Wonder Woman: Land of the Dead

Oh Wonder Woman. I have such an up and down relationship with her.  I desperately want to love her, but her stories wind up feeling so uneven and unsure of just who Diana really is that I can’t help but get frustrated when I read her comics.  Wonder Woman: Land of the Dead is actually one of the better ones I’ve come across, and possibly my favorite from Greg Rucka’s run so far.  Athena charges Wonder Woman with traveling to Hades in order to rescue Hermes.  Accompanied by Cassie and Ferdinand, what transpires is a dark and interesting tale not just of Diana’s journey into Hades, but of her and her companions facing their fears.

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Seriously, this is so much darker than anything that happened in Wonder Woman: Down to EarthI don’t mean to imply that darker=better as far as comics are concerned, but it’s a nice change of pace to see Wonder Woman actually doing something for a change, and facing major challenges.

While Diana is traversing through Hades, we’re reminded of what’s going on in the real world in her absence.

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Martin is still a statue, and there seems to be no fix for this.  It’s a truly sad aspect of the story, but it also reminds us that Wonder Woman can’t always save everyone.  Still, who can help but to pity Martin’s father, having to face such a terrible loss at the hands of a mythological creature?

Diana succeeds in her mission, knowing that Athena will grant her greatest wish when she does so.  Cassie believes this wish to be her eyesight, but of course Diana is far more selfless than that.

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Diana’s wish was not to restore her sight, but to restore the life of the boy she could not save.  As the comic closes, we see Martin running towards his father, all smiles and seemingly good as new.

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Of course, Athena doesn’t overlook Diana’s selfless act, and so chooses to restore Diana’s vision as a gift.

So…the status quo has once again been restored.  Even so, I actually liked the overall feel of this comic.  It was dark at times, yet still had an uplifting ending.  Wonder Woman was actually engaging in some truly interesting battles, both physical and emotional, and it just felt like a more tightly written story than some of the earlier trades.  It’s still frustrating to me that Diana is a pawn of the gods, doing their bidding whenever they call, but I’m holding out hope that this might change at some point.  I’d rather see Diana be her own person and make her own decisions, rather than have such emphasis placed on her fighting on the gods’ behalf.  At least these Wonder Woman comics are slowly becoming more interesting.  The story is clearly not over, so maybe the content will continue to get better and Diana start to come into her own. It’s sad that even at this point she doesn’t feel like a fully developed character, but that’s just where we’re at.  I’m restraining myself from going off on another tangent about why Wonder Woman isn’t as fully realized of a character as other heroes; instead I’m choosing to focus on the positive and hope the comics continue to get better.  Fingers crossed.

-Jess

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