Written by Mariko Tamaki
Art by Steve Pugh
Published by DC Comics
You’re a demigoddess superhero who just got through saving the populace from a mind-controlling selfie app built from a vile enemy’s technology, during which you found out the mastermind was said enemy’s psychotic daughter who was your next-door neighbor.
What do you do next?
Take your talents to South Beach, of course!
Wonder Woman #764 continues the next arc of Diana’s story in Miami, where she’s on assignment with Maxwell Lord to apprehend people still in possession of Liar Liar’s augmented mind-control smartphones.
Mariko Tamaki plays up the odd-couple-on-vacation of it all. Lord’s at his snobbishly snarkiest as an evil man on vacation, while Diana is cheerful and gorgeous.
Maybe she’s a little too cheerful, given how much we know she despises Lord? I mean, she was grabbing him by the throat most of the previous issue’s storyline. Oh well.
It’s always fun when we get a Wonder Woman issue where she’s out of uniform, because Diana is always a fashion plate.
And where else but Miami can Diana wear a belted, toga-inspired dress with sandals and pile her hair to the gawds?
To all those tourists, she’s just another 6-foot-plus glamazon with model looks and a questionably Greek accent. Miami’s resplendent with those.
Thank Hera that we have veteran Steve Pugh to illustrate this adventure.
His art is clean, confident, more life-like with great facial expressions throughout – that quality linework and draftsmanship you often see from the British artists. His Diana is womanly, large, strong and beautiful. She’s a head taller or more than Maxwell Lord, and Pugh’s compositions often show her towering in the panel to keep your focus on her.
He doesn’t skimp on background actors and details, bringing the beach to life. I loved the richness Pugh brought to Scott Lemire’s horror-steeped run on Animal Man back in DC’s New 52 era, for example.
It’s just solid, rich, comic book illustration, right? You know where in space everyone is. Backgrounds are crisp. And nobody looks like anybody else. And when it’s time for the story to go gonzo – and there’s a big, bg gonzo moment where Diana gets her Aquaman on – Pugh drinks deep.
These sound like simple things, but they’re harder to pull off than many would think. Carlo Barberi sure as hell didn’t do that for me the past few issues.
It also helps that Romulo Fajardo Jr.’s colors pop off the page with a palette straight out of CSI: Miami. So much so that Maxwell Lord gives off major David Caruso vibes in his aviators, black polo and crisp chinos. A running gag with Lord only adds to this atmosphere.
Tamaki’s story sets the table for some other developments to come. When the robot teased on the cover shows up, why does its touch burn the skin?
Why is Maxwell Lord calling the hospital psych ward where his daughter, Liar Liar, is being held?
We’ll get there, I’m sure. Until then, enjoy Diana sitting on a wakeboard out on the ocean at sunset, and remember how awesome comic books can be.