For Your Consideration: DC’s Wonder Woman by Walter Simonson & Jerry Ordway

Robert Greenberger

Robert Greenberger


by Robert Greenberger

Wonder Woman by Walter Simonson & Jerry Ordway

Wonder Woman by Walter Simonson & Jerry Ordway


Wonder Woman has benefitted from lengthy runs by creative teams. Obviously, William Moulton-Marston and H.G. Peter started things off, but later came the Robert Kanigher, Ross Andru, and Mike Esposito’s run and the George Pérez-led revival in 1986. However, every now and then came a shorter run that could easily be overlooked. One such example is the forthcoming Wonder Woman by Walter Simonson & Jerry Ordway, collecting their six-issue run (#189-194), which was nestled between Phil Jimenez’s celebrated tenure and Greg Rucka’s first visit to Themyscira.

Wonder Woman #189

Wonder Woman #189


“There are two intertwined concepts behind the Wonder Woman story I’m doing,” Simonson told Comic Book Resources back in 2003. “The first is taken from the Aesop’s fable about a brass jar and an earthenware jar caught in a flood; the second a lesson taken from C.S. Lewis’ book, Till We Have Faces, in which Lewis suggests that we are fortunate indeed that the gods do not in fact dispense justice to mortals. I’ve gone from there and built a story around Diana, several mortals, and an interestingly random selection of gods! We’re taking a closer look at the question – how hard do you have to fight when everything you’ve known, believed in, or loved is being taken away from you?”

This collection explores Diana as an adventurer without benefit of her powers. After the events of Phil’s run, Diana is headed across the dimensions, looking forward to rejuvenating herself on Themyscira. However, she and fellow Amazon Leda wind up in the unfamiliar realm of Chalandor, where they find themselves battling black-hued beings called Shadowmen. Along the way she gets, gasp, amnesia and no longer has her uniform, bracelets, tiara, and lasso.

Wonder Woman #190

Wonder Woman #190


As it turns out, a Chalandorian craft lands and collects everyone to fight as gladiatrixes and where her gods-given abilities appear not to be accessible. Now a gladiator, Diana cuts off her mane, noting “its hair. It will grow back.” Adding glasses and a bustier, it’s a brand new woman.

“She’s bright and when she realizes she’s getting attacked she thinks she probably ought not to look like herself,” Simonson told the Associated Press back in 2003 when the series arrived.

“In this series, she has plenty of battles and she looks like a soldier,” Ordway told them. “Here we have someone who is a fighting machine. She’s suddenly put in a situation and she can handle herself.”

Good thing, too, because the stakes are escalated when she finally gets home, fighting the monster Scylla, who manages to turn the Amazons into stone. The Shattered God, first hinted at in the prologue, is attempting to destroy each pantheon of gods and all that stands between it and the Greek pantheon is Diana. Meantime, the Guardians of Oa also realize something is amiss across the cosmos so the Shattered God is a big deal (sorry if you don’t remember him).

The character study is rich and deep with overtones of 9/11 still lingering in the public conciseness. “After 9/11 a lot of people went back to think about who we are and to do some soul-searching,” Simonson said. “But remember, Wonder Woman’s specific mission is to bring peace; she’s a heroine who fights for peace.”

Wonder Woman #192

Wonder Woman #192


Diana is not the only one to do some soul searching as her paramour, Trevor Barnes, is warned things are not well at home putting him on an emotional arc that will lead to some heroic moments in the latter chapters. He encounters the goddess Lady Ala in Zambia who assigns him the task of protecting his lover. It’s a fight for her soul and for all lives across the galaxy so you have to give Walter and Jerry credit for tackling a huge conflict in a mere six issues.

Simonson told CBR, “As far as his being a perfect fit for me, Jerry’s a perfect fit for a good story because he’s an exceptional storyteller. And that’s exactly the kind of work he’s been turning in on Wonder Woman. Thoughtful, clever, well-considered visual storytelling. And that’s the stuff I like the best. After all, it makes my job easier!”

They are aided and abetted by P. Craig Russell who lends a nice line to Jerry’s pencils. Each issue also comes with covers by Adam Hughes who actually bridges the series from Jimenez to Simonson to Rucka.

Wonder Woman #194

Wonder Woman #194


If you missed this 15 years ago, you can thank next year’s Wonder Woman 1984 for prompting DC to keep the bookshelves filled with Amazon Awesomeness.

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