Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman has been on a pretty steady run for me lately, putting out a diverse array of issues that I’ve enjoyed. This week’s story, “Attack of the 500 Foot Wonder Woman” didn’t work quite as well for me, but I didn’t dislike it either. I had a mishmash of feelings about it, which is rather appropriate given that it was a real mishmash of an issue.
The story seemed to draw it’s inspiration both from the John Byrne era of the mid-1990s with the Gateway City setting, and classic Silver Age adventures with the giant Wonder Woman and lizard monster. Giant Wonder Women were a common occurrence in the 1950s and 1960s, because Wonder Woman writer Robert Kanigher tended to recycle plots and had a thing for giants.
The story was also a mishmash of characters. It’s a Wonder Woman book, but it co-starred the Atom, Hawkman, Hawkgirl, and the villain was Byth, the creature of a thousand shapes, who was a regular Silver Age foe of Hawkman. I find it unusual that Sensation Comics has relied so heavily on guest stars and villains from other hero’s rogue galleries. In the past few weeks we’ve had Deadman, Catwoman, the Atom, a rash of Thanagarians, and Sensation Comics launched with a two-part story full of Bat-villains. I don’t recall DC’s other digital series like Adventures of Superman or Legends of the Dark Knight being so heavy on guest stars. I’d really like some Wonder Woman-centric tales, that dig into her world and supporting cast. The issues we’ve had that fit that mold have been my favourites thus far.
On the plus side, all of the other superheroes quickly disappear once the story gets going and the action centers on Wonder Woman defeating Byth while everyone else is out of commission. If you’re going to do guest stars, having them get their butts kicked to show the awesomeness of Wonder Woman is definitely the best way to go. Rob Williams has created a fun story with some cool elements. I liked Wonder Woman repurposing a bridge cable as a giant lasso of truth, and I always enjoy when a Wonder Woman story ends with compassion. The big Silver Age-style introductions for each character were an amusing touch as well.
Continuing the mishmash theme, while I enjoyed the writing I thought that the art wasn’t well executed. On a technical level, Tom Lyle’s faces were all over the place, proportionally, especially with Wonder Woman. In one panel, her nose would be way oversized, and in the next her nose would return to normal but her mouth was now massive. There were some solid panels, to be sure, but overall the art was very inconsistent.
In terms of layout and style, there was more mishmash. I thought Lyle’s backgrounds were really good, which was especially nice to see given that I’ve been noticing a tendency to phone in the backgrounds a bit in Sensation Comics thus far. He rendered the city, and Themyscira, very well, and the issue had a solid sense of geography. On the other hand, I was constantly distracted by Lyle’s choice to give Wonder Woman some weird bangs. It sounds like a dumb, little thing, but they just looked bad, and regularly so. It took me right out of the story. Wonder Woman’s entire head region in general was a bit of a mess this week.
So there was some good and some bad with “Attack of the 500 Foot Wonder Woman.” Ultimately, it came together as just an average issue for me, and one of my least favourites thus far, though it’s not without its redeeming qualities. I mean, a giant Wonder Woman fights a lizard monster. That’s worth a buck.