This week begins a new story arc for Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman. In issue #36, Wonder Woman leaves her familiar world and arrives in Gotham, home to Batman and his assorted "batkids."
Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman #36 opens with Diana complaining about having to wear a dress and high heels for a charity benefit, just before some thugs attempt to accost her. After a quick threat, they run off, but then she hears words every superhero responds to: "help me."
Diana runs into a nearby alley to find Echidna, the mother of monsters, attacking a man who she claims was responsible for abducting her three children with his church group. Can Wonder Woman solve the mystery of the church group and find Echidna's children before it's too late?
Also, will the arrival of Batgirl at the end of the comic help or hinder Wonder Woman's search for the children? It seems Batgirl has her own agenda, but exactly what is it?
So begins the new story arc "Echidna" for Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman. After the brilliance of the last story arc, this new plot almost feels like a bit of a letdown, but the point of these anthology comics is that each story is its own separate entity without worrying about continuity. However, the writing here is strong and holds up through the end, especially with the arrival of Batgirl. Being that this story is set in Gotham, readers might expect Batman instead, so the appearance of Batgirl becomes a happy surprise.
It's also interesting that the writing makes us feel sympathetic for Echidna, who in mythology was a monstrous half-woman half-snake creature. In DC Comics, she's the mother of all monsters and harnesses more power than even Zeus. She's normally the villain in such stories, so making her a victim keeps things refreshing in this new plot.
However, seeing Wonder Woman complaining at the beginning of the comic is off-putting. Sure, all women can relate to suffering through wearing heels and a dress for a good cause, but Diana isn't just any woman: she's Wonder Woman. And it always feels uneasy when she complains about such little things.
The artwork feels like something from a 1990s Vertigo title. It feels dirty and gritty, like Gotham itself, but is sometimes over-simplistic, particularly in its representation of Wonder Woman. It's often jarring, which may be the point, and perhaps by the second part of the series, it will feel like a better fit to the story.
However, that's not to say that Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman #36 isn't any good, because it is: these stories are still better than most other Wonder Woman stories out now, and at 99 cents each, this title isn't only a bargain, but also a great value.
Photo Credit: DC Comics