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Before I start another retro review of the post-Crisis Wonder Woman comic book series, I need to share to you readers my observations about the recent social media trends that happened inside three Wonder Woman-focused groups within Facebook.
For one thing, I asked a simple question on all three WW FB groups asking the members if they would want to see Zack Snyder replace Patty Jenkins as the director of future Wonder Woman movies. Their reactions were pretty mixed and among them were a few very toxic responses. One group member asked me why do I hate Patty Jenkins (I have no hatred for her and in fact I admired her work in the 2017 Wonder Woman movie and pointed out her work in my piece about the No Man’s Land scene). Another member (an openly feminist-minded male) condemned me of sexism (completely false).
And in most recent times, I posted a few not so favorable media reviews of Zack Snyder’s Justice League on those same three WW groups on Facebook. This member called me a hater (I’m not a hater and I cannot judge a movie I have not even viewed), another member thought I allowed the negative review to influence me (sharing a post of an unfavorable review does NOT mean I believe in it), while another member took it very personal against me by means of verbal attacks (that person does not even know me and he allowed his uncontrolled fanaticism to go on the offense) on me.
Whew! There sure are a lot of Wonder Woman fans out there who are over-sensitive, who lacked self-control, who allowed themselves to be influenced by the socialists, and who allowed themselves to be swallowed by unrestrained political correctness. Clearly there are lots of hostile minds and likely believers of Cancel Culture among fellow WW fans which is unfortunate. What I posted on those FB groups were simply about entertainment, not identity politics and certainly not about attacking others.
I am still standing here!
Anyway, last time I reviewed an issue of Wonder Woman that I determined lacked depth and only served to build-up suspense and anticipation for future events. What will happen next to Wonder Woman and her companions? Will there be a pay-off to the build-up that happened in the pages of issue #22? We can all find out in this look back at Wonder Woman #23, published by DC Comics in 1988 with a story written and drawn by George Perez with finishes done by Will Blybers.
The story begins with a print media blast of Diana, her mother Queen Hippolyte, as well as Julie Kapatelis and her daughter Vanessa all occupying varied parts of the front cover of The World Today magazine with a feature about the royal family of Themyscira. At the corner of the cover says, “Memories of a Boston teen.”
At school, the teenage Vanessa (referred to as Nessie) is completely surrounded by other students who want her to sign their respective copies of the said magazine. She is enjoying the attention being the close, personal friend of the Amazons. Vanessa’s friends Eileen and Meekins can only watch the activity from a distance feeling lonely and let down.
In New York, Wonder Woman delivered a speech to the United Nations general assembly. She spoke on behalf of her mother and formally announced that the gates of Themyscira will be opened to the rest of the world (which is the result of the Amazons’ majority vote in issue #22). The response to her speech ranged from enthusiastic to apathetic.
After the speech, Diana finds herself surrounded by news reporters who ask her a lot of questions about her homeland, Queen Hippolyta’s potential visit to man’s world (AKA patriarch’s world) and the way some assembly members reacted to her speech.
Suddenly a mysterious figure whose head and face cannot be seen emerges. Diana senses something is wrong…
I will start first by confirming that indeed, this comic book’s story has some pay-off to the suspense built-up in issue #22. Take note…some pay-off. It might sound disappointing for those who read issue #22 expecting a big pay-off but after going through the theme of this particular story, it is clear that there were planned plot events lying ahead related to the build-up (in issue #22).
More on the story itself, without spoiling much, I can say that George Perez pushed the envelope yet again by involving Hermes a lot more with Wonder Woman here. A lord to Diana, Hermes appeared not merely for a cameo appearance nor as a guide as seen in the early issues of this series, but rather he has a much bigger role than before. Hermes does not just appear with Wonder Woman who strictly follows him, he also makes an impact with the people on Earth.
When it comes to moral lessons, this comic book is boldly written by touching on themes such as how a deity from Olympus would impact people by bribing them, why mortals let their guard down when they believe what they saw or witnessed, and why would a foreign deity (from Olympus specifically) does not want mortals to challenge their authority.
The good news here is that everything is very well written from the way the plot was structured, the clear presence of emotion that filled much of the dialogue and the notable presence of philosophies that added depth to the dialogue.
When it comes to Wonder Woman herself, I love the way how Perez portrayed her on her struggle of doing her duty (for Themyscira and her deities) and maintaining friendship with the people she loved in man’s world. There is that nice touch of fragility on Diana’s personality and the same can be found on Julie Kapatelis whose struggle with being a mother and a friend is nicely dramatized.
I can say that Wonder Woman #23 (1998) is a clear improvement over its predecessor by means of having a solid story concept backed with nice artwork (no surprise) and in-depth writing done by George Perez. I also like the fact that Wonder Woman herself gets upstaged in a rather reasonable way which shows Perez was not afraid to take risks when it comes to redefining the Queen of Superheroes in the post-Crisis era of DC Comics. Lastly, this comic book shows how faith is not to be practiced and why deities of Olympus are not worthy of faith and trust of the people. It also shows idolatry is foolishness.
If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Wonder Woman #23 (1988), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $35 while the near-mint copy of the 2nd print edition costs $350.
Overall, Wonder Woman #23 (1998) is highly recommended!
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