Artists on Parade in 3 Anthologies

Article excerpt

Byline: Joseph Szadkowski, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

This chronic feature lets me review what recently has passed my bloodshot pupils. So pull up a chair, break out the sarcasm filter and welcome to:

Mr. Zad's comic critique

m Wonder Woman, No. 600 (DC Comics, $4.99) - A cavalcade of famed creators helps celebrate a new milestone for a heroine created by William Moulton Marston in 1941.

Despite the star power, it's amazing how little impact the five-story collection will have on the average reader.

The issue starts off great with a preface from the live-action Wonder Woman, actress Lynda Carter, who reflects on her time as the character and says she believes Wonder Woman is the goddess in all of us.

After the glowing intro, we are bogged down with run-of-the-mill slugfests finding Wonder Woman fighting alongside a cast of other female DC heroes to stop male-controlling cybersirens in Valedictorian, teaming up with Power Girl and Batgirl to stop a manga monster in Fuzzy Logic and with Superman to battle a really bland archenemy named Aegeus in Firepower.

I could have used a more personal and clever look at the woman behind the star-spangled bustier, devoid of co-stars and a bit more revealing of her heritage and humanity.

I got a bit of that at the end of Fuzzy Logic, with writer-artist Amanda Conner's take on an age-old problem between pet and master negotiated by Wonder Woman.

The final tale sets the stage for writer J. Michael Straczynski's run on the title, which finds our heroine not only in a new Jim Lee-designed costume (a bit too NFL cheerleader for my tastes) but in an unsettling encounter with the Oracle.

What stands out in the extended issue is the selection of pinup art wedged between stories from the likes of Adam Hughes, Nicola Scott, Ivan Reis, Phil Jimenez and Greg Horn.

No matter my opinion of the sequential art, these artists bring to life one of the prettiest and toughest heroines in the history of comics.

* Superman, No. 700 (DC Comics, $4.99) - A shortlist of famed creators helps celebrate a new milestone for a superhero created by Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel in 1938. Sounds like deja vu, eh?

Unlike my reaction to the Wonder Woman tribute, I felt a much higher level of impact from the group assembled to deliver three stories in this anniversary issue for the Man of Steel.

First, we get back to the basics, which reunite Superman with his favorite gal after his stint on the World of New Krypton.

Writer James Robinson concludes his duties honorably along with artist Bernard Chang as they allow the hero to quickly re-establish a bond with Lois and remind readers about some of Superman's best human attributes.

Next, a walk down memory lane, courtesy of Dan Jurgens, finds the hero helping his good friend's ward, Dick Grayson, navigate the problems of taking down gun smugglers when the Bat is not available. …