Weekly Wonder Woman: May’s titles and movie news

Yes, I know – why call it Weekly Wonder Woman when the last one was more than a month ago and I’m not going to doing one next week, either, since I’m on holiday? Sigh. All I can do is apologise and confess that since I’m doing volunteer work on Fridays, most of my Friday work ends up on Monday instead, and I therefore usually have to choose on Monday between writing about tele (this ‘ere blog’s raison d’être) and WWW, which can take a good couple of hours to do (even if it doesn’t look like it). Guess which one wins.

However, today, I have the time to do both. Yay! Plus Rebirth is on the way. DC’s partial reboot of its universe, it’s best summarised as “Hey fanboys? Yes, you guys who all buggered off when the nu52 started and who were the ones who actually bought comics? Want to have storylines exactly like they used to be 10 years ago? Want old Superman and Batman back? Well here you go!”

That means, following issue #52 of a whole range of titles, big changes will be afoot, numbering will return to issue #1, nu52 Superman will disappear/die (although maybe not) to be replaced by the old one who was married to Lois Lane and has a kid, and all manner of other things will happen. So I’d better do something to mark the change, hadn’t I?

We’ve already seen a little of what Rebirth means for our Diana, although here’s the full schedule:

Paulo Siqueira is also no longer illustrating Wonder Woman: Rebirth #1.

But after the jump, we’ll see how the nu52 has effectively ended for our Diana when we look at Wonder Woman #51-52, as well as for Superman as we take a gander at Superman-Wonder Woman #28-29, Batman-Superman #32 and Action Comics #52. Finishing things up, the Darkseid War is nearly ending over in Justice League #49 (that’s got to make up some ground, hasn’t it…? Oh, it’s going to end on Wednesday with issue #50 instead of #52. Do you reckon they planned it that way?), while Wonder Woman has to deal with her sister, Cassandra, and niece Wonder Girl, over in Teen Titans #19.

Meanwhile, the action hasn’t been stopping for various Elseworlds Wonder Women. Wondy has to deal with Superman dying (again) in Dark Knight III #4continues her WW2 fight in Norway against the Titan in the acclaimed The Legend of Wonder Woman #24-26 (which has recently been granted a second volume)and is having her sexy origin retold yet again in the rather massive Wonder Woman – Earth One

All that after the jump. But for those of you with an interest in Movie Wonder Woman, here’s some video of Movie Themyscira:

Here’s a picture of Connie Nielsen as Diana’s Movie mum, Hippolyta.

Hippolyta on Themyscira

And here’s a picture from the final day of filming:


Yes, I’ve been saving this all up. Soz.

Wonder Woman #51

Wonder Woman #52

Wonder Woman #51-52
Plot
Wondy sorts out the situation with the gods of Olympus, Hekate and more.

Is it any good?
It’s pretty badly written, with Diana as stupid as normal for Meredith Finch, and with a finale that feels like it was bolted on to get the nu52 to the point where Greg Rucka can take over and we can all close our eyes and imagine George Perez is writing.

Turns out that Hekate was both lying and telling the truth, as was Hera. Zeus was biding his time for Hekate (or maybe not) and now’s the time for him to come back, all grey-haired and Volume 3, rather than like he was when Cliff Chiang was doing the art:

Zeus returns

Wondy gets to be goddess of war again for a bit.

Wonder Woman is goddess of war

And we discover that the Lasso of Truth doesn’t work on Hera… because she told her son Hephaestus not to make it work on her.

We also have a little interlude where Wondy goes down to Tartarus and gets YA happiness vision to tempt her to do something else. Interestingly, it’s of Superman and domestic bliss.

Wonder Woman and Superman

With Diana even imagining being pregnant.

Wonder Woman is pregnant

My, what stretchy armour. 

However, Finch does her usual clumsy metaphor work, making Diana “all women”, with a clumsy analogy about Diana having to choose between the Justice League and having a family. Like an immortal Amazon who’se already thousands of years old would ever consider a few years with the Justice League an impediment to having a family if she wanted one (it takes an island to raise a child…)

I can’t imagine that the scenario we end up with for the final few issues is how Brian Azzarello planned for it to end, assuming he had an end in sight, so as with so much of Finch’s work, I guess it’s probably just all been fan service, giving the fans what they want (ie stories like the ones they’ve already read and know about), rather than anything innovative or designed to shake the status quo. 

