Posts Tagged ‘Aaron Lopresti’

Wonder Woman #73 Review: Through a Glass Darkly

June 26, 2019


I love an alternate universe. Whether it’s slight changes in a different dimension or a full on evil mirror universe, I’m instantly intrigued. I am here for bizarre multiverse fun all day long. However, alternate universes haven’t been great for Wonder Woman. I’ve never been a big fan of the evil Earth Three, the Crime Syndicate, or Superwoman. The characters are so evil as to not be interesting. And Flashpoint Wonder Woman wasn’t much fun either, what with the weird design and the Amazons’ unnecessary invasion of the UK. It just didn’t live up to the exciting potential an alternate universe represents.

This issue does, though. It’s great to have some past Wonder Woman favourites back for this issue, and Steve Orlando and Aaron Lopresti do smart work by keeping things small. An alternate universe is a big idea, and the impulse always seems to be to make the story huge and expansive, even cosmic at times. But here, the alternate universe is contained. It’s not part of a massive multiverse, it’s a manifestation of Queen Hippolyta’s imagination as she observes the sort of queen she could be if she gave into her darker inclinations. It’s all internal, meant only as an opportunity for self-reflection until a young Diana gets curious and stumbles into it. Then things get messy. We’ll dig into it all, but first:


Look away if you have not yet read this issue!

Also, you should read it!

You don’t even need to be caught up on the current arc!

It’s largely a standalone tale!

Hippolyta’s dark universe comes with an evil version of herself and a group of Amazons bent on conquest and aggression rather than peace and love, so it’s no wonder that the two queens don’t get alone. Or rather, the queen and the empress. These Amazons appear to rule an empire. When the queen’s attempts at diplomacy fail, unsurprisingly, we then get a series of trials to decide who is the superior Hippolyta. It’s all super fun.

And exactly what I expected from Steve Orlando. His past issues of Wonder Woman have demonstrated a deep appreciation for the history of the Wonder Woman mythos and an understanding of how what is powerful and meaningful about the character can intertwine with the sometimes outlandish aspects of her comic book past. This issue gives us so many classic references, from an awesome chariot race with kangas to an invisible jet contest to an iconic bout of bullets and bracelets. Then, just as the last trial is set to begin, Themyscira is invaded by Atomia, the Queen of Atom World.

Atomia is not one of Wonder Woman’s better known villains. She’s only appeared in a couple of regular issues, and was part of Kurt Busiek and Trina Robbins’s 1986 The Legend of Wonder Woman mini-series. But she’s a classic Golden Age foe who debuted in Wonder Woman #21 way back in 1947. This was a period in which Wonder Woman’s creator William Moulton Marston was quite ill and the bulk of his writing was being done by his assistant, Joye Murchison, and she wrote this issue. We can see Atomia here drawn by H.G. Peter, with Wonder Woman and the Holliday Girls all tied up, as per usual in the Golden Age:


It’s another great deep cut from Orlando, and Lopresti and inker Matt Ryan bring the scene to life with a very cool update of Atomia and her various minions. Together they all capture a wonderful, modern take on old school Golden Age fun.

And more importantly, it’s all in service of a good story that digs into the heart of Diana and Hippolyta. Diana is locked up for most of the issue, but when she hears the battle and people screaming she’s compelled to break free and go help. Even at this young age, she’s still the hero we all know and love, and by saving the imperial Amazon realm she not only earns freedom for her and her mother, she also gets to offer Atomia mercy where Empress Hippolyta would have only offered destruction. Defending others and understanding your enemy are values Diana learned from her mother, and that she’s able to hold to them in the dangerous crucible of this evil dimension speaks to how well Hippolyta taught her.

For Hippolyta, we get a sense of her dedication to her role, and how she struggles to do what is best for her people. Empress Hippolyta is her mirror, a way for her to analyze her own actions and see how her choices would play out if she went a different direction. The empire is violent and cruel, yet one key divergence still seems to weigh on the queen. Empress Hippolyta has no daughter, and lives only for her Amazon sisters. As her opposite, Queen Hippolyta wonders if she was selfish to have Diana, and whether that choice was best for the Amazons. Then Diana swooping in to save the day demonstrated the wonder that she has become, and how she embodies everything that is right and good about the Amazons. It’s a nice moment of reflection that captures the bond between Hippolyta and Diana while also underscoring the loneliness Diana must be feeling in the current ongoing arc and explaining the desperation she has to find her lost family.

