Posts Tagged ‘Bilquis Evely’

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.

Wonder Woman’s April 2017 Covers and Solicits

January 24, 2017

DC’s solicits were a little bit late this month, but when they finally arrived yesterday they brought a bevy of new Wonder Woman comic books for us to look forward to this April. So let’s take a look at what Wonder Woman will be up to in a few months’ time, starting with her own series:

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WONDER WOMAN #20
Written by GREG RUCKA • Art and cover by BILQUIS EVELY • Variant cover by JENNY FRISON
“Godwatch” part three! Cale launches a desperate gambit to take control of Godwatch, but her plan hinges on two factors she cannot control: the witch Circe, and Wonder Woman!
On sale APRIL 12 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

WONDER WOMAN #21
Written by GREG RUCKA • Art and cover by LIAM SHARP • Variant cover by JENNY FRISON
“The Truth” part four! As the reality of Themyscira is revealed, Wonder Woman is forced to make a decision: defy the will of the gods or betray her Amazon sisters to Godwatch!
On sale APRIL 26 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

The dual narrative continues this April, with Wonder Woman facing off against Godwatch in the even numbered issues and learning the truth about Themyscira in the odd books. Circe’s going to be in Wonder Woman #20, which should be a lot of fun. After her poor portrayal in Superman/Wonder Woman a couple of years back, I’m looking forward to what can only be a better spin on her from Rucka and Evely.

Now onto Trinity:

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TRINITY #8
Written by CULLEN BUNN • Art by EMANUELA LUPACCHINO and RAY McCARTHY • Cover by CLAY MANN • Variant cover by BILL SIENKIEWICZ
A “Superman: Reborn Aftermath” tie-in! In this essential chapter of the “Superman Reborn Aftermath” epic, Kal-El reveals to Batman and Wonder Woman what had happened to him—and how they all may be in danger!
On sale APRIL 19 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T

I’ve been enjoying Trinity, but honestly I’m picking it up for the amazing Francis Manapul art and there just hasn’t been much of it. Now eight issues in, it looks like he’ll have drawn half of them at most, and we’re getting a tie-in issue with a Superman event? Not what I’m looking for. Hopefully Manapul is back in full force in May, because otherwise I might be ready to move on, especially with the $1 price hike.

Next up, some Amazon fun:

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THE ODYSSEY OF THE AMAZONS #4
Written by KEVIN GREVIOUX
Art by RYAN BENJAMIN and RICHARD FRIEND
Cover by RYAN BENJAMIN
The Amazons are taken to Valhalla, heavenly home of warriors who have fallen in combat. Hessia learns where the Amazons originated and why their numbers have come to be spread throughout the world. But she’s also determined to find a way back to Earth, to rescue her comrades who have been taken by the Storm Giants. As for the Giants, they are getting ready to go to war.
On sale APRIL 19 • 32 pg, FC, 4 of 6, $3.99 US • RATED T+

This series starts TOMORROW, so we’ll know pretty soon if this is going to be worth picking up in April. While the buzz for it seems to be minimal/non-existent, a lot of great titles fly under the radar so we’ll see what happens. It still just sounds like a Thor book to me, but I’m curious to see what Grievoux, Benjamin, and Friend do. I’ll be checking out the first issue tomorrow and will report back if I have anything interesting to say about it.

Now some classic TV fun:

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BATMAN ’66 MEETS WONDER WOMAN ’77 #4
Written by MARC ANDREYKO and JEFF PARKER • Art by DAVID HAHN and KARL KESEL • Cover by MICHAEL ALLRED
Ra’s al Ghul has discovered the Amazons’ Elysian Well…better known to Man’s World as a Lazarus Pit! Wonder Woman takes Batman and Robin (and Catwoman!) to confront him, but strange creatures live in the same maze, which the Amazons have used for centuries as a prison!
On sale APRIL 26 • 32 pg, FC, 4 of 6, $3.99 US • RATED E • DIGITAL FIRST

I’m so down for Catwoman on Paradise Island. You had me there, and you don’t have to sell me on anything else, DC. I’m super on board.

We’ve also got a few Wonder Woman collections announced. They include:

  • WONDER WOMAN VOL. 2: YEAR ONE TP: Collects WONDER WOMAN #2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 and 14. On sale MAY 3 • 168 pg, FC, $16.99 US. If you didn’t read this in single issues, BUY THIS. It’s phenomenal. Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott hit this one out of the park.
  • WONDER WOMAN BY JOHN BYRNE BOOK ONE HC: Collects WONDER WOMAN #101-114. On sale MAY 24 • 328 pg, FC, $39.99 US. A nice big collection of Byrne’s work on Wonder Woman, which I found moderately enjoyable when I read it. It’s Byrne before he went full on Internet wacko, which is usually worth checking out.
  • WONDER WOMAN: THE GOLDEN AGE OMNIBUS VOL. 2 HC: Collects COMIC CAVALCADE #6-13, SENSATION COMICS #25-48 and WONDER WOMAN #8-15. On sale JULY 5 • 768 pg, FC, $75.00 US. Early Marston/Peter Wonder Woman comics are always a good choice, and this HUGE new collection comes with a gorgeous Darwyn Cooke cover.

So we’ve got a nice selection of books to choose from this April, and some fine collections on the way as well. Should be fun!

