Friday, 8 May 2015

Wonder Woman ’77 Special #1

Wonder Woman ’77 Special
Year: 2015
Publisher: DC Comics
Release date: 7/5/15 (AU), 6/5/15 (US)

Pic from Comic Book Resources
With Wonder Woman’s cinematic debut coming next year in Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, there’s been a bit of renewed interest in the character. Last year she got her own digital series with the fun-but-mixed quality Sensation Comics, in addition to her regular monthly title and Superman/Wonder Woman. I can only assume that some of these are selling reasonably well, as DC went on to announce that she would be getting another digital series with Wonder Woman ’77, based on the 1970s Lynda Carter TV series.

I haven’t watched all of the old TV show, but I’ve seen probably a season or so. It was great fun – full of action and campy without being too silly. It was a balance many have attempted but few have gotten right. So I was pretty excited to finally get the chance to read it! The first chapter (as DC likes to call its digital-only issues) was released back in January, but it never became available on Comixology or DC’s digital stores in Australia. I was fortunate enough to meet Nicola Scott on Free Comic Book Day this year and she was shocked to find out that this was the case. I’m not sure why it’s not being sold digitally; my guess it’s to do with the rights to the TV show being tied up in some kind of funny arrangement under Australian copyright law, but that’s just speculation.

Pic from
Anyway, this release compiles all six chapters thus far released into a nice format – it’s got the feel of a regular comic, but is a little thicker, and with a perfect-bound spine rather than a stapled one. Were this a higher-profile title, it probably would have had a “proper” trade paperback release, but I’m pretty happy to take what I can get. There are two covers available – one by Australia’s own Nicola Scott and the other by Phil Jimenez. I prefer the Nicola Scott one, but they’re both pretty good.
The first story arc (Chapters 1-3) is the better of the two – it embraces the 1970s aesthetic pretty well and goes for broke with most of the action taking place in a disco. The second one (Chapters 4-6) is fun too, but mostly for the little cameos and in-jokes it throws in there rather than the story itself. Those unfamiliar with Wonder Woman’s wider mythos will likely be a little baffled – a couple of references get pretty obscure.  

However, chapter 4 does take the cake for best art of the run. I think it’s a bit of a shame that Jason Badower didn’t draw ALL of the chapters. The other artists (Drew Johnson, Matt Haley and Richard Oritz) are good too, but they tend to alternate between drawing good likenesses of Lynda Carter and slipping into just “plain” Wonder Woman.

Though you can certainly criticise this book on the basis of plot, I think the pacing is good and it is an awful lot of fun. It’s not quite the glorious return I’d hoped for, but hopefully this will sell well enough for DC to commission more chapters and things will pick up over time. My main problem with the book is actually that a lot of the colouring looks too modern. Printing technology now is light years ahead of where it was in the 1970s, which is a good thing for the most part, but for such an intentionally retro project I think it would have been good to go all-out and style the whole thing to look like a 1970s comic. Hire Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez to do the artwork and then colour it with that “dotted” look. That’s the Wonder Woman ’77 book I’d really like to see! 

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