(Click title to go directly to the review)
WONDER WOMAN ’77 MEETS THE BIONIC WOMAN #1
REGGIE & ME #1
THE UNWORTHY THOR #2
THE UNWORTHY THOR #2
JOSIE & THE PUSSYCATS #3
Raiders of the Long Box: SHURIKEN!
Opinions Are Like @$$Holes: What the Hell Happened to Wonder Woman!
WONDER WOMAN '77 MEETS THE BIONIC WOMAN #1Writer: Andy Mangels
Artist: Judit Tondora
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment/DC Comics
Reviewer: Masked Man
Another TV crossover thanks to Dynamite and DC! This on featuring the top 1970's female action heroes, Jamie Sommers and Princess Diana, a.k.a. the Bionic Woman and Wonder Woman! Thanks to the current crop of digital broadcast channels, like MeTV and CoziTV, I've actually managed to watch both those shows in the past few months. I have to say there is something refreshing in the straight forward storyline of 70's action shows. Not that 70's TV shows aren't with their flaws, but they never get lost in boring subplot minutiae at many action shows today do. But I digress.
This crossover concept is such a no-brainer, it's surprising it took this long to happen. It's penned by Andy Mangels, a huge Wonder Woman fan, who is probably more famous for his books on pop culture than his comic books, although he's written quite a few. Be huge fan of Filmation, I'm over the moon for his Lou Scheimer autobiographical (he help Lou put it together), LOU SCHEIMER: CREATING THE FILMATION GENERATION. Artist Judit Tondora comes to us from Hungary (as Dynamite continues their practice of hiring artist from abroad), and this appears to be her first real professional work.
Getting to the issue itself, (a.k.a., spoilers), Inter-Agency Defense Command (from WONDER WOMAN) and the Office of Scientific Intelligence (from THE BIONIC WOMAN) are pooling their resources to combat a new paramilitary organization, Castra! Old Bionic Woman villain, Ivan Karp is said to be connect with them. Acting on their current intel, Steve Trevor leads a strike team against a suspected Castra convoy, as Diana Prince and Jamie Sommers goes to secure a scientist on Castra's hit list. Before this, though, Jamie and Wonder Woman run into each other while helping out at a bombed building site. Unlike anyone else- ever, Jamie pegs Wonder Woman as Diana Prince immediately. As the adventure gets rolling, everyone runs into trouble, even the gang back at the IADC offices. Seemingly, the main cloaked, villain stole some info from their super / A.I., I.R.A. Computer and killed Joe Atkinson, Steve Trevor and Diana Prince's superior at the IADC.
Now to be honest, the set-up is a little confusing. Mangels has many moving parts to this story and none of them are very clearly defined, like the goals of Castra. Hopefully, this will be addressed as the story continues. For the most part he gets the voices of our two heroes pretty well and does better with their attitudes. Though I'm not crazy about Jamie just recognizing Diana Prince as Wonder Woman. Talking about just blowing a hole in the “suspension of disbelief” to the whole show. And I assume he did it because he thought it was funny. Personally, I think it would have been more interesting if Jamie figured it out with her bionic ear. She would be able to know they are one in the same by their/her voice. This plays more into the concept of both shows and still gives you the 'Jamie knows funny.'
Tondora's artwork starts pretty strong, but then kinda devolves as the story goes. I guess she was running up against the deadline. Overall, her work is nice and the likeness are good enough. She has a fun, light, easy style. My main complain though would be her layouts. They are not bad, but none of them are very strong. Mind you, Mangels wasn't doing her any favors by cramming at least eight panels on every page!
So while not quite top notch work, WONDER WOMAN '77 MEETS THE BIONIC WOMAN kicks off with a fun issue, and any fans of the shows should be pleased with it.
REGGIE & ME #1Writer: Tom DeFalco
Artist: Sandy Jarrell
Publisher: Archie Comics
I can’t stand Reggie Mantle. I don’t know any Archie fan or casual comic book reader who does like him. Are we even supposed to? He has been consistently demonized for almost seventy-five years, so why the about face?
