Thursday, July 1, 2010

Wonder Woman #600

It's interesting that DC celebrated three big anniversary issues within a month of each other, with Batman #700, Superman #700 and now Wonder Woman #600.

Of the three, the Superman issue was just average, the Batman issue had a good story and some great art - but only this issue really feels like a special event.

Part of that may be because it's nice to see Wonder Woman getting some long-overdue attention - there was a story about this issue on the ABC Evening News tonight (and probably the other networks as well).

The focus is on her new costume, of course. Some hate it, some love it, and some are indifferent. I guess I fall into the last category - it just seems like one of those things that all major heroes go through at one time or another - Superman, Batman, Spider-Man - name a hero who's been around for a while, and you'll find they tried on different togs at one time or another.

And you have to agree that WW's iconic uniform is a bit impractical (though few superhero costumes are practical, after all) - her star-spangled swimsuit has become skimpier over the years, and under the pencil of some artists, it's become just a step above Red Sonja's iron bikini.

So I don't mind the change, especially since I don't believe for a minute that it's permanent. I always liked George Perez's concept during his run on the title, that Diana had different outfits for different occasions.

And it's great to see Perez back on the cover and opening story of this issue, featuring a who's who of DC superheroines fighting together - and you have to love the sweetly sentimental ending of that short story.

The issue also includes a funny team-up with WW and Power Girl, written and drawn by the amazingly talented Amanda Conner. (To be fair, it's more a PG story than a WW story, but why quibble over such riches?)

The issue also includes nine outstanding splash panels / posters by some top artists, including Adam Hughes, Ivan Reis, Greg Horn and Phil Jimenez (though it's criminal that Jimenez's poster wasn't the center spread in the comic - the editor dropped the ball there).

The national focus is on the short story at the end of the issue, where writer J. Michael Straczynski and penciller Don Kramer preview their upcoming "New Look" version of Wonder Woman, wherein everything about WW's past is changed.

I guess you could call their work a success, because I haven't picked up this comic for years and years, but I'm willing to give it a try for a few issues to see where it all goes from here.

Oh, and I almost forgot - the comic includes an introduction by the real-life Wonder Woman, actress Lynda Carter. Hatchi Matchi!

Grade: A-


Anonymous said...

I read elsewhere that Wonder Woman
is selling around 23,000 copies per
issue! So at this point, anything they can do to increase sales and garner attention is a good thing.
But NO ONE thinks this latest makeover is going to last.
The truth is, WW hasn't sold well in decades. And despite that, DC will NEVER cancel the title. So, what you see is what you get. Love her or hate her, Wonder Woman is a
70 year survivor. Like Obama, she's
too big to fail.

Sam Kujava

Chuck said...

Sam, I think you're right - Wonder Woman is more valuable as a marketing icon than as a comic book character, selling lunch boxes and T-shirts and suchlike.

It's a shame her comic has struggled for so long, but so few writers seem to get a grip on what to do with her - perhaps a radical reboot was the only way to go.

But it seems to me that she should be handled like Thor - a fantasy figure from a fantastic world, able to have adventures here on Earth or in the world of Greek Mythology.

But they'd also have to give her a personality infusion, since she's mostly a blank slate - there's no reason why she couldn't be funny, loving, quick to anger, the life of the party - she doesn't have to be the Grandma of heroes. We don't think of Superman or Batman that way, but then, they have character.

Oh, and she needs a supporting cast and some serious opponents... but I could go on and on...