Posts Tagged ‘Bilquis Evely’

Wonder Woman #22 Review: A Modern Take on an Iconic Character

May 10, 2017

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I got a big surprise when I sat down to read Wonder Woman #22: Mirka Andolfo drew this one! I had no idea she was doing the issue. Andolfo is set to draw a couple of issues in July when Shea Fontana takes over writing the book, but as far as I knew, we were getting Bilquis Evely for the duration of “Godwatch.” Now, I LOVE Bilquis Evely. She’s been killing it so far. But I also love a fun surprise, and I’m a huge fan of Andolfo from her artwork on DC Comics Bombshells (a fantastic book with a great take on Wonder Woman that you should be reading if you’re not already). I was really looking forward to seeing her on Wonder Woman in July, and now we’re getting a peek at her take on a modern Wonder Woman a couple of months early. And good news, gang: It’s fantastic. We’ll dig into it all momentarily, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

I am about to delve into all of the details of this issue!

Don’t read this review if you haven’t read the comic yet!

Also, go read the comic! It’s very pretty!

The last installment of “Godwatch” was a real corker, with Veronica Cale teaming up with Circe to use Wonder Woman to defeat Phobos and Deimos and get one step closer to getting her daughter back. This issue picks up a year and a half later, and explores the first meeting between Wonder Woman and Veronica. For some reason, I’d assumed that they’d met before; maybe it was all of the stories set in the present in which Wonder Woman knows about Veronica and her nefarious plans. I mean, they were hanging out in “The Truth” two weeks ago. My mental timeline probably got a bit screwy with all of the back and forth. Regardless, this is their actual first meeting, and it’s a very enjoyable one.

Between Veronica losing her daughter and the travails of Barbara/the Cheetah, there have been some very heavy moments recently in Wonder Woman. This is a much lighter outing, with a comedic set up, some excellent banter, and a nicely executed action scene. The heavy issues remain; Veronica’s daughter is still in peril and Barbara is the Cheetah. But the focus narrows in on Veronica and Diana engaging with each other for the first time on almost friendly terms. I loved that their meeting began at an auction in which Veronica outbid the likes of Bruce Wayne and Lex Luthor to nab a date with Wonder Woman (all for charity, of course). I also enjoyed that the extravagant event was followed by a more casual outing between the two as they got burgers in their street clothes. It was all quite cute. Well, as cute as a meeting between a heroine and her secret arch nemesis can be, I suppose.

The issue also further fleshed out Veronica Cale, who Rucka is turning into an absolutely fascinating villain. Generally speaking, Veronica seems like kind of an amazing person. She’s a big supporter of the DC universe’s version of Amnesty International, a philanthropist generally, and a champion for the poor as well as gender and sexual equality. The more we learn about her, the more she becomes a fascinating tragic figure, a good woman turned to darkness because of the meddling of the gods. Before that, she was a tough businesswoman and not a big fan of Wonder Woman, but Phobos and Deimos interfering in her life and taking away her daughter is what turned her into a villain. Everything she’s doing is to get her daughter back, and it’s hard not to sympathize with that, even when she’s facing off against our favourite heroine. I’m hoping that she gets a happy resolution by the time “Godwatch” and “The Truth” wrap up. I know she’s done terrible things, but I feel like Wonder Woman would understand her motivations and try to help her fix them and start a new path rather than punish her. Time will tell.

Now, onto Mirka Andolfo. The art in this issue is just great. Much like Bilquis Evely, Adolfo is excellent at crafting expressive characters, albeit with a very different style. There’s a lot of heart in this issue, and that works extremely well with the story it tells. “Two people getting to know each other when one is a secret adversary yet they both have an odd respect for each other” is a hard thing to communicate, but it comes across. Wonder Woman and Veronica’s issue-long conversation is a complicated dance from start to finish, and Andolfo hits all of the notes needed to make it work.