It isn’t that you can’t have an interesting comic taking place from the villain’s point of view. This could have been quite hilarious. They could have used Reggie’s misconstrued self of importance to express a false reality where he’s a megalomaniacal super villain or something. Heck, they could have created a series where Reggie won occasionally, or (gasp) actually had redeemable qualities. But there was none of that. Just the same old Reggie.
One of the biggest mistakes, besides the intention itself, with REGGIE & ME was the choice of narrator: Reggie’s dog, Vader. This is like Hot Dog’s narration for the current BETTY & VERONICA series (a bit trite, but still stronger than some of the other entries in New Riverdale) and though Jughead’s canine pal may be cheesy, at least his voice is authentic. Vader would have you assume that Reggie is just misunderstood, that he is an individual judged by his constant desire for retribution and not his overlooked acts of kindness. What kindness you ask? Well… he rescued Vader from the animal shelter, but that’s about it. Otherwise he spends the rest of the issue lusting after Midge, seeking revenge on those that cross him, and scheming to make Archie Andrews’ life a living hell.
There was a way to make this work. Have Vader be a bitch (pun aside). Like master, like pet, create a level of irony and unreliability by having Reggie’s dog be a piece of work like him. Or a cat. They are never the good guys in the animal world anyways.
Since 1942 there have only been a handful of redeemable moments for the malicious Mantle. This ain’t one of those REGGIE & ME is yet another attempt to reinvent, but as cliché as it is to say, if it ain’t broke then don’t fix it. You’ve already redeemed Veronica, just leave us one character to hate wholly and absolutely.
Lyzard is Lyz Reblin, a graduate student at Michigan Tech pursuing a doctorate in Rhetoric, Theory, and Culture... which is just a fancy way of saying she plays a lot video games, watches far too many horror films, and then tries to pass it all off as "research."
NOVA #1Writers: Jeff Lovenss and Ramon Perez
Artist: Ramon Perez
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Reviewer: Masked Man
So the newest NOVA series is off and running, although this time Sam is joined by the original Nova, Rich Rider. Seemingly, the Nova concept is reinvent which each series, as Sam is now the only Nova corps member in the universe. I'm not sure if that means he's still a 'black corps' (as in black ops) Nova, opposed to a regular corpsman, or what. Nor am I sure what's up with Rich, as some how his helmet returned to Earth without him. Either way, as I said, we're off and running.
Ramon Perez, who has won awards for his work on JIM HENSON'S TALE OF SAND joins relatively comic newbies Jeff Lovens (who writers for JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE) in bringing us the latest chapter of Nova, Sam Alexander. So what are the spoilers? Well, while Rich Rider is back at home, he has no idea how he got here and no idea how his helmet beat him home. Oh, and he's seeing zombies (something left over from his time in the Cancerverse, no doubt). Meanwhile Sam Alexander is living the high flying life of a teenage superhero. He helps out Ego, the living planet, with a bug problem (wise cracking all the way), races to school, forgetting he's only wearing underwear, under his costume (comedy ensues), has trouble talking to a girl, his friends laugh at him, he has a comical fantasy of whipping villains, and then discovers there is another Nova on Earth. Sam zips off hoping it might be his Dad, but it sure seems like he is just going to bump into Rich. Oh, FYI- Sam's dad was the official Black Nova, who may or may not be dead, and Sam has his helmet.
Overall it just seems like this comic is trying too hard to be funny. Everything is just a crazy barrel of laughs in Sam's life. Except for the few panels when Sam gets solemn thinking about his Dad. While humor is sometimes difficult to pull off in comics (as in the difference between 'here is a joke' and actually telling a joke), it might just be that I don't get Lovenss and Perez's voice here. The only joke I enjoyed was Sam's friends constantly telling Sam he was fired from the Avengers, as he claims he quit (he did quit).
As a Rich Rider fan, I'm very skeptical that 'this' Rich Rider (if it even is Rich Rider) will be around after issue #6. Marvel just seems to want nothing to do with the character anymore (as DC basically wants nothing to do with Ted Kord (Blue Beetle)). But fans keep making their life miserable, so they have to do something with 'em! Mind you, if it's not a fake out, I promise Marvel I will give them their proper due!
Perez's artwork is very nice for the issue and fits the kinetic / humorous slant of the book. One thing I like, is that he remembers to draw Nova flying with blurred out legs. While I do find everything a little over the top, posing and expressions, that is the tone of the writing, so everything works well together.
