Review by Frank Plowright
Meredith and David Finch’s run on Wonder Woman begins here and occupies three volumes, lasting to the second reboot in five years, or for those to whom it’s meaningful, from DC’s ‘New 52’ period until their 2016 ‘Rebirth’. It follows the acclaimed run by Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang, which ended with Bones and left Wonder Woman as the god of war and Amazonian queen. Azzarello largely ignored Wonder Woman’s goings on beyond the series he wrote, but Meredith Finch brings in the wider DC continuity of the time, acknowledging her relationship with Superman.
The way these Amazonians are written differs from earlier versions who acknowledged an absolute rule. Here Diana is beset by snarky comments and Amazons pointing out her mistakes, which is a big change, as is returning Donna Troy, Wonder Girl the best known of her numerous identities, but recast as a villain stirring up further trouble among the Amazons. Neither are necessarily bad ideas, but for them to work they needed greater subtlety than is apparent in War-Torn. Instead Donna just arrives from nowhere and the disgruntled Amazons happily accept her as a replacement queen. Really? Better treatment is applied to the idea of Diana coming to terms with now being the representation of war, interesting given her moral rejection of it.
David Finch’s art is a known and desirable quality, which makes it strange that he strikes a midway point toward cartooning to begin with, before settling into his recognisable style. The battle scenes are thrillingly designed, and he’s never stuck for an impact image, so this looks a lot better than it actually is. There’s also some nice art from Goran Sudžuka on a short story at the end explaining why Derinoe alone among the Amazons looks like an old woman. It stands alone, and as such better than much of the remainder, but smacks of a retroactive continuity fix.
Throughout his career David Finch has too frequently been the best aspect of poor superhero stories, and the run continues with War-Torn. While the happenings among the Amazons are far from convincing, at least the conniving holds the interest, which isn’t the case for the plot chosen to counterpoint that. It’s ineffectively played out, the emotional tension weak, and it occupies the pages featuring the Justice League just to fizzle out. And so does the main plot, when the Amazons suddenly realise they’ve been wrong, sisterhood is all and perhaps going on a killing rampage wasn’t a great idea. It’s feeble rationalisation, and it’s to be hoped that A Twist of Fate is a considerable improvement.