Thursday, September 8, 2016

Wonder Woman ’77 chapter 26 Review and **SPOILERS**

Soyuz, Say Me, Say It Together

Written By: Amanda Deibert
Art By: Christian Duce, Wendy Broome
Lettered By: Wes Abbott
Digital Price: $0.99
On Sale Date: September 8, 2016


Man, space used to be really be the Final Frontier, with brave men and women risking their lives to learn even one more iota about the inky blackness beyond out troposphere. Now, it’s like periodic updates from various robots that are about as exciting as blood test results. “Hey, we found a planet that might have a fern on it, a mere skillion billion light years away!” Great. NASA could be making it all up, how would we know? “We found the Millennium Falcon!” See, there’s the kind of discovery that gets people involved. And would it kill you to give one of these space robots a foppish demeanor and British accent like C3PO? I’m just spitballing here. Point is that the whole endeavor needs a shot in the arm, because space exploration doesn’t carry the unique cache it once did. For instance, in 1977, it was still a pretty hot ticket, and in this chapter Wonder Woman gets involved! Read on to learn more about it…this digital chapter, that is. Not space.

Explain It!

Aboard the Salut 6, a Russian space station sent into orbit in September 1977, two cosmonauts are peering through a porthole at Earth and making the same pithy remarks everyone does when they regard our planet from space. People are always in awe but come back saying it looks like a blue marble. Go figure. While the cosmonauts are in their reveries, a scary monster in a space suit appears and, presumably, murders the Russians. Or makes one of them scream really loudly, we can say that much. Back on Earth, at the LBJ Space Center in Houston, Texas, Agent Diana Prince of the IADC is being debriefed on the situation: the CCCP has lost contact with the Salut 6, and they blame the Americans. Agent Prince will be sent to an undisclosed and freezing cold location in Russia to rendezvous with double agent Nadezda Vakulenko to, uh, get to the bottom of things, I suppose. At this snow-covered location in Russia, Diana is dressed innocuously as a skier when Agent Vakulenko shows up and tells her to can the American talk. They shed their bulky coats and ski pants to reveal they are wearing jumpsuits from the Communist country’s space program—these uniforms are pretty lame, and could probably be faked with stuff bought at any local Army & Navy store. They make their way inside the secret base easily, even convincing a Russian guard that they are part of a secret task force assembled by Leonid Brezhnev.

The guard takes them to a room with some serious-looking recording equipment, and plays a reel-to-reel tape of the last moments aboard the Salut 6. At first, it sounds like normal horror and carnage, but at the end a voice is heard saying “Death to all Communist bastards!...U.S.A.! U.S.A.!” which would explain why they think America is behind this. Just then, there’s an explosion and the base erupts in a blaze. Diana makes a pithy excuse and spins into Wonder Woman, when then saves everyone and puts out the fire by spilling some snow on it. The Russians are duly impressed—and think Wonder Woman is a Russian angel!—but blame the debacle on the Americans because an American flag lapel pin and NASA patch are found at the scene. Come on, that’s so obviously planted! Why the hell would anyone skirting around the Iron Curtain wear an American flag pin?! Agent Vakulenko and Agent Prince, now de-spun back to her civilian identity, see some boot tracks in the snow, which they follow. There, they see the same (or a similar) space monster that attacked the Salut, and she’s firing at them! That’s right, she. Blow your mind a little there? The monster runs to a spaceship and takes off, and Diana tells Nadezda to make contact with Houston, because she is gonna hop in her invisible jet and take off after this lizard-looking lady.

Man, Wonder Woman ’77 has been all about the Cold War lately, huh? Not that I’m complaining, it’s just interesting—and, being an old fart myself, it feels somewhat familiar. The story is pretty good, it has some intrigue and a couple of thrills and the pacing is okay. And if this two-part story follows the formula of many to come before it, the second chapter should be an all-out beatdown of everything and everyone by Wonder Woman. The art is a little stiff, but the action is clear and the backgrounds very detailed. The faces are super well-rendered—Wonder Woman’s face, especially, looks traced from a photo of Lynda Carter. Which it may have been, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Beats some of the Phantom of the Opera-looking faces we’ve seen at times during this series.

Bits and Pieces:

A solid chapter that sets the stage for a potential space conflict in the next chapter, which could be incredible. This one isn't exactly action-packed, but I have faith that the Wonder Woman butt-whoopin' will be profuse in the conclusion. The art is kind of rigid with a lot of ruled lines, but everything that happens in-panel is evident and not really much to complain about. The next chapter will determine whether this one was worth the buck...but I'll have to spend another ninety-nine cents to find out! You got me again, DC Digital First!

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