Review: Wonder Woman #600

Wonder Woman #600 is awesome and a great buy. This thing is jam-packed. There are a ton of great ministories and an endless stream of amazing pin-ups (with only two clunkers: Guillem March’s and the porn-photo-ref guy). Where else can you get a story written by Gail Simone and drawn by George Perez starring over a dozen female heroes, followed by a Wonder Woman-Power Girl story drawn and written by Amanda Connor? Woo!

After three stories that illustrate Diana’s character in different and fun ways, we get a two part story setting up the new status quo. The stark visual distinction between the two halves signals a radical change in the universe. (It’s all very confusing if you flip through the book before reading it. I spoiled myself and got all worked up by reading the Behind the Scenes first :)

The prologue, whose credits come on the final page, is mysterious and tantalizing: we see a ghostly younger Diana ask her adult counterpart, “Don’t you wonder what’s beyond the next horizon? Let’s go see!” Diana follows her through a glowing event horizon of sorts, and then we’re into the next story with different art and a strangely-dressed Diana running down a dark city alley. Her costume’s gone alternate-timeline, she’s wearing dark eyeliner and lipstick, and she doesn’t know who she is. The timeline’s been change. Everything’s wrong and must be fixed. Duh duh DUH!

I’m not upset by the costume change or the timeline rewriting, because this change is supposed to be wrong and in need of correction. The weird thing is that DC is presenting the costume change as permanent rather than a temporary condition. Stracynski waxes on in the Behind the Scenes about how he thinks the new costume is an update and a reimagining for the 21st century (hahahaha), but I can’t seriously believe it’ll stick around longer than a few years. This new look only works within the altered timeline. It’s just not Wonder Woman.

There’s lots to complain about with a crazy-ass reboot that fridges the Amazons, depowers Wonder Woman, and suggests she’s as unimportant to the DCU as the 1985 reboot did. As always, these points wouldn’t be a problem if the book didn’t exist within a larger industry context of mistreating and disrespecting female characters and female buyers.

What I’m struggling with is how the DCU as a whole can possibly exist without Wonder Woman and Paradise Island having been in it for the past 18 years (when the timeline hiccuped). I also don’t see how she’s going to be a part of the DCU for the next year or so while she’s going through this quest to fix/reconcile the timelines. This reboot of Wonder Woman’s history invalidates every other DC book being published right now, which to me is a bigger problem than a reboot which isn’t really a reboot. The repercussions on every other character’s history are infinite and mindboggling. Without a replacement character for Wonder Woman, ala Mon-El for Superboy, Hippolyta for Diana, and all the other retcons that Crisis on Infinite Earths wrought, everybody in the DCU should be dead right now. That’s the problem with telling this kind of a story in a shared universe. I wish there were a way to tell this story contained within her own book.

Wonder Woman #600 is a terrific package to celebrate this momentus anniversary. This book is what Superman #700 should have been. Three boring and pointless stories that failed to set Superman up for anything interesting, no pin-ups, nothing to get anyone interested in where the character’s been or where he’s going. The mapping out of the upcoming storylines on the super books (reprinted on the DCU blog) was depressing in its lack of imagination (Supergirl being the exception). They’re literally repeating history with Superboy, Lex Luthor is taking over Action Comics, and Superman looks to be more boring than ever. For Superman and Superboy fans, this year looks like a big regression and a good time to drop three books. I expect Supergirl will continue to be the stand-out book just as it was during New Krypton.

Wonder Woman #600 shakes things up while celebrating all that she is, and while I think DC’s marketing of the costume change to the mainstream as the new status quo is ridiculous, I’m interested in the ride while it lasts.

Further reading