Lopresti and Ryan do good work throughout the issue, making the Chi Dimension feel different than the standard take on Themyscira. And whoever decided that Empress Hippolyta should be blonde made the right call. Otherwise, this issue could have been very confusing! It’s fun to have Lopresti pop by Wonder Woman again. He paired well with writer Gail Simone back in the day, and earned himself a spot in the pantheon of modern Wonder Woman artists. It was also enjoyable to have an issue drawn by the same art team throughout after the mishmash we’ve had over the past couple of issues. Double shipping, gang. It’s the pits.

I’m curious to see how this tale of Diana’s past will influence the present. We know if this dimension exists, then Hippolyta is still alive. But what will our intrepid heroes find when they enter this dark alternate universe? Is this where the Amazons are hiding? We’ll know more in two weeks’ time!


Wonder Woman’s January 2016 Covers and Solicits

October 26, 2015

Even though Sensation Comics is set to end in December, there’ll be no lull in Wonder Woman fun with a new digital first series set to take its place beginning in January. That, plus Wonder Woman’s usual outings, make for a busy month for the amazing Amazon. It’s also an even split, with two mainline series and two out of continuity books, so if you’re not into the New 52 Wonder Woman than you’ve got some good options. Let’s take a look at what Wonder Woman is up to this January, starting with Wonder Woman #48:


Adult Coloring Book Variant cover by EMANUELA LUPACCHINO
On sale JANUARY 20 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
A mysterious illness that could affect all of Olympus strikes its first victim: Baby Zeke! Can Wonder Woman find the cure in time? It’s the start of a new quest that will redefine the God of War!

Here’s what bums me out: “It’s the start of a new quest.” I assume that means that the Finches are going to be around for at least another arc of remarkably subpar stories. I have no idea what DC is thinking here, especially with Wonder Woman set to make her film debut in March. This book deserves a marquee creative team doing a fun, exciting book, not this jumbled mess of a series. It just seems like bad business. Though I’m also just sad for myself to have to keep reviewing this god awful book for a few more months.

Next up, Superman/Wonder Woman #25:


Written by PETER J. TOMASI
Cover by ED BENES
Adult Coloring Book Variant cover by AARON LOPRESTI
On sale JANUARY 20 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
“The Savage Dawn” continues! Diana presents a badly wounded Superman to the Greek Gods to see if they will restore him to his former self. But before they can decide, they first must determine if he is truly worthy.

Hey, people from Wonder Woman’s corner of the universe are actually going to be in Superman/Wonder Woman! The whole gods determining if someone is worthy scene does sound like a bit of a cliché, but it’ll be nice to have this not just be another Superman book for a change.

A new digital first series debuts with The Legend of Wonder Woman #1:


Written by RENAE DE LIZ
1:25 Variant cover by DUSTIN NGUYEN
On sale JANUARY 13 • 40 pg, FC, 1 of 9 $3.99 US • RATED T DIGITAL FIRST
A new WONDER WOMAN 9-issue miniseries begins here with a story written and pencilled by Renae De Liz (The Last Unicorn)! In the beginning there was only chaos. But Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons, saw a better future—and eventually, her daughter would be destined to bring that new world to life! Before her ultimate fate unfolds, though, Diana of Themyscira must learn the important lessons of an Amazonian childhood!

I am so excited for this! It sounds amazing: Renae De Liz is fantastic, it’s out of continuity, and it’s young Diana out having adventures. I am ten million percent on board. Plus it’s going to be nine print issues! When it was first announced, it sounded like it would be nine digital issues, but no. Nine print, so 27 digital issues; that’s a solid half year of Wonder Woman fun! This lessens the pain of losing Sensation Comics considerably.

Wonder Woman is also front and center in DC Comics Bombshells #8:


Cover by ANT LUCIA
On sale JANUARY 6 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
Now serving on the side of the Allies as part of the Amanda Waller’s Bombshells program, Supergirl and Stargirl wonder if they still are being used as instruments of propaganda. Meanwhile, mythological creatures and the undead legions of Tenebrus attack the Allied forces, bringing Wonder Woman into the fray. Can she count on the newest Bombshells to help?

