Wonder Woman #601
Written by J. Michael Straczynski
Penciled by Don Kramer
Inked by Michael Babinski
Colored by Alex Sinclair
Lettered by Travis Lanham
Cover art by Kramer/Babinski or Alex Garner
Published by DC Comics
Despite a mostly lifelong indifference to the character Wonder Woman and the writing of J. Michael Straczynski, I find Wonder Woman #601 a pleasant and intriguing reading experience. The set-up is simple: For reasons unknown, Wonder Woman’s entire history has been wiped away. Her upbringing with the legendary Amazon warrior women, under the protection of the goddesses of Greek mythology, has been erased. Nearly all the Amazons and their paradise kingdom have been destroyed, and orphaned Wonder Woman is charged to not only protect the few remaining of her kin, but also to undo the damage to her history, restoring her correct timeline.
JMS opens with Diana, Wonder Woman, visiting one of the Amazon survivors, an oracle who offers a flashback vision of the fall of Paradise Island. Straczynski tiptoes along the line between epic and hyperbolic silliness, but for my tastes, comes down on the better side of it. Then it’s off to find the mysterious villain and save some Amazons. With a broad scope reflecting the grand influence of the Greek pantheon and a clear mission objective, JMS establishes the ground floor of in intriguing run.
The ice cream truck interlude – okay, it’s a little forced, but not without some charms, although it’s a unclear how or why Diana knows about these operatives of her enemy.
The page layouts by Don Kramer convey the action effectively. The grandiosity of the Amazons’ great fall comes across beautifully on one particular full-page splash, and the character acting – what little there is, essentially only Diana’s mother capture during the flashback – works. Kramer’s anatomy has some clumsy moments, and that bizarrely ghoulish grin rips away much of the excitement from Diana’s leap off an airborne plane.
DC Comics received a tremendous amount of press with the announcement of Wonder Woman’s new costume, and for at least one issue, the new creative team delivers an interesting, dark and exciting comic book. If the media hoopla gains a few readers for this title, I suspect many of them will want to know more.