Thursday, June 01, 2006

Re-Launching Wonder Woman

Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,
But to be young was very Heaven!

— William Wordsworth, The Prelude, Bk 11

Wizard #177 has got a hefty four page article on the history of Wonder Woman, including an exclusive review of Allan Heinberg's script for the upcoming first issue. (Ben Morse, "Wonder of the World," pp. 46-49.)

The review's sub-header provides the gist of the magazine's coverage:

Allan Heinberg's Script Delivers the Best Amazon Princess We've Ever Read

Choice excerpts from the script review:
The first issue packs in character moments, action, big villains and mystery into one tight, 22-page tale that leaves fans ravenous for the next issue.

Heinberg's script not only makes readers care about "Who is Wonder Woman?" (the title of the first arc), it also elevates her villains to a more menacing level and begins building a suitable supporting cast.

Tying in the recent events of Infinite Crisis and Princess Diana's execution of Maxwell Lord a year ago, the book centers on who currently holds the mantle of Wonder Woman (it's not who you think), and what the world thinks of the idea of Wonder Woman. ...

More than anything else, the book makes the reader care as much about Wonder Woman and her role in the new DC Universe as they do about Superman — a view she's always had from the back seat. Her villains — we're talking the big ones — impressively loom as threatening as Batman's rogues. ...

The article serves as an extended message to Wizard readers and fanboys everywhere, informing them that it's safe for them to climb aboard the relaunched book. Further evidence of this is provided in the "Picks of the Month" section of the magazine, where Wonder Woman #1 gets the "Spotlight On ..." treatment, and is again discussed in the most glowing terms possible. (p. 112)

Though all systems appear to be "go," with this, there was a subtext to the coverage that bugged me, though.

I want to make clear that my unease was not sparked by anything Allan Heinberg said. To the contrary, his comments in the magazine show how committed he is to the character's past as he works to shape her future. In addition, he provides this marvelous, one-sentence description of the first issue:

"Wonder Woman #1 is an intimate character study disguised as a widescreen, action packed superhero epic."

So what did annoy me? Well, there's no getting past the fact that with its frequent mention of the book's amped-up super-villains and committment to action, the article could easily have been subtitled:

Guys, it's OK to read the new Wonder Woman, it's not just for girls anymore.

I'm getting wary now due to the talk of ramped-up villains (which leaves me thinking of scores of nameless victims, proving that this challenge is hardcore)... increasing the violence just doesn't work for me as a shortcut to making a story more exciting. Still, Young Avengers has earned this book a look-see.
I agree. And I'm hoping that once we're reading the actual issues (rather than advanced coverage) we won't be disappointed.
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