No new digital issue of Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman this week can only mean one thing: Wonder Woman ’77 is back! Apparently DC can’t run two digital Wonder Woman titles simultaneously, but whatever. We’ve got more Lynda Carter inspired fun and that’s delightful. I’ve been waiting for these digital issues to start since DC announced a double sized collected print issue for the end of September. I actually expected these to start a lot sooner. We may get six straight weeks of Wonder Woman ’77 now to try to beat the print book, and still the final digital installment would come out after the book’s print date.
Wonder Woman ’77 #7 continues the series’ tradition of bringing Wonder Woman’s classic comic book villains into the world of the television show. Silver Swan and Dr. Psycho were the big bads for the first two arcs, and now we’ve got the Cheetah, arguably Wonder Woman’s most iconic villain. I was a little bit surprised when the book began with Barbara Minerva, because she’s a more modern Cheetah that post-dates the show by a decade or so. Then I remembered that the last arc of Wonder Woman ’77 had Wonder Woman facing hallucinations of several of her villains, including the original Cheetah, Priscilla Rich. A display at a museum’s Wonder Woman event in this issue also included Priscilla Rich’s costume. It seems that in the continuity of this television show inspired universe, Priscilla was the Cheetah originally, before the comic began, and now Barbara is the new Cheetah. Which is cool. The continuity works and they explained it all fairly well. Barbara even exclaimed “Time for a new Cheetah!” after her transformation at the end of the issue.
The book was a fun read, setting up the major conflict that should play out over the next two issues. The most dangerous thing Wonder Woman faces here is a couple of dopey thieves trying to make off with some paintings, and she subdues them quickly with a little lasso work. The bulk of the issue is dedicated to Barbara Minerva, who’s forced to close her museum exhibit to make room for a new Wonder Woman display. She’s irked by this, and when she accidentally pricks herself with an African artifact her anger turns to full on rage as the knife’s magical properties transform her into the Cheetah. Presumably, she and Wonder Woman will duke it out over the next two weeks now.
As far as introductory issues go, this was one was decent. I’m starting to notice a formula for three issue arcs in digital books that’s getting a little bit old, though: introduction issue, build to fight issue, full on fight issue. It’s a formula that works, clearly, but it’s getting stale. The first step is executed well here, and Andreyko has displayed a better feel for writing digital installments with each arc. I just would have liked to see the formula shaken up a bit.
The enjoyable if standard opening was elevated by excellent artwork from Drew Johnson. The issue is really lovely, and Johnson captures Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman beautifully. That’s the key for any issue of this series; everything else is secondary after getting Lynda Carter right. Johnson does a nice job with the Cheetah as well. His page layouts with Barbara’s panels are distinctive, interspersed with African artifacts and cheetahs. He also utilizes some smart techniques to save the full reveal of Barbara’s transformation, which takes place over several pages, until the final page. By zooming in very close on some panels and pulling out wide on others, we get a good sense of what’s happening to her and her progress through the museum, but the final panel unveils the Cheetah in all her glory. And quite nicely too; she looks ferocious.
The book was coloured by Romulo Fajardo Jr., who has a wonderful way with colours. His faces are especially impressive; his colouring almost seems heavy handed, with a lot of different shades and colours in the mix, but he blends everything beautifully and the end result is very striking. This panel in particular, the first appearance of Wonder Woman, is a good example of both Johnson and Fajardo’s fine work:
He’s great with texture as well, especially with the old stone of the museum. There’s a lot of great, often subtle stuff going on with the colours throughout the book that combine to make for an enjoyable, immersive reading experience.
All together, this was a very nice first issue to a new arc of Wonder Woman ’77 and I’m excited for more over the next couple of weeks. Plus it’s got a killer Nicola Scott cover, and that’s always a treat. The print issue is scheduled for September 30, so mark your calendars for that if you’re waiting to pick it up on paper.