(Formally) moving to its new home of Monday, it’s Weekly Wonder Woman, your weekly round-up of all the DC comics that have featured… well, you can probably guess who.
This week, we have the grand unveiling of the DC You Wonder Woman, the semi-successor to nu52 Wonder Woman. Yes, no longer will I be able to inaccurately mock the new 52 with a tedious reference to Apple Computers of the 1990s; now I must deal with the already self-mocking DC You. Supposedly, a lighter, happier, freer DC universe – ah, if only they could say ‘Marvel-ier’ – it’s got new versions of old characters, new comics and more, right down to a Black Canary who sings heavy metal while fighting crime.
While the launch has been underway for a couple of weeks now, with Superman getting his secret identity revealed and losing some of his powers over in Superman and Batman’s Bruce Wayne having been replaced by Commissioner Gordon in some kind of battle suit…
…this is the first week we’ve properly seen the new Wonder Woman make an appearance. So after the jump, as well as our regular scans over the Elseworld Wonder Women of Injustice Gods Among Us Year Four and Sensation Comics, we’ll be looking at the first-DC You issues of both Wonder Woman and Superman-Wonder Woman, wherein we get to meet the new DC You Wonder Woman – hint, she might just have a new costume.
And we’ll also be looking at the first issue of Justice League of America. Yes, I know there’s already a Justice League – this is the Justice League of America. Yes, I know there’s already been a nu52 Justice League of America with a completely different line-up – this is the regular Justice League line-up, with Superman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Cyborg. Yes, I know Wonder Woman isn’t American and actually lives in London, but that’s not my fault is it?
What do you mean they’re all still wearing their nu52 costumes? Don’t tell me that’s now an Elseworld, too. Sigh.
Talking of Elseworlds, here’s the new animated Wonder Woman. See if you can spot any actual similarities with normal Wonder Woman, beyond the fact she’s
- A woman
- The daughter of a god
- Has a boyfriend called Steve Trevor
Although I guess since Batman’s actually a vampire and Superman’s the son of Zod in Justice League: Gods and Monsters Chronicles, similarities aren’t really what Bruce Timm is going for…
Wonder Woman #41
As Wonder Woman Annual #1 neatly tied off all the plot threads of Meredith Finch’s first few issues of Wonder Woman, it’s time to pick up some even older threads left over from Brian Azzarello, while starting off some new storylines.
Donna Troy is still stuck in Olympus jail so Diana goes to visit her, believing that she can be redeemed.
Then she goes to visit Zeke and Zola by the ‘Pool of Olympus’, where she meets the newly modest Hera, who’s decided to put some clothes on.
As since Hephaestus has apparently relocated his forge from under Mount Etna to Olympus, too, Diana goes to visit him and get herself a new outfit.
And then on the way home, she decides to visit a suicide bomber who says he’ll blow himself up if he doesn’t get to meet her. Who’d have thought it – it was a trap!
However, she isn’t overcome and the ‘kid’ returns to his boss. Who is it? Well, he has a certain well known iconography…
Is it any good?
As with Meredith Finch’s previous work on the title, it’s fine. Not brilliant, but better than the superhero comic book average and no worse than about 50% of Volume 2 of Wonder Woman.
The issue serves to do several things, other than balls up continuity.
Firstly, it reminds us that Zeke, Zola, Hera et al are still around, even if they don’t have much to do with the main plot and have apparently scared off all the other gods of Olympus from the pool.
Secondly, it allows us to remember that Diana is compassionate and that there’s a chance for Donna Troy to be redeemed.
Thirdly and lastly, it introduces Diana’s new costume and gives us a new villain.
Let’s start with the costume. Meredith and Brian Finch are on record as having problems with the nu52 ‘bathing suit’ costume, arguing that it means that Wonder Woman is the only member of the DC ‘Trinity’ whom it’s possible to draw inappropriately. Although if Supes or Bats stands in a certain way, I’m sure that’s not entirely true.
