Issue Synopses: Volume Two

The Plastic Age begins (sometimes referred to as the Modern Age)

 


 

George Perez at his desk, Photoshopped to look like an angelGeorge Perez era:

Issue 1

 

 

 

 


Janus, the two-faced Greek god, wears a Wonder tiaraWilliam Messner-Loebs. Photo by William Messner-Loebs era:

We find a surprisingly gripping and entertaining read during a good part of the run. At other times, orders from DC's PTB dictated that the series change to be as different from the Perez era as possible, and Diana's mythos suffered for it.

Without explanation, Diana was quietly depowered to much more interesting levels. She got injured even more than she did during the Simone era (if that's possible), and we got to see the steel in her spine as well as her gentleness. This was the era of TacoWhiz and Artemis, of T&A and a multi-faceted and vulnerable Circe. Of Space Pyrates and Diana with a sense of humor and understanding of basic humanity. Terrific new villains like the White Magician and Mayfly were introduced as well.

Though the artwork during this era varied greatly, it was not the greatest, unless you're really into Deodato T&A. However, Brian Bolland did most of the covers, so we also had one of the best eras of cover art that Wonder Woman has ever seen!

Operation: Cheetah: Wonder Woman Special #1, issue #63
Shadows and Eclipses: Wonder Woman Annual #3
The Heart of the City: issue #64
Fever Dream: issue #65
Space Pyrates! issues #66-71
The Song of Creation: issue #72
Losses: issue #73
Greatness Calls! issue #74
The Last True Hero: issue #75
Knowledge: issue #76
Worst Moments: issue #77
The Fast Contract: issues #78-80
And Then She Fell to Earth: issue #81
Ares Rising: issues #82-84
No Quarter—No Sanctuary! issues #85-87
Dead—Again: issues #88-89
The Contest: issues #90, 0, 91-92
Violent Beginnings: issue #93
Poison, Claws and Death: issues #94-97
Sisters! issues #98-100


Ancient Blood, Ancient Stone: Wonder Woman Annual #4 (1995)


 

John Byrne in 1992Wonder Woman as Where's Waldo?John Byrne era:

The controversial artist landed the Wonder Woman gig. Not only would he draw (and letter) it, but he'd write it, too. Immediately he eliminated Diana's supporting cast and then cloned them all with new names in a new location, including a Nessie Kaptatelis doppelganger who would become the new Wonder Girl. Kirby Kreations dominated the book (though one doesn't really think of the Kirby and WW fandoms being the same set) and Diana herself was often missing or left out of the main action. Donna Troy has yet to recover from her treatment by Byrne. Rumor was Byrne was going to pull a "Dark Wonder Woman" arc as a grand finale, but luckily, he left the book before doing so.

And damn it all, he made Wonder Woman a legacy character, like she was a Flash or Green Lantern, a character easily substituted for. This should NEVER have happened!

Even so, some fans cheer this run because to them it brought back Wonder Woman as a full-blown superhero.

Click here to see fans' comments on the era.

Second Genesis: issues #101-104


 

Wonder Woman GalleryA special all-art gallery of pinups, published in 1996.

Wonder Woman Gallery


Legends of the DC Universe

 

 

 

Artemis: RequiemA violent, T&A miniseries that starred post-mortem Artemis. Characters regularly found themselves impaled to death, only to be brought back to vibrant life in the next panel just so they could be bloodily impaled again. Why do such themes have to be linked to the Wonder mythos? A depressing and not that well-written piece. Glad it happened to Artie and not Diana.

Artemis: Requiem #1-6

Kingdom ComeAn all-painted, 4-issue trade paperback Elseworlds extravaganza showing us the glory that is Superman. Wonder Woman plays an important secondary role while demonstrating what hypocrites (cough) Amazons are within the DCU. Debut of the Screaming Chicken outfit.

Kingdom Come (1996)

Whom Gods Destroy logo

 

 

 

cover to Wonder woman Adventures #1

 

DC Comics Presents Wonder Woman Adventures #1: a 2012 collection of 1997-1998's kiddie comic, Adventures in the DC Universe issues #1, 3, 11, and 19, which had Wonder Woman in them. She's in Gateway City mode (Byrne era), but the stories and art are lackluster. Darn it, I thought this was an All-New Batman: the Brave and the Boldcompilation, or I wouldn't have bought it! As it is, I'm not doing an in-depth synopsis of these stories. Stories by Steve Vance; pencils by John Delaney; inks by Ron Boyd; edits by K.C. Carlson and Kevin Dooley.

 

Once and Future Story

 

A kind of Elseworlds story doing duty as both fake history and an awkward public service announcement. Unfortunate inking.

The Once and Future Story: a graphic novel, 1998

 

 

 

Realworlds: Wonder Woman logo

 

 

 

 

JLA: Witchblade logo

 

 

 

 

 

A League of One

 

Christopher Moeller's 2000 all-painted hardcover graphic novel actually told a Wonder Woman story that focused on... Wonder Woman! When had we ever seen that before?

