While the first print issue of Sensation Comics hits comic shops today, including the Amanda Deibert/Cat Staggs story that won’t be out digitally until next week, today we’re going to keep with the digital schedule and look at the finale to “Gothamazon” by Gail Simone and Ethan van Sciver. It’s available online today via Comixology for the low price of just 99₵.
The second half of the story further cemented my opinions from the first half: what I liked got even better, and what I didn’t like bothered me more. Let’s start with the positives, specifically the fact that this is a great story. Wonder Woman in Gotham City is an inherently fantastic idea, and Simone finds ways to add extra awesomeness to the story. Structurally, since it’s part two, the slow build of the first installment is in the past and Wonder Woman gets to dominate the story after sitting out the first half last week. More Wonder Woman is always a plus.
Even better is what Wonder Woman does in the story. First, after Catwoman and Harley Quinn show up to snarkily observe her attempts at saving the city, she enlists them in her fight against the villains, inspiring them by naming them honorary Amazons. Any other hero would have fought or ignored this duo, but Wonder Woman makes use of them and brings them to her side. It’s a spot on character moment for Wonder Woman, and a very cool use of Catwoman and Harley Quinn.
Simone also gives us a peek inside Wonder Woman’s head as she contemplates what to do with the Gotham villains. She could easily destroy them, ending their incessant reign of terror once and for all, dispatching them like she would any mythological monster who crossed her path. Instead, she realizes that such thoughts are just a reaction to the evil of the villains, who are challenging her and tempting her to change who she is. She decides to remain herself, and to handle the villains without killing them. The story reveals that some of the bad guys even reformed afterward due to Wonder Woman’s positive influence.
In taking such a turn, Simone highlights how Wonder Woman differs from Batman. Both face the darkness and are tempted to end it for good, but they resist and respond in different ways. Batman’s power is fear, which allows him to keep his enemies in check, while Wonder Woman’s power is mercy and compassion, which allows her to stop and even help her foes.
Overall, Simone has crafted a solid Wonder Woman story, and again has demonstrated how well she understands the character. Placing Wonder Woman in Batman’s world let Simone put Wonder Woman in a new light and focus on the heart of who she really is in contrast to both the heroes and the villains of the city. It was smart move by Simone, and one I enjoyed thoroughly.
The art, on the other hand, left a lot to be desired. A lot of it felt rushed, like van Sciver was on a very tight deadline. Little things were wonky; there were panels where Wonder Woman’s eyes weren’t quite level and the star in her tiara was off center. Some panels were more detailed and professional and resembled van Sciver’s usual work, while others looked rushed and haphazard with slapdash backgrounds and a lot of silhouettes. A couple pages were even drawn by someone else, which might also suggest a deadline crunch.
For the first issue of an exciting new series, I’d expect the art to be more polished. I realize that a digital first series may not have the prestige or audience of a top tier book, but it still deserves care and good work. This is doubly true for the much anticipated and overdue launch of a new Sensation Comics. I’m a little bit disappointed in van Sciver and the editorial team for the fairly weak artistic effort. It wasn’t bad enough to bring down Simone’s great story, but great artwork could have elevated it even further and made this a really fantastic first issue that will be a standout in Wonder Woman’s history. Instead, it’s a wonderful story with middling art.
All together, things could have been better on the art side, but the second issue of Sensation Comics was an excellent end to the “Gothamazon” story and a fun launch for the book. I’m excited to see the many new creators lined up in the weeks to come, and hopefully the book will continue on from its strong launch and find an enthusiastic and entertained audience.