Review & Spoilers: WONDER WOMAN ’77 SPECIAL

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 WONDER WOMAN '77 SPECIAL cover A WONDER WOMAN '77 SPECIAL cover B

 

WONDER WOMAN ’77 SPECIAL Review

Disco Inferno, pt. 1 “The Velvet Ropes” (20 pages)

Written by: Marc Andreyko
Art by: Drew Johnson

Colors by: Romulo Fajardo, Jr.

Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $7.99

 

Cue the music!!

Wonder Woman! Wonder Woman!

All the world is waiting for you,

And the power you possess.

In your satin tights,

Fighting for your rights,

And the old red, white, and blue!”

*spin* *spin* *spin* That’s exactly what I’m doing in the middle of my living room!! I’m man enough to admit that I’m pretending to be Lynda Carter as she magically transforms into that Amazing Amazon I’ve loved since age seven: Wonder Woman!!

This is a throwback to the swinging 70’s and boy, does it show!! I love the hokey-ness of the entire story. Note: this issue is triple-sized since it’s being released as an 80-page heffer but tells a complete three-part story. Thus, each chapter will be examined individually and thoroughly.

The beauty of this new print comic (released as a digital first) is the incorporation of new elements into the classic components. Sit tight and get ready to be whisked away in wonderment!

Russian roller babes are trying to grab one of their defectors: Dr. Pochoikov. His role in this attempted kidnapping is not explained but that doesn’t seem to matter. Wonder Woman is on the scene. She fends off the derby dolls without breaking a sweat, much less a nail. It’s impressive that she can speak Russian as well. Then again, she hails from Paradise Island and is an Amazon — superior to humankind in all aspects, including brain power. I was hoping for her to whirl into her roller-skate costume (shown only once in the TV series, “Skateboard Wiz”) but I was left wanting. Either way, the plot thickens…

The best part of each episode was the famous turn that triggered a red, white, and blue bolt before her star-spangled suit materialized. Here, Wondy does a reverse spin (also shown only once, “The Bermuda Triangle Crisis” and shown off screen in “The Feminum Mystique, part 1”) so that she is Diana Prince once more, field agent for the IADC – Inter Agency Defense Command. Her dashingly handsome boss Steve Trevor is ready to brief her once more. Another Russian doctor by the name of Topovia is on their radar. He is a Nobel winner for his work in nuclear fusion. He defected to the U.S. three months prior and is definitely living the American Dream. I.R.A., the agency’s super-computer informs the duo that he is currently in Manhattan, specifically Studio 52 the hippest place in the entire country. Their mission is to find him and protect him from harm.

Upon arriving, Diana is in awe at the all-star line-up for the exclusive discotheque. Ironic that she’d be so starstruck. The twosome easily gain entry since the owner asks Steve to elude the IRS. Steve says he will do his best. In the thick of it all, the duo decide to split up. Diana ascends to the top floor for a better vantage point. What the beep? She leaps to the disco booth out of costume?!? Does this mean she’s always powered up even in her civvies?!?

The first cliffhanger comes when the club announces the main attraction: Silver Swan and the Starlings! Any WW comic book reader will know the exact identity of that alliterative appellation.

The story is clear-cut. Who needs bogged-down exposition when the panels illustrate the sequence of events? Staying true to the TV series, this entry is formulaic enough — Diana is on yet another mission. Steve joins her. Their quarry is spotted but an interruption, albeit an unassuming one, occurs. Time for commercials!

Like me, Marc Andreyko is a professed and obsessed fan of Super-Heroine Number One. I watched some interviews of him online gushing in glee over this gig. DC has to be given an enormous amount of thanks for green-lighting this book thanks to the success of Batman ’66. Mr. Andreyko has a palatable grasp of the two main stars. He doesn’t over-complicate anything. The one major difference here is that Steve is not the ‘damsel in distress’ but an equal. He is the director of the IADC, after all. The dialogue is cheeky and indicative of the era. This issue specifically acknowledges disco music. Marc had WW guest-star in an issue of MANHUNTER.

