Wonder Woman/Conan #1

Writer: Gail Simone
Penciler: Aaron Lopresti
Inker: Matt Ryan
Colorist: Wendy Broome
Letterer: Saida Temofonte
Publisher:  DC Comics/Dark Horse

Review by John Dubrawa

While we may never witness another Marvel/DC comics crossover ever again, it’s a good thing other companies can play nice so we can have things like Wonder Woman/Conan #1. Not only that, but it’s Wonder Woman being once again written by Gail Simone. Whatever we’ve done to be rewarded with this miniseries, let’s keep doing it, because this is the kind of crossover where everyone wins.

There’s not a wasted panel in this entire first issue. Simone’s script is either building the mythos of the characters or pushing the plot forward. Going into this book, I was worried about being lost given I know next to nothing about Conan. Simone alleviates that concern immediately with a succinct narration, then launches into a fairly straightforward plot that showcases the type of characters she’s dealing with here. Sure, there’s a few tribes I may have known more about if I was familiar with Conan lore, but what’s important here is that the outline of the character that Simone gives is crystal clear.

As for the plot itself, it is devoid of any of the typical plot devices of these crossovers, at least for now. No villain manages to build a device that places one character in the timeline of the other, nor is there a misunderstanding that leads to the two characters needing to hash out their conflict with their fists. Simone feels like she’s creating something that encompasses both characters without the need for any extraordinary force bringing them together. There’s even a mystery element at play that suggests the two may have already met. What’s even better is that the two characters actually meet before the final page, which is yet another crossover trope that Simone cleverly avoids.

Visually, the book is as flawless as Simone’s script. Aaron Lopresti’s pencils and Matt Ryan’s inks work in tandem to render a Conan that’s expressive, dominant, and, of course, looks like a walking muscle factory. When the action kicks in—such as Conan demonstrating his sword-skills or Wonder Woman fighting in a gladiator-esque pit—the resulting panels are clear, crisp, and extremely well-defined. There’s never a sense of, “wait, who was that Conan just decapitated?” Colorist Wendy Broome’s vivid palette helps in this regard as well, giving the book an overall clean look despite the characters being covered in filth (or blood, it might actually be blood). Kudos as well to letterer Saida Temofonte as well, who manages to weave Simone’s narration into each panel so that it doesn’t detract from the wonderful artwork.

Verdict: Buy it! Wonder Woman has been in very good hands lately over at DC, and here she’s put in perhaps the best hands possible with Gail Simone. I do not know the state of Conan over at Dark Horse, but I do know that anyone with even a passable interest in the character will find Simone’s writing to be entirely accessible. While crossovers can sometimes have a cheap, gimmicky device that ties the two worlds together, Wonder Woman/Conan #1 doesn’t. This feels like a story that both characters belong in, which puts this (lopped) heads and (muscled) shoulders above the rest.

John Dubrawa

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