This review contains minor spoilers.
After the big finale of Greg Rucka’s run on Wonder Woman with last issue’s double-length #25, the series is now changing hands to writer Shea Fontana. Quite uniquely compared to the other series of the DC Rebirth relaunch, Rucka’s Wonder Woman was really one year-long story, which leaves Fontana open to start on a completely fresh page. While that’s a good thing on one hand, as it ensures this issue feels like a clean restart, it does mean that it has a lot to live up to.
Wonder Woman #26 follows Diana lending a hand at a U.N. refugee camp in Greece alongside Steve Trevor. Even for someone who’s seen so much as the Amazon princess, it proves a taxing experience. She’s grateful, then, to have a night off attending the wedding of Etta Candy’s brother. But it seems our heroine can’t even avoid trouble there when she discovers an unwanted wedding gift. But what does this have to do with the sickly Dr. Crawford?
For anyone who’s been looking for a fresh start on which to jump into the comics, maybe after seeing the recent movie, this issues does a good job of acting as a stepping-on point. In fact, there are a few similarities between the movie and this particular outing. Both touch on Diana’s love of humanity but also how much the terror we inflict on each other pains her. There are also some flashbacks to Diana’s childhood on Themyscira. Just like in the movie, Queen Hippolyta has a dilemma over treating her daughter as a child or an Amazon warrior, destined for greatness.
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The exploration of Diana’s character, as it should be for a comic titled Wonder Woman, is probably the strongest element of the issue. In particular, it deals with the fact that Diana comes to terms with life’s hardships by telling herself that she’s strong, she’s a warrior and she’s an Amazon. Though it isn’t explored here, it’s hinted that this is causing Diana to bury her emotional issues. For instance, she refuses to talk through the horrors she’s seen at the camp.
On the other hand, the issue is fairly slowly paced. Though it opens with an awesome hero moment for the character – Diana jumps into save a Muslim woman from being harassed – it doesn’t exactly zip by from there. Several pages each are taken up by Diana’s medical check-up, a run-in with a Jimmy Olsen-type techie kid and befriending a small girl at the wedding. While this last one in particular is very sweet, and the other two encounters will likely be important later on, it does feel like these scenes could have been edited down.
Moving on to the artwork. Mirka Andolfo does a great job on the whole. Her rendition of Wonder Woman, in particular, is suitably divine. I did find the character’s facial expressions to be sometimes lacking in detail, however, which leaves them looking slightly cartoonish. One panel, for instance, should depict Diana feel remorseful but ends up with her sporting a full-on pout. Shout-out to Romulo Faljardo Jr., though, for his bright color palette.
All in all, Wonder Woman #26 is a promising new start to the comic. There are a few wrinkles to be ironed out, but I’m still interested to see where Fontana is headed. If nothing else, a Wonder Woman comic headed by both a female writer and artist is something that deserves to be celebrated.
Shea Fontana's new run on Wonder Woman starts off with a promising, if flawed, issue - though it's great to have two female creators behind it.