Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman #10 Review: “Attack of the 500 Foot Wonder Woman” by Rob Williams and Tom Lyle

October 16, 2014

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Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman has been on a pretty steady run for me lately, putting out a diverse array of issues that I’ve enjoyed. This week’s story, “Attack of the 500 Foot Wonder Woman” didn’t work quite as well for me, but I didn’t dislike it either. I had a mishmash of feelings about it, which is rather appropriate given that it was a real mishmash of an issue.

The story seemed to draw it’s inspiration both from the John Byrne era of the mid-1990s with the Gateway City setting, and classic Silver Age adventures with the giant Wonder Woman and lizard monster. Giant Wonder Women were a common occurrence in the 1950s and 1960s, because Wonder Woman writer Robert Kanigher tended to recycle plots and had a thing for giants.

The story was also a mishmash of characters. It’s a Wonder Woman book, but it co-starred the Atom, Hawkman, Hawkgirl, and the villain was Byth, the creature of a thousand shapes, who was a regular Silver Age foe of Hawkman. I find it unusual that Sensation Comics has relied so heavily on guest stars and villains from other hero’s rogue galleries. In the past few weeks we’ve had Deadman, Catwoman, the Atom, a rash of Thanagarians, and Sensation Comics launched with a two-part story full of Bat-villains. I don’t recall DC’s other digital series like Adventures of Superman or Legends of the Dark Knight being so heavy on guest stars. I’d really like some Wonder Woman-centric tales, that dig into her world and supporting cast. The issues we’ve had that fit that mold have been my favourites thus far.

On the plus side, all of the other superheroes quickly disappear once the story gets going and the action centers on Wonder Woman defeating Byth while everyone else is out of commission. If you’re going to do guest stars, having them get their butts kicked to show the awesomeness of Wonder Woman is definitely the best way to go. Rob Williams has created a fun story with some cool elements. I liked Wonder Woman repurposing a bridge cable as a giant lasso of truth, and I always enjoy when a Wonder Woman story ends with compassion. The big Silver Age-style introductions for each character were an amusing touch as well.

Continuing the mishmash theme, while I enjoyed the writing I thought that the art wasn’t well executed. On a technical level, Tom Lyle’s faces were all over the place, proportionally, especially with Wonder Woman. In one panel, her nose would be way oversized, and in the next her nose would return to normal but her mouth was now massive. There were some solid panels, to be sure, but overall the art was very inconsistent.

In terms of layout and style, there was more mishmash. I thought Lyle’s backgrounds were really good, which was especially nice to see given that I’ve been noticing a tendency to phone in the backgrounds a bit in Sensation Comics thus far. He rendered the city, and Themyscira, very well, and the issue had a solid sense of geography. On the other hand, I was constantly distracted by Lyle’s choice to give Wonder Woman some weird bangs. It sounds like a dumb, little thing, but they just looked bad, and regularly so. It took me right out of the story. Wonder Woman’s entire head region in general was a bit of a mess this week.

So there was some good and some bad with “Attack of the 500 Foot Wonder Woman.” Ultimately, it came together as just an average issue for me, and one of my least favourites thus far, though it’s not without its redeeming qualities. I mean, a giant Wonder Woman fights a lizard monster. That’s worth a buck.

WONDER WOMAN MOVIE COMING IN 2017! And Other DC Movies Too, But Who Cares. WONDER WOMAN!

October 15, 2014

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Warner Bros. unveiled a bunch of announcements at their shareholders meeting today, including a full slate of new superhero films, but I only heard one thing: WONDER WOMAN MOVIE. It’s happening. It’s scheduled. June 23, 2017. All we know about the people involved is that Gal Gadot is starring as Wonder Woman, but it’s definitely going to happen. A live action Wonder Woman is going to be on the big screen for the first time ever.

Other characters are coming too. Aquaman, the Flash, Cyborg, a rebooted Green Lantern. But who gives a hoot about those guys?