Furthermore, she finally gives a modern take on Wonder Woman that feels young and fresh. We haven’t seen a lot of Diana in everyday clothes since “Rebirth” launched, and when we have it’s been fairly bland. Andolfo doesn’t go for anything extravagant or trendy here either, but by simply putting Wonder Woman in a tank top, jeans, and sneakers, her incarnation of the character feels like the most modern version of her we’ve seen in ages (and it’s of course beautifully colored by Romulo Fajardo Jr.; the guy just slays it with every single issue). Her outfit is what young women look like today, and that’s something I’d really like to see in Wonder Woman properties moving forward. Yes, she’s a superhero and that’s awesome, but when she’s not I think it’s good to see her as a modern woman so that fans, young and old, can better identify with her. As much as I am over the moon excited for the Wonder Woman movie, Gal Gadot’s fancy dresses in Batman v Superman and 1910s garb in Wonder Woman hardly scream “identifiable.” Part of making Wonder Woman modern and relevant is having her look modern and relevant, and I hope we see more of that soon, both in comics and on the big screen.

Overall, this was an entertaining issue all around that sets us up well moving forward. First, the stage is set for the climax of “Godwatch” as the last page shows that Wonder Woman knows about Veronica’s more nefarious dealings. Second, the layers the issue adds to Veronica should make the climax of Rucka’s larger story all the more interesting; she’s a villain, but it’s hard to be too mad at her! And third, when Fontana and Andolfo take over Wonder Woman in July, I think we’re in for a treat. I can’t wait to see more of Andolfo drawing Wonder Woman! She’s a great talent, and the book looks to be in very good hands moving forward.

Women at DC Comics Watch – June 2017 Solicits, 31 Women on 22 Books

April 20, 2017

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I’ve gotten behind on my creator counting this month! The July solicits are already up, and I’ve yet to post about the June ones. Blame a rash of traveling and general forgetfulness. But nonetheless, here we are now, checking in on female creator representation at DC Comics according to their June 2017 solicits. And it looks to be a pretty solid month, with DC posting their highest number of different female creators for the year thus far, bringing them into the 30s for the first time since last December. Let’s take a look at who’s doing what at DC in June:

  • Amanda Conner: Harley Quinn #21 (co-writer, cover), Harley Quinn #22 (co-writer, cover)
  • Ana Dittmann: The Fall and Rise of Captain Atom #6 (cover)
  • Aneke: DC Comics Bombshells #28 (interior art)
  • Becky Cloonan: Gotham Academy: Second Semester #10 (co-writer), Shade, the Changing Girl #9 (cover)
  • Bilquis Evely: Wonder Woman #24 (interior art, cover), Wonder Woman #25 (interior art)
  • Brittney Williams: Shade, the Changing Girl #9 (interior art, variant cover)
  • Carmen Carnero: DC Comics Bombshells #29 (interior art)
  • Cecil Castellucci: Shade, the Changing Girl #9 (writer)
  • Eleanora Carlini: Batgirl #12 (interior art)
  • Emanuela Lupacchino: Green Lanterns #24 (variant cover), Green Lanterns #25 (variant cover), Mother Panic #8 (variant cover)
  • Heather Nuhfer: Teen Titans Go! #22 (co-writer)
  • Hope Larson: Batgirl #12 (writer)
  • Jan Duursema: Scooby Apocalypse #14 (interior art)
  • Jenny Frison: Wonder Woman #24 (variant cover), Wonder Woman #25 (variant cover)
  • Jody Houser: Mother Panic #8 (writer)
  • Joelle Jones: Supergirl: Being Super #4 (interior art, cover)
  • Julie Benson: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #11 (co-writer)
  • K. Perkins: Superwoman #11 (writer)
  • Kamome Shirahama: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #11 (variant cover)
  • Laura Braga: DC Comics Bombshells #28 (interior art)
  • Lilah Sturges: Everafter: From the Pages of Fables #10 (co-writer)
  • Marguerite Bennett: Batwoman #4 (co-writer), DC Comics Bombshells #28 (writer), DC Comics Bombshells #29 (writer)
  • Marguerite Sauvage: DC Comics Bombshells #29 (cover)
  • Mariko Tamaki: Supergirl: Being Super #4 (writer)
  • Marley Zarcone: Shade, the Changing Girl #9 (interior art)
  • Mirka Andolfo: DC Comics Bombshells #29 (interior art)
  • Msassyk: Gotham Academy: Second Semester #10 (interior art)
  • Sandra Hope: Gotham Academy: Second Semester #10 (inker)
  • Shawna Benson: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #11 (co-writer)
  • Tula Lotay: Everafter: From the Pages of Fables #10 (cover), The Hellblazer #11 (cover)
  • Yasmine Putri: Detective Comics #959 (cover), The Hellblazer #11 (variant cover)