In the end this is pretty much a set-up issue. It showcases Sam's life (for those of you who didn't buy his last two series, which were canceled like yesterday(!)), and introduces Rich, with weird stuff a foot. As there is pretty much no plot in this issue, they have a lot of work to do next issue.
THE UNWORTHY THOR #2Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Olivier Coipel
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Reviewer: Rock-Me Amodeo
Poor Thor. Robbed of his left arm and, in terms of his actual name, had his manhood usurped. Turns out his girlfriend was a better man than he was. I see that happening all the time in the real world, regarding this all-too-common crop of “guys” (the responsibility-dodging losers that call themselves men.) The common “guy” is frequently outmanned by his literal better half. But it seems cruel that Thor’s fall from grace was simply being less than worthy. It’s hurt him, and hurt him deeply. For someone like Thor, there’s no pain worse that this: “You should have been a better man.”
In this issue, however, Thor gets a bit of a morale boost from brother-in-arms Beta Ray Bill, whose presence has endured far longer than I thought possible back in those halcyon Simonson days. The boost is well-appreciated, because a Thor that mopes is truly no Thor at all. I find it disconcerting that one of Marvel’s favorite sons would be so down on his luck for so long. I mean, I understand having to shuffle him off this immortal coil for a time, so as not to diminish the debut of Jane Foster’s Thor. From a narrative viewpoint, I get it. And I knew two years ago it would be a long road back. But it’s disheartening to see someone who usually alternates between enthusiasm and grim determination, someone who has been a champion for so long, yield so unreservedly to despair.
Fortunately, that was last issue. This issue, Thor gets his rear in gear. Got to see a man about a hammer. That man turns out the be The Collector, and I love how Coipel has arrived at a visualization that seems both a younger version of the character I’ve known for 40 years and the one introduced to world through the MCU. Brilliant. While we’re on the subject: the art rocks. There’s nothing new I can say here, I wish I had a better vocabulary. Simply put, Coipel never disappoints.
I also love Aaron’s Thor. A little bitter, his laughter a bit more hollow… but still Thor. Speaking of which, I laughed out loud at “You’re asking the wrong Thor.” I also love the stakes here, and if there’s any upside to all the Odinson has been through, it’s that I really can’t predict how the endgame will play out. Okay, we have a Thor without a hammer, and we have a hammer without a Thor. But this isn’t Chekov’s gun: there’s no real guarantee the two will find each other’s companionship by the end of this mini-series. Eventually, sure. But not necessarily here, which makes for a suspenseful read.
Also, I won’t spoil the cameo at the end. Suffice to say, the already high stakes have been raised again, by one of Marvel’s most unpredictable characters. I will be here next issue.
Rock Me is Dante Amodeo. Online, you can find him at www.GuyVsMan.com where he likes to explore the differences between actual grown-ass men and this current crop of slacker, live-off-their-girlfriends, can't-keep-a-job, responsibility-dodging GUYS that are overtaking the world like societal kudzu... and the women who are letting them get away with it. Or e-mail him Rock-Me Amodeohere
THE UNWORTHY THOR #2Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Olivier Coipel
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Reviewer: Masked Man
I gotta say the recent developments in all things 'Thor', these days have been fairly amusing to me. Thor learns a deep dark secret and is no longer the (or a) thunder god. Heck, he even gives up his name. His ex-girlfriend Jane Foster, some how whines up on the moon, takes his abandon hammer and becomes the (or a) new thunder god, and 'steals' his name to boot. Mind you, it all makes sense in the terms of the marketing department. No one is going to buy “JANE THE THUNDER GOD”, as much as they are going to buy “THOR”. Like wise no one is going to buy “I CAN'T BELIEVE IT'S NOT THOR” as much as they will buy “THE UNWORTHY THOR” (hmm, I might be wrong on that count). So it all makes sense.
