Women at Marvel Comics Watch, March 2017 Solicits: 37 Women on 33 Books, A New Record

January 16, 2017

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Marvel’s on quite a run with female creators rights now. March will mark the publisher’s eighth straight month with more than 30 different female creators in the mix, and Marvel is set to best their record number for combined female creators and books that they set in December. It’s really quite an impressive streak, all around. So let’s see who’s doing what at Marvel in March 2017:

  • Afua Richardson: Black Panther: World of Wakanda #5 (cover)
  • Alitha E. Martinez: Black Panther: World of Wakanda #5 (interior art)
  • Amy Reeder: Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #17 (co-writer, cover)
  • Becky Cloonan: The Punisher #10 (writer)
  • Brittney L. Williams: Patsy Walker, a.k.a. Hellcat! #16 (interior art, cover)
  • Elizabeth Torque: Black Panther #12 (variant cover), Captain America: Steve Rogers #14 (cover), Captain Marvel #13 (cover), Elektra #2 (cover), Inhumans Prime #1 (variant cover), X-Men Prime #1 (variant cover)
  • Elsa Charretier: The Unstoppable Wasp #3 (interior art, cover)
  • Emanuela Lupacchino: Guardians of the Galaxy #1.MU (variant cover), Hulk #4 (variant cover)
  • Erica Henderson: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #18 (interior art, cover)
  • G. Willow Wilson: Ms. Marvel #16 (writer)
  • Gabby Rivera: America #1 (writer)
  • Gisele Lagace: Gwenpool, the Unbelievable #13 (cover)
  • Gurihiru: Gwenpool, the Unbelievable #13 (interior art)
  • Hannah Blumenreich: Amazing Spider-Man #25 (co-writer, interior art)
  • Helen Chen: Silk #18 (cover)
  • Jen Bartel: Black Panther: World of Wakanda #5 (variant cover)
  • Jordie Bellaire: Uncanny Inhumans #20 (variant cover)
  • Joyce Chin: Deadpool the Duck #5 (variant cover)
  • Kamome Shirahama: Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #5 (cover)
  • Kate Leth: Patsy Walker, a.k.a. Hellcat! #16 (writer), The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #18 (variant cover)
  • Kelly Thompson: Hawkeye #4 (writer)
  • Leah Williams: The Totally Awesome Hulk #1.MU (co-writer)
  • Margaret Stohl: Captain Marvel #13 (writer)
  • Mariko Tamaki: Hulk #4 (writer)
  • Natacha Bustos: Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #17 (interior art), Power Man and Iron Fist #14 (variant cover)
  • Nicole Perlman: Gamora #4 (writer)
  • Nik Virella: All-New Wolverine #18 (interior art)
  • Paulina Ganucheau: The Unstoppable Wasp #3 (variant cover)
  • Roxane Gay: Black Panther: World of Wakanda #5 (writer)
  • Sara Pichelli: Monsters Unleashed #5 (variant cover), Spider-Man #14 (interior art, cover)
  • Sophie Campbell: Spider-Gwen #18 (variant cover)
  • Stephanie Hans: Gamora #4 (variant cover), Man-Thing #1 (variant cover)
  • Tana Ford: Silk #18 (interior art)
  • Tess Fowler: Doctor Strange #18 (variant cover)
  • Veronica Fish: Spider-Woman #17 (interior art)
  • Yasmine Putri: Gwenpool, the Unbelievable #13 (variant cover)

All together, there are 37 different female creators set to work on 33 different books in March, 6 more women than in February and 10 more books. And while 37 different women ties Marvel’s December record, they were only working on 25 books then; in March there will be just as many ladies in the mix as that record setting month, distributed even more thoroughly through Marvel’s lineup. These are very good numbers. Writing this post each month used to take me ten minutes or so, since there were only ever a handful of women in the mix, like 4 or 5. Now there’s dozens! It’s a lot more work for me, but it’s the good kind.

