It’s finally here, you guys. We made it to the end. This is the Finches’ last issue of Wonder Woman, and Greg Rucka, Liam Sharp, and Nicola Scott are waiting in the wings to relaunch the title. Arguably the worst run in the history of Wonder Woman is now over, and we can move on, embrace the new creative team, and never ever speak of this era again. Not just the Finches, but any of it, really. Wonder Woman’s romance with Superman, her becoming the god of war, the rapist and murderous Amazons, the death of Hippolyta; all signs point to these horrible story choices going out in the window in favour of a new run much more in keeping with a traditional, heroic, inspiring Wonder Woman.
For those of you who, like me, stuck it out through all 52 issues of this series, what were we thinking? Why did we do this to ourselves? It’s been awful. The first few years of Wonder Woman were decent overall, largely because Cliff Chiang is like unto a god, but there were some ROUGH moments. Plus Wonder Woman was not well written anywhere else in the DC universe (RIP Superman/Wonder Woman, mercifully ending today as well, thank goodness). And then Meredith and David Finch took over Wonder Woman and turned the series into one of the worst comics on the stand for the past year and a half. Why did we keep reading it? I know I write about Wonder Woman professionally so I probably needed to keep abreast of current events, but I could’ve just waited, got trades from the library, and just not supported a book that I loathed reading each month. Valuable lesson learned, I suppose. If you don’t like a book, don’t read it even if it’s your very favourite character. That’s how I’m going to roll from now on. I predict a far happier life for myself moving forward.
However, since I’ve made it through this hellacious marathon all the way to the very last issue, I suppose I should say a few words about it. But first:
I am about to reveal everything that happened in this grand finale!
None of it is particularly good and/or interesting!
But still, if you don’t want it spoiled for you, look away!
So, this issue was a mess. It leaves everyone in an unpleasant spot, and undoes some of the good things about this era. First, shocking twist, Hera is the actual big bad. She’s been the one trying to kill Zeke, wanting to off him before he grows up to become Zeus again so that she can remain the Queen of Olympus and keep all of her new power. Hera’s evolution was one of the best things about the Azzarello/Chiang era; her friendship with Zola helped her grow as a person and learn compassion, and she went from the book’s villain to a key ally for Wonder Woman. It was all really beautifully done, an impressively orchestrated turn around that took three years of solid writing and art. And now that’s totally undone and Hera’s the bad guy again, so that’s irksome.
This made Hecate only a semi-villain, and her motivations were cringeworthy. She hooked up with Zeus way back and he’s the only one who saw the beauty beneath her frightening exterior, blah blah blah, so she tried to kidnap Zeke and return him to his original form so that they could be together again. It was all very clichéd and lame, and rather juvenile, “He’s the only one who understands me!” is a pretty weak motivation for a powerful witch and goddess who’s been around for millennia. Give the gal some depth, please.
The very best part of the early years of the new Wonder Woman was Zola, the gal who got caught up in the chaos of the gods after Zeus seduced her and essentially impregnated her with himself. She was hilarious and fun and tough, and always called everyone on their foolishness. Zola was a great character to have in the midst of all of these powerful beings. During the Finches’ tenure, she’s barely been featured, and as the book ends she’s still alive (last issue’s ending was a fake out) but ultimately devastated by the loss of her baby after Zeus returns, a move that snuffs out the light of what had been the series’ brightest character for some time.
As for Wonder Woman, well, she got duped again. This has been the hallmark of the New 52 era; Wonder Woman will fall for anyone’s lies and go along with any dumb plan that plays on her heart strings, and then have to deal with the fallout when she is inevitably betrayed. She’s been a wholly reactive, passive character for five years now, bounced around by the whims and machinations of others instead of driving the action herself. And this finale is no different. Hecate betrayed her a couple issues back, and Hera betrays her in this one, leaving her to protect Zeke all by herself as a temple comes crashing down around her. Plus, in the end she doesn’t save Zeke; Zeke turns into Zeus and saves her, because the power of her love or whatever causes him to return to his original form and save her from the rubble.
The issue ends with Wonder Woman weeping over the loss of Zeke, who she calls “the closest I may come to a child of my own.” First, why? If she wants to have kids, she can have kids. Right now she’s focusing on her superhero career, but if she decides that she wants to be a mother at some point there’s no reason that she can’t do so. Second, ugh. Another dang cliché. To slot Wonder Woman into this maternal role when she’s basically just been a Cool Aunt feels so forced. I get her loving the kid, but this whole baby she’ll never have angle is both dumb and hacky.
And so it ends. Zeus is back on the throne of Olympus, order is restored, and please dear god let us move on from all of this with the greatest of haste. I’m hoping that the upcoming “Rebirth” special explains how and why everything is about to take a sharp left turn, and when Wonder Woman relaunches a couple of weeks later we can just jump right in with some cool new stories. The sooner we forget this era, the better. All I want to remember from the past five years is the pretty Cliff Chiang art, how rad Hermes looked, and maybe keep Zola around because she’s delightful. Pitch the rest of it and move on, please.