Today’s digital first issue of Sensation Comics was just straight up adorable. I love that this is a series that can do something as dark and gritty as Bechko and Hardman’s Apokalips story and then have something as cute and fun as Beukes and Maihack’s work here. It’s cool to get something different every week, and to see such a range of approaches to Wonder Woman. At the same time, I worry that this format isn’t great for sustained sales. There are lots of Sensation Comics stories that would be ideal for young readers, but also several that aren’t. Similarly, there’s edgier, darker stuff that adult readers might like but they may not enjoy the cuter, funnier stories. Plus the covers are never indicative of what’s inside; this Jae Lee cover is gorgeous, but this isn’t the story you would expect from a comic with this cover, at all. I realize that this is a problem inherent in all anthology books, I just hate that readers might be missing out on these great stories because not all of them are to their taste.
Anyway, enough rambling about the format. This was a great issue, start to finish, and anyone who’s not reading it is just depriving themselves of joy. Lauren Beukes’ story is so much fun. It starts with Wonder Woman fighting the Cheetah, Circe, and Medusa, who have turned Batman to stone and Superman into a pig. It’s classic superhero good times; at one point, Wonder Woman lassoes her invisible jet out of the sky and flings it at the Cheetah. It’s just rad. Then, the story takes an abrupt turn. Turns out, it’s just a little girl playing Wonder Woman with her older sister’s toys, and her sister doesn’t take kindly to her marking up a doll to make her look like the Cheetah. Mom makes the young girl clean the toys, but she soon bores of that and starts pretending she’s Wonder Woman flying in her invisible jet. When she saves her older sister from an angry dog, her older sister admits that she wanted to play with the toys too, and the story ends with them playing Wonder Woman together.
The issue is a cool twist on the usual fare we get from Sensation Comics, and reminds me a little bit of the Amy Chu/Bernard Chang story from a little while back where a soldier saves a fellow officer but thinks that Wonder Woman did it. Turning a superhero story into a real life story can be a tricky move to pull off, but both stories do it well and in totally different ways.
The art in the issue is a fantastic compliment to the story. Mike Maihack is perhaps known for his great Batgirl/Supergirl strips, and he brings that same style here to the superhero portion of the book. It’s action packed, the colours are bold, and the linework is strong and clean. When the issue shifts to the real world, everything changes slightly. It’s still definitely Maihack’s style, but the colours are softer, the linework is a little more rough, and the entire tone of the art becomes quieter and more relaxed. Both sections of the book are absolutely lovely, with Maihack excelling in both styles.
Stories like this are why Sensation Comics is so great. We’ve seen a billion Batman and Superman stories over the years, with all sorts of clever tricks and ideas. They’ve each had so many series, and thus so much space to explore and try different things. Wonder Woman hasn’t had that; for more than sixty years, she only had one book! It’s awesome to see creators getting to cut loose and mix it up with her now, and the results have been enjoyable across the board. Wonder Woman was long overdue for some cool innovation.
Finally, as a scheduling note, we’re set for new digital issues of Sensation Comics for the next two Thursdays at least; both are up fore pre-order now. Based on the cover, the print issue of this story should be out on March 18, though it’s solicited in the April issue. Thus far, stories have tended to accompany the cover they’re published with, so that’s the date I’m doing with. You should definitely pick it up! It’s a great one.