American Soil Parts five and six, in many ways, serve as a reflection of the main goals behind the creation of Wonder Woman: reformation and empowerment. It felt slightly more heavy-handed than usual with most of the big moments being something said instead of something done, but the effect is still quite potent. While this issue probably won’t bring in any new fans because it is a requirement to read all previous issues in order to understand it, it is a very rewarding issue that speaks to what this whole run is about.
Marguerite Bennett once again shows what a good writer she is and her speeches are both spectacular and completely in character. The conversation with Clayface in particular shows how much this is a classic Wonder Woman story along with all the references the reformation work she has done before. The return of Baroness Paula Von Gunther was a particularly high point for me. Clayface idolizes Wonder Woman as a hero based off of her battles, but Wonder Woman quickly informs him that that those are the stories that others who focus more on the sword than the shield tell about her. This is not who she is and her new story is much like her old. This has strong echoes at the end of part five.
While the words are what sets us up to understand what happens, it is the art that really sells the change. Marguerite Sauvage does the art for part five and masterfully conveys the emotional story making Clayface both scary and sad, which is quite the feat. She also continues to make the female characters look powerful even when running for their lives. Part six reveals a new style now drawn by Luciano Vecchio. Marguerite Sauvage handles the colors for both and their tone and vibrancy is what glues the two pieces together. There is almost a DC Super Hero Girls meets Sailor Moon feel to Vecchio’s part. The two-page spread where each of the Wonder Girls uses a various piece of Wonder Woman’s gear makes it worth reading the book alone if that style is something you enjoy. I normally don’t like this type of specifically targeted to girls style, but the narrative impact it represents makes it a solid use. That said, I do question the return of so many feminine power poses over actual action shots.
This issue takes big concepts and really explores them while making that struggle a heroic one. While not as strong as the original series, I still look forward to seeing where this might go and what the next arc will be. Hopefully, with a little more time, this series too will be brighter than the stars.
(W) Marguerite Bennett (A) Siya Oum, Luciano Vecchio (CA) Terry Dodson, Rachel Dodson