“The Blood of the Stag”
Plot: Diana armors up to take the fight back to Genocide, who is miserably (because she cannot feel glee) wiping the floor with the Justice League.
Comments: There’s a lot of occupied verbal territory on the cover of this issue. We’re in the third part of the “Rise of the Olympian” story arc. This is a “Faces of Evil” spotlight issue, featuring the “Cheetah.” It’s little wonder that the Wonder Woman logo has faded into dull gray under this onslaught of usurpers.
Inside, though gravely injured, Diana renews her battle with Genocide. Lopresti is doing an excellent job on this series, obviously very at home with what Gail Simone asks of him and enjoying the heck out all that Greco-Roman Amazonian finery. His Diana is beautiful and powerful, as are Troia and Wonder Girl, who show up to form a cavalry, alongside the Gorilla City apes Diana has been tutoring and Tom Tresser/Nemesis.
The best part of the issue, in fact, may be the Nemesis/Diana scenes. This secret agent/master of disguise/stealth warrior has been bestowed an honorary Amazon, and he gets the role of questioning the reckless plans of the injured heroine. For which she grants him a very romantic kiss, and even better, some personal insights including the admission that Diana is quite unused to anybody worrying over her health and survival potential like this. With that little comment, you realize how lonely her journey to Man’s World has been.
This is where we’ve gotten in Wonder Woman’s world, from a man she pretends to cater to (the Steve Trevor days), to a man who demands more from her than she can give (the Trevor Barnes days), to a man who insists in fighting alongside her. I was recently lamenting Wonder Woman’s lack of compelling villains or supporting cast members online. Out of all of these Simone is addressing the hardest one of those thorny issues, the love life of an Amazon, head on. Tom may be a great match for Diana, who seems to be evolving beyond her usual realm of compassionate perfection under Simone’s stewardship. Simone is certainly unafraid to tackle contradictions directly, as when she later allows Diana to refer to her execution of Maxwell Lord in a positive way.
Genocide, on the other hand, is more of a mixed bag. I’ve forgotten the details of how she was made. Commissioned, I think, by the very clever even though feral Dr. Minerva? Who has also switched Sarge Steel’s personality for Doc Psycho’s? Quite an evil face indeed, and the travesty that Genocide has become (a sort of malign Frankenstein who hates all life) is truly scary (even if her costume is not). It’s unusual to see Diana face a foe she can’t beat (it’s all been very Buffy v. Glory so far), but like Buffy, Diana keeps at it, learning more about her foe from every new defeat.
And in the background, even weirder, Zeus and the Manazons loom. Yep, love, action and subplots too! While not yet consistently compelling, the title is the best it’s been since the Greg Rucka days. Simone’s Diana grows more interesting with each issue.
What did you think of this book?
Have your say at the Line of Fire Forum!