JMS has left the building, so what’s to become of Wonder Woman? After a undergoing a tacky Hollywood-style makeover, the Amazon Princess is now in writer Phil Hester’s hands. He’s got his work cut out for him. But though the House of Wondy remains under (re)construction, Hester’s debut with issue #605 is a hopeful sign.
After a blood-and-bullets themed sojourn through the desert and the underworld, Gen Y Diana returns to her life of a quiet apartment and good works. Her overbearing Amazon guardians aside, it’s a pleasant existence. She’s got a haughty, talking cat, an iTouch and a lot of DVDs. She listens to terrible emo music and loudly sings along. She also sneaks out to do good works, and her fundraising tactics are a little unorthodox. Remember; this ain’t your mother’s Wonder Woman — or yours, for that matter.
But whereas JMS’ Diana came across as a grumpy Power Girl Lite, Hester has, fingers crossed, given her a far less grating voice. There are also hints that he’s on a path to resolving all this alt-world nonsense, even giving clever nods to the classic Wonder Woman costume. As villainous foes go, the Morrigan are quite the piece of work. I’d say Hester has peformed a great deal of rehab in a single comic book. In interviews, he seems so humbled by the assignment and eager to do right by Diana that one can’t help but root for him. (The talking cat really is a stitch, and I think any feline owner would agree that, if cats spoke human, they’d sound like this.)
Visually, this issue is inconsistent, thanks to the big group of contributors. Lead illustrator Don Kramer draws Diana’s face beautifully, but her breasts seem to increase a cup size every month. G3 has absolutely nothing against full bosoms, but given this Wonder Woman’s otherwise slender, athletic body, the rack looks comical. There are also a couple of panels where the illustrations look rushed, and not in a cool, abstract way. Lots of artists struggle with drawing iconic characters as children, and that’s the case here. In a flashback to Diana’s youth, her facial structure seems too mature for an 8-year-old, and it’s distracting.
Wonder Woman #605 is a mixed bag, but there are nuggets of promise and redemption in Hester’s first issue. At the very least, I’m not dreading #606.