Wonder Woman 800 Featured Reviews 

“Wonder Woman” #800

By | June 23rd, 2023
Posted in Reviews | % Comments

A three-year run comes to a conclusion with “Wonder Woman” #800!

Cover by Yanick Paquette
Written by Becky Cloonan, Michael W. Conrad, and Tom King
Illustrated by Joëlle Jones, Alitha Martinez, Mark Morales, Nick Robles, Todd Nauck, Skylar Patridge, Cully Hamner, Jen Bartel, and Daniel Sampere
Colored by Jordie Bellaire, Tamra Bonvillain, Jen Bartel, and Tomeu Morey
Lettered by Pat Brosseau and Clayton Cowles

“Whatever Happened to the Warrior of Truth?” concludes in a landmark 800th issue!

Diana’s visions become more vivid as she finds herself trapped in the dreams of those around her! As she struggles to escape, her life as Wonder Woman hangs in the balance. When the dust settles, will she still be the Amazons’ greatest champion?

Find out in this extra-special celebration!

Eight hundred issues on a self-titled series more than eighty years is nothing to sneeze at. The lone woman of the iconic DC Comics trinity, Wonder Woman has more than proven she is worth the time, even this far from her point of origin. “The Flash” had his legacy brought to the fore for his own eight hundredth issue two weeks ago, but Wonder Woman is not defined as much by a family legacy passed down, but more by she herself rising to many an occasion. As such, with a writing team that has been with her since the “Infinite Frontier” era bringing their run to a conclusion ahead of the “Dawn of DC,” how do we celebrate so long with the Warrior of Truth?

As a conclusion, the finale to this arc, to this run, is fantastic. Becky Cloonan and Michael W. Conrad work together to emphasize not just Diana’s power and the appearance of perfection, but how she is aided by and in turn aids all of her friends and allies, even her rivals. She is shown as humble but powerful, having a large pseudo-family while herself being at the center. While Wonder Woman may be a force to be reckoned with, she is never alone, and she acts as the rock on which others can rely as much as the one willing to rely on others in turn.

Unlike the writing team, this milestone has a wide range of illustrators. One also colors, but for the most part each has a distinct approach and specific supporting characters to back up Diana of Themyscira. Owing to the lack of direct confirmation within the book itself, they will be assumed to have been listed in the order the scenes occurred by page count.

Alitha Martinez, the artist on the majority of the story in the waking world (itself effectively a framing device around the various dream-bound cameos), draws Themyscira and the healing island beautifully, the classical architecture portrayed very well. Expressions are not so detailed that they come across as photorealistic, but are enough to give a sense of calm to the average reader, be they in darker scenes or lighter ones, indoors or outdoors.

Joëlle Jones has an immediately recognizable style on the section including Yara Flor. She draws as if a painting, the artwork beautiful in the extreme. The strokes are soft yet noticeable, guiding the colors into what feels like watercolor styles. Both characters and the creature they fight are entrancing, and thereby fun to just sit back and admire from an aesthetic point of view.

Mark Morales has a style that seems similar to Martinez at first glance, with recognizable character modeling and expressions as similar. However, the feeling is somehow a bit warmer, perhaps with the happier tone. His artwork is surprising, as he is typically a cover artist or inker rather than the one behind the pencils.

Nick Robles’s art, on the other hand, is much more distinct. The scene is intense and wacky, violent but in a way that may make readers laugh at the over-the-top expressions at work and the fast-paced action.

The highly detailed work of Todd Nauck is very well handled, despite, much like the later work of Cully Hamner, only being across a single page. The characters feel very much alive, and similarly to Martinez and Morales, they have an intensity to more serious emotions, a determination to move forward.

Continued below

The section of Diana looking into a friend’s nightmare is drawn to disturbing effect by Skylar Patridge, far more stylized than is common of her work, and it works perfectly. In general, it feels like something out of “The Doom That Came to Gotham,” utterly eldritch until Wonder Women is able to smooth it down, perfectly fitting into her ideal of truth and peace.

Jen Bartel is the only one in the group who both illustrates and colors her pages, and the synergy definitely shows. Beauty merges the unfamiliar with the familiar, with smooth lines working alongside cool colors to relax readers leading into an awakening at long last.

It is a bit difficult to discern where colorists shift, but for one likely case as mentioned above. As such, we will address Jordie Bellaire’s colors alongside those of recurring colorist Tamra Bonvillain, as they seem to have similar tones, as opposed to the aforementioned work of Jen Bartel. For the vast majority of the piece, Bellaire and Bonvillain work together, making for a feeling of both wonder (pardon the pun) and distress. The darkness exists, but it is not all-encompassing, and magical light shines through, be it in dreams or the light of day. Bellaire and Bonvillain’s color palettes fit the various scenes and characters expertly, from cartoonish to picturesque, violent to calm.

With the last few pages, we have what seems to be the start of Tom King’s run on the series, a backup featuring Diana’s daughter known as Elizabeth Marston Prince, a.k.a. Trinity. Unlike the main story, this one may be enough to fill readers with dread. Not dread of the events, but of what the characterization could mean for the future. Every character shown is distinctly unlikeable escape Jonathan Samuel Kent’s Superman, and the other who returns is written without any regard for character development, as if it were his first appearances with zero depth. The aforementioned Trinity is also irritatingly smug even above any others, shown as unrelentingly perfect and well aware of it, lording it over everybody else from the first panel she appears in. If King wants us to be on board for his upcoming run on “Wonder Woman,” this approach just shows how little characters actually being nice or even the slightest bit humble matters, rather than appearing to take all of the nice, hopeful things from the main story of “Wonder Woman” #800 and doing the exact opposite.

Daniel Sampere’s artwork is well handled, with enough detail to show heightened emotion and excitement, but also to make some characters feel somehow more wooden when contrasted against the more emotive among them.

Tomeu Morey’s colors help bridge the gap, giving a beautiful beach scene extra life as well as ones within caverns. Even with the extremely lackluster script, the hues help, even if only slightly, with making the artwork of Sampere make this story almost worth reading.

Final Verdict: 7.0– A near-perfect sendoff on a milestone issue is seriously hampered by a heavily flawed look at an upcoming run.

Gregory Ellner

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