Since I’m a few hours earlier than normal this week so ahead of Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Five being published, there’s only a couple of titles for me to round up this week featuring Wonder Woman. Join me after the jump then for The Legend of Wonder Woman #10 and DC Comics: Bombshells.
Both of which are set during World War II but if you prefer World War I as a milieu, you can stay here and look at some more set photos from the forthcoming Wonder Woman movie, with Gal Gadot as Diana and Chris Pine as Steve Trevor. The observant will notice that despite the different setting and despite wearing her Diana Prince glasses, Wondy still hasn’t really got the hang of the whole ‘secret identity’ thing.
The Legend of Wonder Woman #10
Given that we’ve spent the previous nine issues on Paradise Island, issue 10 has the slightly difficult job of introducing Wonder Woman to the outside world. The first third of the issue somewhat unusually decides to go through an elaborate dream sequence involving… I’m not quite sure.
Now, there’s a golden rule that IMO any modern-day author would be wise to follow: never ever try to convey dialect or accent using spelling. And if you don’t believe me, go read Bram Stoker’s Dracula. For starters, in English, no one is ever unaccented or dialect-free – your pure English is someone else’s dialect, so if you’re trying to suggest a dialect or accent, you’re already suggesting there’s a ‘normal’ pronounciation that your reader shares. And then, unless everyone comes from the same place and is the same age (as accents change over time), you end up having to give everyone the same accent.
On top of that, you actually have to get the accent/dialect right, and then be able to convey it correctly to the reader. And English just isn’t phonetic. Try too hard and there’s a very big chance you’ll either get it all wrong or you’ll make it incomprehensible to the reader.
If everyone followed that rule, we’d all be a lot happier, particularly anyone English reading a comic featuring John Constantine that’s been written by an American.
Unfortunately, in this issue, writer Renae De Liz decides to try to give us what I think is a dream of Ireland. Or maybe it’s Scotland. But ‘Guid mornin’ Thomas! Gettin’ tanned a wee early in the day, are ye?’ Could be either, couldn’t it?
The rather unsubtle artwork by Ray Dillon is supposed to help. Red hair? Check. Wooden pub furniture? Check. Sign with ‘pub’ written on it? Check. Man wearing a green flat hat? Green flat hat is the trademarked American way of signifying Irish person and back in the 1940s, Irish people might actually still have worn them. So maybe it’s supposed to be Ireland.
But reading the ‘Loch Ewer Chronicle’? Loch is the Scottish spelling, Lough is the Irish spelling. And that red and white striped candy look? Pure American. So where is it?
Things don’t fare much better in the next third when Diana wakes up in Boston in the US. Now we have efforts to convey crotchy but kind old Bostonians. Are they Irish, Boston-Irish, regular old Bostonians or what? Are they connected to the dream in some way? Are they even Steve Trevor’s parents or grandparents? I just don’t know.
And then, of course, Diana – who normally speaks ‘Ancient Greek’ and just like Manuel in Fawlty Towers learnt her English ‘from a book’ (and a few chats with Steve Trevor) – opens her mouth to speak English and at no point does De Liz try to suggest anything approaching a tonal Ancient Greek accent inflecting Diana’s English.
Because no matter how bad her English or strong her accent is likely to be, Diana’s the heroine and we only do comedy dialect spelling for lesser and/or comedic characters, not for heroines or when authors aren’t quite sure of accents themselves.
Like I said, it’s best if we all stop trying to ‘do dialect’.
The final third sees Diana, convinced Steve Trevor died last issue, literally heading off into the sunset after deciding that the horror she’s been feeling on Paradise Island is the encroaching evil of the outside world.
Bearing an American flag – a gift from the kind Bostonians – she somehow winds up at a sorority where we see that someone called Etta is looming large in Diana’s near future. I wonder who that might be…
Is it any good?
The dialect is irritating and hard to fathom, the Bostonian old timers are less hard to fathom and equally irritating/patronising, but when De Liz stays on target and keeps to her usual theme, the issue’s strong. It should be a good foundation for future adventures in the outside world. Artwork’s good, too, although whether it’s ‘Ireland’ or ‘Scotland’, it’s definitely not Ireland or Scotland.
Rating: 4/7 (artwork: 5/7)
DC Comics: Bombshells #26
DC Comics: Bombshells may be weekly, but a quick look over the back issues will show you that such is the huge cast list that writer Marguerite Bennet has to juggle that Diana appears only once a month.
So, in this month’s DC Comics: Bombshells, we pick up from where last month’s left off, with Diana facing off against her Golden Age adversary, the Baroness Paula Von Gunther. Turns out that the Baroness not only commands an army of the ‘tenebrae’, she’s been given Wonder Woman-like strength and speed by Tenebrus, so the fight is on.
Who are the tenebrae and Tenebrus? Both the baroness and Wonder Woman decide to fill us in, although they disagree on each other’s interpretation of the facts.
I’m not sure if it’s any clearer, with all this talk of ‘the dark down below’ and souls, but I think Tenebrus lives at the bottom of the sea, rather than in the Underworld. Or maybe it’s both.
Wherever he is, he’s not leaving Wonder Woman with many options…
Is it any good?
As with all these brief single-issue swaps between the different superheroines each month, it’s a bit too brief to really get your fire going. It also doesn’t help that half the issue is taken up with the tenebrae plot dump, meaning there’s a couple of brief fights between Diana and Paula and that’s about it for the fun stuff.
But it’s interesting to see that while the baroness of old gets a head nod, with talk of Diana being allowed to keep Steve as ‘a pet’, she’s here presented as the anti-Wonder Woman – someone who fights as well as an Amazon and is as strong as Diana, but who serves a different ‘god’. It’s a big boost for the wartime villainess, one that’s probably going to be mirrored with the other superheroines and their adversaries. It’s also a welcome one.
Rating: 4/7 (Artwork: 5/7)