Friday, August 16, 2013

365 Comics...227: Smallville Season 11 #16 (2013)

It seems that for the past three years or so, there hasn't been a week that's gone by without someone in the comics bloggerati lamenting the lack of a Wonder Woman movie.   Just do a something-search for "Wonder Woman Movie" and see all the many, many, many articles written on the subject, questioning/rationalizing why it hasn't happened yet.  The latest comes from MMA fighter and sure to be VOD-superstar Gina Carano, not saying she's the right person for the role (she's got the physique and the beauty, but not the acting chops alas), but just that the movie should happen, and it should be done right, and without delay.  Extending beyond that, the conversation of female superheroes in summer blockbusers has been an exceptionally hot topic as Marvel's been releasing their slate of movie titles for the next 4 years, with more on the horizon planned through 2021.  It's kind of ridiculous that the only prominent female superhero of the past 5 years has been Black Widow, with Halle Berry's Storm and Famke Jansson's Jean Grey, and Hit-Girl, I guess, quite far behind.  While Underworld and Resident Evil prove that there's an audience for kick-ass females, they just don't seem to be drawing big enough numbers for the major studios to feel confident putting hundreds of millions behind.  But get a good writer and director and it'll happen, with a surprising ease and as soon as one makes bank, finally the floodgates will open.

But if you want to see a kick-ass rendition of Wonder Woman, Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang are doing it monthly at DC.  But if you want to see a kick-ass version of Wonder Woman that could work on the either the big or small screen, just take a look at this issue of Smallville.  Brian Q. Miller introduces Diana with such ease, with such equal parts power, class and, yes wonder, he makes it look ridiculously simple.  He toys with the Steve Trevor thing quite nicely, making the first man to set foot on Paradise Island... as a boy.  Duh, establish a childhood bond between Diana and Steve, instead of making it an adult thing.  So simple.  I mean, in general I don't think Diana needs Steve Trevor, but when you can do it this well, why not?

If this were an actual Season 11 Smallville TV show, this would be the Wonder Woman backdoor pilot.  There's no way everyone watching wouldn't want a Wonder Woman TV show by the time the first commercial break happens.  And the costume design, in fitting with the natural, real-world style of Smallville, finds Diana in garb more akin to her early 70's white pantsuit, but looking really, really good.

Miller loops the DEO (Department of Extranormal Operations) into the Smallville world with this issue as well, including Director Bones (! he's skeletal, but not a skeleton), tying it in with the mishandled Checkmate aspects from Season 9 and 10, which also saw Ma Kent as its white queen.  Can I say that Smallville Ma Kent is the most useful Ma Kent ever.  She's not just Clark's moral support, but an example of the can-do attitude she taught him... a State Senator and a secret military operative... so great to get her outside of her narrow box.  As well, Steve Trevor is part of the DEO, and while Clark goes for a visit, Lois goes hunting for the new mystery woman.  As world collide, Steve, another Military Brat also happens to be one of Lois' ex-boyfriends... because of course he is!  I think the title "Smallville" is now more in reference to how closely woven this DC TV Universe is than the homestead where Clark grew up.  There's also mention of Connor - who we don't get to meet again, but I'm sure it's just a matter of time - and the white martian incident from the first Smallville S11 Special a month or two ago.

This is just an insane amount of fun.  If Azzarello ever leaves Wonder Woman, Miller's the guy to pick up the torch (or give her a second series even).

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