This book is just delightful. I love everything that Bennett and the great art team are doing with all of these female characters in the World War Two setting. It’s so much fun to read. They’ve taken something as simple as a novelty variant cover line and turned it into something huge and expansive and enjoyable. It’s really quite impressive.

Wonder Woman’s also got a role in Justice League #48 and Justice League of America #7 in January, and Donna Troy is in Titans Hunt #4. Look for all of these books in the New Year, and be especially sure to check out The Legends of Wonder Woman. The only way we get more cool Wonder Woman books like this is if we buy them when they come out, so we need to be all over this, gang.

Colouring Book Variant Covers For Wonder Woman’s January 2016 Comics

October 19, 2015

I’m not even sure how this is going to work, but DC Comics’ newest monthly variant cover theme is adult colouring book pages for their January 2016 comics. Adult colouring books are all the rage now, and DC’s gotten their artists to draw covers particularly suited for colouring; it’s not just regular comic art without colour, but rather art specifically drawn for colouring. It’s more linework than shading, and there’s lots of outlined details for us to meticulously colour in.

My aforementioned trepidation is multifaceted. What’s the paper going to be like? I like a colouring book with decent, thick pages. Also, is this going to mess up the comics? Like if I’m digging in deep with my coloured pencils to get a solid red in Wonder Woman’s tiara, am I going to have a star indent in the first few pages of my comic? The mechanics of it have me wary, yet I’m also intrigued because colouring is a blast. Unlike most normal people, I just never stopped colouring. I’m not a bandwagon jumper on this fad; I have been a regular colourer for thirty years now, I just had to use kid books a lot. Now there are more options, which is super fun, including these upcoming covers featuring Wonder Woman.

First up, is the variant for Wonder Woman #48 by Emanuela Lupacchino:


I LOVE this. It’s so cool. I’m a huge fan of Emanuela Lupacchino generally, and this piece is especially gorgeous. The tweaks to the costume are fun, and her Wonder Woman looks both fierce and lovely. It also looks like a great colouring page, with a lot going on in the costume and some good balance with a background that’s not too sparse or too busy. I’m definitely going to pick this up.

Next up, Aaron Lopresti on Superman/Wonder Woman #25:


This one’s only okay for me. The characters look fine, but they’re a little bit bare. I’ve coloured Superman about a million times in my life, and apart from getting the “S” shield just right, it’s kind of dull; filling in all of that blue gets old quick. The background is jam-packed in that style folks seem to be into with the current spate of adult colouring books, but personally it’s not my jam. I like to colour things, not patterns.

Wonder Woman also appears on the cover of Justice League #48 by Scott Kolins:


We get to colour all of the Justice League! That’s fun. I’m not a huge Kolins fan, and the background is a little sparse, but I like that his linework is such that it’ll be easier to do some shading and colour variation.

Wonder Woman’s on the cover of Justice League of America #8 as well, by Cullen Bunn:


I like this one even better! The artwork is more my preferred style, and it hits a good level of detail for potential colouring. The background will probably get tedious and will take real commitment to finish, but it’s doable. If I got this cover, I’d probably mix it up with weird colours to fill them all in, just for fun.

Look for all of these variant covers this January, and as always with these variant covers be sure to talk to your local comic shop ahead of time if you want to reserve a specific one. And, of course, post pictures of your covers once you’ve coloured them in!

DC’s Fresh And Contemporary New Minis To Be Written By 60 Year Old White Guys

July 6, 2015


First things first, Amy Chu is fantastic. She’s writing a new Poison Ivy mini-series for DC Comics as part of a new line of minis that are set to debut in 2016, and she is the perfect choice of writer to do a fresh and contemporary take on the character, which is what DC claims they’re aiming for with this line. Chu’s an experienced writer outside of the Big Two with a lot of interesting credits, and she should bring a cool, new perspective to an old character and to the world of superheroes in general. Smart move, DC, and yay, Amy Chu!

