Wonder Woman #3


Or – “All The World Is Waiting For You… And Waiting And Waiting And Waiting…”

3ww7.jpgreviewbubble.jpgThere’s an old chestnut of the comics industry that goes something like this: Wonder Woman is seldom profitable as a comic book, but they keep printing it because of the merchandising potential behind the character. Even among comics fans, the buzz on Wonder Woman tends to be about the creator, not the character. I’m old enough to remember 1987’s buzz over George Perez’s Wonder Woman, or the later fooferaw regarding the John Byrne or Mike Deodato version. Currently, the slowly-dwindling heat on the title centers on writer Allan Heinberg of “The OC” and “Young Avengers” fame (though Joss Whedon’s movie may help, that’s still a couple years off.) This particular issue is pretty dang late, what with #1 coming out June-ish, and #2 Late August-ish. Before issue #2 even hit the stands, it was announced that the book has gone bi-monthly to accomodate the creative team’s scheduling. We have another case of “Name Creator Worth The Wait” syndrome, but is this book the cure or just another symptom?

Well, the main thrust of the story, the question of “Who Is Wonder Woman?”, isn’t really all that much of a mystery, as this series almost has to take place BEFORE recent issues of Justice League of America where Diana is clearly back in harness. So, the appearance of Donna Troy as Wonder Woman, while an interesting novelty, isn’t something that I’m taking all that seriously, especially given how quickly she’s punked out against Cheetah, Giganta, and Doctor Psycho. It’s more of a “see HOW and WHY Diana gets back in her armored tankini” game, which takes some wind out of the story’s sails from the get-go. That’s a shame, because it’s a pretty by-the-book plot, otherwise. But, oh my WORD, does this book look pretty.


Pretty, pretty, pretty. Giganta has never looked better (though we’re talking about a woman who used to wear a leopard spotted sarong and ankle straps), and Diana in a bun and business suit is really awesomely attractive (in a MILFy kind of way). As you can probably tell, we start with a big fight scene, as Wonder Woman’s big 3 villains are busting things up, only to be confronted with a big man in a skirt, tiara, and cape. Either the Ultimate Warrior is back in comics, or we’re looking at a new superhero, kids. Cheetah mocks the new-comer and is told “I am HERCULES, the son of Zeus and Alcmene, slayer of the Nemean Lion, The Nine-Heade Hydra, and now the CHEETAH!” Distubingly, we cut away without seeing what happens there, implying that he may have actually killed her. Diana and Nemesis (the guy in the Public Enemy t-shirt) attempt to regroup, but are confronted by Dr. Psycho. Hercules quickly responds, attacking the midget and threatening to CUT OFF HIS HEAD! YEAH! Take him out! (Did I mention I hate Dr Psycho?) Hercules plays for real, it would seem. Diana manages (barely) to keep one of her greatest enemies from beheading and gets nothing but attitude for her trouble.


The tiara and wristbands give me the feeling that there’s some foreshadowing going on here. After all, we know Diana will be Wonder Woman again, and silver is Donna Troy’s color? I wonder if these pieces will end up with Donna when it’s all said and done? Who says Stephen gets all the wild speculation? Hercules’ words cut close to the bone for Diana, even though she should probably know better. Worse than that, the villains escape with not only her old sidekick Donna Troy, but her newest Wonder Girl, as well. Somebody wants Diana’s attention, badly, and I’m not sure it’s the Psycho-Cheetah-Giganta troika at the heart of this anymore.

As the JSA arrives for the clean-up, I’m puzzed again by WHERE this story takes place. With a line-up including Captain Marvel and Hawkgirl, this book seemingly takes place BEFORE the Infinite Crisis! After all, by the time Hawkgirl returns from the Rann-Thanagar War, Captain Marvel is stuck on the rock of eternity as the keeper of the powers of Shazam. Freaky. After a very pretty flashback, Diana and Nemesis decide it’s time to look in on the city’s new protector, engaging in some expository dialogue…


Nemesis as the hot-head plays well against Diana’s “stay the course” steadiness, and even though the minutiae-obsessed fanboy in me chafes at the change in his character, I like this relationship. One of the things I’ve learned to accept about comics is that characters have to change, and this new Nemesis could go a lot further than the old ever did. In any case, confronting Hercules turns out to be a ‘roid herring, as they arrive just in time to see him transformed into a bull. Diana starts to explain that he’s become a bestiamorph, but is cut short when Nemesis morphs into a tiger, which brings us to Wonder Woman’s OTHER big villain… the sorceress Circe. The earlier hints of a “higher power” were Vince-McMahon-transparent, and Circe taunts Diana about no longer wanting to be Wonder Woman.


Finally, a moment that totally works for me. Even powerless, Diana doesn’t take static from some purple-haired bimbette with some showy glowy side-effects, and the dialogue is perfection. For two panels, we’ve got poetry in motion, folks. Unfortunately, Circe knocks her out and ties her up (cause it ain’t a Wonder Woman comic without a little bondage…) Circe is angry with Diana, claiming that they because, as Wonder Woman, Diana never used her powers the way Circe believes they’re meant to be used: to avenge the wrongs against women who have no one to fight for them. Circe’s point is actually a good one, but I’ve never liked it when writers make the “why don’t superheroes fight the REAL evils?” point. The reason superheroes don’t fight the REAL evil is that superheroes AREN’T REAL, and these sorts of storylines just point that out, dragging me away from fully enjoying the story. But Circe does more than just talk about injustice, this entire production has been designed to find Wonder Woman for a nefarious purpose..


Oh, snap. Worse than that, if I’m reading this right, she’s stolen Cassie and Donna’s powers, as well as the power of Wonder Woman. The bat-winged chest symbol is a nice touch, as well. Diana is left poleaxed at the sight of her own blood, as we fade to black…

Now, to the big question: Was this story really so very complex that it needed to be so very very late? Reports are that the delay was in the WRITING of the book, rather than the art, so I’m a little non-plussed that such a paint-by-numbers “capture the sidekick to get the hero’s attention” plotline seems to have taken so long to produce. Most of all, I’m left cold by Diana’s response to her own blood at the end, as I can’t believe that the Princess of the Amazons would be as freaked out by a split lip as her expression makes her out to be. At the end of the “Who Is Wonder Woman?” arc, I’m going to be making the dreaded “Cache it or Thrash it” decision, the sacred moment where I decide if a book has earned it’s slot on the hold list. If the rest of the story is this predictable (and, frankly, this far behind), then I don’t see any good reason to keep picking up the book. It’s a pretty pedestrian story, drawn really well, but that alone isn’t enough to keep me going, or earn more than a vaguely disappointed 1 and a half stars.


Discuss this issue in the Major Spoilers Wonder Woman forum.