I’m not entirely sure how I feel about today’s digital first issue of Sensation Comics. It’s a decent story that’s well told, but I have mixed feelings about its take on Wonder Woman. The issue digs into some interesting territory, exploring what happens after Wonder Woman’s had a particularly bad day. I just don’t know if I’m on board with the conclusion.
The story is fairly straight forward, in a good way. Matthew K. Manning does solid job of not overstuffing this one-shot story and allowing some necessary room for quiet as Wonder Woman deals with a rough case. Dr. Destiny had kidnapped and linked tons of people, many of which appeared to be children and teens, into some sort of apparatus that fed him their dreams like a drug. When Wonder Woman finds the scene, the prisoners look like dead eyed zombies, grimacing and emaciated. It’s a horrible sight that hits Wonder Woman hard. Batman can tell she’s upset about it, so he suggests a vacation in a mountain retreat. There she finds Solomon Grundy, who has been terrorizing the local town. She tries to deal with him politely, but has to throw some punches when he refuses to leave. It turns out that excising her frustrations through a supervillain brawl was exactly what Wonder Woman needed to move past her Dr. Destiny encounter, and that Batman had sent her there specifically so she could do so.
Manning does a nice job telling the story. It’s not verbose at all, but there’s a lot going on in the silence. You can tell that Wonder Woman is very much in her own head and sort of suffering for it. I found the set up a little odd; Batman is there at the beginning of the story, but waits for Wonder Woman and lets her handle Dr. Destiny. I’m not sure why he just didn’t do it himself, but perhaps we were meant to assume this was a case she was investigating, thus the impact of finding all of those missing people like that hit her even harder.
The art is good too. Jeanty, Story, and Vines convey Wonder Woman’s shock and pain well, and also capture her fury upon finding Dr. Destiny in an interesting way. She only gets to hit him once, because after that he’s out and Wonder Woman’s not the sort to beat an unconscious man, but there’s a coiled rage to her that suggests that just one punch was not enough for her.
This, of course, leads to the cathartic Solomon Grundy fight at the end, which is where my mixed feelings begin. I understand the story the creative team was telling, and I think it all comes together fine as a story. I just don’t know if Diana is the type to need to beat the hell out of something to feel better. She’s clearly beating up Grundy because she couldn’t beat up Dr. Destiny, and beating up Grundy is fine because a) the dude’s a beast and can take it, and b) he was busting up a local town and needed to be brought in. But to me, Wonder Woman isn’t the sort of person who carries a rage inside her like that. While the issue is striking in its silences, I feel like Wonder Woman would recognize that she was upset and go talk to someone about it, Etta or her mother or whoever, and then channel that negative energy into something more positive. “I’m angry and so I need to hit something” strikes me as a little bit primitive for her. She’s a warrior, yes, but she’s much more than that. I just think she’d have a variety of better releases instead of more violence.
That’s just my opinion on the character, of course, and doesn’t change the fact that this is a well told story and a good read. The story will be out in print on July 15 in Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman #12, along with the awesome Wonder Woman/Poison Ivy team up from a few weeks ago. That’s going to be a great issue all around, so definitely pick that up if for some odd reason you’re reading detailed reviews of a digital comic you haven’t read yet.