Well, it was a bumper week for Wonder Woman. Wonder Women, to be exact. As well as her regular, slightly alternative universe title Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman giving us a quick trip to the underworld to enjoy, we had a return trip to the regular DC universe of Superman to do some very scientific experiments, and we had flashbacks to numerous appearances of hers throughout the ages in Justice League. On top of that, we had a look back at how she ended up spending more than a year asleep in Injustice: Gods Among Us – Year Three: Annual #1 and saw a rare return appearance by Red Son Wonder Woman over in Convergence – Action Comics #1.
See that dot on the horizon? That’s all my cash running away towards DC’s new headquarters.
Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman #32
While the Amazons fight the monsters released from under Paradise Island…
…Wonder Woman and Poison Ivy are performing a katabasis to face Typhon.
The fight proves hard, so Wonder Woman and Poison Ivy take a leaf out of history and decide to throw a mountain on Typhon, just like Zeus did. Although since Wondy isn’t quite strong enough to lift a mountain, Ivy gets Gaia and the Green to do the job for her.
Up above, all is peaceful, the Amazons having killed the other monsters. Despite Ivy’s actions last issue, Wondy decides not to bring Batman in on the action. Instead, having a forged an odd sort of friendship, she invites the impressed Ivy to the harvest festival.
Is it any good?
I really liked it. It’s not too basic, does a bit of Greek myth well, doesn’t ram its points home and is generally exciting.
True, the artwork’s not great, although better than last issue, the Amazon plot is relegated to a few panels this issue and some of the logic is faltering: if it takes days to get down to Tartarus…
…how come it takes minutes to get back up again?
But bonus points for not going with the dragon threatened last issue (particularly since we’ve already had a dragon or two in Sensation Comics) and giving us something very close to the Hesiodic tale. Indeed, on the myth front, as well as Gaia showing her might, we get a nice amalgam of the Hesiodic and Pindaric, as well as a combined reference/taunt: at one point, Typhon refers to Wonder Woman as not being a daughter of Zeus…
… an obvious nod to Athena and her role in Typhon’s downfall in Antoninus Liberali’s version of the myth – and the fact that Wonder Woman is a daughter of Zeus in the nu52. Whether that’s a suggestion that this pre-nu52 Wonder Woman isn’t as good as the nu52 one, who would kick Typhon around the block as she’s a daughter of Zeus, or whether it’s simply drawing an explicit line in the sand between this story and the nu52, I couldn’t say.
The ending, with Poison Ivy effectively joining the Amazon sisterhood, is a novel twist that echoes those very first issues of this new Sensation Comics, written by Gail Simone, in which Wonder Woman’s alternative way of dealing with Gotham’s criminals effectively ended all of Batman’s battles peacefully and mercifully.
All in all, one of the best Sensation Comics stories so far.
Rating: 4.5/5 (docked half a mark for the art)
Superman has discovered he has a new power – he can release all his solar energy in one big burst. Except he’s not quite sure how it works, so he calls on the Justice League to help him with his experiments – including Wonder Woman, who apparently has been sleeping in her armour again.
When he uses his new power, however, he runs out of energy and is just like regular humans until he can recharge again. But is he as powerful as he was before? Experiment 1 will reveal the answer. That involves being punched by Wonder Woman.
Which is enough for even Superman to think about having to see a dentist.
Just how much energy does he give off? Time for Experiment 2.
As the Justice League analyse their data, it’s time for a girlfriend to take a quick peek at her naked boyfriend – despite the gallantry (?) of Aquaman, who presumably thinks they should get married first*.
The experiments end as all good experiments do – down the pub.
Problem is – Clark Kent isn’t used to the effects of alcohol on humans. It’s a quick learning experience for him that amuses his girlfriend no end.
Is it any good?
After a brief stretch under Geoff Johns, Superman is even more briefly in the writing hands of its regular artist John Romita Jr. And for a first writing effort, it’s actually remarkably good – a jaunty, fun, almost Marvel-esque piece of comic book team camaraderie. Rather than world-ending doom, we get to see everyone down the pub, Batman drinking his early morning coffee and telling Superman not to sit on the chairs of the Batplane without his clothes on, and Superman being late for work with a hangover.
It’s all quite joyful stuff. Being Superman, it’s naturally about Superman – the rest of the issue is Wonder Woman-free and involves the partially human Superman stopping some robbers but getting injured in a way that makes one Lois Lane a bit suspicious about a certain Clark Kent, who appears to have been identically injured. But the first half is some proper Justice League fun.
I’m not quite sure why Aquaman feels the need to preserve Superman’s dignity from Wonder Woman (presumably, Atlantis is always the last to hear the gossip), why Clark and Diana aren’t quite as close together in the bar as you might expect a couple to be, even among co-workers, or why Clark wakes up alone (Diana off fighting gods and monsters already or did she not see him home?). But these are minor niggles, rather than anything derailing.
All in all, a good issue to read with some nice artwork, too, although unfortunately, it’s back to DC business as usual next issue, with dark and terrible things set to occur.
* I think we can probably assume he was just messing with his pal Wonder Woman – another piece of the book’s fun.
Justice League #40
It’s a prelude to the impending Darkseid Wars in Justice League with Geoff Johns setting the scene for the fallout from Convergence. As is usual with Johns, nothing is desperately well written and the dialogue is terrible, but every page has some awesome comic book plot revelation.
