Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Comic Book Review: Wonder Woman #601

Book Information
Written by J. Michael Straczynski
Penciled by Don Kramer
Inked by Michael Babinski
Colored by Alex Sinclair
Lettered by Travis Lanham

Wonder Woman Created By William Moulton Marston

My Awe-Inspiring Opinion
So…remember about two months ago when I was worried what would happen to Wonder Woman when Gail Simone left?  I wasn’t just worried…I was TERRIFIED!  Simone set a precedent that will never be equaled by any writer, she redefined Wonder Woman for the modern age and gave her the type of humanity and love that I can only hope will transcend throughout time.  Now, with Mr. J. Michael Straczynski at the literary helm, my hopes have been fulfilled and terror subdued.

Now the truth of the matter is you can love or hate the new (temporary) look and direction Wonder Woman is going through, it’s your choice.  However, when you allow the changes to dictate your overall feeling for the story in and of itself, you’re allowing your nostalgic bias to interfere with enjoying what Straczynski is bringing to the table.  I find this new direction to be strange and out of touch with the legacy of Wonder Woman.  But the literary structure of #601 is everything a comic book fan (and a Wonder Woman fan) wants and needs to satisfy the comic fix. 

The mystery in this issue is fantastic, causing us to wonder what the Hell is going on, why Wonder Woman’s life is different all of the sudden, and where this new approach is going.  This isn’t some aimless direction on the part of Straczynski and DC Comics however; there is a method behind the madness. 

The story starts off by showing images of a painful end to a once beautiful and glorious Island brought down by the wraith of a mysterious shadowy figure whose purpose is unknown at this point.  Diana begins her quest at discovering what happened and why she’s having difficulty remembering her past while continually being bombarded with random images of what she was before the drastic change in threads.  Straczynski is purposefully calling back to the Wonder Woman we are familiar with, showing that this change has its purpose, we just have to give the mystery time to unveil itself.  (Which you can bet will be at least another five to eleven issues.)

Diana is obviously being portrayed in a much darker tone; having been ripped of her past, her memories while is being crushed with everything the Oracle (who is this oracle by the way) is telling her, who wouldn’t be pissed off at the world and want answers?  Don Kramer nails it on the head with his incredible depiction of confusion, anger, resentment, and determination all over Diana’s face.  Aaron Lopresti did just this, but Kramer is giving it a much more negative and dark feel, much like the Dark Knight.

Straczynski doesn’t dwell on the past very much; we have very few images showing us what happened to Paradise Island.  He pushes forward with a lot of intensity, giving us more to wonder about.  This is the best type of comic book storytelling!

My Awesomely Climactic Conclusion
It’s early yet, and I’ll probably knock on wood after writing this, but I think the future of the Amazon Princess is in good hands.  This new era is different and interesting enough that my attention is hooked!  I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited for the outcome of an arc since Starbreaker first attacked the Justice League back in the early 90’s…and that’s saying A LOT!

Writing: 10
Themes: 10
Art: 10
Overall: 10 out of 10
+1 Incentive Point

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