By Andy Mangels, Judit Tondora, Roland Pilcz, Lois Buhalis, and Tom Orzechowski.
The pairing of Wonder Woman and The Bionic Woman is a true gift of the comic gods (who clearly have a thing for Seventies’ action shows with strong female leads). Wonder Woman ’77 Meets The Bionic Woman is a meeting of classic Seventies style-action sequences, female empowerment, and cool bad guys who almost always have facial scars and a heavy accent, but this time in comic form. The pairing of Wonder Woman (Lynda Carter) and The Bionic Woman (Lindsay Wagner) is a true camptastic adventure, as the two take on a mysterious group known as CASTRA. Dynamite Entertainment pairs with DC Comics to bring this 6-part comic series into fruition, and it is a somewhat fun romp back in time to have the crossover event of Wonder Woman and The Bionic Woman that never happened.
The pairing of the creative team of writer Andy Mangels with artist Judit Tondora brings this Seventies flashback to life, complete with somewhat cheesy dialogue and an overly dramatic villain reveal. The not so overly patriotic symbolism of Wonder Woman is on full display in this issue, with Tondora and Pilcz on colors using full red, white, and blue colors with star accents during Wonder Woman’s classic spin that turns her regular civilian clothes into the iconic Wonder Woman outfit. The patriotic theme runs rampant throughout the issue, with the two heroines on the side of the US government agencies against the looming threat of CASTRA.
What this book gets right is the homage it plays to the classic feminist icons, recreating every detail from their respective shows. Mangels does not try to prop this book up as anything other that what it is, a true throwback that leaves Wonder Woman back as we remember her when Lynda Carter was holding the Lasso of Truth. She has her invisible plane and uses oversized glasses to protect her secret identity as Diana Prince, government agent. Wonder Woman would go on to have continued decades of fame as her legacy continued to evolve and form in comic and now theatrical mediums, but The Bionic Woman never captured the same amount of continued success. This serves as a good introduction for some to a forgotten icon of strength and feminism.
What this book missed the mark on was the art; yes there were some great panels and sequences from Tondora, but there are plenty of missed opportunities throughout this book. The first few pages are of a funeral, and there are some good panel layouts, paced with close character face reaction shots amid multi-panels that add some context to the interactions between Wonder Woman and The Bionic Woman. However, as the book continues and we get to the action it becomes hard to manage who everyone on each page is. We the reader do not know if they are CASTRA or are they part of the government agencies. The panel layouts become less complicated as the book continues, whether this was intentional or not is unclear, but it seems to do no service to the pacing of the story. More panels could have been used to further explain who each person was, and provide context for the action shots. You wish the beautiful character design of Wonder Woman and The Bionic Woman could make up for these short-comings. Tondora really did a nice job using the actor’s likeness in recreating these classic characters, without making them loose any comic appeal.
This book is sure to appease many Seventies action show fans who have dreamed of these feminist mash-up for many years, but it does little to appeal to a new audience. The art seems rushed and inconsistent the further into the book you go, but still did little to highlight the story Mangels was crafting. After you put the book down, you begin to realize all the missed moments that were left out artistically, and it is a little disappointing. The book has some fun, lighthearted moments that can still appeal to many readers that capture the true heart and essence of the TV shows.