Wonder Woman #46 Review OR Dysfunctional Family Squabbling, Just In Time For Thanksgiving

November 25, 2015


So here’s the thing: Wonder Woman is not a good comic book right now. We all know this. Neither of the Finches are well suited for the book, and it’s just been a chore to read since they took it over. Trust me, I’ve read every issue. They’ve ranged from full on terrible to blandly bad. That being said, this issue definitely felt like Meredith Finch was really trying. The end result still wasn’t great, but you could see the effort. There were, at the very least, some potentially interesting ideas in the mix here, and that’s not something you can say about most of this run. We’ll get into it all, but first:


I am about to discuss ALL of the things that happened in this comic!!

If you have not read it, look away!!

Following up on the big reveal at the end of last month’s issue, the big bad behind Aegeus’ attempts to kill Wonder Woman and take her mantle of the god of war is Eirene, the god of peace. The initial explanation of the conflict is somewhat interesting: Wonder Woman hasn’t been a very war-like god of war, and it’s upsetting some kind of divine, cosmic balance, with Eirene bearing the brunt of it. Wonder Woman shirking her mantle is causing harm to Eirene.

What followed was a lengthy conversation on the nature of war. I feel like Meredith Finch was trying to be thought provoking here, but garnered very mixed results. I was actually intrigued by the first angle, a visit to a sweat shop with child labourers where Eirene explained that without the power of the god of war active in the world, the children had lost the will to revolt and fight back against their oppressors. That’s kind of a cool idea, and one I would’ve liked to see explored further. It was less about war itself than about a fighting spirit, something Wonder Woman could definitely get behind. She may not be a fan of outright warfare, but people standing up for themselves is her kind of thing.

But instead of delving into that, Eirene ramped up into different scenarios and took on more of a distinctly villainous vibe. Whenever someone starts talking about “the beauty and tragic glory of war” and “war in all its bloody, beautiful glory,” you know they’re on the bad guy side of things. Eirene tried to explain that peace needs war, that a lack of war doesn’t automatically create peace but that war is a necessary exercise for then creating peace, a balance that perpetually tips back and forth. Wonder Woman rightly decided that Eirene had gone off her rocker, and they punched it out for a while. Poor Eirene was pretty hung up on Ares, and seems to have gone a little bit crazy after his death.

This whole discussion took up more than half the book, which really isn’t particularly interesting comic booking. In the end, it all just felt like a pretense for Zeke to use his powers to bring back Ares and Apollo, as well as Donna Troy, who got shot and turned into stone last month. Apparently Donna is the new Fate now, because the Fates are dead, and the gods are immortal again or something. That part all kind of unspooled quickly without much in the way of detailed and/or sensible explanation.

The annoying part is, they were on to something kind of cool here. Wonder Woman fighting with a crazed, war-hungry deity is pretty old hat, but exploring a more nuanced take on war that would force Wonder Woman to confront her lack of engagement with her divine status could have been interesting. I mean, it’s a comic book; we want the punching and the action and whatnot. It’s a staple of the genre. Thoughtful re-examinations of one’s choices don’t bring that so much. It’s a lot easier when Wonder Woman’s opponent is clearly crazed and villainous and they can just duke it out. Nonetheless, I feel like the Finches let an intriguing idea slip away here.

I will say this: the book did a lot of heavy lifting in twenty pages. Donna’s alive again, we know all about Eirene and how she’s wacky for war, Ares and Apollo are back. The latter is particularly significant, because the obvious question now is with Ares back, what does that mean for Wonder Woman’s god of war status? And with Apollo back, what does that mean for Hera’s rule on Olympus, since last time we saw him he’d seized the throne? There’s a bunch of new stuff in play. I’m not optimistic that it will pan out to be anything interesting or fun to read, but things happened and big changes are afoot. There have been several issues of this run where it seemed like nothing really happened at all, so all of this activity is something at least.

Ultimately, this was yet another not great issue of Wonder Woman. Things happened, but they weren’t all that exciting, and some potentially interesting stuff quickly fell by the wayside. I got more out of it than most of their previous issues, though; I was slightly less bored than usual. Nonetheless, the book is still a long, long, long way from good, and Wonder Woman’s New 52 incarnation is absolutely crying out for a revamp.

The Legend of Wonder Woman #3 Review: It’s Out Early This Week!

November 24, 2015


In a special American Thanksgiving treat for the whole world, The Legend of Wonder Woman #3 is out two days early this week. Thanks, America! The folks at DC wisely figured that folks might be busy eating piles of turkey and not be able to get to comic book fun, so they put the book out on Tuesday. This series is fast becoming one of my favourite books, so I’m all for the change. Though now it means I’ll have to wait nine days for the fourth issue! Dang.

