Thursday, 28 April 2011

Wonder Woman #610 review


Diana wakes up in a hospital bed, meets Dr Etta Candy, Nurse Diana Prince, Dr Steve Trevor and Mrs Mavis Infodump.

Actually, it's Myra Clotho, but it might as well be Mrs Mavis Infodump, as she tells Diana in tremendous detail that the life she's living is indeed a pretence. Diana's greatest enemy has changed the world, her protector gods have retreated, but she - the embodiment of Fate in this non-reality - has woven a secret strand of Diana's life below the, er, official strand of life. So she's not Wonder Woman, she's Under Wonder Woman. And the true source of Diana's power is ... a chicken in a basket. Look, I'm not making this up (click to enlarge/giggle):


Stronger than Hercules, wiser than Athena, tastier than a Harvester pub lunch ... talk about something coming out of left field. It's not a magnificent eagle on Diana's chest, it's Foghorn Leghorn, I say, Foghorn Leghorn. Still, as everything points towards this 'era' being on the outs, I won't cry fowl; the dead bird will fly the nest soon enough.

This issue also has DC Universe burlesque act the Morrigan sisters mooching about being eeevil, but more and more it seems they're not important. the master - or rather, mistress - manipulator is the being who has changed reality, banishing the true Diana. Old Biffy Clyro - sorry, Myra Clotho - bangs on about the 'avatar/spirit of vengeance' for ages without bothering to name her. And Diana doesn't trouble the old biddy for this trivial knowledge before she - ooh, never saw that coming - drops dead. 

Honestly, scripter Phil Hester continues to make a silk purse out of the sow's ear of a storyline J Michael Straczynski bequeathed him - or at least, the Primark version of a silk purse - but it's getting harder and harder to care about any of it. This is the villain. No, these are the real villains. Ah, but have you met the real, real villain? Despite effective, lyrical imagery and good moments such as Diana demonstrating love for her enemies, showing the fighting prowess of classic Wonder Woman and restoring the memories of Artemis, I just want this to be over.

Meanwhile, it at least looks purdy. Eduardo Pansica essays some fine action scenes, stylishly inked by Wayne Faucher and Eber Ferreira. And in Myro Clotho they give us probably the most realistic old lady I've ever seen in a comic. Their NuSteve Trevor, debuting here and a likely holdover when we get to the book's next reality, is every bit the handsome young hero. An 'arrows and bracelets' scene is thrilling to see. And everything is gorgeously coloured by Pete Pantazis and nicely lettered by Travis Lanham. 

And the jigsaw motif cover, by illustrator Don Kramer and colourist Alex Sinclair, is excellently conceived and superbly executed.

But I can't help feeling that all these creative gifts could be put to better use elsewhere. Specifically, on a book featuring a classic Wonder Woman, rather than the Diana we have here - ever improving, but strangled by a storyline too convoluted even for a superhero soap. 

And there are still four issues to go ...



10 comments:

  1. I have tried to come at the past few issues with your kind and meticulous and forgiving eye, Martin, and I just can't do it.

    It's awful. The cover... who is she clawing at? Is she mimicking the Cheetah? The interior art is bland and inconsistent at best, especially when saddled with such a boring costume, exploding right out of 1993. The story is dull and meandering and yet four more issues, according to the letter column, remain in this storyline.

    The problems people have with Wonder Woman... her haughty demeanor, her elusive personality... well, that falls on the creators, no? Get a sympathetic writer who can write sympathetic characters. Get an artist who can draw an amazing, humanistic woman in grounded reality as well as extraordinary circumstances. Or maybe an editor with a better feel for a female superhero (I've always believed the trick in WW is placing her as a fantasy character amidst superheroes. Why be scared of the mythology?)

    I feel badly for DC these days, with their 'see what sticks and if that doesn't work, Green Lantern Green Lantern Green Lantern.'

    Ok! End of rant! Still love your reviews!!
    craig

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  2. It's still 100% Not-Wonder Woman. She is the epitome of love, we're told, as she pummels the love into her foes and forms her lasso into a noose to "forgive them." Now she's going out to kill some folks.

    I don't think we'll have anywhere near a real WW in four more issues, or even eight. However, a story of what that lady's been doing during all this might be interesting to read.

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  3. This comic is terrible.
    That is all.

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  4. Actually, Wonder Woman having a "back-up reality?"

    Awesome concept worthy of Grant Morrison, execution aside. I give them full credit for Kirbyesque high-concept wonder in that.

    In fact, it's a bit reminiscent of Batman's "back-up persona of Zur-en-Arrh" come to think of it. It's as if DC opted to relaunch the series around a new continuity involving Batman's purple and gold alternative self.

    Question now is what, if anything, from this back-up gets retained when the master operating system gets back online?

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  5. But Craig, I was rather dismissive about this issue! I do like the cover though - I don't see Diana clawing, I see her trying to tap through realities.

    Er, yes, that's it ...

    I agree wholeheartedly with you about DC placing the blame in the wrong area for Wonder Woman's lack of popularity. You make sense. A good, committed creative team, a heroine who knows her she is, interesting supporting cast, high adventure, higher concepts, humour, fantasy, romance, mystery, soap, team-ups ... it's not rocket science, comics have been doing this for 70 years.

    Carol, might we declare Diana Day for when the real heroine comes back? We'll eat candy, fire guns at one another and go kanga roping.

    Timbotron, very to the point!

    Hey Chris, excellent observation about Grant Morrison. Isn't he now keen to tackle Diana?

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  6. Hi Mart,

    Great review. Under Wonder Woman, chicken in a basket, FogHorn LegHorn, LOL - can't stop laughing.

    - americanwonder :)

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  7. I have to agree...the issue may be an all over the place mishmash exposition smorgasborg, but the review was dead on hilarious. My daughter came in from the other room with one of those, "What could possibly be that funny?" look on her face. I'll tell you what, "Wonder Woman's secret power is a chicken in a basket!" that's what.

    Great review. I'm hanging in till the end, 'cause that's just my way, and Hester is doing something better here - what, I still don't know - but it's better. All the same, I just don't care. I wasn't really a Wonder Woman fan before, so I can't say 'Odyssey' has ruined her for me. But it ain't helping, either.

    And, I'm so tired of fill-in art.

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  8. Americawonder, you're very kind.

    As are you, Passage34. I do agree, Hester is making the overall run worth sticking with, even though this issue wasn't my favourite.

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  9. Boy, I say, boy, pay attention when I'm talkin' 'bout this here Wonder Woman chickee. Lord, that's boy's head's like a Themyscrian root cellah: full of mice.

    Hysterical, Mart :)

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  10. Why thank you, I say, thank you. Anyone for Daken as Pepe Le Pew?

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