Written by Mariko Tamaki
Art by Mikel Janin
Published by DC Comics
“I can’t imagine having a job where you have to save people all the time.”
“I try to help people. That is what I do.”
“Always needing to be the person who saves the day? Man, I hope nothing terrible happens tomorrow so you can, like, take a break?”
That conversation, between next-door neighbor Emma and Diana, cuts to the heart of Wonder Woman #760, the second issue of Mariko Tamaki and Mikel Janin’s run on the title.
What does it mean to be a hero, after all?
To do heroic deeds, yes. But what do we equate with heroism?
Often that heroism is taking on great risk – a danger, an attacker, etc. – on the behalf of others, especially those who cannot do so for themselves.
And what, then, to say about superheroes, who go above and beyond?
mki Is it someone who simply answers the call to do what they can with what they have? Or is it a selfish compulsion, going back to Emma’s line about “always needing [emphasis mine] to be the person who saves the day”?
In the same issue, Wonder Woman even for a selfie with a girl to an applauding crowd of on-lookers, after a rescue operation that involved stopping a wrecking ball that is drawn with great action by Janin. Is Diana doing this for the “likes”? Is that public approbation as dangerous as the flight of parademons that appear later?
As Tamaki and Janin dig further into questions about heroes and villains, Wonder Woman #760 adds a few more shovels. We don’t know who all’s hands are on those shovels yet, but by issue’s end, a new cliffhanger emerges with even more questions about heroic trust and drive.
The issue begins with Wonder Woman and Max Lord continuing their first meeting in this story amid a prison riot that Lord mass-killingly stops. He’s as slick as ever, speaking with cool confidence even when he has Diana’s lasso around his neck. Not that the hostility between the two is any less, underscored by colorist Jordie Bellaire’s use of red palette.
Meanwhile, we find out that more incidents of people daydreaming into danger have sprung up. No evidence points to Lord, Etta Candy says, but Diana remains skeptical.
We do see next-door neighbor Emma again, which is good because Diana as a character feels well suited to hanging with regular mortals for storytelling. Unfortunately, I get one of my big pet peeves in all fiction: Emma helps herself into Diana’s apartment.
I get real annoyed when a character shows up someplace, and another character – a friend, yes, but not someone who would have keys to said place – is just in there. (This doesn’t apply if Batman or an assassin is unexpectedly found in someone’s home. They’re not supposed to be in there, so drama is built into the situation!)
Of course, this detail, and some others shared by Emma in that scene, already make my ears prick up. At some point in this multi-issue storyline, we’ll get to The Betrayal/Reveal. You know it; that moment in the story when a character established as a friendly turns out to be part of the hero’s downfall as the second act shifts into the third.
Emma already feels like a prime candidate. But we’ll see!