And things are getting awesome, too. Diana’s got a weapon! She’s going to learn to fight! But all of the fighting in this issue was done by Alcippe; Diana is still just a girl with the heart of a warrior, but none of the skills yet. Plus, even the most hardened warrior would have a tough job with a manticore! That thing’s got an acid stinger.

Renae De Liz has building to this dark creature over the course of her first three issues, with Diana sensing a dark presence on Themyscira. The Amazons and even her mother dismissed her concerns, but we the readers knew she was onto something; it helps that we know she’s going to become Wonder Woman, and are thus inclined to trust her. And now we’ve got a look at the darkness, or a small part thereof. I’m curious to see if the battle against the dark fog runs through the entire book, or will just be an arc. Either way, I am intrigued, and looking forward to Diana and her new pal Alcippe getting to the heart of what’s behind it.

We had a peek at Alcippe last week, training some of her fellow Amazons and busting them up quite handily. We don’t know much about her yet, and she’s got a bit of a stoic warrior vibe, but what do know says a lot. First, she keeps a watch on things; Diana snuck out of the city slyly, but when things went bad, Alcippe was there right away. She’s vigilant. No other Amazons showed up, and it seems that many of her sisters are complacent in their island life. Second, she believes Diana because she also feels the darkness on this island. Alcippe is in tune with their world, and also wise enough to listen recognize that in Diana, even though she’s just a kid.

As for Diana, she’s learning a lot too. Going out to explore the island was bold, but she was also not yet equipped to handle what she found. She tried to use her royal power to force Alcippe to train her, but when that failed she learned that she didn’t need to throw her title around, only to show who she was and the truth of her feelings. A lot of these first few issues seems to be about how Diana’s destiny lies outside of the royal palace of Themyscira.

The story is moving along, and very enjoyably so, but let’s talk about De Liz’s art for a moment. She draws a wonderful, magical Themyscira, an adorably fierce Diana, and varied, strong Amazons, but she’s also got some clever moves. The scene with the manticore, specifically the beginning, is really nicely done, first with the blackness taking over the page, and then with the manticore’s disembodied head appearing. He looks so calm and serene, and at first I was intrigued rather than concerned; I thought this might be a deity with a message for Diana or some such. But nope, De Liz quickly transitions into a full reveal and it’s a monster. I loved how that scene unfolded.

So basically, you should definitely be reading this book, if not online than in print when it starts this January. It’s so much fun, and exactly the kind of Wonder Woman book I want to read. The next digital issue will be out next Thursday, while the print edition is in stores January 13. Get on it!

Wonder Woman #46 Preview OR The God of War vs. The God of Peace

November 23, 2015

Wonder Woman #46 comes out this Wednesday, online and in comic shops, continuing what has been a rather underwhelming arc thus far. This demigod dude named Aegeus has been trying to kill Wonder Woman and take her god of war mantle, but now he’s realized that that’s a terrible idea and wants Wonder Woman to help him escape the wrath of his benefactor, Eirene, the god of peace. DC has released a preview for the issue, so let’s take a look:






First off, that’s a terrible cover. Just ugly and rough looking and not at all pleasant. Covers are what sell the book to casual readers, and a cover like that would turn off any interest I had in the comic.

But hold on to your hats, gang, because I’m going to say something shocking: I think there’s a really clever idea in this preview. I like the notion that Diana, by not fully exercising her powers as the god of war, is harming Eirene, the god of peace, like she’s upset a balance and Eirene is bearing the brunt of it. That’s a cool idea. I have no faith that the creative team will handle it well, but it’s an interesting angle and one that’s fitting for the book. Ever since Wonder Woman’s become the god of war, she’s really not done anything with the new title, and now it seems that this has had repercussions. It could also explain future solicits where it looks like Ares is coming back. So yeah, I’m mildly curious? What a bizarre situation to be in.

Wonder Woman #46 is on sale this Wednesday! Maybe look for the Looney Tunes variant cover on this one, though.

The Wonder Woman Movie Cast Was Just Announced, So Let’s Speculate

November 21, 2015


Now it’s REALLY official. We got some leaked pictures from the set of Wonder Woman a few days back thanks to Saïd Taghmaoui, but now Warner Bros. has put out the official press release for the film that unveils the cast and the fact that it is now shooting. The press release also came with this new photo of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, shown above. I still really don’t like that tiara, and the whole image is a little gloomy, but who cares? They’re making a Wonder Woman movie!