In terms of new names at Marvel, we’ve got scores of returning favourites this month but also some debut and returning creators. Gabby Rivera is coming on board to write the new America series, Hannah Blumenreich is doing her first official Marvel work (finally!), I don’t think I’ve seen Jen Bartel at Marvel before, I think Leah Williams is a new name as well, and this might be Paulina Ganucheau’s premiere at Marvel as well. And maybe Tess Fowler too? I know she’s done some stuff at DC. So yeah, a busy month for new creators!

March is typically “Women of Marvel” month, where they put out a bunch of variant covers by female artists, and while Marvel doesn’t seem to be doing that explicitly this month, there are scores of variant covers in the list above, far more than usual. Several of them are part of a themed “Venomized” variant program, so it looks like Marvel might be continuing the spirit of “Women of Marvel” without the specific fanfare. Or they’re just hiring a lot of women to do covers because they know a lot of rad female artists. Either way, there are a lot of variants in the mix this month.

Not a lot of new books, though. We’ve got a few oneshots for the IvX event and a new Iron Fist series, but the only new book with a female lead is America. And it looks FANTASTIC. A queer WOC headlining her own series is a huge step for Marvel; they haven’t been great on the LGBTQ+ front as of late, with little rep and a lot of shying away from the rep they did have. This is a big deal for them, and hopefully something we’ll see more of moving forward.

Overall, March looks to be a great month for women at Marvel, all across the board. The publisher’s on an excellent streak, female creator representation is the highest it’s ever been, and America Chavez finally has a comic book! Things are swell.

Wonder Woman Co-Creator H.G. Peter To Be Inducted Into Eisner Hall of Fame

January 13, 2017

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The Eisner Awards are the comic book industry’s highest honours, and the judges for his year’s awards announced yesterday that H.G. Peter, the co-creator and original artist of Wonder Woman, will be inducted into the Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame. Peter is joined by cartoonist Milt Gross, creator of Spy vs. Spy Antontio Prohias, and underground cartoonist Dori Seda. All four will be automatically inducted, while four more will be chosen by voters based on a list compiled by this year’s judging panel.

William Moulton Marston typically gets most of the credit for the creation of Wonder Woman. Tellingly, he was inducted into the same Hall of Fame in 2006, well before Peter. Between his unique feminist theories, his fascinating personal life, and his boisterous personality, Marston left a lot for folks to talk about while Peter mostly stayed in the background. But while it’s true that Marston’s vision defined the character, Peter played a huge part in Wonder Woman’s creation.

Peter was Marston’s hand-picked artist for his new character, and a very unique choice. In the early 1940s, the new superhero genre was a young man’s game; most of the artists drawing superheroes were in their twenties, while Peter was 61 when Wonder Woman debuted in All Star Comics #8. Superheroes were a new game for Peter, who’d largely done political cartoons and editorial work throughout his career. Many of his political cartoons from the 1910s supported women’s rights and suffrage, and Peter’s feminist leanings may have been why Marston thought he would be a good fit for his new female superhero.

Once hired by Marston, Peter threw himself into his work wholeheartedly. After working with Marston to establish Wonder Woman’s iconic look, Peter was soon drawing stories for three different series: the monthly Sensation Comics, the bi-monthly Wonder Woman, and the quarterly Comic Cavalcade. He also drew a daily Wonder Woman newspaper comic strip from 1943-1944. Peter had an entire team around him at his New York studio to help with inking, lettering, and backgrounds, but the vast majority of the myriad stories featuring Wonder Woman in the 1940s were drawn by him.

Peter’s style was distinctive, and ensured that Wonder Woman’s outings stood out from all of the other superhero comic books on the newsstand. Many artists at the time brought a somewhat realistic approach to their work while often emphasizing the sexuality of their female characters. Peter was a cartoonist at heart, and he gave Wonder Woman and her world a cohesively stylized look. His Wonder Woman was strong and powerful, a solidly built heroine rather than a wasp-waisted waif. The sexuality of the stories was indirect; Wonder Woman’s own attributes were never emphasized, but Peter ended up drawing innumerable bondage scenarios owing to Marston’s fascination therein. Peter’s work was lush and creative, and a quick glance at any Golden Age issue of Wonder Woman clearly shows the enthusiasm and creativity he put into every page. Marston came up with some outlandish storylines over his years, and Peter hit them out of the park each time.

