Posts Tagged ‘Alex de Campi’

Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman #20 and #21 Review: “Venus Rising” by Alex de Campi and Neil Googe

January 13, 2015

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I have no idea what’s going on with Sensation Comics right now. The first part of this story, Sensation Comics #20, came out on Christmas day and I was busy with festive activities so I decided that since it’s a two-parter, I’d just review it all at once next Thursday. That Thursday came with no new Sensation Comics, and then the following Thursday was the debut of Wonder Woman ’77! Now, on a Tuesday, we’ve finally got a new Sensation Comics and the second part of the story. Will Sensation Comics be out next Tuesday? I couldn’t tell you. All I know for sure right now is that the book is going to come out when it comes out.

But onto the story! “Venus Rising” by Alex de Campi and Neil Googe finds Wonder Woman representing the Justice League on a space shuttle travelling to the first human settlement on the planet Venus. Things quickly go awry, resulting in Wonder Woman fighting massive monsters in a cool spacesuit and ultimately saving the day when she realizes that the monsters aren’t actually their enemies at all.

The story is okay, but not particularly subtle. The real villain of the piece is the mission’s unrelentingly sexist leader, who was hoping they’d get Superman and not Wonder Woman. He’s a straight up caricature, with no real depth other than thinking that women aren’t as good as men. Some of the scenes are similarly on the nose, like when de Campi devotes three pages to Wonder Woman and the only female astronaut talking about how people take pictures of Wonder Woman’s butt and how Superman never gets asked what it’s like being a male hero. There are some panels that are fun individually, and are ideal for posting on tumblr and the like, but strung all together in the middle of a story in a digital medium where space is a priority, it all feels a little over the top.

The twist at the end is clever, though. De Campi reveals that the monsters attacking the ship are actually astronauts who were lost earlier in the story and gained a new form in the gases of Venus. They liked their new forms so much that they wanted their friends to join in the fun, and Wonder Woman talks them down instead of fighting and allows the astronauts to choose whether to return to Earth or live on Venus in this new form. One astronaut chooses to stay, the sexist captain, but his about face at the end rings rather hollow. He tells Wonder Woman, “I’m glad I met you,” but he’s only happy to have met her because it served his ultimate goal, being on the forefront of exploration, albeit in a way he never imagined. “Gals are okay because look I achieved my dreams!” is not really learning his lesson.

The art on the book is fun. Googe’s characters are very expressive, and his style reminded me a little bit of Rob Guillory on Chew, which is never a bad thing. I particularly like the outfits he puts Wonder Woman in. She never wears the classic costume. Instead, she shows up on the space shuttle wearing star spangled robes, including a hijab, after a trip to the Punjab, and then immediately changes into her fancy spacesuit. He also does an excellent job with the Venusian monsters, and illustrating the battle scene as they tear apart the space station. Those scenes have a great, epic feel.

I also love the effect on the space helmets, and I don’t know whether it was the colourists or Googe himself that did it. There’s a slight blur on the clear face masks, but it’s not actually a blur. Instead, it’s dots. I blathered on about halftone dots a few issues ago, too; people have been using it to great effect in Sensation Comics as of late! Check out how cool these helmets look:

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Such a nice touch. I love when people mix it up in such interesting, subtle ways.

All together, this story was just okay for me. The writing was a bit on the nose throughout, but the ending was decent and the art had strong moments. It certainly wasn’t bad by any means, just not quite as compelling as some of the highs this series has reached thus far. Still, it was fun. Wonder Woman fought giant monsters attacking a space station on Venus; that’s just a good time.

For those of you who wait for the print version, this story should be in Sensation Comics #7 along with Amy Chu and Bernard Chang’s story from a few weeks back. The book will hit comic shops on February 18!

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The Latest Image Expo Has More Female Creators By Number, But Not By Percentage

January 9, 2015

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I had some big issues with last summer’s Image Expo. The show began with a self-congratulatory speech about how Image was different from other publishers that also decried the comic book industry’s “boys club.” Then Image showed a promotional video featuring their many creators, only one of which was a woman, and followed that up by introducing a series of new books with just a handful of female creators. There were some mixed messages, to be sure.

Yesterday’s Image Expo made a slew of new announcements, but how did they do in terms of representation for women? Let’s take a look at all of the books they announced, as best I could tell; there were a lot of them:

