Monday, July 02, 2007

Amazons Adrift!

I find myself in agreement with Heidi Meeley on the Amazons Attack! cross-over: the pointlessness of the storyline has pretty much drained any possible fun out of this series for me. The utter implausibility of it all is ruining the enterprise, and I'm not nit-picking about and fantastical elements like resurrections, thoughtless mass murders, or improbable giant bees, either. I'm hung up on the cross-over's problems with important story-telling elements like character motivations, pacing, and the absense of a clear narrative structure.

Even though we're only at the third issue, the story seems drawn out and stretched thin. The heroes have spent an inordinate amount of time simply standing around, making jokes, or, worst of all, crashing into one another: Black Canary's sole function seems to be to serve as a target upon which Wonder Woman periodically drops Nemesis when some jollity is required.

Getting Cassie and Kara involved in Teen Titans #48 was a good move. The government's decision to detain women who have associated with the Amazons certainly adds some dramatic tension. But I couldn't help thinking as I read the issue: shouldn't a team-up of Wonder Girl and Supergirl be able to free Cassie's mom (and everyone in the place) if they had a mind and the will to do so?

Diana has been searching for herself for the past year, and I think it's a major structural problem that part of the plot seems to hinge on the fact that Wonder Woman is unsure of herself, her abilities, and her sense of identity. This is a fairly stilted device through which to drum up dramatic tension, and a bit of a clumsy and empty one, because a hero as experienced as Diana is shouldn't be acting like a teenage girl. Batman and Superman got themselves sorted out in the year that they took off from the DCU, and there's no reason why Wonder Woman couldn't get the job done in 52 weeks, too. I cringed when I read the bit of internal monologue in Wonder Woman #10 in which Diana asks herself if she is good only because her mother taught her to be good.

On a positive note, Wonder Woman #10 closes with the confrontation we've all paid to see: Diana vs. the resurrected, mad Hippolyta. Surely Diana will sort this mess out! However, a major part of the scene's dramatic punch was stolen away by several previous (inconsequential) encounters between mother and daughter.

It's a shame that Wonder Woman and the Amazons have been placed at the center of a cross-over that feels so utterly inconsequential to the workings of the wider DC world. This aspect of things was driven home by a coincidental scheduling quirk: the third issue of the mini-series suffered the indignity of being released on the same day as the Green Lantern: Sinestro Corps Special, whose final page clearly linked the Green Lantern Corps to the continued existence of the DCU.

In comparison, the story-line I'm following in Amazons Attack! feels like especially small change.

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