All together, there are 31 different female creators set to work on 22 different books in June, 3 more women than in May and 1 more book. It’s small growth, but growth nonetheless. And the number of women is relatively strong for DC, even though the number of books is fairly middle of the road. Female creator behemoths like Gotham Academy: Second Semester, Shade, the Changing Girl, and a double shipping DC Comics Bombshells are carrying a lot of the weight this month rather than the work being more spread through DC’s line. Still, this looks to be a solid showing for the publisher, and a long awaited return to the thirties after a good run there last fall.

In terms of new faces, I think the cover of The Fall and Rise of Captain Atom might be Ana Dittmann’s first DC work, which is very cool. We’ve also got Brittney Williams, who we’ve seen at DC before a while back; she’s coming off a fantastic run on Patsy Walker, a.k.a. Hellcat! at Marvel, and it would be rad to see more DC work from her moving forward. Eleanora Carlini’s been doing some Green Arrow work lately but now she’s moving to Batgirl, which should be fun. And Jan Duursema is back with a backup story in Scooby Apocalypse! We haven’t seen her around these parts for several months now.

The new books are light on women, however. DC’s set to premiere the prelude to their big summer event Dark Nights: Metal with Dark Days: The Forge, and while the event will encompass the whole DC universe, Batman seems to be the focus here. There are also a series of Looney Tunes superhero crossover specials, but Wonder Woman’s the only solo female character in the mix. Also, somewhat oddly, there’s a Steve Trevor special set for June. Wonder Woman will be in it, I’m sure, but focusing on him seems like a bizarre focus during a month when her first big screen solo outing is set to debut.

Overall, June is looking decent for female creators at DC. There aren’t many new books in the mix so the ranks are fairly stagnant, but things have ticked up slightly for the third straight month and DC is in the ballpark of its past highs. A lot of this is powered by just a handful of books, though, so it’ll be interesting to see how things unfold in the coming months; more growth across the board would help make this current mini-surge more sustainable.

Wonder Woman #20 Review: A Late Look at the New Circe’s Debut

April 18, 2017

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First off, apologies for the late review. I was gallivanting around Amsterdam last week and am only getting around to reading the latest issue of Wonder Woman today. It was an issue worth the wait, though; between Greg Rucka reinventing a villain that he created more than a decade ago and Bilquis Evely providing gorgeous, expressive art, “Godwatch” has been a great read thus far. I particularly enjoy that it’s so different from every other arc of the “Rebirth” Wonder Woman we’ve seen so far. We’re four arcs into this new era, and each has a different feel and style, which is very cool. Let’s dig into what happened in Wonder Woman #20, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

I am about to reveal all of the major plot points of this issue!

It came out nearly a week ago, though!

You should have read it by now!

So the ongoing saga of Veronica Cale and her captured daughter Izzy continues, with Cale going to extreme lengths to try to get her daughter back. This month, that means enlisting the help of the ancient witch Circe, who comes up with a plan to trap Phobos and Deimos and thus get Cale one step closer to her daughter. However, things don’t go quite as expected. The brothers get captured and turned into the dogs that we’ve seen Cale command in the present day “The Lies” and “The Truth,” but it turns out that their father Ares has Izzy, and even a fiendish witch like Circe has no desire to go up against him. Cale, though, is more than willing to unleash war on the world if it means getting her daughter back, and the issue ends with what appears to be the first step toward a sinister new plan.

Usually when an arc of Wonder Woman focuses so little on Wonder Woman herself, it very quickly gets on my nerves. She’s in just a handful of pages in this issue, and “Godwatch” as a whole has been rather light on Wonder Woman in its first three installments. And yet, I’m really enjoying it. Rucka’s constructed a compelling narrative for Cale and he’s turned her into one of the most interesting, well fleshed out villains I’ve read in some time. She’s a terrible person, sure, but there’s a humanity behind all of that rooted in her love for her daughter that makes her so much more than just some evil cardboard cut out. And Evely absolutely embraces the complicated nature of the character. I follow Evely on Twitter, and it seems clear that she really loves to draw Veronica Cale and capture both her arrogant snark and her softer emotional core. What she does with Cale’s expressions and body language is so enjoyable to read each month. Rucka’s writing her well, but Evely is really elevating her into a sensational, fascinating character.

