Or – “After The Pantsinator Comes… THE DEPANTSINATOR!”

It’s kind of disheartening to realize that, in this day and age, the two-months-ahead Previews catalog makes every Wednesday seem a bit like old news.  After weeks  of coming attractions for the New 52 in September, it was a little startling to buy this issue and remember that the OLD new Wonder Woman had yet to wrap up so that we could get the NEW new Wonder Woman…

WONDER WOMAN #614
Writer(s): J. Michael Straczyinski & Phil Hester
Penciller(s): Don Karmer & Lee Garrett
Inker(s): Drew Geraci, Robin Riggs & Trevor Scott
Colorist: Pete Pantazis
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Editor: Josh Middleton
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99

Previously, on Wonder Woman:  A cardinal truth about Wonder Woman that has been true for nearly 4 decades now:  She’s pretty much ALWAYS in the midst of a new direction.  Though her original take got the character through the 1960’s essentially unchanged, Wonder Woman has had a lot of things happening to and around her to try and get the character’s book to sell as well as her iconic status would imply.  The latest attempt took away everything we knew to be true about the character, youthenizing her and trying to make her a more modern, edgy Heidi Klum kinda girl.  Whether or not the Odyssey would have been the gateway to a new era of greatness is a moot point now, but Diana still has to face the threat of Nemesis, ally of the Morrigan, a mystical beast who changed her history in an attempt to destroy the heroine…

Who Is Wonder Woman?

So, after an underwhelming year of mystery and intrigue and such, Diana’s latest quest boils down to…  a big fistfight.  I actually laughed out loud as the narration hung a lantern on this fact by having Wonder Woman (returned to her full faculties last issue) remark that it always seems to come down to that, but that it lets her know that things are getting back to normal.  Heh…  For something that was pitched to readers as a giant change of blah blah blah fishcakes, The Odyssey really didn’t change all that much.  It was basically your standard sitcom amnesia plot with some mythological undertones, and as Wonder Woman easily defeats Nemesis, I start to get concerned about what I’m reading.  After all, we’re barely a third of the way through the issue, are we really going to wind it up so quickly?  And what happens now?

She’s Wonder Woman… DUH!

The ‘what happens now’ is clever enough, though, as Wonder Woman has to beat not just a villain but the curse that villain carries, and I like the concept that Princess Diana overcomes a serious magical whammy with nothing but force of will.  The second half of the issue ends up becoming a sweet pastoral, a reminiscence of Wonder Woman’s life among the Amazons, and features her returning to Themiscyra and spending some time with her mother.  As last issues go, you could do worse, but I can easily see how many readers would find the ending treacly.  The book fades to black with a joyful smiling Wonder Woman flying over her home, intoning that no matter what happens (she said significantly, not referring to anything in particular because there’s no way that she would be aware in-universe of anything on the horizon, nope) she will always be Wonder Woman, even if she gets short pants again.

The Verdict:  Rebooty Call!

Stephen, among others, has been rather vocal in his opinion that these last two months of comics are nothing but filler, and that nothing in them is going to matter after August 31st (though I notice that it didn’t dim his enjoyment of the last issue of Batman.)  I submit that comic books pretty much ALWAYS have that possibility waiting in the wings (ask any Legion of Super-Heroes fan, if you don’t believe me) and that this month is one of the rare times when we all see the retcon coming.  That said, it’s an enjoyable issue, if not a particularly significant one, and ends with a feel-good moment that long-term fans should find satisfying.  Wonder Woman #614 ends the Odyssey arc in a workmanlike fashion, and doesn’t pale as much as some stories might in the shadow of the looming future, earning 3 out of 5 stars overall.  It remains to be seen how long it will be until we see the New New New All-New Wonder Woman, but I’m sure someone, somewhere is taking bets.

Rating: ★★★

Faithful Spoilerite Question Of The Day:  What do you suppose it is about Wonder Woman that captures the imaginations of non-comics readers so much?  Is it just her cultural presence, or does a star-spangled bikini have inherent power to ensnare the imagination?

