Wonder Woman by Phil Jimenez Omnibus (2019)
Reprints Wonder Woman v2 #164-188, Wonder Woman Secret Files & Origins #2 & 3, Wonder Woman: Our Worlds at War, DC Special: The Return of Donna Troy #1-4
Written by Phil Jimenez (with Devin Grayson, J.M. DeMatteis, George Perez, Joe Kelly)
Art by Phil Jimenez, George Perez, Travis Moore, Cliff Chiang, Jamal Igle, Buzz, Lan Medina, David Yardin, and Jose Luis-Garcia Lopez
I absolutely adore this collection of Phil Jimenez’s run on Wonder Woman while acknowledging this isn’t life-changing material. Instead, this is Jimenez’s tribute to the era of comics he loves and a celebration of every iteration of Wonder Woman. He manages to fold in the concepts established by Perez and Byrne in the post-Crisis continuity while also bringing back faces not seen since the Golden and Silver ages. This is one of those instances where letting a fan of the character write the book doesn’t turn out to be a terrible idea. Jimenez doesn’t always bring closure to every single plotline, but he grows the Wonder Woman family to make it rival what Batman and Superman had going on at the time.
Jimenez starts his run unexpectedly with a four-part Batman-team-up in the story “The Gods of Gotham.” Phobos and Eris, the children of Ares, seek to remake the world in his image, and they think Gotham City is a place rife for the chaos that feeds them. They have enlisted Batman rogue Maxie Zeus to gather cultists and inhabit the forms of Scarecrow and Poison Ivy, respectively. Wonder Woman responds and shows up to stop them, teaming with Batman & Robin. As the problem intensifies, both heroes’ families show up, from Donna Troy to Nightwing to Wonder Girl. Joker ends up possessed by a third sibling, and Harley Quinn gets caught in the middle, totally confused about what is going on. This is undoubtedly an example of decompressed storytelling as in the 1960 or 70s, this would have been a one and done story. Here Jimenez allows space for more character moments, so it doesn’t feel like things are being stretched for money’s sake.
From there, Jimenez strikes on the idea that Hippolyta becoming engrossed with her role as the Golden Age Wonder Woman is causing her to neglect the needs of Themysciria. Even Diana calls her out on this, but the Amazons’ queen is not sure what path she wants to take. Simultaneously, the Bana-Mighdall have been given a parcel of land on the other side of the island, but tension exists between them and the Grecian Amazons. This ends up being fomented by internal terrorist forces, which leads to a civil war. Jimenez ropes in the Fury, a Golden Age replacement for Wonder Woman in the wake of Crisis, who was invalidated by John Byrne’s retcons. As if borrowing from Geoff Johns’ playbook in JSA, Jimenez manages to find a way to make this character mesh with a rather complicated new continuity. He plays into her delusions, believing she is Hippolyta’s daughter, which is fed by the demonic presence that inhabits her body.
I’ve never read Our Worlds at War in its entirety, but from the pieces I have consumed, Jimenez seems to have written the best arc giving Diana a massive tragedy to deal with. Hippolyta proves herself an immaculate hero in this story, unafraid of Imperiex and Brainiac 13. Simultaneously, Jimenez dips back into Perez’s run with a tragic take on a nearly forgotten character. Vanessa Kapatelis, the teenage fan who Diana lived within Boston, is now a young adult that has been duped into becoming the new Silver Swan and turned against her former idol. Aiding Silver Swan is a new male Cheetah and the return of sorceress Circe. During these arcs, Jimenez delivers personal yet meaningful blows to Diana. Yet, the book never feels bleak or hopeless. Diana is always able to lean on the shoulders of her family to make it through the losses.
There is a beautiful indulgence in the wake of Our Worlds at War as Circe enacts her masterplan turning almost every male hero and villain on Earth into an animal. At the same time, Circe unleashes every female villain in the DCU, and it is a deep dive into some obscure names. Wonder Woman responds by leading the entire female roster of heroes, and it’s a fun clash that reminds me so much of the most fun parts of Crisis.
This is followed up by more female villains with Villainy Inc.’s reintroduction, a collective of Wonder Woman’s enemies. Diana ends up tossed through time to Skartaris, a sort of lost world where she finds Villainy Inc engaged in a plan to take over. This is followed by a jump to World War II, where she must go incognito as Miss America and team-up with her mother against the Nazis. Simultaneously, Themysciria remakes their island into an embassy for the world using the invisible plane technology introduced in the Byrne one. I didn’t even mention Diana and Donna Troy’s development as sisters and roommates in New York City.
This collection is overflowing with fantastic ideas and stories. If you are remotely a Wonder Woman fan, do yourself a favor and check out the book. I can’t imagine you’ll finish without a smile on your face both from the creative, loving storytelling and the gorgeous artwork.
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