It’s Wonder Woman vs. vampires! Eventually, anyway. There’s a lot of set up here, and very little of it involves Wonder Woman doing fun Wonder Woman things. After a while, the 1970s Wonder Woman cast faces off against Joker and the vampire of Red Rain, and things get moderately interesting as the book jumps into the “Convergence” battle phase, where the various domed cities are pitted against each other in all out war. The issue is fine, but lacking the nostalgic fun that seems to be the core element of so many of the other “Convergence” titles. We’ll dig into it all, but first:
I am about to reveal pretty much everything that happens in this issue!
Who bites who, who shoots who!
Look away if you haven’t read this issue yet!
I think part of why I didn’t love this issue was because I’m not personally nostalgic for any of the universes involved in this particular storyline. I’m a Wonder Woman enthusiast, for sure, but the 1970s comics era of the character is pretty low on my list of favourite Wonder Woman incarnations. They tried a bunch of different angles then, none of which really worked, and it’s just a mishmash of things for me. It’s hard to be nostalgic for a mishmash, unless you grew up in that mishmash I suppose. I read it all over a couple days a few years ago, rather than looking forward to it month by month. As for Red Rain, I don’t really give a hoot about it one way or another; I don’t think I’ve ever read it, to be honest.
That’s not to say the book isn’t good just because it doesn’t match my particular nostalgia zones. Rather, my enjoyment of the book lacks the extra boost that nostalgia can bring. When a story is set in an era you’re a fan of and that you feel connected to, reading it comes with an inherent enthusiasm that can overlook average storytelling. Lacking any nostalgia at all for this book, I read it as it was and found it fine if a little bland.
I enjoyed Larry Hama’s take on Diana, especially her skepticism of the cult that believed angels were coming to rescue everyone from the dome. I was less impressed with Etta Candy; I think Etta’s smarter than to get wrapped in such nonsense like she did here. But I liked Hama’s Steve Trevor, and that’s rare for me. I usually just roll my eyes at Steve Trevor, so it was fun to have him treat Diana well and have some decently heroic inclinations here. It was a pleasant change of pace.
The problem with the angel cult storyline is that it takes up a lot of the issue, and I can’t imagine how it’s going to factor into the second issue seeing as most of the cult leaders have been turned into vampires now. There are a lot of pages of Diana and Etta at the cult, discussing it’s veracity and ultimately fighting with the cult leaders, and it seems like a big time investment for something that ultimately won’t matter. I suppose there’s a chance it will matter and my assumptions are way off the mark; we’ll find out next month. But as much as I’m not nostalgic for this era, I’d rather be enjoying some retro Wonder Woman action than getting involved in a random cult subplot. We’ve only got two issues here, so real estate is precious.
I will say that the lengthy cult storyline does have a fantastic payoff, one that’s almost worth the space it takes. The cult leaders are expecting angels to show up and save them, so when winged creatures arrive after the dome falls, they’re overjoyed until they see that they’re vampires, not angels. That’s a great, clever beat.
Once the vampires arrive, it’s about exactly what you’d expect. There’s some fighting, some taunts, and the various characters end the issue in precarious situations. Again, fine but normal, old school superheroing with nothing really new or interesting going on. It’s not bad in the slightest. It’s just straight down the middle, average and expected storytelling.
The art is decent, but somewhat underwhelming. I was really excited for Joshua Middleton, so my expectations were a little high. He does great covers, and I’ve enjoyed his art a lot in the past. His art here is as straight down the middle as the writing. It’s nice, and tells the story well. There are no bad panels or poor storytelling choices. It’s all okay, but just okay. There aren’t any cool or stunning panels, or layouts that make you go “Wow”. The colouring is pretty dull as well. Perhaps if Middleton had put a little more pop into the colours, the art would’ve had more impact.
All together, I wasn’t blown away with this issue by any means, but I didn’t hate it either. And I’ll admit, I’m a little bit curious to see what happens next month as Wonder Woman’s battle against the vampires begins in earnest. I doubt that it’s going to have a huge impact on “Convergence” in general, though I also doubt that “Convergence” is going to have a huge impact on DC’s comic book universe once the event is over. But Wonder Woman vs. vampire Joker might be fun. Middleton won’t be back next month, but Hama’s got some chops and the good moments in this issue have me intrigued to see how he finishes it off.