The second arc in the latest round of Wonder Woman ’77 kicked off today with a new artist on board, Cat Staggs! She’s no stranger to DC’s digital titles; Staggs did the covers for Smallville Season 11, along with illustrating a few issues, and she did a story in Sensation Comics in the early days of that series. And now she’s back on another television-inspired series, for all three issues, too. Every other arc of Wonder Woman ’77 has started out with excellent art in its first digital installment but the next two issues went to a different artist and the work, while never bad, was always a step down. One artist, and an excellent one at that, for an entire arc will be a welcome change of pace.
This first issue sets up the new arc, in which a villain named Celsia, with both ice and fire powers, is killing people associated with an accident at a nuclear reactor that blasted an entire town with radiation. Wonder Woman was on the scene to investigate the first murder, while Diana Prince and Steve Trevor later guarded a potential target. It’s fun to have Steve back in the mix; while I’m not a huge Steve Trevor fan generally, he’s such a classic element of the TV show so it feels even more authentic to have him around.
As far as I can tell, Celsia is a new villain, which is cool. The first three arcs focused on classic Wonder Woman rogues like the Silver Swan, Dr. Psycho, and the Cheetah, so the book has definitely earned the right to try something new. Celsia seems like she could be a good time, and I love the visual of a body trapped in ice while simultaneously burning. That must have been hard to conceptualize, but Cat Staggs pulls it off nicely.
I also enjoyed Diana’s feminist leanings, and the fact that she wasn’t putting up with any chauvinism whatsoever. She chastised Steve when he dropped by to pick her up and said, “Can’t I offer a pretty lady a ride to work?” When a man at a party tried to call her “Miss”, she corrected him and said, “Federal Agent Price.”
But the highlight of the book was the art. Cat Staggs’ work keeps getting better and better, and she did a great job here. She got into the 1970s vibe well and totally captured the era, including Steve’s tacky white tuxedo. I also liked the design of Celsia, with her mix of fire and ice. The fire red and ice blue costume could have taken a bad turn, but Staggs take’ on it works well and looks cool while capturing a 1970s feel. Romulo Fajardo Jr.’s colours helped here as well, both in his choices for colouring the outfit and in his work on the fire and ice effects.
But the ultimate test for an artist on Wonder Woman ’77 is how well they capture Lynda Carter, and Staggs does a great job there as well. Her realism with Wonder Woman is impressive, both in the costume and the body shape. It’s easy to stylize things in a comic, smoothing out fabric and making bodies more shapely than they could ever be in real life, but Staggs makes Wonder Woman look like an actual person:
It’s nice to see such a realistic approach. Lynda Carter was absolutely gorgeous as Wonder Woman, and Staggs captures that without having to exaggerate her in any way.
Overall, this issue was a good first start to this new arc of Wonder Woman ’77. Now, the last arc started decently as well and quickly went south, more due to the writing than the art. Hopefully this storyline can remain engaging all the way through and give us a great story. With Cat Staggs drawing every issue, I’m optimistic that each installment of the book will look nice at the very least. As for the writing, the last arc set a rather low bar so there’s nowhere to go but up!