DC Comics Announces Wonder Woman Mini-Series In Third Wave Of Convergence Tie-Ins

November 26, 2014

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DC Comics continues to roll out their line of 40 two-part mini-series that will tie into this spring’s Convergence event, and Wonder Woman going’s to headline her own title. Different versions of the character have been mentioned here and there on other books, but this is the first, and perhaps only, book where she’s the star. The two-part book, simply titled Wonder Woman, will be written by Larry Hama with art by Josh Middleton. Here’s a brief description:

White-jumpsuit-clad Diana Prince is in the grips of a Domesday cult when her lover Steve Trevor leaps into the fray to save Etta Candy from vampires of Red Rain.

“White jumpsuit” and “Diana Prince” usually mean we’re going back to the mod era of Wonder Woman from the late 1960s and early 1970s. This was the period when Wonder Woman gave up her superpowers, learned martial arts, and travelled the world fighting bad guys. Oddly, the main story from this era centered on Diana avenging the death of Steve Trevor, and Etta Candy was nowhere to be found during the mod years, so perhaps this book is a bit of a reimagining of this era. That, or Diana’s found a Steve and an Etta from a different universe inside this weird dome thing everyone appears to be trapped in.

Larry Hama is certainly familiar with Wonder Woman, having edited her series for a couple of years in the late 1970s. He’s better known for his work at Marvel, but he’s a writer who knows his stuff and hopefully he’ll bring something cool to the book. Josh Middleton is an artist whose work I’ve always enjoyed, though I’m much more used to seeing him on covers than interiors. It’ll be fun to see him tackle Wonder Woman for two full issues.

The Convergence event begins in April in place of DC’s usual titles as the publisher moves from New York to Los Angeles, and Wonder Woman will run in April and May.

Michelle MacLaren Is Going To Develop And Direct The Wonder Woman Movie

November 25, 2014

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In a move that appears to be universally cheered across the fan and film communities, Michelle MacLaren has signed on to direct Wonder Woman, which stars Gal Gadot and will be released in 2017. MacLaren is an accomplished television director, doing her most notable work on wildly popular series like Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones. She’s going to develop Wonder Woman as well, working with the currently unnamed writers as they craft the film.

I’m very excited about this. When news broke that Warner Bros. wanted a female director for Wonder Woman, MacLaren was at the top of almost everyone’s list, including mine. Her experience with Breaking Bad and Games of Thrones, as well as other programs like The X-Files and The Walking Dead, give her a great background in drama and action, and she’s been nominated for a variety of awards for her work. Plus she’s a Canadian, and that’s always a good sign.

Zack and Deborah Snyder are going to produce the movie, which is a bummer but expected. They’re all over Batman v Superman and Justice League, and are likely going to be producing most of the connected titles. Hopefully in a hands off manner; I’d really like to see MacLaren and the writers develop their own take on the character that’s not necessarily beholden to Snyder’s bleak and dour approach to superheroes. Everything we’ve heard about the plot thus far has all been rumours, and hopefully untrue ones, and it might be a while before any real, official plot points emerge, especially since MacLaren just signed on and will probably now have input on the project.

I remain concerned about Wonder Woman and the DC Comics cinematic universe generally, just because it’s been so dark thus far, but Michelle MacLaren directing Wonder Woman is a huge positive. She’s extremely talented, and I’m very curious to hear about her approach to the character. Hopefully we’ll get some interviews soon, and maybe some hints of what we can expect from the film. So yeah, well done, Warner Bros.! You finally hired somebody good! Keep it up.