Now it's been like two years now and we still don't know what terrible thing is preventing Thor from being Thor. As he mentions in this issue, what it is, is so bad he doesn't even want people calling him by his name anymore. Ya, get that? You say, “Hey Jim, what's up.” Bill's son replies, “Don't call me Jim anymore, I've done something so bad I don't deserve my name anymore.” You, “Geez, ah Bill's son, what'd ya do, sleep with your mom?” I'm hoping this mini-series will finally explain it, although why do I get the feeling that Aaron has been up most nights trying to think of a reason! Either way, Aaron has been a awesome THOR writer and I'm glad to see him give some love to Formerly Known as Thor. Add to this the return of Olivier Coipel, one of Formerly Known as Thor bests artist.
So what happens in the issue, cosmic stuff indeed. Follow along for the spoilers. As you all know the Ultimate Marvel Universe no longer exists (except for Mile Morales Spider-Man, who has no always been here), well it turns out 'ultimate' Mjolnir survived the destruction of the U.M.U. and it sits in the ruins of Asgard (Wikipedia it, we ain't got time). Don't Call Him Thor goes to get it, but discovers someone has stolen Asgard. Meeting up with another Formerly Known as Thor, Beta Rey Bill (Wikipedia it, we ain't got time), our hero discovers it was stolen by Benicio del Toro, er, an elder of the Universe, the Collector! Who then swoops in and captures He Who Should Not Be Named. The Collector explains he want a Mjolnir for himself, but unable to move it, he moved Asgard instead. He now wants The Man With No Name to tell him how to pick up the hammer. If you knowing anything about Mjolnir, then you know this doesn't go well and Don't Say My Name threatens to bury the Collector over his negotiation tactics.
Now on one hand this is a bit slow and plotting. On the other it's all epic goodness from Aaron and Coipel. I love seeing Beta Rey Bill again and I love mixing it up with an Elder of the Universe. Then they apparently go back to the 'Gorr' well, which I'm not too crazy about. His storyline was so awesome, I'm not sure I want to see him again, even with Aaron still writing.
Either way, any fan of Old What's His Name (look what Marvel makes me do) should totally dig this series. Assuming we get rewarded at some point with the deep dark secret, this mini should be very cool, indeed.
JOSIE & THE PUSSYCATS #3Writer: Marguerite Bennett and Cameron Deordio
Artist: Audrey Mok
Publisher: Archie Comics
I read comics like I watch TV. If I find a #1 issue for a new run mediocre, I give it up to issue #3 to convince me otherwise. Partially because of time, mainly because of money. Well, it’s come that time for JOSIE & THE PUSSYCATS and I can tell you for sure I won’t be taking it to #9.
I found issue #1 to be fun, but hardly memorable. I enjoyed my initial read, but was hardly energized to even write a review. I was less enthused after book #2, considering giving up on the series then and there. I wish issue #3 was just as forgettable, then I could get its banality out of my head.
Josie and the band haven’t been given the big break their new manager promised them. Their gigs are disastrous, regardless of their talent. It doesn’t help that Josie’s rival, Alexandra, is intent on stonewalling her. Just as it appears that Alexandra is about to have her way, the series takes a turn and begins to paint Josie in an unfavorable light. It is less about the redemption of Alexandra and more about the graying of Josie. You would think a series that attempts to create complex protagonist and antagonist relationships would be worth a read, but growth and character arcs do not save this comic from the rest of its derivative nature.
What does the series in is the writing, in particular the dialogue. It is forgettable and regrettable because it is unoriginal. Let’s go through the pop culture references squeezed in with unnecessary force for just issue #3: SHERLOCK HOLMES, TRL, MEAN GIRLS, ARCHER, BOJACK HOSREMAN, GONE GIRL, WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACOTRY and STAR WARS: ATTACK OF THE CLONES. How dare you remind us of that film’s existence, Annie’s whiny attitude! The book spends more time relying on jokes that require recognition and even then, they just aren’t that funny. Even worse, they are constantly drawn attention to. Actually, the comic constantly draws attention to itself as well, directly referring to the character development and the “hell of a tone shift for a quirky girl band comedy comic.” This isn’t the underrated film version, you can’t get away with being postmodern when you feel like it.
Let’s be honest. Even I have tired of these revamps, which this hardly is as the characters remain the same and the only real change is an attempt to break the fourth wall at will. It’s not like these series are part of a shared universe that would constitute a change to all properties if there was a change to one. JOSIE & THE PUSSYCATS popping up in ARCHIE VS. SHARNKADO. That was fun. Their own reboot? Struck flat.
