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Friday, June 09, 2006

Wonder Woman #1 -- As much as the past couple of years' worth of Big Events at Marvel and DC have failed to entertain me, I had hopes cracking this open that a new era would begin for one of comics' most iconic characters, that a writer (Allen Heinberg) who had done such a great job on the initial batch of issues of Young Avengers would once again surprise me and make a comic I thought I wouldn't be interested in much more than I expected.

Unlike Young Avengers, there's nothing here to bring me back for a second issue. In point of fact, it seems the book is aimed squarely and solely at people who've been buying up those infinite Crises and Houses of M; the pandering to the fanboy portion of the audience is about all this issue has going for it.

When George Perez recreated the Wonder Woman mythos a couple of decades ago, he was careful to develop a supporting cast of genuine human beings for Princess Diana of Themyscira to interact with, all the better for readers to relate to this Amazon warrior as the foundations were being laid for her new era.

Here, though, there's barely a real human in the book; the ones that are there are mere background and window-dressing, and the one person you'll think is a genuine human being is, well, not so much. By the end of the story you'll realize there's nothing here but baiting and switching; the Wonder Woman of the cover and first page isn't who new readers will expect, nor will she be anyone that they will ever have heard of. Longtime readers will know who she is and maybe even be thrilled at the prospect of a new Wonder Woman, but in that case, why start over with a new #1?

More to the point, though, is that there's nothing human or compelling that happens in this story. It's strongly tied into the distasteful events of DC's recent history, with the obligatory flashback to Diana's murder of Max Lord, the machinations of a trio of under-motivated and ill-explained villains, and absolutely nothing to compel any but the most already-committed of Wonder Woman readers to come back next month to see where the "story" goes from here.

It feels editor-driven, as if Heinberg's skills are being restrained and impaired by the mandate to include elements A, B, and C of the established Wonder Woman mythology, but element S is a fakeout, and the only charge I got out of the book at all was a bit of amusement from the image on the very last page, which panders to fans even older than I am, and I remind you that I turned 40 last January.

Oh, the art. Well, my disinterest in the story is such that it hardly even matters, but if you enjoy the slick professionalism of Terry and Rachel Dodson, here's a big serving of it. To date, they always seem to draw well, but never anything I can actually say I am interested in.

So no, I'm not the audience for this book, and although I will give my copy to my 12-year-old daughter now that I am through with it, I can't believe she'll be blown away by it either. There's no clever hooks, no compelling drama, just some pretty pictures and a lot of nods to people who would have bought this whether it was Wonder Woman #1, or #473, or #811.



Blogger Craigery said...

I agree with all your points, despite having come away from the comic with a higher opinion of it.

It seems George Perez and co. did such a solid job with the first overhaul that people still hold that up as the nadir to this day. Every single creator following his run seems to want to do the complete opposite in order to put their 'stamp' on Wonder Woman. This one feels the most editorially mandated one yet. You definitely called that one.

I'm hoping that last page is a signal of what's to come. The prospect of an adventure comic with some humanity to it is a great lure. A monthly dose of Nu-Wonder Woman getting stabbed by her rogues gallery doesn't exactly inspire feelings of anticipation.

Where is this 'new, brighter DC' we were promised heading into the bloody mess of Infinite Crisis? I'm still waiting.

09 June, 2006 13:58  
Blogger steve said...

Doesn't "nadir" mean low point? Cheers.

12 June, 2006 16:43  
Blogger Craigery said...

oops. that used to be a different sentence. missed it on the go-through.
regardless, thanks for looking out for my grammar.

12 June, 2006 20:27  
Blogger aaron dumin said...

Who the hell does the Wonder Woman on the cover refer to? It's clearly not Donna Troy, as the costume is different than the one she's attired in in the story, and neither is it Diana, as she now sports an updated Emma Peel outfit. Judging from the contents alone, the only person the cover could possibly be depicting is Doctor Psycho, which would make this one of the very few first issues where the villian of the book is spotlighted on the cover, as opposed to the title's hero.

14 June, 2006 10:33  

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