Cullen Bunn has taken a very interesting team to some very interesting places and introduced at least one character whose fate seems like it could substantially shape the future of the Marvel U in Hippolyta, upon whom this issue focuses. There was some worry, rightly so, that Marvel was just trying to make their own version of Wonder Woman, but the character has, in terms of both appearance and demeanor, struck out on her own. Here we see that fate (or The Fates?) might have more in store for her, and I’m very, very interested to see if and how this storyline pans out.
Will Sliney isn’t a name I’d really heard before this title, but now, much like Valerio Schitti on Journey Into Mystery, I am keeping an eye on him. His characters and linework is as clean as it is sharp and, for the most part, does an absolutely amazing job communicating both emotion and action. And any book that brings back Elsa Bloodstone in a major role gets some props from me. The colors from Veronica Gandini are enormously bright with a diverse, gorgeous palette that matches the personality of a given character and breaths an incredible amount of life into them.
As much as I enjoy the art, I used the qualifier “for the most part” for a reason. There are a few panels where the faces contort or change proportion too much and look like they’re staring off into space. This usually happens on flashier, splash pages so the more intimate panels are intact, but sometimes pomp is a critical point to nail.
I have a hard time following who’s who and what the enormous casts’ motivations are. I love that we’re getting to see a lot of B and C-listers as well as getting introduced to all new characters, but in 11 issues, I feel like we haven’t gotten to know any of them with the exception of Hippolyta. They all have a basic point or moment that they all hit, but it’s often the same one, and because there are so many, no one person gets the spotlight. A lot of the storyline thus far has also felt extremely fractured and directionless and, while this book reins some of that in, a lot of it still feels like it doesn’t have a purpose.
This book still has a lot of great potential and is still quite a bit of fun to read, but it needs to get a clear, coherent statement of intent in terms of tone and certainly in terms of cast. There are eight people on this team, and I’d have trouble naming all eight, let alone telling you why they’re on the team or what their central motivation is. I’m not saying comics should just use the same characters over and over, far from it, but if you’re going to have a wide, diverse cast, the book can’t lose sight of large chunks of them for entire issues at a time. I still think this is a good book, but it desperately needs some solid direction.