[identity profile] bluefall.insanejournal.com
Once Rucka's run was over, there was, mostly, pain. INFINITE CRISIS pain, Heinboot pain, Shamazons pain, it was a dark time for Wondy fans. We snarked, we cursed, we railed, we wept, we prayed for some benevolent god to save us.

There was one small, bright candle in the darkness, though, and his name was Marc Andreyko - the writer of the then-ongoing MANHUNTER, a true gem of a series about a lawyer named Kate Spencer who strapped on a costume when the Law just wasn't enough. Much in the vein of Slott's SHE-HULK, Kate dealt primarily in metahuman crime. Unlike Shulkie, Kate worked very much on the edge of Acceptable Vigilante Practices, killing those rogues whom she perceived to be too dangerous to live; she spent much of her series defending metahuman criminals in order to get close enough to effectively take them down.

Guess who, thanks to Brother Eye, was considered a metahuman criminal after the OYL jump?




[identity profile] bluefall.insanejournal.com
Look, a kanga!



When Wondy was Awesome part 21 is up, finishing off the Rucka chapters and volume 2. Subsequent posts can be here again, yay!

And, because [insanejournal.com profile] runespoor7 and I were talking about it a few posts back,
[identity profile] bluefall.insanejournal.com


When Wondy was Awesome nineteen is up, again at my journal as per usual with the Rucka chapters.

And for legality and curiosity, one page from the most recent SUPER FRIENDS:

[identity profile] bluefall.insanejournal.com
Just a heads-up that chapter 18 of WWwA is up at my journal. And, just my for once actually somewhat humble opinion here, but if you do not read a single other thing I ever post here, read that.



Seriously, it's good stuff.

[identity profile] bluefall.insanejournal.com
Look, pretty Diana!



For those who're interested, Chapter 17 of When Wondy was Awesome (in which Veronica Cale is Not A Nice Person and Diana writes a book) is now up at my journal. I can't put it here, because while each individual chapter is actually not so bad, the Rucka set as a whole is in flagrant violation of the 1/3 rule, and there was no way I could trim it down from the 1/2 issue format of our old LJ incarnation without shredding it. But it's good stuff, so go over there anyway. ^_^

[identity profile] bluefall.insanejournal.com
For this chapter, we go back to JLA and Kelly again, who still writes a very good Diana. You know, the Morrison-Waid-Kelly sequence really was some of the best the JLA has ever been. Years of solid gold, there, occasional bizarre missteps aside. Anyway, this isn't a Wondy story, just a short little post-"Obsidian Age" arc about the JLA beating up some aliens, but it hits some fabulous Diana character notes and is just generally fun, so it merits posting.





Next time: Rucka!

What, you seriously need more than that? Fine. Dr. Psycho! People getting humiliated on national television! Riots outside the embassy! Minotaur chefs! Greg fucking Rucka!
[identity profile] bluefall.insanejournal.com
Back to the main Wondy title this time, where we've moved on from the Luke era into the Jimenez era. Generally, I'm not a big fan of Jimenez. He had the particular talent of being both spectacular and spectacularly bad within the space of a single panel, he was a slut for continuity porn to a point often detrimental to storytelling, and he expected his readers to be familiar with pre-Crisis Wondy and random Power Company bad guys and the Super Friends show and all kinds of random crap in order to make sense of half his secondary & tertiary characters. Also, he did a hack job on Polly and saddled us with the travesty that is Trevor Barnes.

However, he gave us some important storylines with some interesting ideas behind them, even when the execution wasn't totally on, and he does a reasonably good Cassie (although again, I don't really know how much of that is that he does a good Cassie and how much is that my standards for "good Cassie" have dropped significantly since YJ ended). So onward we go, with the sad tale of Circe, Diana, and Vanessa Kapatelis: Silver Swan II.





Next time: The JLA indulges in petty bickering, a funny-looking alien calls Diana a whore, Major Disaster takes his life in his hands, and Manitou coins my favorite Wondy nickname of all time.
[identity profile] bluefall.insanejournal.com
Thus far, I've mostly been showing Diana at her best; her defining moments of triumph and growth and victory. Diana being who she is, that is most of the picture; heroes are heroes because they get it right, unlike the rest of us. But even Diana fucks up sometimes, and, like Clark or Hal or Babs or anyone with that kind of crazy power, her fuck-ups can be catastrophic.