FAITH #6Writer: Jody Houser
Artists: Meghan Hetrick and Marguerite Sauvage
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
Reviewer: Masked Man
Valiant's main female superhero, Zephyr a.k.a. Faith wraps up another adventure, in this two parter from Jody House (Houser has written the ORPHAN BLACK comic for IDW). Joining in on pencils is Meghan Hetrick, who drew Vertigo's RED THORN.
As always, Houser keeps Faith's adventures fairly light and breezy. Keeping up with a good dose of pop culture humor along the way, as Faith is a nerd, like us. In this issue, spoiler time, Faith has a run-in with a former tween-star turned super villain and Valiant's evil corps./government, Project Rising Spirit. Zoe Hines, now Dark Star nearly sucks the life force out of Faith, when P.R.S. Goons show-up and rescue her, while trying to capture Dark Star. Faith then demands a team-up, and the P.R.S. Goon explains Zoe isn't Dark Star, her cat is. The cat is the one who feeds on bio-energy, but it needs a human co-conspirator in order to suck the energy away. P.R.S. was trying to weaponize Dark Star, when it escaped into a cat and hooked up with Zoe. Once Faith gets the skinny on the problem, she dumps the P.R.S. goons and goes after Zoe and cat alone. Faith has to do a lot of bluffing, as Dark Star left her pretty weak, from the energy suck. Faith manages to convince Zoe to break-up with Dark Star, when the P.R.S. goons show-up again and bag and tag the cat. Faith is too weakened to do anything about that, but is happy enough saving Zoe.
Like nearly every issue of FAITH, this one is entertaining. While the evil cat bit might not be too original, at least Houser is always trying to keep things from being too straight forward. The only part that feel flat to me, was Faith's plead to Zoe to reform. It might be because I'm too bitter of a middle aged man, but I didn't think her speech was heartfelt enough.
Artwork wise, well... Meghan Hetrick is very talent, and you can almost tell that from this issue. My best guess is that she was a last second replacement and did the best she could, because this issue doesn't look finished. Which is a shame in the sense that it really detracts from the story. Not because it's so bad, but you just wonder why the heck it wasn't finished properly? Hopefully, the next issue will be up to Hetrick's usual standards.
Six issues in and FAITH has yet to really grab me, like say Mark Waid's DAREDEVIL. I mention DAREDEVIL, because it too often had light breezy stories, like FAITH. The difference being Waid's curve balls were killer and you could never put the book down. It would be nice if FAITH could get some of that in this series- which is still very good.
SHURIKEN!By Masked Man
As you may have hear me talk about it before, I used to be an anime fan. Back when anything anime related was very scarce, I bought up nearly anything I could find. Being from the Chicagoland area, that often meant trips to the biggest rats nest of a comicbook store, Larry's! Those who have been, know! Well the biggest thing in anime, stateside, during the 80's was ROBOTECH. The comicbook publisher Comico, got the rights to ROBOTECH and published the comic book adaption. Featuring art work by Neil Vokes, Mike Leeke, and Reggie Byers. Reggie quickly became a fan fav and just as quickly launched his own anime inspired comic book: SHURIKEN!
While a few years behind Katanna (from BATMAN AND THE OUTSIDERS), Shuriken was one of the first female Asian martial artists (although Lady Shiva, 1975, was probably the first), the industry is loaded with 'em now. Kyoko Shidara. a.k.a. Shuriken, was an elite bodyguard for Morgan Enterprises. Your typical 80's corrupt corporation. With plenty of criminal activity to oversee, Morgan's elite guards were also assassins. Their top man, Lynx was always annoyed that Shuriken never got an assassination assignment. This was because she morally wasn't quite ready for it and the boss and CEO, Morgan, was interested in her. Keeping her on the payroll, he hoped she would warm-up to him and the job of assassin.
Kyoko herself is a rather lost girl. Her mother died when she was young and then the Yakuza killed father. She and her bother Koji were then both raised by her Aunt. Before he died, their father taught both Kyoko and Koji kung-fu (probably should have been karate, but I digress). They both continued to master the art after their father died. Kyoko's moved to America to go to college, while Koji stayed in Japan. Despite a college education, Kyoko never really applied herself to anything and ended up working for Morgan. Wasting her money, she lives paycheck to paycheck, spending most of her time with her wannabe pop star friend Joan, and her cop boyfriend Doug.
