Wednesday, 17 August 2011

DC Retroactive 1990s Wonder Woman #1 review

Wonder Woman does pal Etta Candy a favour by babysitting girls' club The Blossoms. Asked what they do all day, it's 'we don't get mussed up' and 'we stay outta our folks' hair'. Of course, Diana's not having that. Starting small, she teaches the girls about exercise, tracking and self-belief, transforming them from a pack of bored under-achievers into young Amazons. They moan, but little by little they begin to enjoy seeing just what they can do when they try.

Sounds like fodder for a short story, but the 26 pages pass oh-too-quickly in the hands of writer Bill Messner-Loebs. He reminds us how great his Nineties run was, making this the most enjoyable, amusing Wonder Woman story for years. Diana is clever and inspirational as she improvises an Amazon boot camp. And she shows her sense of humour when she tries - but not too hard - to get into the world of The Blossoms (click image to enlarge).
There's drama, but no super-villain or monsters here. It's about people like us, and Diana quietly carrying out her mission to make the world a better place, not out of a sense of superiority, but out of love. Any writers who believe that the existing Wonder Woman isn't 'human' enough should start with Loebs' work.

Lee Moder also reprises his Nineties gig, producing some gorgeous artwork with inker Dan Green. His Diana is strong, smart and wry, while his kids look like cartoon-real girls and boys - vital for a story such as this. He convinces us that the Blossoms really are changing over the weeks, from couch potatoes to can-do balls of fire. And he caps it all with a simply lovely cover, nicely coloured by Wes Hartman.

The interior colours are great too. Yes, I just wrote that a DC Retro book has pleasing tones - Chris Beckett gives us the brightness appropriate to this tale, going gloomy only when the scene demands it.

Letterer Dezi Sienty completes the excellent core creative team assembled by editors Chynna Clugston Flores and Kwanza Johnson - credit to every one of them.

I suppose it's too much to ask that this bunch be tapped to take over the New 52 Wonder Woman book once the starting team of Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang leave? I'm not wishing them gone, but it'll happen, and Loebs, Moder and co really have a handle on who Wonder Woman is meant to be. I'm sure they could add in the occasional bloody sword if that's what DC really wants ...

The reprint is from 1992's Wonder Woman #66, by Loebs and Paris Cullins. It's the start of a saga that saw Diana dumped in an alien prison, and one of the best stories post-Crisis Wonder Woman had. I don't think it's been collected - if anyone knows different, please put me right - but it really should be.

And that's it for this comic, easily the best of DC's Retroactive entries for Wonder Woman, and just what I need after a difficult year for the character.

8 comments:

  1. Yes, clearly the best of the Retroactives so far. But all 3 of this week's were pretty good. I still wish DC put a little more care in the package (a cover of the reprint? Identifying the original issue somewhere besdies the tiny type of the indicia? A blurb telling you what trade the rest of the story is collected in, if any? Releasing the continuations of the old stories digitally that week?).

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  2. Wow, this was really a wonderful issue. I'd love to see more Wonder Woman from this team again. Loved the reprint, too!

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  3. You're so right, Snell. if only we readers really were the editors of the books, as Marvel used to joshingly claim.

    I also like the Batman one, the Flash book less so, although it did reflect one of Wally's less sterling periods.

    A big fat ditto from me, Rob.

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  4. I thought this story was one of the best WW stories I've ever read!

    Yes, it had some minor probs, but they were more than made up for by all the positive energy and the magnificence of Diana's true heart being show one final time.

    That Barbie & Ken panel is definitely going on my site multiple times. What a classic bellylaugh!

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  5. I liked it too, and it makes me want to read more of Messner-Loebs' run, which I don't think I followed much at all. Wonder Woman should do more comedy, she's good at it!

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  6. Carol, isn't it great to have an instant classic panel from Wondy? When was the last time that happened?

    You've got a great image there, Siskoid - Diana in comedy club mode, new gags written on her hand.

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  7. A superb read...one of the best WW stories for a long time; my only complaint was the politically- correct Blossom girls but its a small glitch.
    A very enjoyable book, and achieved the remarkable; pleasing the Strickland. I didnt think anything could do that...

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  8. 'The Blossom girls' ... Now I have a terrible telly theme stuck in my head, Karl!

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