Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Thoughts on Wonder Woman Annual AKA Final Chapter of Heinberg Story

Wonder Woman Annual #1
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley
After many months of waiting, last Wednesday brought the final chapter of "Who Is Wonder Woman". Yep, the story that started in August 2006 (of technically June 2006) is finally finished. While this was no means the worst Wonder Woman story I have ever read, it also failed to take it's place in my personal hall of fame.

There are several reasons for that.

Firstly, I couldn't specifically remember the tale being told. Later on I will read te story from start to finish, but certainly I felt I was at a disadvantage reading from a foggy memory.

It also really bothered me that the story was a bit disjointed. Wonder Woman fights a lot. Her female super hero friends, plus a few of the fellas join in the mayhem to fight a "who's who" of Wonder Woman villains. The art by Terry and Rachel Dodson is flashy, but that is the extent of the emotion I felt.

Donna Troy wears the red costume that I thought she had given to Cassie. I thought that was odd. Maybe it was a "back to basics" type of shout out to the reader, but all it really did was confuse me. Why is Donna wearing her black starfield costume in current books? I am wondering how that all came about.

Heracles reverts back to type, becoming the dickhead that he is sometimes portrayed as. I am glad Diana kicked his ass, but I wasn't happy with his sexually predatory nature.

I don't like the fact that supposedly Diana loses her powers and is "human" out of costume. That is just irritating. She has shown no signs of this in current issues. What should I make of this? I personally prefer Diana to be powerful in any guise, and have always appreciated the fact that she is gifted by the gods.

Lastly, I am not a fan of the Nemesis relationship. The Amazons Attack story nailed the coffin for me on it, but I see the seeds here that already bother me. I think Diana is acting out of character in her new relationship with Nemesis, and it feels contrived at this point in time. I enjoyed her relationships with Trevor Barnes and classic Steve Trevor and felt there was a spark there. Here I don't feel it at all.

While I have many quibbles with the story itself, I do appreciate the art stylings of the Dodsons. I also feel Allan Heinberg is a talented writer. His intentions were good, but the follow up never gelled into the greatness I had so hoped for. The "Who is Wonder Woman" story was just alright for me.

That being said, I am very eager to see what Gail Simone will do on the book. I am already missing her desperately on Birds of Prey, and think that it will be hard for anyone to follow her there. Simone is extremely gifted with characterization, and from interviews I have read, she is ready to focus on Wonder Woman as a hero to be reckoned with. I am ready for a solid creative team to bring the book back into focus and give Wonder Woman a cohesiveness she has been lacking since Greg Rucka wrote the title.

What did you think?


Ragtime said...

I agree with most of what you said, except for two points:

1. I'm taking a "wait and see" on the no powers as Diana Prince angle. I think it has potential, and prefer it to the old "invincible, but can't get out of handcuffs" weakness. It could also go very badly, but I'm willing to give it a chance.

2. Nemesis is, to me at least, absolutely the best part of the new Wonder Woman series. Now, I consider this a bad thing -- because the best part of the new Wonder Woman series should really be Wonder Woman! But the answer to this is, I think, "make Wonder Woman better" (which I hope Gail Simone will do), not to get rid of Nemesis.

Besides that, I didn't read the Annual until going back to re-read #1-4. No big loss. The Annual was pretty much the least "special" Annual I have probably ever read. I mean, I think I read it over the weekend and I can't remember a single thing that happened in the Nemesis back-up. Can you?

Heidi Meeley said...

Ragtime, I really appreciate your thoughts on this. What is interesting to me is how we differ on our feelings about Nemesis. I don't like the way he is being used here, and I really disliked the way Jodi Picoult's run seemed to "dumb" Diana down. At least if Nemesis is going to be hot for her, it would go down easier if he appreciated her mind a bit too. :-)

As for the "no powers" scenario, I am really curious to see if Gail Simone uses this as well. I don't recall seeing it brought up at all in the Amazons Attack storyline, so that really confused me. My biggest fear is that in making her weak, it takes away her credibility as a heroine. Of course you do make a very good point that it is a step up from the whole "great Hera, I have been chained by a man schtick". I hadn't thought about that until you brought it up, so thank you for that.

Good point on trying to remember what happened in the Nemesis back up. I don't have a clue right off the top of my head and would have to go grab the book and page it to remember. That is scary. Thank you for pointing that out as well.

As always, I appreciate your thoughts here. It made me realize some things I hadn't considered.

philippos42 said...

The "loses her powers when chained by a man" has been completely gone for 20 years. So I think that's an unfair comparison.

Heidi Meeley said...

Phillippos42- I see your point that this weakness has not been a factor since the book was rebooted by DC with George Perez at the helm. As someone who reads Wonder Woman's past and present comics with equal abandon and fervor, I still find that it was a weak spot that was at times extremely overused. I appreciated when Diana would talk someone down while powerless- that is some of my favorite reading, but there were times it was done to death.

Seeing a new wrench thrown into things with the "no powers out of costume" scenario brings back memories.

What do you think of the "no powers" idea?