But entertaining!

So, let us observe one of these fuck-ups, by moving into the year 2002 and the Kelly era of JLA vol 3. It seems to me that Joe Kelly is very fond of Diana; he writes her in the forefront of the team and generally pretty well, with the exception of the idiotic Bruce/Diana romance (which is not only inappropriate on its own terms, but often causes him to diminish her for the sake of Bruce's masculinity). That comes later in his run, though, and we're here to look at his fabulous first arc, "Golden Perfect."





Next time: Nessie Kapatelis returns, like you've never seen her before! Cassie is cool, for possibly the second to last time, enjoy it while you can! Secret and Empress cameo! Kon bitches about being an armadillo! Not one panel of Trevor-Sue Barnes! And I try very hard to present a Jimenez arc and remain unbiased! Everything is better with exclamation points!
[identity profile] bluefall.insanejournal.com
A few posts back, it came up in the comments that meaningful guest arcs by Diana in other titles are relatively rare compared to, say, Bruce or Clark, her theoretical equals in DCU importance. By that same token, Wonder Woman one-shots - the minis and hardcovers and self-contained trade-only specials that stand alone outside any given series - are even rarer. In fact, if you want to find them, you've got to be willing to look in places you wouldn't expect.

For example, today's chapter. See, about eight years ago, DC published what was ostensibly a Justice League book; a hundred-odd page special written and painted by Christopher Moeller called JLA: A League of One. It's not really a Justice League story, though. It's a Wonder Woman story, and one of her best.





Next time: An actual Wondy one-shot. Or I should say, rather, the Wondy One-Shot, and the eternal paladin conundrum of Ethics vs Morals, the Law versus the Right, and whether or not to punch your friends in the face for great justice.
[identity profile] bluefall.insanejournal.com
Well, we've seen a lot of Diana beating up her friends with our last couple arcs, so let's go back to JLA proper for a bit and watch her save all her friends instead. We're into February of 2001 here (continuity-wise, contemporary with or perhaps a little after Hiketeia, though few years shy of that story by publish date), during the Waid run of JLA v3, and the glory years of the Big Seven League.

Now, despite being one of the strongest JLA writers I've read, Waid has done Diana an injustice or two in his day. (And he wrote "Fairy Tales," which I am not inclined to ever forgive him for). But by the time we get to this point in the JLA, Waid was well past his Kingdom Come foibles and hitting some very good notes with her character - such as during the "Id" arc that I bring today. In which there actually isn't much Diana, but when she is, it's damn well worth noting.





Next time: Diana faces down Darkseid in an OW@W interlude, with pretty, pretty Jimenez art.
[identity profile] bluefall.insanejournal.com
Back in the summer of 2001, DC kicked off one of their many epic, universe-spanning Crossover Events with an issue of SUPERMAN in which Pluto goes missing. Yes, Pluto, the planet astral body. This Crossover Event was "Our Worlds at War," and it was not particularly well-received by fandom. Which makes sense; the plot was needlessly byzantine and, as ever, there was a lot of c-list fodder happening, particularly with women, surprise surprise. I find it fairly mediocre standard crossover fare myself, but '01 was quite a while before ICk and Shamazons, so I don't know if that's just a calibration issue and maybe it was pretty bad for the time.

But I will say this for it: despite being, ostensibly, Superman's crossover (his badguys, mostly his book, his long-term plot threads), the impact on and contribution from Diana and her corner of the DCU was significant, which is something you don't usually see - major impact on Diana's obviously not unheard of, but contribution in proportion to that impact is much rarer and worthy of note and approbation - and it had one of the greater Wondy moments on record, which is what we'll be looking at today.









Next time: The League is imperialist and Diana pretty much singlehandedly justifies every statement Clark or Bruce have ever made about hating magic.
[identity profile] jupiterrhode.insanejournal.com
Photobucket

Basically the Hiketeia is a modern Greek tragedy with Diana as the youthful hero, Bats as the vengeful king, and a new character named Danielle as the one damned by fate. If that intrigues then...