Drew Johnson is unbeknownst to me but he really captures the likeness of Lynda Carter and Lyle Waggoner in their respective roles. He magnificently brings out Wondy’s porcelain visage with full head of hair on page 3. It’s like a snapshot from the screen transferred flawlessly on to the printed page. His line work is precise and easy on the eyes. It’s no coincidence that this man worked on the Themysciran Titan before during Greg Rucka’s run.

Romulo Fajardo, Jr. subdues the palettes. Given the flashy nature of WW’s costume and what not, the depiction is toned down instead of in-your-face. The fashion of the day brings a warm, bemusing smile. Accuracy is important! This gentleman is a more recent addition to the ranks having done some work on BATGIRL and BATMAN ETERNAL.

I give this first chapter 8 stars from Diana’s blue bikini. You have to take the cheesiness at face value. This is meant to be pure entertainment.

Here’s some extra content, just because.

Allusions:

            ˜The title is two-fold: (1) It’s the fabric barrier that separates the elite from the plebes, especially at any celeb-filled event. (2) It could also refer to the name of Janet Jackson’s sixth studio album [but in singular form, not plural] Urban Dictionary has a few meanings for this term but this is a PG-review. You can investigate on your own.

˜Studio 52 — This place really existed, cool cats! Although by the time 1977 rolled around it was known as Studio 54. Here’s some trivia for you: the building was originally an opera house then a theatre. CBS purchased the building in 1943 and named it Studio 52 before it changed hands and its moniker thirty-four years later.

˜Mick & Bianca — Cleary Mick Jagger, lead singer of the Rolling Stones and his first wife Bianca, a noted person in her own right. It’s unclear if someone in the crowd mistakes Steve & Diana for this couple or if the power players are spotted ‘off-camera’.

˜Wolfman Jack — I’m going to fully assume that the record spinner is this big wig from the disco era. He guest-starred on an episode aptly titled “Disco Devil

˜ the Duke of Deception and the Queen of Fables — I had to dig deep for this one. Forgive me for not giving proper credit to the person who posted this info. These are none other than Salvador Dali and Grace Jones!!! No wonder (pun intended!) Diana & Steve recognize them.

Breaking the fourth wall:

˜Steve winks at the audience/readers after making a semi-sexist remark about Dr. Topovia’s companions. This is probably a take on the glint of Steve’s teeth when he’d smile in the opening credits.

Words to live by:

Every character has a catch-phrase that associates him/her or makes an impassioned speech that is forever ingrained in the collective consciousness. Here’s one:

˜ “I am not an American, comrade.” [Russian] “I’m a citizen of the world.” [American English] WW says this to one of the Russian roulettes [see what I did there? ;-)] Spoken like a true ambassador!! Justice has no borders!

Three cheers for the Red, White, and Blue!:

˜The American flag is deliberately draped [background and foreground] through pp. 3-7. This is to highlight the heroism that Wonder Woman imbues.

Lost in translation:

˜ It’s not a stretch to see that Wondy can speak multiple languages. However, that leaves us readers scratching our heads. What was said??    9+)3 = “lady

Ignorance is not bliss:

˜The stereotypes are blatantly played out. This is no disrespect to the former U.S. ‘enemy’ but Mr. Andreyko is simply pointing out that the Cold War was still in effect during this decade. It seemed that America was the sole bastion of the free world.

 

Disco Inferno, pt. 2 “Blood on the Dancefloor” (20 pages)

Written by: Marc Andreyko
Art by: Drew Johnson & Matt Haley

Colors by: Romulo Fajardo, Jr.

 

Cue the music!! Second verse!

Now the world is ready for you,

And the wonders you can do.

Make a hawk a dove.

Stop a war with love.

Make a liar tell the truth!

Wonder Woman!

Get us out from under,

Wonder Woman!”

