Wonder Woman ’77 Meets The Bionic Woman #1 Review
Wonder Woman ’77 Meets The Bionic Woman #1
Writer: Andy Mangels
Artist: Judit Tondora, Cover Artist: Cat Staggs (cover), Alex Ross (variant cover), Michael Adams (“Action Figure” variant), Judit Tondora (“Coloring Book” Variant)
Colorists: Michael Bartolo, Stuart Chaifetz
Letterists: Tom Orzechowski, Lois Buhalis
Editor: Matt Idelson
It is a great time to have been a child in the 70s and 80s and to be reading current comic books. Numerous crossovers, that previously only existed in my own head as I played with my toys in the dirt of my backyard, have now become fully realized comic events. I’ve gotten to see the Transformers fight GI Joe. I’ve seen obscure and underrated yet beloved properties like Rom, MASK and Micronauts interact in one story. Batman ’66 has teamed up with The Green Hornet, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and The Avengers (no, the other ones.) Batman and TMNT. Thundercats with He-Man. It has truly been a blast seeing the classic sci-fi/superhero/animation pop culture of my youth smashed together like this.
Now Dynamite brings us one of the most obvious crossovers that’s been a long time coming. Bringing together the two most iconic and influential female tv superstars of the seventies, we have Wonder Woman ’77 Meets the Bionic Woman. Written by long time writer/historian and gay activist Andy Mangels, who has written books ranging from Elfquest to Nightmare on Elm Street and drawn by Hungarian newcomer Judit Tondora.
From the first opening splash page that sets up in a direct parallel the power and equality of these two seminal characters I knew i was in for a treat. The story opens with our two heroines converging on a burning building to save lives and encountering one another seemingly by chance. A refreshing action-oriented start that doesn’t revolve around violence. In this scene, as well as the rest of the book, both Diana and Jaimie are afforded equal respect and space in the story. What Mangels and Tondora set up in that first splash page is carried through the entire book regardless whether its with “Wonder Woman” and “The Bionic Woman” or as Diana Prince and Jaime Sommers.
From there we learn that Diana and Jamie in their respective roles within the separate organizations are being brought together in order to deal with the growing threat of “Castra” an international group of criminals led by Ivan Karp. I was under the impression the character was Ivan “Kard”. As in the character from the season 2 episode “Biofeedback” played by Lloyd Bockner. Maybe he was renamed for the comic series.
This brief tangent in order to set up the ongoing plot has some wonderful moments as we see our heroes be very patient while all the boys attempt to control the situation. Another particularly great moment has Jaime see through Diana’s civilian disguise with a look of utter disbelief as if to say “Really? people fall for this?” It’s the only meta wink to the audience moment in the book. And while it pokes fun at a ridiculous aspect of the Wonder Woman show it doesn’t attempt to undermine or be malicious towards the pre-established rules of the WW ’77 show.
Jamie, obviously respectful to her sister-in-arms agent, simply goes with it. It is a moment that plays perfectly at both satire and logical plot point. Also, it works better than when the trope of the obvious disguise is attacked with characters like Superman. Except for that time Ambush Bug did it. That was great.
From there we have the eventual escalation to Amazonian and Bionic action climax that is exciting and fun. In this scene, as well as the entire book, Mangels and Tondora give us every visual trope of these two characters you could want; invisible plane, bullet blocking bracelets, the “deeneenee” sound effects as Jaime jumps. It’s all here.
Judit Tondora’s art, simple at times and often bordering on cartoon-ish. The art is still a perfect tonal match for Mangel’s script and these characters. What is sometimes lacking in detail is made up for by being entertaining and accessible to a wide audience. And Tondora’s ability to make both Diana and Jaime instantly recognizable and pop off the panel is commendable.
Wonder Woman ’77 Meets The Bionic Woman is a pitch perfect comic for these properties. While the plot may be fairly basic, the creative team’s ability to understand and present these characters more than makes up for a light plot. This book is also perfectly safe for little girls. So whether you’re an old time fan (like me!) or you want to get something for a young female comic fan that isn’t overly violent or sexual and presents strong female characters, this is for all of us. And in a comic culture where the Big Two seem allergic to not having their “heroes” punch and fight each other every month this is a refreshing and hopeful read.