Thursday, July 01, 2010

Comics News Roundup: Wonder Woman's Waterloo?

The Return of Billy the Kid's Old Timey Oddities

I'm a big fan of both Eric Powell (The Goon) and Kyle Hotz (The Hood, Criminal Macabre), so it was no surprise that I enjoyed their collaboration, Billy the Kid's Old Timey Oddities, in which Billy teams up with a traveling freak show to fight Dr. Frankenstein and his foul creations. Now they're teaming up again to fight Jack the Ripper.

Pulp Comics and DC's First Wave

The Comics Journal has an excellent write-up about Pulp Hero comics in general and DC's First Wave project in particular. In Part One, writer Alex Boney presents a quick history of Pulp Hero comics and the troubles they've had finding traction with superhero fans. In Part Two, Boney looks at DC's current revival endeavor with some hope and excitement about its potential, but some disappointment in its "delays and ... general lack of focus." These are problems that also plague superhero comics, but they're especially troublesome when your genre is already a less popular one.

After the break: Hey, what about this whole Wonder Woman curfuffle? Also, SLG's new Oz comic.

Wonder Woman changes

So, the big Wonder Woman news is that she's getting a new look and a new reboot. Most of the opinions I'm reading are more focused on the look, but that doesn't concern me as much. I like the traditional Wonder Woman costume, but I'm not married to it and I don't mind shaking things up a bit visually. I agree with Lynda Carter when she says, "Wonder Woman has a mind of her own. And I think she was just kind of ready for something new. She's got an attitude and if this is the new thing that she wants to wear, well, by God, she's going to wear it. And I like that. And I hope that in the story someone mentions, 'Where's the old one?' And she says, 'Get over it!'"

The thing is though, that she's never going to get to respond that way to that question. While everyone's focusing on the costume, they're largely ignoring the more troubling announcement that new writer J Michael Straczynski is going to be changing Wonder Woman's timeline ... again. However, even in this, there's hope:
The Gods, for reasons of their own but which may have something to do with their survival and perhaps the survival of Earth itself, have changed the timeline. In the new timeline, years ago the Gods removed their protection from Paradise Island, and left it vulnerable to attack. And attacked it was. Led by a dark figure, a veritable army descended upon the Island, equipped with weapons that could kill even the Amazons. Outgunned, doomed, Hippolyta gave over her three-year-old daughter to a handful of guardians who spirited her away as Hippolyta led one last desperate battle against the forces that had come to destroy all she had created. In that final battle, she and most of the Amazons were killed, though some managed to escape.

It’s now nearly twenty years later. Diana has been raised in an urban setting, but with a foot in both worlds. She has little or no memory of the other timeline. She knows only what she’s been told by those who raised her. On the run, hunted, she must try to survive, help the other refugee Amazons escape the army that is still after them, discover who destroyed Paradise Island and why…and if the timeline can be corrected or not. She also does not yet have access to her full powers, but will be gaining them as she goes. Along the way, she will face a range of enemies — human and otherwise — who we have not seen before.
The bit about seeing if the timeline can be corrected leads me to believe that it eventually will be. If this was another major reboot of the character a la George Perez's in the '80s, I'd be worried. I'd be right there with the Robot 6 commenters who wondered what this was going to do to the Wonder Girls as well as Wonder Woman's recently renewed status as a JLA founder. But reading closely, this sounds like a temporary change used to tell a specific story. It's not a story I'm interested in reading (just like Straczynski's one about Superman's walking tour), but I can at least look forward to the next writer's telling one that I will. [Robot 6]

The Royal Historian of Oz

First issue's only a buck! I'm typically skeptical of Oz sequels, but I like the premise of this. A young man named Frank wishes that his writer father would author something original, but Dad sees himself as the “Royal Historian of Oz” and insists on just writing sequels to the original Frank's (Baum, that is) stories. As it turns out though, Oz actually exists. When Dad does something to offend its citizens, particularly the axe-wielding Tin-Man and the ghost of the Wicked Witch, it's up to Frank to save the day.


Ken O said...

Good old Barry Allen just recently got a background shake up due to time travel too. He went from a moral guy wanting to do the right thing to being driven by his mother's death and father's false imprisionment. He didn't get a costume change but Wally, Jesse, and Iris did. So it seems pretty similar to me.

Next year is the Flashpoint event, which looks to be heavily immeresed in time travel. Wonder Woman's shakeup might be tied to that also.

Michael May said...

Eeeenteresting. I hate time travel. :)

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

I can live with all these WW changes because I choose to see this as part of an 'Elseworlds' story. New timeline, new costume and when the pieces all come together we go back to the status quo. It seems like everything is working towards that moment when Diana gets her original costume and memories back. I will read it because I read everything. JMS is not one of my favorite writers by a long stretch but I will go with it


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