While we don’t have much in the way of plot details, we’ve heard some things about Wonder Woman’s origin. It seems that they’re going with the New 52 version, where Diana is the daughter of Zeus and Hippolyta, rather than the classic baby molded out of clay and given life by a goddess route. That’s a bit disappointing for me, because the New 52 origin strips away a lot of the feminist power that should be at the core of the character. With the classic origin, Diana is wholly the creation of other women, and her powers come from growing up in an Amazon utopia and, later on, are also gifts from goddesses. With the New 52 origin, a man is rather involved in her creation and all of her powers come from his divine attributes. I don’t love that.

However, a good movie with an awesome, kick ass Wonder Woman can make up for a wonky origin story. Will Wonder Woman be a good movie? It’s hard to say at this point, because we don’t know whose involved. Man of Steel was the worst, so that’s not the best sign, but with Zack Snyder busy with Batman v Superman and Justice League, perhaps we’ll get a new writer and director who will have a different, less dour approach to superheroics.

Speaking of Justice League, Wonder Woman’s probably going to be in that as well, and it’s also coming out in 2017. After decades without any movie play whatsoever, Wonder Woman is set to headline two of the biggest films of 2017. That’s very, very cool.

I’m looking forward to hearing more details about the film. Hopefully we’ll get an announcement about who is going to be behind the camera soon. And about the rest of the cast. And villains! There’s so much to sort out. Wonder Woman in a group movie is fun, but Wonder Woman on her own and creating a world around her is so much more exciting. Here’s a free hint, Warner Bros.: Hire Cliff Chiang to design stuff for you. The man is amazing. Feel free to call me as well; I’ve got some thoughts!

So Wonder Woman is going to headline her own movie! And in less than three years. For once, DC is ahead of Marvel. They should have announced a Black Widow or Captain Marvel film ages ago, but now they’ve been beaten to the punch. It’s sort of fitting that Wonder Woman is the first big female-led superhero movie, though. She’s been around the longest. So HOORAY Warner Bros.! You finally did it! Now, for the love of god, please don’t screw it up.

Marvel Makes Big Women In Comics News At New York Comic-Con

October 14, 2014

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Last week, I posted my regular look at Marvel’s solicits, and found their December offerings severely lacking in terms of female creators. There are only 7 different women scheduled to work on Marvel’s comics in December; by comparison, DC has more than 20, which is still a very small minority. I ended the post by expressing hope that Marvel would make some news at New York Comic-Con. Basically, to quote my new favourite character Maps Mizoguchi, I said that Marvel better cut the crap.

Now, with NYCC wrapped up, Marvel has made a ton of announcements. The stage of their “Women of Marvel” panel was PACKED with female creators, and there were women, real and fictional, all over their new books. Here’s a rundown of what’s coming in 2015:

  • The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, drawn by Erica Henderson.
  • A new Spider-Gwen ongoing series.
  • Also spinning out of “Spider-Verse” is Silk, with a female lead and art by Stacey Lee.
  • Gamora, an ongoing series written by Nicole Perlman.
  • G. Willow Wilson is writing at least an arc of X-Men.
  • Kate Bishop will be a big part of the soon to be relaunched Hawkeye.
  • Kathryn Immonen is writing Operation S.I.N., a mini-series starring Peggy Carter.
  • Marguerite Bennett is adapting the James Patterson’ novel Maximum Ride as a mini-series called Max Ride: First Flight.
  • A series of variant covers drawn by a variety of female artists, which look like they’ll hit shops in March.

I may have missed something. It was a busy weekend and Marvel announced a lot of things involving women in some capacity. Not being able to keep up with all of it is a good problem to have.

So based on this list, what we’ve got is at least 5 new series with a female lead, 4 new books written by women, and 2 new books drawn by women. While some of these female creators are familiar faces who are already working on Marvel books, there are a lot of new names too. Erica Henderson, Stacey Lee, and Nicole Perlman are new additions entirely, and it’s great to see that two of these names are interior artists, where Marvel is often sorely lacking. Kathryn Immonen’s written a lot for Marvel before, and it’s nice to have her back on a mini-series that sounds like it’s going to be very fun.