In the first issue, coming out in December 1985, Kyoko's friend Joan is attacked by an assassin named Eagle Claw. Luckily, Kyoko was on hand to successfully defend her. But Kyoko has a good idea who the assassin is.
As the first story arc continues, she discovers Eagle Claw is indeed her younger brother Koji. She then basically quits Morgan Enterprises to head to Japan, and discover what happened to her brother. To her horror, she discovers Koji has fallen in with the Yakuza. Kyoko is forced to fight her brother, who has basically thrown his life away. Finally getting through to him, he kills the Yakuza boss and is apparently killed himself.
After a few single story issues, Morgan Enterprises comes calling on Kyoko again, they (or rather he) wants her back. But Morgan's current personal bodyguard (and girlfriend) Megumo (the Spider), is not happy with the prospect of being replaced. By the younger, less battled scared and still innocent Kyoko. So she takes out her frustration out on Kyoko, framing her for murder and beating the crap out of her. This time Kyoko is saved by Joan's boyfriend, Doug, who kills Megumo. Fearful Megumo's fate could happen to her, Shuriken swears never to return to Morgan Enterprises, even if she has to kill Morgan.
After eight issues, the series came to an end, but Shuriken would live on. Reggie Byers took her to Eternity Comics, and continued the THE BLADE OF SHURIKEN. Picking up Kyoko's life after leaving Morgan Enterprises and becoming a freelance bodyguard. About the time that came to an end, Reggie put together, SHURIKEN TEAM-UP, which was a crossover with other Eternity Comics characters- it never made it passed the first issue. At this point (or maybe earlier) Eternity buys the character from Reggie. They attempted three more series without him, and they are all terrible. Seriously, just up and down awful, even with some early work by Jason Waltrip. I rarely give a CRAP score in my reviews, but all three non-Reggie Byers SHURIKEN series score CRAP.
I'm probably mixing up the time line a bit here, but this was the last we'd see of Shuriken. As Eternity Comics was bought by Malibu Comics, which was then bought by Marvel Comics. Although, when Marvel was trying to work all the Malibu properties into their expand universe, they had master comicbook artist George Perez do a redesign of Shuriken! Pretty neat, but I prefer the anime look. This Shuriken, who appeared in ULTRAFORCE and elsewhere, given a new history, superpowers and a new name, Brittany Chien.
A few years back I ran into Reggie Byers at a comicbook convention, and he confirmed, what you can probably guess. The Malibu characters (Shuriken included) are in legal, Marvel (now Disney) limbo, basically never allowed to see the light of day again. Reggie himself moved on to have some success with a Christian kids concept, KIDZ OF THE KING. But my heart will be forever linked with those first eight issue of Kyoko Shidara, aka Shuriken. The stories were base to be sure, and Byers' art wasn't as slick as 'American anime artist' today but it was exciting enough. The final two issues I'd argue still hold up pretty well. Fill-in writer/artist Michio Okamura just plus-ed everything Reggie created. The art was slicker and more in depth and the story was more developed. I'd recommend those two issues to anyone.
As it is, SHURIKEN is a forgotten character of the indie comic / early anime scene, which is kinda why I did this write-up. Only the first four issues were ever re-printed, in one of the industry's earliest tradebacks, back in 1987. In a perfect world, the rights to Shuriken would return to Reggie and he'd be able to do something cool with her. As surely Disney doesn't give a damn about her.
WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO WONDER WOMAN!?By Masked Man
Is there any more maligned big name superhero than Wonder Woman? I mean, we ain't talking Red Tornado here, we are talking Wonder Woman! She's was the third superhero to get a network prime time TV show (behind Batman and the Green Hornet, Superman's show syndicated). She's one of the only three superheroes who kept their title after the fall of superheroes, during comic books Atomic Age (Superman and Batman were the other two, while Green Arrow and Aquaman continued as back-up features). She sells a ton of merchandise every year, which is the main reason DC keeps publishing her, even when her sales are down. She is easily DC's 3rd biggest star, arguable the most famous female superhero is the world and yet she's never had a cartoon series, and until next year, has never had a movie. But the bigger issue is, why does DC seem to have no idea what to do with her???
