By Steve Orlando, Laura Braga, Romulo Fajardo Jr., Saida Temofonte
Wonder Woman #51 sees a new writer and a new onboarding point this month with a one-off titled The Fifty-Second Visit. This issue relies on events from Wonder Woman #28, which is disorienting at first. Once it’s clear what the creative team wants out of this issue, though, it becomes welcoming for new readers. Writer, Steve Orlando, uses his first issue to give readers a taste of how he sees Wonder Woman with a story told in spurts over a few years. Laura Braga’s art adds lots of flair with her thick inks. Her style makes the issue feel stylized and dramatic, sort of similarly to Jim Lee’s work.
When it comes to writing, Wonder Woman #51 is solid. Orlando shows Diana’s compassion and determination in a really believable scenario, and her moment to moment choices are spot on. The theme this issue is totally focused on showing Wonder Woman’s belief in redemption. It’s hopeful and refreshing to see Diana carving out time from her life to be with an inmate and make an effort to befriend her. That being said, the way the story is told is choppy at some points, and energetic at others. We only see Wonder Woman visiting the inmate, so oftentimes a panel jumps from one visit to the next with only a caption or a change of clothes as an indicator. Later in the issue, though, as the relationship builds, those jumps feel like they have a lot of momentum, and can be really effective. The captions become progressive instead of awkward over time just like Wonder Woman’s relationship to the inmate.
Even during those awkward moments, though, the artwork from Laura Braga and Romulo Fajardo Jr. shines. Braga uses line weight really diligently to add depth and tone to her work. Look especially at her faces, and you’ll find lines flowing from thin to thick and back again. Her drawing adds the visuals a script like this needs to work. Even when the women aren’t talking, Braga shows us what they’re thinking with body language; Wonder Woman’s insistent optimism and the inmate’s firm reluctance are in each panel. Fajardo Jr.’s colors have a painted texture that compliment Braga’s work nicely. His colors fade into her inks effortlessly. The consistency in background colors helps establish a tone across different environments, and is especially rewarding as Wonder Woman learns more about the inmate.
Saida Temofonte leads readers through all of this with her sleek lettering. She makes sure to pull the page across the important visuals of each panel without obstructing a scene, and each panel is given the space it needs, even in dialogue heavy sections.
Wonder Woman #51 is a great jumping on point for all sorts of new readers. Whether you’re looking to get into Wonder Woman for the first time since Rebirth, have never read the character, or never even read a comic, this issue is welcoming. Anyone looking to get invested in Wonder Woman, look no further than this issue.
Sound interesting? Check out our preview here.