Book of Doom: Wonder Woman #14

Wonder Woman 14I really expected Gail Simone to hit one out of the ballpark with her first issue of Wonder Woman. Well, she didn’t, but that doesn’t mean she didn’t deliver an entertaining issue.

Wonder Woman versus an albino gorilla army was a nice way to start of the issue. It was a good action scene, and I really liked the line about WW preferring “never to use Batman’s methods.” Establishing early on that WW has her own way of doing things was important. There’s a lot of people with powers very similar to Wonder Woman, so it’s good to know that WW isn’t interchangeable with all the other super-strong, nigh-invulnerable flying heroes out there.

I also like that Simone teased a story featuring Hippolyta and a quartet of mysterious prisoners, and one of those prisoners’ desire to kill WW. It’s nice to know that Simone’s run is headed somewhere, instead of just being a series of adventures with no connection between them. With the end of the story being a bunch of uber-Nazis storming Paradise Island, I’m a little worried Simone may blow her wad a little early with this story, though. This seems like the type of thing that could build for quite a while as a sub-plot before actually coming into center stage on the title.

Being unfamiliar with Wonder Woman’s history from One Year Later to now, I was really lost about anything that happened at Diana’s day job. I know the characters of Nemesis and Sarge Steel from the few issues I’ve read before now, but I don’t really know their personalities or motivations. Hopefully along the way Simone will flesh out these guys a little more for those of us who don’t know their history and really don’t want to go back and read 13 crappy issues to learn it.

So Wonder Woman #14 was a good issue, but not a great one. It’s certainly one of the best issues of Wonder Woman I’ve ever read though. Let’s see what the rest of the Legion has to say.

Jim Doom:
I’ve enjoyed most of the limited things I’ve read by Gail Simone – Villains United and a few issues of Birds of Prey. She’s got a good balance of story and natural humor that I like, and she seems to handle varied characters pretty well.

But there’s another thing I’ve also noticed, and that is she writes like a man. I remember first thinking that during Villains United, how there were all these titillating scenes that seemed like they were written by a hormone-fueled teenage boy. Remember that scene where that big lady walks into the room completely naked, with only some delicately-placed locks of hair obscuring her naughty bits? I remember thinking “A woman wrote that? A woman who might know her audience, but a woman who’s willing to contribute to the objectification of her gender by demoting the most powerful female characters to the realm of sex objects?”

Well I forgot about that until after reading Wonder Woman #14. While reading it, I was thinking how I kind of felt sorry for Wonder Woman the character. Here DC has to consciously trim back the number of Superman and Batman titles they publish because it’s just so natural to expand, yet how do they treat Wonder Woman? They keep erasing her from history, retelling her origin, restoring her past history, passing her around between inept writers, and now we’re 14 issues past the Crisis and I don’t know if she’s ever been more irrelevant.

I guess it just goes to show that you can’t judge people or writers by their gender. Wonder Woman in the hands of female writers still continues to just be about a man with a sexy woman’s body that fails to actually feel like it’s about a woman.

And it seems to be a curse of the character that writers seem inclined to give her all the respect of Bob Newhart, writing her as this fish-out-of-water and surrounding her with humorous contrasts. Can you imagine Batman being given that gorilla houseguest subplot? That was more than natural humor. That was the equivalent of DC TGIF. If only Uncle Jesse and Uncle Joey were there too.

It’s just too bad that Wonder Woman’s status as one of the “Big 3” is just lip service. What this book needs is a writer who’ll sign a contract for 50 issues minimum, because she needs to be rebuilt from the ground up into the character she could and should be.

Doom DeLuise:
Hey, remember the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie? Well, apparently Gail Simone does. There’s that one scene after Splinter is kidnapped by the Foot, where the Turtles are spending the night with April O’Neil, and they eat her food and horse off and all that. Well, the next morning, remember, her boss shows up, and as she panics by the door, she turns around to notice that the Turtles have used their powers of ninja to completely vanish.

I’m so glad I got to see that scene all over again, with big dumb monkeys and a fake-titted Amazon queen.

I don’t understand Wonder Woman, and I really don’t care to, all that much. Her inclusion into the Big Three has always seemed forced and unnatural to me. I mean, honestly, who really could tell me what Wonder Woman’s powers are? She’s got a lasso of truth, an invisible plane, and a ridiculously large bust. Sometimes she has a sword; sometimes she has a shield; sometimes she’s even wearing a cape. She can bleed, but she can’t fly (or can she?), her bracelets deflect bullets, but so can her skin (right?)…as you can see, it’s muddled. Her character has been misused all over the place since Infinite Crisis, most notably during the abysmal “Amazons Attack” mini-series, so it’s a relief that they’ve finally given her over to a competent writer in Gail Simone.

This first issue doesn’t do anything more than establish Ms. Simone’s presence on the title, with a little run-in with some apes, a birthday party, and the arrival of some pissed off Nazis. I don’t hold out much hope for the title, but, then again, I’ve never had much esteem for the main character.

I won’t be buying this series again, no matter how hyped an issue is.