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  1. #316
    You're Talkin' Gibberish! Kurt Busiek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by An Ear In The Fireplace View Post
    In the end, after Wonder Woman was cancelled, they still had to produce a WW comic to keep the estate happy--The Legend of Wonder Woman by Kurt Busiek and Trina Robbins, with Alan Gold as editor--a four issue mini-series with yet another quasi-return to the Golden Age theme.
    That happened because the Potter/Perez series wasn't ready to go yet. Not because they didn't know it was coming -- it was just slow in development, with a lot of discussion and changing of minds and slow production.

    At the time WW was canceled, the expectation was that the Potter/Perez version would be ready to launch a few months later. As time dragged on, though, and they realized it wouldn't be, Alan tapped Trina and me to do LEGEND OF in a big hurry, in order to satisfy the terms of the Marston contract.

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  2. #317

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kurt Busiek View Post
    Yes it did.

    Potter scripted and co-plotted the first two issues of the new WONDER WOMAN. All that business with the Amazons being the reincarnated spirits of women who died at the hands of men was Potter.

    Greg was on the WW reboot before George. George came on board, and things started moving more toward what George wanted and less toward what Greg wanted. Once they got going, it didn't take long before it was clear that they weren't pulling in the same direction, and DC wanted George more than Greg. So Greg left, George took over full plots with #3, and Len Wein dialogued the book through #16, after which George started writing it himself.

    So it's more accurate to say, perhaps, that they rebooted with Greg Potter, but he didn't stay part of it for very long.

    kdb

    Thanks for the clarification, Kurt. I've never actually read the volume 2 stuff, so I was just going by what I have heard of it, which is all about Perez.
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  3. #318
    S.P.E.C.T.R.E. destro's Avatar
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    I've really enjoyed your reviews Scott, I'm kind of sad they are coming to an end. Any chance that you might want to go on a bit with the relaunch?
    Life looks better in black and white.

  4. #319

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    Quote Originally Posted by destro View Post
    I've really enjoyed your reviews Scott, I'm kind of sad they are coming to an end. Any chance that you might want to go on a bit with the relaunch?
    Thanks for the kind words, destro, but I don't have any of the volume 2 Wonder Woman series. I am still trying to get the last few issues I need from before the 12 labors, so once I get those I may end up reviewing Wonder Woman #177-211. But I'm mainly just interested in pre-Crisis stuff at the moment, so I'm not planning on seeking at volume 2 at the moment.
    At last, Boy Comics finally gets its own website!

  5. #320

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    Now that I've finished reading and reviewing the pre-Crisis Wonder Woman, let's take a look at the series as a whole.

    Pre-Crisis Wonder Woman has a reputation for being a mess of a series. And now that I have read it I can say that, in fact, that reputation is completely deserved. Over the course of the 118 issues I reviewed, the series essentially went through seven different status quos. There was almost no consistency at all on the book other than the presence of pencillers Jose Delbo and Don Heck for most of the run. Editorial frequently monkeyed with the series, drastically changing things from one issue to the next with little in the way of explanation. Supporting characters were almost non-existent for the first half of the run, while in the second half they were mostly perfunctory or cardboard.

    Things definitely improved beginning with the arrival of editor Len Wein, who implemented a soft reboot that started in #269. From that point, the series became solid, if not great, improving again when Dan Mishkin took over in #297. From that point the title became a very readable, entertaining title -- again, not great, but good -- but the damage had been done and thanks to the title's terrible reputation, sales took a massive nosedive even as quality improved. The high point on sales for the book coincided with the popularity of the TV series, peaking at around 150k per issue, while by the end it was down to just 51k per issue and below.

    One attempt to bolster sales which worked anecdotally was the addition of the long running Huntress backup feature, which ran from #271 until #321, with a couple issues off here and there. This series began with promise but quickly degenerated thanks to a string of uninspired villains and plots, squandering the appeal of Huntress on z-list antagonists. Bad writing and a revolving door of entry-level artists ensured that by the time Mishkin was in full flow, the lead feature was significantly better than the backup that was supposed to support it.

