In Review: Wonder Woman/Conan #4

Wonder Woman and Conan come to a town to eat and drink, with the latter getting them into trouble.

The covers: The Regular cover is by Darick Robertson with Tony Avina is like a movie poster. Two giant crow headed people hold open their hands that contain Wonder Woman and Conan running at each other wielding swords. In the center background a gnarled tree rises to the heavens supporting a castle in white, above which swirls a violet vortex. Magic, horror, and action combine beautifully on this. The Variant cover is by Aaron Lopresti and is the one I had to purchase. Conan and Wonder Woman, that’s right Wonder Woman — she’s wearing her iconic costume — are involved in a melee in a tavern, with the Amazon raising a man above her head to throw him upon his fellows, while the Cimmerian swings his sword to cut a man down. I love the layout of this, I love the heroes fighting together, and the colors are perfect. Overall grades: Both A+

The story: Gail Simone’s story opens again in the past, with Conan deciding to leave his father at the Conclave of Clans and sneak away to travel with the young love of his young life, Yanna. Upon seeing her he calls her name, causing her to spin around with an arrow nocked at him. She tells him to leave because she is leaving Cimmeria forever. He says he wants to go with her, which causes her to lower her bow. “Well. If you’re decided. I suppose I shall be glad of your company on the road. For a while. Until you grow homesick, I mean.” Together they set off. In the present, the pair are barely swimming in the ocean on the debris left from their ship’s destruction. It’s revealed that the two page tale from the past is what Conan has been telling Diana as they make their way. She continues to state she has no memory of that past and that her name is Diana, not Yanna. Conan says, “I could prove you were here, if you but showed me your breast.” She doesn’t even know what that he means by that. Before she can the pair have come upon a seafaring city. The pair are able to enter undetected, even in daylight, and Conan is able to procure some coin as only he has can. The two end up in a tavern and eat and drink and drink and drink. Any fan of Robert E. Howard’s most famous character knows what’s going to happen eventually, and it does, but not before returning to Shamar where Kian and Dellos have a conversation, leading to an unexpected visit for one of them by Lila. There is a fight in the tavern, for all the right reasons, and the book returns to the past as one of them experiences something deadly. I’m enjoying Conan and Diana as they make their way through the lands, but darned if Conan and Yanna’s tale isn’t equally enjoyable. The dialogue between Conan and Diana in this issue is extremely humorous. This series continues to be a fun read. Overall grade: A

The art: Pencilled by Aaron Lopresti and inked by Matt Ryan this book looks awesome. The opening and closing of the book continues to have beautiful borders that wrap the panels, changing to accommodate the joys and horrors of the youngsters as they make their escape together. I really like how the final page of the book features crow feathers that encircle the full-paged splash of the raging character. The full-paged splash on 4 is how to enter a new setting in a fantasy tale! The city is incredibly detailed, even from the distance that Conan and Diana are from it. Their climb into the city is also terrific, with the streets they travel excellent. Aya and Udo are two terrific looking characters, who are visual foils for each hero, with the latter providing much humor from Diana. I’m a sucker for circular panels that feature close-ups of characters and Lopresti and Ryan have a smart one that ends Page 8. The next two pages turn to Shamar and Kian and it’s essentially two characters standing and talking, but look how well the artists move the point of view around, focusing in tightly on a character to wring every ounce of emotion out of their dialogue. Lila’s entrance on 11 is awesome with her looking every inch the seductress. When the fight breaks out it’s powerful stuff with both characters getting in some strong moments. One of my favorites was the triangular panel on 16 of Conan leaping upon his attackers. The visuals on this book are outstanding. Overall grade: A

The colors: I had no expectations for bright colors in a Conan book, simply because the character doesn’t often travel in lush surroundings. However, colorist Wendy Broome has some intense blues as Conan sneaks off to travel with Yanna. Broome additionally keeps the proceedings between the two characters dim on Page 2, because it is the night, but it’s not so dim so as to make the art muddy. When the story shifts to the leads in the ocean, the blues are beautiful. Once in the town and tavern, the primary colors are brown and tan, as they would be, but Broome is skilled enough to use every possible shade of these colors to make the visuals stand out, rather than makes things a blanket of brown. Diana’s vision is beautiful in black and light blue borders. And the borders around all of the flashbacks are fantastic. Overall grade: A

The letters: Saida Temofonte creates narration, dialogue, the story’s title, the book’s credits, a vision’s speech, yells, sounds, a funny sigh, a scream, and the tease for next issue. Temofonte does a lot on this book and it all works. I continue to be enamored with the narration’s font that instantly gives an ancient tone to the tale. The book’s credits are wonderful, violent scrawls that hint at the savagery of both leads. The scream on the penultimate page is the perfect match for the horror being observed. The tease for next month is so cute, until one reads the words themselves, which place them in a twisted arena. Very slick work. Overall grade: A

The final line: Wonder Woman and Conan come to a town to eat and drink, with the latter getting them into trouble. The story is progressing well, but thankfully takes a pause so both leads can learn more about each other, as well as bash some heads. The artwork is fantastic, showing Lopresti and Ryan to be at the top of their game. This team-up continues to be enjoyable. Overall grade: A

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Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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