Let’s run through the announced cast, and speculate on who they’re playing because the press release doesn’t give us much information. They tell us that Chris Pine is playing Steve Trevor, which we all knew anyway, but Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor are the only ones attached to characters so far. So it’s time to speculate! First up, Robin Wright:



Robin Wright is an acclaimed actress best known for The Princess Bride and, more recently, House of Cards. My best guess is that she’s playing the role Nicole Kidman was rumoured for, which was supposedly an Amazon warrior. But since that rumour wasn’t correct, maybe the part is off too. Wright might be playing Queen Hippolyta, or perhaps a goddess, though she could be a fun Circe, too; Circe’s come up in a lot of rumours surrounding the film so far.

Next up, Danny Huston:



Danny Huston’s been in all sorts of things, including another superhero franchise with X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and films like 21 Grams and Children of Men. I’m guessing he’s playing Ares, the role Sean Bean was reportedly up for, though again that rumour didn’t pan out either. This is why I keep saying don’t listen to rumours! I could also see Huston as Zeus. Or maybe a military guy, like Steve Trevor’s boss or something.

Also in the film, David Thewlis:

David Thewlis

It’s Lupin from Harry Potter! Thewlis has also been in films like The Theory of Everything and Kingdom of Heaven. He could make for an interesting Ares, or perhaps a Hermes, depending on how many deities are in play.

Next, Ewen Bremner:

edinburgh film festival 150807

Bremner’s known for films like Trainspotting and Snowpiercer. He tends to look a bit sketchy, so I could see him in a bad guy role, but since plot details are so tightly under wraps it’s hard to know who might be involved.

And now our favourite photographer, Saïd Taghmaoui:


Taghmauoi has been in movies like American Hustle and The Kite Runner. Based on the photo he put out, he looks to be playing an old school gentlemanly sort, though I suppose he might be a god in disguise or some such.   A French language interview with Taghmaoui sort of sounds like he’s playing a superhero, but that’s through Google Translate so don’t put a ton of stock in that.

Finally onto another lady, Elena Anaya:


Anaya is a Spanish actress probably best known to English speaking audiences for her role in Van Helsing. She could be playing Circe, instead of the rumoured Eva Green, yet another scoop that didn’t pan out. She could also be a goddess or an Amazon; given that she’s a slightly exotic choice, I don’t see her as a random American or some such.

And now the last cast member announced, Lucy Davis:

BritWeek 2009 Champagne VIP Reception

Davis is a British actress famous for Shaun of the Dead and the original, British version of The Office. She’s quite funny, so perhaps she’s playing a version of Etta Candy, either a distant relative in the past or her current incarnation; the movie is rumoured to cover different time periods. If Wonder Woman spends any time in the UK, perhaps Davis will be a friend of some sort, or she could just be an Amazon. “Amazon” is a fair guess for any woman involved, really.

So that’s all we know so far, casting-wise. A bunch of names of people who will definitely be in the movie, but only speculation about who they may be playing. It’s an interesting cast, with a lot of solid character actors though not many big names. Hopefully more details will come out soon; knowing the characters will give us a bit of an idea about the plot.

Here’s the full press release for Wonder Woman, with all of the cast listed and a lot of behind the scenes folks as well:

BURBANK, Calif.— Principal photography is underway on Warner Bros. Pictures’ Wonder Woman feature film, the highly anticipated action adventure from director Patty Jenkins (“Monster,” AMC’s “The Killing”), starring Gal Gadot (the “Fast & Furious” movies) in the role of Diana Prince/Wonder Woman. The character will make her big screen debut this spring in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” but the new film will mark her first time headlining a feature.

The film also stars Chris Pine (the “Star Trek” films) as Captain Steve Trevor, Robin Wright (“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” Netflix’s “House of Cards”), Danny Huston (“Clash of the Titans,” “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”), David Thewlis (the “Harry Potter” films, “The Theory of Everything”), Ewen Bremner (“Exodus: Gods and Kings,” “Snowpiercer”), Saïd Taghmaoui (“American Hustle”), Elena Anaya (“The Skin I Live In”) and Lucy Davis (“Shaun of the Dead”).

The film is being produced by Charles Roven, Zack Snyder and Deborah Snyder, with Richard Suckle, Stephen Jones, Wesley Coller, Geoff Johns and Rebecca Roven serving as executive producers.

Joining Jenkins behind the camera are director of photography Matthew Jensen (“Chronicle,” “Fantastic Four,” HBO’s “Game of Thrones”), Oscar-nominated production designer Aline Bonetto (“Amélie,” “A Very Long Engagement,” “Pan”), and Oscar-winning editor Martin Walsh (“Chicago,” “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit,” “V for Vendetta”), and Oscar-winning costume designer Lindy Hemming (“The Dark Knight” trilogy, “Topsy-Turvy”).

