Wonder Woman #37 Review: Thunderbolts of Jove, This Book is Bad

ww37

For Christmas this year, Santa Claus left me some Funko Pops in my stocking, both of them from the Wonder Woman movie. One was Antiope in mid-leap, holding a bow and about to fire three arrows in a recreation of an iconic scene from the film. The other was Etta Candy, holding Wonder Woman’s shield and sword. They’re both awesome and adorable, and they also encapsulate what was so great about the movie. Wonder Woman was the star, of course, but the film was packed full of amazing female characters. Between the Amazons on Themyscira and Etta in England, Diana had female allies everywhere. Sisterhood was a core theme of the movie, and it showcased female strength in a variety of forms.

The film was a massive hit, and yet for some reason, DC Comics has decided to ignore everything that made it successful. We’ve got an arc focusing on Wonder Woman’s brother, Wonder Woman herself has been little more than an afterthought in several issues, and there are no female allies to be found. The only other woman in the book is Grail, a villain, and now Wonder Woman’s father has come to the fore with this issue. On top of all of that, the book is terribly written and just painful to read. So yeah, let’s talk about it, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

I am about to reveal everything that happened in this issue!

Look away if you haven’t read it yet!

But also, do yourself a personal favour and maybe don’t read it!

It’s quite awful!

The bulk of this issue centered on Zeus fighting Darkseid, a battle of two titans that could have been interesting but turned out rather humdrum. The men bloviated the entire time, crowing about their own superior power as they traded blows. I don’t buy Wonder Woman to see two dudes duking it out while bragging about how big and strong they are, so I didn’t particularly care for this focus. I also don’t buy Wonder Woman to see a man fighting Diana’s battles for her, as Zeus did here, so that angle wasn’t great either. The battle itself was drawn capably, but there was nothing really interesting or compelling about the depiction of it all. The choreography was pretty straight forward superhero brawling, really. I do still enjoy Zeus’ glowing cape, though; that’s a nice stylistic touch that colorist Romulo Fajardo Jr. makes look super cool. The rest was generally unexciting.

Also, I found it odd that Diana seemed so accepting of having her father back. She’s never met the man, ever, apart from perhaps in animal form during Year One. He’s not been a part of her life in any meaningful way, and owing to Rucka’s revamp we don’t know how she learned that Zeus was her father or what her perspective on her parentage is. Yet here, she’s instantly on board with him, calling him “Father” from the get-go. I understand her trying to save him from Darkseid; she’s Wonder Woman, after all, and would do her best to save anyone from Darkseid. But her instant acceptance of him felt very unearned to me.

I suppose they had to fast forward the relationship, seeing as Darkseid kills Zeus by the end of the issue in an entirely unsurprising twist. Turns out, Darkseid was killing Zeus’ kids partly to get their slices of divine power but partly to get Zeus to show up so that he could take his immense power and regain all of his strength. With Zeus not long for the world, there wasn’t much time to create a relationship with Diana or delve into their complicated past.

The execution highlights a key flaw of the book right now: None of this is really about Diana. The return of Zeus could have brought up a lot of stuff for her, and let her reckon with her past, her power, and her currently estranged relationship with her Amazon family. This development was potentially full of fascinating angles to examine and ways to dig into Wonder Woman’s character. But instead, it had nothing to do with her. Zeus’ return served as a shocking cliffhanger for the last issue, and a means to bring Darkseid back to his full strength in this issue. Diana’s feelings about her father’s return got minimal attention, and now he’s gone.

The issue also left me wondering where this arc is going. Darkseid is repowered back to his former self, and he and Grail escaped at the end of the issue. The solicits suggest that they’ll be back after the Silver Swan arc that’s set to begin in two weeks time, returning to vex the Amazons, but to what end? I’m still hoping that Darkseid will Omega Beam Jason and rid us of his pointless presence, but now that Darkseid’s back to full strength I can’t see him ending up defeated or captured. He’s not a normal villain. He’s a major player in the larger comic book universe. Grail could end up properly defeated, but Darkseid is.

Ultimately, this is another bad issue in a terrible arc that has failed to center Wonder Woman in any meaningful way. It’s also a bizarre sequel to an event no on particularly cared for, tied into outdated continuity, and it just doesn’t make a lick of sense in general. And now we’re letting James Robinson have a crack at the Silver Swan too? Who okayed that plan? Silver Swan is a classic Wonder Woman villain, and she deserves to be in the hands of someone who’s actually demonstrated an understanding of Diana and her world. At least Grail won’t be around for a while? That’s something to look forward to. I’ll take that break.

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4 Responses to “Wonder Woman #37 Review: Thunderbolts of Jove, This Book is Bad”

  1. Karl Says:

    This book requires major overhauling, starting with regression of Diana’s current status back to silver age storytelling. Poor artnd lackluster writing in a year when the movie did so brilliant is a shame

  2. Robert Baytan Says:

    Cubao, Ortigas, Pasig and San Juan are busy, business places here in the Philippines, and they appeared as street signs in the issue.

    The PUJ (public utility jeepney) with the banner “Lodi motors” is a distinctive Filipino mass transport system. Many Filipinos commonly use “lodi” now instead of “idol.”

    The Philippine battle scene is near two malls (one of which houses the comics shop where I buy comics) in Ortigas.

    The statue behind Green Lantern, the Flash, et al., (to the left “beside” Green Lantern) is the Shrine of Mary, Queen of Peace or the EDSA Shrine. It’s the shrine where many Filipinos commemorate People Power annually.

    A billboard to the left of the dialogue “… protect the innocent.” is unmistakably Bench, a brand that began in the 1980s selling t-shirts. Bench now sells a host of products like perfumes. Pietro Boselli (yes, that Greek god who moonlights as a university professor) is currently one of the models of Bench.

    I’m not happy about the story per se (especially in the maltreatment of a classical god in favor of a modern god), but I’m happy to see fellow Filipinos as artists giving life and form to my favorite superhero.

  3. Boston Says:

    As always, I appreciate your review. I finally read the issue yesterday. I’d been avoiding it, knowing it would just piss me off. And it turned out to be the worst in a string of horrible issues. Every time she called him “Father”, I felt like I was goin to vomit. I didn’t count, but it seemed like she said it 20 times in 10 pages. The art is passible for standard superhero fare, but the writing is godawful. I wish it would just stop. And after such an amazing year for Wonder Woman! Such a shame.

  4. J. Roveda Jr. Says:

    Where do we stand now, concerning Diana’s origin? I’m confused.
    Is she the daughter of Zeus or made out of clay?
    The whole New52 mess is still valid?
    Did DC simply trashed Rucka’s run – one of the best runs of WW in history?

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