Writer Gail Simone returns to one of her favorite characters for the first time since the universal reboot. But, is Wonder Woman still the Amazing Amazon she used to be? Your Major Spoilers review of Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman #1 awaits!
SENSATION COMICS FEATURING WONDER WOMAN #1
Writer: Gail Simone
Artist: Ethan Van Sciver
Colorist: Brian Miller of Hi-Fi
Letterer: Said Temofonte
Editor: Kristy Quinn
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99
Previously in Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman: During the Golden Age of comics, the superheroes shared space with detectives, two-fisted adventurers, cops and cartoon characters, all in the pages of massive anthology editions. Sensation Comics debuted with a new member of the Justice Society, but Wonder Woman quickly proved to be more than just a flash, whether in the pan or Garrick. (Comics humor. Arr arr.) 7 decades later, Diana is still the foremost female hero of her (or, to be honest, most any) comics universe, but what sort of disaster could bring her to the streets of Gotham City?
For all my resistance on online comics, DC’s line of digital-only books have been an interesting lot, with Batman ’66 standing out as a particular fave-rave of mine. Since they’re not tied to the dark-and-brooding eternal-adolescence of the New 52 (where none of the heroes are particularly good at being heroes), these stores have felt much more satisfying to me. This book opens with the various bat-villains inexplicably working together, as a veritable army of dysfunction, even blowing up the Batmobile and taking out the big, bad Bat (at least for a while.) With her city lacking a protector, Barbara Gordon, who is still Oracle in this tale, calls for a substitute, and her pinch-hitter is none other than the Amazon herself. Wonder Woman concedes enough to bring “batarangs” featuring her iconic W symbol, but quickly finds that the villains of Gotham are an entirely different breed than the folks she’s used to fighting. Gail Simone does great work here with Wonder Woman’s character, but also makes much hay of the classic Bat-villains. Two-Face gets in some good moments, The Joker is a slimy yet avuncular presence, and even the likes of Man-Bat gets some solid characterization. Unfortunately, the psychopaths of Arkham Asylum quickly figure out Diana’s weakness, and begin attacking innocents to get her off their back, which leads us to the meat of the problem: They don’t fear her.
AN ANALYSIS OF BATMAN IN A WONDER WOMAN BOOK
Wonder Woman’s crowning moment in these pages comes as she confronts Catwoman and Harley Quinn, both of whom have little confidence that her methods will work for their sometimes-colleagues madness. That’s where the issue gets really interesting, as Diana considers (just for a second, mind you) actually unleashing the fury on them, imaging smashing Mister Freeze’s protective suit, snapping the Joker’s frail neck, chopping Two-Face’s opposing halves in two… But she decides to try another tack, declaring the two “tweener” villainesses her Amazons, and wading into the villains with fists and her lasso. There’s a nice meta-analysis of Wonder Woman, but more importantly, a quiet assessment of the villains (“No one touches the lasso and remains unchanged”) and of Batman himself by extension. The moment wherein she deals with The Joker is worth the price of admission for me, honestly, and I really like the ending of the book, with its elevation of our hero without trying to bury the man whose shoes she’s so ably filling in these pages. Ethan Van Sciver’s work is pretty amazing, but oddly inconsistent, especially in the second half of the book (which was digitally released as the second online issue.) At it’s core, this is a story about a dragon, hanging out in the lair of a bugbear, and the art is suitably epic for the purposes of this issue.
THE BOTTOM LINE: A KNOCKOUT
As done-in-ones go, this is a really solid issue, which clearly had a lot of work put into it. The coloring deserves special mention, as well, using the shadows of Gotham to great effect, while making elements like fire, Wonder Womans gold accents (she’s wearing her traditional costume in the interior pages, even though the New 52 costume appears on the cover) and high contrast to great effect. In short, I really liked this issue, and Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman #1 is a great kickoff for an out-of-continuity book looking at all the angles of the Amazing Amazon, looking great and providing some excellent food for thought, for 4.5 out of 5 stars overall. Here’s hoping the book stays at this level of quality…