Women At DC Comics Watch – February 2015 Solicits: 30 Female Creators On 35 Different Books

November 24, 2014

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Last month, after DC broke their record for female creators in their solicits yet again, I was wondering when they might hit the mark of 30 different women. Turns out, it was this month, with DC breaking their record once more in their February solicits. I’ve been expecting a drop off after so many months of steady growth into impressive new highs, but it hasn’t come yet. It will, of course, but let’s enjoy DC outdoing themselves each month for now. Here are all of the female creators listed in DC’s February 2015 solicits:

  • Alex de Campi: Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman #7 (writer)
  • Amanda Conner: Aquaman #39 (variant cover), Harley Quinn #15 (co-writer, cover), Harley Quinn Valentine’s Day Special #1 (co-writer, cover), Superman #39 (variant cover), The Flash #39 (variant cover)
  • Amy Chu: Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman #7 (writer)
  • Amy Wolfram: Teen Titans Go! #8 (writer)
  • Ann Nocenti: Klarion #5 (writer)
  • Babs Tarr: Batgirl #39 (artist), Justice League #39 (variant cover)
  • Becky Cloonan: Gotham Academy #5 (co-writer), The Kitchen #4 (cover)
  • Caitlin Kittredge: Coffin Hill #15 (writer), Secret Origins #10 (writer)
  • Cat Staggs: Smallville Season 11: Continuity #3 (cover)
  • Celia Calle: The Names #6 (cover)
  • Chrissie Zullo: Fables #149 (artist), Fables: The Wolf Among Us #2 (cover)
  • Emanuela Lupacchino: Batman and Robin #39 (variant cover), Supergirl #39 (cover and art)
  • Gail Simone: Secret Six #3 (writer)
  • Genevieve Valentine: Catwoman #39 (writer)
  • Georgia Ball: Scooby Doo Where Are You? #54 (writer)
  • Irene Koh: Secret Origins #10 (artist)
  • Jill Thompson: Batman #39 (variant cover), Wolf Moon #3 (cover)
  • K. Perkins: Supergirl #39 (co-writer)
  • Keto Shimizu: Arrow Season 2.5 #5 (co-writer)
  • Lea Hernandez: Teen Titans Go! #8 (writer)
  • Marguerite Bennett: Earth 2 #31 (co-writer), Earth 2: World’s End #18-21 (co-writer)
  • Marguerite Sauvage: Hinterkind #15 (cover)
  • Marley Zarcone: Effigy #2 (artist)
  • Meghan Hetrick: Bodies #8 (artist)
  • Meredith Finch: Wonder Woman #39 (writer)
  • Ming Doyle: The Kitchen #4 (artist)
  • Nicola Scott: Action Comics #39 (variant cover)
  • Sandra Hope: Batman/Superman #19 (inker)
  • Tula Lotay: Bodies #8 (artist)
  • Yuko Shimizu: Detective Comics #39 (variant cover)

All together, there are 30 different female creators working on 35 different books for DC Comics this February, up from January’s record breaking 28 and 25. Also encouraging to see is a number of women working on multiple titles. Amanda Conner leads the charge, drawing a variety of Harley Quinn variant covers as part of February’s variant theme, but several other women are set to work on multiple books as well.

As a quick sidenote, DC’s solicits list “Alison Borges” on art for Lobo #5, but I’m assuming that this is a misspelling of Alisson Borges, a male artist from Brazil who’s gotten some Big Two work recently. DC has a history of misspelling names in their solicits. However, if it turns out I’m wrong I will happily adjust the list accordingly and add her to the numbers.

In terms of new titles, February is very quiet. Harley Quinn has a Valentine’s special issue, co-written and with a cover by Amanda Conner, and Vertigo is launching Suiciders, a new book written and drawn by Lee Bermejo; the solicit for Suiciders lacks a character breakdown, so I don’t know how much female representation is inside the book.

Overall, DC broke their record yet again, and that is a fantastic thing. There’s still a lot of room for improvement, of course. For example, the only way female creators seem to get close to a major male character is through variant covers. The vast majority of women making comics at DC are writing and drawing female characters or lower tier male characters. Many of the big names remain elusive, and it would be nice to see that change. Nonetheless, it’s still a great month for DC, and I’m hoping to see another record shatter in March!