On some level, Wonder Woman will never become a hit in comics. Because the fact is, the comic book industry is still on a slow downward slide, there are more people dropping comics than new readers coming in. And the large pool of long time readers have pretty much written off Wonder Woman, no matter what they do with her. Kinda the reverse of Wolverine, doesn't matter how bad a WOLVERINE comic is, the average fan has pegged him as cool, so his series will always well sell.
Though, the one thing I'm tired of hearing, when hearing someone working on Wonder Woman is, she's tricky- she hard to do right. Forgive me but no, you just don't have any idea who the hell Wonder Woman is, that's the problem and it's your problem, not Wonder Woman (per se).
You see, when any superhero is having a sales slump, the number one cure is to take that character back to basics. Go back to the tone and focus of the origin issues, when the hero was a hit. Works almost every time. Guess which superhero never gets that treatment? Yup, Wonder Woman! Most of the time they run in the completely opposite direction. Why in the late 60's, DC thought the best thing to do to improve sales was to not make her a superhero anymore! Can you imagine Marvel going, well Spider-Man isn't selling too well these day- Let's take away his powers and costume and see if he sells better as a straight action hero!? Makes me wonder if anyone writing for DC even knows what Wonder Woman's basics concept is!
So let me break it down for you. Wonder Woman was created back in 1941 by William Moulton Marston and artist Harry G. Peter. Based on Marston's belief of the sexes (which you are free to not believe in, but they are what Wonder Woman's core concept is based on), which is that women are superior to men. Marston looked at world history (and currently being in the middle of a second world war), and decided it was all pretty well screwed up men: Their greed and their wars. Since he believed women were more nurturing, the world would be better if they ran everything. So on a small little island, he created a world run by women. Using the Greek myth of Amazons as a jumping off point, he created the Paradise Island. In the 2000 years they lived apart from men, they became physically and mentally superior to men. They had machines that could look into the past, purple rays that could cure any illness or injury, and invisible aircraft! And with the Ancient Greek idea image, they were perfect in body as well as mind. They trained in sports and combat everyday. But when you are immortal, living on a paradise island for 2000 years combat was pretty much sport as well. They had no malice, no anger and no real danger as well.
Into this environment was born Wonder Woman, the only child of the Amazon's and their Princess no less (if you are looking for any personality flaw for Wonder Woman to have, I think spoiled rot might be the only one). And clearly her birth was no accident, the Greek gods must have planned this (though I believe George Perez was the first to state this in the comics). Princess Diana was always a little different from her sister Amazons. And years later, when the Greek gods demanded the Amazons to choose a champion to help the Allied forces defeat the Axis in World War II, Diana was that champion. If you remember, her mother, the Queen, forbid her to enter the contest. But Diana was a child of destiny, she entered and won. And as it is said in SENSATION COMICS #1, “...Wonder Woman, to save the world from the hatreds and wars of men in a man-made world!” That's who Wonder Woman is, even more than Superman, Wonder Woman is out to make the world a better place. And how does she go about it, to quote ALL-STAR COMICS #8 (her first appearance), “...a woman to whom the problems and feats of men are mere child's play.” Notice that, not just feats, but 'problems'. Wonder Woman is here to fix things, not beat-up badguys.
Wonder Woman's downward slide started pretty much after Marston left the books (WONDER WOMAN and SENSATION COMICS) in 1948. The long string of male writers, after him, just didn't seem to grasp the concept of her. For two years later, Wonder Woman was dropped from SENSATION COMICS. Heck, even when Marston was still writing, other writers in ALL-STAR COMICS benched her as the Justice Society of America secretary! As she moved into the 1950's (which was a weird time for everyone) Wonder Woman didn't just face aliens and monsters, she had her love life to worry about (can't save the world if I'm not good wife material). Next came the de-powering of the late 60's early 70's. Returning her to superhero status, and just repeating the bland adventures before the make over didn't help much. Wonder Woman was stuck in pedestrian adventures and often with less than stellar talent. So much so DC killed her in the CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS.
