22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Simone's run gains speed.,
This review is from: Wonder Woman: Ends of the Earth (Hardcover)
The resurrection of Wonder Woman from the dire depths of 2006 and 2007 continues in this, the second collection of Gail Simone's run on the title. While it is still flawed in terms of the status quo that the title has been saddled with, the two stories here (issues 20-25) are both fine Wonder Woman stories that mostly avoid the things to do with the status quo that are so irritating. Simone is joined for this arc by new regular artist Aaron Lopresti (#20-23) and returning fill-in artist Bernard Chang (#24-25).
Mimicking the structure of the first six-issue trade ("The Circle"), this trade consists of one four-issue primary story which lends its title to the collection as a whole, and a two-issue fill-in story by Chang. While "The Circle" was the clear highlight of the trade of the same name, I would say in this case that the final two-parter outshines the preceding four-parter.
The primary story, "Ends of the Earth", dips into DC's collection of 1970s sword-and-sandal adventurer comics and sends Diana on a mythic quest. She is recruited rather forcibly by the Stalker (an extremely obscure character, though created by DC's current president, Paul Levitz, so that probably scored Simone points with the higher-ups) to help him in his quest to finally defeat the devil of his world. Raiding across dimensions for the four blades destined to slay him, they recruit Beowulf (DC's version) and Claw the Unconquered (a ripoff of "Conan the Barbarian"), giving Diana license to wear a range of cool story-specific outfits (my favourite being the first, Norse-inspired one), all the while her soul is slowly blackened by the Stalker's magic in order to make her sufficiently ruthless, and someone on the team is a traitor. For those like me who know little to nothing about these characters you won't receive the nostalgic charge I'm sure some did, but it's still well-done, with fun details such as the transdimensional oracle who always seems to be missing her legs. The internal drama of Diana's struggle for her compassion often strays into the tell-not-show territory, but it has a powerful finale. The villain of the piece feels somewhat perfunctory (again, a lot of telling).
There's a subplot about Nemesis investigating "Diana Prince" and having an enounter with Diana's sister Donna Troy, which is mainly notable for featuring a really well-written Donna, rare enough. Nemesis is tolerable, but still the weak point of the book.
With that story wrapped up, Diana goes to Hollywood (well, for there's some extended interaction between Tom and Hippolyta, of all people, which grates on my nerves more than anything else in the story; I'd much rather have a scene with her and Diana) to deal with a "Wonder Woman" movie that they're planning to make. This is obviously a greater fiction than the talking apes, as Hollywood will never make a Wonder Woman movie, between the WB's inability to make anything other than Batman and Superman (barely, in the latter's case) and the dislike of female leads. Anyway, Simone brings in the Queen of Fables to face Diana one-on-one, which has been long overdue. Simone indulges in some very entertaining parody of what movie hacks would probably make of Wondy's mythos (and have, in the past, with some story elements right out of Bruce Timm's awful take on her mythos in JLU). It ends rather abruptly, but it's a gem nonetheless.
Overall, I would rank "Ends of the Earth" as a 4/5 and the Hollywood arc as a 5/5, which, combined and rounded, works out to a 5.