Wonder Woman 23.1
Special “Villains Month” Title: Cheetah 1
John Ostrander, Victor Ibanez
Forever Evil Crossover
Spoiler alert! You have been warned!
The Wonder Woman (or even arguably, Suicide Squad) tie-in to Villains Month and Forever Evil brought back legendary writer John Ostrander into the world of the New 52. He did a guest writing stint on Aquaman a few months back, which was incredible, and I get extremely giddy every single time I see his name. And there’s a reason for that. He’s awesome. I have yet to read a single comic that he has penned (especially his quite extensive DC Comics work) that I haven’t loved, let alone liked. And this issue was no exception. The only complaint I have with the entire issue is the artwork of Victor Ibanez. It’s decent enough that it tells a story and doesn’t ruin the script, but the extreme violence on the cover and the unnecessary gore within the pages don’t really need to be displayed in an over-the-top manner that they are. We get it. Cheetah’s violent. We don’t need to see it presented in a way that is almost laughable. We’ll go read Mark Millar’s Icon stuff if that’s what we want. But even though the ultraviolence is a little much, it hardly takes away from the quality product delivered to us by Ostrander and Ibanez.
The story retells (almost entirely) the origin of the Cheetah, a character I’ve never really cared for. Now she’s got more of a tie to the Amazon religion than ever before, and the fact that she was actually brought up in a cult and forced to fight to the death with her own family members as a small child completely explains her lack of humanity. Add the tragic element as a child and you immediately have the perfect explanation for a killer turned (quite literally) into a monster. I also love the fact that we get a surprise “first appearance” of a character I thought was long forgotten (and possibly will remain so if Ostrander doesn’t return to a full-time writing gig at DC). That’s right. The US Marshal hunting Barbara Ann Minerva across the globe is none other than Mark Shaw. But that’s not enough. Cheetah even gives him his codename, before he can motivate himself into a life of superheroics and don a costume: Manhunter.
So it may not exactly be worth the extra dollar for the fancy cover. Save the buck. It reminds me of the terrible “bloody variant” covers that X-Force did at Marvel back when Craig Kyle, Christopher Yost, and Clayton Crain were in charge of making tired characters more edgy. But if nothing else, you should pick this up for the script by Ostrander. He’s a legend for a reason. And unlike several other “legends” who should have stayed retired, he’s earned the right to put out books with the current superstar creators. I just hope he gets to return to his one true love, (and my first “favorite comic I probably wasn’t old enough to be secretly reading,”) Suicide Squad. Here’s to hoping that he stays around as long as he’s willing to school the current writers in how to write a good adult comic.
My Rating: 4.5/5