Written by Gail Simone
Art by Ethan Van Sciver
Colored by Brian Miller
Published by DC Comics
I’m bit late on this. I only first heard about this series (a special digital-first out-of-continuity anthology comic) last week, thinking that the first issue was coming out on Wednesday. Then on Wednesday when i went on Comixology to get it, I saw that it was actually #2 that was coming out that day, with #1 having come out the week before. But it’s a two-part story, and both issues have the same cover, so I guess it worked out fine.
This story is called GOTHAMAZON. Yeah, I know, that’s lame, but don’t let that fool you. The premise is that a bunch of Batman’s arch-enemies, The Joker, The Penguin, The Riddler, Two-Face, Mister Freeze, Poison Ivy, and Man-Bat have all teamed up for some nefarious scheme. Batman is indisposed at the moment, so Oracle (Barbara Gordon) calls in Wonder Woman to come to Gotham and help. At first it would seem that with her super-powers these villains are no match for Wonder Woman, especially when she’s brought a mini-army of Amazons to town with her to help out. But Diana underestimated the ruthlessness of the villains, who are willing to cause massive property damage and risk hundreds of deaths just to get away. So Wonder Woman has her Amazons concentrate on rescuing and saving people while she goes after the villains.
The overall theme of this story is the unique nature of Gotham City and how it requires a certain approach to dealing with it’s villains that Batman is uniquely qualified for. It also deals with the difference between Wonder Woman and Batman, and how does she handle these villains differently than he would? Shocked by how little these criminals care about innocent lives, and being made aware that they don’t fear her the way that they fear Batman, Wonder Woman wonders if the best way to deal with them is to end their threat permanently (if you know what I mean), which would require crossing a line that Batman would never cross. But she struggles with the idea of that being the solution. Along the way she acquires two rather surprising allies who join her for the final showdown against the villains, which I will just say ends in a satisfying conclusion.
DC could not have picked a better writer than Gail Simone to kick off this anthology. She clearly “gets” the character, and although it is primarily an action story, the captions showing Wonder Woman’s thoughts give us plenty of characterization and drama. She also captured the mindset of the various villains nicely as well. My first thought after reading this is that I’d like to see Simone get a nice run on Batman someday. As for the artwork, Ethan Van Sciver has been hit or miss for me in the past, but thankfully he’s definitely in “hit” mode on this story. Very good work, nicely rendered. Again, I’m trying to avoid too many spoilers so I don’t want to be too specific but there is one sequence that really stands out, it’s when Wonder Woman is imagining really cutting loose with her powers on the villains. You’ve just got to see it. Marcelo Di Chiara is credited with drawing one page in issue #2.
The book is specially formatted for digital reading, told mostly in large horizontal panels that take up a whole tablet screen, which you’ll scroll through to read. I’ve been digital-only for awhile now, so it’s easy for me, but it may take a minute for traditional print readers to get used to. But I assure you it’s worth it.