Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman Vol. 1. Various Writers and Artists Trade Paperback, DC Comics. 2015.
I'm a fan of Wonder Woman. Part of that goes way back to the 1970s, when Lynda Carter well...Lynda Carter. She was Wonder Woman, the same way Christopher Reeve was Superman. You can't see her and not fall in love with her. So I did. Not just her looks, but the strength, the lasso, the Invisible Jet. Yeah, I know. I'm supposed to think it's hokey. When you're five, it's badass. Over time I've seen how some comic book writers have a hard time writing her. Over the years she's been a secret agent, she's been a gladiator, she's been a goddess, she's been an ambassador, she's been a queen. Many writers have tried to combine those roles into a character who's powerful, but also compassionate. A scion of truth, but with vulnerability. An icon of heroism and womanhood, without being a brute. Some writers manage to do it; the recent run by Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang was remarkable visually, but also told an incredible story that only Wonder Woman would be able to tell, straddling myth and superheroing and humanity. George Perez' 1980s Wonder Woman run was groundbreaking, planting her as a godess new to Man's World, without making her a naive fool. Those seem to be rarities for the Amazing Amazon.
She's handled well in an anthology series, "Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman" now in a collected trade paperback. Lest "Sensation Comics" sounds more naughty than you'd like, she made her first appearance in the 1940s in an anthology comic book titled "Sensation Comics," as Superman made his first appearance in "Action Comics," Batman in "Detective Comics." Most superhero stories were short, and alongside cowboy and horror and police stories in anthologies. So Wonder Woman's return to the form in this series is kind of cool.
There are eleven stories here, from an array of DC Comics writers and artists. Only three of the writers and three of the artists are female; something that maybe should be addressed in upcoming issues. That criticism aside, what you end up with is a collection of stories that are, on the whole, a lot of fun.
My favorites are the ones that deviate from what's become the norm for comic book art, or tell a particularly strong story.
"Bullets and Bracelets" by Sean E. Williams, with art by Marguerite Sauvage, has Diana as a rock star, needing some air after a concert. She ends up meeting some young girls, having lunch with them, befriending them, and later defending them against a threat. It ends with an empowering note for the girls, but also for the reader. And the art is remarkable.
"No Chains Can Hold Her," written and drawn by Gilbert Hernandez, is one of the weirder stories in both story and art, and I loved it. Justice League villain Kanjar Ro traps Wonder Woman and Supergirl, forcing them to fight one another. Eventually Mary Marvel (Shazam's sister) gets into the mix. His designs are fun, the story is bizarre, and it's a welcome and somewhat silly addition to the "X vs X" showdown that superhero comics get into sometimes. Also movies.
There's a fun story with Catwoman illustrated by Amy Mebberson, one featuring Doctor Psycho, one where she defends a kid who's being teased for liking Wonder Woman, and one where she has to decide how to defend Gotham City in Batman's absence...without becoming as dark as Batman.
Despite many of the issues I have with DC Comics these days, there are several new books that are actually fun to read. "Grayson" and "Gotham Academy" are two that come up consistently; I'd add "Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman" to the list. If you've ever been a fan of Wonder Woman, you'll find something to love in these pages.