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‘Wonder Woman #750’ (review)

Written and Illustrated by Various
Published by DC Comics

 

“She was the first superhero. And yet… it was the heroism she saw in each and every one of us that shined a new way forward…

A way out of the dark.”

 

In an industry that at times seems driven by publishing events, it’s always nice when one of them really hits the mark.

The 750th anniversary of Wonder Woman comics is one of those events, in no small part because a celebration of Wonder Woman is frankly, much needed in the world today.

And certainly a very good use of our time.

Kudos to DC for recognizing that truth, as well as for seeing the opportunity that this milestone in the history of comics can be.

Or rather, by the looks of it, what it will be.

Unsurprisingly, there is no shortage of artists to commemorate the moment. Storytellers Jesus Merino, Riley Rossmo, and Bryan Hitch are just a few of those selected to tell nine stories in this issue, joining classic Wonder Woman artists from Brian Bolland to Adam Hughes to George Perez himself, with no less than 36 variant covers between them all, for the occasion.

Ten different writers step up for the event, with stories highlighting some of Princess Diana’s greatest moments, adversaries, and storylines, with updates and teases sprinkled throughout that serve to set the stage for what promises to be a whole new era of Wonder Woman in DC comics.

There’s Steve Orlando, of course, following through with his current storyline, and a resolution (at least for now) of Diana’s latest struggle with Dr. Barbara Minerva, aka the Cheetah. One that is much needed in the wake of the chaos she and the Legion of Doom have been wreaking across the DC universe.

Speaking of fallout from the Year of the Villain, Greg Rucka also has some ideas to offer about Diana’s relationship with Dr. Minerva, along with a surprising take on a certain legendary witch-sorceress that perhaps will be better explained as James Tynion wraps up his current Justice League Dark storyline with Wonder Woman next week.

Thanks to G. Willow Wilson, and an editorial decision that suggests new and interesting developments in the DCU over the year to come, Princess Diana’s original sponsors, the ancient Greek gods, have been reseated once more in their proper place in the Sphere of the Gods. That’s a welcome return to some classic lines for the Wonder Woman mythos, and true to form, it appears Aries is wasting no time testing Diana’s mettle in a story here by Mariko Tamaki. Though, it does seem just a little bit strange that the great Greek God of War would allow himself to be outmaneuvered by the Princess of Themyscira quite so easily…

Speaking of old adversaries, Vita Ayala offers us an updated glimpse into the tragically recreated life of Vanessa Kapatellis, who readers were first introduced to back in the classic Wolfman/Perez run in the late 80’s, when she was merely the young friend and almost-sidekick for Wonder Woman, before fate and the demands of DC’s most recent universal reset trapped her in the role of the raging, villainous Silver Swan.

Will a rehabilitated friendship with her one-time friend give Vanessa the faith she needs to forge a new life in today’s DCU? Possibly, though with so few actual rogues in Wonder Woman’s gallery, I’m not sure we’re going to see the end of this one quite so easily. We’re rooting for you though, Vanessa.

Speaking of sidekicks, the wonderful Gail Simone treats us to a new team-up adventure between Wonder Woman and the young, irrepressible hero, Star Blossom. The story is easily one of the best of the bunch, among other things because it suggests a more recurrent role for a young hero whose flower-power may just be what a new generation of readers needs today.

For that matter, just earlier this month, writers Shannon and Dean Hale gave us a first look at Wonder Woman’s own childhood in the charming middle reader graphic novel Princess Diana of Themyscira, as part of DC’s latest initiative to explore the young lives of its principal heroes. They return for another tale of Diana’s homeland here, though one that’s got a slightly different twist to it. It’s one of two tales featuring Themyscira in this collection, suggesting that there’s a pretty good bet we’ll be seeing many more of Princess Diana’s early years in this era of new Wonder Woman stories.

But what about previous eras? Marguerite Bennet is given room in this 750th tribute issue to strut her stuff, and showcase the inspiration of Wonder Woman through a different lens – the world of her World War II-era inspired Bombshells, with a plethora of the sort of interesting storytelling that exists in a DC universe known for its dominant population of kick-ass female superheroes.

That’s a worthwhile exercise. And more, it serves as something of a bridge for one of the most important Wonder Woman stories of the book – and possibly one of the most important Wonder Woman stories to be told in some time.

It’s the final story of the bunch. One which presents, in bold and living color, a return to another age, and the first new look at an answer to a very interesting question: What would the DCU look like if Wonder Woman was it’s very first modern-age superhero?

What if Princess Diana herself has been with us, all along, right from the very beginning? The same Wonder Woman who helped the Allies to win World War II. The same Wonder Woman who helped forge the Justice League of the 70’s and 80’s (and dare I hope, 90’s). The same Wonder Woman we have with us in now, a world of new crises and challenges?

It’s a fascinating idea. Wondrous, even. For what better time than right now, to cast one of the greatest female heroic icons of all time at the very center of a newly emerging universe of noble heroism and justice. An avatar of feminine power and mercy, one who is uniquely suited to inspire us to become… the very best of ourselves.

Who better to tie the past to the future? Who better to reconnect us to ideals of compassion, love, and truth, at a time when all of them appear to be under assault? Who better to become the very first standard bearer of justice, in the history of a brave new world to come?

Kudos to Scott Snyder for writing this story. Even more so, if this whole thing is his idea. It’s a good one. After a long stretch of dominant storytelling in DCU, one that has unearthed its fair share of demons and monsters for us to contend with, I imagine he understands as well as anyone –

Now may just be an excellent time to celebrate all things Wonder Woman.

Now may just be a very good time, to begin it all anew.

Go, go, Wonder Woman!

Help us to stand in the Light.

 

 

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