Superman/Wonder Woman #13 Review OR Wonder Woman Is A Terrible Girlfriend

November 21, 2014

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Forgive me if this is a brief review, but after being thoroughly disappointed by Wonder Woman on Wednesday I am not looking forward to digging into another poor portrayal of my favourite Amazon in Superman/Wonder Woman. The Finches’ take on Diana didn’t do much for me, and Peter J. Tomasi and Doug Mahnke’s approach to the character was also a letdown, albeit in different ways. Basically, their Wonder Woman is just the worst. We’ll get into it all, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

Do not read further if you haven’t read this comic yet!

The book begins five years in the past, with a Wonder Woman who doesn’t at all care about the innocent people who are being killed by attacking parademons. She’s far more interested in fighting the bad guys than saving people, and generally looks down on human frailty. She lacks compassion entirely, a trait that has been a hallmark of the character from the early Marston years to the present day. I know she’s fresh from Paradise Island, but that doesn’t change anything. Compassion is who she is.

However, I thought that perhaps they were setting up a contrast for when the book jumps to the present, where we’d see a kinder, gentler Wonder Woman. They were not. The first time we see Diana in the present, she’s yelling at Clark because he’s late for a date. And not in a fun, playful way either. She’s full on furious.

Things don’t get better from there. When Clark lets an elderly couple take their cab in the midst of a rainstorm, a soaked Wonder Woman fumes angrily. She sneers at him, her contempt not veiled in the slightest.

Luckily, some villainous shenanigans are afoot, and Wonder Woman gets to take a break from being the world’s worst girlfriend to become an ineffectual superhero. Both she and Superman are taken out by super-villain D-listers Atomic Skull and Major Disaster, before a new hero named Wonderstar shows up to handle the villains with ease in a final page reveal. I’m still holding to my theory that Wonderstar is Wonder Woman and Superman’s son from the future or an alternate timeline/universe; we’ll have to see how that plays out in future weeks.

Wonder Woman comes off very poorly throughout the book. She lacks compassion, she’s a jerk to Clark, and she’s bad at fighting villains. Superman, on the other hand, comes off wonderfully. He’s a compassionate hero, doing all he can to save the imperilled citizens of Metropolis. He’s an artist, writing a personal piece about the loss of life during the recent Forever Evil event. He’s a domestic wizard, cleaning a stain from his shirt after Wonder Woman’s barking startles him into spilling coffee on himself. He’s a gentleman, offering his cab to an elderly couple. He’s a saint, for putting up with a shrew like Wonder Woman. Sure, he loses the fight at the end of the book, but up until then he’s a real swell guy.

I was expecting a lot better from this issue, especially in terms of the writing. While Meredith Finch is new to the writing game, and thus expectations were low, Tomasi has been around for a while and has done some good work. I was hoping he’d be a step up from previous writer Charles Soule’s Superman-centrism, which relegated Wonder Woman to the background. She’s front and center in this issue, I suppose. She’s just an awful person.

Mahnke’s art is far less creepy than David Finch’s Barbie doll Wonder Woman, but that’s not saying a lot. While his art here is solid, I’m not sure that it plays to his strengths, especially facially. Mahnke excels at angry, dark characters and capturing those emotions, and he certainly communicated Wonder Woman’s rage and spite well in this issue. However, comedy and lighter, softer moments don’t seem to be his game, and they come off a little stiff. It’s not bad art by any means, though. He’s just good at what he’s good at; his villains were particularly ominous and nicely done.

Overall, this was not a good comic book. The terrible portrayal of Wonder Woman aside, the entire structure of the book was weak. The five page flashback served no real purpose, the domestic drama was offputting, and the fight was unconvincingly lost by Wonder Woman and Superman solely to set up the final page reveal. My recommendation to everyone is to skip Wonder Woman and Superman/Wonder Woman this week and go pick up Sensation Comics. It’s so much more fun, and Wonder Woman actually seems like herself.

Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman #15 Review: “No Chains Can Hold Her! Part 2″ by Gilbert Hernandez

November 20, 2014

sensation15

Boy oh boy, did I need this comic this week. Wonder Woman and Superman/Wonder Woman debuted new creative teams, and the results were pretty much atrocious. I was underwhelmed, to say the least. It was a rough day all around, and I was feeling pretty down about Wonder Woman comics. Luckily, today has part two of Gilbert Hernandez’s Sensation Comics story, and it is just a blast.

Last week, I had some qualms about Wonder Woman getting brainwashed and Supergirl taking center stage. That plot continued in this issue, with Mary Marvel thrown into the mix to make it a three way fight, but I found that this second issue worked like gangbusters for me. Maybe I’m just jonesing for a fun Wonder Woman story after yesterday, but I thought it was hilarious and great.

Adding Mary Marvel to the super-fight upped the level of absurdity to a hilarious agree. There’s one panel where Wonder Woman and Mary Marvel are tossing Supergirl at each other like she’s a rag doll that made me laugh like crazy. I want to frame it and hang it on my wall, I love it so much.

The fight also resulted in a team up, with Wonder Woman snapping out of her mind control and playing a key role in defeating the aliens. Mary Marvel flew off with Supergirl to help her recover from a Kryptonite ray, so Wonder Woman took down the aliens by herself, and with ease. Also, when Wonder Woman returned to Earth she quickly found herself fighting a gro-bot, and she threw it so far and so high that she was able to sit down and have a full conversation with herself in the time it took the gro-bot to bounce off a satellite and come smashing back down to Earth.

I also love Hernandez’s style in this story. The Silver Age vibe I mentioned last week is a lot of fun, but I also like that he doesn’t draw any of the women in an exploitive way. His Wonder Woman is big and muscled, almost comicly so, in a manner that might look odd in the hands of another artist but that works for me here. Also, his Supergirl and Mary Marvel both look like teenage girls. They’re not curvaceous or sexified at all, as so many teen heroes are in today’s comics. From character designs through to posing, Hernandez’s goal is clearly humour and fun, and that’s a refreshing approach to female heroes.

There’s a line at the end of the issue about Wonder Woman going to get a massage from Superman, but getting irked about that would just be nitpicking because I’m so sick of the Wonder Woman/Superman relationship in the New 52. The issue is so much fun and so amusing, that I’m happy to let that closing line slide.

In terms of publication, I think that most if not all of this story is in the print version of Sensation Comics that came out this week. If someone reading this has a copy, please let me know how much of the story is there in the comments. We got a portion of part one in last month’s print Sensation Comics, and I’m not sure how much of the rest of the story they printed this month. Whatever’s happening, if you’re not getting the book digitally, I heartily recommend picking up the book in paper form to check out this Hernandez story. It’s a total blast, and a lovely antitode to the dour, angry, all around awful depictions of Wonder Woman we got elsewhere this week. Pick it up now!

Wonder Woman #36 Review OR It Seems Our Concerns Were Well Founded

November 19, 2014

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Today was a double whammy for Wonder Woman fans, with both Wonder Woman and Superman/Wonder Woman debuting new creative teams and both books failing to deliver a decent Wonder Woman. I’ll have a review of Superman/Wonder Woman later in the week, but for today let’s get into Wonder Woman #36. It’s not good, gang. It’s not a complete travesty, so at least there’s that, but there’s really not much going for it. We’ll dig through it all momentarily, after this:

SPOILER ALERT!!

I am about to reveal everything that happened in this comic!

If you haven’t read it, turn away!

While I hate to be a downer and blather on about stuff I don’t like, I found nearly every scene of this comic disappointing on some level. It just continually missed the mark, in a variety of ways. Let’s go through it scene by scene.

The opening three pages are fine, a long rumination on the rain that cuts to a variety of locales and features some decent work by Finch. It’s not an exciting opening to the comic, but it’s scenic, at least. These pages are the best part of the book really.