    Let's take a quick look at the different eras of Wonder Woman:

    12 Labors (#212-222): Editorial came up with the idea of trying to boost sales by having a different Justice League member guest star in every issue. It did make things kind of interesting, but the actual stories they appeared in were just average superhero adventure at best. Grade: B-.

    Marty Pasko (#223-227): Following the end of the 12 Labors, writer Marty Pasko tried to begin a new status quo that involved the resurrection of Steve Trevor and more complications from the gods of Olympus. There was some promise here, but again, the quality was uneven and whatever he had planned was crushed by a sudden editorial change caused by the popularity of the TV series, which was set in World War II at the time. Grade: C-.

    World War II (#228-243): The title abruptly switched to focus on the World War II adventures of the Earth-2 Wonder Woman. These stories were just okay at best. The series then just as randomly switched back to the Earth-1 Wonder Woman after the TV series switched to the present day as well. Okay stories with no emotional impact due to being unconnected to anything at all. Grade: C-.

    The NASA era (#244-268): Diana wasn't actually at NASA for this whole time, but I'm going to use this to cover the Jack C. Harris run and the subsequent attempts by Paul Levitz and Gerry Conway to pick up the pieces. Harris tried some new things, adding some random fantasy and sci-fi elements to the series and moving Diana to Houston, where she joined NASA. Along the way she got a whole new supporting cast, which is to say, she got a supporting cast, because she literally had none at all up until this point. When Levitz took over he totally abandoned all the NASA stuff and then turned things over to Gerry Conway, who along with Levitz began setting up avery long running and totally uninteresting storyline about assassins being controlled by her former boss. A mess, though Harris did supply one of the only high points of the 70's for Wonder Woman with his two-part replacement Wonder Woman story in #250-251. Grade: C-.

    The Soft Reboot (#269-287): Wein and Conway reset the entire series, paving the way for actual, decent stories for the first time since the I-Ching era ended. Given how much Conway had already worked on the book over the past few years, I have to give a lot of the credit for Wein. Conway introduced a supporting cast, which was desperately needed, and started with a solid storyline about Kobra before writing a cool Etrigan story that was one of the best of the period. Upon Conway's departure, the fill-in issues were just about as good as what had come before, so it maintained quality until Roy Thomas took over in #288. Grade: B.

    Roy Thomas (#288-296, 300): A big deal was made about Thomas taking over, with a tryout preview printed in an issue of DC COmics Presents and big full page ads touting the new Wonder Woman. There were a few nods to changing the status quo -- again -- but Thomas almost immediately ditched the title for greener pastures. This did the series no favors, just helping cement its reputation. He also wrote the thoroughly disheartening #300, which included Steve dumping Diana at the altar, which seriously damaged both characters and took Mishkin a year to paper over. On the other hand, the Judgement Book arc guest-starring all the DC universe female superheroes was pretty darn cool, and he did introduce both Silver Swan and the new Dr. Psycho, which was an important contribution. Grade: C+.

    Dan Mishkin Era(#297-299, 301-325): Mishkin basically stabilized the book, created an engaging supporting cast for the first and only time in this entire 12 year period and cleaned up all the messes left by Thomas, Conway and even Pasko and Harris. He managed to also craft some honestly entertaining stories while doing this, which is a bit of a feat. #313-323 is the best run of the 12 years I reviewed and was about the only time in this run I really was looking forward to getting to the next issue to find out what would happen next. His run wasn't perfect, of course, the gremlin Glitch being a notable misstep. Still, this is by far the best run on the book, which is ironic given it coincided with the worst sales. Grade: B+.

    Overall, as you can see, the book was mediocre at best for most of its existence. Occasional highlights dot the landscape, but they are few and far between, particularly before the reboot. If I were advising people, i would say go ahead and read the 12 Labors if you are a big Justice League fan. Otherwise, you can skip everything before #269 with the exception of #250-251 and the truly gonzo story in #246. Starting with #269, I'd say you can read from there up until the end of the series without it being too too painful, though you will want to stop reading the Huntress backup story around #285.

