Wonder Woman Wednesday: Cheetah ‘77

Hola, Wonder Woman Wednesday Warriors!

Words don't spoil me now! (In other words, spoilers below!)

Oh baby, baby, how was I supposed to know a Wonder Woman comic could be so good, yo? Oops! They did it again. The team of Wonder Woman '77 (led by the stellar writing of Marc Andreyko) return with another glam-slam issue featuring the introduction of Cheetah to the Wonder Woman '77 Universe. Wonder Woman '77 being the DC digital first series based upon the Lynda Carter television series from the seventies, a la Batman '66.

Cheetah made her first appearance in Issue #6 of Wonder Woman's first regular series in 1943. Priscilla Rich feels upstaged by Wonder Woman at a charity event and dons the Cheetah costume, robs the charity, and tries to frame Wonder Woman. How catty.

The Cheetah had other incarnations over the years. The post Crisis on Infinite Earths Cheetah was introduced by George Perez during his legendary run. Not-so-nice archaeologist Barbara Minerva was transformed into Cheetah by a cursed dagger. She would come into conflict with Diana after trying to get her girdle. (Gaea's Girdle, not to be confused with super Spanx.) How catty.

Another Cheetah of note introduced during Phil Jimenez's run on Wonder Woman was power-hungry CEO Sebastian Ballestros who screwed Minerva out of her Cheetah mantle, which I thought was brilliant as we rarely see the male version of a typically female character. And, he was kind of hot. Now, don't think I'm into bestiality or anything, he was just purrfect. His predecessor Dr. Minerva killed Sebastian in order to regain her Cheetah powers. How catty.

It looks as if writer Marc Andreyko turned to Perez's incarnation as inspiration for his Cheetah. Clearly Perez's run had a big influence on Marc as the previous storyline introducing The Silver Swan seemed reminiscent of Perez's take, as well. Archaeologist Barbara Minerva is pissed that someone in a "bathing suit" was getting an exhibit at her museum. (It's not a bathing suit! It's a costume! It was designed by Bob Mackie for the love of Cher!) A cursed dagger gives Minerva Cheetah transformation and perhaps the means to get back at Wonder Woman for stealing her thunder. How catty.

It's a shame Cheetah never appeared in the Wonder Woman TV show as seemingly easy as it seems to get some ingenue to don some cat ears and have a few cat fights. I mean over in Batman, he managed to have three different litter boxes to clean.

Luckily, Wonder Woman '77 gives us a fantastic glimpse of what could have been, but was never meant to be.

The first part of the Cheetah arc sees the return of artist Drew Johnson. I have liked his work ever since his fantastic collaboration with Greg Rucka on the regular Wonder Woman series. His art is better than ever, especially when he inks himself. He perfectly captures the essence of Lynda Carter while remaining true to his style.

Props must also be given to color artist Ramulo Fajardo, Jr. and letterer Wes Abbot. Their contributions add much richness to the aesthetic of the series.

If you are not reading Wonder Woman '77, my little Amazons (and you know who you are!), you are sorely missing out on one of the best versions of Wonder Woman since, well, since the television series starring Lynda Carter!

A note about this week's art: (Yes, I do most of the art for my columns.) I was hoping to capture the image of Lynda Carter with a tip of the hat to the cartoon opening sequence of the television series. As for Cheetah, I thought it would be a fun juxtaposition to make her look a little more modern.

That wraps up another week of Wonder Woman Wednesday. Make sure to tune in next week - same Amazon time, same Amazon channel.

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