Evely is doing an amazing job with designs for the arc as well. This issue introduced Circe, and she looks ridiculously cool. Circe’s been a Wonder Woman villain for decades, and her many incarnations have followed a similar theme: she’s generally rather sexualized, and her costumes tend to have a classic Greek myth aesthetic skewed through the lens of the male gaze. This new Circe is very different. She shows up sporting a rad short haircut that nonetheless attains impressive height, wearing a sharp outfit that includes black slacks and a vest, a collared shirt, and a cream blazer. This Circe is modern and fun and clearly mischievous. She makes me think of a sort of malevolent Sue Perkins, really.

We get a bit of the ancient Greek vibe when Circe’s doing her magic binding, and again it’s unique. Rather than a bodice that exposes ample cleavage, as we so often get with Circe, Evely equips her with a full, ornately crafted chestplate that fits nicely over her well tailored shirt and pants. It’s a simple, elegant design that conveys so much about this new take on the character, combining her ancient power with a fresh, contemporary look in manner that works so well. It feels like Circe even though it’s unlike any Circe we’ve ever seen before. I love her and I want an action figure, please.

Now, all of this villainous focus is enjoyable, but I also love how Evely draws Wonder Woman and I’m hoping we’ll get some more of that in the next few issues. The saga of Veronica Cale is a great read, but it seems that Evely is only going to be on Wonder Woman for the one arc, and I’d love to see her go to town with Wonder Woman as well. When you’ve got a great, unique talent like Evely, you should try to make her draw as much awesome stuff as possible!

Finally, while I was away, Greg Rucka announced that he will be leaving the book after Wonder Woman #25, and the art crew on both arcs seem to be moving on as well. It was sad news, to be sure, but ultimately I think it could be good for the book. I like Rucka a lot, but I’m also ready for a new take on the character, preferably from someone young with a unique perspective. Rucka was a great choice for “Rebirth” because Wonder Woman was very much adrift and DC needed someone to right the course. Rucka, Evely, Scott, and Sharp have done that admirably, and established a take on Wonder Woman that is both true to her roots and relevant to the world today. They had to fix a huge mess, and they did a great job. The end of the currents arcs seems like a good spot to pass the baton, and I’m excited to see what comes next. Shea Fontana and Mirka Andolfo have been announced as the new team on the book, with Fontana writing it for at least five issues, and that’s a very fun first step. We’ll find out soon if Fontana is staying with the book or we’re getting a new team after that, and here’s hoping that this great run for Wonder Woman continues.

Wonder Woman #18 Review: Who Watches the Godwatch?

March 9, 2017

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I’m a day late to this review after being busy all day yesterday with some family things, but I got to read the issue yesterday and having an extra day to think back on it has only increased my appreciation of it. “Godwatch” is clearly a different kind of story than “The Lies,” “Year One,” or “The Truth,” and I like that about it very much. The arc is keeping a dual focus on Veronica Cale and Wonder Woman, having them circle each other without meeting yet as they both grow into their new roles, Wonder Woman as a superhero and Veronica as the woman trying to learn her secrets. It’s made for some excellent storytelling so far, and we’ll dive into it all momentarily, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

I am about to disclose all of the things that happen in this issue!

Read no further if you haven’t picked up this issue yet!

First things first, we’ve got a time jump. I love a good time jump. It can be a really effective storytelling technique when done well, and I think it was nicely executed here in a very sensible way. At the end of Wonder Woman #16, everything had gone wrong for Veronica; Deimos and Phobos had her daughter, her best friend was dead, and her plan to capture Wonder Woman had failed on every level. This issue begins a year later, with Veronica having festered in this defeat for a year. Wonder Woman’s reknown and power has only grown, meanwhile Veronica’s daughter remains creepily faceless, Deimos and Phobos are still around, and she’s only just figured out how to bring back Adrianna’s consciousness as Dr. Cyber. The time jump gives us a sense of Veronica’s pain, and shows us the steps to her becoming the hard-edged villain we see in the present day arcs. All of this horror has been her life for a full year, a crucible forging her into what we know she’ll become.

