We’ve been seeing a lot of interesting crossovers at DC Comics lately, from Batman and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to Green Lantern and Star Trek. It’s always fun when two different publishers get together and do something cool and unique with their licensed properties. And now we’ve got a great new team up between DC and Dynamite that brings together two of the most famous heroines of 1970s television, Wonder Woman and the Bionic Woman. Their solo TV series aired at the same time, but they never met on screen. Now they’re doing so in comic book form.
Wonder Woman ’77 Meets the Bionic Woman is penned by noted writer and famed Wonder Woman enthusiast Andy Mangels, with art from a great newcomer Judit Tondora. The six issue mini-series is set during the third season of each television show, and features the likenesses of both series’ stars, including Lynda Carter and Lindsay Wagner.
I’m pretty familiar with Carter’s Wonder Woman and her TV show, but the only things I know about Wagner’s Bionic Woman is that 1) it was a spinoff of The Six Million Dollar Man, which I also know very little about, 2) NBC did a reboot a few years back that wasn’t particularly good, and 3) Bill Haverchuck dressed up as Jaime Sommers on the Halloween episode of Freaks and Geeks. So I came in as half-knowledgeable and half-newbie. The knowledgeable part of me was glad to see so many characters and elements from the Wonder Woman television show in the mix; Mangels clearly knows his stuff, and has populated the book with a variety of enjoyable cameos and references. We’ve got Steve Trevor, of course, but also several less famous characters.
The newbie part of me recognized none of the many characters and things associated with The Bionic Woman, but googling various elements informed me that Mangels has created just as detailed a recreation of her world as he has with Wonder Woman’s, which will be very fun for fans of the program. Also, despite my complete lack of knowledge of half of the book, I still understood everything that was going on and my enjoyment of the book wasn’t at all impaired because I was out of The Bionic Woman loop. You don’t have to be a superfan of either to understand or enjoy this book. If you are, you may well have an even richer experience reading it, but it also works well if you’re coming in cold.
The story itself was classic team-up fare. Both woman’s respective spy agencies came together to stop a serious threat, Bionic Woman villain Ivan Karp and the paramilitary cabal known as CASTRA. The “cabal” bit was especially fun, because it promises more villains down the road, perhaps a combination of both the Wonder Woman and Bionic Woman rogues galleries. Diana Prince and Jaime Sommers were appointed as the protective detail for one of CASTRA’s targets, and a Wonder Woman and Bionic Woman team-up inevitably assumed.
What I really liked about this book was that both women were immediately on the same team, fighting bad guys together. They meet up even before their agencies officially liaise, and there’s mutual respect and acceptance straight away. Each recognizes that the other is a brave woman fighting on the right side of things, and they began to work together like it’s second nature. So many superhero team-ups these days start out with a misunderstanding and subsequent brawl, but Wonder Woman and the Bionic Woman are too smart for that. Instead, they just get to work being heroes.
This respect continues throughout the issue, including a scene where it seems that Jaime Sommers recognizes that Diana Prince is Wonder Woman. Diana brushes it off, and Jaime doesn’t press the issue. I’m guessing this will come up again as the series goes on, but for now Jaime trusts Diana enough to let her keep her secret. Plus there were more important things to deal with; you can’t be digging into secret identity shenanigans where there’s an evil cabal out there hatching fiendish plans!
DC’s Wonder Woman ’77 comic series has been hit and miss for me, artwise. Sometimes it’s spectacular, with spot on likenesses and gorgeous renderings of Wonder Woman and her 1970s world. Other times, it’s clunky and rough. Judit Tondora’s artwork here is definitely on the positive end of this spectrum. Her likenesses are solid, and she has a good handle on executing a variety of action packed scenes. The book lacks the detail that characterizes some of Wonder Woman ’77‘s best outings, but it’s a nicely drawn issue nonetheless, and the colors from Michael Bartolo and Stuart Chaifetz compliment Tondora’s linework well.
The book closes with a good cliffhanger ending, and there are a lot of interesting ways the series could go from here. I’m curious to see how Mangels and Tondora decide to roll with the Wonder Woman side of things; Wonder Woman ’77 has brought in several comic book villains who never appeared on the show, so it will be interesting to see if Wonder Woman ’77 Meets the Bionic Woman does the same or hews to the classic television ensemble. One scene in particular makes me think they may be going in the former direction, but I won’t give any spoilers here so suffice it to say, very vaguely, that someone made me think of someone not associated with the show. Time will tell. But for now, the team has put together a good first issue that’s worthy of the two icons it pairs up. The book is available in comic shops today, so check it out if you’re a fan of either of the television shows or of Wonder Woman in general.