    Finally, I have to say it's amazing how inept DC's handling of Wonder Woman was for such a long period of time. Until Wein took over as editor, it seemed that nobody had any idea how to handle her title and even after his arrival, he basically just reset things back to their 40's status quo. Given the popularity of the TV series and Wonder Woman's status as a global icon, you would think that making a good Wonder Woman comic book would be a priority for DC. How they managed to muff it up so badly for so long is truly a mystery to me.

    One thing, though. No matter how mad the stories were, Wonder Woman as a character remained cool throughout. After 90 issues of nonsense, i was still rooting for someone to figure her out and write something good. That speaks to the power of the character. About the pre-Crisis Wonder Woman, I guess I can sum it up by saying this: She deserved better.
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  6. #321

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    And one final, final note. I just re-read the last few issues of Crisis to see what Wonder Woman stuff there is in it. There's nothing much involving Earth-1 Diana, but Earth-2 Diana has a key scene. She gets blasted by Anti-Monitor and apparently killed. However, a later scene says she was actually devolved backwards in time, kind of how like Flash died in a way I guess. When she got back to a certain point, Zeus saw what was happening and since she was one of his charges, he rescued her, re-formed her and then brought her and her husband -- Steve, I presume -- up to Olympus to live there eternally.

    This makes no sense, of course, in that Steve had already ceased to exist when Earth-2 was merged with Earth-1. It also means that the Earth-2 Diana was alive in Olympus through the entire post-Crisis, pre-New 52 continuity.

    Of course, there are plenty of other things about the last issue of Crisis that I don't understand and that Stephen Hawking probably couldn't explain to me. But I thought this was an interesting coda to the end of the pre-Crisis Wonder Woman.

    And that's it. THE END!
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  7. #322
    Ex-Cheeks Reptisaurus!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Harris View Post
    She deserved better.
    I remember a quote by Marty Pasko talking about holding his nose while writing the title - It just seemed that nobody really cared all that much about the character. (Although I've only read a handful of the Mishkin issues.)

    And, of course, you missed the (*snicker*) greatest and (*chortle) most important story of this era - The Kurt Schaffenberger drawn DC Comics Presents # 32. Which reads like a classic issue of Lois Lane. It's.... great?
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  8. #323
    DC Comics Forum Moderator The Darknight Detective's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reptisaurus! View Post
    I remember a quote by Marty Pasko talking about holding his nose while writing the title - It just seemed that nobody really cared all that much about the character. (Although I've only read a handful of the Mishkin issues.)

    And, of course, you missed the (*snicker*) greatest and (*chortle) most important story of this era - The Kurt Schaffenberger drawn DC Comics Presents # 32. Which reads like a classic issue of Lois Lane. It's.... great?
    Schaffenberger was great when it came to funny or very lighthearted stories, but his style was all wrong for serious ones. His Action Comics run during the early '80s didn't do anything for me at all.
    A bat! That's it! It's an omen.. I shall become a bat!

  9. #324
    DC Comics Forum Moderator The Darknight Detective's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Harris View Post
    And that's it. THE END!
    ...and we salute you, sir!
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  10. #325
    Run Runner shaxper's Avatar
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    Well done, Scott! You certainly can bang them out!!

    I definitely do encourage you to check out the Post Crisis stuff.

    Here's a synopsis of the Perez era that I did a few years back. Hopefully it whets your appetite:

    Quote Originally Posted by shaxper
    Wonder Woman vol. 2 #1-62 plus Annual #1 (The full George Perez run)

    Perez's run on WW truly reads like a maxi-series. It's fascinating how the premise first outlined in the first issue is so thoroughly concluded by the last -- and on every level, from basic external plot to the more complex internal conflicts of an entire tribal nation. This run was clearly a carefully considered labor of love. Surely enough, every other conflict or theme established throughout the series concluded by the end. The final story arc (War of the Gods) even managed to include every major character ever to appear in the title without dying (except for Ares), while crossing into nearly the entire DCU.

    But...was it any good?


