Or – “Why Has No One Commented On The OTHER Big Controversy?”

Although a wise woman was once heard to say “Math is HARD!  Let’s go shopping!”, I feel compelled to do a little arithmetic on the latest attempt from the Big Two to retroactively engineer an anniversary issue… 

Wonder Woman V.1 (1942) numbered Three Hundred Twenty-Nine issues total.
Wonder Woman V.2 (1987) numbered Two Hundred Twenty-Eight issues total.
Wonder Woman V.3 (2006) numbered Forty-Six issues total.


Thus, ladies and gentlemen, it would seem to this reviewer that questions over whether or not Doctor Doofenschmirtz did a bad thing in hitting Diana with “The Pantsinator” are irrelevant to whether or not ANYBODY in comic publishing believes that we have a grasp of basic mathematics.  Without further ado, I give you my review of what is actually Wonder Woman #604.

Wonder Woman #600

“DC 75th Anniversary” variant cover by ADAM HUGHES
“DC 75th Anniversary” variant black and white cover by ADAM HUGHES
Published by DC Comics

Previously, on Wonder Woman:  Hippolyta (whose named can be sung to Coach Ernie Pantusso’s legendary ballad, “Albania, You Border On The Adriatic”) was the Queen of the Amazons, and lived for centuries on Themiscyra alone with her Amazon sisters.  After centuries of loneliness, the queen wished for a child of her own, and fashioned one from mystical clay.  Diana grew up mothered by an entire island full of thinkers, philosophers, scientists and warriors, and eventually came to “Man’s World” as an ambassador for her people.  She became known as one of the greatest heroes of the DC Universe, and nearly everybody had an opinion about what the “one, true Wonder Woman” really entailed.  Thankfully, Princess Diana continued to reinvent herself over and over to vex those who thought they had her figured out, and eventually, it came to pass that people only began shrieking about ‘the destruction of the real core of Wonder Woman’ every five or ten years or so, and most of the people involved in the debate weren’t really even paying attention to her adventures anyway.  Now, the Amazon princess has reached another turning point in her life, but before we find that everything we know is wrong, we have to remember what it is that we know…

What’s Past Is Prologue…

The issue opens with one of those wonderful moments that tends to happen in Wonder Woman comics (I seem to recall a similar battle drawn by Phil Jiminez a few years ago) wherein all the male superheroes are out of action, and Wonder Woman leads the distaff heroes into battle.  A task force of women (Skyrocket, The Dove, Lightning, Supergirl, Miss Martian, Black Alice, Terra, Cyclone, Manhunter Stargirl, Batgirl, Grace, The Question, The Ravager, Batwoman, Judomaster, Misfit and Bulleteer) stop a scheme by Professor Ivo to use “Siren Robots” to enslave the men of Washington, DC.  Batwoman reveals for whom she voted, and Wonder Woman is asked out for drinks, but she instead goes to the graduation of her old friend Vanessa Kapatelis (from the George Perez Run on the title 30 years ago.)  Wonder Woman and Vanessa have a wonderful moment together, closing a former era in a touching and wonderfully drawn way.  Gail Simone and George Perez should have six comics together and be paid millions of dollars to do them.  Geoff Johns, make this happen!  We get another touching story wherein Amanda Connor gives us Power Girl and Wonder Woman fighting Egg-Fu, bonding together over a special someone who has been treating Kara badly.  (Turns out it’s her cat.)  There’s also the indication that P.G. has to explain hentai anime to Wonder Woman, which is a conversation that I’m glad we didn’t get to see…


Amidst many, many pinups and splashes (and, yes, commenters who noticed that Diana’s leg-lines were AWFULLY high have a point, especially in the Adam Hughes and Greg Horn pieces) we get a Superman/Wonder Woman teamup, a quick Geoff Johns written recap of Wonder Woman’s life, and we’re then launched into the new JMS version of Wonder Woman at high speed.  A now Pantsinatored Diana races down a back alley, dodging bullets and being considerably younger than I remember her.  “I don’t know who I am,” she remarks, “The only thing I know for certain is that they’re trying to kill me.”  A little fighty-fighty ensues, and the All-New, All-Different Wonder Woman proves herself to be every bit as combat-savvy as before, even escaping a massive explosion in cinematic fashion.  Penciller Don Kramer is good, and the filth and squalor of her new existence is clearly delineated, while we watch Wonder Woman slog through a sewer, (where mysterious hooded figures guide her) visit an oracle, (who lives under a bridge in a decimated urban wasteland) and return psychically to a completely devastated Paradise Island.  Hints are dropped that “the gods” have somehow rewoven Diana’s life and history, that her world has been rewritten to get her out of the way for some sort of awful plan.  Her mother has been murdered, because DC characters have to have dead parents (Kind of ironic that Disney bought MARVEL Comics?) and her mission is now as unknown as the invisible hands that work against her.  So, that’s new…