But now onto the other seven titles. DC’s co-publisher Dan DiDio told USA Today that the goal of these minis is to “freshen up and contemporize” these characters, so let’s take a look at the titles:

  • Swamp Thing by Len Wein
  • Metal Men by Len Wein
  • Raven by Marv Wolfman
  • Firestorm by Gerry Conway
  • Katana: Cult of the Kobra by Mike W. Barr
  • Metamorpho by Aaron Lopresti
  • Sugar & Spike by Keith Giffen

These are all just the writers, by the way, because for some reason NONE of the artists were mentioned. It’s not like it’s a visual medium or anything.

Carrying on, several of these titles are being written by the men who created the characters decades ago, which seems an odd way to go for fresh, contemporary takes. Moreover, here are the ages of the six white men writing these titles:

  • Len Wein – 67
  • Marv Wolfman – 69
  • Gerry Conway – 62
  • Mike W. Barr – 63
  • Aaron Lopresti – 51
  • Keith Giffen – 62

I fail to see how a group of men with an average age of 62.3 years old are, to quote DiDio, “the best writers for these characters” when the task is to freshen up and contemporize them. All of these men are certainly talented writers and I respect their work and, for several of them, their legacies, but the last thing the superhero world needs more of is old, white guys reintroducing characters and trying to make them relevant and interesting. That rarely goes well. Especially when so many of them have such close ties to past incarnations of the characters. This is where you introduce new voices and new talent, find the NEW Marv Wolfman and the NEW Len Wein, not bring back the same old creators. This would be a KILLER lineup in 1987, but it’s not 1987 anymore.

Old white guy writers aside, I’m pleased to see that 3.5 of the 8 new series are led by female characters. That’s a definite plus. While only 1 of 8 series being written by a woman is disappointing, it’s nice to see women represented somewhere at least, even if they’re fictional women.

I’m not particularly optimistic for this mini-series line. DC has a lot of talk in the USA Today article about continuing the characters in other books if the minis prove popular, but I’m concerned that they might debut low and tumble from there. Most of the characters and creators just aren’t big grabs anymore. Scott Snyder couldn’t make Swamp Thing a huge seller, so I really doubt Len Wein is going to move some units. I think that Poison Ivy could do well, and Raven might have enough residual love as a character to debut okay, but other than that this seems like a lot of stale creators and stale concepts. It almost feels like DC is worried that their June #DCYou books didn’t go over well with their over-40 reader crowd, and so they’re course correcting with old favourites to win them back. Commit to the new, DC. Live in the future.


I got a lot of interesting feedback about this piece yesterday, some thoughtful and some amusingly rude.  I went on Twitter last night to reiterate my larger point, and I’ve also done so below in the comments, but here’s a transcript of my Twitter response, in a more readable paragraphed form, so that everyone can now read it when they read this post:

I certainly didn’t mean to suggest that guys like Wein, Wolfman, et al. shouldn’t be getting work.  They’re legends. However, a line written primarily by white men who’ve been in comics for decades sends, intentionally or not, a bad message about diversity.

I understand that comics is a rough industry for older creators, and my problem isn’t with them for doing the gigs.  But it’s also a tough industry for women and POC who have been rarely afforded the opportunity to break into the Big Two in the first place.

My issue is with DC for not putting together a more diverse and representative line.  Hire some old white guys, sure, but ALSO hire woefully underrepresented folks getting their first shot at superheroes.  Doing just the former doesn’t send a great message.

And for everyone going “But DC’s June #DCYou books!” Yes, ONE TIME DC put together a slightly more diverse lineup. SLIGHTLY.  That doesn’t mean they can stop doing that now, or that it’s cool to even things out with these new minis.

Convergence: Wonder Woman #2 Review OR A Pyrrhic Victory

May 20, 2015


There’s nothing bad about Convergence: Wonder Woman #2, or the mini-series as a whole. It’s all fine, competent comic booking. The writing is okay, the art is decent, the characters mostly seem to be themselves. The only thing is, I’m not entirely sure why it exists. I mean, I understand why these two months of “Convergence” are happening; DC Comics is moving from New York to Los Angeles and they brought in some outside folks to arrange two months of comics to give them time to get sorted. What I don’t understand is why this Wonder Woman, why this story, and who it’s designed to appeal to. We’ll discuss this all momentarily, but first:


I am about to reveal ALL of the major plotpoints in this comic!

