The second issue of this cross company book sees our erstwhile heroes shackled together as they strive to survive the gladiatorial pit. But will the somewhat love struck barbarian lose his head to the wilful amnesic Diana, in the same that he seems to have lost his heart?
It seems that the manner by which they survive; it is issue 2 of a 6 issue run so no cries of SPOILER please; may endanger their lives even more as a daily diet of fish slop and gruelling labour awaits, where the sharks are not the only danger the pair will face.
This book is almost a throwback of sorts. Without any preamble of pomp, it is a straight up team-up book. Cross company books like this are becoming the norm and are a great way to get your characters across to a readership that may not have looked twice at a particular line of book.s For instance, rarely does Dark Horse venture into the world of the superhero. Gail Simone is a writer who has straddled but sides of the aisle, Big two and independent books as well as working on her own creator owned books. To say that she has the experience to make this venture work would be an understatement. Here, the story moves briskly, with more of Conan’s formative years trying at least to explain who the mysterious woman he ends up shackled to, is. This element of the book is done extremely well as it helps the reader believe in Conan’s confusion and his belief that the woman before him is his childhood friend. Simone also manages to assuage one of my worries about this book; with a barbarian and a warrior woman featured, I was concerned that we would get a Conan & Red Sonja book in essence, with the only difference being the color of the hair. Simone nods to this and then once said, leaves you in no confusion regarding any similarities between the two heroines. Dialogue wise, the books works for the most part with only the possibly trite way in which Diana remembers her name being the only real “eye roll” moment.
Aaron Lopresti continues to impress with his art throughout this issue. I have to say, that I have not seen Wonder Woman look so good in quite some time. Some may argue that the inconsistencies in the art in her own book will elevate the art here. That may be a valid point. Yet Lopresti shouldn’t worry about how this book fairs against the regular Wonder Woman book – his art is way better, just so you know. Instead he should concentrate on his own work. Issue two may not have the same shock value as the first issue, instead it shows an artist that is completely comfortable in this environ, equally adept at drawing characters that have a real presence, regardless of gender. Great panel structure allows the story to ebb and flow, between past and present, adapting to the pace required to get the most out of each element,. I will say now, DC, bring Lopresti in on the main Wonder Woman book please! Lopresti is aided by inker Matt Ryan who does a tremendous job throughout, as does colourist Wendy Broome who has a couple of different locations and the changes in light source to deal with.
This book is a great read for long time comic fans. There is no “darkness approaching”, there is no “clock ticking” and there is definitely no Dark Batmen to worry about. It goes to show that DC, can put out a quality book without the need for Batman to appear, albeit with help from Dark Horse on this occasion. Fans of team-up, Conan or Wonder Woman should be buying this book as an example of what creators on top of their game can produce.
Writing – 4.5 Stars
Art – 5 Stars
Colors -5 Stars
Written by; Gail Simone
Art by; Aaron Lopresti & Matt Ryan
Colors by; Wendy Broome
Publsihed by; DC Comics & Dark Horse Comics