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Wonder Woman #16

Posted: Friday, January 25, 2008
By: Kevin Powers

Gail Simone
Dodson & Randall (p), Dodson & Randall (i)
DC Comics
“The Circle” (part 3)

After a horribly handled and completely unnecessary re-launch, an atrocious “big event,” and the terrible misuse of best selling author Jodi Picoult, someone has finally come along and kicked Wonder Woman in the ass. I still don’t know who to blame for Amazons Attack!, maybe there are Skrulls at DC’s editorial, but regardless I stuck with the Amazon Princess. Wonder Woman is one of my favorite heroines and I really couldn’t find the heart to drop the book. However, Gail Simone has stepped in and revitalized everything about the Amazon Princess. Simone seems to have the perfect formula for Wonder Woman, exploring her past and re-establishing that past while adding various new elements to the character.

Gail Simone is really tapping into Wonder Woman’s roots with this story-arc and she’s doing a fantastic job reminding readers what Wonder Woman is all about. In this process, she has made two very wise and important decisions. The first is the exploration of Wonder Woman’s past. She’s been devoting significant page time in each issue to the actual birth of Diana. But Simone has chosen to focus on Hippolyta and the effect her decision to have a daughter has on the other Amazons. Diana is born almost through sin, as many of the Amazons believe that Hippolyta is taking advantage of her status as Queen and the generosity of the gods. Adding this element brings a new dynamic to the always, and even more so lately, dysfunctional relationship between Wonder Woman and the Amazons. I love the way Simone characterizes Hippolyta and the Amazons in the flashback scenes. Hippolyta acts as any mother and true queen of her people would, offering her new daughter for all of the Amazons to raise. Some of the Amazons accept this while others, the conservative Amazons, are conspiring against both Diana and Hippolyta. It’s an edgy, dark and much needed ret-con that works extremely well in the context of Diana’s history.

The second thing Simone does that I feel is both wise and important has to do with her choice of villains for the arc. When Wonder Woman originally debuted in the '40s, her main enemies were the Nazis. Okay, I’ll be the first to admit that using Nazis as villains is a bit clichéd and dated, but I am an Indiana Jones fanboy, so whenever Nazis are featured as villains, I’m hooked. But her choice of villains also plays into the idea of revisiting Wonder Woman’s past. I think by doing this, Simone reminds readers of not only Wonder Woman’s past but also everything she stands for and represents. She may be an Amazon but she represents not only strong human character, but a strong female character as well.

I really love the way this issue plays out. Simone doesn’t over saturate this issue with crazy action, rather she tells some of the story and moves on to another plot point. When she returns to the main story, the action has taken place and as a reader you get the sense that Wonder Woman is in the process of taking names. The fact that her simian friends from Gorilla City are by her side adds to the overall novelty of this story-arc. The gorillas and Wonder Woman takes the fight right to the Nazis and the flow of the story and the action works very well. My only qualm with this issue is the twist at the end. My only reaction to it is a simple question, “Again?”

It’s no secret that I love the Dodsons’ artwork. It is what it is and I personally love it. However, there are a few panels in this issue done by a different artist, Ron Randall. I was really thrown off at first because I didn’t realize Randall was doing some of the pencils but my reaction was this, “that’s not Terry Dodson, but it is damn good artwork.” I really like Randall’s work and I really would love to see him more frequently amongst the big two.

Wonder Woman is most definitely back on track. Gail Simone has lived up to the hype and is a savior of sorts to a title and character that seemed doomed. She’s doing an excellent job exploring Wonder Woman’s past and reestablishing everything she stands for.



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