Wonder Woman #52 adds a few needed supporting characters to the cast, with an intriguing premise to set them off on a new adventure. Moving away from the world threatening problems that DC’s heroes have been facing as of late, this takes a step back and sets up a rescue mission, with a team of women that are powerful, intelligent but not necessarily on the same page. Issue 52 is therefore a fun adventure that manages to do a lot in a short amount of time, without ever feeling cramped or rushed.
The issue opens with the conclusion of a battle between Wonder Woman and the villain Death Bat. Showcasing her skills, Diana takes this warrior down with ease, before learning there is a new Aztek around. The ancient warrior has taken the mantle from its previous owner, trying to do the title justice whilst living a better life. The dynamic between the pair is interesting, with a level of respect but perhaps some distrust between the two. Aztek reveals that she has seen an Amazon warrior fighting in an Aztek maze: Atalanta, Diana’s aunt. With this news, Wonder Woman knows she must rescue her family member, but first she must recruit another, who has vested interests in this rescue mission.
Enter the chalk to Diana’s cheese: Artemis, a strong fighter in her own right, but with a slightly different set of beliefs. It is the chance to save Atalanta that has brought Artemis into the mix, showcasing her loyalty, despite some character flaws. This trio embark on their trip to an Aztek pyramid, where they quickly find themselves in trouble. A Nagual attacks, a mystical and monstrous beast that puts each hero on the back foot, with Artemis trying to resort to the Bow of Ra to end this quickly, and Diana holding her back.
She plays a pride card to do this, showing Artemis that she does not need the weapon to best the beast. It is Atalanta that comes to their rescue ironically, but in doing so reveals a much larger and villainous plot. The terror armies of Tezcatlipoca, Azek’s enemy, are ready to be unleashed onto the world. It seems this team of four are the only ones standing in the way of death and destruction. What was once a rescue mission for a single person has grown exponentially in scale.
Wonder Woman #52 thrives on character interactions and the interesting Aztek world that they are thrown into. The art is particularly vibrant and colourful, adding an extra life to this issue. It is narratives like these, which rely on such ancient orders and adventures, as well as the characters that inhabit these worlds that showcase what the Wonder Woman title is all about. An issue like this would not work for a character such as the Flash, but ancient religions like the Aztecs and their heroes and villains, really work in this environment, adding a lot of fun to the title. Artemis’s addition is particularity exciting for the issue moving forward and bringing back one of Diana’s family members is sure to add a new dynamic for the hero. This issue simply works and sets up much larger stakes for the future, in an adventure that manages to find time to continue to develop the individuals involved.