...read on )
[identity profile] bluefall.insanejournal.com
After Byrne, Wondy passed into the hands of Eric Luke. For the most part Luke's run was mediocre and unremarkable, a result of him overusing his big new villain and seeming a bit more interested in the trappings of the character than Diana herself - this is the Wonderdome era, where her invisible plane becomes her floating sky castle and ends up as significant to many of her victories as her own abilities are. But one thing he did do right was the truly awesome GodWar arc, in which (intermittently) spectacular art, fascinating mythology, and the only canon romance for Diana that has actually *worked* combined into one of my favorite Wondy stories ever.



High page count on this one, guys. You have been warned. )

Next time: Diana takes on the Justice League, does battle with a dragon, and looks really, really pretty.
[identity profile] bluefall.insanejournal.com
Time for another author switch! We've left WML behind with the 100-issue spectacular and the death of Artemis, and now Diana's out of the stupid black straptastic bra and out of Boston, and into the hands of John Byrne.

Byrne's run is... hard to pin down. The man wrote with an agenda; there were things he wanted to fix and things he wanted to change and that's what he did. And a lot of those things were good. He repaired most of the damage WML did toward the end of his run, both to Diana and, to some degree, to Polly. He built an actual Wonder Family out of Donna and Cassie and Artemis. He made a point of making Diana unique and ridiculously first-tier badass, firmly establishing how high she belonged in the DCU power hierarchy.



Diana really attracts a lot of writers who do their own art, doesn't she? )

Next time: Diana teams up with Zauriel, has a romance with a guy who, miracle of miracles, is actually worth her time, and saves all of creation. And the art is wicked cool.
[identity profile] bluefall.insanejournal.com
Diana's no Batman, with five different books devoted to her adventures at any one time. She's not even a franchise like Green Lantern, despite how awesome a regular title devoted to Artemis or Nu'bia could be*. But she is and has been an occasional guest in setting books like Action and a staple of team books like Justice League in many incarnations, and many of her better stories are from those titles rather than her own.

* Well, if it wasn't written by WML. Now let's never speak of Requiem again.

This one's from 1995, during the Era of Three Hundred Justice Leagues. Diana was head of the JLA and had been for some time - a position she is supremely suited to by nature, but was only intermittently suited to by portrayal, given that writer turnover was worse than League membership turnover at the time, and many of her authors simply didn't get Diana. And by that I mean either her personality or the fact that she could beat her entire League at once with one hand tied behind her back (well, maybe she'd need both hands for Flash), and how that needed to be reflected in group combat.

Unfortunately Gerard Jones was among them, and he was on JLA duty during this arc. But this story is a crossover event, and the other two writers involved - Beau Smith on Warrior and Messner-Loebs on Hawkman - had a better idea what they were doing. Overall I wasn't sure whether to include it, because it's not really a Wondy story, but there are a couple of moments here that I truly love, so here we go, once again, into outer space.



90s Image-influenced art warning. Prepare your goggles now. )

Next time: Artemis finally becomes a likeable character, and we get to see Cassie when she still was. Plus Etrigan rhyming, Neron gloating, and Byrne killing Diana off. (Spoiler: It doesn't stick.)
[identity profile] bluefall.insanejournal.com
Whatever else he may have gotten weird or wrong, I give WML this: he did truly understand at least two fundamental things about Diana. One, that for all that she's a princess, she doesn't have a haughty or judgemental bone in her body, and two, that she has a real talent for turning her enemies into allies and even friends (I especially like what he did with the Cheetah, making her a bit of a combo Magneto/Two-Face in her relationship to Diana - but not how he got there, so that one's definitely not in this series).

We see both of these character traits during the middle bulk of WML's tenure, a time I like to call "Wondy flips burgers." Admittedly she's actually working at a taco joint, but you can't tell me that makes a practical difference to the connotations.



