J. Michael Straczynski was asked to update Wonder Woman along with Superman. Though Phil Hester took over writing duties from the same basic outline, the transition was fairly smooth, effectively rebooting Wonder Woman the week before she and the rest of the DCU get relaunched from scratch.
Title: Wonder Woman: Odyssey (issues 600-614)
Authors: J. Michael Straczynski and Phil Hester
Illustrator(s): Don Kramer and others
Cover Dates: August 2010 through October 2011
Cover Price: $4.99 US for #600, $2.99 US for the others.
Wonder Woman turns a corner, and her life transforms completely. She doesn’t even remember it has been changed. She eventually learns that the world has changed around her, and sets out to learn who is behind it all. Along the way, she learns of a few different paths her life could have taken, and her choices determine which of those lives she will lead when the threat is vanquished.
I really like where Diana is when the series is over. However, we only get half a dozen pages or so of this Diana before the New 52 relaunch gives us a completely different Diana instead.
This feels original to me. However, I haven’t read a lot of Wonder Woman before. I find that Wonder Woman is very well defined, but Diana Prince barely exists. I picked this up to see if JMS could provide insight into who the character is outside battle, and who Diana Prince is. The marketing didn’t promise those answers; that was my own expectation. Well, this does absolutely nothing to answer that question. It does a lot to redefine the warrior, but the secret identity isn’t used before the story ends. This doesn’t feel completely original due to very circumstantial similarities to Flashpoint, but this came out long before that started. I give it 4 out of 6.
The artwork is a little variable as fill in artists were brought on board to help keep the book on schedule, but their styles were similar enough to Kramer’s that it was never jarring. I give it 5 out of 6.
The story reads better in a single sitting than it did over a year. There are subtleties and minor details enough to reward the marathon read. Although it entertains, I wonder if it really required just over 14 issues (there was only a short prologue in #600) to tell. If one is determined to redefine Wonder Woman’s supporting cast along the way, then this length is necessary. I just don’t see why this couldn’t have been two or three arcs to meet the same goals. I give it 4 out of 6.
The characterization of Wonder Woman is well done. We learn of her past, she sees her potential futures, and interesting decisions are made from a character-driven perspective. It’s the rest of the cast we know next to nothing about, which is a bit of a let down after a story this long. I give it 4 out of 6.
The emotional response is positive, but not as strong as one would hope. Part of this is because the imminent relaunch undermines a story designed to refocus and relaunch a character anyway. I give it 3 out of 6.
The flow was smooth. The Odyssey moved nicely from scene to scene and issue to issue, despite numerous changes to the creative team. I give it 5 out of 6.
Overall, it’s an enjoyable story, but I wouldn’t rush out to track it down. I give it 4 out of 6.
In total, Wonder Woman: Odyssey recieves 29 out of 42.