Anyway, fair dos. That’s a known issue, one that has been addressed before, not necessarily to any great popularity, such as her new outfit in Odyssey.
However, all of these had ‘shown a little skin’ in some way or another, whereas this new DC You outfit is as covered up as anything Superman or Batman has worn. So yay for equality at last and Finch does give us a semi-plausible reason for the change of costume – that Wonder Woman as a girl didn’t mind flashing a bit of skin, but now she’s a woman and has all those responsibilities, it’s time to cover up. This is something I’ll touch on briefly when discussing Superman/Wonder Woman later.
All the same, it’s not great as a costume. While it’s nice to see the double-sword action being obviously built-in, rather than Wondy having that now-unnecessary scabbard on her leg the whole time, I’m not sure of the practicality of those blades being restricted to her bracelets – reduced flexibility in the wrist, n’all. It also does feel very much like armour and equally one questions how Diana’s supposed claim to be honouring her heritage with the outfit squares with the ‘body positive’ Amazons.
Indeed, as is often the case with Meredith Finch, one gets the feeling that she doesn’t really think through the underlying assumptions of comics. We’ve already looked at the issue of Donna Troy’s naming and here Wonder Woman describes her new armour as her ‘new costume’. That’s right – it’s a costume, not a uniform, not armour, not outfit, but a costume. Comic book terminology triumphs over in-world plausibility again.
Still, it could have been a whole lot worse and it means Brian Finch won’t get tempted to cheesecake Diana again, so I guess it’s a win on balance.
The new enemy probably won’t be familiar to many readers, seeing as beyond a brief appearance in issue #600, Aegeus hasn’t been seen since Volume 1:
Here, Finch gives us the idea that anyone killing a god inherits their powers, which Aegeus has apparently picked up on somehow, given that Wonder Woman became goddess of war by killing Ares back in issue #23.
However, Azzarello also gave us the idea that gods can only be killed ‘by their own blood’, which unless some god has been off playing the field again, isn’t Aegeus or this kid. Still, Tony Daniel is currently preparing to give us a run of Deathstroke, wherein Hephaestus wants Deathstroke to kill a god, which he can do if he has the right weapon…
…and Aegeus says much the same thing, so perhaps that’s a new twist rather than continuity cock-up, although presumably Hephaestus doesn’t want Deathstroke to become a god, so perhaps that’s Aegeus being misleading or getting the wrong end of the stick on the whole ‘inherit their powers score’. I’m assuming we might never found out though, unless they actually manage to kill Wonder Woman. I’m thinking that’s unlikely.
Still, there is some promise of good things to come, with the idea that Wonder Woman hasn’t really been using her goddess of war powers until now, so maybe we’ll get all kinds of innovation.
Superman/Wonder Woman #18
When last we left Superman and Wonder Woman, it looked like bad news for the power couple.
Strangely, however, this slightly devastating revelation/white lie gets completely ignored in Superman/Wonder Woman #18, which is far more concerned with Superman’s identity having been revealed and his having depowered a bit. Fortunately, Diana’s around and she still loves Superman at least. She’ll even change her nightwear policy to include a Superman T-shirt.
(Apparently a DC directive as this Tony Daniel art was rejected as being ‘too saucy’ for the power couple when he was illustrating it).
Clark is summoned back to Smallville by Lana Lang, who’s in some kind of danger, but not being able to fly makes it a little harder for him to get there than normal. But fortunately, there’s a loving girlfriend around who can fly, even if Lana Lang being Clark’s first girlfriend makes things potentially a little awkward…
Lana’s gone missing by the time they arrive, though, which means Clark and Diana have to go undercover to find her.
Looking around town, it turns out that someone – perhaps a top-secret government organisation – has been taking away bits of Clark’s childhood.
Or maybe it’s these happy-go-lucky types who are responsible:
Is it any good?
