When the unthinkable happens -- Batman is taken out of commission by Gotham City's nastiest villains -- who do you call? Well, none other than DC Comics' star-spangled, gold-bangled princess herself, Wonder Woman, to kick off a new digital-first comic book, "Sensation Comics," which hits digital shelves Wednesday, Aug. 13.
"I just thought we should have another [Wonder Woman comic book] called 'Sensation Comics,'" explained writer Gail Simone when I spoke with her and artist Ethan Van Sciver, who together wrote and drew this inaugural story. By way of backstory, Wonder Woman first appeared in the pages of "Sensation Comics" in the 1940's, in the same way Superman and Batman started out in "Adventure Comics" and "Detective Comics," respectively.
So the launch of the "Sensation Comics" title, which will feature a rotating set of artists and writers to tell stand-alone stories, is a nod to the past. But it's also cognizant of the future, being published digitally first and then being collected into print comics every few issues. It's also a chance to let one of DC's "Big Three" step a little bit more into the spotlight.
"This is a new golden age. It's a great time to be a fan," added Simone, noting the inclusion of Wonder Woman in the upcoming Batman v. Superman film and trumpeting the expansion of Princess Diana of Themyscira's digital footprint.
Simone's and Von Sciver's story "Gothamazon" will cover both the first and second digital issues, and pits Wonder Woman against all of Batman's greatest foes, to whom she gives no quarter. She's not pulling any of her super-powered punches, either, instead bringing what she calls "Gotham Solutions."
And what is Gotham but dark and brutal? "I am Amazon. We invented 'Gotham Solutions'," she proudly monologues as she throws W-shaped "bat-a-rang' style throwing weapons into Batman's rogue's gallery with crippling force. When I asked what hurts more, a Batarang or one of these W-rangs, Simone answered, "I think Wonder Woman could throw them a lot harder than Batman." Indeed.
While Wonder Woman's new methods may match the dark nature of Gotham, she, herself, does not. Credit for the beautiful digital art must be given to Von Sciver, who commented, "Wonder Woman brings color wherever she goes." While we're used to seeing Gotham almost as a dark and ominous character itself, "I wanted her to stuck out like a sore thumb in Gotham. When she steps in, she stands out."
Simone agreed, "I think she needs to stand out. She's someone whose charisma and light is so strong you have no choice but to look at her." And you can't help but be drawn to her on these pages.
Her script is also whip smart, including all the quips we've come to expect from her. At one point The Riddler offers a particularly terrible pun as the answer to one of his riddles. Simone admits it took her "not that long" to come up with it. Seriously, follow her on Twitter and you'll see how often she makes these kinds of jokes herself. Which begs the question: Is Gail Simone a super criminal in disguise?
Probably more like superhero, as she's helped make "Sensation Comics" a reality, lobbying for it, digital or otherwise, for years. But now that we've got it, how do we pick up this goodness and get it in front of our eye holes? You can pick it up digitally starting today, or wait for the print edition in a few weeks at your local comic shop. Or both.
You're not going to want to miss this.
Andy Wilson also contributes to BigShinyRobot.com. You can see his most recent reviews and articles here.