Principal photography will take place on location in the UK, France and Italy.

Set to open in 2017, the Wonder Woman feature film is based on characters created by William Moulton Marston, appearing in comic books published by DC Entertainment. It will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

The Legend of Wonder Woman #2 Review OR There’s Kangas in this One! KANGAS!

November 19, 2015


I am all about this series, gang. It’s the kind of Wonder Woman book I’ve been wanting to read for I don’t even know how long. The Legend of Wonder Woman is classic and iconic but fresh and new, and the slow build of focusing on Diana’s childhood in these early issues is so much fun; it’s a period of Wonder Woman’s life that’s often been ignored, except for Wonder Girl’s adventures in the Silver Age. Renae De Liz and Ray Dillon are capturing the mythological wonder of those old stories, which were chock full of Diana facing off against magical beasts, but in a cohesive, contemporary way. It is so my jam.

But even more interesting than the mythological fun is the relationship between Diana and Hippolyta. De Liz has set up a Themyscira that is, in many ways, dependent on the gods. The Amazons live in Themyscira because the gods allow them to, and the gods are why Hippolyta and a select group of Amazons are immortal. This is a fascinating dynamic, because that’s kind of a messed up way to live. The gods seem like okay folks so far, but historically speaking they tend to be rather capricious. That’s not such a big deal for Hippolyta personally, because she’s immortal. If the gods turn on her, she’ll probably be okay. But she’s the queen of the mortal Amazons, and even more significant, the mother of a currently mortal daughter. Thus she’s very inclined to tow the line, for her people but especially for her daughter in hopes that one day the gods will grant her immortality as well.

As such, Hippolyta is pretty strict with Diana in this issue. Diana wants to learn “dead” languages like English and Mandarin, but Hippolyta wants her to focus on the languages of the various creatures who reside on Themyscira. Diana wants to learn how to fight like a warrior, but Hippolyta wants her to focus skills that will help her rule peacefully when she becomes queen. All of this is to maintain the status quo the gods desire, and to ensure that the gods are pleased with Diana and grant her immortality. There’s a sort of cold distance to Hippolyta in her interactions with Diana here, but it’s all a cover for the warmth and love at the core of Hippolyta. She clearly loves Diana more than anything, and wants her to be safe.   And nothing is safer than immortality.

But Diana doesn’t even know if she wants to be immortal, a revelation that shakes Hippolyta. In trying to protect Diana, she’s pigeonholed her into a life she doesn’t enjoy. Part of it is that kids will naturally want what they aren’t allowed to have; parenting is a tricky scene that way. But part of it is that Diana is different than her mother. She sees and feels their home in a different way, and wants to explore and know it all, as well as be prepared to protect it, rather than staying trapped within the confines of the city walls. Diana seems meant for something more than just being a queen.

Things get super fun after the heavy emotions of the opening scene. Amazons do combat training on kangas, which is a Golden Age throwback blast. Then Diana sneaks out of the city and encounters all kinds of cool things, from water nymphs to golden stags to griffins and giants. It’s all rad and gorgeous, and I love the direction it’s going. I can’t wait for next week to see Diana interact with them all. But what’s special about The Legend of Wonder Woman so far is the heart of it. While I’m all about mythological creatures, and I’d be happy with just that, De Liz has set up a unique, interesting world and a complicated mother/daughter relationship that drives the story and gives it real stakes.

Anyway, this book is great. There’s kangas! But it’s also shaping up to be one of the best examinations of Diana and Hippolyta’s relationship that we’ve seen. Capturing both fun and heart is a tricky balance, but De Liz and Dillon are doing so with aplomb. It’s been delightful thus far, and I’m excited to see where it all goes. You can buy this second digital on Comixology now, and it will be available in print form this January.

Wonder Woman’s February 2016 Covers and Solicits

November 18, 2015

DC’s February 2016 solicits went up on Monday, and it looks to be a fairly busy month for Wonder Woman, with all of her usual series plus a special and a couple of team books. It’s been good to see Wonder Woman having an increased presence across the DC universe lately, even if her two mainline titles have been not so great. Let’s take a look at what Wonder Woman will be up to this February, starting with Wonder Woman #49:


Art and cover by DAVID FINCH and SCOTT HANNA
Variant cover by NEAL ADAMS
Wonder Woman Triptych variant cover by • KIM JUNG GI
On sale FEBRUARY 17 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
Wonder Woman confronts what the return of Ares and Apollo will mean for her, and how it will impact her role as the God of War.

