Wonder Woman ’77 Meets The Bionic Woman #2 Review
Wonder Woman ’77 Meets The Bionic Woman #2
Written by Andy Mangels
Art by Judit Tondora
Colors by Roland Pilcz
Letters by Lois Buhalis & Tom Orzechowski
Edited by Matt Idelson
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment /DC Comics
When the first issue of a series is as good as Wonder Woman ’77 Meets The Bionic Woman, putting out a second issue that matches it would seem to be a difficult if not impossible task. For those who have not read it yet you can read my review of that stellar first issue here.
While a first issue has to immediately grab the reader’s attention and introduce the basics of character, setting, tone and plot, the second issue has to add some amount of depth of character, complication of plot and continue any narrative momentum in order to maintain those initial readers. The second issue might be the hardest thing to write in comics. Lets see if the creative team of Andy Mangles and Judit Tondora have done it.
After a jaw dropping character death at the end of the first issue we find Diana Prince and Jaime Sommers “sitting shiva” with the mourning widow of the deceased. A somber yet eloquent start that goes a long way to show you that while this comic is fun and action packed it also has a heart and soul and is not afraid to slow down and let moments of humanity and emotion take over. This opening also gives us an opposite opening in tone and pace to issue #1 and feels like a narrative counter point showing a different side to our main characters.
Adding to the gravitas in this sequence is when Diana in her secret identity makes her exit and re-enters the house now as Wonder Woman, this time dressed in a more traditional outfit respectful of the setting. Diana recites the traditional words of comfort to the mourning (Prishah 393:3) in Hebrew. A gesture of great respect and compassion. It is a moment of cultural inclusiveness that befits the archetypal aspects of Wonder Woman and Mangels’ use of it here shows a tasteful writer of conscience at work.
From there we move into several scenes that show a growing bond between Jamie and Diana. As well as the introduction of a fantastic new-ish villain. Without giving too much away, this character is new “ish” because they are a combination of someone from the seventies tv canon and a character from Wonder Woman’s comic history. And that synthesis works perfectly. Elaboration on the espionage side of the plot also shows an increasing complexity from the first issue. This comic seems determined to give the reader everything.
By far my favorite scene in the entire book has Jamie and Diana talking before embarking in the invisible plane. It’s a warm and funny exchange between two equals that pokes fun not only at Wonder Woman canon but in some aspects of the seventies (“Smaller than I expected”). I am still impressed that Mangels’s winks to the audience never undermine the story or concepts and seem to come from a place of love as opposed to cynicism or superiority which is usually the hallmarks in modern satire.
All of which leads us into a classic action scene, the revelation of a Legion of Doom type group composed of villains from both the Wonder Woman and Bionic Woman shows and one great cliffhanger.
Judit Tondora’s art, which I quite liked in the first issue, seems to have taken a quantum leap forward. I even checked to see if it was the same artist. All of Tondora’s strengths have only gotten stronger; superb characterization through facial expressions, fun and dynamic body gesture. Tondora’s previously weaker elements now show great improvement; panel layout is more elegant and streamlined, background and incidental detail is more noticeable. My only issue is that sometimes the inking is a bit heavy-handed. I would prefer to see more of Murphy Anderson approach and less of a Chester Gould approach. But I tend to think that every time I see big and bold ink lines, so maybe that’s just me.
Is Wonder Woman ’77 Meets The Bionic Woman #2 as good as issue #1? Considering what this issue has to do mechanically I think it’s unfair to judge one against the other. I do think, however, that it is one of the best second issues in a series I have read in a long time and the evolution of this creative team is something to watch out for.