When I was growing up DC books carried a feature, Cap’s Hobby Hints, by the great cartoonist Henry Boltinoff. Cap was a lovely old fella who ran a hobby store and passed on readers’ tips on making toy planes, maintaining an aquarium and lots, lots more. It was charming, and it’s been a long time since DC ran such public service strips.
Well, the spirit of Cap lives on this week, after Lois Lane’s plane is downed while she’s on her way to K2, where a group of climbers have gone missing.
I trust this hack, as the kids say, will come in handy some time.
Meanwhile, Wonder Woman is in the Philippines, helping at the scene of a disaster.
After checking the people she’s rescued are safe, a news report tells Diana that Lois is in trouble so, with Superman off planet, it’s Wonder Woman to the rescue. By the time Diana reaches the Himalayas, Lois has discovered the reason that the climbers vanished. The very big, very hairy and very violent reason.
The first issue of this series was really great. This second issue is really great too, but in a different way. Last time writers Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti went heavy on the humour, this time drama is to the fore. Lois is a great co-star because while she doesn’t have powers a la Diana, she has an equally powerful profile and shares Wonder Woman’s smarts, guts and compassion.
So while Diana is fighting the local demon – think wendigo meets Yeti – Lois is coming up with a plan to get the missing women to safety. Each offers an alternative to conflict, each is laughed at.
There’s a wonderful confidence to this issue; Diana narrates part of the story, as does Lois, and their voices are true. While, as I said, this is more serious than last time, there is humour, always well placed. There’s a feeling of sisterhood between Diana and Lois, and towards the all-female climbing team, but the empathy never feels women-only, it’s part of the characters’ broader humanity.
The splash page is the perfect showcase for the artists on this book – penciller Daniel Sampere sets the scene with a beautifully composed overview – Lois being piloted into the Himalayas, a symbolic Diana looking protectively over the scene… there’s a real sense of adventure. Inker Juan Albarran varies the line weights so it’s obvious what is real and what is symbolic. Hi-Fi evokes a sense of mystery with well-chosen colours. And Travis Lanham uses a font for Lois that tell us this is a writer narrating, but it’s not her news report.
This level of intelligent work is maintained throughout the book – it’s just great storytelling from a team well-chosen by editors Andrew Marino and Marie Javins. Heck, look at that superb rescue montage.
There’s a lot of information in the cover by Conner and colourist Paul Mounts, but it doesn’t look cluttered, it looks rather excellent.
Conner, Palmiotti, Sampere and co have produced the perfect Wonder Woman team-up. Hopefully they’ll give us many more.