Wonder Woman #770 Featured Reviews 

“Wonder Woman” #770

By | March 11th, 2021
Posted in Reviews | % Comments

Diana returns, Allfather be praised! … Wait, that can’t be right. Check out the latest cross between Norse and Greek myths in DC Comics as a new ongoing begins!

Cover by Travis Moore and Tamra Bonvillain
Written by Michael W. Conrad, Becky Cloonan, and Jordie Bellaire
Illustrated by Travis Moore and Paulina Ganucheau
Colored by Tamra Bonvillain and Kendall Goode
Lettered by Pat Brosseau and Becca Carey

What. Is. Happening?! Wonder Woman just woke up in the middle of battle, with rampaging hordes of mythological beasts bearing down on her! Not even the Princess of the Amazons can survive such an assault, but that’s okay—it’s just another day in Valhalla! The warriors here spend their days fighting and their nights drinking—and if they die in combat they’ll be resurrected in time for the party. Strange, though, that no one seems surprised to see Wonder Woman in this crowd. It’s up to Diana to find out why things are going wrong in the Sphere of the Gods—and whether it has anything to do with what landed her in the Norse afterlife.

This bombastic adventure comes from the new creative team of writers Becky Cloonan and Michael W. Conrad (DC Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman) and artist Travis Moore (Nightwing)!

In the backup story, the world may know her as Wonder Woman, but once upon a time she was just Diana of Themyscira, a young girl struggling through adolescence on the shores of a mysterious island. Brought to you by Eisner Award winner Jordie Bellaire and fan-favorite artist Paul Ganucheau, this new backup story will present an intimate look into the princess’s upbringing and the hidden secrets of her past.

As Wonder Woman returns from her sacrifice in “Dark Nights: Death Metal” (long story), the writing team behind “DC Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman” continues their tenure on the famous Amazon’s comic series. But with so much changed, so much open and available, where in all of Greek myth or earthly peril will Michael W. Conrad and Becky Cloonan send Diana of Themyscira? As it turns out, nowhere so simple as those two categories, nor the other ones with which she is in conflict. Move aside, Olympus and Earth! It is time to delve into a different type of mythology: that of the Norse pantheon, far less prominent amongst DC Comics than it is at Marvel.

If nothing else, the dawn of the ‘Afterworlds’ arc for “Wonder Woman” is an unusual, yet effective, way to introduce new readers to the eponymous character’s adventures. Deprived of her divine power and rendered just one of the many souls preparing for Ragnarök (known as the “einherjar” in myth, but not identified by that name in the text), there is no intrinsic need to know much about her origins beyond the fact that she does not belong here, and that she comes from another type of tale altogether. Instead, the reader is given just hints of what her real personality is, as well as how she may fit in amongst Norse heroes, if she had been originally created for that pantheon. Even so, Norse mythology is more used as a backdrop for what is happening to the progressively-amnesic Wonder Woman, rather than it being the story on its own, leading to some interesting storytelling that utilizes those elements without requiring deeper reading, whilst also taking cues from earlier stories such as those that connect to DC Comics’s earlier uses of the world tree Yggdrasil. However, there is another level of interest for returning readers: while there is some novelty to using this pantheon in recent years or DC Comics, it is especially new for Diana herself. The Norse pantheon did interact with Amazons in the post-New 52 era, but they have only done so in “The Odyssey of the Amazons” in 2017, a limited series that took place before Diana was ever born.

As such, there is an uncanny sense of something being wrong in how Diana acts amongst her now-fellow warriors, one that will resonate more with those returning fans, and gives rise to another element of this arc: mystery. What is going on? Why is Wonder Woman in Asgard? What is happening to her? What has become of the Greek pantheon? How can she escape this situation? All of these questions are up in the air, and while there are fun nods to elements of Norse myth, the entire thing still feels disturbed and uncanny nonetheless, under the humor and intrigue both. All of this stands in deliberate contrast to the backup story by Jordie Bellaire, which is more in the realm of fun and peaceful times than the violence and (mostly implied) gore of Valhalla.

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Travis Moore’s artwork is highly detailed, similar in some ways to that of Xermanico on an earlier “Wonder Woman” run. Every character feels beautiful and lively, the violence of their surroundings not infringing upon their highly detailed faces and muscular proportions. Close-ups of weaponry and faces help to give life to the entire area, emphasizing that these are people and tools of war, rather than mere bystanders or unimportant individuals. Certain figures, such as a certain animal of Norse legend, are actually quite adorable, while scenery can switch between frightening and turbulent or peaceful and far away from any kinds of harm. Certain beings, such as a giant or a god, are given the appropriate levels amounts of a gruesome visage or an air of pure awe, fitting both a threat that can be fought by humans, and one fit for gods.

On the other hand, Paulina Ganucheau’s art on the backup story is much more cartoonish, emphasizing the happy-go-lucky nature of a young Diana. Her emotions are exaggerated, as are her facial expressions, and the stylized nature of every action makes it feel all the more humorous.

Tamra Bonvillain has been on a roll with colors lately, and her experience from recent stories has shown she is more than capable of showing a fantastic array of hues and shades for the sake of the plot. The choices and their implementation both help to really get a feel for the liveliness and action of Valhalla and the field outside of the hall itself, to the point that readers can practically hear the raucous celebrations going on. However, while the colors are fantastic, it is the moments of complete monochrome coloration that stick out the most. It is, if anything, the sheer lack of any color that can make these moments feel rather scary or otherwise unnerving.

Meanwhile, much like Ganucheau’s artwork, Kendall Goode’s colors are softer, lighter, as if intrinsically created as a breather between issues. Together, ‘Birthday Blues’ is built up as a lighter story to help ease people into what is to come, as well as seemingly a multi-part story in and of itself that is to continue into a later issue of the ongoing series.

Final Verdict: 7.5– A good story to introduce people to Wonder Woman, as well as an interesting one for returning viewers and a look in on a little-seen mythology for DC Comics, “Wonder Woman” #770 has something for quite a few people.

Gregory Ellner

Greg Ellner hails from New York City. He can be found on Twitter as @GregoryEllner or over on his Tumblr.