The story almost shouldn’t work. We already know Veronica Cale is a villain who hates Wonder Woman. This arc adds backstory to that, but not a lot else as of yet, and it would be really easy for this to be a flat, unessential tale. Luckily for us, Greg Rucka and Bilquis Evely know what they’re doing. The characterizations are so strong and the emotions so clear that it makes for a very compelling read. I even feel sorry for Veronica and the terrible situation she’s in, and I’m Team Wonder Woman a billion percent! Seeing the joy of her getting her friend back and the sorrow of not having her daughter, it’s hard not to have some sympathy for the difficult spot she’s in, even though she does horrible things to characters we love.

Barbara Ann Minerva is both a good example of Veronica’s terrible acts and of presenting backstory in a powerful way. We all know she’s going to become the Cheetah, and that Veronica has something to do with that. That’s been well established earlier in the series. But getting a glimpse into how Barbara’s relationship with Diana has developed in the year since she became Wonder Woman adds more emotional heft to the story, and seeing the ways Veronica manipulates the situation so Wonder Woman can’t save her friend is genuinely upsetting. The scene when Wonder Woman finally arrives to find a bitter Barbara in her new Cheetah form is just heartbreaking. And we all knew it was coming!

Also, kudos to Rucka for his symmetry. Having Barbara become the Cheetah again in an emotionally brutal scene two weeks back in “The Truth” in Wonder Woman #17 and following it with her original transformation this week is quite the one-two punch. Tough on my poor heart; I’ve really grown to love Barbara. But so well executed and structured.

A key part of this arc being so effective is Bilquis Evely’s stellar artwork and what she’s able to bring to all of the characters. We know the broad strokes of this story already, and while Rucka’s doing a swell job writing the book, it’s all on Evely to communicate the emotions of the scenes that make filling in this backstory worthwhile. And she’s hitting it out of the park. The look of horror on Diana’s face when she realizes that she was too late to save her friend is so powerful that it sells the entire scene from the get-go. Similarly, she brings so much to Veronica, humanizing someone we could easily see as a monster. Again, Rucka’s writing her well, but it could feel hollow in the wrong hands. With Evely, each beat plays out true. The final page of the issue, in which Veronica is ashamed of the magnitude of horror she’s perpetrated to save her daughter, is particularly compelling. Evely captures the human side of her so well that you can’t help but sympathize with her despite all she’s done.

Evely’s helped by Scott Hanna on inks, and I’m glad to see that they were able to have just one inker for this outing. It was much stronger than last month’s issue, when several different inkers contributed to the books and the differences were clear and somewhat jarring. Romulo Fajardo Jr.’s colours remain stellar as well. That man has a deft touch. Evely’s linework pairs best with a muted colour palette, which could be limiting, but he’s able to find vibrancy and contrast within this somewhat subdued range that makes the book look absolutely gorgeous. It’s a different set of skills that Fajardo showed us with “Year One” and it’s just as lovely.

Overall, this issue was a heartbreaker, and a very well executed one at that. We knew the bulk of what was coming and it not only still hurt, it conjured up some sympathy for the villain of the piece! That’s kind of remarkable. This arc has been great so far, and I can’t wait to see how Rucka and Evely toy with our emotions again in a month’s time.

Women at DC Comics Watch – May 2017 Solicits, 28 Women on 21 Books

March 6, 2017

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May looks to be a decent month for female creators at DC Comics, with the publisher set to post their highest number of different women for the year thus far. While the total is still somewhat below the highs that DC hit last fall, the numbers have been moving up for a couple of months now and are nearing the 30-range, a relatively strong bar for female representation at either superhero publisher. Let’s take a look at who is going what at DC in May 2017:

