Thursday, 7 May 2009

Gail's Got Game...

Let's face it people, Gail Simone on Wonder Woman - that's a no-brainer. For one reason or another however it just never seemed to happen until just recently. When it did, unsurprisingly - it was fantastic.

I'm a Wonder Woman fan from way back. I'm one of the many who slogged through one bad interpretation after another in hopes that one day someone, somewhere would figure what made Diana so cool and manage to put it in her fricking book!

I'm also a fan of Gail Simone. Her Birds Of Prey, her Deadpool, her Villains United/Secret Six, her Superman - all delectable treats of the awesome variety. So when Gail got her mitts on DC's number one Themysciran import - I was prepared for fireworks.

I was not disappointed

Since Gail took over the book I've been enjoying it in a way I haven't experienced since George Perez's phenomenal post-Crisis revamp.

You want proof that Gail has got Wonder Woman game? All you need to do is check out her first issue - Wonder Woman #14. This issue in itself epitomises the quality, fun and all that other good stuff that Gail has brought to the book. It is undoubtedly one of the best books coming out of DC at the moment.

So what does Gail know that all those other Wonder Woman writers don't?

Well first and foremost Gail knows that if you want your Wonder Woman series to succeed - you always have to remember that Diana kicks ass like an Amazonian warrior princess! That means swords, shields, bracelets, lassos and tiara slinging is the order of the day. Faces should get mashed, asses should get kicked and names should get taken. Whether your fighting Circe, the Cheetah, the Silver Swan or a bunch of heavily armed monkeys from Gorilla City.
Primatism - the scourge of human/monkey relations

This sequence shows what a great handle Gail has on the character. We've seen stuff like Diana taking on a whole battalion of armoured Gorillas without breaking a sweat before. But how often does Diana stop in the throes of aerobatic ass-kickery to broker a peaceful solution with her monkey foes? Who, as it turns out, are just dumb, young, monkey punks duped by the anti-human propaganda of Gorilla Grodd. That's great stuff - not to mention good super-heroing.
It's great moments like this, where Diana gets to show the inherent, regal nobility which should be an essential part of the whole "princess" side of her character that make Gail's take of WW so terrific.

This sequence also shows that Gail has a keen grasp on one of the fundamental truths of comic-book writing. 'You want your book to be awesome - throw in some monkeys'. Being a seasoned veteran though Gail doesn't just follow the rules she bends them, taking us into unexpected and shocking realms of awesomeness to give us:
Monkey Room-mates!


Do you remember that mystical period back in the 60s when Mike Sekowsky totally revamped the Wonder Woman series turning it into Diana Prince - International Woman Of Mystery? Remember the white jump-suited Diana and her racially offensive buddy I-Ching jumping out of helicopters, jump-kicking spies on skis and packing machine guns?

Well recent WW writers have hearkened back to those halcyon days by bringing back white jump-suited, aviator-wearing 'Diana Prince - Secret Agent' as Wondy's shiny, new secret identity. They'll also teamed her up with the most bad-ass, non-powered, professional ass-kicker(who doesn't dress like a flying Rodent) in all the DC-verse -Nemesis. It's all been good stuff but Gail has taken over and raised the bar. She's skillfully working this new status quo to ramp up the delicious sexual tension between the two.
Is that a golden lariet in your jumpsuit or are you just happy to see me?

It's always a treat to see Nemesis showcased anywhere - dude is awesome. I loved him under John Ostrander back in his Suicide Squad days and I'm love Gail's cocky, swaggering take on him.

Of course bringing back the 'Diana Prince - Secret Agent' identity means you've got to give her something secret agenty to do. She can't just stand around doing nothing but looking pretty in her snazzy white jumpsuit. But she can't be going around beating up spear-chucking, super-intelligent monkey warriors with her bare hands while out of her star-spangled underoos. That would blow her cover and totally emasculate poor Nemesis who likes to act all tough and badass to impress the chicas.
So Gail provides Diana's secret agent identity with a foe of her own to tackle. It's someone dangerous, someone formidable, someone Diana can properly get her secret agent on against. It's someone from that handy stockpile of ready-made, already loathsome bad guys known as 'The Nazis'.
That's right folks Diana and Nemesis versus a Nazi badguy. But Gail doesn't saddle us with some run of the mill Nazi-no-mark? She gives us something better! She gives us a Nazi....who is also a captain!
Holy Himmler - it's Captain Nazi

Captain Nazi - can you believe it? Oh the joy, the sheer unbridled joy of glorious comic-book wackiness. Is there a comic-book fan in existence who doesn't love Captain Nazi? I think not.

What more do you want from your monthly comics people? You've got Amazon ass-kickings, secret agent chicanery, sexy jumpsuits, monkey room-mates and a superhuman Nazi captain named Albrecht.

Wonder Woman #14 is the mother lode and there's much more goodness to follow. I advise all the WW fans out there who've been burned by previous writers to jump on and enjoy the ride. You won't regret it.

Before I go I'll leave you with this life lesson. If you move in with five homeless albino monkey warriors from Gorilla city and your boyfriend comes a-calling just remember...
Monkey Warriors Gossip
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