David Finch is known for female characters in a manner that’s, well, what’s a nicer word for exploitive? He drew Catwoman with her zipper going down to her navel, he created a Batman villain who was essentially a Playboy bunny. His history with female characters is pretty bad. So it’s not great that the first time we see Diana, she’s in the shower. It’s not overly sexy, especially relative to some of Finch’s other work, but it’s a lot of flesh. It’s just a really bad decision for introducing the character given his track record.

The book then jumps to Paradise Island, where a group of Amazons are debating the new male members of their society. The two Amazons who are opposed to their presence, and thus to Wonder Woman, are complete stereotypes. One is all crazy eyed and borderline hysterical, while the other is an old crone. Amazons arguing amongst themselves isn’t something I’m keen about to begin with, and having the women who are against Wonder Woman be such blatant and clichéd villains is kind of cheap. It’s shoddy storytelling, and lacks nuance.

Next up is a double page spread of the Justice League. I am of the opinion that if you’re going to do a double page spread, you should make it look good. The art here is not strong. I don’t even know what’s up with Superman’s hair, Wonder Woman looks completely vacant, and the whole thing is poorly put together. Frankly, it’s something Finch will be able to sell for huge bucks, what with the size of it and six members of the Justice League, and that’s probably why he used up two pages for it. But the art isn’t even good! It’s just bizarre.

Wonder Woman goes off to investigate the mysterious destruction of some villages in Thailand, and when she finds Swamp Thing she attacks him immediately. She doesn’t ask why he’s there or talk it out first, she just assumes he’s behind it and launches a flying kick at him. It’s reckless and foolish and, more significantly, not at all how Wonder Woman rolls. Wonder Woman doesn’t punch first and ask questions later. Violence is a last resort for her. Nearly every single Wonder Woman run has established this basic tenet of the character, from Marston through to the present day. It turns out, Swamp Thing was investigating the destruction of the village as well, and wasn’t behind it. That double page spread of Wonder Woman’s flying kick will sure sell for a lot though…

Also, Wonder Woman loses the fight.

Then on the flight back, Aquaman tries to straighten her out. Wonder Woman then launches into a big thing about how she’s overwhelmed because she’s being pulled in so many directions with the Amazons, the Justice League, the gods, and more. Can a woman really have it all?! First, the woman overwhelmed by the busyness of her life angle is yet another cliché, as is the massive unloading of it all. Second, she’s Wonder Woman. She can handle it. It’s what she does.

But if she didn’t already have enough problems, guess what? When Wonder Woman returns to Paradise Island, she finds out that her mother, who had been turned into a clay statue, is now dead. The statue melted in the rain; it seems that no one thought to bring it indoors. Hippolyta dying is the oldest story in the book. It’s happened so many times, to the point that this dramatic final page reveal barely elicited a shrug from me. In a recent interview, Meredith Finch mentioned that she didn’t read up on Wonder Woman’s comics much because she wanted to focus on her own approach to the character. She probably should have, because killing off Hippolyta has been done to death.

Throughout the issue, Finch’s art is inconsistent and his Wonder Woman is poor. With Cliff Chiang, we had a strong, powerful, beautiful woman. With Finch, we’ve got the head of a sultry teenager, with her snub nose, big eyes, and lips constantly slightly agape, and the body of an adult, shapely woman. Her head is also often over-sized, making her look more like a child with a lady’s curves than a grown woman. It’s an uncomfortable combination, and very offputting.

The writing itself isn’t terrible, but the story is awash in clichés. Moreover, the first issue fails to give Wonder Woman a single strong moment. She’s an emotional mess, and her fight with Swamp Thing is entirely wrongheaded. She never smiles, and she never does anything heroic. This is not a good way for a new creative team to introduce the character.

There was one thing going on with the story that I did find mildly intriguing. In the shower scene, Wonder Woman is washing off blood, and when she gets out of the shower there’s a drawing of her and a young girl, clearly made by a child. Later, while baring her soul to Aquaman, Wonder Woman holds an old teddy bear. Plus, she seems generally angry and upset throughout the issue. I think these things hint at a past tragedy, perhaps a young friend recently lost. I assume we’ll find out more in future issues.