In my December solicits report, Marvel had 7 different female creators working on 7 different books. If you add in all of these announcements, Marvel’s up to 13 different women on 13 different books, which is a big jump. Almost double, in fact. This is significant progress for a publisher that’s been fairly stagnant with female creators as of late.

At the same time, Marvel remains far behind DC, which is hardly a bastion of female representation. The NYCC announcements were a big step in the right direction, but they’re no game changer. Plus, both Marvel and DC lag behind comparatively; Boom! Studios puts out about a third of the books that either DC or Marvel do, but they’ve got more female creators scheduled in December than either publisher.

The Marvel announcements are also symptomatic of an odd phenomenon at both major superhero publishers: Female creators are working almost exclusively on female characters. None of them are writing or drawing Spider-Man or Superman. They’re working on the female versions thereof. At best, a couple female creators work on mixed team books. The numbers for women creators are growing at both DC and Marvel, but for some reason they’re being kept away from the higher profile, male heroes. True representation means women working across the board, not just being relegated to the titles with ladies in them, as awesome as so many of those books are right now.

So things are better! Hooray! But there’s still lots of work to be done for female representation at Marvel. In the industry as a whole, really, but Marvel is still comparatively lagging a bit behind among the major publishers, despite this progress. There are folks in Marvel plugging away for more, though, including some kick ass female editors, and everyone is optimistic that each new “Women of Marvel” panel will be increasingly packed with female creators.

Wonder Woman ’77 Comic, Based On The Lynda Carter TV Show, To Debut In December

October 13, 2014

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At the “DC Digital: Download This!” panel at New York Comic-Con this weekend, DC announced a new, second digital-first series starring Wonder Woman. Joining Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman on the digital roster, Wonder Woman ’77 will be based on the 1970s Wonder Woman television show starring Lynda Carter. Clearly inspired by the success of Batman ’66, the comic will debut digitally in December and run for six weeks, and then run sporadically in similar installments in 2015. The six digital issues will be published as two print issues.

While interior artists weren’t announced, Wonder Woman ’66 will be written by Marc Andreyko, who is currently the writer on Batwoman and is perhaps best known and generally beloved for writing Manhunter. I think he’s a great choice for the project, and I’m excited to see what sort of stories he comes up with. The comic will be set in the 1970s, like the second and third season of the show, and will incorporate Wonder Woman’s comic book villains along with those from the show. There was even talk of a possible Batman ’66 crossover during the panel.

The covers will be drawn by Nicola Scott, who illustrated the spectacular image above. Most recently, Scott has worked on Earth 2, but she did a run on Wonder Woman with Gail Simone a year or so before the New 52 relaunch. If the rest of the covers are even half as stunning as this first one, it should be a gorgeous run of issues. I’ve got my fingers crossed that she’ll do some interior art as well.

With Wonder Woman ’77 announced, I’m curious about which adaptations we’ll get next. I saw some folks on Twitter who were hoping for Lois and Clark ’93, which I would be onboard for. I’d also be really interested in Adventures of Superman ’52, preferably with Phyllis Coates Lois, but Noel Neill is cool too. I feel like Superman ’78 is going to happen at some point; that just seems like a no-brainer, if they can sort out all the rights. Maybe Batman ’89. There are a lot of ways to go.

Look for Wonder Woman ’77 in digital form this December, and in print in early 2015. It sounds like it’s going to be a lot of fun!

Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman #9 Review: “Morning Coffee” by Ollie Masters and Amy Mebberson

October 9, 2014

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What I’m enjoying most about Sensation Comics thus far is the variety of artists we’ve gotten. There have been a few standard, superhero art types, but for the past few weeks especially we’ve gotten a more eclectic range of styles. Largely owing to her minimal comic book presence, the Wonder Women we’ve seen for the past few decades have been pretty normal superhero fare. Whereas characters like Batman and Superman have had a variety of books aimed at different audiences, and a wide range of styles therein, Wonder Woman has mostly just had Wonder Woman. There hasn’t been a lot of mixing it up. With Sensation Comics now showcasing Wonder Woman in different styles, I think the versatility of the character is really shining through.

