Friday, August 31, 2018

Retro Review: Just Imagine Stan Lee's Wonder Woman (2002) Review

By Any Other Name...

Written by: Stan Lee
Art by: Jim Lee, Scott Williams, and Bill Oakley
Cover Price: $5.95
Release Date: January 2002

When I first got into comics, Eric used to bring up these Just Imagine books a lot.  As a kid, the concept seemed like the greatest thing ever...get Stan Lee to reimagine the biggest DC heroes?  He was in!  Well, he ended up not liking everyone, but still looks back on it with a smile.  Now I can go back and judge for myself.  Here we go...

Stan Lee throws us right into this one, setting up the characters, setting and conflict right away.  Maria Mendoza is our hero and she is from Cuszco, Peru where the big bad, Armando Guitez likes to rip apart Incan ruins.  Why?  To get his hands on some ancient runes that will turn him into an all-powerful rune monster, of course!

Stan takes his good old time setting all this up.  We meet Steve Trevor, who kind of walks the grey area between hero and sellout and find out how bad Guitez is.  Of course, he wants to marry Maria, but he also killed Maria's mother before the story starts and kills her Father and Steve Trevor as we continue along.  This may be the most over the top violent book of Stan Lee's that I have ever read!  There is even a suicide!

Guitez does get the runes and turns into a big blue demon, but Maria sees him and raises him a whole lot by running away and finding the staff of the Incan sun god Manco C├ípac and transforming into Wonder Woman.  We get a "training session" that really is only an explanation of her powers and then she is off to Los Angeles to stop Guitez from getting his hands on the last rune.

We then get a big battle over the Los Angeles skyline with energy bolts, a cool use of the lasso, a lot of shit talking and Guitez ending up impaled on the spire of the Church of Eternal Empowerment...oh no!  We then get an epilogue that ties some things up and sets up some other things to continue through the Just Imagine books as well.

I like this reimagining of Wonder Woman.  Setting it up with Incan lore keeps the mythological feel, yet makes it feel fresh at the same time.  I have seen complaints that her character design is a bit too close to Promethea's, but I don't mind since it looks so great.  Actually, Jim Lee makes everything here look great and his art is the best thing going here.  As far as the overall story goes, Stan really takes his time getting everything going and I found myself bored around 15 pages in.  Thankfully it picked up, but I can't ignore that fact.

Bits and Pieces:

This is a cool reimagining of Wonder Woman with really good Jim Lee art.  I won't tell you it's a must read or anything close to that, but as a curiosity, I think most people will have fun with it.


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