With "Wonder Woman 1984" arriving June 5, the Amazing Amazon should have a good year. Heck, she's already having a really impressive month.
January saw the release of three important books starring Hippolyta's favorite daughter. That's really unusual for Wonder Woman. While technically part of DC Comics' "trinity" of important long-running characters, it's Superman and Batman who have traditionally grabbed the headlines for the last 70 years.
Two graphic novels arrived on Jan. 7, "Wonder Woman: Warbringer" and "Diana: Princess of the Amazons." The 750th issue of "Wonder Woman" shipped Jan. 22, an extra-large issue with multiple stories, variant covers, pinups and more.
Let's start with arguably the best, "Wonder Woman: Warbringer" (DC Comics, $16.99). Given Diana's original assignment — to bring peace to "man's world" — issues of war and peace have always been part of her portfolio. But "Warbringer" brings a new slant not only to that mission, but also to world history and, surprisingly, Amazon history as well.
"Warbringer" is written by Louise Simonson, a familiar name to comics fans for epic runs on "Power Pack," "New Mutants" and more. Her presence guarantees a solid story and action/adventure brio, which she delivers.
As for "Wonder Woman" No. 750 ($9.99) let's first address the numbering, which is likely baloney. DC Comics says it's the 750th issue of the book, and it could be — depending on how you count. For one thing, the Amazing Amazon began her print career in a book called "Sensation Comics," only to get an eponymous title later, and that title has been canceled and relaunched multiple times. One of those relaunches I mentioned happened 86 issues ago, so last month's issue of "Wonder Woman" was No. 86, which is now followed by No. 750. DC says it's going to continue this "legacy numbering," so why not?
Meanwhile, the publisher went all out to make this anniversary issue worthy of the name. I count 96 pages, nine separate stories, 10 variant covers, six pinups and six major Wonder Woman foes.
Lastly we come to "Diana: Princess of the Amazons" ($9.99). Aimed at middle-schoolers, it stars an 11-year-old Diana who is very much a child of that age. She gets into trouble when she whistles up her own Pygmalion to be a best friend, who isn't what she seems.
I'm not the target market, but I can see this book being popular with its intended audience. Diana is no perfect princess — she feels awkward, lonely, isolated and weird. "It seems I'm too old or too young for everything," she laments. "Stuck in the middle." I'm no expert on 11-year-old girls, but I'm betting that most of them can identify with that. Credit writers Shannon and Dean Hale for that, whose resume in middle-school and young-adult books is lengthy and successful. And the art, by Victoria Ying, is age-appropriate as well, cartoony with a side of cute.
I mentioned earlier that of DC's Big Three, Wonder Woman has had the shortest shrift in terms of number of stories. That actually may work to her benefit in one way: Writers feel free to play with the foundational concepts, like where Amazons come from and when Wonder Woman first showed up. Wonder January is a case in point. Three different books with multiple takes on the same concept: a woman who's a wonder. I think we probably all know one.