Dynamite and DC Comics have teamed up to air together two icons of 1970s television in Wonder Woman ’77 Meets the Bionic Woman #1, and if this could be looked at as little more than an exercise in nostalgia, that view misses out just how much fun the issue is. Writer Andy Mangels and Judit Tondora have created a debut issue that nails the fun tone of these two properties at their best, even as the issue doesn’t shy away from telling an action-packed and exciting story that feels thoroughly contemporary. It manages the difficult feat of feeling as light-hearted and earnest as these TV shows without forgetting to entertain as a modern piece of storytelling, injecting just enough contemporary action and darkness to give the proceedings heft and impact.
Wonder Woman and Jaime Sommers are induced to team up once their respective agencies catch wind of a sinister new threat in the form of shadowy organization Castra. As the two powerhouses work together to track down the threat, Andy Mangels wisely eschews positioning them as rivals in way, instead emphasizing their instant connection as two women secure in their strength and worth who are often forced to deal with the sexism of the day that tries to minimize them. But the issue doesn’t feel like a screed, rather it feels like a fun adventure with a bright and infectious energy and sense of fun. It’s a loving look at both TV series, but one that doesn’t feel incased in amber or drowning in nostalgia. This approach by Mangels keeps it from feeling like a museum piece, and that’s what makes the book so gosh-darned entertaining.
The art by Judit Tondora matches the energy of the script really well. She uses a layout style that is bursting with dynamism and that effectively communicates a light-hearted but kinetic tone. While I loved that approach, it did mean that occasionally in the seller panels, some detail was lacking, but though I noticed it didn’t hamper my enjoyment overmuch. She wisely chooses not to worry about capturing the actors’ particular features in every panel, which I find often sacrifices energy and fluidity in the art. She chooses instead to communicate the personality of the characters, and if there are moments when Wonder Woman or Jaime look more like a suggestion of Lynda Carter or Lindsay Wagner, then I for one am grateful as it means the character come alive more effectively.
Wonder Woman ’77 Meets the Bionic Woman #1 may not be the weightiest or most consequential book you’re going to read, but it’s sure a lot of fun, and it also charmingly evokes an earlier time while not feeling like a homage. Solid work all around. 8/10
Wonder Woman ’77 Meets the Bionic Woman #1 will be released Dec. 7, 2016