Tuesday, May 12, 2015

On the Shelf: Wonder Woman goes back in time, and the new Thor is unmasked......

Nearly 2 years have passed since DC launched Batman '66, a love letter of sorts to fans of the seminal 1966-8 live-action series. Now, they're doing it again, this time with a certain Amazon.

Wonder Woman '77 Special #1, it can be said, is a pilot for a possible ongoing series, molded in the same style as Batman '66, save for the simple fact that it's setting is a decade later, and, more specifically, the final season of the live-action series that starred Lynda Carter and Lyle Waggoner. The double size issue, priced at $8, is worth the trip, and the artistic direction is similar to the way the books were done back then. The lone quibble in the two stories is that DC was unable to gain the license to use Waggoner's likeness as Steve Trevor, Jr. (son of the original), but, then, they've had similar issues with Batman '66, so it's become accepted and expected. Sales will determine if/when they'll go with an ongoing series.

Rating: A-.

I'm sure you've probably seen the headlines before paying this little column a visit, but if you're a long time comics fan like ye scribe, you probably weren't as surprised by the reveal of the female Thor. The 8th issue hits stores tomorrow, but the big reveal has been leaked.


Lady Thor, as I prefer to call her, is really Dr. Jane Foster, the on-again, off-again girlfriend of the real Thor, who returned in issue 7. Unlike in the two movies, and bear in mind that actress Natalie Portman opted not to appear in "Avengers: Age of Ultron", Jane is suffering from breast cancer, which has left her bald and thin. Roughly translated, she's become frail, much like Thor's former mortal alias of Dr. Donald Blake. I would believe that there were more than a few people who've seen the movie(s) and read the books, then connected the dots on their own.

If I had read the solicitations correctly over the last couple of months, next week's issue is also the finale due to Secret Wars.

It's not the first time, really, that Marvel has toyed with the idea of Jane as the Goddess of Thunder, though. One need only refer back to What If? (1st series), back in the 70's, for the original, alternate reality version of the story. In sharp contrast to the present day story, Jane was hale, hearty,  & healthy at the time. I think I see now what writer Jason Aaron was thinking when he came up with this, but if he thought he could fool readers into thinking a completely new character was wearing the helmet, I'd not be surprised to find that he'd be more wrong than he thought possible.

Did I think it might be Jane? Yes, but I never spoke publicly about that possibility. It was, though, in the back of my mind. Now that the secret is out, people will now say that this is similar to Marvel's decision to give Captain America's shield to Sam Wilson (pka The Falcon) around the same time. A legacy move, steeped in cultural diversity. Jane Foster has long been associated with Thor, and, actually, a wee bit longer than Sam Wilson, who was introduced in the late 60's, a few years after Jane debuted in the pages of Journey Into Mystery (1st series). If the current series does not resume following the current Secret Wars, then this has all been for naught.


Other stuff: Jonny Quest makes his DC debut in Scooby-Doo Team-Up 10. Arch-foe Dr. Zin appears as well, and while it's played for laughs, I'd think DC should think long and hard about a possible Quest series, even if they test it online first. I flipped through it, but I wasn't interested in actually investing in it. Sholly Fisch, the series' writer, would've been well-served to do this as a two-part adventure instead of a done-in-one. The guest appearance by Superman in issue 9 was just a breather in this series of team-ups with other Hanna-Barbera characters. Secret Squirrel, marking 50 years this year, makes his DC debut in issue 11, out in July. Anyone care for Atom Ant or Magilla Gorilla to follow? Personally, I wouldn't mind a sequel to the Super Friends cross-over from issue 6, albeit with extra players and a better writer.......!

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