Wednesday, April 09, 2008

New Comics Day

Not a bad bunch of books this week

Fantastic 4
Wonder Woman
Green Lantern Corps
Green Arrow Black Canary
Young Liars
Suburban Glamour

Green Lantern-ish activities infiltrate Wonder Woman, which is okay I guess. Wonder Woman goes great spans of time between being "okay" and completely uninteresting. I know I want to be a bigger Wonder Woman fan, but the book rarely delivers the must reads. The last time I was actually interested in what was going on in her world was --gasp!-- John Byrne's take on the book. Take of that what you will, but beneath the usual superheroics was a heavy slant on extending the mythology-- but of itself was an extension of classic mythology. I recall a fascinating take/explanation of the split between Roman and Greek pantheons that I hadn't come across in my own extensive readings on the subject. And hey, the current Wonder Girl came from that run, too.

Perez' run is considered definitive, and it is nice, dense material. However I don't know if that's the first thing I'd recommend to a new reader. Much ballyhoo was made of Phil Jimenez's run, and as someone who utterly adored the character and put his heart into making the book his, I'm afraid I never caught on to his passion between the pages. It was heavy in the wrong ways and occasionally tripped up by other DCU goings on. Messner-Loeb's run is also considered key WW reading, and I read and enjoyed many of those but mostly on accident... because of anyone were to ask me what the definitive WW comics were I can't really call out those issues, but I would certainly say it's accompanying covers have decidedly more impact. The run of Brian Bolland's Wonder Woman covers area thing to behold, just about every one is an iconic image associated with the character to this day. Hot on those heels would be Adam Hughes' WW cover gallery, which truly are the best representations Wonder Woman could hope to have as stand alone art. While I still give the edge to Bollands "this is a comic book cover" integration, no doubt any or all of Hughes' covers could be poster-sized displays of adoration. So why is it that WW's strongest impressions (to me) are on the covers and not the guts? Am I really that superficial? Well, okay, yeah, but that still reflects on the character.

WW never grabbed me as the "Big Three" character that DC makes her out to be, and honestly should be. Really that's something I want the character to have. Maybe she does and I think differently and am not aware of it in the larger sense of readership. But like I said it's rare the book itself really catches hold with me. Reading some of the WW Archives I notice some crazy, crazy shit going on that I think would extrapolate well in modern tellings. Not so much in the sense of perceived uber-feminism but moreso the ideas that just make for fun comics. There's no reason I see why WW can't be some Amazonian powerhouse as well having some plain 'ol comic book nuttiness. Comics these days compete with alot, and it's a crafty writer that can come up with situations not only suited to the medium, but excel in it. That can be said of alot of characters, but WW is forever ensconced into the lead female role of the DCU and deserves it as well as any of the guys. And in terms of the sexes, little has been shown to me that gender plays a role in the writing of compelling Wonder Woman books.

WW fares better in a supporting role more-so than not, It's always good to have her in the Justice League when the writer has chops. There are great Justice League stories with WW, but more so in the past. Giffen, DeMatties, Morrison, Waid and Busiek had good stories, in some she was a lead and in others a bit part. Doug Mahnke draws one of the best WWs ever on his JLA run. The current Justice League is off the mark in so many ways I won't even get into it (Meltzer -cough- Loeb -cough- Johns), as much as I'd like to see Ed Benes give the character proper due other than an ass shot. But the sexiness isn't the problem. I personally love all the classic WW bondage covers, which cover everything from fetish to hilarity. Yet inside those older tales my perception wasn't really that WW "always got tied up" but that of WW "will always break free." I won't sit here and deny the sex appeal of the character either, because any woman of regal stature with red boots and a rope is going to get my attention. But like I'm sure most mature readers agree, that doesn't necessarily define her as it does accompany her.

Holy crap, how long am I going to talk about Wonder Woman? Not much longer, but I'm adding a WW label to the blog! If the character has anything going for it is that it is readily open to reinvention. Usually this is art, and occasionally story. I've got some WW tales in my head, sure. Don't know if they are worth any more or any less, but I gotta wonder if I think they're cool, a few other people might. If the collective consciousness has anything to put to it, it's not impossible to see those concepts in one form or another.

I did notice DC's web site re-jiggered their image catalog. No more hot-linking those covers. I wonder if all my old posts are broken??? :-(

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