While I’m worried that Greg Rucka will have an editorial mandate to revert everything back to Volume 2, I won’t be sorry to see the end of Meredith Finch’s run on the title. She’s done some interesting rationalisation and cleaned up some of Brian Azzarello’s most egregious messages. She’s also tried to do a little research about matters Greek.

But she’s an average writer at best, has been responsible for some deeply awful bits of character work and plotting, and has used Wonder Woman less as a paradigm of how things could be and more as a representation of how things are for a specific type of American woman – one that generally doesn’t go out fighting, cries a lot and is a bit stupid.

Rating: 4/7 (Artwork: 5/7)

Superman-Wonder Woman #28

Superman-Wonder Woman #29

Batman-Superman #32

Action Comics #52

Superman-Wonder Woman #28-29, Batman-Superman #32 and Action Comics #52 (possibly not in that order)
Plot
Superman is dying but he must prepare everyone for what happens next. There’s also a whole bunch of other Supermen around, including the pre-Flashpoint Superman.

Is it any good?
It’s basically an ongoing multi-crossover storyline that has Superman meeting up with everyone from Batman to Supergirl to Wonder Woman, as well as various other minor characters, to say goodbye. There’s shades of Death of Superman in there, with all the various other new Supermen turning up (including a new Chinese Superman), but the main point of interest is the reconciliation of Diana and Clark, with Clark admitting that he still loves Diana.

Do you love me?

Superman and Wonder Woman kiss

Other than that oasis, it’s still Peter Tomasi’s school of punching, bad dialogue and characterisation, and overly elaborate storylines that don’t make a whole bucketful of sense. 

Rating: 4/7 (Artwork: 4-6/7)

Justice League #49

Justice League #49
Plot
Grail arrives with Steve Trevor, Superwoman has a baby, there’s lots of punching.

Is it any good?
Lots of Geoff Johns stuff. Usual great art from Jason Fabok. Nuff said. Poor old Steve, though.

Steve zaps

Steve zaps hard

Now he'll zap you

Rating: 5/7 (Artwork: 7/7)

TeenTitans #19

Teen Titans #19
Plot
After a lot of tussling over Apollo’s rod, Wonder Woman, Cassandra and Cassie (yes, Cassie was named after Cassandra, it turns out) settle things, with Cassie ripping out Cassandra’s throat. Again. Ew.

Is it any good?
Fun for teenagers, basically. Turns out there’s yet another exception to the Lasso of Truth (if you really just about about persuade yourself something is true, even if deep down you know it isn’t), too. 

Rating: 5/7 (Artwork: 5/7)

The Dark Knight III #4

The Dark Knight III #4
Plot
The Kandorians and Lara-El kill Superman. Wonder Woman’s a bit sad.

Is it any good?
It’s just Frank Miller and Brian Azzarello shooting the breeze. You’d think Wonder Woman would be upset that the father of her two children is a bit dead (probably). Apparently not.

Wondy is upset

Rating: 2/7 (Artwork: 2/7)

The Legend of Wonder Woman #24-26

The Legend of Wonder Woman #24-26
Plot
Despite her lack of superpowers, Diana enters battle and is saved by the spirit of Pegasus. Unfortunately, she’s not in time to stop ‘the Titan’ from being woken and it turns out the Titan is really a Manhunter

The Manhunter awakens

Diana communes with the force behind Pegasus, Gaea, who grants her the strength to become Wonder Woman again.

Wonder Woman and Gaia

Wonder Woman reborn

Much fighting ensues.

Wonder Woman and the Manhunter fight

But is it enough to defeat the Manhunter?

The final punch?

Is it any good?
It’s all thoroughly enjoyable in many ways, including the art as always, but also to bring a science-fiction element from outside the Wonder Woman mythos into what is an origin story. That’s innovative. There’s also some good action scenes and some fun moments between Etta and Steve.

Where it starts to fall apart a bit is in the attempts to make it too right on. Time for a rant.

Now, if I had my way, The Myth of the Matriarchal Prehistory: Why An Invented Past Won’t Give Women A Future would be compulsory reading, since the relentless Marija Gimbutas, modern day, ahistorical mother goddess worship that’s invaded Wonder Woman ever since the days of George Perez is getting right on my tits.

