It’s been another quiet week for Diana news, with the only thing of note being that you can now pre-order the book looking at the art of and the making of the forthcoming movie:
That’s out May 30th, the movie’s out June 2nd, so you might want to hold off ordering the book in case of spoilers, but it’s up to you.
After the jump, though, it’s time to look at Wonder Wonder #15, Justice League v Suicide Squad #6, Batman ’66 Meets Wonder Woman ’77 #5 and Wonder Woman ’77 Meets The Bionic Woman #2. We’ll also be looking at the first issue of The Odyssey of the Amazons #1, even though Diana isn’t in it, just to see how much joined up editorial thinking there is at DC.
Wonder Woman #15
A bad tree re-appears on Themyscira, Diana’s enemies are looking for her and plotting, and Diana’s friends are regrouping.
What does Diana do?
Sit in her room musing about her memories and what’s real…
…and talks to the snake in her arm in a tree (nothing biblical about that, oh no).
This is the first issue in the ‘The Truth’ storyline, so obviously quite important in that regard, but although not much seems to happen at first, look around the artwork and you’ll notice a few things. For starters, all those memories in the first spread are from the Rebirth run. But who’s the naked dude in the middle in chains? Is that Superman, given that the snake talks about ‘who you’ve loved’? Steve (if we assume the shadows are making him look dark-haired)? Or someone else, perhaps even Ares, given his proximity to the Sear/Ares Group tree?
And said tree seems to be important, because when it appears again on Themyscira, Hippolyta basically declares war against it – or whoever comes with it.
Note, of course, that this is still clearly a dark-haired Hippolyta ruling Themyscira, not the nu52 Hippolyta, which is starting to suggest that this is the true Hippolyta.
Then, of course, we have the (virtual) meeting of Wondy’s enemies – who may or may not all be members of The Sear Group – who want to use her to get to Themyscira.
No bonus points for spotting Veronica Cale, who’s been in the past few issues rather a lot. Maybe a bonus point for spotting ‘Doctor Cyber‘, who’s been Cale’s virtual assistant for just as long but hasn’t been named until now (IIRC). A few more bonus points for spotting either a Valkyrie, since she wasn’t name-checked, or Doctor Poison, here name-checked as Colonel Maru, whose team of soldiers is called Poison.
I don’t know exactly who the woman in the Napoleonic soldier’s outfit is, though, I’m afraid. Let me know in the comments if you’ve worked out who she is. I’ll probably kick myself when you tell me.
Oh, and there is one other villainess – she didn’t turn up to the meeting since no one seems to want her there. But as she’s name-checked as ‘the witch’ and a falcon showed up not so long ago, I think it’s safe to deduce that they’re all talking about (spoiler alert)
Does this league of villainesses have a name? Godwatch, it turns out, and Barbara Minerva used to be one of them.
We get a little bit of Minerva/Cheetah’s back story here and Rucka does manage to tie that into what we knew from the nu52, with Minerva having become a criminal in her great desire to find out about Themyscira.
Take a look at that artwork by the way. Remind you of something? How about this?
How about this?
Maybe I’m just imagining things, but it feels to me like Liam Sharp is homaging Batman: Year One for what is, effectively, Wonder Woman: Year One.
Of course, Rucka saves the best for last, as Etta Candy goes off to find an old friend – ‘one of the oldest’ in fact. Who might she mean? All is revealed in the final frame:
Is that a Minotaur? Maybe. But my money is on it being Ferdinand the Kith-o-taur, the much-loved former head chef at the Themysciran Embassy, back in Greg Rucka’s Volume 2 run.
All in all, a very interesting issue indeed, don’t you think?
Rating: 7/7 (Artwork: 7/7)
Justice League v Suicide Squad #6
Batman and the Suicide Squad defeat Maxwell Lord. It’s revealed it’s all been a big scheme by Amanda Waller to get the Justice League to accept the existence of the Suicide Squad. Oh well. What’s an entire planet of people turned into murderous zombies, hey? Forgive and forget?
What does Diana do? Get zonked by some ice crystals and get hit on by Captain Boomerang
Obviously, the Diana dialogue above is out of character, since it requires various patriarchal assumptions about the nature of what it is to be a man.
Not a good series overall, since its conclusion was pretty much complete nonsense. Its only real purpose, other than to make money, was to launch Killer Frost (Rebirth) #1 and yet another Justice League of America series, this time with Batman in charge and the likes of Lobo and Killer Frost on his team. How does the man find the time for all of this? Still, at least Maxwell Lord is back.
Rating: 3/7 (Artwork: 5/7)
Batman ’66 Meets Wonder Woman ’77 #5
Batman, Robin and their very necessary female escort Catwoman fly to Themyscira to warn Wonder Woman that Ra’s al Ghul is on his way. But it may be too late already.
