Well, that was a lot of fun. I absolutely loved this week’s conclusion of “Return to Gaia”, and I rank it among my favourite Sensation Comics stories thus far. Top five easy, maybe even top three. This finale is straight up bonkers monster fighting awesomeness. I have no idea how Sensation Comics is selling digitally because DC Comics doesn’t release those numbers, but it’s a real shame that the print version is selling so much less than Wonder Woman and Superman/Wonder Woman. The stories we’re getting in Sensation Comics are orders of magnitude better than Wonder Woman’s current New 52 adventures, and it bums me out that some stories that could go down as all-time Wonder Woman classics might be getting missed by a lot of readers. If you love Wonder Woman, you should read “Return to Gaia” because it totally takes advantage of the inherent potential mythological fun of Wonder Woman and just goes bananas with it. It’s so great.
Derek Fridolfs does a great job capturing the epicness of the Amazons’ battle with Typhon, even with the limited space of a digital book. The book begins with the Amazons mid-battle, fighting giants, cyclopes, a huge crazy leopard thing, and massive crab creatures. It’s an all out war on Themyscira as the father of monsters calls forth all of his grotesque creations. And it’s a battle that’s been going on for four days, because that’s how long Wonder Woman and Poison Ivy have been falling into the underworld to face Typhon head on. I love that detail SO MUCH. Nothing says mythic adventure like a FOUR DAY freefall just to get to the monster you need to fight.
Tom Fowler’s art continues to be excellent, and even better than the first issue because he has so much cool stuff to dig into. His monsters are fantastic, all varied and dangerous looking, and he captures the scope of the Themysciran battle very well. His Typhon is great too, just a massive creature with a beard of snakes and tentacles for legs. He’s just nasty and mean in all the right ways, and the fight with Wonder Woman and Poison Ivy is appropriately brutal.
One detail I really enjoyed was that early in the fight, Typhon smashes Wonder Woman and she bears the brunt of it with her shield, causing the shield to buckle. The shield them remains dented for the rest of the issue. It’s such a minor detail, but I like how such a small thing communicates the fierceness of the fight and the danger they’re in. It’s a constant reminder of how strong their foe is. I find that it’s much more powerful when heroes get dinged up in battle than when they come out of a fight all pristine and unscathed.
Colorist Kelly Fitzpatrick does wonderful work throughout the issue not going overboard with the color while still mixing it up enough that it’s not monochromatic. The fiery fight with Typhon could have just been all red, but instead there’s green fog at the beginning, Poison Ivy’s pink mist, and lots of blues and greys in the background. Even the fire isn’t only red; oranges and purples get mixed in to add some variety. It’s some lovely work all around.
Also, kudos to letterer Saida Temofonte for her choices with Typhon’s dialogue. She goes with a big, chunky but slightly messy font to capture what felt to me like a deep, gravelly, monstrous voice. I also like the choice to color the text green; I don’t know if that was Fitzpatrick or Temofonte, but it works really well with the coloring of the panels as a whole.
All together, this was a big, crazy, fun issue, and a fantastic conclusion to a great story. I love how Wonder Woman and Poison Ivy worked together to defeat Typhon in the end, and how they even ended up on friendly terms despite Poison Ivy’s villainous past. There’s a nice moment of recognizing actions over reputation that I think very much gets to the heart of who Wonder Woman is. This is a great, epic story in general, but also a really good Wonder Woman story that gives her and the Amazons lots of fun action and excitement. Both digital issues are available now, and the print issue will be out on July 15. Do yourself a favour and check it out.