By Hilton Collins
This November, storylines from the new Wonder Woman creative team of writer Meredith Finch and superstar artist David Finch start coming to comic book shops with issue #36. The married duo are following writer Brian Azzarello and artist Cliff Chiang's critically acclaimed three-year run on the title (along with help from Tony Akins and other fill-in artists), which ends in October.
The Finches are reportedly taking a very different approach to the stories than their predecessors did. Azzarello opted to write a lengthy, self-contained mono-story focusing on Wonder Woman herself, the Greek gods, the Amazons, and new supporting characters, but he's excluded appearances from other superheroes, old school Wonder Woman foes, and nearly all of her longtime allies and family members except for her mother Hippolyta. The Finches, however, are bringing in appearances from the Justice League, and they're creating smaller story arcs, an approach that's similar to how most superhero books are written, and one that will tie Wonder Woman more directly to the larger DC Universe.
But what does a more open, integrated Wonder Woman book mean for the storylines? Here are four things that Finches may give us now that Azzarello's passed the baton:
1. More tie-ins and crossovers. The Finches' new approach could facilitate more crossovers with other superhero books and tie-ins with larger DC universe events. Azzarello's run has been so self-contained that you wouldn't even know Wonder Woman knew or interacted with other superheroes at all if you weren't reading other DC titles she appears in. She's met Orion and other New Gods in her book, who are quasi-superheroes, but that's been about it. The Finches will bring us Superman and Justice League appearances, so we're probably going to get more traditional superhero-style adventures coupled with the same mythological drama we've been getting for the past three years.
2. More classic Wonder Woman villains, and Steve Trevor. A more open, integrated approach also opens the door for longtime foes like the Cheetah, Dr. Psycho, and Circe to appear, who've been glaringly absent from Wonder Woman since the DC relaunch. And DC totally wants them to face off against her again, at least in the Cheetah's case. The feline femme fatale opposed Wonder Woman and the Justice League in Justice League vol. 2 #13-14, and the villain was positioned as Wonder Woman's polar opposite in terms of viewpoints and perspective, almost like an arch-villain. The Cheetah claimed in issue #13 that all people are basically animals driven by base impulses, and that Wonder Woman's belief in a more civilized path for humanity is naïve. The Cheetah was also the only classic Wonder Woman villain to get her own solo Villains Month issue, so apparently DC is pretty interested in this character as a staunch Wonder Woman opponent.
[Justice League Vol. 2 #13, 2012]
But Azzarello has opted to ignore the Cheetah and other older Wonder Woman adversaries because they don't fit the story he wants to tell. The Finches will likely reverse this position sooner or later, especially if the Cheetah is so important to people in DC offices.
They may pen some Steve Trevor appearances as well. He's already been written as a significant part of Wonder Woman's past in Justice League, DC's flagship book, so it wouldn't be surprising if he started showing up in Wonder Woman once the new era sets in.
3. No More Orion. Or at least, a lot less of him. Poor, poor Orion. Azzarello was positioning him as Wonder Woman's new boyfriend, and then DC higher-ups hooked her up with Superman over in Justice League right in the middle of Azzarello's run, so of course Orion, the lesser-known character, got kicked to the curb. Superman's more famous, and the Superman-Woman pairing is buzzworthy from a markting and PR perspective.
[Wonder Woman Vol. 4 #19, 2013]
DC's gone so far as to launch a Superman / Wonder Woman team-up book that's built around their relationship. The company even kicked Lois Lane to the curb as Superman's love interest for this. Lois-freaking-LANE.
This doesn't bode well for Orion's future in Wonder Woman, so we'll just have to wait and see what role, if any, he plays down the road.
4. A solid Wonder Girl connection and team-up. Teen Titans #19 (Vol. 4, 2013) revealed that Cassie Sandsmark, the current Wonder Girl, is Wonder Woman's niece in New 52 continuity, but Wonder Girl hasn't even appeared in Wonder Woman's current series yet. I'm unsure the two characters have even met in any New 52 title so far (correct me if I'm wrong. I'd love to read it). A Wonder Woman run that's more in-line with the rest of the DCU proper could give the characters their first meeting and team-up and clear up Wonder Girl's strange origin.
Teen Titans #11 (Vol. 4, 2012) began a weird, confusing storyline explaining that Wonder Girl gets her powers from invisible armor she wears called silent armor. It's mystical, semi-sentient metal that generates her superpowers, costume, and a glowing red, barbed-wire style lasso (a visual departure from Wonder Woman's smoother-textured, glowing golden lasso). People created the armor millennia ago as a tool to fight off the extra-dimensional demon Trigon, and it has nothing to do with the Greek gods at all—at least, not that's been revealed so far.
[Teen Titans Vol. 4 #12, 2012]
Fast forward eight issues, and we get Teen Titans panels indicating that Wonder Girl's father is Lennox, the god Zeus's illegitimate son and Wonder Woman's half-brother. Wonder Girl hasn't met him yet either, so you know it's TOTALLY going to play out in future Titans issues—and possibly some Wonder Woman ones—because it's weird that two legacy chicks with similar powers who are related have never even said so much as "hi" to each other before.
[Teen Titans Vol. 4 #19, 2013]
And it begs the question: If Wonder Girl's a demigoddess, wouldn't she have been born with some powers? Does she really need magic armor to lift up trucks and fly?
Writer and videographer Hilton Collins loves sci-fi and fantasy wherever he finds it, whether it's in comic books, movies, books, short stories, TV shows, or video games. On the video side, he studies filmmaking, motion graphics, and animation; and on the writing side, he covers what he loves for Bleeding Cool and on his own blog, Imagination Unplugged (www.imaginationunplugged.com), a website about entertainment and self-help for creative professionals. He is @HiltonCollins on Twitter.