Written by James Robinson
Art by Marc Laming, Frazer Irving, J. Calafiore and Stephen Sogovia
Colors by David Baron, Frazer Irving and Allan Passalaqua
At the conclusion of Wonder Woman #47, Diana was whisked away from Earth by the Star Sapphires of Zamaron leaving Jason to fend for himself against the Dark Gods. This annual follows Diana as the Sapphires conscript her into their own war against the Dark Gods and specifically a god named Karnell, the god of love. There are monoliths present on Zamaron too, and Diana soon discovers that she is heavily responsible for the presence of the Dark Gods on Zamaron and ergo on Earth.
James Robinson has written quite a story here that picks up plot points from many different arcs since Rebirth began. This one-shot is definitely his most ambitious, and riskiest, story yet as he gambles on how much the reader will be able to follow given that quite a bit of past knowledge is required to completely appreciate the magnitude of this story. Admittedly, there were a few occasions where I had to Google several things during the reading of the story for elements relating to the Star Sapphire and Carol Ferris, so don’t worry if you get a little lost.
For the completely uninitiated, the Star Sapphires are often seen as having powers and abilities similar to the Green Lanterns, and their most high profile member is Carol Ferris, a one-time love interest of Hal Jordan’s who has made scattered appearances in his title comic since Rebirth began. Sadly, she does not appear in this story but references are made to her and many other things such as the ramifications of wielding Tenth Metal during the events of Dark Nights and also the consequences of Diana wishing for the return of the Gods. It’s that wish that has brought forth the Dark Gods from the Dark Multiverse into her universe. Diana, of course was wishing for the return of the Greek Pantheon, but as Karnell tells her during this story, because she was not specific enough – the god with no name made it so that the Dark Gods would come forth, and they have declared war on all who worship gods. Don’t worry you’re not supposed to know who that is yet.
With Diana now understanding her role in bringing forth the Dark Gods, she becomes determined to right her wrong and save the Star Sapphires from an imminent death. As we have seen recently in arcs like Amazons Attacked, Dark Nights Metal, and No Justice, Wonder Woman’s greatest powers are not her physical abilities but her mental ones. Time and again she has displayed that her will and her love are more than a match for some of the mightiest threats the multiverse can throw at her and the Justice League. Once again, in this story she will demonstrate the depths of her abilities in thwarting this new threat to devastating effect before returning to Earth to see how Jason has fared alone, which we will be able to witness firsthand when Wonder Woman #48 hits the stands in a week.
There are no fewer than 7 members of the art team that have all contributed in no small way to making this annual’s art truly stunning. The highlight of this issue are the flashbacks on Zamaron. The art in these sequences is out of this world good, the colors are so vivid – it is almost indescribable. With 4 artists credited with working on this issue I wasn’t initially sure who was responsible for my jaw drop, but once again thanks to some searching I was able to discover that my praise needs to be directed toward Frazer Irving, a British artist who also does his own colors, which makes his work all the more impressive.
A look through his body of work shows that his most high profile DC work in the past has been collaborating with Grant Morrison on individual issues from great limited series such as The Return of Bruce Wayne and Batman Incorporated where his art is just as stellar as it is in this annual. Thought I’d mention that just in case you want to dive into some back issues of his to see what he can do with other characters – spolier alert – A LOT. This guy is an absolute master of his craft, and I cannot say enough about his ability that would do him justice.
It would be disrespectful though to ignore the other artists who worked on the art in this annual though, and I must mention how good Stephen Segovia, Jim Calafiore and Marc Laming’s contributions were. There is not a weak panel in all 35 pages, it is gorgeous from start to finish. They really went all out with this annual in terms of artistic talent, and let me tell you, it really shows.
You must pick up this annual! Even if you find any of the major plot points confusing you will be that gobsmacked by the art that you won’t care. This story is easily one of James Robinson’s best since he took over the Wonder Woman writing duties so you really have no excuse not to buy it.
9 out of 10