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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7 Comments

  1. Gibralter
    August 26, 2011 at 9:16 pm — Reply

    Hee rebooty, I see what you did there.

  2. DMC
    August 27, 2011 at 12:24 am — Reply

    You raise a very interesting question. It recalls a statement by the new creative team in an interview over on CBR. They feel she’s more popular outside the comic community than she is inside it. (something like that)

    Anyway imo Wonder Woman’s popularity with the general public boils down to 2 things. The 70’s TV show and the fact that many see her as a symbol for Woman’s Lib and stuff like that, she’s the first female hero who’s just as big and heroic as the big male heroes. That’s good in many ways but not so good in others imho. I don’t want to claim to know her non comic fan-base but how many of them are able to see beyond her gender and just appreciate her for the great character/hero she is?

    Do I necessarily see her in the same light Superman, Batman or even Captain America? Not really but I do see her as special and unique in the way that she fights with the power of love. We got a little of that during Odyssey, especially in issue #607, my favorite chapter of the story ^_^.

  3. The Great NateO
    August 27, 2011 at 7:33 am — Reply

    My thoughts are that women have always been one of the strongest forces in anyone’s life. Good or Bad. Your Mother, Sister, even you Wife (Rodrigo will find out one day). Even if we do not want to admit it; we need and want that strong female. Look in the wild you do not mess with Mama Bear’s cubs. Women are stronger then we make them out to be, and Wonder Women shows us that.

    As my wife reminds me – Men Run the World, Women Control it.

  4. Jimmy
    August 27, 2011 at 7:43 am — Reply

    I really liked this issue; I thought it concluded the Odyssey arc well, and the way they handled Wonder Woman’s acknowledgement of the impending relaunch was cleverly done, and actually sort of made sense. I’ve been fairly impressed with Hester’s scripts for the issue’s he’s been on, and Don Kramer’s pencils are gorgeous.

    As I’ve commented in several of my recent reviews, there’s good kinds of filler and bad kinds of filler; just because a story is no longer going to be in continuity doesn’t mean it isn’t worth reading (as evinced by every single good Elseworlds story), and some titles are doing that well (Green Lantern Emerald Warriors), while some aren’t doing it nearly as well (Zatanna and Green Arrow did it mediocrely, Batman and Robin not so well).

  5. TaZ
    August 27, 2011 at 12:37 pm — Reply

    I was going to comment on this but having just read JSA#54 and the “funeral” of Alan Scott…I just don’t know if I can…(sniff!).

    Wait a minute.

    They said it was an “empty coffin”. No body. No dead.

    Never mind. I like the pants better.

  6. Ced
    August 27, 2011 at 2:08 pm — Reply

    I also like the shoulder laces.

  7. ~wyntermute~
    August 27, 2011 at 3:23 pm — Reply

    “I submit that comic books pretty much ALWAYS have that possibility waiting in the wings (ask any Legion of Super-Heroes fan, if you don’t believe me) and that this month is one of the rare times when we all see the retcon coming.”

    I submit that this is one of the more insightful things I’ve seen in a while, as pertains to these pulpies we love so much. It’s one of the reasons I tend to only read “some” things, as opposed to “all” things. It sucks getting really attached to something, and then told that it’s not going to matter as much as ‘something else’. To have that knowledge in advance kinda makes for the “lame duck” effect we see in political situations. These comics exist, and are real, but we know nothing they do will matter, unless DC _says_ it matters (which seems to be the case for B&R, but not for WW, etc). So what matters? Sales. That’s what. ^_^ FWIW, there were hints & signs of previous retcons, at least in the case of Crisis on Infinite Earths. The major difference (I think) concerning “now vs then” is that “the fans” have access to the solicitations/previews, whereas only dealers & friends thereof were privy to that information in Ye Olden Days?

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