It’s in Wonder Woman #51 (see earlier) where it’s used as a deus ex machina for dealing with deii, and now we have the same ‘Gaia is the bestest!’ in an unholy alliance with Pegasus (who is also now Arion, apparently), in an attempt to have a purer goddess overseeing all the other gods.

No, no, no. Stop it. Stop trying to make Greek myth Manichean, with mother goddess good, other gods (particularly male ones) bad. It’s vastly more complicated, richer and smarter than that. Gaia is both good and bad.

I appreciate that if you’re writing a comic aimed at younger girls, having a mother goddess and a horsey god in union with one another, with a heroine as their champion and recipient of their powers, is a charming idea. But it really grates bolting that onto Wonder Woman, particularly since she already had a perfectly good origin (several, in fact) that didn’t need it.

Personal peeve over. That issue aside, it’s all handled in the best possible taste.

Guest foreign language this issue: Norwegian. I’m genuinely no help on that score.

Rating: 6/7 (Artwork: 7/7)

 Wonder Woman: Earth One

Wonder Woman: Earth One – Volume 1
Plot
Grant Morrison’s feature-length retelling of Wonder Woman’s origin story from his own unique perspective.

Is it any good?
Wonder Woman: Earth One has been a long time coming. Years in fact. In that time, Grant Morrison has been bigging it up. He’s gone back to basics, read William Marston’s original run, read the major works of feminism and decreed that Wonder Woman has lost her mojo. She was sexy and when she lost her sexiness, she lost her popularity. It was time to make her sexy again.

There was more. He imagined a superior island of women with advanced technology that wasn’t phallocentric but followed the design principles of female anatomy. He imagined women who had been without men for thousands of years and had now done everything kinky under the sun together. He talked of how Wonder Woman had shown a way of resolving problems without violence, a different way of ending conflict. And it was all going to be fused together in Wonder Woman: Earth One

Big talk, hey?

So why is it that with all that build-up, all that thought, all that analysis, all that planned sexiness, Wonder Woman: Earth One is basically William Marston’s initial Wonder Woman run but with better art and the ability to make it explicit that there are some lesbians and some BDSM is going on? Is he saving it up for Volume Two?

If you’ve read even the first few issues of Golden Age Wonder Woman, there’s not much here to surprise. There’s the Contest, Etta Candy, Steve Trevor crashing on Paradise Island, the Amazons’ advanced technology and purple healing ray, and more. Lifting straight out of Marston, there are Kangas, spit-roasting and Amazons dressed as deers being involved in chases.

Amazons dressed as deer

There’s even a father for Wonder Woman… which pre-Brian Azzarello might have seemed daring (for anyone who’d forgotten Kanigher’s run) but now looks like a been there, done that.

There are a few slightly interesting changes. Steve Trevor’s black:

Steve Trevor is black

…which leads to some interesting discussions when Wonder Woman asks him to lovingly submit:

Steve should submit

And Wondy explicitly has a girlfriend:

Wonder Woman's girlfriend

But honestly, for the most part, this is tame and unoriginal stuff. The artwork’s very good, but if you’re looking for a dramatic retelling of the Wonder Woman origin story, might I recommend the vastly more fun and innovative The Legend of Wonder Woman?

Rating: 3/7 (Artwork: 6/7)

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

  • JustStark

    That means, following issue #52 of a whole range of titles, big changes will be afoot, numbering will return to issue #1, nu52 Superman will disappear/die (although maybe not) to be replaced by the old one who was married to Lois Lane and has a kid, and all manner of other things will happen

    So… what was the point of any of it?

    This is why I don't read superhero comics…

    After a lot of tussling over Apollo's rod

    Ahem.

  • “So… what was the point of any of it?”

    Good question. It's not a full reboot, unlike the nu52 itself, so everything that's happened in the nu52 has still happened. It's just that there are changes that will affect characters, with some coming, some going, etc, etc.

    However, the nu52 Superman is on his way out and a lot of fans are wondering why they've bothered reading the nu52 if they're going to kill the character off. I can see their point, but ultimately it just means that rather than an ongoing storyline, he's had a very definite story arc with a beginning, middle and end. It's just a question of whether you regard that as a Bad Thing in comics, or whether all characters should live forever. I guess.

