The big Wondy news of last week was, of course, not just the release of three lovely new posters for next summer’s Wonder Woman, but also a brand new trailer featuring Amazons, super-speed, maybe a bit of flying and a whole lot more, too!
Needless to say, if you want a moment-by-moment breakdown of the trailer or screenshots of every single important bit, those options are available, thanks to the Internet. Because apparently, the trailer’s very, very popular.
In the comics world, there were only a couple of new arrivals featuring Diana: Justice League (Rebirth) #8 and Wonder Woman 75th Anniversary Special #1. The former was really more of a guest appearance in which Wondy has to stop Cyborg after he gets hacked. Unfortunately, whatever hacked him is then able to hack Green Lantern’s ring…
But that was it. So let’s focus purely on that 75th anniversary special after the jump. See you in a minute.
Wonder Woman 75th Anniversary Special #1
“An immense special issue celebrating seventy-five years of the Amazing Amazon, through phenomenal new stories, art, and stand-alone illustrations! Featuring a roster of incredible creators-some who’ve laid down legendary runs with the character, and some who’ve never drawn her before-including Rafael Albuquerque, Brian Azzarello, Cliff Chiang, Renae De Liz, Brenden Fletcher, Adam Hughes, Karl Kerschl, Gail Simone, and many, many more to be announced!”
Is it any good?
Well, it’s not as good as that press release roster would suggest. For starters, neither Brian Azzarello nor Cliff Chiang contributed anything, so unless there’s a #2 down the line, start suing Comixology for false advertising, right now.
What there is is more in keeping with issue #600, except not as good as that either, if you can cast your mind back that far. Essentially, it feels like someone realised they needed to do a 75th anniversary special, because no one had bothered doing anything for Diana’s 70th anniversary, so got a whole bunch of people to say yes to contributing something, only half of whom turned in the goods, resulting in some hasty, last-minute, random commissioning.
As a result, it’s about 50% stories by people who have never written for Wonder Woman before, the rest a collection of tribute art by famous creators and artists, including a rather nice tribute to Eric Luke’s run by Yanick Paquette and Nathan Fairbaurn…
…a tribute to the ‘Wonder family’ by Marcio Takara and Marcelo Maiolo…
…and a tribute to Wonder Woman over the ages by Phil Jimenez and Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Of the stories by new arrivals, most run through the standard gamut of Diana tribute stories familiar to anyone who read the entire Sensation Comics run (indeed, at times, the issue feels like simply a whole bunch of stories that had been left over from when Sensation Comics was cancelled). There’s a Diana being inspiring fighting the Nazis story (Rafael Scavone/Rafael Albuquerque), Diana talking to and helping animals story (Brenden Fletcher/Karl Kerschl), a slightly odd fight with Gargantua with culturally-appropriate echoes of David E Kelley’s obsession with the legalities of superheroing (Mairchread Scott), and a bit about how she inspires cosplayers and young women (Fábio Moon).
None of the stories really gets Diana right as a character and with the slight exception of Scott’s, never really aspire to anything more than “Diana is inspiring and is good in a fight.” The artwork’s also very variable, with only the first really going to any real lengths to be good.
Perhaps the best of the lot is a moderately entertaining fight with ‘Human Tank’ in a faux Ikea by Hope Larson.
The big guns do a little better – but not that much better. There’s a poem to Themyscira by current Wonder Woman artist Liam Sharp that’s a little incongruous and head-puzzling, even if the art is very nice. DC Comics’ Bombshells originating duo Marguerite Bennett and Marguerite Sauvage also avoid prose with their typically musical spread honouring the clay-based origin story of Diana.
More Nazis there, you might notice.
Jill Thompson’s contribution consists entirely of scenes culled from her recent (expensive) graphic novel tribute to Diana’s early years, Wonder Wonder: The True Amazon, which is best avoided if you’re older than 12, but is probably quite charming if you’re not.
Meanwhile, Gail Simone’s piece is – typically enough – about sentient apes, how Superman is definitely not Wonder Woman’s boyfriend, and once again, just how inspiring Diana is to young women.
Which is all fun, if repetitive and a bit slight, particularly for a 75th anniversary special.
The issue’s two highlights, though, are contributions from Greg Rucka and Renae De Liz.
Rucka’s is actually just a mock interview by Lois Lane of Wonder Woman in the style of Phil Jimenez’s A Day In The Life, but without any actual artwork beyond an initial pane, just text. It’s a nice little attempt to humanise Diana and explain what her daily life in the DC Rebirth Universe is like, but Rucka spends muchof his word count with (slightly flawed) discussions of Diana’s patrons and their relationship to Judaeo-Christian interpretations of divinity, as well as highlighting the ongoing troubles Diana has in remembering what’s true and what’s lies. No clues as to the larger storyline that I could spot, but you may notice what I didn’t.
Which effectively means that if you’re looking for a decent story involving Diana, you have one choice: De Liz’s contribution. To be honest, bar the souvenir artwork, you could have whittled down the whole issue to this one story.
For starters, being set in the The Legend of Wonder Woman universe, it’s the third Nazi-themed contribution to the issue, but is far superior, gets Diana right and also bothers to use not one but two villains from Diana’s early years: Red Panzer and Baroness Von Gunther. It’s also another tale of inspiration for young women, but one that’s less about punching and dressing up, more about doing the right thing and showing there’s an alternative to fighting. It’s also the only story to feature Steve Trevor. And as usual, it actually has great artwork, which puts it head and shoulders above 75% of the other stories.
All in all, a slightly odd way to celebrate Diana’s 75th anniversary. Other than in De Liz’s contribution, there are no famous enemies (no Dr Psycho, no Ares, no Deva), no famous allies (okay, Etta cameos in one story), no innovations, no continuations of old storylines – nothing really to celebrate those 75 years of writing. It’s a shame, but that’s DC for you. Maybe for her 80th?
Rating: average: 3/7 (Artwork average: 3/7)
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 the following week