Posted by: Graeme McMillan on April 25, 2007
Here’s the first thing that’s wrong with AMAZONS ATTACK! #1: That it doesn’t begin with a caption that tells you very clearly that you really should read Wonder Woman #8 before you read the rest of the issue. Even though I’ve been keeping up with the relaunched version of the alphabetically-chested Amazon’s book, I started Amazons Attack! wondering just what the hell was going on, a feeling I could’ve at least partially avoided had I known to read the latest issue of Wonder Woman first, where one of the major “Wait, what?” moments was explained away.
Here’s the second thing that’s wrong with Amazons Attack! #1: That it needed a caption explaining that you should read something else to understand the issue. As much as I liked to completely rant about Civil War, it did something right as far as this whole “event miniseries” thing goes that DC’s books don’t – It started with a relatively clean slate for new readers. Sure, there was a lot of backstory that fans knew that enhanced the whole thing, but a new reader could pick up the first issue of Civil War and at least be able to follow what was going on and why. Compare that to Infinite Crisis, which started with the conclusion of at least four different miniseries, not to mention the various tie-ins from ongoing books… or worse yet, compare that to this book, which seems to launch entirely not only from ongoing events in Wonder Woman’s current title (including two things that directly tie into events in WW #8 and only really make sense if you read that book – even though they don’t actually make that clear anywhere in AA! #1), but also from a forgotten plotline that was last mentioned in Greg Rucka’s WW run, what, two or three years ago? In what world does that make sense, launching a new “event” book – this ties in with Countdown as well, down the line, apparently – that is based in a plot that even Wonder Woman fans don’t remember, and not explaining it for anyone who isn’t familiar with that plot?
(For those who’ve read the book and still don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s Circe’s daughter, who’s currently being raised by humans – I think? – as per Rucka’s run. If I understood the dialogue in this issue correctly, that seems to be behind Circe’s plan to ignite war between the Amazons and humanity.)
This is exactly my big problem with DC’s current superhero direction – Not just that it’s aimed at pleasing the fans, but that it seems to be purely aimed at pleasing the fans. Stories shouldn’t be centered around past continuity that doesn’t get explained or introduced, and if your new series ties in with something else that’s currently out there then, firstly, what kind of launch is that, and secondly, you should make that clear to your readers instead of just assuming that they’re buying everything already.
Despite the clear feeling that this is a book created by editorial edict and without any clear creative direction, writer Will Pfeifer does a pretty good job with what he has to work with – the idea that the Amazons attack Washington and symbolically chop the head off the statue of Abraham Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial works in both a visual and comedically over-the-top blockbuster manner, and his writing has a nice rhythm to it. Pete Woods, meanwhile, provides art that yet again makes you wonder why he’s not a superstar who misses his deadlines and yet wins awards every time he turns around. It’s a testament to their talents that what should be a complete disaster turns out to be a pretty readable, Okay book. It’s no World War III, at least, and shouldn’t that be the main thing?