This week’s digital issue of Sensation Comics features another unique take on Wonder Woman, this time from Amy Mebberson. She’s done work for Disney and drawn My Little Pony comics, so her style here is cute, fun, and cartoony. I’m not up on the nomenclature for exactly how to describe the art; chibi doesn’t quite seem right, but there are exaggerated proportions in that vein so as to achieve maximum cuteness:

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The story matches the art well. I don’t know much about Ollie Masters, apart from the fact that he’s got a Vertigo book out soon that’s drawn by Ming Doyle and sounds pretty cool. He’s constructed a fun story here, and brought in another of my favourite characters. Catwoman steals the Golden Fleece (yes, THAT Golden Fleece) from a museum in London, knowing full well that Wonder Woman will show up to stop her. Catwoman’s plan is to sneak away while Wonder Woman defeats the dragon she automatically summoned when she stole the Golden Fleece, killing two birds with one stone, and she almost gets away with it. But not quite! Wonder Woman is just too good at dragon wrangling, and has enough time to capture Catwoman before she hops a ride out of town.

The story is simple but enjoyable and well paced. It highlights both Catwoman’s cleverness and Wonder Woman’s strength, and is a fun showcase for both characters. Despite the short length, the story doesn’t feel rushed; Masters does a good job of using the limited page count effectively and setting up Catwoman’s plan. I’ve been critical of past dragon fights in Sensation Comics, only because they felt like filler in a two-parter, but this one is both entertaining and integral to the plot.

It’s also nicely drawn. It looks like Mebberson had a lot of fun with the dragon fight. Wonder Woman rips a street sign out of the pavement and then busts the dragon squarely in the chops with it before trussing the dragon with her golden lasso. It’s cartoony and fun, and I’d love to see it as an animated sequence. This whole issue would make for a great animated short, really.

Mebberson does a lot of good things with this issue. Her Catwoman has a definite Darwyn Cooke vibe, right down to how she illustrates the shine on her leather suit. Her Wonder Woman is good, though perhaps not as finely rendered as Catwoman. Mebberson went with a classic version of Wonder Woman’s suit that comes off a little basic next to Catwoman’s shiny finery. Her Wonder Woman’s not bad in any way; she just draws a really good Catwoman.

She also captures a lot of humour with her art, using her expressive characters to communicate great bits like Catwoman’s sneakinesss or the lackadaisical ease with which Wonder Woman captures her. All together, the issue was very cute and a fun read, and I think it will be a hit with younger readers.

Finally, we follow last week’s programming note with ANOTHER programming note. This story was originally scheduled for the print issue of Sensation Comics #3, but it bears the cover of Sensation Comics #4 and Mebberson’s website says the story will be in that issue as well. So I’m not sure what’s happening here, printwise. The book’s not out until the end of the month, so I suppose we’ll find out then!

Women At Marvel Comics Watch – December 2014 Solicits

October 8, 2014

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After a decent (by Marvel standards) November, the solicits for December aren’t looking great for female creators at Marvel, though it should be a decent month for female characters at least. Yet another female character is launching her own series, and with female creators, but even with these additions the numbers across the board remain very low. Let’s see what’s coming from Marvel this December:

  • For female writers, Kelly Sue DeConnick is on Captain Marvel #10, Robin Furth is co-writing The Dark Tower: The Drawing of the Three – The Prisoner #5, and Marguerite Bennett is co-writing Angela: Asgard’s Assassin #1.
  • Don’t worry, Ms. Marvel fans! The book, and G. Willow Wilson, is just taking a month off and will be back in January.
  • For artists, Stephanie Hans is doing the cover and some interior art for Angela: Asgard’s Assassin #1 as well as the cover for Storm #6, Afua Richardson is doing a variant cover for Captain America and the Mighty Avengers #3, Sara Pichelli is doing a variant cover for S.H.I.E.L.D. #1, and Jordie Bellaire is colouring the cover of Moon Knight #10.
  • And that is all.
  • For female characters, Angela: Asgard’s Assassin is launching with a female lead, the new S.H.I.E.L.D. book features several female characters, and Spider-Man and the X-Men #1 appears to feature some of the female students at the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning.