    “Ahem.”

    I am not a subtle man.

  • JustStark

    I can see their point, but ultimately it just means that rather than an ongoing storyline, he's had a very definite story arc with a beginning, middle and end. It's just a question of whether you regard that as a Bad Thing in comics, or whether all characters should live forever

    See if superhero comics actually did have beginning, middles and ends, then I wouldn't be so down on them. But instead it just seems they meander on with no real direction or point, until it is decided that they need a shake-up, at which point everything is thrown out the window and it all begins again (either explicitly because the world blow up and is remade or it turns out everybody was really a clone, or implicitly as they just forget all the last stuff and go off in a new direction).

    And in between, they fight evil future versions of themselves from another dimension.

    Occasionally they do do a proper beginning-middle-end story about a superhero — Watchmen, The Dark Night Returns, Kingdom Come — and those are sometimes worth reading. But why would you just read the pap they churn out month after month with no end or point?

    But then some people watch Eastenders, Coronation Street or Game of Thrones and I have no idea why they do that either.

    It's one of the reasons Astro City works: it is a set of self-contained stories set in its world, each of which explores an aspect of superheroism, rather than a tedious on-going soap-opera-like sausage factory without end.

  • Funny you should mention Watchmen being a closed story. Spoiler alert…

    http://www.bleedingcool.com/20

  • JustStark

    Sigh. It's a bit like watching Casablanca and your first reaction being, 'Let's do a series about the continuing adventures of Rick and Louis!'

    I mean who even thinks like that?

  • To be fair, it's a bit like watching Casablanca and 30 years later thinking 'Let's do a series about the continuing adventures of Rick and Louis'. Not that much better, I agree, but they have at least managed to restrain themselves for a quarter of a century. That's pretty well behaved for them.

    It's DC. They have 'properties' they need to 'leverage' because… they're not making as much money as they'd like to. And because Rebirth is all about shared universes, so why not share all of them? I imagine the Scooby Doo Adventures will be crossing over soon. With Rick and Louis.

  • JustStark

    They have 'properties' they need to 'leverage'… they're not making as much money as they'd like to.

    It's not just them though. That's like blaming the drug market entirely on the suppliers. The people who create the demand have to take some responsibility.

    After all if nobody bought this crud, they wouldn't keep making it.

  • It's more that they're making it because they think more people will buy it than what they're currently making, not necessarily because people have demanded it. They're probably right, though. We can blame people then.

    Having said that, I did buy a few issues of Before Watchmen to see if it was any good. It wasn't.

  • JustStark

    Yes, but it's not specifically the Watchmen thing, that's just the latest example: they're been making similar tosh for decades and people keep buying it.

    Although, having said that, the main reason they've gotten away with it seems to have been that they've almost exclusively been selling it to kids and teenagers, a notoriously less-than-discriminating demographic, gaining new, younger readers as the older ones moved on to more suitable fare; and now that the kids-and-teenagers demographic has been comprehensively distracted by the shiny things of video games, the internet and, for those who just need their superheroes, movies, the only people left buying are those few who never made the leap. And as they die off, we may finally see the end of the whole genre.

    Which'd be nice.

  • JustStark

    That means, following issue #52 of a whole range of titles, big changes will be afoot, numbering will return to issue #1, nu52 Superman will disappear/die (although maybe not) to be replaced by the old one who was married to Lois Lane and has a kid, and all manner of other things will happen

    So… what was the point of any of it?

    This is why I don’t read superhero comics…

    After a lot of tussling over Apollo’s rod

    Ahem.

    • “So… what was the point of any of it?”

      Good question. It’s not a full reboot, unlike the nu52 itself, so everything that’s happened in the nu52 has still happened. It’s just that there are changes that will affect characters, with some coming, some going, etc, etc.

      However, the nu52 Superman is on his way out and a lot of fans are wondering why they’ve bothered reading the nu52 if they’re going to kill the character off. I can see their point, but ultimately it just means that rather than an ongoing storyline, he’s had a very definite story arc with a beginning, middle and end. It’s just a question of whether you regard that as a Bad Thing in comics, or whether all characters should live forever. I guess.

