I’ve been looking forward to this issue of Sensation Comics for a while now. James Tynion IV is swell and all, but I absolutely love Noelle Stevenson’s work and I couldn’t wait for her to tackle Wonder Woman. The end product, or rather part one thereof, did not disappoint in the slightest. Any book with a dance off cliffhanger is doing something right, and everything leading up to it was an absolute blast.
The premise of the story is simple enough: The Amazons go on expeditions to man’s world occasionally, and a teenaged Diana was irked that she didn’t get to go on the latest trip. Thus she found her own way off of Paradise Island and made new friends when she landed in America. She and fellow teen girl named Riley were instantly united in their disdain for boys who wouldn’t let girls play games, and a battle of sorts ensued.
Tynion does a great job of staying true to Wonder Woman in the midst of a more light-hearted, fun story. His take on the teenaged Diana is reminiscent of the hero she’ll become while also a more immature version of Wonder Woman. She’s full of the bravado of youth, but there’s also an element of perhaps over-extending herself to impress her new friends; the “Gulp” before Diana takes on the boy bully in a game of Dance Dance Retribution is very telling. Being raised an Amazon, she seems fully confident that a girl can beat a boy at anything and that supporting your sisters is paramount, and she boldly strides into the arcade to demand justice for Riley. However, she is clearly untested in the world of men, and Dance Dance Retribution is her first true battle. The slight moment of nervousness before she steps onto the dancing platform both humanizes Diana and captures her youthfulness.
Alongside the arcade adventure, we get the tale of Techne and Epistme, Diana’s bodyguards who have to track her down. They are hilariously tough customers, and their shakedown of a drunken vagrant on the beach makes for a particularly fun moment. No doubt they will find their princess in next week’s issue, with amusing results, I’m sure.
Stevenson’s art here is great. The entire book is completely her style; much like her award winning webcomic, Nimona, Stevenson draws, colours, and letters everything. Through her work on Nimona, Stevenson is obviously comfortable with swords and armour, but she does an excellent job capturing the look of the real world as well. Riley and her friends all look like modern teenagers, with cool outfits, good hair, and a variety of body shapes. In a genre where female characters are often depicted generically in a sexualized, interchangeable manner, it’s always nice when an artist draws women who look like real people.
Her Diana is especially enjoyable. She looks like a younger version of Wonder Woman, with Amazonian garb instead of the usual outfit, and her constant look of determination as she confronts the bullies at the arcade certainly hints at the stalwart hero she will become. There are delightful smaller moments, too. Diana’s sheer joy upon entering the arcade, which she calls “a place of wonder”, is perfectly depicted, and her look of absolute scorn when she sees a woman on the side of an arcade game in a sexy, brokeback pose is spectacular. Diana looks about ready to punch the machine across the room:
All together, this issue of Sensation Comics is an absolute blast, and definitely one of the best stories to come out of the series thus far. This is exactly the kind of Wonder Woman story we need. She’s been so dark and violent for so long, and just so damn serious. The market is screaming for an all ages Wonder Woman title, and I think one where a teen Diana visits man’s world to make new pals and have rad adventures would be the perfect way to do it. It’s a great premise used to wonderful effect here, and I’d love to see more of it after next week’s conclusion. Get on it, DC! And hire Tynion and Stevenson to do it, because they both killed it with this story.
“Wonder World” should be in print form in Sensation Comics #8, out on March 18. I don’t want to be rude to you, but you need to deal with this harsh truth: If you don’t buy this comic, then you’re a dummy. It’s so much fun, so get on it!