Women protagonists I’ve encountered recently.

The WONDER WOMAN SILVER AGE OMNIBUS Volume 1 collects stories (by Robert Kanigher, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito) I already have, but in a large color format that makes them much more eye-catching. Just look at this sequence from Wonder Woman #114, after aliens suck parade balloons up into the air with their trucks attached —It is, as the watching bystanders say, one amazing stunt and it looks sooo much cooler in this format. The volume runs from “The Million Dollar Penny” which kicked off the Kanigher/Andru/Esposito team on the book through the story right before the Wonder Family era began. It also includes several sample letter columns, showing that yes, Wonder Girl really was popular with fans and that fans weren’t as knowledgeable back in the day — lots of questions about WW’s origins and who is that “Great Hera” person she swears by? Gale Simone’s introduction is fun, pointing out the strengths of this run, though she’s wrong to assert Wonder Woman is reluctant to kill — she has zero qualms about blowing up alien invaders or sinister foreign submarines. I’m looking forward to V2 later this year.

HOW TO BUILD A GIRL by Caitlin Moran worked better for me than I’d have expected as 1990s coming-of-age stories are hardly my thing. Nevertheless I really enjoyed the tale of Johanna, a British teenager in 1990s London reinvents herself as a hard-drinking, chain-smoking Goth rock reviewer with viciously snarky putdowns of bands that don’t measure up to her standards. Moran’s character style and first-person voice kept this fun but the pacing is off: so much time spent on the era Before Johanna takes action, then her stint in her new identity, then a sudden rush to finish, realize the moral (reinventing yourself shouldn’t mean becoming a shitty person!) and course-corrects. This may reflect that it’s the first in a series but it still lessened my enjoyment.

I was ambivalent about the return of SAGA after the “meh” previous volume but taking a break does seem to have recharged creators Brian Vaughn and Fiona Staples. With Marco gone, Mom is doing her best to keep her family going, even if it means shady dealings, while a variety of players still want her and little Hazel dead. Entertaining though if you can’t stomach gendered insults (the “c word” for women gets tossed around a lot) this ain’t for you. And while this series has never made any pretense it’s a realistic future culture, it still annoys me that suddenly the characters are tossing around “woke” as common slang which they never did before.

I KISSED SHARA WHEELER by Casey McQuiston has Chloe, a bisexual student at a conservative Christian Alabama high school, become obsessed with the disappearance of Shara, the principal’s perfect daughter and Chloe’s only rival for valedictorian (and the Most Obnoxious, Most Irritating Girl She Ever Met, so we know where this is going). That Shara’s leaving cryptic notes for Chloe and others doesn’t do anything to cool Chloe’s fixation. I enjoy McQuiston’s voice but Shara dropping her enigmatic clues came off a knock-off Batman villain ; I dropped out half-way through the book, skipped to the ending  and didn’t regret it. Keep in mind, though, I’m not the target audience so YMMV.

#SFWApro. Art by Andru and Esposito, book cover by Allison Reimold, all rights remain with current holders.


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Filed under Reading, Wonder Woman

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