On Tuesday, Bleeding Cool reported that David Finch would be drawing Wonder Woman after Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang leave later this year. I was not pleased, and still have my fingers crossed that this rumour doesn’t pan out. Now, Bleeding Cool is reporting that the book will be written by David Finch’s wife, Meredith Finch. I’m not overly enthused about this either.
Meredith Finch has one writing credit, a story about the Cowardly Lion in Zenescope’s recent Tales From Oz #2. This is a cover for the book, by the way:
Zenescope’s “Grimm Fairy Tales” line takes fairy tales and makes them all sexy and dark. Characters who are young girls in the classic tales are aged up, so as the stories can include bare midriffs, cleavage, and barely covered rear ends. It’s all pretty gross. You don’t want to see Dorothy in this Tales From Oz series, I promise you. Stick to Marvel’s Wizard of Oz adaptations.
To be fair to Meredith Finch, I tracked down her issue and her story wasn’t overly exploitive, relative to Zenescope’s usual fare. It was about a lion tribe mostly, and the sexy witch wasn’t in it a lot. Nonetheless, a writer whose only previous work is at a sexual exploitation-heavy publisher like Zenescope, where apparently she’s got some more stories lined up, doesn’t seem like the best fit for Wonder Woman.
On top of that incongruity, Finch’s story wasn’t particularly good. It wasn’t awful, but I would call it subpar. It was confusing to read, repetitive, and very surface level. Characters spoke in declarative statements that exactly described their state of mind in a constant flow of exposition that was all tell and little show. The story lacked any nuance or subtlety, though a lack of nuance and subtlety is Zenescope’s modus operandi, so I suppose that Finch hit the nail on the head in terms of house style.
In short, it wasn’t a well-written story. Nor should it be; it was her FIRST comic book. It is literally the first piece of graphic storytelling she’s ever had published. It’s silly to expect a homerun out of the gate, but it’s just as silly to give a new writer a major series like Wonder Woman and hope for a homerun. There was nothing in Tales From Oz #2 that suggested that Finch is a new, visionary writer with the right stuff for a legendary character. It was, at best, an average first attempt at comic book writing.
Whatever your feelings on the current run of Wonder Woman, it is being produced by established industry professionals and is the closest thing to an auteur book that DC is currently publishing. Azzarello and Chiang have a clear, unique vision for the book, and both creators are considered among the best in their field. Azzarello in particular has won or been nominated for pretty much every comic book award as a writer. The guy wrote 100 Bullets. He’s a legend.
Wonder Woman deserves creators of a similar pedigree after Azzarello and Chiang leave, and Meredith Finch just isn’t there yet. I know that there’s an argument to be made for fresh voices and new perspectives from people who aren’t mired in the superhero industry grind. I understand that. But I think that there’s a bigger argument to be made for craft and experience. Finch might turn out to be a fantastic writer down the road, and I sincerely hope she keeps at it; as regular readers will know, I am all about having more female creators in mainstream superhero comics. But she’s not ready for Wonder Woman yet. NOBODY who has only had one comic book published is ready for a high-profile superhero gig like that.
So yet again I am fervently hoping that Bleeding Cool is wrong. The odds aren’t in my favour: Bleeding Cool had the scoop on next September’s New 52 event way back in October. They’re good at rumours. But this rumoured creative team seem likes a terrible fit to me, one for their inexperience and one for their mismatched, T&A heavy art. It’s no way to follow two master craftsmen like Azzarello and Chiang.
If this is the direction that DC goes, the message they’re sending is that all they care about is putting a high-profile name like David Finch on a book to boost sales and good storytelling be damned. Wonder Woman is a character that means something to a lot of people, and after the J. Michael Straczysnki fiasco, raping and murdering Amazons, and the ridiculous Superman romance, this creative team would prove definitively that DC just doesn’t care about Wonder Woman as a character at all. Be better than that, DC.