Marston died in 1947 and the tone of Wonder Woman began to change under new writer Robert Kanigher, but Peter stayed with the series for another decade until he passed away in 1958. His work helped establish the most famous female superhero of all time, and his design for the character has stood the test of time; Wonder Woman’s outfit is regularly tweaked, but each incarnation of the character is simply building on what Peter established. Moreover, the spirit that Peter imbued in Wonder Woman continues as well. He always captured the joy of the character, along with the fun she had on her adventures and the goodness at her core. At a time when other superheroes were grim and violent, Wonder Woman loved being a superhero and helping those who needed it, and Peter’s art communicated that feeling in spades.

Recently we’ve seen more appreciation for Golden Age Wonder Woman stories, with a variety of collections and several books addressing the era (including my own), and it’s lovely to see H.G. Peter finally getting his due. His induction into the Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame is well-deserved, and perfectly timed given that his heroine will soon be hitting the big screen in her first solo film. Peter is key to everything we love about Wonder Woman, and I’m very glad that his fantastic work is being recognized.

Women at DC Comics Watch – March 2017 Solicits, 24 Women on 27 Books

January 12, 2017

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After closing out 2016 with some of their highest months ever, DC’s female representation has been coming in a bit lower in their solicits since then, and their March listings mark the lowest number of different female creators since August. It’s not a disastrous drop; the mid-20s is a fairly average range for DC these days, but it’s noticeably below where they were just a few months ago and a disappointing step back for a publisher whose numbers were trending upward. Let’s take a look at who’s doing what at DC in March 2017:

  • Afua Richardson: The Wild Storm #2 (variant cover)
  • Amanda Conner: Booster Gold/The Flintstones Annual #1 (co-writer), Harley Quinn #15 (co-writer, cover), Harley Quinn #16 (co-writer, cover), The Kamandi Challenge #3 (interior art, cover)
  • Becky Cloonan: Gotham Academy: Second Semester #7 (co-writer, cover), Shade, the Changing Girl #6 (cover)
  • Bilquis Evely: Wonder Woman #18 (cover, interior art)
  • Cecil Castellucci: Shade, the Changing Girl #6 (writer)
  • Eleanora Carlini: Green Arrow #18 (interior art), Green Arrow #19 (interior art)
  • Elena Casagrande: Vigilante: Southland #6 (interior art)
  • Emanuela Lupacchino: Green Lanterns #18 (variant cover), Green Lanterns #19 (variant cover), Supergirl #7 (cover), Superwoman #8 (interior art)
  • Gail Simone: Clean Room #17 (writer)
  • Hope Larson: Batgirl #9 (writer), Batgirl Annual #1 (writer)
  • Jenny Frison: Clean Room #17 (cover), Wonder Woman #18 (variant cover), Wonder Woman #19 (variant cover)
  • Jody Houser: Mother Panic #5 (writer)
  • Julie Benson: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #8 (co-writer)
  • Kamome Shirahama: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #8 (variant cover)
  • Laura Braga: DC Comics Bombshells #23 (interior art), DC Comics Bombshells #24 (interior art)
  • Marguerite Bennett: Batwoman #1 (co-writer), DC Comics Bombshells #23 (writer), DC Comics Bombshells #24 (writer)
  • Marguerite Sauvage: DC Comics Bombshells #23 (cover), The Fall and Rise of Captain Atom #3 (cover)
  • Marley Zarcone: Shade, the Changing Girl #6 (interior art, cover)
  • Mirka Andolfo: DC Comics Bombshells #23 (interior art)
  • Msassyk: Gotham Academy: Second Semester #7 (interior art)
  • Sandra Hope: Gotham Academy: Second Semester #7 (inker)
  • Shawna Benson: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #8 (co-writer)
  • Tula Lotay: Everafter: From the Pages of Fables #7 (cover)
  • Yasmine Putri: Superwoman #8 (cover), The Hellblazer #8 (variant cover)

All together, there are 24 different women set to work on 27 different books at DC this March, 3 fewer women than last month though 6 more books. The increase in the number of books is an encouraging sign; while there are fewer women in the mix, the ones who are there are getting more work. Still, DC’s proven they’re capable of hiring 30+ female creators in a month and they currently aren’t doing so, and are thus failing to meet the standard that they set for themselves.