JLA: A League of One

 




Phil JimenezPhil Jimenez era:

Phil tried to collect all elements of every era and squeeze them into the current version of WW. Personally, I think one should throw out the bad and keep the good.

There were lots and lots of terrific ideas presented. Only Phil had the courage to bring the long-simmering animosity between the Bana and Themies to a head. But usually I disagreed with the way it was done. For a while on the message boards I ran a running score of how many times Diana won a real victory during her stories, and it wasn't pretty.

While there was plenty of soap opera—mostly being shown that women were basically squabblers at heart—there was also OTT drama, which is something we should see in superhero comics. If pacing had been smoother, if we'd gotten a First Meet with TrevorB and Diana (and if TrevorB had been worth her wasting her time with him), this could be considered one of WW's finer eras.

As it was, it had some spectacular art, as long as Phil was doing pencils. We also had some fine Adam Hughes covers.

Gods of Gotham: Issues 164-167
Issues 168-169 Amazon Civil War


 

The Hiketeia

 

A 2002 hardback, beautifully-illustrated graphic novel written by an award-winning novelist who obviously respected and was well-versed in the Wonder mythos. It should have been fabulous. It should have been satisfying. And yet... and yet...

The Hiketeia




Walter SimonsonWalter Simonson era:

Walter Simonson knows how to write a bang-up superhero tale, full of action and adventure and the superhero's basic shtick. I still have very fond memories of him writing Thor as a frog over at Marvel. Now DC gave him a chance to write the final Plastic Age story for Wondie. It seemed to be a fill-in run between regularly-scheduled writers, but even with some hiccups it was still a nice little story.

The Game of the Gods: Issues 189-194




the first Trinity miniseriesA three-issue TPB story from Matt Wagner, 2003. This supposedly showed the
first meeting between Superman, Batman and Wondie, but is out of continuity.

Trinity (the mini-series)

Age of Wonder logo

 

 

 

 

Blue Amazon logo

 

 

 

 

Graduation Day

 

 

 

 

DC: The New Frontier

 

 

 

The Return of Donna Troy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Dark Age Begins

Greg RuckaGreg Rucka era:


 

 




Volume Three listings

Heinberg as Alice's rabbit

Allan Heinberg, looking quite serious and dramatically litAllan Heinberg

With great fanfare, DC introduced Volume 3 of the Wonder Woman title without telling us why it needed to be reset at zero and given a soft pseudo-reboot that didn't really correct anything or reset much. Of course they didn't warn us that Amazons Attack was on the horizon either...

Alan Heinberg was in TV, notably (well, notably to me) a writer and producer of Gilmore Girls. He'd written the popular Young Avengers over at Marvel, and his Wiki entry says he co-wrote JLA for a few issues with Geoff Johns.

So he landed the job with Wondie, though apparently he'd forgotten to tell anyone that he already had a full schedule that would keep him from his duties with her. The books came out very late. By the time DC announced that WW was now on a bimonthly schedule, it was actually coming out quarterly. Fans screamed to high heaven. Heck, it got so bad even NON-Wondie fans shouted for DC to do something.

Other titles were also running late, but none to the extent that Wonder Woman was. DC hired a person to correct the situation company-wide (aren't such called "editors"?) and eventually things did get better. But we fans and later others began to demand that DC hire a writer who COULD produce in a timely manner, and have Heinberg finish his story (if needed) outside the WW book. What they finally did was just that. Heinberg's last, long chapter that finalized the setup to Volume 3, appeared in the 2007 WW Annual, quite some time after the book had gone on to other things.

Who Is Wonder Woman?: issues #1-4, WW (2007) Annual #1


 

Jodi PicoultJodi Picoult

 

 

 

 

 


Pfeiffer as devilAmazons Attack logo

 

The Nadir of Wonder Woman

 

Will PfeiferWill Pfeifer

For a (video) review of Amazons Attack! more thorough than I could ever hope to supply, go here for issues 1 & 2, here for issues 3 & 4, and here for issues 5 & 6, all from the brilliant blog "Atop the Fourth Wall."


 

J. TorresJ. Torres

Called upon to finish AA in the WW book, Torres also wrote a bridge or AA Aftermath, and then a fill-in issue which set up things for his Wonder Girl miniseries.

Issue 13

The Wonder Girl miniseries

 

 

 


 

 

TrinityKurt Busiek52 issues—that's 52 weekly issues that concentrated on Superman, Batman... and Wonder Woman! The writer was Kurt Busiek, one of DC's best, and someone who didn't write ooky female characters. He also is DC's resident expert on continuity.

Now, this HAD to be good. Right? Right?

