Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Forgettable Phase: Wonder Woman: Second Genesis Underwhelms.

The Good: Sense of character conflict, Plot progression.
The Bad: Virtually plotless, Artwork, Light on character resolution.
The Basics: John Byrne, who took Wonder Woman in some interesting new directions, starts out rocky with Wonder Woman: Second Genesis.

When it comes to graphic novels, there are very few days lately where I get to just sit and read a bunch of books. In fact, the last time I got to read a stack of books was when I want to see Star Trek Into Darkness (reviewed here!) in IMAX 3-D. The last of the books I have to review from that day was Wonder Woman: Second Genesis. The truth of it is that I took notes on the book after I read it (actually, while I read it) and now, a month after reading it, I only have my notes to go on.

Yes, Wonder Woman: Second Genesis is that unmemorable. In fact, given how little impression and impact Wonder Woman: Second Genesis made upon me, I only have my own word from when I finished and rated it in my notes to believe that it is actually a 4/10. It is a decidedly below average book. I find that interesting because this was the start of John Byrne’s run on Wonder Woman and while he takes the book in some interesting political directions, Wonder Woman: Second Genesis is not one of his better works.

Following the death of Artemis, Diana finds herself in Gateway City. There, she meets up with Mike Schorr. Schorr is investigating the exact same thing as Diana, which is how the local thugs in Gateway City have managed to get their hands on some seriously heavy artillery. With the villains attacking the police, Diana comes to the rescue. In searching for the source of the weapons that are flooding the streets, Diana suddenly finds herself on Apokolips. There, on Darkseid’s world, she is tortured by Desaad.

Darkseid brings Diana back to Themyscira to witness his attack on Paradise Island. Darkseid and his forces lay waste to Themyscira. Diana marshals the Amazons and works to defend Themyscira. Darkseid kills 1200 Amazons and uses the attack to draw out the Greek gods who have watched over Themyscira. With Wonder Woman’s help, Darkseid’s plan is thwarted. In the epilogue, Helena and Cassie Sandsmark put down a giant statue that helps foreshadow the relationship between Cassie and Diana.

What works in Wonder Woman: Second Genesis are the moments when it focuses on character. Diana is at an interesting place in her story. She has lost everything and she is no longer royalty. Separated from her sisters and her sense of entitlement, she finds herself adrift emotionally without a compass. She has a strong internal conflict, which makes for a more compelling sense of character than the traditional super hero who simply kicks the ass of whatever conflict comes up.

Unfortunately, that’s about all that is compelling in Wonder Woman: Second Genesis. The flow of the story is broken up by Metron, one of the New Gods, giving the reader a lesson on the history of New Genesis and the New Gods. The relationship between New Genesis and Apokolips is explained and while I had none of this information before this book, it completely killed the flow of the story being told in Wonder Woman: Second Genesis.

Mike Schorr is an uncompelling sidekick who is dragged along throughout Wonder Woman: Second Genesis. The artwork in Wonder Woman: Second Genesis is not as refined as many other Wonder Woman books.

Short, low on resolving a compelling story, and created with mediocre artwork, Wonder Woman: Second Genesis is a graphic novel that can easily be passed by.

For other Wonder Woman volumes in this incarnation of the Amazon Princess, please check out my reviews of:
Gods And Mortals by George Perez
Wonder Woman: Challenge Of The Gods by George Perez
Beauty And The Beasts By George Perez
Destiny Calling By George Perez
The Contest By William Messner-Loebs
The Challenge Of Artemis By William Messner-Loebs
Wonder Woman: Lifelines By John Byrne
Paradise Lost By Phil Jimenez
Paradise Found By Phil Jimenez
Down To Earth By Greg Rucka
Eyes Of The Gorgon By Greg Rucka
Land Of The Dead By Greg Rucka
Mission's End By Greg Rucka
The Hiketeia


For other graphic novel reviews, please check out my Graphic Novel Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2013 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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