  • Savior by Brian Holgun, Todd McFarlane, and Clayton Crain
  • Injection by Warren Ellis, Declan Shalvey, and Jordie Bellaire
  • No Mercy by Alex De Campi, Carla Speed McNeil, and Jenn Manley Lee
  • Island: Comics Magazine for Comics by Brandon Graham, Emma Rios, Simon Roy, Michael DeForge, Farel Dalrymple, and E.K. Weaver
  • RUNLOVEKILL by Eric Canete, Jonathan Tsuei, and Leonardo Olea
  • Starve by Brian Wood, Danijel Zezelj, and Dave Stewart
  • Monstress by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda
  • A.D.: After Death by Scott Snyder and Jeff Lemire
  • Sons of the Devil by Brian Buccellato, Toni Infante
  • Black Road by Brian Wood, Gary Brown, and Lauren Affe
  • 8House by Brandon Graham, Marian Churchland, and Emma Rios
  • Pretty Deadly Volume 2 by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios
  • Tadaima by Emi Lenox
  • Plutona by Jeff Lemire, Emi Lenox, and Jordie Bellaire
  • Ludocrats by Keiron Gillen, Jim Rossignol, David Lafuente, and Ricardo Venancio
  • The Wicked + The Divine Volume 3 by Keiron Gillen and Tula Lotay, Kate Brown, and Stephanie Hans
  • Phonogram: The Immaterial Girl by Keiron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, and Matt Wilson
  • Kaptara by Chip Zdarsky and Kagan McLeod
  • Revengeance by Darwyn Cooke
  • I Hate Fairyland by Skottie Young and Jean-Francois Beaulieu
  • Heaven by James Robinson and Philip Tan
  • Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughan, Cliff Chiang, and Matt Wilson
  • Spawn Resurrection by Paul Jenkins and Jonboy Meyers
  • We Stand On Guard by Brian K. Vaughan and Steve Skroce

Last summer, Image’s announcements featured 7 different female creators who accounted for 25.9% of the creators involved. Yesterday’s Image Expo doubled the number of female creators with 14 different women, but because Image announced so many more books this time around, the percentage works out to only 26.4%, a fairly paltry increase.  So there are twice as many women, but also twice as many books. While women accounting for a quarter of the creators isn’t terrible, especially compared to most other direct market comic publishers, more growth would have been nice.

In terms of representation per book, 10 of the 24 titles feature at least one female creator. That’s also exactly on par with last summer’s Image Expo, where there was at least one female creator on 5 of the 12 featured titles.

So, things are about the same! And in the world of direct market comics, any time something doesn’t get worse is almost as good as growth, really. Given the industry’s male-centrism, women accounting for 26% of all creators is much better than where we were just a couple years ago, though there’s still room for improvement. However, in the definite plus column, there are a lot of fantastic books set for 2015! Marjorie Liu is launching her first Image book, with the awesome Sana Takeda on art, and it sounds great; it’s set in the 1920s, it’s got monsters, I’m in. Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios are back for more Pretty Deadly, while two of my favourite creators ever, Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang, are making a new book starring young paper delivery ladies. Emi Lenox has two new titles as well, and lord knows what Chip Zdarsky is up to with Kaptara but I’m sure it will be hilarious. So while the numbers could be better, at least they’re not worse and we’ve got lots of fun comics to look forward to.

Women At DC Comics Watch – February 2015 Solicits: 30 Female Creators On 35 Different Books

November 24, 2014

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Last month, after DC broke their record for female creators in their solicits yet again, I was wondering when they might hit the mark of 30 different women. Turns out, it was this month, with DC breaking their record once more in their February solicits. I’ve been expecting a drop off after so many months of steady growth into impressive new highs, but it hasn’t come yet. It will, of course, but let’s enjoy DC outdoing themselves each month for now. Here are all of the female creators listed in DC’s February 2015 solicits:

  • Alex de Campi: Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman #7 (writer)
  • Amanda Conner: Aquaman #39 (variant cover), Harley Quinn #15 (co-writer, cover), Harley Quinn Valentine’s Day Special #1 (co-writer, cover), Superman #39 (variant cover), The Flash #39 (variant cover)
  • Amy Chu: Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman #7 (writer)
  • Amy Wolfram: Teen Titans Go! #8 (writer)
  • Ann Nocenti: Klarion #5 (writer)
  • Babs Tarr: Batgirl #39 (artist), Justice League #39 (variant cover)
  • Becky Cloonan: Gotham Academy #5 (co-writer), The Kitchen #4 (cover)
  • Caitlin Kittredge: Coffin Hill #15 (writer), Secret Origins #10 (writer)
  • Cat Staggs: Smallville Season 11: Continuity #3 (cover)
  • Celia Calle: The Names #6 (cover)
  • Chrissie Zullo: Fables #149 (artist), Fables: The Wolf Among Us #2 (cover)
  • Emanuela Lupacchino: Batman and Robin #39 (variant cover), Supergirl #39 (cover and art)
  • Gail Simone: Secret Six #3 (writer)
  • Genevieve Valentine: Catwoman #39 (writer)
  • Georgia Ball: Scooby Doo Where Are You? #54 (writer)
  • Irene Koh: Secret Origins #10 (artist)
  • Jill Thompson: Batman #39 (variant cover), Wolf Moon #3 (cover)
  • K. Perkins: Supergirl #39 (co-writer)
  • Keto Shimizu: Arrow Season 2.5 #5 (co-writer)
  • Lea Hernandez: Teen Titans Go! #8 (writer)
  • Marguerite Bennett: Earth 2 #31 (co-writer), Earth 2: World’s End #18-21 (co-writer)
  • Marguerite Sauvage: Hinterkind #15 (cover)
  • Marley Zarcone: Effigy #2 (artist)
  • Meghan Hetrick: Bodies #8 (artist)
  • Meredith Finch: Wonder Woman #39 (writer)
  • Ming Doyle: The Kitchen #4 (artist)
  • Nicola Scott: Action Comics #39 (variant cover)
  • Sandra Hope: Batman/Superman #19 (inker)
  • Tula Lotay: Bodies #8 (artist)
  • Yuko Shimizu: Detective Comics #39 (variant cover)

All together, there are 30 different female creators working on 35 different books for DC Comics this February, up from January’s record breaking 28 and 25. Also encouraging to see is a number of women working on multiple titles. Amanda Conner leads the charge, drawing a variety of Harley Quinn variant covers as part of February’s variant theme, but several other women are set to work on multiple books as well.