Trinity (the maxi-series), 2008-2009

 


Gail SimoneGail Simone

The rumors of Gail Simone coming to WW took fandom by storm, and when she arrived, she did so with an explosion of creative energy. We were treated to stories with poetry and humor, deep emotion, awesome action, and Amazon honor. Diana fought in the modern world, on extraterrestrial planets, in S&S venues. She worked side-by-side with super-gorillas, aliens, humans and gods. For a while it seemed like this would be the best WW era ever!

The roller coaster ride didn't last long enough. Do they ever? After a while the energy fell so much that it was irritating to read. But it didn't hurt at all that Gail got some superb artists to work with! For the most part, Diana never looked better. Imho artist Aaron Lopresti was one of the top WW artists of all time. His work was gorgeous!

The Circle: issues 14-17
Expatriate: issues 18-19
Ends of the Earth: issues 20-23


Wednesday ComicsDuring the summer of 2009, DC published a newspaper-sized weekly "Sunday comics"-type of presentation. Wonder Woman was one of the features, and her story was presented with the amazing, OTT creativity of Ben Caldwell.

Wednesday Comics

 

Titans #20

 

All the then-current Titans got solo issues. This was Donna's: Feb, 2010.

Titans: issue 20

 

 

 

Blackest Night

 

 

 

Brave and the Bold 33 cover

 

Wondie fans get an advance look at how JMS might treat her one month before his Bold New WW Direction hits: June, 2010. WW teams up with Zatanna and Batgirl (Barbara Gordon).

Brave and the Bold: issue 33

 

 

The series is now renumbered, beginning with #600

 

 

the standard Perez cover for WW #600the Adam Hughes variant cover for issuse 600Thanks to a postcard campaign and DC's 75th Anniversary, Wonder Woman found herself returned to her original numbering, more or less. (I still think #600 should have been issue #44. ::shrug::)

DC took the occasion of this special issue to wrap up the Gail Simone era as well as the George Pérez overarching era, to present some teamup stories, plug in a lot of pinup shots, and kick off the new JMS era by pulling a PR stunt that got the entire world talking and gave us world peace. Well, it got everyone talking, at least.

Wonder Woman: issue 600

Ah, Diana, we hardly knew ye. That was the end of her, except for the odd blip, like WML's Retroactive issue. DC ditched Wonder Woman and in her place put someone who often looked much like her and answered to her name, but had none of her soul.

a memorial to Wonder Woman, giving her life as 1941 to 2010

 

the Not Wonder Woman eraPhil Hester photo of JMS from WikiJ. Michael Straczynski and Phil Hester

DC gave us issue #600 and then they took WW away. This debacle was planned to be 12 issues (though it only had about 5 issues worth of plot), but was stretched to 14 to pave the way for the Nottaboot... even though no other DC title had to do such.

Odyssey: issues #601-614

cover to Wonder Girl (second series) #1

DC decided to do a Wonder Girl one-shot, most likely to introduce the character Solstice, who doesn't appear on this cover because it was a special "one character, one symbol" gimmick month for the line. Note for Titans continuity buffs: according to the writer, this issue takes place before TT #88.

Wonder Girl (series 2, I guess) #1

 

 

Justice League logoNo, I'm not reneging on my determination not to include minor or even meh-majorish minor WW appearances outside the mother book. Instead, this is to synopsize the era of JLA in which Donna Troy, the mighty superhero, the best team member the DCU had, the woman with 50 years' history of triumphs (including that of saving the entire freaking universe), actually got to be a member of the holy JLA for a time.

Justice League of America (issues # - )

Batman: the Brave and the BoldDC Kids tried out B&B (nope, not Bullets and Bracelets) again, this time with a slightly different title: The All-New Batman: the Brave and the Bold. Wonder Woman guest-starred in issue #4 along with an entire slew of supporting cast and old-time villains for a highly entertaining romp, what they called on the cover, "Wedding Bell Bedlam!"

The Bride and the Bold (issue #4 of the series)

Flashpoint: Wonder Woman and the FuriesI had to include this. Someone pointed a gun at me. Here it is.

Wonder Woman and the Furies (issues #1-3) and Flashpoint (in general)

DC RetroActive: Wonder Woman

Right before the Nottaboot DC chose a handful of titles and put out three "RetroActive" issues for each: one trying for a 70s feel, one an 80s, and one a 90s. In WW's instance, we got one of the all-time great stories... and one of the worst.

DC RetroActive: Wonder Woman

Volume 4

XenulesBrian AzzarelloBrian Azzarello

But even worse was ahead. DC didn't reboot its entire universe at the end of September, 2011. It didn't exactly NOT reboot its entire universe, either. But things were almost completely different (in most of the new 52 titles, which started from #1's).

True to the promise of Amazons Attack! and "Odyssey," DC did indeed reboot Wonder Woman until she was unrecognizable, at least to me. Horror was the genre now, as it was across all too much of the DC line. Gone were WW's mythos' positive themes, and she seemed merely a (masculinized) co-star to the evil Greek gods.

2011
2012
2013

 

 

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