Wonder Woman by George Perez Volume 3
Written by George Perez
Art by Chris Marrinan & Tom Grummett
Princess Diana doesn’t have a moment to rest when an alliance of alien invaders attacks Earth. She teams up with the Justice League International to fight them off and makes surprising friends with Guy Gardner and Rocket Red. After Steve Trevor is abducted by these aliens, she teams up with Captain Atom to track down her friend. Then the main storyline of the collection kicks in as The Cheetah returns. We learn the villainess’ origins and the source of her power and madness. The chase for the Cheetah takes Diana around the globe to the middle east where she discovers a lost tribe of Amazons, the Bana-Mighdall. Rather than greeting Diana as a sister in arms, the Bana-Mighdall appear to have no use for a Themysciran and force Wonder Woman into deadly combat.
The first significant change any reader will notice is the loss of George Perez as the series’ illustrator. Instead, we have Chris Marrinan, a penciler I had to google because I’d never heard of him before. His art style is rough to put it kindly. There is a strong attempt to mimic Perez’s detail-oriented draftsmanship, but ultimately characters appear grotesque and ugly compared to Perez. Near the end of this collection, I started to warm to Marrinan a bit more as he has a very 1980s independent comic touch to his work. It just feels in such stark contrast with the previous aesthetics of the series.
The story here is quite good, and I have found myself becoming a big fan of Barbara Ann Minerva/The Cheetah. Her reboot in Greg Rucka’s recent Wonder Woman run is quite good and Perez’s reimagining, while starkly different is also engaging. There is a considerable amount of time spent on fleshing out Minerva’s ascendancy to become The Cheetah, but not much on her background before that event though. We are sort of left with her being a generically power-hungry villain with no real reason why she wanted to become the Cheetah. The writing is still fun and manages to evoke Silver Age storytelling with the complexity DC Comics was trying to bring to its titles in the 1980s.
The intrusion of the Invasion! story arc does feel clunky as those sorts of crossovers usually are, but Perez makes the most of it. He even uses the escaped Khund warriors as something tied into the Cheetah storyline, so he displays some skill at making the most of an editorially required couple of issues. There is a decent amount of time spent on Hermes as a continuing member of the supporting cast. The god returns to Boston and uses his magic to repair Ixion’s damage while becoming Steve Trevor’s uninvited roommate. There is tension between Steve and Etta Candy as a result of this. However, they do get a trip to Themyscira, and he gets to hear about his late mother, the inspiration for Wonder Woman.
The Bana-Mighdall is probably the most fascinating element of this collection. Way back in issue one, we learned about Antiope and a small group of Amazons splitting off and vanishing to history. Well, they set up shop in Egypt and have been living in a secluded valley. They do not have the immortality of their Themysciran sisters and have men chained up in a dungeon with which they breed to produce more warriors. They also wield modern guns and rifles which sets them even further apart from Diana and her sisters. They have abandoned the worship of the Olympian Gods, having come to see them as self-serving and complicit in the abuse of women at the hands of men. The way the Bana-Mighdall, The Cheetah, and Wonder Woman become entangled over the course of this storyline gets a little wild and silly by the end, but it is a fascinating new wrinkle in the character’s mythos.