Comic book reviews for DC Retroactive 1970’s: Wonder Woman by Dennis O’Neil, DC Retroactive 1980’s: Wonder Woman by Roy Thomas, and DC Retroactive 1990’s: Wonder Woman by Bill Messner-Loebs
Average rating: 2.3/5 stars.
DC Retroactive 1970’s: Wonder Woman by Dennis O’Neil
Art: J. Bone
Wow, that was not as good as I’d hoped. Usually, I’m really fond O’Neil, but I kind of felt like he’d only read those ’70s Wonder Woman stories. This just did not work for me. It was way too groovy, DC.
First, I didn’t dig Bone’s art. His harsh angles were interesting, but he made Wonder Woman look old. I mean, Hippolyta, her mother, looked younger. At times.
The story itself felt more like a cartoon and not a very good one at that. Paradise Island gets taken hostage and to the bottom of the ocean by a broken space ship that requires Diana to go through three ordeals to win it back. This is never a good plot, see Star Trek: The Very, Very Long Motion Picture. Because said machine’s broken, Diana goes up against Joan of Arc, Goliath, and, oh yeah, the computer forgot the third challenge. In the meantime, there’s a big axe that’s going to cut Paradise Island in half. But it’s stopped so that’s good. Then the Amazons go back to the way they were.
DC Retroactive 1980’s: Wonder Woman by Roy Thomas
Art: Rich Buckler, Tim Smith 3, and Carlos Rodriguez
And these specials continue to be really, really bad. This one is worse than the last due to the combination of shoddy writing and the bad art. Ugh.
Let’s first talk about the art. There’s a problem in editorial when we can’t keep one artist for an issue. Seriously, it makes the book look schizophrenic. And while I understand that it’s supposed to be a tribute to 80’s Wonder Woman comics, there was too much referencing of 80’s art. When the Silver Swan poses as Wonder Woman and throws herself in front of the limo to save the girl, holy hell, not only does she look about 85 in her face, but boobs do not work like that. Just a world of no.
Okay, as for the writing, it was dead obvious that someone was impersonating Wonder Woman at the very beginning. I didn’t even need to look at the cover of two Wonder Womans fighting to know that there was going to be an evil doppelganger in this issue.
Of course, I thought said evil doppelganger had gone back to the office as Diana. But no, the real Diana scolds Etta for eating candy, and they spend their time talking about diets. With a small side mention of Diana’s promotion. You know, because that’s not as important as diets.
If you look at the Silver Swan and Doctor Psycho romance as a parallel for Steve and Diana (which you’re not supposed to as Thomas isn’t writing that complex of a story), it gets rather creepy. And wow, am I so glad that current Wonder Woman can fly and doesn’t have to bring her mind-control invisible jet everywhere she goes. And worse abuse of military powers ever as Steve patrols the skies just looking for Wonder Woman.
My one final nitpick: Wonder Woman would never let the Silver Swan fall to her death as she was canoodling with Steve. (Though at least it’s Steve being all lustful, not Diana worrying about if Steve likes her or not.)
All I can say is thank god Etta ends up with Steve. She deserves him for the crap she’s been given all those years and continues to get in “retro” stories.
DC Retroactive 1990’s: Wonder Woman by Bill Messner-Loebs
Art: Lee Moder
Wow, I am so happy to say that not all of these ended up being badly done. At first, I wasn’t sure what to make of Wonder Woman being left by Etta with the Blossoms: a group of young girls.
While Moder’s art wasn’t my favorite, I do think he was a great choice for a story about young girls. He drew them all respectfully and differently. There was a diverse mix of girls. Plus, I did love Diana in her skirt and tank top Wonder Woman outfit. It seemed very practical for when she’s not flying around and fighting villains.
I liked this story because it was a quiet story. Because it was about the inspiration that Wonder Woman can have. And while Messner-Loebs did touch on how Wonder Woman is not always in-touch with current modern life, I don’t think he pushed it too far. I laughed a lot when Diana attempted to play Barbies with the girls.
I loved how at the same time Diana realizes, thanks to Etta, that perhaps all the physical activity is not what the girls want to do, that the girls realize how much stronger they are for it. Diana saying that complaining is just part of the game was pretty funny.
The ending was just perfect as Diana and the Blossoms help rescue the boys. There can be more Wonder Woman tales like this. Thanks.
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