The Story (aka from the Publisher)
Please welcome the new superstar creative team of writer Meredith Finch and artist David Finch! As this new epic begins, the fate of the Amazons is about to be revealed, major new characters will be introduced and a new villain will arrive with enough power to defeat the combined might of Wonder Woman and her Justice League teammates! Don’t miss the start of this story that guest stars Swamp Thing! It will define what it takes for Diana to fulfill her destiny as Wonder Woman!
In this volume, Wonder Woman is torn by an internal war. She is the Queen of her people, she is a founding member of the Justice League, and now she is the God of War. These three identities seem to be pulling her in different directions.
Unfortunately, the reader is too. The story line by Meredith Finch is good, but not great. The characters repeat themselves in the dialogue often, which is distracting. As if the themes of the story were not obvious, the dialogue goes the extra mile to point them out. For example, it is clear that Diana feels like she is torn between the choices she has to make. Clark says to her, “You’ve had to make too many tough choices lately . . . .” Derinoe, the old witch who wants to dethrone Diana, tells her, “It is time for you to make a choice.” And in a coffee shop in London, Diana tells her friend, “I may not have known what it meant to be the God of War when I took the mantle, but I’ll live with my choices. . and their consequences.”
We get it – Diana has choices to make.
Make Your Choice
The theme of choices and consequences, while overstated in this graphic novel, is a good reminder for any of us. We have choices to make, and whatever we decide, we must face the consequences. Often, we feel as Wonder Woman does in this story, torn by the choices we have to make.
The choices we make can have long-lasting impacts – on ourselves and on those around us. Which is why the choices we are faced with can fill us with such stress. So much so, we feel like we are being torn apart right down the middle. And while the consequences of our choices may be positive or negative, we have to make the best of them.
And sometimes, we have to forgive ourselves for the choices we’ve made as much as we forgive others for theirs.
While flying back from an encounter with Swamp Thing (which is clearly only in the plot so Finch’s husband David could draw some amazing scenes), Aquaman inquires from Wonder Woman why she is so angry. Diana seems to be angered for even being asked why she is angry. Other the senseless deaths of hundreds, Wonder Woman voices all the directions that she is being pulled in. She is worried about letting people down, to which Aquaman tells her, “Just make sure the person you let down isn’t you.”
It presents a Wonder Woman that is doubting her strength. Too often Diana is presented as a woman who reacts before thinking. Again, causing her to appear weaker than she truly is. And it doesn’t seem possible that being pulled in three different directions is the source of this anger or lack of strength. Perhaps, it is just writing that is torn.
A Tale of Two Queens
Derinoe longs for Diana to be replaced as the Queen of the Amazons, and so she creates a Queen that is not born: Donna Troy (making her first appearance in the 52 universe). Where Donna Troy wants to (and does) kill the men on the island, Diana has tried to create a community between the sisters and the brothers. Donna is the Queen who seeks revenge and prompts violence, while Diana seeks unity and prompts peace.
Donna is the embodiment of Derinoe’s own fear and hatred.
This sense of Wonder Woman as a peacemaker is seen when she has a heart-to-heart with the main baddy of the plot line. The leader of the alien race who has been slaughtering hundreds of humans. By learning what is at the heart of the issue for the alien race, Wonder Woman offers a solution that would put an end to the killings.
The Power of Water
The story begins with Diana pondering the power of water. “It is the evidence of our sorrow,” she says, “Or the source of our joy. It is the answer to a prayer. Or our worst nightmare.”
And, “Water. It makes us feel that our worries and our sorrows can be simply washed away if only for a moment.”
Whether it is the waters that flooded the earth in the time of Noah, recreating Creation. Or the waters of our baptism, an outward symbol of an inward grace that signals a new life, water is the source of newness.
While standing on a cliff overlooking the water, Diana is missing her mother, who died earlier in this story. There is something about being near the water that perhaps is calming for the grieving soul. It is here at this place that Hippolyta appears to Wonder Woman. However, it is not a physical body, but simply a presence. It reminds Diana that her mother is always with her.
Just as Christ told his disciples that he would always be with them (see Matthew 28:20), Diana realizing that her mother is still with her is empowering. This encounter with her mother seems to be just what Diana needs. She regains her strength and proceeds to bring an end to the dissension among the Amazons.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for a digital review copy.