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Subj: Re: Wonder Woman (2016-) #39
Posted: Sat Jan 27, 2018 at 10:41:28 am EST (Viewed 39 times)
Reply Subj: Re: Wonder Woman (2016-) #39
Posted: Thu Jan 25, 2018 at 06:04:40 pm EST (Viewed 43 times)
I have found it hard to say anything about it that isn't in the negative, and I really do not like being negative on a book month-after-month, if a book isn't entertaining you anymore then one should have the decency to just walk away from it awhile and not say anything, as all there is is an air of negativity that isn't helpful to anyone.
With Wonder Woman I am additionally disappointed as I hold James Robinson to a higher standard than most other writers, I know he is capable of better than this recent work for DC, it isn't a case here than he has been lumbered with a low-tier book like All-New Invaders of The Scarlet Witch, and despite the low importance of those two book I did enjoy them, and felt they were worthy examples of Robinson's talent. For Wonder Woman though the fundamental problem, for me, is the wholesale reliance on existing stock to tell the story and fuel the story - exemplified by the hard reality that there is not a solitary thing in James Robinson's Wonder Woman that is his own idea. All of it is existing back-catalogue with pre-existing characters and no apparent ambition to any of it. And for the man who made his name writing Starman and rethinking 'Earth-2' in a bold and imaginative way this simply is not good enough. Not for me.
Still, if one steps back a little and tries to read Wonder Woman #39 with a degree of detachment is the story servicable? In broad strokes I would say it is.
A story of deranged infatuation and idol worship turned bitter is a strong central theme that powers the narrative, that it had to be Vanessa Kapatelis whom James Robinson chooses to play the role is more than a little unwise given it rewrites history in such a disagreeable and unpleasant way. There isn't that much logic given to Vanessa'a plight here as as yet Robinson has not given a sufficient depth to the characters relationship with Diana, it is clear that this continuity Robinson is reconstructing is not the same continuity that came before the 2011 restart so for those who were there for Wonder Woman #600 and a more than happy ending for Vanessa and her 'big sister' figure this latest issue is doubly alienating and confusing. How better, and more palatable, it would have been if this was a new Silver Swan, or a revival of the original Silver Swan concept of which Roy Thomas so memorably introduced was back in 1982.
But as I say, in general terms this issue does move alone quite well. The plotting is pacy, the emotional challenge presented to Diana is there to see, even if not completely convincing in its forced nature, and the introduction of Brother Jason to Diana's life adds a potentially interesting new dynamic to the book, as well as Diana's life. The concern is that as yet Jason's actual role in the book is still being defined and as this issue shows even the range of his abilities and true nature seems equally undefined - where does this newly presented ability to become an elemental force spring from for instance?! Why is it the brother of Wonder Woman has such radical abilities when his Sister's are largely physical in expression?
Yes, the plot is actually servicable for this story, the contrast of the broken and bitter Vanessa and the still fresh and wide-eyed Jason asks us the question of whether Jason's eventual destiny will be for some similar loss of faith and trust in Diana, or whether he will find his own place in life and strike a path independent of her. The theme of betrayal and loss of belief is threaded through the plot, but, is it enjoyable as a finished product? Fundamentally Robinson is asking the reader to care about this Vanessa Kapatelis, not so much because of her sad state as seen here, but out of reader awareness of who and what Vanessa was historically. And that is a problematic dynamic as as we see here this Vannessa is simply not that same Vanessa, we can no more accept it is than we can accept that Hippolyta is the same character that became the World War II Wonder Woman in that previous continuity...
And that is the cheat of James Robinson's tale that serves to undermine its actual worth and impact.
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