What does Diana do? Give the group of tour of Themyscira and then take them to Themyscira’s… Lazarus Pit!
So the obvious point is that 1966 is before 1977 but after 1945. Diana obviously returned to Themyscira at some point after World War 2 but since she only returns to Man’s World at the beginning of season 2 of Wonder Woman, this presents writers Marc Andreyko and Jeff Parker with the opportunity to say what she’s been up to – yes, we’ve gone from being a Batman prequel to being a Wonder Woman season 2 prequel.
The idea of Themyscira having its own Lazarus Pit isn’t 100% new, but whether it’ll end up like Batman and Robin showed, we’ll have to wait and see.
Rating: 6/7 (Artwork: 6/7)
Wonder Woman ’77 Meets The Bionic Woman #2
After Joe’s funeral, Wonder Woman and the Bionic Woman go after a boat. Meanwhile, the baddies are plotting and springing each other out of jail.
What does Diana do? Go to a funeral, fly the invisible plane, go swimming
So 26 pages but as you can see, not a huge amount of plot. So how does writer Andy Mangels fill the space?
Nerdery. Epic nerdery.
I mean let’s take as an example the final page:
Yep, it’s a list of all the references to both Wonder Woman and Bionic Woman TV series that you might have missed in the first issue. Despite being the last page, that does oddly set the tone of the entire issue, in which basically Jaime fangirls over Diana. How does she change into Wonder Woman? Does the Invisible Jet have seatbelts? All these questions and more get answered.
Maybe Diana’s just too well trained but she doesn’t seem that interested in Jaime, though, never asking any questions about her bionics or her enemies, even when Jaime says things like, “And I thought Bigfoot was mind-blowing.”
When the characters aren’t nerding out over each other, Mangels is nerding out by himself, giving us references and actual appearances by villains from both series aplenty. We’ve got fembots, Doctor Cyber (yes, again), and even an aged up version of John Saxon’s season one, Themyscira-invading, Nazi villain Captain Radl.
All of which is a bit much, and it oftens feels like nerdery of the highest order. Wonder Woman is every bit as strong as the Bionic Woman yet purely to get that swimming costume onto her, Mangels has her dive into the water, leaving Jaime to jump onto the boat to fight all the bad guys by herself.
What should also be noted about all this nerdery is that despite the billing, it’s very much Wonder Woman nerdery, not Wonder Woman ’77. Doctor Cyber’s already figured in Wonder Woman ’77, but here we get the TV series’ Gloria Marquez. On top of that, this Wonder Woman ’77 can’t fly, even though Wonder Woman ’77 has established that she can.
On the plus side, the TV series itself was hugely overwritten so this is all in keeping with it at least, and a lot more happens than in issue #1. There may be a lot of fangirling going on, but at least there’s an acknowledgment of the importance of the two characters being together, which is something that was lacking in the first issue, and there’s clearly a lot of love for the shows going on in the details of the comic, which is far more scrupulously accurate to the show than Wonder Woman ’77 is. And lastly, the artwork is really good.
Just be braced for nerdiness.
Rating: 4/7 (Artwork: 7/7)
The Odyssey of the Amazons #1
A group of Amazons go roaming the world looking for other Amazons and end up having to face Nordic giants.
What does Diana do? Nowt. She bain’t be in’t.
So I mention this new series purely because the Amazons are in it. Normally, I wouldn’t bother (which is why I don’t discuss things like Red Hood and the Outlaws, which features disgraced Amazon warrior Artemis – old school Wonder Woman fans should remember her), but since it’s probably the series that led to The Legend of Wonder Woman being shut down, I thought I’d take a gander.
Billed as a great epic in the style of The Odyssey, it’s unclear exactly how canonical this is all supposed to be, since it appears to have more in common with Highlander than conventional Wonder Woman continuity. Here, the idea is that Amazons don’t all come from Themyscira but are immortal warrior woman with special skills who crop up naturally in the general population. The other Amazons then go searching the world for them to explain to them who they are
, that there can be only one, recruit them, which leads to a mix of Samurai Amazons, Kurgan Amazons et al.
Even though the series was commissioned post-Rebirth, very little of it takes account of Greg Rucka’s run. In keeping with the nu52, the gods – particularly Artemis – are not to be trusted:
And the Amazons of Themyscira still speak Greek, rather than something unique.
Which suggests, by current storyline edict, that it’s all illusory.
Still, if you want something without Wonder Woman and featuring generic warrior women teaming up to fight Nordic giants, The Odyssey of the Amazons is here for you.
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