Wonder Woman #199 Review

Reviewer: Chris Delloiacono
Story Title: Down to Earth: Part Four

Written by: Greg Rucka
Penciled by: Drew Johnson
Inked by: Ray Snyder
Colored by: Richard and Tanya Horie
Lettered by: Todd Klein
Editor: Ivan Cohen
Publisher: DC Comics

As the Amazonian’s turn

Greg Rucka’s run on Wonder Woman, which began with issue #195, has been extremely deficient on action thus far. So deficient that the “Next Issue Box” in this month’s issue states, “The answer to the question: when’s she going to hit something?” As deficient as the action has been the storytelling and characterization has been far from deficient, in fact they have been beyond sufficient! Thus far, Rucka’s Wonder Woman has been engrossing. He’s only just begun, and it appears that he’s carefully laid the building blocks for the 200th anniversary issue next month, and beyond.

Rucka’s run has really felt like a soap opera, albeit a well written one. Since his work has sparked renewed interest in the title, he has taken the time to reintroduce all of the important players in the world of Wonder Woman. Focusing on the reasoning for most of the characters actions, which will eventually lead to a big payoff. With such a large cast, I think this early downtime will be really important, especially for new readers, thus increasing enjoyment of Rucka’s run as it progresses. It’s been a little slow, but far from boring.

Psycho. Dr. Psycho.

Rucka has worked to array a series of groups and obstacles against Wonder Woman. This month, Rucka continues to develop the machinations of Ares, who has been running about sans his trademark helmet and armor, looking very much like the scheming villain on a soap. We get a showdown between Wonder Woman and Ares that sheds some light on his goals as well as his new focus. Ares has been content to lurk in the background thus far, but he’s got something planned.

Many of Wonder Woman’s current problems stem from a book she recently released, entitled “Reflections.” While the book is supposed to inspire people, many have taken it as a manifesto of sorts. This is a very true to life occurrence for a character that is often hard to lend believability to. While Wonder Woman had the very best intentions for this release, she, like many celebrities, missed out on just how badly her words could be distorted. The idea that WW must battle villains as well as her own image has been one of Rucka’s nicest touches.

The most pressing concern is the one that leaves us on a cliffhanger this month. The Themysciran Embassy is bombarded with protestors. In the confusion Dr. Psycho has been set free to cause more havoc in the life of WW. Rucka has been slowly building this confrontation, and as his name might suggest, Psycho is one of the baddest, baddies in WW’s gallery of rogues, so this will be some fight.

Drew Johnson had to follow in the footsteps of some amazing artists on Wonder Woman. Phil Jimenez recently completed his run, and George Perez’s work is never too far removed from reader’s minds. Yet, Drew Johnson has done a fine job of creating a somewhat original look to the characters and situations. His style slightly distorts, yet I feel he lends Diana an air of beauty and grace that she utterly demands. His work is definitely topnotch in my book.

WW reaches 200, for the second time!

Well, next month is it. Wonder Woman reaches its 200th issue for the second time. The first was more than thirty years ago, in 1972 to be exact. Denny O’Neil wrote the anniversary tale with art by Dick Giordano. With next month featuring the confrontation with Dr. Psycho, it’s a nice corollary that Wonder Woman faced off against another villainous “doctor,” in her first foray with 200, Dr. Cyber.

It’s been a tremendous build for the last few months, and in just a few short weeks the big payoff will be upon us. Once issue #200 hits the stands it will be pretty clear the direction that Rucka is taking us, and I think we’ll all finally have a firm handle on just how good this book will be.