Wonder Woman/Conan

Wonder Woman/Conan
Wonder Woman Conan review
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: DC - 978-1-4012-8021-5
  • Release date: 2018
  • UPC: 9781401280215
  • Contains adult content?: no
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: yes
  • Positive minority portrayal?: no
  • CATEGORIES: Sword and Sorcery

So how can Conan the Barbarian team with Wonder Woman and have it seem credible? Well, Conan lived in times gone by, and while we tend to think of Diana as a present day superhero, the Amazons have been around a long time. Gail Simone uses that as her starting point, and fills in some back story about the first woman Conan ever loved, an innocent love when he Yanna were still children.

He believes they’ve met again as adults, but the fearsome warrior woman has no memory of her past, and becomes strangely subdued when chained by a man. They battle each other in an arena before being shipped out as slaves on a fishing boat.

There’s a considerable emotional pull to Simone’s plot, and the continuing story of Conan and Yanna meeting every year during their tribes’ annual conclave proves a charming counterpoint to the action that follows. However, Simone doesn’t take the obvious path of battle after battle, although that may disappoint some readers, and instead presents a story of two people gradually coming to know each other. They talk of the past, of gods and of survival, and it’s all interesting. So are the threats, which aren’t all of the type either would usually face, which adds a spice.

Aaron Lopresti has had a spell drawing Wonder Woman’s title during Simone’s acclaimed run, and uses the same smooth style avoiding exploitation. His Wonder Woman is lithe and powerful, and his Conan based on John Buscema’s classically muscled version. They aren’t the only perfect physical specimens seen, what with several gladiatorial scenes and the alluring Corvidae as villains. Lopresti’s storytelling is first rate, he fills in the environments convincingly and the action scenes glisten. All in all, then, very appealing art.

As the story of Conan’s history with Yanna plays out, the mysterious woman who comes to realise her name is Diana earns his respect, but Simone builds tension toward a finale that shocks and surprises. This is despite knowing that in all cross-company team-ups the protagonists must remain healthy and unchanged. The heavy emotional theme therefore pays off in what’s a really good crossover however unpromising the cynics might have thought it would be when it was announced.