Usually a fiftieth issue is cause for celebration. Lasting fifty issues in the comic book business, even digitally, is a rare achievement these days in a jam packed market full of constant relaunches and reboots. But while this is a impressive milestone for Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman, it’s also the series’ penultimate issue. Next week, we’ll be saying goodbye to Sensation Comics for good. That tamps down the celebratory mood somewhat.
Nonetheless, this is a very good issue. The book is going out with a bang as Trina Robbins and Chris Gugliotti continue to tell a weird and enjoyable story with mad scientists and talking animals. The last issue ended with Wonder Woman teaming up with the Cheetah, an unusual pairing brought on by the Cheetah being near death because of a lack of urzkatarga berries, the source of her powers. Wonder Woman and the Cheetah crash landed on an island where a scientist was experimenting on animals with the berries, and in this week’s issue the duo met the scientist behind the island’s bizarre creatures.
Robbins continues to throw twists into the narrative by again discarding the assumed villain. When the Cheetah showed up last week, it looked like she was the villain before the circumstances quickly changed. With this issue, it looked like the scientist would be the arc’s big bad. He’s experimenting on animals with the funding of Lex Luthor; he’s severely misguided at best, and a full on villain at worst. Plus he’s got a talking attack dog and captured Wonder Woman and the Cheetah. But he’s not the arc’s big bad either. Luthor wasn’t pleased with his lack of scientific process, and the doctor doesn’t survive the issue. The fun of it is, now Luthor looks like the big bad, but we’ve been down this road before. With one issue left, we can’t really assume anything about how the story will end because the rug has been pulled out from under us twice already.
I enjoy that Robbins is totally doing her own thing, and that the usual conventions of superhero comics are sort of out the window here. There’s not a lot of time dedicated to superhero brawls, in this issue or last week’s. Today’s issue does end in an action packed way, but it’s fairly brief. Instead of pages and pages of fighting, we get story that lets us get to know the characters. It also makes for a longer read; you’re absolutely getting your money’s worth with this arc, because there’s a lot going on. It’s not a book you breeze through in just a minute.
You’re also getting your money’s worth from the art in the book, which continues to be unique and expressive. Plus Gugliotti’s animals are super cute; the ferret computer expert is particularly fun. But it’s not just all adorable animals. Gugliotti does a nice job with the action as well, adding a lot of drama and suspense to the issue’s conclusion. On top of all of that, his colouring remains absolutely gorgeous. I’d recommend the book on the colouring alone, because Gugliotti is doing some great stuff with texture and light that I’m finding very visually compelling.
Overall, this story continues to be a good read. If Sensation Comics has to end, I’m glad it’s ending with this creative team telling this weird, fun story. “Island of Lost Souls” really captures what Sensation Comics was all about, enjoyable Wonder Woman stories that don’t fit in today’s dark world of mainline Wonder Woman comics. I’m excited for next week’s conclusion, in a very melancholy way.