Or – “Black Canary Said It, Not Me…”

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Wonder Woman as a character has always been more successful than Wonder Woman as a comic book, or a series.  The iconic imagery and power that people associate with Princess Diana, from Linda Carter to underoos to Superfriends and back is seldom easily captured in her comics.  Aside from a delightful Kurt Busiek miniseries 20 years ago, some Denny O’Neil issues in the early 70’s, and the George Perez revamp, I’ve seldom found the character to work for me.  Still, I’ve been onboard with the WW revamp for several years, with varying degrees of enjoyment.  I find it odd that Gail Simone is one of my most beloved creators, and Aaron Lopresti’s art has always been visually appealing, going all the way back to “What Th–?” from Marvel a million years ago.  So, why haven’t these stories captured me as easily as Gail’s other work?

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Previously, on Wonder Woman: Genocide, Genocide, Genocide…

Princess Diana has been through a metaphorical hell on wheels lately, forced to fight to the death, betrayed by one of her own revered deities, seeing the vendettas of villains after her drastically affecting her friends and loved ones.  She has finally retreated from humanity to try and regain her perspective after the loss of her gods, her sisters, her mother, nearly everything that made her who she is.  Walking through the arctic regions, she meets a polar bear mother and cub, greeting the creature as a friend.  “I have no idea why Kal-El finds this place so therapeutic,” thinks the former princess, and resolves that she must now make her own life, her own home, a place to heal the damage done to her spirit.  Returning to her apartment, she is greeted by her “roommates,” the pride(or is it troupe?) of white gorillas with whom she has shared her home.  Their chief tells her that Nemesis has been by repeatedly, trying to get her attention for something, and she is once again forced to head out into the world.  Meeting him on a rooftop, she tries to explain recent events (Genocide used the magic lasso and made her admit that she didn’t love him at all) but Nemesis is all business, explaining that he and T.O. Morrow have a lead on Genocide, and the one who would revive her: Doctor Psycho.  Wonder Woman isn’t sure why she should believe the former villain, but Morrow tells her that she is the only one who ever treated him like a human being, and one other important thing: “My real name [is] Tomek Ovadya Morah.  My family was from Nasielsk, a little town outside Warsaw.  I can’t be a part of ANYTHING called genocide, Wonder Woman.”  He begs her to destroy the creature, and she sets off to do just that… IF she can.

Lacking as she does any connection or understanding of underground metahuman fights (Doctor Psycho’s latest stupidity) Diana seeks out one woman who does: Black Canary.  Canary doesn’t hesitate, figuring that they must be working in Roulette’s territory, and raiding her closet for disguises.  Canary explains her theory of costuming, i.e. “the sexier the outfit, the fewer questions asked,” which means using the “second most famous bosoms” in the superhero community.  One “Sex And The City” montage later, and Wonder Woman wears an absolutely AWESOME flame patterned costume with super cleavage and the chunkiest boots ever, while Dinah looks like a super-manga-leather-pirate-girl.  While the twosome sets off for Asia in the Invisible Jet, we check in with Hippolyta on Paradise Island, finding that the Olympians (aka the “Manazons”) are having some issues fitting in with the Amazonian warriors.  Trying to bridge the gap between their peoples, King Achilles asks Alkyone (a somewhat shady Amazon) to be his queen.  The “Orphan Sisters” arrive in Tokyo, and a brief display of Wonder Woman’s power buys them a ticket into the show.  Their opponents are the unbeaten team of Muck (an amorphous blob-thing) and Lira who has some sort of pain-inducing powers.  Black Canary out-thinks her blob, while Diana causes some sort of power feedback, destroying her foe (who is revealed to be a robot.)  As we end our festivities, Doctor Psycho recruits a new Gladiatrix into the ring, one with a specific goal of destroying Wonder Woman:  The daughter of the deity killed by Zeus a couple of issues ago.  (No, I don’t remember his name right now…  Shush.)

After several issues where the main character has had to deal with an increasingly dark and humorless world of fighty-fighty, this one struck me well.  Maybe it’s the girl-power vibe going on, maybe it’s the way that Black Canary manages to be so perfectly in character and tongue-in-cheek (it’s good to hear Gail’s version of Dinah’s voice again) but I liked this issue in ways that I didn’t enjoy the last three or four.  Lopresti’s art is note-perfect this time, and the battle sequence is exciting and well choreographed, and even the throwaway costumes that the ‘Birds of Paradise’ wear are wonderful.  Best of all is the half-page shot of an enraged newly-orphaned Hawaiian goddess on the last page, a piece that is powerful, regal, and even sexy without being pandering.  Gail Simone seems to be taking a breather from doom and gloom here, while continuing the Genocide subplot, but her piece de resistance is T.O. Morrow’s simple explanation of who he is.  It’s an incredibly deep moment for a character who is usually not much more than a generic “mad scientist” sterotype in his stories.  Wonder Woman is unquestionable DC’s First Lady, and this issue gives her a forum to be awesome, earning 3.5 out of 5 stars overall, and getting me back on board Princess Diana’s bandwagon…

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The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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5 Comments

  1. MaximusRift
    August 6, 2009 at 2:04 pm — Reply

    What? The living encyclopedia of comic book doesn’t know?!?!!?!? Run! The end of times has begun!! ;p

    I think the reason we don’t like Genocide as a whole is because she’s Doomsday with boobs. If fact, I’d compare the whole arc with the whole Doomsday arc with Superman.

  2. Ricco
    August 6, 2009 at 3:17 pm — Reply

    Except Doomsday wasn’t Superman, Diana didn’t die and last but not least no one really cared for the “Rise of the Olympian” while people still talk of the death of Superman.

    This book finaly brings back the theme from the previews books from before the Olympian, that of Diana as an outsider to the modern world and actually more alien to our ways then the literal aliens.

  3. August 6, 2009 at 7:24 pm — Reply

    Man, red white and blue day at Major Spoilers has left us with a lot of unhappy feedback… :)

  4. Brian
    August 7, 2009 at 8:33 am — Reply

    I stopped after this issue showed me damn monkies.

    Batman has a REAL butler.
    Superman has a robot butler.
    Wonder Woman has albino monkey butlers?? WTF??

  5. MaximusRift
    August 7, 2009 at 8:58 am — Reply

    Actually, I rather enjoyed this issue. I really prefer stories where she’s trying to understand and fit in, than “SENSELESS VIOLENCE!!!!”.

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