Reviews

Review – Wonder Woman #53 (DC Comics)

Wonder Woman #53 Cover Artist: David Yardin
Wonder Woman #53 Cover Artist: David Yardin
Hola! Welcome to the Thirteen Heavens
Overall
8.9/10
8.9/10
  • Writing - 8.5/10
    8.5/10
  • Art - 9.25/10
    9.3/10
  • Overall - 8.9/10
    8.9/10
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Summary

Writer: Steve Orlando
Artists: ACO and Hugo Petros
Inker: David Lorenzo
Colorist: Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Letterer: Saida Temofonte
Maturity Rating: Teen
Publisher: DC Comics
Release: August 22, 2018

Wonder Woman’s adventure to the Thirteen Heavens is her best story in the Rebirth era!

Wonder Woman #53 

Story

Wonder Woman is joined by Artemis and Aztek as she travels to the Thirteen Heavens to take on the dark god Tezcatlipoca. When she gets there she might just find the best Wonder Woman story of the Rebirth Era, thanks to creators Steve Orlando, ACO and Hugo Petros. HOLA!

Writing

As a massive Wonder Woman fan, Steve Orlando is one of the best writers to touch the characters in forever. The simple act of his showing respect to her history makes these stories so much more meaningful and memorable. It’s so cool to see Diana exclaiming, “Hola!”, using a lasso instead of a sword, and recognizing her history with the Bana Mighdall. Orlando has had many things said of his writing over the years, but no one ever accused him of ignoring continuity.

Wonder Woman #53 Cover Artist: Jenny Frison

It’s rare to see a Wonder Woman story treated as if it could raise the profile of another character. Anytime writers want to get a new character over they pair them with Batman or Superman because they assume that will raise the character’s sales or notoriety. It’s refreshing here to see the same idea applied to Diana. Even better than that is the fact it works. I’m infinitely more interested in Aztek than I was before I read this issue. Orlando does this both by making an interesting and likable character and making the world of the Aztek gods incredibly deep and interesting. It’s always cool when a writer can simply convey a new mythology so that it works in comics.  Similar to Liam Sharp’s recent work in The Brave and the Bold.

These two positive qualities come together to make the climax of this issue genuinely exciting. Orlando’s world building ends upbringing in one of DC’s crazier concepts, which allows Diana, Artemis, and Aztek to end the conflict in an innovative way.

Art

ACO and Hugo Petros are the stars of this issue. Not often is Wonder Woman given a star artistic team but here it is. ACO’s panel design is some of the cleanest and most eye-catching in the business. Throughout the issue, he’s finding new ways to direct your eye through the story just with his panel work. Often you’ll find things like letters turned into panels themselves. Petros picks up on this and tries to carry the innovation into his pages. It’s a great case of artists elevating each other.

The character design present in this issue is so intriguing to the eye. I immediately want to see this version of Tezcatlipoca return because of how cool he’s portrayed. This compliment extends out to the world built around them as well. The thirteen heavens and all the minions of Tezcatlipoca are all visually striking. It’s really a world that you’d like to sit in. It’ll make you say something you never thought you would in 2018, “I want to read more Aztek”.

There’s never a poorly drawn character in this issue. ACO has an exceptional grasp of form which is important for an artist on Wonder Woman. There are no cheesecake shots in this story.  It’s all action. Hugo Petros also has a great grasp of form but on top of that, his pages demonstrate a much wider ability to portray the emotions of characters. There isn’t a panel he draws that you can’t read a character’s face.

So much artistic credit for this issue deserves to go to the colorist. Romulo Fajardo Jr. gives the book such a unique vibe that feels right for both the characters of Wonder Woman and Aztek as well as the world Steve Orlando is building. Fajardo often takes time to color in ethnic diversity where it isn’t necessarily drawn.

Conclusion

It’s such a shame that when Wonder Woman is finally gifted with an All-Star creative team they’re only here as a fill-in. Steve Orlando’s love for and attention to Wonder Woman’s history is the best we’ve seen from a writer in the past decade, if not longer. Readers haven’t seen Orland executing at this level since his time on Midnighter and Apollo. It’s a welcome return to form. ACO and Hugo Petros bring it all together though. As much as Wonder Woman fans appreciate Orlando’s attention to continuity, it wouldn’t mean anything if it didn’t look cool. ACO and Petros make it look like the coolest book being published.


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About the author

Ryan Perry

Ryan Perry is a News Editorial Major at the University of Southern Mississippi. He started reading comics at the advent of the New 52 in 2011. Some of his favorite runs are Snyder & Capullo's Batman, Invincible, Lemire & Smallwood's Moon Knight, The Sheriff of Babylon, Azzarello and Chiang's Wonder Woman and Thompson & Romero's Hawkeye. He also enjoys movies, cartoons and pretending he's Green Arrow because he's shot a bow and arrow at least twice.

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