Overall, this issue does what it needs to do.  Gail Simone’s final issue of her run closed up her various plotlines, and gave Diana a nice happy ending, allowing this issue to come in and blow everything to hell and gone.  JMS is a good writer, and I’m content to see what he’s got for Wonder Woman, but that mostly comes from a vague, undefinable dissatisfaction with what has come before.  Wonder Woman always seems to be somehow separate from her JLA pals, segregated not by her gender, but by the fact that she’s a strong female character from an alien point-of-view.  Even when people write her well (George Perez, Denny O’Neil, Gail Simone, Roy Thomas and others) there’s always an element of “Here’s a completely different take on a character that everybody recognizes.”  That is exactly what has happened here.  Hell, when I think back on what Wonder Woman stories stick in my mind, it’s nearly always a ‘rebuilding’ story:  Mike Sekowsky’s powerless go-go dress run.  Greg Rucka reimagining the Olympian gods as modern captains of industry.  George Perez changing EVERYTHING.  This weekend, Deon and I began processing a HUGE lot of Silver Age comics, including Wonder Woman, and we both wondered why it was that nobody ever seems to bring in WW comics for sale.  My theory is that (like the war and crime and romance books) nobody really thinks of them as valuable in the long term.  Wonder Woman has long been more interesting as a “property” than as a comic book, and even people who LOVE her as a concept have never read a Wonder Woman book, and certainly haven’t done it recently.  So, here’s another big shakeup to remind us what’s awesome about Wonder Woman, along with a leather outfit and a dark and gritty status quo.  Will it work?  Dunno.  Is it interesting?  Yes.  Yes, it is.  JMS throws in a lot of little bits of brilliance and happiness here and there, with portents of great things to come. 

The Leather-Clad Verdict

Do I love this book?  I love parts of it.  I love the Simone/Perez pages a lot.  I want to see where the new era takes us.  It’s not perfect, and it’s hard to remove the plot and story from the costume fooferfaw.  It has potential for disaster, but all great stories do.  Based on what works, and the appearance of Misfit (“Man,I’m about to lay some serious Dark Vengeance on these guys!”) as well as the sublime moments in Amanda Connor’s story, I’m going to give Wonder Woman #600 3 out of 5 stars overall.  It’s an intriguing start,and I hope it goes somewhere that makes Wonder Woman comics super-awesome and worthy of the icon-slash-intellectual-property juggernaut that she is. 

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Faithful Spoilerite Question Of The Day:  Without discussion of uniforms or costumes, what Wonder Woman moments stand out in your mind as indelibly archetypical and quintessential to the character?


About Author

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.


  1. “Without discussion of uniforms or costumes, what Wonder Woman moments stand out in your mind as indelibly archetypical and quintessential to the character?”

    The fight with the mind controlled Superman and when she snapped Max Lords neck right after, that’s the first thing that comes to mind. She’s a super hero, she save lives but she’s first and foremost an Amazon who fight dirty if she has too and kills when necesary.

    Another is when she’s Diana Prince and shes says to Nemesis “why don’t you people leave her alone? who cares what’s shes done?” and Nemesis says “you talk about people like youre not one of them, you know that?” and she tears up a bit. She’s one of the most alien super hero on Earth, much more so then the actual aliens.

  2. “Wonder Woman has long been more interesting as a “property” than as a comic book, and even people who LOVE her as a concept have never read a Wonder Woman book, and certainly haven’t done it recently.”

    There the whole ‘problem’ with WW is summed up in a nutshell.

    Great review.

  3. Poor JMS! I have oodles of respect and admiration for the man, but he’s really setting himself up for unfortunate comparisons with past successes. I’m particularly thinking about how he’s finding himself as the writer on the one book of each of the Big Two that never enjoyed more commercial and critical success than when it completely embraced the mythological underpinnings of the title character.

    At Marvel, there never will be another Walt Simonson’s _Thor_.

    At DC, there will never be another George Perez’ _Wonder_Woman_.

    Good luck JMS.

  4. One bit that is as much a showcase of Batman as it was for Wondy, is a flashback to the moment Wonder Woman gets the news that Superman had been slain during the 90s. She immediately goes to the Batcave, interior monologue saying that it can’t be true unless Bruce says that Superman is dead. We see her approaching Batman, who is sitting on his console, big screen showing the carnage in Metropolis, and her slow realization that Superman was indeed dead.