If you know your DC history, you’ll be aware that over the years, there have been a number of reboots or Crises of the entire DC universe; these were marked in the Wonder Woman universe of old with Volumes, Volume 1 ending with Crisis on Infinite Earths, Volume 2 ending with Infinite Crisis and Volume 3/Odyssey ending with Flashpoint. All of these reboots are being tied together in Convergence and the textual explanation for it all emerges in this Justice League.
While I won’t run through the nitty gritty of all Moebius and the Anti-Monitor’s grit-off, of particular interest is that as well as a rundown of the story of the New Gods, including Mr Miracle, Steppenwolf and Wonder Woman guest stars Orion and Highfather…
…the issue gives us flashbacks to each of those Crises and brings in old-school artists to do them in the styles of the time (or maybe just nicks the original spreads), including Wonder Woman god Phil Jimenez.
And on top of that, we get a flashback to Justice League #3, but rather than Jim Lee’s original or Doug Mahnke’s slightly inferior version, we get the far superior work of current Justice League artist Jason Fabok.
Ah, would that we could get him to draw Wonder Woman all the time.
Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Three – Annual #1
Year Three of slugfest Injustice: Gods Among Us has just finished and Year Four begins later today. What’s that going to be about, after we’ve escalated from Superman v Batman and regular superheroes in Year One, to Superman v intergalactic superheroes in Year Two to Superman v magical heroes in Year Three? Well, if you watched the end of the video at the beginning of my review of the last issue, you’ll already have a good idea, but suffice it to say, it’s going to be a very Wonder Woman-centric Year.
But now we have an annual that’s essentially a mop-up issue for comic books nerds wondering where characters x, y and z have been the whole time and how a, b, and c happened in Year Three. Characters x, y and z are largely the likes of Doctor Occult and the issue spends some time killing them off. But among them are the Teen Titans, including Wonder Girl Cassie Sandsmark.
Again, a, b and c mainly involve the vexing question of how John Constantine got Raven under his control, but that same plot also answers the question of what magic Constantine used to get Wonder Woman to sleep for over a year.
For those with relatively long memories, you’ll note how the artwork parallels Wonder Woman #1, which was the last time Wonder Woman found her bedroom magically invaded.
Not an issue to bother with unless you’re following the Injustice saga and even then, perhaps not one to bother with unless you were wanting a few plot holes plugged.
Convergence: Action Comics #1
Talking of slugfests, this week’s set-up for an explicit slugfest that involves a version of Wonder Woman is Convergence: Action Comics #1. Who’s fighting? Well, I’m not quite sure – here, let me show you, since page 2 of the issue is a handy guide to which particular continuities are going to be duking it out.
‘Pre-Crisis Earth-Two Metropolis’ I get (so that’s pre-1987, parallel Earth Metropolis). Fine. ‘Qward Anti-Matter Universe’, I’ve never heard of but let’s go with it, since that’s relatively self-explanatory. ‘Atlanta, Georgia’ is clearly a city, but I’ve no idea what that’s all about.
What we’re mostly concerned with, though, is ‘Moscow, Russia’ – although technically, that should be probably be ‘Moscow, USSR’ since we’re dealing with the Red Son continuity. For those of you who don’t know, Red Son was a ‘what if’ Elseworld that wondered what would have happened to both Superman and the world if his spaceship had landed in the Soviet Union, rather than the USA, back in the 1950s. Lots of things are different, with Superman initially becoming Stalin’s right-hand man and Lex Luthor becoming the US President’s most trusted advisor – and the husband of Lois Lane. ‘Truth, Justice and the American Way’? Think ‘champion of the common worker who fights a never-ending battle for Stalin, socialism, and the international expansion of the Warsaw Pact.’
And Wonder Woman? Well, lots happen to her, of course, but a slightly one-sided romance with Comrade Superman is among them, as well as a conversion to socialism – although presumably Paradise Island was already a bit communist to start with.
Although things don’t end well in Red Son, here we’re mid-book, with Wonder Woman, Superman and Stalin having to deal with Lex Luthor to work out what’s up with this big dome around Moscow that’s trapped everyone inside and removed Superman and Wonder Woman’s powers. But, being Convergence, it’s all about picking superheroes for a fight and, surprisingly, it’s not Superman who gets picked to get into issue #2.
Okay, not completely surprisingly, since Red Son Wonder Woman is actually one of the characters you can play in the game Injustice: Gods Among Us (synergies, my friends, synergies). But a bit of a surprise and a nice one, too.
More surprising, for those of you who’ve read Red Son and didn’t really like how Wonder Woman was treated in it, is that here she’s very much the centre of attention and is treated quite respectfully here. As well as the one who has to think rationally while men bicker…
… we also get a reference to Wonder Woman’s relationship with the Greek gods…
…and we also get an interesting return for one of Wonder Woman’s most famous accoutrements – here being built by Lex Luthor.
All in all, quite a promising issue and a good set up for the next one.
Disclaimer: Owing to the small fortune it would take to buy every single DC comic each week, this is not a guaranteed rundown of all the comics that feature Wonder Woman. If you know of any I’ve missed, email me or leave a comment below and I’ll cover them the following week