    As far as I'm concerned, Diana's greatest moment will always be the second to last page of the first issue. Here, Diana is undergoing a sort of trial before becoming Wonder Woman. The trial involves her deflecting a series of bullets fired from a gun. Diana deflects them with an endearing look of absolute terror on her face, only to ultimately ask "By the gods! What is that thing? Where did it come from?" It captures a significant balance in the Perez series - Diana's absolutely lovable naivety versus the greater destiny that awaits her (shrouded in mystery and a plethora of clues). We don't know why there's a gun on Paradise Island, but we know it's a small part of something BIG that lies in store for Diana. It makes us understand that a great legacy awaits her. Meanwhile, we both laugh at and love the adorable face of a completely horrified young woman that has never seen a gun before and now is being made to deflect bullets. Perez's art is amazing in its empathy, and the pacing of the layout is dynamite.

    Unfortunately, less than halfway into the series, things begin to change. And, by the end of the series, Diana has lost most of that wonderful naivety (yet replaced it with little else), has achieved her destiny and replaced that only with "how shall I restore my good name" and "should I be a superhero now?", and Perez's first class art and layouts have been replaced with the outright horrific work of (first) Chris Marrinian and (later) Jill Thompson. In both cases, their inability to draw faces is so disruptive that it utterly annihilates any emotional subtext that Perez may have still been working at. By the end of the series, everything that made it great in the begining is now lost. We teeter on, resolving plot points, but plot points were never a strength of this series. The antagonists and premises were always bearable at best. The highlights were always those moments BETWEEN plots where Perez would take a moment to really explore Diana and the people around her.

    So the series faded out pretty quickly.


    My reading recommendations for this series:

    The series is intermittantly dogeared by pivotal moments in Diana's journey. Any of these would serve as excellent stopping points.

    -If you're curious (or a completist), there's no harm in reading until the end (issue #62) unless you can't tolerate bad art. It's a nice resolution to the run that comes probably thirty five issues too late. The stories are never terrible. They're just adequate.

    -If you'd like to follow until Diana fulfills her mysterious destiny (it's a bit less interesting after this), read until issue #50. It's a bit of disappointment as the climax to a sixty two issue run, but it's still worth reading.

    -Reading up to issue #41 will give you the first diplomatic visit to Paradise Island (as well as the chaos that ensues), and a nice "between plots" story that strongly develops Vanessa (an important supporting character in the series).

    -Reading up to Wonder Woman Annual #1 (which directly follows #22) will give you all of the best moments in the run while bypassing what I consider to be the biggest wrong turn the series took (relating to Lord Hermes and begining in #23). It culminates with the first time the insular Amazons allow strangers (friends to Wonder Woman) to visit Paradise Island, and the annual depicts the visitation and celebration with great detail (and avoids introducing a conflict alltogether - quite bold and different). This arc also includes the departure of the gods (issue #21) which is, itself, quite a culminating moment for Diana, and the "Who killed Myndi Mayor?" story in issue #20 (quite possibly the most powerful issue of the series).

    So I strongly recommend the first 22 issues and the annual. These are essential stories for WW, even when the plots are often sub-par. Plus you get all that great Perez art before Marrinian takes over. Beyond that, it really depends upon how curious you are.
    Last edited by shaxper; 11-21-2012 at 05:42 PM.

  11. #326
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Harris View Post
    And one final, final note. I just re-read the last few issues of Crisis to see what Wonder Woman stuff there is in it. There's nothing much involving Earth-1 Diana, but Earth-2 Diana has a key scene. She gets blasted by Anti-Monitor and apparently killed. However, a later scene says she was actually devolved backwards in time, kind of how like Flash died in a way I guess. When she got back to a certain point, Zeus saw what was happening and since she was one of his charges, he rescued her, re-formed her and then brought her and her husband -- Steve, I presume -- up to Olympus to live there eternally.

    This makes no sense, of course, in that Steve had already ceased to exist when Earth-2 was merged with Earth-1. It also means that the Earth-2 Diana was alive in Olympus through the entire post-Crisis, pre-New 52 continuity.

    Of course, there are plenty of other things about the last issue of Crisis that I don't understand and that Stephen Hawking probably couldn't explain to me. But I thought this was an interesting coda to the end of the pre-Crisis Wonder Woman.

