Tuesday, January 6, 2009

1 Bourbon, 1 Scotch, 1 Book, Day 2

Wonder Woman # 27
Writer: Gail Simone
Artist: Aaron Lopresti

Hey, you know what's not such a great idea? Googling "Wonder Woman" with SafeSearch off. I don't know what the content rules are for basic Blogger accounts and I don't want to find out, so I'm not going to post the first thing I saw... yikes. But I liked this better than the actual cover, so here you go, from some website's "Redesign Wonder Woman" contest:

Camille Paglia never had to fight a fucking minotaur, okay?

Anyway. (I say that a lot. I get off-topic a lot.) This issue is part of a long-ranging story called "Rise of the Olympian," where the Greek gods... or at least, Zeus, being kind of a pig... decides to stop backing Wonder Woman as the pantheon's champion, and instead of Diana's Amazons you get-- and I swear I was not the one to make this up-- Manazons. (Basically, the editors want to cash in on 300. And it's only taken them two years. Christ, DC. Way to hustle.)
Independently of that lucrative decision, some of Wonder Woman's biggest detractors-- Doctor Psycho, the Cheetah, Thomas Oscar Morrow and so on-- created an opposite number to crush her. Just as Diana was sculpted out of clay and given life by the gods, so did the bad guys gather soil from the sites of the worst massacres in history (Auschwitz, Darfur, etc.) and somehow bring it to life in the form of a vaguely female (or at least, hippy and full-busted [is that a real term? sorry]) creature named Genocide. She ugly.And she beats the bejeezus out of Wonder Woman, and then steals her magic lasso.

HISTORY LESSON: William Moulton Marston, the guy who created Wonder Woman, was a) the inventor of the polygraph (aka lie-detector) machine, and b) kind of a closeted bondage freak. So as a primary weapon, instead of a gun or a sword or a guitar (or a combination of the three which would make her a Final Fantasy character ZING!) or anything else normal, he gave her a magic, unbreakable lasso that can make anyone ensnared within it tell the absolute truth. END HISTORY LESSON

By taking the lasso, Genocide doesn't just beat Wonder Woman. She breaks her. When Donna Troy (old Wonder Girl) and Cassie (new Wonder Girl) and the Department of Extranormal Affairs agents find her, she doesn't even care if they save her life. That's how connected she is to her lasso. The dialogue here is pretty good, especially Diana's love interest, Tom Tresser, one of the DEA agents. They all sound genuinely worried and shaken. And as evidenced by Secret Six (I'll get to that one soon), Gail Simone is good at writing villains. With Cheetah and T.O. Morrow she continues to excel. Although with Genocide... meh. "I HATE THEIR WEAKNESS. I TOOK SOMETHING FROM HER. NOW IT IS MINE." Monsters, Incredible Hulk and various subsidiaries notwithstanding, are notoriously dull once you pull them away from the fight. But with Genocide there's a point to it. The bad guys do something really sick here: somehow they thread the lasso through Genocide's body. It's like, looped around her spine and arms. Yuck. But she uses it to see into people's souls and make them sick and afraid. So, that's neat.

What isn't is all the weird shit leading up to the Greek gods revoking the Amazons' suspension of disbelief permit, or whatever. (I've always disliked Wonder Woman's origin-- for THE female superhero to have a backstory that's so completely removed from what ordinary kids can relate to really undermines her, I think.)
Anyway, apparently the Greek pantheon was in space? And they just came back, and now Athena is dying? And all of them are wearing weird outfits that look like they came from an MST3K-bound sci-fi movie. And then... I don't know. Zeus is either summoning strong women from across the globe to replace the Amazons, or there were Amazons in hiding or something and Zeus is bringing them back... shit, this has to do with that retarded "Amazons Attack" crossover from last year. Okay. That last thing I said, before "Okay."? FORGET I SAID IT. DUMBEST CROSSOVER EVER. Usually here is where I would explain what I just said for the average non-comics reader. Not this time. "Amazons Attack" was too dumb to live. Y'know that one Texas court case where the judge let the guy off because he said "that boy just needed killin'"? This is like that.
And this is the kind of thing that taints the whole series. Three years ago, Greg Rucka was writing a completely different (and slightly more understandable and better-explained) take on the Greek pantheon's role in Wonder Woman's life, and Gail Simone's flying in the face of it, which isn't always a bad thing, it's just that I've been reading this book since she started writing it and I'm no closer to understanding where she's ultimately going with this. I hope that's a good thing. Seriously, Gail Simone usually kicks ass-- check out Secret Six or Birds of Prey. But right now? I dunno. I like Tom Tresser as Diana's suitor, but I don't like that the DEA (government guys who deal with superpowers) are hunting Wonder Woman. Feels forced. I like the gods taking an active role, but I wish they'd explain themselves and stop wearing ridiculous X-Men suits. It's a real mixed bag, and my first thought here is to make some kind of joke contrasting "bag=scrotum" with the fact that I'm reviewing Wonder Woman, and... I'm tipsy and I have to be back at work in seven or eight hours. Fuck.
Rating: Three Tom Collins, and that's mostly because of my great regard for Gail Simone. I would buy her... a drank.
Albums: Tom Waits- Swordfishtrombones & Ryan Adams- Love is Hell

1 comment:

Craig Fischer said...

Hi Travis! I'm LOLing while reading your reviews, and have some stray comments:

1.) Did you read my negative review of LOST GIRLS in THE COMICS JOURNAL? No? The gist: I didn't like LOST GIRLS, alas, despite the hard core. You say tomato, I say tomatoe, so let's call the whole thing off.

2.) That's an impressive Wonder Woman illustration, much sexier than anything in LOST GIRLS. I'm too lazy to Google it: who drew that groovy beheading?

3.) My New Year's resolution is to start a band called the Manizons.

4.) DC and Marvel suck equally, so stop reading them both. Cleanse your palate! Go get yourself a copy of ACME NOVELTY LIBRARY or LOVE AND ROCKETS or ALAN'S WAR or...and read them sober!