Comics Are Trying to Break Your Heart #85 by Drew Barth

I Can Feel It In The Air Tonight

Oh, Lord. You break one guy’s neck and he’s your nemesis for life. But, then again, Maxwell Lord is a great foil: manipulative, mind-controlling, ruthless, blood-thirsty—everything Wonder Woman can stand against at a base character level. When wanting to show the compassion and indomitable will of Diana Prince, Mariko Tamaki selected one of the best villains for that contrast. And coming off the heels of an Eisner win for best writer, Tamaki shows us the nuance and subtlety that makes her one of the best comic writers in the medium right now as she takes over Wonder Woman at its 759thissue.

Although there are only two issues on stands at the moment (the third is being released in stores as this sentence is being read) we get our story foundations: Wonder Woman moves into a new apartment in D.C., meets her new neighbor, goes furniture shopping, and stops a mind-controlled woman from plowing her car into oncoming traffic. Relatively normal for Wonder Woman, but a good baseline for excitement for a first issue. Tamaki has been doing this for a bit and knows how to build up that energy from small moments into something much more bombastic. Everything in these first issues—even if they involve fights with maximum security prisoners and parademons—is just small moments building on top of one another to something greater we’re not privy to just yet. All we know is mind control and Maxwell Lord are involved, but that almost feels too simple for the moment.

As readers, we go into a comic written by Mariko Tamaki with a certain degree of confidence that the story is going to be strong. We also go in knowing that the art by Mikel Janínand colors by Jordie Bellaire are going to complement the writing further. The story has these wonderful moments of contrast between shopping for furniture for a new apartment and dropping into a maximum security prison and the art helps to bring this contrast into a more stark light. We have these full splash pages of bright, colorful heroics before we descend into the blacks and reds of tension. Janín’s art brings tension in his panels while Bellaire colors the world to match. They create a tag-team effort that bolsters the arcs Tamaki is putting Wonder Woman through.

Much like Kelly Sue DeConnick taking over Aquaman last year, Tamaki’s start on Wonder Woman already feels as though it will be one of the defining arcs in this character’s history. Although we only have a small portion of the story, this is how a writer coming into a long-running series should begin—a moment to begin anew with some connections to their past. We have some familiarity with Max Lord returning and Etta Candy providing some counsel, but this already feels like a story that is going to introduce more to the character of Diana Prince that can last well into the next decade.

Get excited. Get wonderful.

Drew Barth (Episode 331) is a writer residing in Winter Park, FL. He received his MFA from the University of Central Florida. Right now, he’s worrying about his cat.