Phil Jimenez is a giant among comic book artists AND he's always professed his love for Wonder Woman -- though Donna Troy is #1 in his heart. Securing him for the art chores for the book was a major coup for WW, but they let him write it as well.

Jimenez was the first writer who ever made me detest Wondie. During this run Diana was shown to be immature, excessively emotional, jealous, spiteful, unskilled, more interested in appearance than substance... and massively hypocritical. While I believe that heroes should have flaws, I dont think that these flaws should overshadow their greatest strong points. Wondie, especially in recent years, has been hailed as the beacon of truth. To have her turn so blatantly hypocritical neither fit nor appealed in the least.

But to blame this all on Jimenez is a disservice. He had co-writers, co-plotters... and EDITORS. He should have been guided by these editors (and other writers) to learn how to structure his story, to turn away from the hypocrisy and frou-frou that so abounded in his stories and instead rethink, restructure to make something that would be an attribute to the Wondie mythos.

Jimenez had some REALLY good ideas. Plus, he wanted to shake up the stale Wondieverse, and gigantic bonus points should be awarded for this. He just didn't know how to do it right. A good editor could have helped him a lot. On Oct. 6, 2001, Phil told us on the DC Message Boards that during this "fill-in" run (he often referred to his two years on the book in this fashion):

My assignment was to boost her sales, get her back some much needed recognition, amp her rogue's gallery, redefine her mission, and make some nice artwork with stories that would affect her for possibly years to come.

That's a great list of things to do, but I question the way it was handled. Though he tackled all these areas, did he really craft positive results for these goals? (Well, other than the art, which was indeed gorgeous most of the time he worked on the book.)

And it's perversely interesting that the next long-time writer to hit the book, Rucka, would undo some of the major changes (My Little Pony Paradise -- hey, I LIKED it! -- and the Amazon immigrants in particular), and the awful, horrible, damnedable Amazons Attack! would ignore and in fact contradict just about EVERYTHING positive in this run. As if we pay attention to AA! Snort.

This particular story arc brings in a new vision of Hippolyta. It didn't sit well with many readers. From the DC Message Board:

"GA Harlequin" Posted: 2003-11-16 17:19:27.0:

The writer who "abused" the notion [of Hipplolyta as unworthy queen more concerned with superheroics than her people] most and worst was Phil Jimenez. The JSA team (at the time Robinson & Goyer) wrote Hippolyta out at the end of JSA #4, with her refusing full-time membership on the grounds that she had too many duties at home. She STAYED out until JSA #13 (Johns & Goyer), which was an all-hands emergency - and she was written out AGAIN at the end of JSA #15.

She was NOT supposed to be shown casually hanging out with the JSA on any and all ocasions. The writer who did THAT to her was Phil Jimenez, in the pages of Wonder Woman.


So in his very first issue, Jimenez violates continuity by skewing Hippy's established character. He also turns Diana's personality inside-out. He converts Artemis from the "black sheep" Amazon into a loving, concerned woman. In fact, all the heroes of this arc are loving and concerned, except Cassie the Wonder Girl and (on occasion) Diana and Hippolyta. It's kinda hard to tell a difference between anyone except by what they're wearing.

Jimenez also reflects what Perez had done: showing Diana as a person who talks first and then fights. Jimenez took this to extremes; Diana became a jabberer, a preacher. The typeface actually had to be reduced from normal sometimes so as to fit all the verbosity in.

I began to keep a score card on the message boards showing that Diana was not getting any victories. Many of the times that her side did win, they won because a villain had made a decision on their own, not because Diana had any hand in it. Diana was ineffective as a crimefighter, superhero AND a talker. She was not what I'd call a "Wonder Woman."

In this particular "Gods of Gotham" story arc, too many things are attempted. First, EVERY member of the Wondie and Bats families are brought into play, then several Bat villains are combined with a handful of Olympian gods. There are just too many characters to keep track of, even with four issues to utilize.

There's a basic plot: gods try to bring Ares to the Earth plane, focused on Gotham City. There's a theme of religious faith and another one of believing in one's self. There's a cutesy gimmick of trying to relate all the members of the Wondie and Bats families to each other (Oracle = Penelope, Phobos = Scarecrow, Nightwing = Donna Troy, etc.). There are also lots of squabbles that don't advance the plot, posturing poster pages that look impressive but confuse the narrative flow, pages and pages of monologues, villains who strike poses and repeat themselves endlessly, and a bizarre twist on the Bat Family that turns 'em all into jabberers, too, speaking of love and faith, motherhood and apple pie. Very un-Bat-like.

There's a good story in there somewhere, and I truly mean a GOOD story -- but it gets buried under the rubble of everything else. "Simplify! Simplify!" I shout as I wonder what the heck the editor was doing when all this was being created.

Note the play Donna Troy gets in this story. She'll get even better panel time as time goes by. Most of the time she acts in a more Wonder Woman-ly fashion than Diana, but in this particular story she gets to waste time after she's received an at-death's-door telepathic impression of Diana, and instead of leaping to the rescue, she dawdles to make sure her earrings are on and straight. This is akin to a firefighter who, when notified that fire is sweeping through a building and eating at the clothes of little old ladies and babies, decides to shine his shoes before boarding his fire truck. Inexcusable.

Man, this could have been such a great story...

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