Showcase Presents Wonder Woman. DC, 2007. Robert Kanigher, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito. $16.99, 528 pages.
Along with Will Eisner’s The Spirit and Jack Cole’s Plastic Man, the Charles Moulton/Harry Peters Wonder Woman is one of a handful of “golden age” superhero comics actually worth reprinting. They’re weird, fun, kinky and nothing if not the product of a singular vision.
Not so the adventures reprinted here, from the start of superhero comics’ “silver age”. Other Showcase volumes from the same era (late fifties/early sixties) have ample charms. Flash, Hawkman, The Atom, Adam Strange, Green Lantern: these all feature art by the likes of Murphy Anderson, Joe Kubert, Gil Kane and Carmine Infantino. The Superman volumes (Superman itself, Supergirl and Superman Family), meanwhile, have the deadpan surrealism that was the hallmark of Mort Weisinger’s tenure as editor.
There are no such charms to be found here. There’s no sign of any passion here, just a couple of cartoonists churning out material to pay the bills. Kanigher’s scripts are simply hackwork, Andru’s and Esposito’s art competent but dull.
Things are even worse if we compare this with the Moulton and Peters run on Wonder Woman. Gone is the giddy delight they brought to the material; gone, too, are their themes. So, no spanking, cosplay, horseplay, bondage, subtextual sapphism, or explorations of male-female relationships. Even Wonder Woman’s golden lasso is now just a lasso, not the lasso of truth of old, which could compel submission.
Still, at least one thing is constant between this and the earlier, better Moulton/Peters Wonder Woman: Steve Trevor is still a total douchebag.
Recommended? Not at all.
Silverfish. DC, 2008. David Lapham, Dom Ramos and Jared K. Fletcher. $17.99, 160 pages.
A low-key crime thriller, Silverfish achieves its presumably modest goals. It’s entertaining, gripping enough in the way that a thriller is supposed to be gripping. Lapham’s art is mostly unobtrusive, except in brief flashes of expressionism here and there, which culminate in a bravura sequence towards the end of the book where the antagonist’s delusions break forth into the waking world.
Recommended? If you’re in the mood for an unpretentious, solid crime comic.