Overall, though, this wasn’t a good issue. More damningly, it was a bad Wonder Woman issue. She didn’t come off well, visually or via the story. Maybe things will pick up as the story progresses, but given this first issue I have very little hope for this run now.

Wonder Woman’s February 2015 Covers And Solicits

November 18, 2014

It looks like February 2015 is going to be an eventful month for Wonder Woman across her three titles, with big twists and surprises throughout the line. Let’s take a look at what she’ll be up to, starting with Wonder Woman #39:

febww39

WONDER WOMAN #39
Written by MEREDITH FINCH
Art and cover by DAVID FINCH and BATT
HARLEY QUINN Variant cover by PHIL JIMENEZ
1:50 B&W Variant cover by DAVID FINCH and BATT
1:100 Variant cover by DAVID FINCH
On sale FEBRUARY 18 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
Wonder Woman returns to Paradise Island, and she’s in for a surprise: The Amazons have chosen a new queen to lead them! The identity of this new queen will send shock waves through the entire DC Universe! Guest-starring the Justice League and featuring the introduction of Diana’s craziest new cast member in, well, ever!

So is Hippolyta not a living statue in this run? Because she was “alive” in the last issue of Azzarello and Chiang’s run, albeit not flesh and blood. Whatever the case, the Amazons are going to have a new queen and it sounds like it’s going to be quite a shocking choice. Given the appearance of the Justice League and the sending of shock waves through the universe, I’m betting it’s someone outside of Wonder Woman’s usual circle. Maybe a famous villain, or perhaps a more intergalactic character. I’m curious about who it will be, though not at all in an excited way. More in the manner of, “Oh god, what are they going to do now?”

The cover’s pretty dramatic, so clearly Wonder Woman isn’t excited about what’s going on. While a bit of a downer, it’s one of Finch’s nicer covers thus far just in terms of a not overly exploitive image of Wonder Woman.

On to Superman/Batman #16:

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SUPERMAN/WONDER WOMAN #16
Written by PETER J. TOMASI
Art and cover by DOUG MAHNKE and JAIME MENDOZA
HARLEY QUINN Variant cover by FRANCIS MANAPUL
On sale FEBRUARY 11 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
Superman and Wonder Woman come face-to-face with the newest arrival to The New 52: MAGOG!

I sort of feel like Magog is a bit played out. Kingdom Come was a while ago, plus he’s been back in a bunch of other books since, including big arcs in Action Comics and JSA. I’m half wondering if this is a lead-in to Convergence, DC’s multi-universal event that starts this April, given the Kingdom Come connection. Though if it was you’d think they’d play that up to increase the sales.

Finally, Sensation Comics #7:

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SENSATION COMICS FEATURING WONDER WOMAN #7
Written by ALEX DE CAMPI and AMY CHU
Art by NEIL GOOGE and BERNARD CHANG
Cover by SHANE DAVIS
On sale FEBRUARY 18 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T • DIGITAL FIRST
In “Venus Rising,” Diana’s conflicted about her current mission: She agreed to represent the Justice League as the first space station for harvesting Venusian fuel gases is brought online. But her arrival doesn’t go smoothly – and then, kaiju attack! Plus: A combat pilot gets a little help from Wonder Woman as a routine reconnaissance mission turns deadly in “Rescue Angel.”

Wonder Woman in space PLUS kaiju? I am very on board for that. That sounds like a lot of fun. I’m also glad to see Amy Chu writing a story; she’s great. And Bernard Chang is back! He drew a few issues of Wonder Woman during Simone’s run on the book, and I’ve always enjoyed his work. This should be a really solid issue.

Look for all of these Wonder Woman comic books in February! And perhaps buy them for your sweetheart for Valentine’s Day. Nothing says I love you like a Wonder Woman comic!


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