Welcome to Last Month’s Comics, in which I discuss, uh, last month’s comics. I get my comics in bi-monthly shipments from Discount Comic Book Service, and as such, I can be a little behind. So here we are.
This column is later than usual, as I was a little preoccupied earlier this month, but for all those still madly wondering about what October 2011’s comics had to offer, here we go…
Writer: Brian Azzarello
Art: Eduardo Risso
I’ve read only a fraction of Azzarello and Risso’s acclaimed 100 Bullets, which ran for ten years from 1999 to 2009, but one needs no familiarity with their past work to be immediately sucked in by the opening chapter of Spaceman, their new nine-issue mini-series from Vertigo. It takes place in a weird, sad future, just a few monsters and flying cars away from the one in Joss Whedon’s Fray. Our protagonist is Orson, a monkey-ish man genetically engineered to travel to Mars, a trip the human race never got to make. Orson and his low-class friends speak in bizarre, disjointed slang; “okee” is how they say okay, and they actually say “LOL LOL LOL” instead of laughing. In this first issue, Orson has ominous spaceman dreams and becomes involved in the kidnapping of the adopted child of reality TV stars. Eduardo Risso’s art is terrific, Brian Azzarello’s storytelling immediately compelling. Choice line, as Orson’s alarm chirps “New day, new day, new day” while he opens the door on a bleak, cloudless future: “Why, you lyin machine…it’s the same fuck old day it always is.” (Plus: $1!)
I’m still determining how much I actually care about this news, but everyone’s talking about it: writer J. Michael Straczynski and artist Jim Lee have redesigned Wonder Woman’s costume. Gone are the bustier, the star-spangled panties. In are pants–er, “urban leggings”–and a lil’ jacket, presumably for those colder nights aboard the Justice League satellite. But…er…is she still even a member of the Justice League? In a move that confuses the fuck out of me, Diana’s new costume comes along with a new origin. Apparently the gods screwed with the timeline–oh, those gods, always manipulating the course of human history–and the Amazons were attacked by a mysterious figure, baby Diana being whisked away during the battle. She’s raised in New York, and is now totally urban. Bitchin’!
Seriously, though, as much as I like Straczynski (and he alone is to thank for reviving Spider-Man after a decade of awful comics), what the hell? What is the point? As Straczynski rightly states, Wonder Woman has always been more interesting than her books, so he wanted to give her a modern, urban update. Wonder Woman? Urban? And as much as it makes sense for Diana to finally put some pants on while crimefighting, the costume itself looks like it’s been vomited forth from the dark recesses of the 90’s.
Again, though, I’m not sure how much I care. As we all know, this change is not permanent. Does anyone remember when Superman changed his costume? Or Spider-Man? No. This is not going to stick. Besides, though I like Diana, I’ve never been particularly drawn to her comics. I’ve enjoyed the Greg Rucka stuff I’ve read, and Gail Simone is a fine writer whom I’m sure did the character justice, but Wonder Woman is not a character or a property that I am deeply invested in.
But if you want someone who does care, just go read Nikki Finke, who is absolutely outraged that a man–A MAN!!!!–made Wonder Woman put on some pants, thus setting feminism back a thousand million billion years. Apparently she saw the whole objectifying panties thing as being super hardcore woman power stuff. Also, Nikki, and I hate that you’re going to find out this way, a man gave birth to Wonder Woman. Yeah. It’s awkward. Sorry. Though the fact that Wonder Woman is “the only comic book female character [you’ve] ever admired” means you don’t really know jack shit about comic books anyway.