Wonder Woman: The Odyssey Volume 1 (DC)
Written by J. Michael Straczynski & Phil Hester, drawn by Don Kramer, Eduardo Pansica, Allan Goldman & Daniel Hdr
Collects Wonder Woman #600-606
A lot was made of JMS taking over Wonder Woman. People weren’t sure why yet another writer felt the need to screw with Diana’s origin again. Little did anyone know, at that time, that in a year or so it wouldn’t matter. Well, I kind of figured it wouldn’t matter, but in a different way. I assumed this would just be one of those stories with an ending that explained how everything was in an alternate universe and put things back to normal. You know, basic comic book stuff.
So, I went into reading this first volume of what would become Phil Hester completing the story from JMS’s outlines, with an open mind. And, honestly, it’s a fine comic. Diana gets re-envisioned as a younger member of the Amazons. In this new timeline, the Amazons have left Paradise Island and have moved all over the world. There’s also a kind of anti-Amazons causing trouble in various ways. And, of course, there’s enough hints dropped letting you know that something is wrong with this reality, which I assume lead back to the original WW coming back (or would have, if Flash Point/DCNu hadn’t gotten in the way, I really have no idea how this whole thing ended).
But, at the end of the day, does it matter? Considering the new direction DC has taken, probably not in a continuity sense. The real question is whether the story goes somewhere new and worthwhile, mattering artistically. I’m leaning towards no. I’ve read a lot of Wonder Woman comics over the years and nothing in this collection felt altogether interesting or groundbreaking. It doesn’t help that the original writer bailed on the book. If he didn’t care enough to finish, should the reader care enough to see it through to the end?
I don’t usually like JMS’s writing because he has a tendency to get Claremontian with his verbosity. However, I didn’t have that problem with whatever issues he actually wrote (Hester’s always solid in my book). On the other hand I love Don Kramer’s artwork. Unfortunately, he didn’t do the whole book and some of the fill-in guys lack basic composition and storytelling skills. Also, for whatever it’s worth, I had no problem with Wonder Woman’s new costume, even if I used it as a spring board for a Topless Robot list I wrote. I think it looked practical, modern and bad ass.
At the end of the day there wasn’t enough goodness in this book to get me excited about picking up the next volume. I’d probably read it eventually if someone gave me a copy, but I have no intention of seeking it out. If I get curious about how it ended or how it tied into the then-DCU, I’ll just check the Wiki page.