In terms of new names at DC, while I believe I’ve seen Eleanora Carlini’s name in the credits of Green Arrow lately, I think that she was a late addition and this might be the first time she’s in the solicits. She’ll be doing interior art there. We’ve also got a variant cover from Afua Richardson, who typically does work at Marvel. To the best of my knowledge, this is her first work at DC.

March looks to be a quiet month for new books. Batwoman #1 officially debuts after the “Rebirth” special last month, and I’m very much looking forward to that one. It’s got a great character and a stellar creative team, plus it’s spinning out of Detective Comics, which has been one of the highlights of the “Rebirth” line for me. The only other new book in the mix is a Vertigo series with a bunch of dudes in the mix, real and fictional.

Overall, the March numbers aren’t a terrible tumble by any means, but it’s the lowest that DC’s female representation has been in a while. These numbers always go up and down, of course, and this may just be a low ebb. DC’s capable of better regardless, and hopefully they’ll reach their potential and things will start to swing up again soon.

Wonder Woman #14 Review: The Grand Finale of “Year One”

January 11, 2017

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It’s been so long since we’ve had an in-continuity Wonder Woman story that was this good. Outside of continuity, there have been some great Wonder Woman tales over the past few years; The Legend of Wonder Woman was amazing, while there were some absolutely stellar issues of Sensation Comics over the course of its run. But in terms of the proper mainline Wonder Woman title itself, things haven’t been great for a while now. There were cool moments here and there, but the book has lacked a sustained start to finish arc that tells a good story and captures the essence of who Wonder Woman is, what she means, and why she’s important. Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott have given us such a tale, and it’s been a joy to read each issue. Today’s finale was a fitting close to the arc, one that stands on its own as a distillation of the heart of the character while also tying into everything else going on in “The Lies,” “The Truth,” and “Godwatch.” Let’s dig into it all, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

I am about to reveal all of the details in this exciting conclusion!

Look away if you haven’t read it yet!

Also, go read it! It’s really good!

When we last left our intrepid heroine, the god of war had appeared at the military installation where Wonder Woman was staying, and he seemed to be in a bad mood. His poor attitude wasn’t terribly surprising; Ares is known to have a rather foul disposition. But now we know what he was after: He wanted the location of the home of the Amazons, and he was going to take it by force if he had to.

Wonder Woman wasn’t interested in force, however. She battered Ares around a bit initially, but then took a different tack, and the scene that ensued captured everything I love about Rucka and Scott’s approach to Wonder Woman. First, she realized that fighting the god of war WITH war, i.e. confronting him directly and violently, wasn’t going to end well for anyone. He’s war incarnate, after all. He’s very good at it. So instead, she decided to talk to him, and supplicated herself before him.

Second, she then appealed to what is best in Ares. She didn’t insult him or try some kind of trickery. Instead, she gave him an honourable out when she told him, “Show us thine courage in mercy.” Wonder Woman recognized his power and offered him a way to use it that would make him look good while avoiding any bloodshed. It was a tactical move on her part, to be sure, but it also showed how Wonder Woman sees the best in everyone, understands their potential for good, and tries to help them achieve that. She met Ares on his own terms, and tried to turn him onto a path that would be for the good of all, himself included. And she was willing to humble herself to do so.

Third, Wonder Woman gave herself up for her friends. Kneeling before Ares is kind of a terrible idea. Exposing herself to the god of war, defenseless, could easily have taken a grisly turn. But she was willing to take that risk, put herself on the line, and trade whatever she could in order to find a peaceful solution to what could have been a violent conflict that endangered her friends. Her new friends, at that, and beyond. She barely knew Steve, Etta, and Barbara, and she’d been exposed to the evils of this outside world, and still she was willing to give herself up to keep them, and the wider world, safe.