  • Amanda Conner: Harley Quinn #19 (co-writer, cover), Harley Quinn #20 (co-writer, cover)
  • Audrey Mok: Shade, the Changing Girl #8 (writer, interior art)
  • Becky Cloonan: Gotham Academy: Second Semester #9 (co-writer), Shade, the Changing Girl #8 (cover)
  • Bilquis Evely: Wonder Woman #22 (interior art, cover)
  • Carmen Carnero: DC Comics Bombshells #26 (interior art), DC Comics Bombshells #27 (interior art), Detective Comics #957 (interior art)
  • Cecil Castellucci: Shade, the Changing Girl #8 (writer)
  • Emanuela Lupacchino: Green Lanterns #22 (variant cover), Green Lanterns #23 (variant cover)
  • Genevieve Valentine: Detective Comics #957 (co-writer)
  • Hope Larson: Batgirl #11 (writer)
  • Jen Bartel: Shade, the Changing Girl #8 (variant cover)
  • Jenny Frison: Wonder Woman #22 (variant cover), Wonder Woman #23 (variant cover)
  • Jill Thompson: The Flintstones #11 (cover)
  • Jody Houser: Mother Panic #7 (writer)
  • Julie Benson: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #10 (co-writer)
  • K. Perkins: Superwoman #10 (writer)
  • Kamome Shirahama: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #10 (variant cover)
  • Laura Braga: DC Comics Bombshells #27 (interior art)
  • Lilah Sturges: Everafter: From the Pages of Fables #9 (co-writer)
  • Marguerite Bennett: Batwoman #3 (co-writer), DC Comics Bombshells #26 (writer), DC Comics Bombshells #27 (writer)
  • Marley Zarcone: Shade, the Changing Girl #8 (interior art)
  • Mirka Andolfo: DC Comics Bombshells #26 (interior art), DC Comics Bombshells #27 (interior art)
  • Msassyk: Gotham Academy: Second Semester #9 (interior art)
  • Nicola Scott: Red Hood and the Outlaws #10 (cover), Wonder Woman Annual #1 (interior art, cover)
  • Rachael Stott: DC Comics Bombshells #26 (interior art)
  • Sandra Hope: Gotham Academy: Second Semester #9 (inker)
  • Shawna Benson: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #10 (co-writer)
  • Tula Lotay: Everafter: From the Pages of Fables #9 (cover)
  • Yasmine Putri: The Hellblazer #10 (variant cover)

All together, there are 28 different female creators set to work on 21 different books in May, 2 more women than in April though 3 fewer books. Things were a bit more concentrated this month; rather than women across the board, a few series like Shade, the Changing Girl and a double shot of DC Comics Bombshells had a lot of women in just a few places, thus the drop in different comics despite the gains in female creators overall. All together, it was a solid month for DC, and the nearest the publisher has come to their fall highs thus far in 2017.

In terms of new names, I think we’ve got a few women making their DC debuts, though they are known for their work elsewhere in the industry. According to my records, Audrey Mok, Jen Bartel, and Rachael Stott are all appearing in the DC solicits for the first time since this project began, and it’s always enjoyable to see pros from other kinds of comics pop in to do some corporate superhero fun. We’ve also got a couple of returning favourites; we haven’t seen Carmen Carnero, Genevieve Valentine, or Jill Thompson in a while, and it’s cool to have them back in the mix.

There’s not many new comics set to premiere at DC in May, much less ones with female leads. Things have been pretty steady at DC for a while now, so much so that I can’t help but expect a new wave of books sometime soon. June will mark a year since “Rebirth” began, so perhaps we’ll see some new titles then? DC’s been sticking with this lineup for several months now.

All together, May looks to be a decent month for women at DC Comics. There remains, as always, a massive amount of room to grow, but increases in female representation for two months running is a positive sign, as is posting the highest number of the year thus far. Hopefully June brings more growth, and perhaps some new series.

Women at DC Comics Watch – April 2017 Solicits, 26 Female Creators on 24 Books

February 17, 2017

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Female creator representation in DC’s April 2017 solicits is about par for the course for the year thus far. DC’s been hovering around the mid-20s for months, an okay level but noticeably below their recent highs last fall and Marvel’s current highs. Given the progress both major superhero publishers have made in expanding their female creator ranks over the past few years, DC’s run in 2017 thus far is slightly underwhelming. Let’s take a look at who’s doing what at DC in April 2017:

