Written by G. Willow Wilson
Illustrated by Cary Nord
Published by DC Comics
Wonder Woman #59 continues the new story arc with creative team G. Willow Wilson and Cary Nord, The Just War – Part II.
Ares has escaped from his Amazonian prison with a newfound mission, compelled to help Wonder Woman seek justice.
Quickly, and it only took one issue, we see that Ares motivations may not exactly align with Diana’s ‘just’ motives or actions. This issue is full of action as well as a follow-up on the supporting mystical creatures led by Eirene bringing the issue to a head.
The traveling brood meets up with a Gryffin that has captured Steve Trevor his latest failed mission last issue.
When Wonder Woman confronts The God of War, she gets an explanation that he has been reborn via “Rebirth” to right the wrongs of his past and defend the weak. When a missile and air attack is drawn, Ares shows his true colors (that didn’t take long) and directs the warhead to a small village where the villagers stood by when neighbors were prosecuted. Diana would have redirected the warhead to a field, injuring no one.
Ares, with helmet off is a rational speaker, a politician able to sway his base, but when his helmet is back on, darkening his visage and protecting his body with Spartan headwear, he’s the tool of war. He’s back to being judge, jury and executioner. He’s cleverly gaslighting Diana into making her question her own choices by holding a dark mirror of justice to her moral truths.
There is no time for Diana to wax philosophy as she quickly decides to take on Ares and protect and save the pilot of an oncoming air strike that Ares axes out of the sky. She’s good at saving pilots it seems.
Ares goes quickly from “hey, maybe he’s a good guy now” to full on warrior villain using “justice” to justify his actions by the end of the book and Wonder Woman is in real danger of not being able to return him to his Amazonian prison by the end of the issue.
I’m really captivated by Wilson’s ability to bring the moral questions of war into the fray but also making a fun, action-oriented comic book issue. The mystical creatures and Greek mythology parts of any Wonder Woman comic are never my favorite, partly because it doesn’t hold my interest, but mostly because I have trouble remembering names and personality traits of these Gods and Monsters, though I can name several b-listers of the Justice League!
If my depth comic knowledge was applied to these original creatures, perhaps I would find even classic Wonder Woman stories to be more compelling. For this issue, I break it down to basics — “Gryffin is holding Steve Trevor captive, surely Wonder Woman will surely save him”.
Another great issue here, and as big two corporate numbering conventions are concerned, I wish they had given Wilson and Nord a ‘New Number 1’. Granted, one assumes Wonder Woman may sell pretty well on name alone, but starting with new numbering maybe would have helped this new run get the attention it deserves. I could be wrong about this, but so far this is great, classic comic book storytelling from the story and art perspective and I can’t recommend this new team enough. Wilson’s voice for Diana has an authenticity that’s great, and Cary Nord is banging out pencils with each page suitable for framing, Mick Gray on inks. Some similarities to Chris Samnee’s work appeal to me here art wise.
If Gal Gadot hasn’t sold you on Wonder Woman, or if she has, this run is for you!