Previously on WONDER WOMAN…[insert recap here]

Silver Swan and the Starlings steal the stage. Everyone’s rapt by their performance except for Diana. She wisely covers her ears since she finds the singing more than out-of-tune.

Steve approaches Dr. Topovia. The scientist is more than wary and reluctant to receive any help, let alone protection from a foreign service. He pointedly remarks that he has zero interest in living in another police state. Steve assures him that he will be safe with the IADC in hand.

The fog machine works overtime as the Swan becomes a siren mesmerizing the dancers. She presses her locket which amplifies her pipes. Diana pulls off a spin in mid-air given that the masses have been hypnotized. This would be über-cool with today’s SFX. Russian gunmen barge in. Their apparel looks vaguely familiar but I just can’t place it.

Time to geek out!! Wondy takes off her tiara, and in the shape of a boomerang, unarms the men. She leaps over the crowd to safeguard Steve and Topovia. These mere mortal men are no match for WW. Therefore, the Swan is ordered to step it up a notch. Her voice brings down the humongous disco ball. Wondy asks the mother of the gods to give her a power boost, then successfully smashes it without harming anyone.

The danger escalates as the hypnotized hustlers surround our endearing Amazon. The real eye-opener is Steve Trevor pointing a gun at his angel.

I can see this as Marc Andreyko’s love letter to all the fans. I’m eternally grateful that the series continues in this format.

Matt Haley pitches in. I can somewhat distinguish the difference between his work and Johnson’s. One thing that I forgot to indicate in the first chapter is that the females look somewhat like Terry Dodson’s renditions, especially a pseudo Donna Troy on page three. Also, Wondy looks uncannily like her real-life counterpart of Lynda Carter on the last panel of page 17. The same goes for Steve who could easily be mistaken for Lyle Waggoner on the very last page.

I give the second entry 8 stars once again. Everything is solid gold :-*

More additional info below.

Allusions:

            ˜The title is a direct reference to Michael Jackson’s remix album of HIStory. I have to correct myself!! It’s also the name of an electropop duo from Orlando, FL. Curious.

˜Grand Central Station — The hub of NYC. How ironic that a large venue like that would be more inconspicuous.

˜            Hera — the Matriarch and Regent of all the Greek gods.

Wardrobe function:

˜Steve Trevor could be mistaken for a Gino!! That white suit exposing his chest with the token gold chain truly shows him with his groove on. Sex appeal at its best.

˜Diana’s white jumpsuit highlights extreme modesty. The total opposite of sex appeal.

˜Silver Swan’s costume is akin to the one sported by Princess from Battle of the Planets. The fake wings and encrusted chains are the ultimate accessories.

˜I need helping identifying those Russians!! Their garb is inaccessible to my archives!

Words to live by:

˜ “Relax the hyperbole, Doc.” – Steve to Topovia, assuring him that America is an ally.

˜ “If there’s one thing I really dislike about Man’s World…it’s their reliance on guns!” – Wondy cannot disguise her disdain for this cowardly weapon.

˜ “Hera, grant me strength!” — WOO-HOO! The comic book and TV worlds merge as WW invokes this phrase.

Lost in translation:

˜ What did Topovia exclaim to Steve?!?     G#KI = “ugh

 

Disco Inferno, pt. 3 “Stayin’ Alive!” (20 pages)

Written by: Marc Andreyko
Art by: Matt Haley & Richard Ortiz

Colors by: Kyle Ritter, Ulises Arreola & Tony Aviña

 

Cue the music!! Final rendition.

All our hopes are pinned upon you,

And the magic that you do.

Stop a bullet cold.

Make the [enemy] fold.

Change their minds,

And change the world!

Wonder Woman!

Wonder Woman!

You’re a wonder,

Wonder Woman!”

And now, the conclusion of “Disco Inferno”.

Wondy puts her magic lasso around Steve. Quicker than a two-step, the spell is broken. As soon as he regains his senses, he tells her that he’ll handle the crowd while she finds a safe spot for Topovia. How about the moon? As she leaps into the air, she hurls him at the fake orb. Hi-larious!!