    And that's it. THE END!
    That bit from Crisis is a little unclear but its the Earth One Wonder Woman who gets blasted by the Anti Monitor and devolved back in time clearing the way for the reboot, check the costume. Then the Earth Two Wonder Woman is taken into Olympus with Steve.

  12. #327
    DC Comics Forum Moderator The Darknight Detective's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reptisaurus! View Post
    I remember a quote by Marty Pasko talking about holding his nose while writing the title - It just seemed that nobody really cared all that much about the character. (Although I've only read a handful of the Mishkin issues.)
    I don't understand how anybody who worked or works in the industry could feel that way about her. Like Scott said, despite all the obstacles that were thrown in front of her, Wonder Woman still was a very compelling character. If I had been a writer offered the opportunity to create stories about her, I would have jumped at the chance.
    A bat! That's it! It's an omen.. I shall become a bat!

  13. #328
    Senior Member Polar Bear's Avatar
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    I commend you, Scott, for one of the most enjoyable threads of 2012. If you're thinking of a sequel, how about Justice League of America: the post-Gardner Fox era? I've always wanted to get in my head how that all fit together. That aside, I'll read whatever reviews you decide to write.
    Anyway, it is cool for you to acquire acrimony of crumbling time on blast this website.
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  14. #329

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    Quote Originally Posted by VDCNI View Post
    That bit from Crisis is a little unclear
    That's the understatement of the century.

    Quote Originally Posted by VDCNI View Post
    but its the Earth One Wonder Woman who gets blasted by the Anti Monitor and devolved back in time clearing the way for the reboot, check the costume. Then the Earth Two Wonder Woman is taken into Olympus with Steve.
    This makes even less sense than I what I thought happened, but I'm not saying you're wrong. I honestly don't even want to look at the page again to see, so I'll take your word for it. That sequence doesn't make any sense on several different levels, but there are other things that confuse me more about the end of Crisis. Like the fact that there apparently was an Earth-2 Green Arrow who still existed and was active on the new, post-Crisis Earth, died during Crisis -- which was such a big deal it was front page news in giant headlines -- but who as far as I can recall was never mentioned again by anybody including, you know, Oliver Queen. I'm hardly an expert on Crisis, but I've read it a couple times through and it gets more confusing the more I read it.
    At last, Boy Comics finally gets its own website!

  15. #330

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    Quote Originally Posted by Polar Bear View Post
    I commend you, Scott, for one of the most enjoyable threads of 2012. If you're thinking of a sequel, how about Justice League of America: the post-Gardner Fox era? I've always wanted to get in my head how that all fit together. That aside, I'll read whatever reviews you decide to write.

    Thanks Polar Bear, I appreciate it. I only have a couple issues of Justice League from that era so I'm afraid I wouldn't be able to read or review them. I do have a couple books I am considering, but we'll see. I would like to do Doctor Strange, but I am still missing about 22 issues to finish my run from Strange Tales #134 through Strange Tales vol. 3 #19. If I can get those issues, I think I can get an Essential to cover the earlier Strange Tales, but it may be awhile before I finish this run. I also have JiM/Thor #113-206 waiting to be read, but for some reason I get the idea I wouldn't enjoy reviewing those as much. I'll have to think about it.

    I also have a full run of Superman Family I haven't read, but those are so gigantic I am having trouble getting up the nerve to even open them, much less try to review them. 80-100 pages of new -- and probably bad -- material every issue is daunting.

    And I'm still a long way off from a goal I have been working towards for years and years, which is a complete run of Green Arrow stories from GL/GA #76 through the end of the Grell era. If I ever manage to put together that amazing mish-mash of backup series I'll definitely be reviewing them. (for those curious, GA basically had a continuously published series at DC beginning in 1970 and running right through to Crisis, but most of it was in various backup features; it goes GL/GA, Flash, Action, GL/GA second run, World's Finest, Detective and I'm not sure where the mini-series fits in).
    At last, Boy Comics finally gets its own website!

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