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Frantic as a cardiograph scratching out the lines, Day 122: Wonder Woman (volume 2) #156

Every day this year, I will be examining the first pages of random comics. Today’s page is from Wonder Woman (volume 2) #156, which was published by DC and is cover dated May 2000. Enjoy!

Now THAT'S an ax!

I didn’t mean to grab an issue of Wonder Woman in my return to random comics (I do try to keep this as random as possible, although it’s not easy), but it’s certainly relevant, considering how much the new series has angried up some blood. This issue is from the less-than-distinguished Eric Luke/Matthew Clark run (with Tom Simmons on inks, John Costanza lettering, and Pam Rambo providing the colors), comics I honestly haven’t read in over a decade. So let’s check out this page!

Unfortunately, it’s kind of boring. Luke does, however, provide the theoretical new reader with a nice primer on WW’s mission: peace, singing in harmony, ending war – you know, filthy hippie crap. Luke does a nice job with Diana’s “voice,” as she has been doing this long enough to admit, a bit snarkily, that it sure ain’t easy making knuckle-dragging men lay down their penis substitutes. All we need to know about Diana’s larger mission is on this page. Sure, we don’t know her name is Diana, but that’s okay. We know she’s Wonder Woman, right?

Clark doesn’t have a lot to do, but he does give us a nice drawing of WW. In the first panel, we see a strange structure apparently floating above a body of water in some kind of mountainous region. The structure is actually Diana’s invisible plane, which turned into a giant floating city for a while in the book. Clark does show how small Diana is compared to the “plane,” and her contrail (if that’s what we can call it) leads our eye to the next panel, where Diana dominates the scene. It’s a nice drawing of Wonder Woman – I’ve seen some people claim that recent artists are the first to draw Diana as a Greek woman, but that’s not really true, as she looks more Mediterranean here than she often does. Clark makes her muscled but not bulky, and while her bracelets aren’t as big as someone like John Byrne drew them, they’re still prominent. One of the more interesting parts of this run (from what I remember of it) is that Luke and Clark gave Diana some solid weaponry, and we see that here. Her narration about peace runs headlong into her heavily armored self and her comment at the bottom right of the page. On the next page, she narrates more about the problems with her mission that lead her to take up weapons. Diana’s face is a bit vapid, unfortunately, which is strange because Clark generally draws it better. Maybe she’s just focused. As usual, Clark has problems with what to do with Diana’s lasso. It’s just sort of hovering there, which is how artists usually draw it. Someone should boldly put a loop on her golden girdle, just to see if anyone would follow suit.

Would this get someone to turn the page? I’m not sure. It gives us the basics of Diana’s mission but tells us nothing about the issue itself. Luke and Clark certainly design the page so that it flows to the next page, but, like I pointed out above, it is a bit boring, especially because I suspect many laypeople are familiar with Wonder Woman already. But the page isn’t actively awful, so maybe that’s enough.

Next: Yes, a Bat-book. I own a lot of them! This one, at least, is a bit outside the core titles! Find more Bat-books in the archives! And hey, it’s a third of the way through the year! Be honest – you didn’t think I’d make it, did you?

3 Comments

I first noticed a more Greek look to Diana way back when Perez first took over the book, so I’m with you on that.

This shows the other side of characterizing Wonder Woman. Even DC talent flip-flops between the ambassador of peace and the tireless warrior. Not just with her but everyone on Themiscrya.

Careful, Greg — you’re gonna get yourself into a heap of trouble by pointing out how Diana has actually been written in the past as layered, nuanced and even given to exasperation or sarcasm.

[newbiefan]After all, it is ONLY in the last eight issues that she has FINALLY been portrayed as DEEP! CONFLICTED! A heroine CAPABLE of overcoming her AWFUL background! And FINALLY worth reading! Because previously she was ONLY A BORING, PREACHY PERFECT PRINCESS FROM AN ISLAND OF MAN-HATERS WHO DARE TO PREACH TO US WHEN THEY CHOSE TO ISOLATE THEMSELVES! [/newbiefan]

Oh, and [newbiefan] the SALES figures prove it! [/newbiefan] (Even though they’ve been dropping like most of the other new 52 titles, and even runs now viewed as disasters have sold better than this, and the hoped-for expansion of the reader pool hasn’t happened,)

But why let facts get in the way of a good argument? The Wonder boards are as frustrating as the comments section on She Has No Head these days — so thanks for pointing this page out, if nothing else. Luke may not have been the best writer on the title, but at least he cared enough to try and get her right.

What did Azzarello or Diana ever do to deserve “fans” like this?

Becca: Tell us how you really feel!

I’m guilty of ignoring comic book history as much as the next guy, but this idea that the new WW is the only one that “gets it right” is quite puzzling. The long Perez run was pretty good; the long Messner-Loebs run is, I think, overlooked because Deodato came on at the end and it turned into a “Bad Girls” comic for a while; Luke’s run wasn’t great but he did do some interesting things with the character; Jimenez’s run is underrated, I think; and Rucka’s run is pretty good (I didn’t mention Byrne’s run because I couldn’t even finish it as I hated it so much). I haven’t read as much of the original WW as some, but that second series had some really good creators doing solid work on the character. I guess these people are basing their opinions solely on the most recent revival of WW, which had its detractors, I know, but to claim that this series is the first one to get Diana right makes no sense at all.

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