Fourth, when all else failed and Ares didn’t get what he wanted, Wonder Woman knew how and where to hit him. She didn’t punch him, thus avoiding playing the game on his terms. Instead, she wrapped him in the lasso of truth and used its power to defeat him. Interestingly, while the lasso has retained its classic truth revealing elements in this incarnation of Wonder Woman, its added something new: Understanding. Wrapping themselves in the lasso is how Diana, Steve, Etta, and Barbara overcame their language barrier. It united them in a manner that allowed them to understand each other perfectly, despite their many differences. It may seem a little corny, but I absolutely love a story in which truth and understanding is the weapon the hero uses to defeat hate and war.

The rest of the issue was fun as well. Athena stepped in and revealed Ares’ fiendish master plan, so Wonder Woman and Steve went off and took care of that with ease. This resulted in another great scene for Diana; she was overcome with anger while fighting a group of terrorists and almost gave into a murderous impulse, but then she wrapped herself in her own lasso and the truth steeled her against the power of Ares’ lies. The fun continued in other ways as well, with the Etta/Barbara romantic subplot developing nicely, and for readers interested in some male eye candy, Nicola Scott had a lot of shirtless Steve Trevor in this issue. There was something for everyone, really. And the issue ended with a nice nod to Wonder Woman’s past, with an array of newspapers naming her “Wonder Woman” using different fonts that harkened back to the scripts used on the covers of Wonder Woman over the course of the series’ history.

All together, it was an excellent conclusion to a fantastic run that will go down as one of the best Wonder Woman stories of all time. It was well written and absolutely gorgeous, and it set the tone for who Wonder Woman is and what she means in today’s world. With such a good beginning, I can’t wait to see what’s next. Bilquis Evely, who drew the wonderful Barbara Ann Minerva standalone issue, is taking over the art for Scott on the new arc, “Godwatch,” a transition so perfect that it lessens the blow of Scott’s departure considerably. Wonder Woman‘s going to be good for a while, gang. It’s exciting times.

Women in Comics Statistics: DC and Marvel, October 2016 In Review

January 2, 2017

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My latest “Gendercrunching” article went up before Christmas over at Bleeding Cool, but I was busy with festive things and am only getting around to posting it here now. So let’s start off the New Year with some stats!

In October 2016, DC Comics posted one of their highest overall percentages of female creators yet, coming in at 19.7% overall. “Rebirth” has been good for women at DC thus far, and its run over the last five months has marked DC’s strongest period of female representation since this project began. Marvel slipped down to 16%, however, a drop that puts them mid-range relative to their past year. It’s been a couple of months of drops for Marvel now, and they’re noticeably off their previous highs.

We also began our biannual check-in on other direct market publishers. This month we visited Image, which ticked up slightly to 18.9%; IDW, which gained more than 4% female creators overall to land at 18.6%; and Dark Horse, which dropped down to land at 17.5%.

Head on over to Bleeding Cool for all of the stat fun!

Wonder Woman’s March 2017 Covers and Solicits

December 30, 2016

DC’s March 2017 solicits came out a while back, but with the holidays and all I’ve just got around to going through them now. March looks to be another busy month for Wonder Woman and the Amazons, so let’s see what the gang will be up to, starting with Wonder Woman itself:

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WONDER WOMAN #18
Written by GREG RUCKA
Art and cover by BILQUIS EVELY
Variant covers by JENNY FRISON
“GODWATCH” part two! Godwatch grows, and Diana has her first encounter with the ghost in the machine known as Dr. Cyber!
On sale MARCH 8 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

WONDER WOMAN #19
Written by GREG RUCKA
Art and cover by LIAM SHARP
Variant cover by JENNY FRISON
“The Truth” part three! Diana, Steve and Etta come face-to-face with their newest foes—the deadly group known as Poison! But what do they have to do with the plot to unravel Wonder Woman’s life?
On sale MARCH 22 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

We’ve got Dr. Cyber in one book and Poison (i.e. a group inspired by the classic Wonder Woman villain Dr. Poison) in another, giving us a greatest hits of iconic Wonder Woman villains. Throw in the Cheetah and they’re all doctors too, a web of villainy that reflects poorly on academia but makes for an enjoyable read nonetheless. One has to assume that Dr. Psycho will show up at some point and give us a quartet of dastardly doctors. Wonder Woman‘s been a fun book since Rucka and company relaunched it, and these March issues look like they should be a good time.

