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Wonder Woman #23

Posted: Monday, August 18, 2008
By: Shawn Hill

Gail Simone
Aaron Lopresti, Matt Ryan (i)
DC Comics
“Ends of the Earth” (finale)

Plot: The soulless Amazon Princess fights a demonic foe. At home, Agent Tresser has gone ape.

Comments: Poor Diana. Her boobs may be bigger than ever (who knew Lopresti could top the Dodsons on that front?*), but this latest volume of her series is still sub-par. Which doesn’t make sense. There’s a very good writer (whom I can’t wait to read back on the Secret Six/Villains United cast in a few weeks, already on my store sub), and a talented artist who proved his affinity for buxom badass warrior women on Ms. Marvel most recently. So why is this so leaden and dull a chore to read?

Simone has even done something that usually pleases the fanboy in me: for this sword & sorcery style tale (at first glance, hardly the wrong sub-genre for a pantheon-loving Amazon), she’s revived two old DC sub-Conan properties, Beowulf and Claw. Lopresti captures their old visual flair well enough, and the demon on-hand even makes sinister wisecracks.

Fine ideas, but the story is flat as can be. Putting Diana with all these testy ancient males is all well and good, but the literally soulless Stalker betrayer had no personality, and the bizarre arcana of the whole situation were ornate but not all that interesting.

Much more fun stuff was happening back at Diana’s apartment with her fellow agent Nemesis/Tom Tresser (as Donna wisely says this issue, time for Diana to have a boyfriend again – get this relationship up and running soon!) and the clan of white ape houseguests she’s currently hosting.

Lopresti and Simone show what both can do together in one panel of this issue, when Rhanda the ape decides Tom needs some complimentary grooming. The look of concentration on Rhanda’s face is priceless, as is Tom’s discomfort. Of course, Donna would take to Diana’s unusual houseguests as easily as Diana did, and of course she would try to protect them and size up Diana’s possible beau in the same instant.

Also somewhat promising are developments with Sarge Steel. Simone has taken a somewhat different approach with Diana’s boss than earlier writers (what has this benighted series had, four so far?), who seemed either in on her double-nature or ensorcelled not to care much about Agent Prince’s secrets at various points in the past. This issue he cares quite a bit (fallout from the Amazons Attack events I guess), though whether the software-free (but text-filled) screen he’s reading this issue full of chauvinistic paranoia is from his own hand or an email from some outside influence is unclear.

This new tone will likely please some readers who felt Diana hoodwinking her boss wasn’t quite kosher, but I thought it worked fine with the winking sub-'70s TV series tone with which this volume once began, to so much greater sales so long ago. Heinberg had something in mind, but he never delivered, and Amazons Attack actually hurt this book (just as it did everything else it touched). Simone started things off right with a balance between Diana’s mother/teacher/healer modes and her warrior side (in her story about some rabid Hippolyte loyalists and some Nazis clashing on Paradise Island), but this Viking adventure has been a non-starter. Can somebody go drag Jiminez back from Marvel?

*Stop me if you can!



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