Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Classics - Wonder Woman #1

I have to admit that before this issue (cover dated February 1987) I didn't have much interest in the comic book starring Wonder Woman.

I had picked up a few of the "New Look" issues (when WW was depowered and became Mrs. Peel), but that was about it. As a kid, I thought it was a "girl's comic," so I stayed away.

But in the wake of the original Crisis on Infinite Earths, DC Comics was making some impressive moves to re-invent itself. Superman was rebooted by John Byrne, and the powers that be were smart enough to tap another great artist to "fix" Wonder Woman - George Perez.

With this issue, Perez teamed with scripted Greg Potter and inker Bruce Patterson to clean up the often-messy backstory for the original Princess Diana.

They did that by going back to the very beginning of recorded history, wading through the pantheon of Mount Olympus (setting up Ares as a key enemy for WW - a badly-needed worthy opponent), detailing the origin of the Amazons (including their rise and fall), the birth of Diana and hinting at the origins behind her uniform.

It was a lot of ground to cover, and it's a comic that is dense with both words and amazingly detailed artwork - in fact, the artwork is (in places) too detailed for the lousy printing at the time. There's a stunning splash panel showing off Perez's design of Olympus, but many of the details are lost.

Still, it's an impressive issue and just the beginning of a long, strong run on the book by Perez. He managed the near-impossible task of clearing up the errors and mashed-up mythology of the gods, he would give Diana a purpose in "man's world," and - even more impressive - he made this a comic that was accessible to all readers.

And as a result, I added Wonder Woman to my list, and I picked up every issue Perez worked on. It was an outstanding series, and certainly stands today as a classic in every way.

Grade: A


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