  • Afua Richardson: All Star Batman #9 (interior art and cover)
  • Amanda Conner: Harley Quinn #17 (co-writer, cover), Harley Quinn #18 (co-writer, cover)
  • Aneke: DC Comics Bombshells #25 (interior art)
  • Becky Cloonan: Gotham Academy: Second Semester #8 (co-writer), Shade, the Changing Girl #7 (cover)
  • Bilquis Evely: Wonder Woman #20 (interior art, cover)
  • Cecil Castellucci: Shade, the Changing Girl #7 (writer)
  • Eleanora Carlini: Green Arrow #20 (interior art)
  • Emanuela Lupacchino: Green Lanterns #20 (variant cover), Green Lanterns #21 (variant cover), Supergirl #8 (cover), Trinity #8 (interior art)
  • Gail Simone: Clean Room #18 (writer)
  • Hope Larson: Batgirl #10 (writer)
  • Jenny Frison: Clean Room #18 (cover), Wonder Woman #20 (variant cover), Wonder Woman #21 (variant cover)
  • Jody Houser: Mother Panic #6 (writer)
  • Joelle Jones: Supergirl: Being Super #3 (interior art)
  • Julie Benson: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #9 (co-writer)
  • K. Perkins: Superwoman #8 (writer)
  • Kamome Shirahama: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #9 (variant cover)
  • Lilah Sturges: Everafter: From the Pages of Fables #8 (co-writer)
  • Marguerite Bennett: Batwoman #2 (co-writer), DC Comics Bombshells #25 (writer)
  • Marguerite Sauvage: Shade, the Changing Girl #7 (interior art, cover)
  • Mariko Tamaki: Supergirl: Being Super #3 (writer)
  • Msassyk: Gotham Academy: Second Semester #8 (interior art)
  • Nicola Scott: Red Hood and the Outlaws #9 (cover), The Flintstones #10 (variant cover)
  • Sandra Hope: Gotham Academy: Second Semester #8 (inker)
  • Shawna Benson: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #9 (co-writer)
  • Tula Lotay: Everafter: From the Pages of Fables #8 (cover)
  • Yasmine Putri: The Hellblazer #9 (variant cover)

All together, there are 26 different female creators set to work on 24 different books, 2 more women than last month though 3 fewer books. DC’s now settled into their “Rebirth” lineup, and there’s not a huge amount of change from month to month, so most of the women above tend to have steady gigs, but the ranks don’t seem to be growing much. The numbers are stable, but below what DC has shown they’re capable of.

In terms of new names, Aneke is someone I don’t think we’ve seen at DC before; she’ll be drawing an issue of DC Comics Bombshells that brings back the universe’s Suicide Squad, so that should be a blast. K. Perkins is back too, though I don’t know if her writing gig on Superwoman is a onetime thing or she’ll be there moving forward. Finally, it’s very cool to welcome Lilah Sturges to the list! She’s been working on Everafter for a while now, but she’s recently transitioned to living openly as a woman and this is the first batch of solicits that reflects this change.

There aren’t any new series set to debut in April. As I said above, DC’s lineup is pretty set right now. We’ve got a new book or two since 2017 began, but not much else. I’m guessing they’ll be a new wave of “Rebirth” titles at some point soon, but for now things are pretty steady and uneventful.

Overall, April doesn’t look to be a bad month for women at DC, but it’s another average outing that doesn’t near their past highs. Nonetheless, it’s an impressive group of creators doing great work. The ranks are just leveled out right now. I wouldn’t expect much change until DC launches some new books or has a major creative overhaul.

Wonder Woman #16 Review: A Calamitous Chimera Conflict

February 8, 2017

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The new “Godwatch” arc began in Wonder Woman #16 today, with Greg Rucka returning to write the book along with new artist Bilquis Evely (and some ink assists from Mark Morales, Andrew Hennessy, and Raul Fernandez). You’ll probably remember Evely from Wonder Woman #8, a special oneshot starring Barbara Ann Minerva that tied into “Year One.” It was a gorgeous book, and the news that she’d be taking over for Nicola Scott on the series’ even numbered issues has certainly lessened the blow of Scott’s departure somewhat. “Year One” will go down as one of the best Wonder Woman stories of all time, giving “Godwatch” a lot of live up to, but this debut issues suggests that we’ve got another enjoyable arc ahead of us. We’ll dive into it all, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

I’m about to reveal ALL OF THE THINGS from this issue!