Look away if you haven’t read it yet!

Last month I talked about how many of the “Convergence” mini-series were tapping into nostalgia. Fans have been missing their favourite characters since DC relaunched their superhero universe in 2011, and “Convergence” became a chance to revisit beloved characters, maybe tie up some loose ends, and give a little bit of closure to fans.

If you’re looking for nostalgic fun, Convergence: Wonder Woman is not the book for you. Not only is it set in an era that few, in any, were clamouring to visit again, it takes a pretty dark turn in its second issue. It was sort of fun to have Steve Trevor and Etta Candy back hanging out with Diana Prince in the first issue, but long story short by the end of this finale both Steve and Etta were turned into vampires and killed, and the book ends with a morose Wonder Woman reflecting on the costs of war. It’s really not a fun trip down memory lane.

It’s an okay book in terms of action. I liked Wonder Woman’s plan to beat the hell out of all of the vampires to impede them from attacking anyone; the vampires wouldn’t heal, but they wouldn’t die either, so she went to town rendering them immobile with sound thrashings. Then Athena showed up to give Wonder Woman free rein to kill all of the vampires, even her friends, because they’ve been turned into monsters and to end them would be a mercy. Wonder Woman does some pretty cool staking as she eliminates her Red Rain foes the Joker, Poison Ivy, and Werecatwoman.

There’s also a nice moment of the end where vampire Steve stops vampire Etta from attacking Wonder Woman, tackling her to both of their deaths into a deep dark chasm. I like the idea that Steve’s love for Wonder Woman would still endure even under the evil vampiric thrall of the Joker. But at the same time, what about Etta’s love for Wonder Woman? I feel like she should have been able to resist as well. Etta and Wonder Woman go way back. I mean, ovaries before brovaries, am I right?

In the end, I felt like this book lacked any sort of larger purpose other than having Wonder Woman bust up a bunch of vampires. I’m not sure how or if this book ties into the main series, but my guess is that the events here don’t play much of a pivotal role in how the primary Convergence arc goes down. It’s just all sort of a weird, dark fight between two generally unloved universes that ends with everybody dead but Wonder Woman.

Meanwhile, I’m seeing folks left and right online getting all emotional and excited about big moments in other “Convergence” books. In particular, Gail Simone’s Nightwing and Oracle title seems to be going over huge in terms of giving this incarnation of Barbara Gordon a lovely sendoff and depicting a fan favourite relationship. Ultimately, these are just fill in stories, basically. “Convergence” is not the sort of event that’s going to change the DC universe for years to come like so many comic events purport to do. It’s a decent idea for killing a couple of months. And that’s what Convergence: Wonder Woman is, a fine if uninspired interlude with no real ramifications or larger point. It’s just disappointing that several other “Convergence” books have found ways to make them something more, to elevate their two issues beyond the fill in that they are, while Convergence: Wonder Woman doesn’t. Again, it’s not a bad two issues. It’s more of a missed opportunity.

Convergence: Wonder Woman #2 Preview OR Fangs For The Memories

May 19, 2015

DC’s “Convergence” event comes to a close this month, with lots of inter-universal fighting building to some sort of battle-based finale, I assume. I’m not really following it too closely. I think I picked up four books, maybe? And there seemed to be lots of fighting in them, so I’m just guessing that’s what’s going on generally. Then it will end in some sort of epic fashion with no real ramifications for the wider DC universe because this was just a fill-in event to kill time while DC moved from New York to Los Angeles. It seems to be selling well, so good work, DC. I’m kind of impressed they made this work.

Convergence: Wonder Woman wraps up this week with the Wonder Woman of the 1970s (comics, not the TV show) facing off against the vampiric Joker of Red Rain. Here’s a preview of the book, courtesy of Nerdist:

conww2a conww2b conww2c conww2d conww2e conww2f

The obvious big change from the first issue is that Joshua Middleton has been replaced by Aaron Lopresti on art duties. Middleton’s issue was only okay last month, so I’m cool with the change. Lopresti is a Wonder Woman veteran so he knows how to handle the character, but here he seems to be channeling a little bit of a 70s era Neal Adams vibe. It’s a cool choice that fits the book’s setting well.

