First off, how was this not the Gilbert Hernandez story? I’ve been looking forward to the Hernandez story since it was announced months ago, and it’s scheduled for the print edition next week. Maybe that’s when we’ll finally get it, in print first. Who knows? This week’s digital first story isn’t scheduled to be published in print until January, which just seems bizarre. I’ve never followed a digital series before, so this scheduling strikes me as rather odd, but oh well. We’re getting a new Wonder Woman story every week, and that’s the important thing.
While I may have been disappointed with the lack of Gilbert Hernandez this week, my spirits were quickly buoyed by finding a Wonder Woman/Big Barda team up instead. Big Barda is one of my favourite characters of all time, and I think that she pairs perfectly with Wonder Woman. They’re both bad ass warriors, but Wonder Woman leans towards the brain a bit more while Barda leans toward the brawn. Of all the awesome ladies in the DC Comics universe, these two are the last ones you’d ever want to cross.
Adam P. Knave has written a very fun story and jam packed it with action, as one should do with a Wonder Woman/Barda team up. I’ve mentioned before that the constant team ups in Sensation Comics are wearing on me a bit because I’d like the book to be more of a showcase for Wonder Woman, but Knave does it right. He doesn’t waste any time explaining who Barda or flashbacking to her origin for a page or two. She’s just there, she’s tall, and she likes busting things up, and that’s all we need to know. Her inclusion in the story doesn’t take away from Wonder Woman; instead, the contrast between them highlights what is great about both characters, and the story is ultimately a fantastic showcase for Wonder Woman.
While on their way to an interview with Lois Lane, Wonder Woman and Barda get sidetracked by an explosion at the Museum of Alternate energy. Barda throws herself wholly into taking down the robot gorillas they find inside, and while Wonder Woman does her fair share of robot wrecking, she also tries to piece together who is behind the attack. When she finds the villain Brain and his gorilla pal, Mallah, Wonder Woman shows why she’s such a fantastic hero. While Barda and Mallah fight in the background, Wonder Woman talks to the Brain and gets to the heart of why he’s there. Rather than taking him out, she offers him assistance for his problem if he surrenders, and he accepts. I’m always on board for a story where Wonder Woman, one of the best fighters in superhero history, tries to find a peaceful solution before she throws a punch.
The story is amusing and well paced, packing the short length with action and fun. Knave’s strong writing is complimented by Matthew Dow Smith’s art, which reminded me of a mix of Michael Lark and Tommy Lee Edwards, two of my favourite artists. At first glance, the art seems to have a rough quality, but it tells the story well. It’s unconventional art for a superhero book, but it’s a style that really works for me.
I also enjoyed colorist Rex Lokus’ choice to colour Wonder Woman’s New 52 costume with more traditional Wonder Woman colours. The gold metal adds warmth to the outfit that I find is often missing with the New 52’s silver, and the new costume still looks good with the colours changed. Lokus’ colours throughout the issue are excellent, melding well with the art to make a very good looking comic book.
“Not Included” was a fun read, and a great team up of two of the best female characters of all time. If you’re only getting the paper versions of Sensation Comics, this story won’t be out until January, so you’ve got a bit of a wait ahead of you. But mark it on your calendar! It’s a team up with Wonder Woman and Big Barda. You’re gonna want to pick that up.