Wonder Woman Vol 5 #5

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Release: October 2016
Writer: Greg Rucka
Pencils & Inks: Liam Sharp

This is an issue that works on three fronts. The first, the one I’ll cover in brief, involves Etta Candy visiting a colleague named Sasha, who when I looked it up is a Checkmate (basically superhero interpol, I guess?) agent named Sasha Bordeaux. She’s a Rucka creation, but in comics I haven’t read, and she seems to be working for a secret and potentially nefarious other person who listens in on her and Etta talking about Steve’s troubles in Bwunda and how Wonder Woman seems drawn by fate to run across him again and again when needed. Not much comes of this, but I’ll add Sasha in case she becomes a recurring character with more impact.

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The second plot concerns Steve Trevor talking to Cadulo, who is prepping Trevor for some sort of sacrifice to Urzkartaga. Cadulo talks about Urzkartaga as a masculine god, a god of conquest and domination, of greed and wealth and power. It is the epitome of patriarchal power structures, and Steve (to his credit) chides Cadulo for his shitty ideas of men and women. This plot isn’t exactly subtle, but it’s nice to see token man Steve Trevor talking about toxic masculinity in a comic.

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The third plot concerns Diana and Barbara Ann, as Diana explains the feeling that she’s being fucked with by some power above her and Barbara Ann talks about her struggles to maintain herself in the face of her transformation. The two women bond in mutual commiseration, and as they fall into the sort of earnest confessional shot-taking that only comes from being wrung out with someone you know very well, you get a sense of the potential friendship lost between these two. I’ve read ahead a little bit, so this glimpse of Barbara Ann as a human is a presage of next issue when we first meet her in the Year One story.

The two women also make their way into the Urzkartagan citadel, where they beat up a bunch of beast men and save the rest of Steve’s ARGUS strike team. There’s a great image of all of them lighting up when they see who’s come to save them, with each of them calling Diana by name (and one quipping ‘Di!’ as if anyone should call Diana that). It’s not a moment too soon, also, as we see Steve strapped to a table, whatever ceremony he is to be subjected to about to begin.

There’s also this incredible splash page of Diana standing triumphant, which I include because there’s something very old fashioned about the art here. It evokes, to me, the golden age Wonder Woman which seemed so focused on Wonder Woman as an athletic figure. Here she looks like many of those original images, hair pushed back from her face and muscles bulging. I’m definitely more partial to the Nicola Scott art in the Year One story, but this splash really makes a great case for Liam’s rougher, darker style.

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