The real confrontation is about to begin. First, WW expresses her fave genre of music: classical. Ouch! Secondly, fists are clenched and away we go! The Starlings are dealt with gently, all things considered. The tiara brings down the curtain on one, and the mike is dropped on the other. *chuckle*

Steve has got some smooth moves – kung-fu fighting, to be exact, against the Russkies. Eventually, he brandishes a gun and shoots the source of the sound blast: the stereo. Hi-fi will never be the same!

As WW lunges towards SS, she is repelled by her booming voice. Much to the DJ’s chagrin, his precious vinyl is in disarray. Wonder Woman may be down, but she’s definitely not out. She espies the true source of power: the Swan’s gem. Borrowing a move from Steve Rogers, she grabs a record and flings it just like a shield {à la Captain America}. Success! The target has been hit. Silver has her swan song as the jewel is shattered and she is bound by the golden lasso.

Steve apologizes to Reeve about the damages and assures that the IADC will cover everything. The magnate is beyond thrilled that his disco was the site of a battle between Wonder Woman and a villainess. Imagine the spike in publicity!!

Diana reappears telling Steve she was stuck in a broom closet by the mesmerized mob. Conveniently, she missed all the action. The partners decide to cap the night by busting their moves. Several well-known faces stand around them. Dr. Topovia seems to have been forgotten as he rests on the paper moon waiting to be brought down.

End credits!!

There you have it! Let’s consider this Season 4, episode 1, shall we? Mr. Andreyko is a worthy successor to this pop culture phenomenon. He fully embraces all the elements that encapsulate the time period and the television series. Hooray for the hoopla!!!

Richard Ortiz helps out Matt Haley. The action sequences are delivered at a fast and fun pace. There is electric boogaloo in the air as they illustrate all the essentials including the props and scenery.

I’ve never come across the three colorists’ work, separately or as a whole. Wondy’s costume retains its true hues. Their efforts really come through on the very last page with the circle of celebs.

Another 8 makes this third and final chapter great!

Last call for additional material:

Allusions:

            ˜C’mon! You’d have to have lived under a rock not to know this one. Just in case you’re too young, it’s referring to a track of the same name on THE biggest-selling disco albums of all time [Saturday Night Fever] sung by the Bee Gees!

˜ “Looks like you’ll be the first Russian on the moon!” – WW exclaiming this to Dr. Topovia as she flings him on to the giant prop. This finally happened IRL in 2012, sixty years after the U.S.’ endeavour.

˜Reeve — the owner of the establishment is most likely based off Steve Rubell. I hope I’m not sued for inaccuracy :/

Cheese, please!

            Puns can be a wonderful thing, or not. Be they wordplay or double entendres, one needs a real sharp mind to appreciate this subtle but sometimes overt form of humor.

˜ “Maybe we can change your ‘tune’…” – One of the Starlings to WW.

˜ “Let’s see how a caged bird sings!” – Wondy flying towards SS. This is a nod to Maya Angelou’s novel I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings [also an illusion]

Don’t slur your words!

˜ Steve uses the ethnic epithet “Russkies” to clarify the baddies. Stereotyping, nyet?

No swears:

˜ The language is pretty mild. The worst thing said is “pompous witch” to which WW replies: “That’s not very nice.

Say no to violence:

˜ I really appreciate that this all-too-used device is not prevalent throughout the whole story, nor does it need to be. Once again, staying true to its roots, Wonder Woman solved all problems not just with her strength but more importantly with her wits.

FAME! Baby, remember my name!

˜ Gratuitous celebrity cameos!! If this were to air back in the day, there’s no way in hell CBS would have the budget to feature these famous faces. Who are they? Again, if you’re of a different generation, let me enlighten you —- special guest appearances by The Village People and…Sonny & Cher! Look ‘em up if your mind is blank. There are a few I can’t discern. Again, some assistance would be greatly appreciated >_<

 

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