"Wonder Woman And The Furies" #1 is a book I did not expect to like given some of the promotional material and my dislike of seeing the Amazons presented as crazy man-hating warriors thirsty for blood. However, against all odds Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning turn in a fairly interesting story that sets a reasonable stage for the war fans know is coming crashing through "Flashpoint" this summer.
In this issue, a young Diana and a young Arthur meet after Diana is caught by a baby Kraken (which is much scarier than it sounds). Diana and Arthur battle for her freedom and though successful, Diana needs medical attention which Arthur provides by taking her to Atlantis. Fast friends (we assume as that story is left mostly to the gutters and imagination) the two young heroes decide a royal wedding to unite their powerful kingdoms is the best for everyone involved. Whether they feel anything beyond friendship, duty, and perhaps affection is unclear. Their nuptials are thwarted by both Amazons and Atlanteans that oppose the marriage both secretly and not so secretly. In that opposition, Diana's mother, Hippolyta, is killed. It's revealed here that the Amazons and Atlanteans are actually working together to make sure that they don't have to unite through the union. Ah, the irony.
Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning do remarkably well here in a story I expected to despise and instead was pleasantly surprised by. Abnett and Lanning do a particularly good job of making the war that's headed "Flashpoint's" way the fault of neither Amazons nor Atlanteans, but a typical combination of a misguided and foolish minority. It remains to be seen whether other creators outside of this mini-series can maintain that same balance as effectively, but here it's well handled and reasonable. My sole significant complaint would be the portrayal of Artemis, which feels off to me, as does her reaction to killing her queen - accidental or not. It seems like something editorially dictated in order to get the right players on the board in the right places, but it doesn't gel with what I know of the characters and their universe. But such is this "new" universe I suppose. Overall it's a credit to the strong writing that Abnett and Lanning can deliver this book as well as they did, especially with the inconsistent and strange art they're saddled with.
The art by Scott Clark, Dave Beatty, and Nei Ruffino is some of the strangest comic book art I have ever encountered. There are some beautiful moments, like a battle between Diana, Arthur, and a "baby" Kraken underwater as well as the pages in the sea just prior and subsequent to that scene. Additionally, for the most part both young Diana and young Arthur are surprisingly visually appealing - feeling young but still powerful and wholly themselves. However, many of the panels look like really bad unfinished digital work, cobbled together into an unconvincing comics page. Diana in a boat on the water literally looks like an unfinished digital mock up for a video game - un-rendered and incomplete and completely laughable. Additionally, the panel borders are a fussy mess of columns and other nonsense that comes off as tacky and frankly, bizarre.
In general this issue delivered an interesting story and set up despite some utterly bizarre art decisions. Abnett and Lanning have this series surprisingly well in hand, even for a non-believer like myself. Time will tell if others can follow them as competently.