Wonder Woman: Love and Murder

By Jodi Picoult, Terry Dodson & various (DC Comics)
No ISBN: 978-1-84576-640-5

When Wonder Woman was (re)relaunched after Infinite Crisis and 52 with Terry and Rachel Dodson illustrating the scripts of TV big gun Allan Heinberg (Grey’s Anatomy, The O.C. and Sex and the City among others) there was much well-deserved attention, but the comic was plagued by missed deadlines and most of the series’ momentum was lost. Eventually the tale was abandoned unfinished and a new writer was parachuted in. (The creators regrouped and the initial story-arc was concluded in Wonder Woman Annual volume 2, #1, and collected as Who is Wonder Woman?)

That writer was Jodi Picoult, a best-selling author with a reputation for strong characterisation and a tendency to explore “hot-button” issues. This collection (reprinting issues #6-10 of the Amazing Amazon’s latest periodical incarnation) sees Picoult pick up the threads of WW’s latest secret identity and hit the ground running.

Field agent Diana Prince is an operative of the Federal Department of Metahuman Affairs, tasked with keeping an eye on all those pesky superhumans that abound in the DC universe. Her partner is the dashing but annoying Tom Tresser, an extraordinary agent and master of disguise known as Nemesis.

Something is far from right at DoMA. Whilst Prince and Nemesis are babysitting a new government sponsored superhero nefarious doings are occurring at the office of their boss Sarge Steel, all engineered by one of Wonder Woman’s most relentless enemies. These culminate in the resurrection of Diana’s dead mother…

When Wonder Woman is subjected to a dubious “rendition” by DoMA and made an illegal captive, the hidden mastermind initiates a plan to use the Amazons of Themyscira to rescue her and coincidentally destroy America. But there are plots within schemes and another hand is actually manipulating the manipulators…

This is a strikingly effective tale that peters out towards the end not because of the excellent scripts or the stunning art of Terry and Rachel Dodson, Drew Johnson, Ray Snyder and Rodney Ramos but because the story dovetails with the publishing event Amazons Attack! and intervening episodes and story advancements occur in a completely separate book.

If you can revel in delightfully arch “get-a-room” dialogue and quirky “Moonlighting” sexual tension rendered in spectacular, clever, glamorous ‘big visuals’ this is a very fetching read, and a canny interpretation of the genre’s greatest female character, but if you want it all to actually make sense then you’ll definitely need to supplement your purchase with the aforementioned Amazons Attack!, but not after as the last page of Love and Murder advises, but from somewhere between parts 3 and 5.

Just don’t ask me what order to read succeeding chapters in…

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