All together, there are 7 different women scheduled to work on 7 different books in December, a big drop from November’s 12 and 15, respectively. And by “big”, I mean there will be half as many comics with at least one female creator as there were last month. That’s pretty bad.

Angela: Asgard’s Assassin is obviously one of the few good bits of news out of these solicits. Not only does it star a female character, it also has two female creators working on the comic in regular gigs. It’s especially nice to see a woman do some interior art, because Marvel has had a poor track record in that area lately.

However, as exciting as Angela: Asgard’s Assassin is, it’s absolutely ridiculous that Marvel launched a new series with two female creators and their overall total of women making comics still dropped by FIVE from the month previous. And while G. Willow Wilson will be back next month, Robin Furth will likely be gone seeing as this was the last issue of this Dark Tower mini-series. I’m hoping that Marvel will announce a bevy of new books starring and created by women at NYCC this weekend (and we’ve already got one of each out of the same book with Erica Henderson drawing Squirrel Girl) because they absolutely need a lot more of both.

So, December’s not looking great. Sorry that your future festive fun will be marred by gender inequality. Thanks for ruining Christmas, Marvel! And Hanukkah too! With such a rough looking December ahead of us, all that’s left to do is hope for a better January. And our hope might pay off, because really the numbers for female creators can’t get much worse. There’s nowhere to go but up! Hopefully I won’t have to eat those words next month.

New Jae Lee Batman/Superman Action Figure Line Includes Wonder Woman

October 7, 2014

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For several years now, DC Collectibles has been creating action figure lines based on the artwork featured in some of DC’s better known comics. There’s a Jack Kirby “Fourth World” line, Jim Lee’s “Hush” collection was substantial, and lately figures from Greg Capullo’s Batman and Nicola Scott’s Earth 2 have come out. This week, DC has unveiled a new line featuring the artwork of Jae Lee, based on his current run on Batman/Superman. I heard rumours of these figures this summer from a pre-SDCC event and my interest was piqued. Lee’s got a cool style, and I was curious to see how it would translate to action figure form.

The line includes Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Catwoman, and you can get a closer look at all of them in this video:

I think the ladies come off a lot more interesting than the fellows here, particularly in the face. The lines they are using to capture Lee’s style look odd on Superman and Batman, while Wonder Woman and Catwoman both have a softer and more blended colouring. However, the cape work on the guys looks straight up amazing. Holy cats. That Superman may have a jacked up face, but his cape is impeccable.

The Wonder Woman figure looks pretty cool all around. Toy News International has posted a nice screengrab of the figure:

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She comes with a spear AND a sword, so that’s a lot of fun. I know absolutely nothing about this comic book, but given the outfit I’m going to guess that this is probably Earth 2 Wonder Woman? Or at the very least, not the primary universe Wonder Woman. She’s got a skirt, a golden tiara, silver boots, and some arm armour on one side that all seems very reminiscent of her Earth 2 outfit to me. The figure appears to capture Jae Lee’s artwork fairly well, though unfortunately she doesn’t get a cape. Can you imagine this figure with a Jae Lee cape? That would be spectacular.

Given her pale skin, dark hair, and heavy eye makeup, along with her somewhat dour expression, we appear to have a bit of a goth Wonder Woman. Which is cool; such is Jae Lee’s style. Catwoman’s got a similar vibe, along with the black outfit to match. All in all, this line presents a unique take on these characters, and it’s always cool to see something different on the toy shelves.

If you’re jonesing for these figures, you’ve got a long wait ahead of you. They’ll be out in Summer 2015. DC Collectibles figures usually price in the $19.95 to $24.95 range, and are easily available in comic book shops or online.


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