Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman #31 Review: “Return to Gaia” by Derek Fridolfs and Tom Fowler


While it was fun to dive into Wonder Woman ’77 over the past few weeks, it’s nice to have Sensation Comics back again. With Wonder Woman ’77, you know you’re going to get an enjoyable Lynda Carter adventure, but every new storyline in Sensation Comics is a little bit of a mystery, and I like that. It’s sort of like the excitement of a new #1 issue, but on a regular basis, and that element of exploring something new is a good time.

It’s especially fun when you get a great story out of it, and such is the case with this week’s Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman #31. It says a lot about this story that the description promises monsters and we don’t even get to see any of them but it’s still a good read. The issue is the first of a two-parter, so it’s a lot of build-up, but it’s build-up with fun characters in a story that’s set up for what should be an epic ending next week.

The book begins with some disturbances on Themyscira, and Wonder Woman and Hippolyta flying off to find the cause. Hippolyta is riding a pegasus, so the book starts off all sorts of rad. They find a group of Amazon soldiers wrapped up in roots, with an unexpected foe behind it all: Poison Ivy. There’s the usual superhero/supervillain posturing for a bit before Wonder Woman and Poison Ivy realize that they’re on the same team and that Gaia, the earth mother, is warning them that her son Typhon, the father of all monsters, is about to escape from the depths of the Earth. The book turns into a team-up, with Wonder Woman and Poison Ivy armouring up to face Typhon in next week’s conclusion.

Derek Fridolfs writing is strong, and his familiarity with the digital format really shows. He packs a lot into this issue without overcrowding the issue, and moves the story along well. I love having Poison Ivy on Paradise Island. She’s one of those villains that could conceivably pop up anywhere there are plants, really, and digging into her connection to Gaia via her plant powers was a very cool angle to take. Fridolfs writes a noble, heroic Wonder Woman and a menacing but ultimately amenable Poison Ivy; she’s tough, but there to fight for the Earth, not against the Amazons.

Tom Fowler’s art is fantastic, from the composition and page layouts to costume choices and expression. I’m not terribly familiar with his work, but his style reminds me a little bit of Paul Pope with maybe some George O’Connor mixed in, while still being very much his own thing. I think my favourite part of the art was the armour he gives Wonder Woman and Poison Ivy. Here’s a look at their headgear:


Poison Ivy gets decked out in an almost Groot-like battle suit made of tree materials. It looks strong and tough, like good armour should be, but I love how Fowler uses the tree forms to make the armour look cool, particularly with the hornlike branches on the helmet. It’s a killer design, plus she’s got big leafy wings too! It’s pretty bad ass all around. Wonder Woman’s armour is simpler, but elegant. It’s clearly a take on her Kingdom Come armour, aka. the chicken armour, but it’s more streamlined and minimal. It evokes it’s eagle inspiration without being a straight up eagle head. I think it’s gorgeous, and I’d love to see it more in other comics. The folks making the Wonder Woman would be wise to look at a lot of Fowler’s design choices here, really. He creates a great Themyscira, and all of the outfits look very sharp.

All together, I enjoyed this book a lot, and next week is going to be armoured Wonder Woman and Poison Ivy fighting Typhon, and I am totally on board for that. It should be a spectacular battle, and I can’t wait to see what Fowler does with the father of monsters. This story will be in the July 15 print edition of the book, Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman #12, so be sure to pick that up!

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