Wonder Woman ’77 Meets the Bionic Woman #1 ComicWow! Review

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Dynamite Entertainment and DC Comics are bringing us a team-up like no other! Wonder Woman and the Bionic Woman cross paths as they save survivors of a bombing at the Cramer Building in D.C., circa 1977. As it turns out, their alter egos are supposed to be at the same meeting later in the day. They’re assigned to protect someone, but the infiltrators are one step ahead of them. Just as we see the team walking into a horrendous scene at headquarters, we catch a glimpse of the man behind the evil that plagues them.

Before I get into the writing and artwork, there is one thing that stuck out to me more than anything. When Diana Prince (Wonder Woman) and Jaime Sommers (the Bionic Woman) go to their meeting at the Inter Agency Defense Command Headquarters, they arrive late (because they had to save people from a bomb along the way). But before they even get a chance to explain, Inspector Hanson calls them out on their lack of punctuality by saying “Did your makeup take too long to apply, or did you break a heel?” Are you kidding me?!

I was fuming at this one petty line. Yeah, I’m pissed that this kind of sexism is in a 21st century comic book, but I’d actually like to commend writer Andy Mangels on making the time period believable as Hell with this language. The only way it’s acceptable is with the time period marker beforehand. It actually adds to the genuineness of the issue. I mean, the ‘70s were sexist, we all know that. From Virginia Slim cigarettes to Love’s Baby Soft (whose slogan was “because innocence is sexier than you think”), sexism was everywhere. Virginia Slims were thinner than the regular “fat” cigarettes that only men were supposed to smoke. Is Baby Soft marketed towards the women in the ‘70s or the pre-teens? The whole borderline-pedophilic ad campaign is disturbingly reminiscent of the reality in that decade. Debatably even more disturbing are ads like Weyenberg Massagic Shoes, whose slogan was “keep her where she belongs,” accompanied by a photo of a woman lying on the floor next to the men’s shoes.

The body-shaming, cringe-inducing, inequality-supporting media and society of this time period is almost unfathomable—which makes Wonder Woman and the Bionic Woman look even more powerful. The best part about these two is that they don’t want the fame, fortune, popularity, or material perks that they could have. They put up with these comments in their alter-egos to save lives and make the world a better place. So, I can’t think of a more influential and inspiring team-up of superheroines.

From the start of the issue, the heroines get along swimmingly. I haven’t seen two characters more in sync than these, and they just met! As much as Diana tries to hide her super’s identity from Jaime, it just doesn’t work. Jaime can see through it when no one else can. And even though anyone else would probably be freaked out by Jaime’s burning flesh and robotic arm underneath, Diana keeps her cool as if it’s the norm. Mangels writes these characters with a lot of empathy, which is one of the most important things when it comes to writing about supers.

Other than the characters themselves, the content is really quite riveting. The language is simple, but is placed in such a manner that it creates a sense of suspense and leaves us wondering for quite some time about where these attacks are coming from and where they will go next. The dialogue makes for some very natural character interaction and back-and-forth speech that flows really well and feels very comfortable.

Of course, this issue wouldn’t be the gem it is without Judit Tondora’s artwork. Having worked with characters like Poison Ivy, Wonder Woman, and Catwoman, Tondora is no stranger to the female figure, especially in forms of action/movement. The best of Tondora’s illustrations, therefore, are shown when the two women are involved in a lot of movement, like saving people from the bomb at the beginning of the issue. Outside of that, the illustrations are rather undetailed. Characters don’t show all too much emotion, aside from really intense ones—mostly anger. One thing I love about the artwork, though, is the panel layout. Images are in the gutters, panels have different shapes and sizes, and there is always something interesting to look at. The eye is never bored going through this issue.

For a truly epic team-up filled with suspense and intrigue, head to your local comic book shop on December 7th to pick up this issue. Call ahead to make sure your shop orders it, and enjoy the political undertones, action, and a heroic call-to-action that is sure to leave an impact.

Written by: Andy Mangels

Illustrated by: Judit Tondora

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