Storywise, it looks like Wonder Woman is going to go all Max Lord on the Joker, but with mixed results. That’s not how you kill a vampire, Wonder Woman! Though a snapped neck should be an inconvenience for the Clown Prince of Crime, at least. Meanwhile, Steve Trevor is trying to fend off a gang of vampires with a gun. These guys really know nothing about fighting vampires. I suppose they’re doing the best they can with what they’ve got.

Sidenote: Aren’t they in a church? So a) the vampires should be having a bad time of it to begin with, being on sacred ground and all of that, and b) there should be wooden crosses everywhere for easy crucifix stakings. Maybe Red Rain vampires work differently than classic vampires.

Anyway, Convergence: Wonder Woman #2 is out in comic shops and online tomorrow! The first one had some decent moments, and it’s easily been the best non-Sensation Comics Wonder Woman book that DC’s put out in a while. That’s an admittedly low bar, but still.

Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman #28 Review: “Casualties of War” by Aaron Lopresti

March 12, 2015


I love dragons and I love Wonder Woman so I was particularly looking forward to this issue of Sensation Comics, but the book didn’t do a lot for me this week. While nothing was particularly bad, nothing was particularly exciting or well executed either. It was a ho-hum issue all around that failed to deliver on an interesting premise.

The story begins with a dragon attacking New York City, killing a bunch of people, and then hiding in a subway tunnel. Wonder Woman is on the scene, and learns that the dragon is in fact after her. Centuries earlier, the Amazons wiped out the people and dragons of the island of Sostratos, and the dragon was the sole survivor. Spurred by a vision of the dragon god, the dragon set to get his revenge. It turns out that the people of Sostratos were murderous pirates who refused all of the Amazons attempts at peaceful negotiation, and the dragon god was just Ares in disguise trying to stick it to Wonder Woman, but the dragon didn’t believe Wonder Woman when she tried to explain what happened. So battle ensued, and Wonder Woman slayed the dragon.

Aaron Lopresti is well known to Wonder Woman fans from his time drawing the series during Gail Simone’s run, and he wrote and drew this issue. The story is fairly bland and kind of a downer, with the dragon failing to listen to reason and ultimately getting killed. Lopresti’s going for an angle where the dragon tries to paint Wonder Woman as just as much of a monster as he is, what with her warrior background and the Amazons’ body count over the centuries, but it really doesn’t work. Maybe if the dragon was more sympathetic and less obviously dumb and deceived this approach may have come off better, but as is he just comes off as a big dopey dragon who won’t listen to reason and gets himself killed.

I don’t love Wonder Woman killing the dragon either. If anyone should know how to dispatch a mythological creature in a safe, non-lethal manner, it’s Wonder Woman. Plus the dragon is sentient; it’s not some raging beast, lashing out based on animal extinct. Killing it should have been a last resort, not a speedy end to the situation. I feel like Wonder Woman would have been able to figure out a better way to resolve the situation.

The art is okay, but subpar for Lopresti. His work on Wonder Woman in the past was a lot more crisp and detailed. This feels a little rushed, and lacks his usual sharpness. With his Wonder Woman in particular, she looked fine but somewhat generic. During Lopresti’s Wonder Woman run, his Diana always had spark and detail, and that’s missing here. The dragon was okay, but pretty standard, run of the mill stuff. Lopresti really didn’t bring much new to the table with it.

The dragon wasn’t helped by the colouring, done by Hi-Fi Colours. It was all red and blue and yellow, with little in the way of blending or texture. It looked not terrible down in the shadows of the subway, but flying out in the light of day it came off rather garish.

Also, the dragon god was literally a dragon in a robe. Like a basic human form in a robe, with a dragon head and hands and a tail coming out the back. It was a particularly uninspired touch, and just sort of ridiculous. I feel like Lopresti is capable of much more interesting and innovative work.

Ultimately, this one wasn’t great, and Sensation Comics has hit a bit of a rut these past few weeks. Hopefully things turn around next week. It’s the beginning of a two-parter that seems to involve a band or something. Could be fun!

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