Onto Trinity:

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TRINITY #7
Written by FRANCIS MANAPUL
Art and cover by CLAY MANN
Variant cover by BILL SIENKIEWICZ
“DIVIDED WE FALL” prelude! America is divided! And now a hero has fallen and it may split the country even more. Can Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman stand against riots while defending a bigoted enemy? Don’t miss the beginning of an epic adventure that will test the ideals of our three heroes!
On sale MARCH 15 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

I’ve been enjoying this book thus far, but it’s got a lot less Francis Manapul art than I anticipated. It looked like he was going to be two on, one off, but that doesn’t seem to be the case now? Clay Mann is decent and all, but Manapul is AMAZING. He brings so much style and heart to the book. DC needs to set him up on a schedule without fill-ins. It’ll take a little longer, but the end result would be so gorgeous. Anyway, it looks like we’re on to a new arc here. I’m not totally sold on the premise, but we’ll see how the execution goes. The book’s been really good, so I’m optimistic.

Now some Bombshells:

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DC COMICS BOMBSHELLS #23
Written by MARGUERITE BENNETT
Art by MATIAS BERGARA, LAURA BRAGA and MIRKA ANDOLFO
Cover by MARGUERITE SAUVAGE
Wonder Woman is back! Take a quick trip to Themyscira where Wonder Woman and Supergirl are mourning the loss of Stargirl. Then, it’s back to the action in Zambesi as Wonder Woman crashes into the fight between the Bombshells and Cheetah, who’s leading the mechanical gods!
On sale MARCH 1 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T • DIGITAL FIRST

I don’t usually post the DC Comics Bombshells solicits, especially lately since Wonder Woman’s been on the backburner, but she’s front and center in this new issue and I wanted to remind everyone to mark it on their calendar and pick it up. This series is SO GOOD, and if you’ve not been reading it you’re really missing out. Plus it’s set to have a lot more Wonder Woman soon, which is even more exciting!

We’ve got some classic TV antics coming too:

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BATMAN ’66 MEETS WONDER WOMAN ’77 #3
Written by JEFF PARKER and MARC ANDREYKO
Art by DAVID HAHN and KARL KESEL
Cover by MICHAEL ALLRED
Among the world’s greatest secrets is the location of Paradise Island, mythic home of the legendary Amazon warrior women where no man may visit! But what about a BATman? In 1966, the search for Ra’s al Ghul’s trail heats up, and the Caped Crusaders fly to warn Wonder Woman that her hidden home is the villain’s goal!
On sale MARCH 22 • 32 pg, FC, 3 of 6, $3.99 US • RATED E • DIGITAL FIRST

Batman is going to Paradise Island and I can’t wait. What a fantastic premise, to send the 1960s Batman and Robin to the home of Amazons. This should be hilarious and delightful. I love that this series exists.

Finally, the adventures of the Amazons:

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THE ODYSSEY OF THE AMAZONS #3
Written by KEVIN GREVIOUX
Art and cover by RYAN BENJAMIN and RICHARD FRIEND
It’s Amazons versus Valkyries! Hessia and her warriors are closing in on the Storm Giants who are holding their comrades prisoner when a group of fierce Nordic female warriors misinterpret their intent and launch an all-out assault. Will even the Amazons’ new Viking allies be able to help them against these god-like beings?
On sale MARCH 15 • 32 pg, FC, 3 of 6, $3.99 US • RATED T+

I remain very much unsold on this mini-series, but the first issue isn’t even out yet so I’ll reserve judgment and hope for the best. The covers haven’t been giving me a lot to look forward to, and Storm Giants and Vikings and Valkyries sounds like a Thor rip-off but again, we’ll see. This could be a surprise treat. It’s got Amazons in it, after all! The potential is certainly there.

Look for all of these comics in March 2017! It’s going to be a busy one!

