Waiting For The Trade – Wonder Woman: Ends of the Earth

Writer: Gail Simone
Artists: Aaron Lopresti, Matt Ryan, Bernard Chang
Colourist: Brad Anderson, Kanila Tripp
Letterer: Travis Lanham, Steve Wands
Collects: Wonder Woman 20-25

I realise I don’t review much DC stuff on here. It’s not that I have anything against them I just seem to be getting way more non-DC books at the moment. This book is the 4th in the current series and collects two story arcs, the first featuring a dimension spanning Diana battling a version of the devil and then a somewhat surreal exploration of the Hollywood movie machine.

This is the hardest sort of review to write, it’s far easier when you love or hate a book than the various shades of grey inbetween. On paper (well it would be, it’s a comic) the WW title has everything about it that I should love. The writing is snappy, it has a powerful female lead, it’s not hugely steeped in DC continuity and I really dig Lopresti’s artwork. But you know there’s a but coming. But…I continually find it impenetrable, or maybe if not that then insubstantial.

I buy and read the trades, I like them but each one doesn’t seem to build on the previous. Each time I pick up a trade it’s like the previous ones have left no lasting impression on me. Now I’ve not helped myself by trying to wait for the trade (not the HC) on some of the WW arcs as it means that I’m now reading Book 4 when I’ve already read Book 5. Mea culpa on that one, although I’d like to throw some culpa at DC for their trade policy. And then just to confuse matters when I went to buy the TPB Amazon had the HC cheaper than it so I ended up buying that…anyway I digress.

The cast of characters isn’t vast and the lack of continuity-driven storytelling should make this a good gateway into WW. Where I think I’m lacking is the relationships between the characters, somehow they just don’t sink in. I can’t fault Gail Simone’s writing, I’m a fan of hers in general, as it’s all there on the page. Maybe it’s the context, I’m not sure I like WW operating with a duel identity, to me it feels inappropriate for her.

As mentioned above I like Lopresti’s art and in particular the physique he uses for Diana, I cannot stand when she’s portrayed as a willowy waif of a woman. Lopresti’s broad-shouldered but feminine version manages to strike exactly the right balance for me. In these two story arcs he (and Bernard Chang) also get to showcase different interpretations of the classic WW look which is the sort of thing I always enjoy being a complete sucker for alternate universe and the like.

I make this vow though, with Simone leaving WW soon I will be doing marathon back-to-back reading of all the trades and will see if this finally cracks open whatever keeps me from loving this.

Reviewer: Dave Williams

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