We are halfway through the series teaming up the best warriors from two words. Conan and Diana have fought through their share of enemies as well as their own desires. And now at long last they have a brief chance to face the forces that brought them together.
Gail Simone shows how skillful her plotting is in this issue. Almost all of it takes place on a small raft. Yet, there are real dangers and threats to our heroes even in this seemingly safe space. She takes the challenges she presents herself with and finds clever ways to subvert it.
After facing off against sharks and their own confusing emotions, they are confronted by the two beings who brought them together. They are faced with a choice and find their own third way. But that third way will have it’s own costs.
Simone handles the characters with the surety that comes with the experience she has with them. Her Wonder Woman is vulnerable because she is stripped of her own memories and is only offered the ones presented by Conan of a girl he loved when they were teens before his tribe was captured. There is a seductive quality to being presented with a whole new life, but Diana resists becoming Conan’s Yanna.
Conan is presented much more in the way that Howard created him. He is uneducated, but intelligent. He is ruled by his self-interest, but that can be overruled by other factors such as loyalty. He is a savage fighter, but has a tender side as well. Simone captures all of these contradictions and presents a whole character. Too many writers have depended on the Arnold Schwarzenegger version of Conan from the movies.
Aaron Lopresti and Matt Ryan continue to create fantastic art for this series. They show dangers from all sides: the obvious threats such as sharks and monsters, the subtle foreshadowing of menace from an overhead crow to the insinuating way that Diana and Conan are crowded on a tiny raft but are afraid of what touching each other might unleash. They propel the story forward with dynamic pencils and inks.
This is a much more compelling version of Wonder Woman than is currently in her own book. And if you are not following the Conan books by Dark Horse, here is a great introduction to a classic character. Take advantage of this series to become acquainted to these great heroes.
Writer: Gail Simone
Pencils: Aaron Lopresti
Inks: Matt Ryan
Colors: Wendy Broome
Letters: Saida Temofonte