Comic Publishers

January 5, 2011

DC Reviews: Wonder Woman #601-604: Odyssey

Last summer, J. Michael Straczynski began his run on Wonder Woman with a prologue to his first story “Odyssey” in Wonder Woman #600. This prologue debuted Wonder Woman’s radical new costume change, but in JMS’s “Odyssey,” a whole lot more is different with the Amazon Princess than just her wardrobe.

Wonder Woman #601-604: Odyssey

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer:
J. Michael Straczynski
Artists: Don Kramer & Eduardo Pansica
Covers: Don Kramer, Alex Garner

**WARNING! Minor spoilers ahead!**

Forget every Wonder Woman issue you may have read prior to #601, because JMS has turned everything you know about Princess Diana, and her part of the DC Universe, on its head. In the prologue we see that Diana is ever the feisty amazon warrior we recognize her as, but any glamor and posh went out with the one-piece bathing suit and go-go boots, and a much darker tone came with the black leather.

We learn that the Gods have, for perhaps their own amusement, changed all reality concerning Diana, her mother Hypolita, their Amazon sisters, and Paradise Island itself. Aphrodite has lifted her protection off of Paradise Island, leaving the Amazons vulnerable to an inevitable attack by man. Hypolita sends baby Diana, and a significant number of her people, to flee the island and escape genocide. Paradise would eventually fall and crumble. Fast forward 18 years, now Diana serves as a prophet to her people, and helps them escape whatever special task force is hunting them.

There are a number of differences between this Wonder Woman and the one we’ve seen over the last 70 years, costume aside. She’s no longer the superhero we know as Wonder Woman, and no one even ever calls her that in this story. She’s simply Princes Diana, leader to the Amazon race. She’s much younger at only 18 years old, and has all the angst and attitude that accompany a teenager forced into a leadership role by a mother she never knew. She’s very rebellious toward her faith, and constantly challenges the “all knowing, all powerful” beings who demand her unconditional trust. Diana is also significantly less powerful than before. When we meet her, she can’t fly, and doesn’t come across as a “female Superman,” but more like the Bionic Woman.

As a long time Wonder Woman fan, these changes are very much welcome, and pulled off well. The idea that the Gods just felt like playing with, and turning everyone’s lives around sounds plausible, and not like some cheap retcon. And honestly, the all mighty, book writing, political figure, Goddess of Truth Wonder Woman was getting stale to me.

“Odyssey” is a good title for this story since we get to follow Diana on her own personal odyssey for answers, and purpose to her own life, however, this adventure is nowhere near as epic as anything Homer wrote. There’s plenty of action spread throughout the four issues encompassing “Odyssey,” and it’s all beautifully told by Don Kramer and Eduardo Pansica. Diana is a badass with a blood thirsty sword, and not afraid to quench her weapon’s desire. This is the kind of action hero-like Wonder Woman I want to see in a big budget movie.

While the action is good, unfortunately it’s most of what all we see. I would have liked to have seen this story spread across more issues, giving us more time inside Diana’s head and with her fellow Amazons. And I would love to have seen Diana’s trip into Hades drawn out into an entire issue instead of only eight pages.

My biggest complaint about “Odyssey” is the story’s incredibly dull villain, who is essentially the man behind this witch hunt on the Amazons. At the beginning of the story we only see him as a faceless, shadowy figure, and learn or see nothing of him until the final confrontation in issue #604. In this final battle, we get four boring pages of back story with the classic bit where the bad guy explains his entire life story leading up to this moment. But thankfully the rest of the issue was more the great action we’ve seen throughout the previous issues.

Over all, “Odyssey” is a good — not great — introduction to the new Wonder Woman. If you’ve ever been skeptical about picking up any Wonder Woman comics, this is a perfect place to jump aboard. I’m liking JMS’s new take on the character, and I’m interested in seeing where it goes…for now.

Andrew Hurst
andrewhurst@comicattack.net

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4 Comments



  1. So it was a costume and character change then…I wonder why the decision to shuffle away all those years of history of her character. Seems like a decent enough story though for a jumping on point.


  2. Billy

    That does sound like a crappy ending.


  3. Chrysta

    I really like JMS work on Superman with Grounded and with Earth One. He’s good at reimagining and adding a modern, relevant feel to characters. With Wonder Woman, I would like it more if I felt that she would end up at the end going back to our normal continuity. In other words, its a fun experiment as long as we know we can fix it later.

    I liked the All New Wonder Woman of the late 60’s. I thought it was a fun experiment to see her try to be a superhero without super powers. I loved the MOD era clothes, too. In the end, I am glad they went back to the Wonder Woman we all know and loved, though. There were good runs of “traditional” WW after that, including Gail Simone’s, which didn’t feel out of date at all.

    Costume wise, I think she looks like a new Wonder Girl, not Wonder Woman. I don’t hate the outfit. I just think its more WG than WW. The argument I heard about her old outfit being too sexy or impractical isn’t solved by this new outfit anyway. The skin tight black pants are sexier than the star pants and the bustier is probably sexier than what she had, too, so its hard to argue that the change was about making her costume less revealing.



  4. @Chrysta

    Judging by future covers, this whole shift in reality does seem to be temporary and soo Diana will be fighting her way back to her normal reality. And I agree, the change is fun for now, but just for now.

    I also a agree that her costume looks more like a Wonder Girl instead of a Wonder Woman kind of outfit, but she is younger in this story, and, even though it is Diana, she isn’t exactly Wonder Woman, so it works for me.



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