Although slightly burdened by the weight of the ’Truth’ storyline running through most Superman comics, this issue does at least own it, giving us a chance to see Clark take Diana to his own town and open up about his life, something he’s not really done previously. It also enables him to lean on Diana, who’s got her shiny new costume, and meet some big baddies.
That makes the issue largely one of some great ‘squee’ moments and continuity, interspersed with typical superhero undercover organisations. Generally, though, the writing’s pretty good, although the fact Wonder Woman doesn’t seem to know who Lana Lang is and is looking forward to meeting her is slightly odd, given the recent Doomed storyline:
Doug Mahnke’s art varies between pretty and ugly, with the new-look, crewcut Superman being even less appealing than his previous Draco Malfoy efforts, but sometimes he does well with Diana.
A good beginning leading hopefully to a fun fight involving the Suicide Squad next issue.
Justice League of America #1
With the main Justice League full of big, important, Geoff Johns concerns that affect the entire DC Multiverse, there’s presumably room for a title involving the Justice League just doing their thing together. And with the DC You being a lighter, happier affair and the previous JLA having been about beating up the proper Justice League, I guess there’s room to turn JLA into the fun, less continuity-bound Justice League.
Having said that, this issue is all about the death of Superman. The many, many deaths of Superman.
Something called The Infinity Corporation not only knows that Clark Kent is Superman – apparently this is all set before the DC You kicks off or might even be set in an Elseworld – so invites him to find out he’s about to die in lots of different multiverses. It’s up to him to avoid that.
Meanwhile, someone’s invited all the Justice League to a meet-up… with Parasite!
Parasite starts draining both Flash and Green Lantern, but fortunately, Diana’s around.
Unfortunately, she’s a bit distracted by the voices in her mind, but Superman arrives in the nick of time…
Except then she disappears.
Meanwhile, down on Atlantis, someone’s down in the Temple to the Olympic Gods… but is promising an even bigger, better god is coming.
And they’re not wrong. Great Rao! It’s Great Rao!
Is it any good?
It’s not bad. A bit more fun than Justice League has been under Geoff Johns, but nothing truly innovative.
Bryan Hitch’s characterisations are okay, but don’t really ring that true, with Diana jibing at Green Lantern that he’s not known for his subtlety, for example. Although maybe that’s payback for ‘Dibs’.
Daniel Henriques’ art is quite nice, a step up from Doug Mahnke certainly, but not always great.
But a good use of Parasite, some groundwork being set up for later story developments and some actual fun to be had for a change.
Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Four #7
A lot of flashbacks this issue, as we see the background to Bruce Wayne’s deal with Ares and the Amazons’ war against Superman. Of course, it’s all leading up to the point where Superman and Wonder Woman have to fight, which if it is going to happen as the cover suggests, is going to be because of some trickiness by Bruce and co.
Who saw that coming? Apart from everyone? You’d think there’d be something in the rules about that.
Of note in this issue, though, is that although Hera scorched Hippolyta last issue, she isn’t dead and that Zeus is ‘the all-father’ in this – and sides with Hera against Hippolyta and his daughter Wonder Woman.
Not bad, but it’s a lot of backstory that we probably didn’t need as we’d already guessed it, and which just prolongs the inevitable fight this is heading towards.
Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman #39
A brief, amusing one-issue story that sees Wonder Woman freeing a lion from its owner, to demonstrate to him that pet-training is a two-way thing: just as the owner trains the pet, the pet trains the owner.
To demonstrate the point, Diana relates how she acquired her pet lions Patience and Fortitude when she was just a girl…
It’s different to the usual Sensation Comics fare and a bit more fun, although the artwork doesn’t always sync with the story and the fact Wonder Woman calls the man in question ‘Skinny-Screamy-Bald-Guy’ is both atypically judgemental for her and odd given he’s neither bald nor skinny (admittedly, it’s the name that the lion gives him, but by the same token, I doubt the lion would regard his efforts as very screamy).
All the same, nothing special.
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 next week