As a quick sidenote, DC’s solicits list “Alison Borges” on art for Lobo #5, but I’m assuming that this is a misspelling of Alisson Borges, a male artist from Brazil who’s gotten some Big Two work recently. DC has a history of misspelling names in their solicits. However, if it turns out I’m wrong I will happily adjust the list accordingly and add her to the numbers.

In terms of new titles, February is very quiet. Harley Quinn has a Valentine’s special issue, co-written and with a cover by Amanda Conner, and Vertigo is launching Suiciders, a new book written and drawn by Lee Bermejo; the solicit for Suiciders lacks a character breakdown, so I don’t know how much female representation is inside the book.

Overall, DC broke their record yet again, and that is a fantastic thing. There’s still a lot of room for improvement, of course. For example, the only way female creators seem to get close to a major male character is through variant covers. The vast majority of women making comics at DC are writing and drawing female characters or lower tier male characters. Many of the big names remain elusive, and it would be nice to see that change. Nonetheless, it’s still a great month for DC, and I’m hoping to see another record shatter in March!

Wonder Woman’s February 2015 Covers And Solicits

November 18, 2014

It looks like February 2015 is going to be an eventful month for Wonder Woman across her three titles, with big twists and surprises throughout the line. Let’s take a look at what she’ll be up to, starting with Wonder Woman #39:

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WONDER WOMAN #39
Written by MEREDITH FINCH
Art and cover by DAVID FINCH and BATT
HARLEY QUINN Variant cover by PHIL JIMENEZ
1:50 B&W Variant cover by DAVID FINCH and BATT
1:100 Variant cover by DAVID FINCH
On sale FEBRUARY 18 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
Wonder Woman returns to Paradise Island, and she’s in for a surprise: The Amazons have chosen a new queen to lead them! The identity of this new queen will send shock waves through the entire DC Universe! Guest-starring the Justice League and featuring the introduction of Diana’s craziest new cast member in, well, ever!

So is Hippolyta not a living statue in this run? Because she was “alive” in the last issue of Azzarello and Chiang’s run, albeit not flesh and blood. Whatever the case, the Amazons are going to have a new queen and it sounds like it’s going to be quite a shocking choice. Given the appearance of the Justice League and the sending of shock waves through the universe, I’m betting it’s someone outside of Wonder Woman’s usual circle. Maybe a famous villain, or perhaps a more intergalactic character. I’m curious about who it will be, though not at all in an excited way. More in the manner of, “Oh god, what are they going to do now?”

The cover’s pretty dramatic, so clearly Wonder Woman isn’t excited about what’s going on. While a bit of a downer, it’s one of Finch’s nicer covers thus far just in terms of a not overly exploitive image of Wonder Woman.

On to Superman/Batman #16:

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SUPERMAN/WONDER WOMAN #16
Written by PETER J. TOMASI
Art and cover by DOUG MAHNKE and JAIME MENDOZA
HARLEY QUINN Variant cover by FRANCIS MANAPUL
On sale FEBRUARY 11 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
Superman and Wonder Woman come face-to-face with the newest arrival to The New 52: MAGOG!

I sort of feel like Magog is a bit played out. Kingdom Come was a while ago, plus he’s been back in a bunch of other books since, including big arcs in Action Comics and JSA. I’m half wondering if this is a lead-in to Convergence, DC’s multi-universal event that starts this April, given the Kingdom Come connection. Though if it was you’d think they’d play that up to increase the sales.

Finally, Sensation Comics #7:

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SENSATION COMICS FEATURING WONDER WOMAN #7
Written by ALEX DE CAMPI and AMY CHU
Art by NEIL GOOGE and BERNARD CHANG
Cover by SHANE DAVIS
On sale FEBRUARY 18 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T • DIGITAL FIRST
In “Venus Rising,” Diana’s conflicted about her current mission: She agreed to represent the Justice League as the first space station for harvesting Venusian fuel gases is brought online. But her arrival doesn’t go smoothly – and then, kaiju attack! Plus: A combat pilot gets a little help from Wonder Woman as a routine reconnaissance mission turns deadly in “Rescue Angel.”

Wonder Woman in space PLUS kaiju? I am very on board for that. That sounds like a lot of fun. I’m also glad to see Amy Chu writing a story; she’s great. And Bernard Chang is back! He drew a few issues of Wonder Woman during Simone’s run on the book, and I’ve always enjoyed his work. This should be a really solid issue.

Look for all of these Wonder Woman comic books in February! And perhaps buy them for your sweetheart for Valentine’s Day. Nothing says I love you like a Wonder Woman comic!


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