Make sure you’ve read it first!

The main thing I was wondering about with “Godwatch” was when exactly it would take place. “The Lies” and “The Truth” are set in the present, while “Year One” was five years ago. With this first issue of “Godwatch,” it turns out the story starts six months after Wonder Woman left Themyscira, so shortly after “Year One” and well before “The Lies.” After this issue, I’m curious to see if we stay this deep in the past and slowly see how the Godwatch organization is formed, or if we jump ahead a bit. This first issue has certainly laid the groundwork for why Godwatch was created, and it’ll be interesting to see if Rucka goes for a slow build or not. Knowing Rucka, my money’s on slow build, but I wouldn’t be surprised by a time jump next month.

So the issue starts out with Veronica Cale being a semi-evil industrialist with a deep dislike of Wonder Woman, but she’s hardly a super-villain. But her path seems to change when Ares’ sons Phobos and Deimos steal her daughter and force her to use the technology she’s developing to fight Wonder Woman and try to find out the location of Themyscira. Things go sideways from there; Veronica’s chief scientist Adriana uses the dangerous Cyberwalk system to confront Wonder Woman, and gets defeated by both Wonder Woman’s chimera pal and the machine’s deadly imperfections. Cradling her seemingly deceased friend, Veronica promises, “You will all burn.”

This, we have to assume, is the beginning of Godwatch. As we saw back in “The Lies,” Veronica is still trying to figure out how to get to Themyscira, so I can see this going one of two ways. Either Phobos and Deimos still have Veronica’s daughter and she’s been working for years to free her OR they’ll be sorted in the next few issues but she’ll keep trying to find its location out of a hatred for Wonder Woman and anything divinely related in general. Either could be an interesting journey.

Also, I don’t know whether this is intentional or not, but a trapped daughter is classic Wonder Woman villain motivation. Back in the Golden Age, Paula von Gunther worked for the Nazis because they has her daughter as a hostage, and after Wonder Woman learned of this and freed her, they became friends and allies and worked together to fight the Nazis from then on. Maybe Rucka is going in a similar direction, or is playing on this story in some way.

We also know that Adriana is still alive since we saw her in “The Lies.” Only in electronic form, though. My guess is that whatever happened at the end of this issue trapped Adriana in some king of machine, and while her body might be “dead” her mind lives on in a computer as Dr. Cyber. And perhaps in some sort of android, like we saw in this issue but one better suited for battles for battles in mythical beasts, because that would make for much cooler fight scenes down the road, of course.

Now, this is an issue of Wonder Woman without a lot of Wonder Woman, which usually irks me. But I thought it worked here. It set up Veronica Cale and her motivations very nicely, plus the brief moments we got of Wonder Woman were very good. The montage at the beginning was fun and nicely put together, and the battle between her, the chimera, and Cyberwalk showcased the best of Wonder Woman. I loved her talking to the chimera, trying to get her to calm down by connecting with her and explaining that she was new to this world too and yes, it’s a very strange place. I also liked that she tried to save everyone, both the chimera and Cyberwalk, not wanting either of them to harm the other. That’s how Wonder Woman should roll.

The art was quite good for most of the issue, but some of the inking let down Evely’s excellent pencils at times. Four different inkers rarely offers a cohesive look for a book, and is usually a sign that things were a bit rushed. I don’t know who did which pages, but a few of them were much rougher and lacked the detail that characterized the best of what the book had to offer. Still, the layouts were great, and I’ve seen some of Evely’s pencils for the issue online and they’re spectacular. If they can figure out the inking situation, it should be a gorgeous arc. I was also glad to see that Romulo Fajardo Jr. is staying on as colorist, because that dude is ridiculously good at what he does. I so enjoy the texture, smoothness, lushness, and light touch he brings to his work. It really makes the linework shine.

All together, this was a strong beginning to “Godwatch” and I’m excited to see where things go from here. It’d be nice to have more Wonder Woman in the future, but for this first issue the focus on the villains made a lot of sense and it set up a lot to deal with for our Amazon heroine. Wonder Woman‘s got a really nice one-two punch going right now, with intriguing new plotlines in both the odd and even numbered issues, and that makes for some fun reading.


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