Thursday, October 27, 2016

Wonder Woman Generica: Wonder Woman: A Twist Of Fate Is A Scattershot Graphic Novel!

The Good: Morality, Moments of conflict
The Bad: Very stale plot, Dull character progression and resolution, Lack of vibrancy to the writing or the character
The Basics: Wonder Woman: A Twist Of Fate puts Diana in the middle of two conflicts as the is buffeted around without actually developing.

Meredith Finch must hate Brian Azzarello. I'm not basing that assertion on anything I know about either person, but I can imagine how it would be to finally get the crack at writing an amazing character like Wonder Woman and be left with the momentum for the character headed in a direction that the editors say I could not abandon and be pissed by having no idea what to do with it. Meredith Finch's writing in Wonder Woman: A Twist Of Fate is the graphic novel equivalent of trying to draw clues in Pictionary when one has only the vaugest idea what the card they've been given is.

As a result, Wonder Woman: A Twist Of Fate tries to juggle Diana's roles as Queen Of The Amazons (epic fail - she barely spends any time on Themyscira in the book), member of the Justice League (doesn't happen in this book!), heroine on her own (a little bit) and God Of War (which she continues to be all talk, no action on in Wonder Woman: A Twist Of Fate). Finch was dealt a pretty shit hand when Brian Azzarello left the book with the brand new momentum of Wonder Woman having so many roles to fill and Wonder Woman: A Twist Of Fate makes it pretty obvious that Finch was not ready to write the character in the directions she was headed when she was given the writing responsibilities for the book. So, Wonder Woman picks up a new costume, hunts Donna Troy, is hunted by possibly the least-inspired tool of a villain yet, and is moved around yet again as part of a conspiracy involving Greek gods that allows for Diana to do exceptionally little to resolve the problems in which she finds herself.

Diana arrives at Mt. Olympus to talk with the imprisoned Donna Troy. After her brief visit, she sees Zola, Zeke, Hera and then gets a new costume from Hephaestus. Returning to Earth, she encounters a young man threatening to blow himself up if he does not get to meet Wonder Woman. Talking her way out of the fight the boy initiates gives him time to escape, arm himself with weapons that might give him a fighting chance, and then attack her later as she comes out of a night club in London. Aegeus is the young man and he has been equipped with arrows that might do harm to Diana and a pegasus. While Diana is trying to learn her assailant's identity, Strife releases Donna Troy from her prison.

To try to find Troy, Diana unsuccessfully enlists the aid of both Hera and Milan. Donna Troy uses her newfound freedom to track down the Fates in London, where she learns they have no ability to help her die. Tracking Donna, Diana runs afoul of Aegeus again and he is able to shoot her with an arrow before fleeing. While Diana is attacked by Aegeus, who wants to take over as God Of War, Donna rescues Violet from a violent man. But when Link kills Donna Troy and Aegeus catches up with Diana and turns Troy to stone, Wonder Woman's world spins out of control. And the god backing Aegeus finally shows up for a showdown with Diana!

Spoiler alert; Diana is not the one who resolves the conflict in Wonder Woman: A Twist Of Fate and when the book's true, entirely hapless, hero emerges it is one of the least satisfying resolutions to a volume I have ever read.

Almost immediately, Wonder Woman: A Twist Of Fate gets off to a bad start. Diana, feeling the time crunch of all her responsibilities, takes a break to fly all the way up to Mt. Olympus to visit the imprisoned Donna Troy. That's fine and it illustrates a moral core of super heroes almost never visited in comic books; Wonder Woman does not simply imprison Troy and throw away the key, she tries to be a part of her potential rehabilitation. Cool. But the "conversation" is two pages (with the bulk of the second page being Diana flying away still talking to Donna Troy!) . . . so it goes nowhere. It takes Diana longer to get to and from Troy's cell than the time she spends actually interacting with the prisoner. As a result, there is a sense that the book is playing lip service to Diana's ethics, as opposed to showing a depth or something truly original for Wonder Woman.

On the plus side, Diana is characterized in Wonder Woman: A Twist Of Fate as her usual moral self. The character does not change, but she is not diminished, either.

The artwork in Wonder Woman: A Twist Of Fate is good. The colors are vibrant, but the best panels are in the final chapter when Wonder Woman reverts to a prior costume and David Linch is given a chance to draw the Cheetah.

Every now and then, I encounter something that I experience, I say my peace, and I can't muster up the enthusiasm to evaluate more. In some ways, it is appropriate that that is where I fell with Wonder Woman: A Twist Of Fate, as reading the book gives the reader the sense that that is where Meredith Finch was as well. The anthology reads like someone who was given an assignment - "Wonder Woman is now God Of War and Donna Troy is being thrown into the New 52 Universe, do what you can" - and she just keeps circling the drain, fleshing out the pages by simply repeating the assignment. Donna Troy has a hefty scene touring London, Wonder Woman does nothing that is actually godlike in the theater of war, and it's a tough sell for the reader that as the new God Of War, Diana goes out dancing. But hell, Wonder Woman survived working at a fast food restaurant, she can survive this era of her history. But like Wonder Woman working fast food, it is hard to imagine anyone reading Wonder Woman: A Twist Of Fate and ever hunting the volume down to read it again.

For other Wonder Woman volumes from The New 52, please check out my reviews of:


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

© 2016 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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