Wonder Woman ’77 Vol. 1
Writer: Marc Andreyko
Artists: Drew Johnson, Matt Haley, Richard Ortiz, Jason Badower, Cat Staggs
Colorists: Romulo Fajardo Jr., Brett Smith
Letterer: Wes Abbott
Collection Cover Artists: Nicola Scott with Annette Kwok
Wonder Woman created by: William Moulton Marston
Did you grow up with the original Lynda Carter Wonder Woman television series of the late seventies? If you answered yes this maybe the book for you. Back in October 2014 DC brought us Wonder Woman ’77, a comic book series inspired by the television show itself and set in the seventies as well. In all honesty, I did not grow up with the show but once in a while I caught re-runs whenever they popped up at the right time. Nonetheless, I could not help but jump at the chance for this new comic being not only a comic book fan but also a history buff.
Wonder Woman ’77 Vol. 1 collects only two issues, yes, which sounds like it would be enough for maybe an hour’s read, but that is where you may be wrong. Each issue is packed three different and separate stories. There is no continuity or arc, but completely different episodes. Hence, you could read this in whatever order you feel like. Right away it catches the magic of the show with a brand new adventure every week or with each story here. Wonder Woman is Diana Prince, a federal agent along with her partner Steve Trevor who is unaware of her secret identity of Wonder Woman. When trouble comes, she does her wonder twirl and bam she is Wonder Woman! Seeing this in three distinct panels never gets old as I could hear the theme chime in every time I saw this on the page. We have a huge collection of artists for this project. Badower offers this painterly quality akin to a Norman Rockwell piece and it captures Lynda Carter’s resemblance so well. Then Brett Smith’s colors add this radiant, glowing warmth coming from Wonder Woman and everyone else right off their skin. Cat Staggs and Fajardo Jr. offer more painting but with a somber color pallet that is more reminiscent of the seventies and dark inks, emphasizing the rather bleak and dark setting their story is steeped in with nuclear waste and profits over lives. Other artists do not emphasize the Lynda Carter look so much such as Johnson, Haley & Ortiz. In fact, their Wonder Woman looks younger, sometimes young twenties or teenage. I wanted to think their direction was if Lynda Carter had landed the role at an earlier age. Strangely enough, Diana Prince looks spot on from the show. This creates an interesting contrast where as their Diana Prince appears as this rather plain, bland and conservative woman compared to the liberated, dynamic and extravagant Wonder Woman. Not to criticize but theirs feel more like traditional, brightly colored and penciled comic books. Nothing bad, this book is full of variety and just offers different tastes.
At first I was worried with Andreyko on-board as I am still reeling from his lackluster performance on Batwoman. Yet, he writes each story here and they are all magnificent. Let’s begin with one thing he nailed off the bat. Comic fans who watched the show or did not have to accept the show failed to use Wonder Woman villains. That is not to say the show failed to use them well, they flat out failed to use them at all. Andreyko rectifies that instantly, by offering up what these villains would be like in a seventies show, like Silver Swan a disco villain. Boy does that sound ridiculous! And there’s more than just her. We even get a story of the original Wonder Woman (if you want to call her that) of Cathy Lee Crosby against our own Lynda Carter Wonder Woman, packed with excitement and all our suspense and awe. With these two items the book feels like fan service to comic book fans, but not too on the nose either. It does capture that lighthearted, 70’s vibe as some would say though I dare not call the era of Vietnam, Watergate and energy crisis light hearted at all. You get roller skating communists; yes you heard that right and good old super heroics. Yet, sometimes the villains are not just capes but actual social issues that did exist in the seventies and sadly still exist to this day. Andreyko found a way to honor the show, the character and make it almost a timeless piece. Aside from explaining why Diana’s phone has a wire on it to your children or disco club Studio 52 (Ah I see what you did there DC) these stories work for all and any audience.
Topping all of this off is the gallery of sketches and cover variants and a four to five page summary of Wonder Woman media history by author, pop-culture historian and die-hard Wonder Woman fan Andy Mangels. It is truly a WONDERFUL collection for any avid Wonder Woman fan to be had.
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