Advent Review #12: Sensation Comics #17-18 (Comics Review)

A couple weeks back the awesome writing/artist team of Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman came together to do the current three-part arc on Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman. After somewhat of a glut of good stories on the title, the pair told a really fun story that had Diana travel to Apokolips to exfiltrate two Amazons who had gone missing on a mission to the death world. Corinna and Gabriel are among two of my favourite creators and to see them do a Wonder Woman story proved to be as exciting and satisfying as I expected, probably a bit more too.

In the first issue of the arc, we saw Diana travel to Apokolips, face off against some of Darkseid’s Furies, lose, and then get tossed into the inner fires of the death world. In issues #17 and #18, we see how she gets out of that particular mess, and how she ends up completing the mission, with a fair few complications and twists involved along the way. With these two issues, Corinna and Gabriel bring their three-parter to a close, and they do it in really great style, showing off how Darkseid and Diana interact in particular and what this can mean for the “relationship” between Apokolips and Themiscyra, moving forward.

The biggest thing about this arc is that though Lawrence Reynolds’ awesome cover shows Superman in the background, Boy Scout is nowhere to be seen in the story itself. Which is great news. This is a title that focuses primarily on Diana, and I don’t want to focus away from that, though a guest spot is fine I suppose. All the same, by showing Diana on Apokolips with Superman not in the picture, we also see how Diana measures up to Darkseid and his various generals and lieutenants. It is a very fun dynamic, seeing the death world from Diana’s eyes, and in the context of her “diplomatic” mission to it.

Another thing is that the situation on the world proves to be very different from what Diana knew it to be, or even what her mother Queen Hippolyta knew it to be. Corinna and Gabriel come close to exploring how soldiers behind enemy lines can be semi-converted to hardline causes, but pull back in the end to retain focus on the titular character. To be honest, I would have liked to see that taken further, but I’m pretty satisfied with how things ended up being anyway, that it is not such a big issue at all.

And then, the biggest thing, Darkseid and Diana in the same room, facing off against each other and having a rational conversation. You can’t really expect something like that from Superman, since his bias against the supervillain is justifiably over-strong and we can’t expect the two of them to be more… thoughtful, given all that they’ve done to the other.

One of the other things that Corinna and Gabriel do here is explore Diana’s own nature. She is a warrior born, but she isn’t given over to unceasing hatred and bias. She has a core of humanity within her that can often see her do something that doesn’t really make sense in a hero-villain dynamic, but which still justifies her own humanity, being both the cause and the result. That’s what Sensation Comics #18 emphasizes so strongly, given what Diana has to do in the climax. Needless death is not the answer to any conflict, and she is an ambassador of her people’s ideals and beliefs at large, no matter where she goes.

All fantastic stuff really, and pretty much what I expected from Corinna and Gabriel, and what they really surprised me with as well.

Gabriel is the artist on both issues with Jordan Boyd on colours and Saida Temafonte on the letters. Not really sure what I can add from my review of Sensation Comics #16, other than the fact that I really liked Gabriel and Jordan’s interpretation of Darkseid, particularly his eye-beams, and it is fun to see Diana and Darkseid together. The best work they do though is the final page of Sensation Comics #18, where we see Diana’s reaction to something terrible that Darkseid does, and her return to Themiscyra with her heart and mind both heavy. Beautifully captured by the artists.

I’d love to see these three on a Wonder Woman ongoing, truth be told. They seem to have captured the essence of who Diana is, what her stories can be like, and how they can look, visually. Someone make it happen!

Rating: 10/10

More Sensation Comics: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #8, #9, #16.

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Posted on December 13, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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