  5. “Without discussion of uniforms or costumes, what Wonder Woman moments stand out in your mind as indelibly archetypical and quintessential to the character?”

    The Cartoon Network promo with the Power puff Girls rescuing her and Aquaman. We have the bondage from her early years and a acknowledgment that she’s a ‘developed’ superhero.

    • You mean the same way Maxwell Lord is still part of Brightest Day thou everyone forgot him in Generation lost? This whole arc could take place in between 2 issues of JLA…

    • Well forget about having Wonder Woman in the Justice League now.

      Wonder Woman hasn’t been in the Justice League in several years, and I hadn’t heard any plans for her to do so…

      • Wonder Woman left the JLA in March 2009 (Justice League of America #31). I’d still say that was recent.

  6. The Maxwell Lord thing came up in my mind, too.
    The other thing that came to mind is the Hiketia storyline?
    I mean, granted. I haven’t read many wonder woman comics. There’s this little item at this bookstore that I go to once every few months that’s had the same comics for like… half a decade now. Anyways… the thing is, I don’t feel as passionate about Wonder Woman’s character as I do Bruce’s and Clark’s.

    Oh, one other moments I like… it was this time she was blind and needed Wally West as a sort of seeing eye dog and she tied him up to the lasso of truth and he told her he was a little annoyed with how she seemed above humans.

    Wonder Woman seems hard to understand. I mean, as Wonder Woman and as Diana. I’ve seen her as much as Kyle Rayner, Eel o Brian, Wally West, and I still don’t feel I understand her at all.
    I think she is just hard to understand as a character. Period. Maybe reboots are an attempt to understand her better?

  7. Reading the Simone/Perez pages also made me excited by the potential of the two creators working together, but also disappointed me. Somehow Simone conveyed more understanding and use of the WW character in a few pages than her whole run on the book. Very disappointing. I really want to like Wonder Woman and I want her to get the treatment she deserves as an icon. Does she need the Geoff Johns effect too. They’ve done nothing but revamp this character the last 15 years and I can’t understand why they haven’t gotten it right yet. I’m looking forward to JMS’s run with cautious optimism…but hey this is JMS, we know he’ll only last about a year, and leave the book in disarray when he leaves…

  8. I found much of the book rather boring. The story with the new outfit was pretty interesting but I doubt it’ll stay that way.

  9. I agree with Eric and this was on my mind when it was announced. Guess Robinson can do a Who Is Donna Troy part 11. The shame of the manner is I successfully got my girlfriend into comics last fall and she loves Wonder Woman, and her words were “I don’t like it…..I am going to give it a try though cuz she is my girl…….”

    I then told her, well I am glad I taught you about back issues 2 monthes ago……

    Then told her about Blue electric Superman of the nineties, and how she should stick with WW, cuz in 25 issues when WW Rebirth happens, it will make her extremely excited. If only Jodi Piquot would’ve stayed longer, I wouldn’t have had to have this serious talk with my 30something girlfriend.

    WW Rebirth…. Robinson/Horn…..book it!

  10. I’m a second generation WW fan — my mother fondly remembers pretending to play Bullets and Bracelets back in the 40s during the original run of the comic, and Lynda Carter’s incarnation in the 70s are still among my favorites.

    What surprises me about the latest retcons is the continued demolition of the Amazons and their separate nation. It’s as if DC is proving William Moulton Marston’s point that confident female power is so threatening that it has to be exterminated over and over again. Maybe _one_ Amazon, or one Amazon and a few of her special relatives, can exist at a time, but hundreds? Happily ignoring the rest of the planet? Oh, no….. Why does the Brightest Day arc restore the pasts of many classic heroes, but gives license to destroy WW’s?

    [although now I ‘know’ why lighting struck the Acropolis this week… ;-) http://tinyurl.com/27flfjt%5D

    Well, of course, JMS needs to have blank slate. Fine. Much as I endured Byrne’s takes on Superman and WW, I’ll manage through this. But I’d prefer a thriving Themiscyran Embassy in Manhattan and a world that has to cope with the existence of a very different way of living on Earth.

    About the costume — some news reports are saying that the idea was to tone down the U.S. patriotism aspects of the costume in preparation for trying to launch a movie to be shown in the global market. I don’t know if that’s true, but if so, it makes me more depressed about the US than it does about Diana: those symbols _should_ represent truth, justice, and peace. If they don’t anymore, it’s certainly not the character’s fault!

  11. MaximusRift on

    I’m a little disappointed that she’s had her powers downgraded, but I’m willing to buy the monthlies to see if she gets them back.

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