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.
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?