The return of Ares and Apollo is a surprise, but also not a surprise at all once you think about it. They’re gods. They never go away for good. Their return could really shake things up, both for Wonder Woman as the God of War and for Hera controlling Olympus, though neither of these things have been a huge part of the book as of late. In fun news, Wonder Woman’s back in her old costume! Hopefully that’s a change that sticks. Her new one outfit was not great.

Next up is Superman/Wonder Woman #26:


Written by PETER J. TOMASI
Cover by ED BENES
Variant cover by NEAL ADAMS
Superman Triptych variant cover by KIM JUNG GI
On sale FEBRUARY 17 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
“Savage Dawn” continues! Suffering a terrible loss, Wonder Woman comes to the aid of the Kryptonite-charged Man of Steel to face the terror of the twins of Vandal Savage!

I didn’t know that Vandal Savage had twins. I must be out of the Vandal Savage loop. He’s always been a weird character for me. He sounds cool; an immortal dude constantly trying to take over the world and such. That should be fun. But I’ve yet to read a really good Vandal Savage story. Anyway, his twins are in this one and Superman’s all jacked up with Kryptonite and, if EVERY issue of this series that has come out already is any indication, this probably won’t be terribly good.

And now, a comic that is fantastic, The Legend of Wonder Woman #2:


Written by RENAE DE LIZ
On sale FEBRUARY 10 • 40 pg, FC, 2 of 9, $3.99 US • RATED T • DIGITAL FIRST
As their training sessions grow more intense, Alcippe teaches Diana about life as well as battle while the island they both love continues its fall. When the festival of Anthesteria dawns, so too does the possibility of an Amazonian revolt against Queen Hippolyta!

We’re only one issue into this book, digitally, but DANG it’s so good. And it looks like there’s a ton of fun stuff coming up as well. It’s a fresh take on Wonder Woman that’s iconic and true to her roots, and the first issue knocked it out of the park. I’m so excited for the second digital issue to come out tomorrow! This is going to be gorgeous in print, too. Definitely add this series to your pull list, gang.

Wonder Woman also looks to be playing a key role in Justice League: Darkseid War Special #1:


Written by GEOFF JOHNS
Variant cover by NEAL ADAMS
Batman triptych variant cover by KIM JUNG GI
On sale FEBRUARY 17 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
The massive “Darkseid War” epic continues to set the stages for the future of the DC Universe as we reveal the secrets behind its newest major player: Darkseid’s daughter, Grail! And if the Justice League is not careful, the spoils of war will all end up with her! See the truth behind Grail’s role in this war and the future of the DC Universe as she tears her way across it. Don’t miss this extra-sized special offered at the regular price of $3.99!

This Darkseid War situation has been going on for ages! I don’t know much about it, but I do know that Darkseid’s daughter Grail is half-Amazon, and that Wonder Woman supposedly has played a decent-sized role throughout the event. I’m actually looking forward to reading it all once it’s collected; Jason Fabok’s been doing most of the art, and he draws a fantastic Wonder Woman. If you’ve been keeping up with the main Justice League book, be sure to pick up this special.

Elsewhere at DC, Wonder Woman is part of the team in Bryan Hitch’s Justice League of America #8, she’s fighting World War Two with some other lady superheroes in the wonderful DC Comics Bombshells #9, and Donna Troy is a regular part of Titans Hunt #5.

Look for all of these books this February, online and in comic shops everywhere! If you’re on a budget, I’d recommend the digital-first books above the rest; both The Legend of Wonder Woman and DC Comics Bombshells are excellent, enjoyable showcases for Wonder Woman.

Women in Comics Statistics: DC and Marvel, September 2015 In Review

November 17, 2015


My latest “Gendercrunching” column went up last week over at Bleeding Cool, and the Big Two went in different directions in September after last month’s highs for female creators.

DC fell three percentage points to 13.1% female creators, a relatively solid total for DC when compared to their past few years but a big drop from August. Marvel ticked up slightly, rising 0.4% to 17.2% female creators overall, their highest total since I began keeping track of these numbers four years ago.

We also check in with four smaller publishers, three of which really put these Big Two totals into perspective. Avatar continued to do poorly, coming in at 0% for the third year in a row, but the rest of the publishers did quite well. Oni Press had 20% female creators, Titan had 22.5%, and Zenescope had 22%. Those are good numbers, and they completely blow DC and Marvel out of the water. The low 20% range is still very much a minority, of course, but when compared to the rest of the industry these three publishers are doing well in terms of representation.

Head on over to Bleeding Cool for more stats fun, including the breakdowns by category and more context for each publisher!


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