Although within months, George Perez relaunched Wonder Woman in perhaps her best outing since her creation. Although for everything Perez did right with the character, everyone seem to get the wrong message about her, Wonder Woman is now a warrior! Even though, if you check out the covers of the 62 issues George Perez was apart of, only twice does she brandishing a weapon (spear in #10, handgun in #12). In her last run of 48 issues (not counting variant cover) she's brandishing a weapon 16 times. (guess how many times she brandished a weapon her original run, including SENSATION (not counting the de-powered issues): once(!) in 409 issues (#209)). George Perez's goal was to give Wonder Woman more 'Ray Harryhausen'-ish adventures, like JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS. She never used weapons against people or villains. They only rare time she did was against monsters. Today she seemingly never goes anywhere without a sword and shield.
Apparently, saving the world doesn't makes sense, but warrior woman does. You know who really started this Wonder Woman is a bad@$$ warrior: Alex Ross. In the possible future story, KINGDOM COME, like almost everyone else in the comic, Wonder Woman had lost her way and became hardcore. Helping to leading the superhero community to war in the climax. Heck, when Alex painted panels based on ACTION COMICS#1, DECTECTIVE COMICS #1, and (I guess SENSATION COMICS #1 wasn't violence enough for him) WONDER WOMAN #1, each one was faithful, except WW#1. There he replaced her lasso with a spear! From then on, that's how everyone viewed Wonder Woman, she was bad@$$ chick like the villain turned hero XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS. Seemingly everyone forgot Wonder Woman wasn't in her right mind in KINGDOM COME. Even the late great (very great) Darwyn Cooke had Wonder Woman sit back and allow revenge killings happen right in front of her. Topping it all off, was Greg Rucka, a guy a lot of people consider the best current Wonder Woman writer. He had Wonder Woman murder someone in cold blood (apparently, that's the only way to handle villains with mind control, even though she never had to kill Dr. Psycho in the past 62 years). It's no wonder Wonder Woman is failing to connect, she become nothing like the popular character Marston created.
And worst than that, the past few writers have all been rewriting her history. You know a company is completely out of ideas when they can't even stick with the character's origin. At the start of the New 52, Paradise Island was no longer a paradise. The Amazon's were stuck in the bronze age, and spent their time getting knocked up by sailors, then killing them, and 'selling' the any male offspring to Hephaestus (I think Marston is doing about 350 rpm in his grave now). And everyone seems to have a problem is Wonder Woman being 'born' of clay. Forgetting that a lot of 'characters' in Greek Mythology are born of the Earth in some way. Heck, according to most mythology we are all born of sand!
Finally, if they aren't screwing around with her morality, or history, they are screwing around with her powers. Wonder Woman has always been considered the second toughest superhero in the DCU (next to Superman, of course). One of the good thing's George Perez did was clearly establish this. Basically, hyper-evolving Wonder Woman in a few months, like Superman was over many years. Gone was her bizarre power to glide on the wind (?), now she could just fly. But then he de-powered her in other way, because it didn't fit his image to 'fix' Wonder Woman. Gone was all the high tech and her mental abilities. You probably didn't even know Wonder Woman was a powerful telepath. Along with other abilities she control her weapons (lasso, plane, etc.) with her mind. This basically like a writer saying, I don't get Superman's vision powers, let's just dump 'em.
But if you want Wonder Woman to fight with a sword and shield, you got to de-power her, otherwise why would she need'em? Back when Linda Carter was Wonder Woman on TV, she usually fought people like she was afraid they would hurt themselves! Even fighting a freaky caveman from outer space, she just gave him a few back hands. Now she needs intricate kung-fu moves and shield to protect herself from a bunch of World War I soldiers (wait WWI, I thought... ah whatever). Can imagine the online hate if Zack Synder had the Smallville fight in MAN OF STEEL reduced to a slow-mo kung-fu fight?
What was once so simple, has been turned into a mess, so you can see why everyone thinks Wonder Woman is tricky and hard to pull off- because they have no frick'n idea who she is in the first place! So they have slowing been changing her into a bronze age warrior, who enjoys kicking people's @$$ in the name of justice. When in truth Wonder Woman was created to be a compassionate, brilliant, powerful and confident woman who wants to save the world- from itself! And she used to have a good sense of humor too!
Proofs, co-edits & common sense provided by Sleazy G
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