Sunday 18 January 2015

The Comics Ramble finds itself in reduced circumstances

The postal service did what it does and failed to get my comics to me so let's discuss a week old digital comic I haven't bothered to get the second issue of yet: Wonder Woman '77 #1.

Now, I've never watched the iconic Linda Carter Wonder Woman series but I think I might if this is any indication of what it was like. The issue opens with Wonder Woman rescuing a Russian defector from USSR agents trying to kidnap him and drag him to the gulag.

The agents are a trio of young blonde women on rollerskates, wearing red t-shirts and short shorts with CCCP written across the back of them, armed with (you'll never guess) hammers and sickles. The Russian defector is, of course, a nuclear physicist. Its a fantastic little fight scene that sets the overall tone of the issue: camp like the '66 Batman series but played just a little straighter and more dignified. Of course, not having watched the series this could just be Marc Andreyko's interpretation and I'm fine with that because I've missed Andreyko since Manhunter ended.

Of course, this being based on '70s spy-fi, this isn't an isolated incident and Wonder Woman (as Agent Diana Prince) is sure other defecting Russian nuclear physicists will be targeted. Naturally, all but one are under government protection and so they go after the one refusing bodyguards. Turns out he's going to be at New York's hottest disco club Studio 52 (cute) so Diana and Steve Trevor go undercover and in the process dress themselves in the terrible fashions of the time. Seriously, no one would willingly draw Steve, especially this Steve, in a wide open shirt for any reason other than verisimilitude.

Speaking of Steve, its not just his fashion sense that ties the series resolutely to the '70s. He's a typical leading man of the era: a little bit sexist and a little bit sexy at the same time. A James Bond type on a lower budget and I look forward to his first kidnapping.

Reading this issue it struck me how poorly mined '70s nostalgia is in comics. DC tends to go to the made shit of the '50s, the camp of the '60s and, very oddly, the much-missed pre-Flashpoint universe of early 2011 for nostalgia projects. Marvel, meanwhile, mine almost exclusively from their '60s origins except when trying to rehabilitate something from the Dark Age of the '90s. The seventies remain largely untouched.

That tangent aside, I really should get the next issue of this series because it was really fun, that quality oft-neglected by DC's printed work, certainly more so than the Finches' run on Wonder Woman itself. 

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