What’s the Deal with Wonder Woman’s New Costume?

Wonder Woman #600

Where to begin? Well, DC has now re-numbered this series to take advantage of the fact that this is the 600th issue since the ’40s, and this is supposed to be the big send-off for Gail Simone, whose run on this series has been pretty popular. But this issue has mostly been overshadowed by all the hubbub about her new costume.

So let’s take this more or less in order.

We’ve got a half-page introduction by Lynda Carter, and some excellent pin-up illustrations by artists including Adam Hughes, Nicola Scott, Phil Jimenez, Ivan Reis, Greg Horn, Francis Manapul, and Shane Davis. Our first story is written by Gail Simone with art by George Perez. Wondy and a host of superheroines take out Professor Ivo’s newest creations — a bunch of Cyber-Sirens who can mind-control men. Afterwards, Diana attends the graduation ceremony for Vanessa Kapatelis, the former Silver Swan.

The next story is written and illustrated by Amanda Conner and features Wondy, Power Girl, and Cassandra Cain cracking down on Egg Fu before Diana assists Kara with a problem with her horrible, horrible cat.

There’s also a short story where Wonder Woman and Superman have to stop a terrorist who’s taken control of Zeus’ thunderbolts.

The big problem here starts with the last story, by the series’ new writer, J. Michael Straczynski. It’s gotten a lot of publicity because JMS announced his new direction for the series (Themyscyra retroactively destroyed in the past, with an amnesiac Wonder Woman on the run from government agents) and debuted a new costume designed by Jim Lee.

This hasn’t been very well-received, partly because of JMS’s mostly unearned arrogance (his attitude in interviews could be summed up as “Wonder Woman sucks and has always sucked. I’m here to make her cool.” All in the voice of Jeff Albertson.) and partly because of Jim Lee’s new costume:

My thoughts? I agree with a lot of what the folks at Project Rooftop had to say — it’s probably a fine costume for any other character, but it’s not a Wonder Woman costume. And Jim Lee really does stick a leather jacket on every character he can. As for the story, it’s a very safe bet that this kind of alternate-reality scheme will be cleaned up between six months to a year from now, possibly by the end of the first storyarc. This is a publicity stunt, no more or less.

But J. Michael Straczynski really is a bit of a jerk, and I haven’t been at all impressed with his DC work in the past year or so. He’d better bring his A-game, or I’m not going to be reading this title for much longer.

Verdict: All told, it’s still a thumbs up. The first story by Simone and Perez is just awesome, at least partly for seeing Perez’s art on this character again. The second story by Amanda Conner is also really cool, partly for Conner’s always outstanding artwork, partly because it’s got a lot of the Power Girl brand of humor.

And a lot of the pin-ups are just absolutely beautiful, especially the ones by Adam Hughes, Phil Jimenez, and Nicola Scott — they should all be out there as posters or book covers or wall paintings, not buried on the inside of a comic book. It’s definitely worth picking up, even with a $5 price tag.

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