I hate to say this, but after a debut that showed potential, “Wonder Woman” is already slowing down and not in a good way. “Wonder Woman” #602, the second full issue of J. Michael Straczynski’s run on the title, seems to already descending into a lot of fight scenes, and not terribly exciting ones at that.
I’m not against a lot of fighting in a superhero comic. Part of what makes superheroes fun is that we get to see a lot of inventive powers, costumes, and attacks in the genre. When one person can fly and shoot lasers out of their eyes while another one vibrates through walls and gives off telepathic blasts, it gives us something out of the ordinary and different. In “Wonder Woman” #602, though, we get a stronger-than-normal woman fighting mercenaries armed with guns. There’s nothing special, no oomph to make any of these pages stand out in the reader’s memory.
When they aren’t fighting one another, “Wonder Woman” this month drops out a little more exposition, but it’s actually a little surprising how dry and by-the-book it comes across. Straczynski has given us exposition in #600 and 601, but there it seemed a little peppier, slightly more interesting than just reciting dry facts to us. Here, we get Wonder Woman talking to the unmoving head of a statue. It’s less than riveting.
Don Kramer provides some of the pencils this month, but the dreaded deadline doom seems to have struck and Eduardo Pansica steps in to pinch hit on some of the pages. It’s not bad, but at the same time it’s also an overall look that begins to look run down the further into the issue you progress. Both Kramer and Pansica (plus the three inkers) bring a clean look to Wonder Woman herself, though, and it’s the right kind of style for the title. Pansica’s pencils looks a little more cartoonish and simple, but it’s not a bad match.
The new direction of “Wonder Woman” holds potential (especially since it looks to be a limited run), but I’m worried that it already is losing some steam. These early issues need to do everything they can to hold onto any new readers that came on board to see what all the fuss was about, and if next month’s issue feels equally uninspired, I don’t think they’ll be sticking around much longer.