After being defeated at his island base, Ra’s al Ghul absconded with the bodies of Talia and Damian to the mysterious Paradise Island. Like any mortal man, Bruce does not know the way to the mythological locale and employs Wonder Woman to guide him on the next stage of his journey to recover the remains of his son.

The comic wastes no time getting us there. From page one, Batman and Wonder Woman have already arrived on Paradise Island and we’re immediately introduced to the aggressiveness of Amazonian politics. When Aquaman guest starred in last month’s issue, he basically showed up, recognized Batman needed help, and whooped ass for the next several pages without trying to shoehorn in some exposition about what he’s been up to in his own comic book series. The comic wasn’t about him, it was about Batman and the hunt for Ra’s al Ghul. Issue #30, on the other hand, devotes equal time to Batman’s quest and informing readers about who Wonder Woman is, what her powers are, what Paradise Island is, how they go about making more Amazonians (this bit may surprise those who haven’t read Azzarello’s New 52 series), and what happened to Hipppolyta. These pages felt more like the usual sort of cross-over comic in that it had the air of an advertisement for the series we were tying into. We detract from the main storyline a bit and I almost wondered if this was like writer Peter J. Tomasi’s way of auditioning for the Wonder Woman gig that Azzarello is about to leave (he is to be replaced by David Finch and his wife). Either way, I hope it was effective and it gets more readers interested in giving Wonder Woman a try. I enjoy that comic, but always wait for the trade.

The half that’s devoted to Batman’s journey is rather similar to the Aquaman adventure and the only real complaint I have about it is that it’s familiar. The end result you see is about the same as what happened when Batman confronted Ra’s al Ghul at his League of Assassins base and essentially ending the comic right back where we started is a disappointment, but seeing Wonder Woman and Batman team-up to fight such wild adversaries in such an extraordinary setting is highly enjoyable so I can’t grumble too much. I just hope that the next chapter follows a discards this formula and gives us something that advances the plot rather than try to capture the same magic of watching two Justice Leaguers fight the League of Assassins and then watch them escape again and again.

While I am usually quite the fan of artist Patrick Gleason, the women he illustrated in this issue looked weird and I’m not just talking about the hulking red head on the opening page. Faces in general seem to have been a problem in this installment with some very exaggerated features and odd facial expressions dampening the appeal of some otherwise quality panels. The latter half of the book does indeed look better and Wonder Woman starts looking alright, but almost every character on those first few pages needs a new head. Thankfully, by the time our characters reach Ra’s al Ghul and the island’s Lazarus Pit any memory of the more jarring panels fades away as the spectacle before you during the climactic fight is beautifully handled. Gleason and inker Mick Gray really know how to use shadows to their advantage and create a vivid atmosphere.

Recommended If…

  • You’re a fan of Wonder Woman
  • The recently announced “Robin Rises: Omega” has you excited and you want to get in on the ground floor
  • Fun, over-the-top action is what you’re looking for. We’re talking Batman & Wonder Woman vs. ninjas, Man-Bats, and something much, much bigger

Overall

It’s not quite as thrilling as issue #29 and that’s because it follows almost the exact same formula and ends without any major change to the status quo. There’s a lot of great action and plenty of fun to be had by DC fans, but it feels like we saw something almost identical a few weeks ago. Those interested in reading the ongoing Wonder Woman comic should give this issue a look because unlike the Aquaman issue, much of this comic is spent familiarizing the reader with what’s been going on in our guest star’s own New 52 adventures.

SCORE: 7.5/10