First off, things got busy last week and I didn’t have a chance to write a review of Sensation Comics #41, the finale to “Our Little Dance” by Adam Beechen and José Luis Garcia-López. It was fine. If you read the first issue, the second issue concluded about how you would expect. Wonder Woman had a big fight with the Cheetah, things got crazy for a bit, and ultimately Wonder Woman won. The tone at the end was perhaps a bit more cynical than you’d expect in a Wonder Woman comic, but the fight played to Garcia-López’s strengths and ultimately it was all a decent enough story.
Now we’re back on track, review-wise, with a new three-parter by Karen Travis, Andres Guinaldo, and Raúl Fernández. Three-parters are always tricky because if you don’t love it, you’re stuck with it for three weeks either way. With a bad one-shot, you’ll get something new next week. Not so with the lengthier tales. Unfortunately for me and my next two Thursdays, the first issue of “Nine Days” didn’t do much for me.
This issue had a lot of set-up, as one would expect from a part one, but it was lengthy and involved and barely showcased Wonder Woman at all. This version of Wonder Woman has a day job as the Themysciran ambassador at the United Nations, and she’s been asked to help settle a conflict between two bickering neighbour countries because Themyscira is a neutral party. Both countries have different things going on, and it’s even more complicated by an oddly dual Strife/Eris secretly getting involved in the process for yet to be disclosed reasons. This isn’t the whacky, cruel, yet delightful Strife from Azzarello and Chiang’s recent Wonder Woman run, but instead a completely different take on the character. I don’t know that it was wise to go this route with the fantastic job Azzarello and Chiang did with their Strife still fresh in everyone’s mind.
The structure of the book was a little offputting as well. Narration from the goddess Nyx runs through the entire story, often creating a bothersome back and forth where you read a panel’s narration, then the dialogue, then it’s a new panel and you’re now wrapped up in the dialogue and you go back to the narration and have to remember what she was talking about, and then back to the dialogue and you’ve got the same problem again. I find dual storytelling like that irksome unless very well handled, and this all came off a bit muddled.
The art was fine, with hints of something better that never really went anywhere. There were big, cosmic scenes with lovely bits to them, but they didn’t add up to anything particularly wowing. Also, how an artist draws Wonder Woman is usually a big factor in how I judge their work, seeing as she’s the star of the book, and while we got a fair amount of Diana, Wonder Woman didn’t have a lot to do here. I did like what little I saw, and I’m hoping that we’ll get to see Wonder Woman in action next week.
The art wasn’t at all helped by the colouring, which alternated between flat and sort of garish. The everyday scenes were dully coloured, while anything more colourful often involved unpleasant contrasts and a colour palette that just didn’t work. Excellent colour work can often elevate average art, but bad colouring can really bring down a book, and there was too much of that here.
Ultimately, nothing was really terrible in this issue, but nothing was particularly good. There are two more issues to come in this storyline, and while I hope that things pick up I’m also somewhat concerned that it’ll all play out rather expectedly. I feel like the first issue telegraphs how the rest of the plot will unfold; things will go bad for Wonder Woman in the second issue and probably end in a dramatic cliffhanger, and then she’ll fix everything up in the finale. Fingers crossed for twists and turns and some fun surprises, though. Two issues is a lot of space to turn things around after a ho-hum start.