Of Taco Whiz and Donna Milton. )

Next time: Diana breaks atmosphere again to visit Thanagar and save the last Vuldarian in a Very 90s Crossover that somehow manages to be ridiculously fun regardless.
[identity profile] bluefall.insanejournal.com
So, after Perez's tenure wrapped with the War of the Gods crossover event, the title was given to one William Messner-Loebs, aka WML for brevity's sake (she said, as though she were ever anything remotely approaching succinct). And WML's run on Wonder Woman was... let's just say a departure. It was wildly popular sales-wise, but I have a lot of problems with it personally. He had no real respect for anything that Perez had done; he discarded her entire supporting cast as soon as possible, did a complete, arbitrary retcon of the Amazons' history and Diana's parentage (which thankfully was ignored by subsequent writers), buried Themyscira in an inaccessible pocket dimension for three years (for most of which time the readers were led to believe it had been destroyed, and in fact the whole "it's not really gone" was probably a panicked retcon), and mangled Polly so badly when she finally did show up that the letter columns spent months convinced she was Circe in disguise. We're talking "War Crimes" levels of butchery, here, or worse, and an unfortunate foundation for all the crap that's come her way since. But let's not speak of that, as to this day it still fills me with rage.

And Diana herself? He made her a klingon.


I mock, but this is still one of my favorite panels of all time.

A klingon IN SPACE!!! )

Next time: See Diana deal with rent, taxes and deadbeat dads, and meet the other Donna in her life. It's more interesting than it sounds, I promise.
[identity profile] bluefall.insanejournal.com
We're just about done with Perez at this point - not that we've more than scratched the surface of his incredible run, but there's just so much more to see that we have to move on eventually (and I'll admit to a certain fatigue with the effort involved in making these older comics *work* as scans, as well). But we'll take one last dip in his world before we go, because no catalogue of Perez' great contributions to the Wonder Woman mythos would be complete without a look at the Bana-Mighdall amazons. This splinter group is probably the best example possible of Perez' ability to take what looks like a huge pile of bad cliches and uncomfortable racial undertones and spin a diverse, interesting set of real, well-drawn characters out of it. Yes, the plot that adds the Bana-Mighdall to the DCU is a convoluted one, difficult to follow at times and intertwined with some seriously confusing Cheetah stuff and some very poorly supported one-off bad guys. But, hey, that's Perez for you, and seriously, they're a lost tribe of amazons. That shit is cool.



Also, without the Bana, there could be no Artemis, and that would make the world a much, much sadder place. )

Next time: Comics that are actually more picture than dialogue! All new artist! All new writer! And Diana as a friggin space pirate! Really, what more do you need?
[identity profile] bluefall.insanejournal.com
From as far back as Marston, Wonder Woman's defining short phrase, her version of "Caped Crusader" or "Man of Steel" or "Scarlet Speedster," has been "Amazon Princess." Which is fair, because that's what she is in the most literal sense - the daughter of the amazon queen (well at least until they dissolved the monarchy, but at this point I think I'm going to have to admit I've lost that one) - but for most of her pre-Crisis history, was nevertheless a relatively empty phrase. Diana was a princess because girls like princesses, as any Disney exec can tell you, and that was it. Occasionally the authority was useful, but basically it was a purely meta thing that was merely convenient shorthand for her specialness.

Part of Perez' genius was to actually consider what being a princess means for Diana, especially from the mythical perspective of this very mythical character. Mythic royalty isn't about tiaras and castles, after all. It's about stewardship, struggle, king sacrifice; about servitude and symbiosis and taking your people's burdens for your own. Diana, as Athena's champion and essentially a demigod, is an avatar of the Olympians, yes - but as heir to the throne, she's also the avatar of the amazons, and that responsibility is as integral to her character as her duty to her gods. She bleeds when her people bleed, they win when she wins, their story is hers and hers theirs. And Perez' run was saturated with that understanding, in a constant intertwining of Diana's mission and the activities of the Amazon Nation as a whole. She's not just one of them, she's not even just the best of them; she is them, full stop. That concept underpins the particular awesomeness I've got on offer today - this is the story of Themyscira and how the Amazon Nation reconnected with Man's World. Because Diana did, and so that Diana could. And because it's a damn good story.

Also, Diana v. Lois action. You know you want to see that.



Man do I love that cover. )

Next time: Perez attempts to pre-empt strawfeminist portrayals of the Themyscirans with some strawfeminists of his own for Diana to oppose. And because he is Perez, they end up completely fascinating anyway.

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