      “Ahem.”

      I am not a subtle man.

      • JustStark

        I can see their point, but ultimately it just means that rather than an ongoing storyline, he’s had a very definite story arc with a beginning, middle and end. It’s just a question of whether you regard that as a Bad Thing in comics, or whether all characters should live forever

        See if superhero comics actually did have beginning, middles and ends, then I wouldn’t be so down on them. But instead it just seems they meander on with no real direction or point, until it is decided that they need a shake-up, at which point everything is thrown out the window and it all begins again (either explicitly because the world blow up and is remade or it turns out everybody was really a clone, or implicitly as they just forget all the last stuff and go off in a new direction).

        And in between, they fight evil future versions of themselves from another dimension.

        Occasionally they do do a proper beginning-middle-end story about a superhero — Watchmen, The Dark Night Returns, Kingdom Come — and those are sometimes worth reading. But why would you just read the pap they churn out month after month with no end or point?

        But then some people watch Eastenders, Coronation Street or Game of Thrones and I have no idea why they do that either.

        It’s one of the reasons Astro City works: it is a set of self-contained stories set in its world, each of which explores an aspect of superheroism, rather than a tedious on-going soap-opera-like sausage factory without end.

          • JustStark

            Sigh. It’s a bit like watching Casablanca and your first reaction being, ‘Let’s do a series about the continuing adventures of Rick and Louis!’

            I mean who even thinks like that?

          • To be fair, it’s a bit like watching Casablanca and 30 years later thinking ‘Let’s do a series about the continuing adventures of Rick and Louis’. Not that much better, I agree, but they have at least managed to restrain themselves for a quarter of a century. That’s pretty well behaved for them.

            It’s DC. They have ‘properties’ they need to ‘leverage’ because… they’re not making as much money as they’d like to. And because Rebirth is all about shared universes, so why not share all of them? I imagine the Scooby Doo Adventures will be crossing over soon. With Rick and Louis.

          • JustStark

            They have ‘properties’ they need to ‘leverage’… they’re not making as much money as they’d like to.

            It’s not just them though. That’s like blaming the drug market entirely on the suppliers. The people who create the demand have to take some responsibility.

            After all if nobody bought this crud, they wouldn’t keep making it.

          • It’s more that they’re making it because they think more people will buy it than what they’re currently making, not necessarily because people have demanded it. They’re probably right, though. We can blame people then.

            Having said that, I did buy a few issues of Before Watchmen to see if it was any good. It wasn’t.

          • JustStark

            Yes, but it’s not specifically the Watchmen thing, that’s just the latest example: they’re been making similar tosh for decades and people keep buying it.

            Although, having said that, the main reason they’ve gotten away with it seems to have been that they’ve almost exclusively been selling it to kids and teenagers, a notoriously less-than-discriminating demographic, gaining new, younger readers as the older ones moved on to more suitable fare; and now that the kids-and-teenagers demographic has been comprehensively distracted by the shiny things of video games, the internet and, for those who just need their superheroes, movies, the only people left buying are those few who never made the leap. And as they die off, we may finally see the end of the whole genre.

            Which’d be nice.

          • The people who made the Casablanca TV show?
            http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0047719/
            Twice!
            http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0084994/

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  • The people who made the Casablanca TV show?
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt00
    Twice!
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt00

  • Well said on Earth One Wonder Woman – I have to admit, I'm really not a fan of Grant Morrison, and this felt incredibly dull (and more than a bit cliched). And this is the book that they promised to Greg Rucka, and then took it away, prompting his exit from DC until they let him do it in Rebirth? Just doesn't seem worth it.

  • Well said on Earth One Wonder Woman – I have to admit, I’m really not a fan of Grant Morrison, and this felt incredibly dull (and more than a bit cliched). And this is the book that they promised to Greg Rucka, and then took it away, prompting his exit from DC until they let him do it in Rebirth? Just doesn’t seem worth it.

    • Not worth it at all, no. I do wonder if it was tamed down by DC at some point, but either way, what we have just isn’t worth the cover price, really, let alone the loss of Rucka for a decade or so

  • Not worth it at all, no. I do wonder if it was tamed down by DC at some point, but either way, what we have just isn't worth the cover price, really, let alone the loss of Rucka for a decade or so