You should know right up front that these DC SHOWCASE reprints are in black and white. For long time fans this is seen as something of a sin, while new fans might find these collected issues incomplete - and they're both right - but, to keep the price down and the volumes bulging with material, a middle ground had to be reached and DC has gone out of their way to present these issues in the best possible light. The artwork is clear, clean and still fresh even without the color, but, I can't lie, the color really MADE some of these issues work.
But, color aside, WONDER WOMAN, while still a wonder, does lose some of her luster here due to a poor editorial choice. Instead of taking us back to the very beginning of WONDER WOMAN's run and reintroducing us to the wicked, wild, subversive, sexually daring and outright crazy landscape that made WONDER WOMAN such a instant classic, DC Comics has chosen instead to pick up WONDER WOMAN's story starting in 1958 (with ISSUE #98) - long after all the uproar over her brushes with bondage, college trading, hazing and baby parties were a dim memory. No Nazi's either, no Nippon armies, no WORLD WAR II, no US propoganda - from page one on, WONDER WOMAN follows the 1950's SUPERMAN's lead in handing us impossible stories mixed with magic and scientific advances (more so WONDER WOMAN here, where it seems the writers tired to at least get a few facts right, even in the midst of sheer flights of fancy), while WONDER WOMAN fights Col. Steve Trevor at every turn to remain a single super-heroine, yet not distance the man she truly loves at the same time.
Truth be told, after reading these issues you can't help but figure that Trevor is a complete masher and Wonder Woman could (and would) do better than him (especially when she finds out that Steve has "been" with other women - a truly funny moment in this collection). And while some of these stories are very clever (some even classic), most are repeative plots just moved from one location to the next to try and make them seem fresh. I lost count just how many times Wonder Woman (and Wonder Girl) fights off aggressive whales in this collection - but she does, time and time again. And did someone say nukes? We got 'em, and you'll get two atomic KABOOMS! before you reach the last page.
But, despite the action, the wit and the avalanche of "ah gee-whiz" gimmicks to make the impossible possible, this collection really drops us cold into the middle of a time of stumbling transition in Wonder Woman's career, with only one panel (found on page 26 - SHOWCASE numbering) to remind us of all that had come before. But, this does not mean you should pass on this chance to pick up this collection and enjoy.
The action is here. The adventure leaps off the page. But the fuss, the fume and that knowing slow, sly and sultry wink... all lost.