Current Reviews


Wonder Woman #185

Posted: Tuesday, November 5, 2002
By: Jason Cornwell

Writer: Phil Jimenez
Artists: Phil Jimenez (p), Andy Lanning & Lary Stucker (i)

Publisher: DC

The book opens with Trevor about to be set upon by the shrunken members of Villainy Inc., but these villains soon discover the size does matter, as Trevor is able to hold his own against these deadly villains. We then look in on Wonder Woman who is currently operating under the guise of Miss America, as she doesn't want her mother to discover she's been fighting alongside her daughter. As the two woman discuss how they'll locate the stolen magical artifacts that the Nazis made off with, including the Trident of Poseidon that would allow Wonder Woman to return to her home time period, we see Diana isn't able to hide her joy at being able to interact with her mother. We also see her squirm as she discovers something about her mother's relationship with JSAer Wildcat. We then see the two woman descend on the Nazi hideout, where they make rather quick work of the villains hidden within. After she gets her hands on the Trident of Poseidon, Diana makes a hasty retreat, and we see it's best that she did, as Hippolyta was able to see through Diana's disguise, and was sure to start asking some pointed questions. The book ends with Diana & Trevor return to their home time, while back in the past Hippolyta has some unanswered questions troubling her.

I think the problem I have with Phil Jimenez's writing on this book is that he's too involved with the character's past, that he's either unwilling, or unable to write material that would engage a newer reader like myself. I mean I enjoyed his original arc involving Batman & Wonder Woman, as it was dealing with a relationship between two characters that hadn't gotten much attention in the pages of the JLA. However, since that point the book has been positively insular in its attempts to write material that would appeal to readers who hadn't been following this title for a better part of it's 15 year run. Take the action in this issue which is largely dependent on the idea that the reader would understand why Diana would find fighting alongside her mother so difficult, and why Hippolyta is even running around in 1943. Now I will concede that Phil Jimenez does offer up the exposition that one needs to get the general idea, but frankly all of his material has been set up so that one needs to have read previous issues to follow the current story. Simply put Phil Jimenez's issues aren't really able to stand on their own two feet as they spend far too much time acknowledging what's gone on before.

This issue reveals that Hippolyta knew that she was fighting alongside her daughter, and while she could've figured this out relatively late in the encounter, when they were both caught up in the heat of the battle, and as such Hippolyta would've been unable to make contact with Diana before she pulled her vanishing act, I was a bit confused by the final pages of this issue. First we end with a scene where Diana basically flips out when she remembers that Hippolyta told her a story of how she met Miss America, and we then follow this up with a scene where Hippolyta is troubled by the idea that her daughter lied to her. Now I'll admit I'm fairly new to Wonder Woman corner of the DCU, but both of this moments look to be scenes where the reader is instantly suppose to recognize the larger significance that both women are now holding the knowledge that they've just realized, and truth be told I simply couldn't make the connection. I mean why is it so important that Hippolyta told Diana she had met Miss America, and what is the lie that Diana told her mother that has left her so disillusioned? Perhaps I'm missing the obvious answers, but it would've been nice to get some clarification on these two points, considering they both seem rather important.

While I may not care much for his skills as a writer, there's no denying that Phil Jimenez is a truly amazing artist. The amount of detail that he puts on the page can't help but impress, from the credit page shot of Washington DC, to the frantic action as the two Wonder Woman smash their way into the Nazi headquarters. There's a great little action shot in this issue where we see Hippolyta uses her shield to protect herself from a machine gun, and an equally painful looking panel where Diana instinctively attempts to use her bracelets to block a bullet, before she's reminded her disguise doesn't have the bulletproof bracelets. The art also captures the ruthless edge that Hippolyta brings to the table, as we see her chop a man's arm clean off. There's also the herd of dinosaurs, the fact that the invisible plane transforms into a plane from that era, and I'll admit that I found Trevor's battle with the shrunken members of Villainy Inc. to be quite amusing, with his tussle with Dr. Poison being particularly funny. This issue also features a great looking cover by Adam Hughes, as he makes great use of the black and whites to give the splash of color that the Nazi flag provides a greater visual impact.

Final Word:
To put it simply Phil Jimenez's writing just doesn't grab me, as while there's probably another level one could enjoy this issue on if you have a greater knowledge of Wonder Woman's past adventures, this book comes up short when it comes to simple entertainment value. Now there's some amusement to be found in the scenes where Trevor battles the shrunken Villainy Inc. and the interaction between Hippolyta & the disguised Diana has some interesting moments. However, Phil Jimenez doesn't seem to understand that a talking heads issue needs to have some emotional weight behind it to hold the reader's interest, and this issue is rather low in this department. There's also the action scenes where we see Hippolyta & Diana engaged in a tepid battle against a group of Nazi agents, who pose no threat to them, and are basically one punch and they stay down opponents. The gorgeous art helps somewhat though.

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