Posted by: Graeme McMillan on November 16, 2007
With a story that starts with the heroine fighting an army of intelligent violent gorillas and ends with an army of technological neo-Nazis, it’s not completely beyond the realm of possibility that we’ll see some zombies, robots and pirates before Gail Simone’s first storyarc of WONDER WOMAN (#14 of which, Simone’s first issue, came out on Wednesday) is over.
The feeling of trying too hard permeates the entire issue – Simone hits the ground running with multiple plots starting at once, but maybe throws too many in there for the first issue: Mysteries about Diana’s birth, Gorilla Grodd amassing ape armies, the appearance of Etta Candy – who seems to be investigating Wonder Woman’s secret identity – and Nazis invading Paradise Island! All in color in 22 pages for twenty dimes! But the plots and subplots don’t really gel together this time out, and the reading experience is choppy, rather than fun-filled and action-packed. Why is Gorilla Grodd genetically enhancing primates into intelligent monkey soldiers? We don’t find out, and even the investigation into Grodd gets derailed by the shock reveal of Captain Nazi at the end of the book. For that matter, why does Diana take the monkeys home with her after fighting them, aside from setting up a comedic homelife for her? Why is Etta Candy back at all (To be fair, I’m hoping that her name isn’t going to be Etta this time around – we didn’t find out what her first name is this time around)? Why are the Society using an army of Nazis? Okay, that last one is presumably going to be answered soon, but nonetheless, I didn’t come out of this issue feeling that there’s a grand plan with lots of answers waiting for me soon, but instead that there’s pressure to make a lot of things happen all of a sudden to grab readers’ attention, which resulted in something frantic and fragmented.
Thing is, there’s potential here. Look past the self-conscious narration – Why is Diana defining herself against Batman during her monkey fight? – and the overactive plotting, and Simone’s take on Wonder Woman is interesting enough to pay attention to – Kick-ass, but willing to talk her way out’ve a fight that she’s already won, which is a nice mix of Allen Heinberg’s and Greg Rucka’s versions of the character – and, once the need to please fades slightly, the unusually energetic and quirky tone may show off Diana’s charm to better effect than she’s been able to enjoy for quite some time. Keeping in mind the wonderful Dodson family artwork, this is a fairly Good start to what will hopefully be a memorable run.