Wonder Woman #170
Lois Lane joins Diana on a trip to the United Nations, to the White House for official business with President Luthor, on a visit with Steve Trevor and Etta Candy, as a guest on a talk show, and more. Before the day is over, Lois finally confronts Diana on her relationship with Superman.
While Wonder Woman #170 is certainly a more modern classic, it is absolutely a classic nonetheless by giving readers a journalistic deep dive into who Diana as Wonder Woman really is behind all the glamour and stories that have come to define her. The aura that surrounds Wonder Woman is difficult to see through to get a clear picture of what makes her so unique but if there was anyone who is capable of doing the right kind of digging, it’s Lois Lane.
Wonder Woman #170 operates on one of the most simplistic of premises available, playing out as a day in the life of Wonder Woman while she attempts to keep her unprecedented schedule intact all while giving Lois Lane an interview that is worth her time. Lois’ intuition and drive has her following Diana just about all over the globe as she tries to piece together a better understanding of who she is outside of political idealism, guest show appearances and the duties of a superhero. There is no doubt that Lois has locked onto the inescapable magnificence that seems to emanate from Wonder Woman’s every move, as she describes her presence almost in an intoxicating way even for a woman like herself. There is a snark to Lois’ writings throughout the day, instigated by her own conceptions of who Wonder Woman really is and the much more troubling notions of a relationship between her and her husband, Superman. The dispelling of such notions gets to the root of this issue’s strength, however.
Behind the journalistic toughness of Lois Lane’s interview or maybe because of it, we discover truths about Wonder Woman that you might not always decipher from seeing her punch out bad guys and lasso the truth in pursuit of justice. We see Wonder Woman yes as a superhero, helping the downtrodden through everything from a massive Wonder Woman foundation to holding children herself, offering hope and solace in their final moments, but we also see her as a fashionista, a personable icon, a political force, someone who aches for love just like anyone else and also someone who is just at home in a questionable pool hall as in front of the United Nations. We see Wonder Woman as someone struggling with the loss of identity in her own home of Themyscira while upholding the perception in our own society that has become so important. But we see her doing it with grace and strength that would be lost among so many of us. Lois taps into this with a question relating to nature versus nurture, leading Wonder Woman to bring up Superman and the privileges he not just enjoys, but utilizes, spurred on by his gender, upbringing and appearance. Could someone who wasn’t raised as Wonder Woman accomplish what she has or do what she does? Diana acknowledges her own privileges and what they afford her, and defines her idea of a superhero by what we are willing to do with those privileges to make the world a better place.
Wonder Woman is a fighter, a true warrior, but in Wonder Woman #170 we can see how the path of fighting to make the world a better place can vary so drastically. We see Wonder Woman just as fierce in every aspect of her life as she is facing down her opponents and she isn’t someone to be lost in selfishness or conceit. Lois expertly navigates the persona Wonder Woman faces to the world while bringing who she honestly is into the light in a way that isn’t often seen and we are able to connect with them each just a little more because of it.
Wonder Woman’s characterization throughout the entire issue is one of pure grandeur, and even as Lois Lane scratches at the surface of something deeper, we never really lose sight of the underlying forces that push Diana to strive so diligently. This day in the life exploration of Diana gives perspective to her role as a superhero but it more importantly gives context to who she is as a person. Seeing her get turned down for a date is a humorous moment, but it also a humanizing moment contrasting her grand daily achievements. It’s this sense of grounded storytelling approach that makes Wonder Woman #170 such a wonderful reading experience. Lois Lane seeks to understand how Diana, the Wonder Woman, owns her own contradictions, but it’s her contradictions that make her who she is. Her ability to reflect human truth, a mirror of the human experience who unlike so many of us is capable of giving “truth, love and respect” back no matter what she faces.
There are walls and walls of text from Lois’ journalism writings to Diana’s inspiring speeches that make the issue a longer read than just any other comic. There are no action sequences that put you on the edge of your seat either. Instead, it’s a daily character examination that serves a deeper purpose and succeeds in giving readers something more meaningful to reflect on. No, that doesn’t mean debating on whether Wonder Woman actually liked Erin Brockovich or Gladiator more, though both are fitting movies for Diana to love. Wonder Woman #170 succeeds in utilizing Lois’ incomparable understanding of character as a lens to gain a better understanding of both the superhero Wonder Woman and the Themysciran Diana.
The creative team’s willingness to commit to this approach in a way that isn’t too superfluous deserves credit. Phil Jimenez & Joe Kelly pull off an impressive narrative feat in the daily life of Diana, giving her a voice that is unmistakable and highly memorable. This is the type of comic that will influence how you read Wonder Woman comics in the future. While Jimenez, Lanning and Mulvihill execute the story quite well and don’t forget to give some great panels to make it enjoyable to look at, due to the nature of the story the real highlight has to be Comicraft’s letters. The walls of text are intimidating, but in this issue they are worthwhile. Wonder Woman’s penchant for love, fierce ideals and unyielding drive to make the world a better place for everyone all shine bright here, making it an issue that any Wonder Woman fan certainly must read at least once.
Join us this Sunday morning for a look back at Wonder Woman #170 which utilizes Lois Lane's incomparable understanding of character as a lens to gain a better understanding of both the superhero Wonder Woman and the Themysciran Diana.
SUNDAY CLASSICS: Wonder Woman #170 – A Day in the Life
Writing - 9.5/109.5/10
Storyline - 10/1010/10
Art - 9/109/10
Color - 9/109/10
Cover Art - 9.5/109.5/10
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