johnson
Artist: Daniel Warren Johnson
Colorist: Mike Spicer
Letterer: Rus Wooten
Editor: Andy Khouri
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $6.99
Release Date: February 19th, 2020
Previously in Wonder Woman: Dead Earth: Having awoken from a centuries long slumber to find that the Earth has been decimated, Diana comes across the last refuge for humanity. After overthrowing the tyrant that ran that city and assuming leadership, she promises to lead them all to Themyscira in order for them to start anew.
To The Motherland
Woman Woman: Dead Earth #2 starts up with a flashback to when Diana was on Themyscira, training with Nubia. During this flashback her mother reveals to Nubia that she had given Diana her strength by pouring blood from all the gods into the clay that formed her. Back in the present, the citizens and Wonder Woman are gearing up to set off to Themyscira. Before they leave Diana visits the leader she has recently deposed and offers him clemency in exchange for his assistance in helping move such a large group of people across the land. He reluctantly agrees and informs her of vehicles he has stashed away. Elsewhere, Diana’s new friend Tal has built a boat to assist in crossing the sea. The last of humanity then heads out into the wastelands. It doesn’t take long for them to encounter a monster far larger than they had ever seen before. After sustaining heavy casualties Diana is able to kill it, by stealing a page from the end of Jaws. The following day the group arrives at the shore and Diana, Tal, and Dee set off towards Themyscira. Once there, Diana notices something is wrong and heads inland on her own. She meets with Nubia who directs her to the catacombs. There she meets her mother, but who has been horrifically mutated. There it’s revealed what happened to the amazons, and this shouldn’t be spoiled. After the revelation Diana is physically drained, when Dee and Tal arrive to save her. They fight off Nubia and Hippolyta, with one of them not making it. Suddenly Cheetah arrives flying Pegasus and rescues them from Themyscira. Back on the mainland Wonder Woman says she can no longer lead the humans and abandons them.
While issue number 1 did a good job of establishing the tone and feel of this world, Wonder Woman: Dead Earth #2 takes it a step further and comes out swinging with the emotions. From the slight twist on Diana’s origin, to the way she defeats the big monster, to the big reveal three quarters of the way into this issue, this whole book feels designed to make the reader feel sympathetic, triumphant, enraged, sad, and emotionally confused by the end. What sets this apart from a lot of other comics that have that same feeling of being emotionally manipulative, is that Daniel Warren Johnson pulls it off. Even though it’s clear by the end how certain story beats were put in place to specifically evoke an emotion, the way they’re unveiled is organic and aren’t cheap. What really sells it, is the way that Diana’s optimism and lack of shame of her emotions isn’t tiptoed around. Wonder Woman is presented here with a depth that she isn’t always afforded in the more mainline series’. Here we see her in one issue go from infinitely hopeful, inspiring, conflicted, nostalgic, and vulnerable. Above all else, this series and especially issue 2, has done a really good job in not relying on single aspects of Diana’s character to drive the story and instead allowing her to have a wide range of characteristics that emerge as the story unfolds.
Reminiscent of Barry Smith Art
The art here in Wonder Woman: Dead Earth #2 is all around solid. There are a few things that deserve special mention though. I struggled during the first issue to put my finger on what about the art reminded me of something else. Here though, I immediately was reminded of Barry Smith’s work on the old Conan books, especially during the conversation between Thyden and Diana in the prison. Speaking of Diana, I applaud the decision to make her look like a flawless white woman from Northern Europe. Here we see not only more Mediterrenean influences on her features, but also a certain haggardness to her. This is a Wonder Woman who has no time to avoid letting her hair gnarl or lips chap.
BOTTOM LINE: Absolutely Worth The Price Of Admission
DC’s Black Label sometimes comes across as a hard sell. With a price point that’s nearly twice as much as a normal comic book, it’s sometimes difficult to recommend some of these series’. But in this case, Wonder Woman: Dead Earth #2 more than justifies its price by being emotionally complex as well as being exciting and having an enjoyable take on the Wonder Woman mythos as a whole. 4.5 out of 5
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Wonder Woman: Dead Earth #2
Wonder Woman: Dead Earth #2 is a must-read for any Wonder Woman fan, as well as fans of sword and sorcery books, as well as fans of emotionally engaging tales.