DC Digital Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman #45, #46, #47 review

College students Alicia, Jody and Nancy are exercising on a beach when Wonder Woman appears and races champion runner Jody. She gives no quarter, lecturing the young women on why she's better than them, in the opening chapter drawn by Irene Koh and coloured by Wendy Broome.

Then evil otherworldly counterpart Superwoman shows up, to show Diana that actually, she's the best. As the girls film the fight for social media, Wonder Woman takes out Superwoman brutally.

I can't remember the last time I was more disappointed in a comic; this is a terrible depiction of Wonder Woman. That it's a Sensation Comics story I've been anticipating for ages makes it all the worse - this is written by Barbara Randall Kesel, who was behind some of my favourite comic stories way back when. Batgirl. The new Hawk & Dove. Ultragirl. Strips that featured heroines who were as compassionate as they were strong - how could she not be a great fit for Wonder Woman?

Here are a few moments from the third chapter of 'Besties', with rather lovely art by Laura Braga and colourist Carrie Strachan, as Diana battles Superwoman, whom she knows is carrying a child.
Diana doesn't give a thought for the baby's safety, or how over the top her strangling of the Earth 3 Lois Lane is. The only emotion Diana shows, apart from annoyance, is regret that she and Superwoman can't fight alongside one another.

This isn't the behaviour of a heroine, it's not the Wonder Woman of William Moulton Marston and HG Peter, or any logical evolution thereof. Sure, the last decade has emphasised Diana the warrior over Diana the peacemaker, but this isn't her using major force as a last resort, this is Diana cruelly revelling in her power to hurt Superwoman. This Diana is frightening

It's a real shame, because Randall Kesel does give us some nice moments, tempering the conceited, arrogant Diana of chapter one with some exchanges that do speak to who Diana is.

That was Koh again, then Braga, and here's chapter two artist Emma Vieceli, with colourist Kelly Fitzpatrick, depicting the best moment in the three-parter.
Plus, the students are nuanced in their opinions of Diana, and law student Jody gets a very nice moment along the way. These scenes don't wipe out the overall impression that this Diana is an ass, but they're something. Diana pushes messages of empowerment, but in the end, it seems she beats Superwoman not because she's the better fighter, but because the latter underestimates just how brutal Diana can be.

Am I wrong to think Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman should be an all-ages book? One featuring a Diana who is a truly good person, one who beats her foes without descending to their level and then going one floor below that?
A Diana who isn't crude and catty? 
A book that doesn't open with scenes such as this, meaning a parent has to think twice about giving it to their children, who love the sweet, smart, good heroine they know from story books and old cartoons?

I remain a Barbara Randall Kesel fan, she's shown her smarts again and again. I don't know what the brief was here; perhaps she and I simply see Diana very differently. But this three-parter dismayed me hugely.

I've enjoyed a lot of Sensation Comics. Loved a few. Put up with the constant insertions of Batman mythology. Always hoped for more than the very occasional story nodding towards the first 40 years of Diana's publication history. I am optimistic because that's what superheroes taught me to be.

But more stories such as this, and I'm out. I don't know who this person is, but it isn't Wonder Woman.


  1. I agree with this completely.

    This isn't a good depiction of Diana. There can be a message of 'continue to strive to improve yourself'. But her 'I'm better' dialogue just sounded narcissistic.

    And beating up a pregnant woman, and asking if she is 'screened for diseases'. Diana should be better than that.

    1. 'And beating up a pregnant woman, and asking if she is 'screened for diseases'. Diana should be better than that.'

      Exactly - and as a smarter man than me pointed out, just after condemning the very idea of 'slut-shaming'.

    2. I haven't read this, but from you show us here I think this shows us one of the main problems faced by women today. Not the characters, which I agree, seem to be a bit misrepresented, but the writer who both tells us that slut shaming is wrong and the slut shames someone. Our culture has taught women to value themselves based on the opinions of men, and by extension, the opinions of other people, and while women everywhere are fighting to change those attitudes, change what girls are being taught, they still fall victim to the very cultural behaviors they are trying to do away with.

      I admit, I don't think I like this Diana either, especially since part of the story here seems to be about setting examples. Strength ≠ Brutal, and I wish more writers in comics understood that.

    3. It is a real puzzler, Hector - the supposed throughline is all over the place. So many of Sensation Comics' scripts seem concerned with Diana's relationship with young women, to the detriment of the story. I'm good with Diana being a good role model via some decent supervillain fights rathe than hanging out with kids all the time.

  2. What a disservice to the mythos of Wonder Woman. Shameful.

  3. Hi Martin,

    You've said all that could be said, so just a few minor points: those first pages might have been salvageable if "I'm the best/there is no fair but not because I'm cheating" Diana had actually been Superwoman in disguise having some fun at her rivals expense and the genuine article showed up to prove she was full of it.

    Also if the baby HAS to be there then surely someone with a heritage that includes THE CREATION OF WRESTLING has some sort of hold that could keep Superwoman subdued until she could be turned over to the authorities and sent back to her own Earth.

    And finally, no, really, why is Superwoman's pregnancy a plot point at all?

  4. I like the idea of Superwoman pretending to be Diana, that would work, Simon. I really don't get why this story turned out as bad as it did.


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