Wonder Woman #13 Review: A Steve Trevor Interlude Between “The Lies” and “The Truth”

December 28, 2016

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While the end of Greg Rucka and Liam Sharp’s “The Lies” arc didn’t end with a big surprise for readers, it was certainly a shock for Wonder Woman. By that point in the run, it was quite clear that the New 52 Paradise Island was being retconned as a fiction, given how drastically different everything about the Amazons was in Rucka and Nicola Scott’s “Year One,” so the reveal at the end of Wonder Woman #11 was somewhat obvious. But not for Wonder Woman. The knowledge that her memories of her home and her interactions with the Amazons over the past few years were all a lie and the realization that she’s never been back home since she left the first time seems to have shattered her. So with Wonder Woman out of commission, Steve Trevor takes over the narrative lead in this standalone issue that bridges “The Lies” and “The Truth.” We’ll dig into it momentarily, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

I am about to tell you EVERYTHING that happens in this issue!

Look away if you haven’t read it yet!

Get yourself a post-Christmas treat and go pick it up!

I’ve read a lot of Wonder Woman comic books and very few of them put the focus on Steve Trevor, largely because he’s always been a tricky character to make interesting. Part of the problem is that he’s usually next to Wonder Woman and she’s the best; it’s hard for any dude to look cool when compared to the amazingness of Wonder Woman. Steve’s not a bad character by any means, just a little generic and better in small doses. There’s no strong, compelling characterization of him, no real hook for readers to latch onto other than that he loves Wonder Woman. We all love Wonder Woman too so I suppose we’re all on the same page as Steve, but compared to other non-superhero romantic interests, like Lois Lane for example, he’s not so exciting.

Rucka and guest artist Renato Guedes’ solution to this problem is to make Steve Trevor a total bad ass, and it works pretty well. We’ve seen a tougher Steve throughout the New 52 era, leading special ops teams and whatnot, but much like his Wonder Woman adventures, he was often overshadowed by his superhero companions. Wonder Woman #13 is wholly without superheroes; Wonder Woman’s on the fritz, and it’s just Steve versus a revamped Dr. Poison leading an assault team to nab Diana. These are enemies that Steve can handle, and he does with aplomb.

The issue is nicely put together. Steve is stuck on a barren island in the middle of nowhere with no way to get off it (Wonder Woman was his ride home), and the Picket is compromised and Etta Candy’s on the run, so support from the mainland isn’t coming any time soon. He’s got to use what little he has to fight a well-trained assault troop, making use of his environment and his combat skills to do so. Rucka and Guedes give Steve some clever solutions out of these limited options, and watching him set up and execute his plan makes for a fun read. We’re often told that Steve is a good soldier, but Wonder Woman usually ends up doing most of the heavy lifting, so it’s cool to see how well he can handle things when he’s on his own.

It’s also great to see a new take on Dr. Poison. Her doctorate isn’t specified, but Marina Maru is clearly connected to the classic Golden Age character in some way, and she’s a pleasant change from the horrible take on the character we got during the Finches’ run on Wonder Woman. And with the reference to Maru poison in Wonder Woman #12, it seems that the Maru(s?) are set to play a key role in the story moving forward. Rucka is slyly assembling a team of Wonder Woman’s classic villains, and it should make for some good times as these new arcs begin.

Renato Guedes is a good fit for the story, and he illustrates the action well. There’s a lot more show than tell in Steve’s plans to fight the incoming soldiers, so instead of the text telling us what Steve is up to, Guedes draws it all and does an excellent job communicating what he’s getting up to. The subsequent action is clearly rendered and easy to follow, and his work makes for an enjoyable issue all around. Guedes’ artwork isn’t as lovely as Nicola Scott or Bilquis Evely’s, but his sharper lines and sharper tone are a good fit for a Steve Trevor story in the same way Scott and Evely match well with Wonder Woman.

All together, this was a fun outing, and puts us in an interesting spot to start “The Truth.” Wonder Woman is shut down, housed in a hospital in London, while Steve is set to track down Etta. “The Lies” was a slow, somewhat unexciting arc, not bad by any means but not great either. I’m curious to see what we get out of “The Truth,” and I’m hopeful that Rucka and Sharp will a) make the book more fun and compelling and b) actually give us some answers this time around. This interlude was a positive start, and I’m looking forward to where things go from here.


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