Women at DC Comics Watch – March 2017 Solicits, 24 Women on 27 Books

January 12, 2017

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After closing out 2016 with some of their highest months ever, DC’s female representation has been coming in a bit lower in their solicits since then, and their March listings mark the lowest number of different female creators since August. It’s not a disastrous drop; the mid-20s is a fairly average range for DC these days, but it’s noticeably below where they were just a few months ago and a disappointing step back for a publisher whose numbers were trending upward. Let’s take a look at who’s doing what at DC in March 2017:

  • Afua Richardson: The Wild Storm #2 (variant cover)
  • Amanda Conner: Booster Gold/The Flintstones Annual #1 (co-writer), Harley Quinn #15 (co-writer, cover), Harley Quinn #16 (co-writer, cover), The Kamandi Challenge #3 (interior art, cover)
  • Becky Cloonan: Gotham Academy: Second Semester #7 (co-writer, cover), Shade, the Changing Girl #6 (cover)
  • Bilquis Evely: Wonder Woman #18 (cover, interior art)
  • Cecil Castellucci: Shade, the Changing Girl #6 (writer)
  • Eleanora Carlini: Green Arrow #18 (interior art), Green Arrow #19 (interior art)
  • Elena Casagrande: Vigilante: Southland #6 (interior art)
  • Emanuela Lupacchino: Green Lanterns #18 (variant cover), Green Lanterns #19 (variant cover), Supergirl #7 (cover), Superwoman #8 (interior art)
  • Gail Simone: Clean Room #17 (writer)
  • Hope Larson: Batgirl #9 (writer), Batgirl Annual #1 (writer)
  • Jenny Frison: Clean Room #17 (cover), Wonder Woman #18 (variant cover), Wonder Woman #19 (variant cover)
  • Jody Houser: Mother Panic #5 (writer)
  • Julie Benson: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #8 (co-writer)
  • Kamome Shirahama: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #8 (variant cover)
  • Laura Braga: DC Comics Bombshells #23 (interior art), DC Comics Bombshells #24 (interior art)
  • Marguerite Bennett: Batwoman #1 (co-writer), DC Comics Bombshells #23 (writer), DC Comics Bombshells #24 (writer)
  • Marguerite Sauvage: DC Comics Bombshells #23 (cover), The Fall and Rise of Captain Atom #3 (cover)
  • Marley Zarcone: Shade, the Changing Girl #6 (interior art, cover)
  • Mirka Andolfo: DC Comics Bombshells #23 (interior art)
  • Msassyk: Gotham Academy: Second Semester #7 (interior art)
  • Sandra Hope: Gotham Academy: Second Semester #7 (inker)
  • Shawna Benson: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #8 (co-writer)
  • Tula Lotay: Everafter: From the Pages of Fables #7 (cover)
  • Yasmine Putri: Superwoman #8 (cover), The Hellblazer #8 (variant cover)

All together, there are 24 different women set to work on 27 different books at DC this March, 3 fewer women than last month though 6 more books. The increase in the number of books is an encouraging sign; while there are fewer women in the mix, the ones who are there are getting more work. Still, DC’s proven they’re capable of hiring 30+ female creators in a month and they currently aren’t doing so, and are thus failing to meet the standard that they set for themselves.

In terms of new names at DC, while I believe I’ve seen Eleanora Carlini’s name in the credits of Green Arrow lately, I think that she was a late addition and this might be the first time she’s in the solicits. She’ll be doing interior art there. We’ve also got a variant cover from Afua Richardson, who typically does work at Marvel. To the best of my knowledge, this is her first work at DC.

March looks to be a quiet month for new books. Batwoman #1 officially debuts after the “Rebirth” special last month, and I’m very much looking forward to that one. It’s got a great character and a stellar creative team, plus it’s spinning out of Detective Comics, which has been one of the highlights of the “Rebirth” line for me. The only other new book in the mix is a Vertigo series with a bunch of dudes in the mix, real and fictional.

Overall, the March numbers aren’t a terrible tumble by any means, but it’s the lowest that DC’s female representation has been in a while. These numbers always go up and down, of course, and this may just be a low ebb. DC’s capable of better regardless, and hopefully they’ll reach their potential and things will start to swing up again soon.

Wonder Woman #14 Review: The Grand Finale of “Year One”

January 11, 2017

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It’s been so long since we’ve had an in-continuity Wonder Woman story that was this good. Outside of continuity, there have been some great Wonder Woman tales over the past few years; The Legend of Wonder Woman was amazing, while there were some absolutely stellar issues of Sensation Comics over the course of its run. But in terms of the proper mainline Wonder Woman title itself, things haven’t been great for a while now. There were cool moments here and there, but the book has lacked a sustained start to finish arc that tells a good story and captures the essence of who Wonder Woman is, what she means, and why she’s important. Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott have given us such a tale, and it’s been a joy to read each issue. Today’s finale was a fitting close to the arc, one that stands on its own as a distillation of the heart of the character while also tying into everything else going on in “The Lies,” “The Truth,” and “Godwatch.” Let’s dig into it all, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

I am about to reveal all of the details in this exciting conclusion!

Look away if you haven’t read it yet!

Also, go read it! It’s really good!

When we last left our intrepid heroine, the god of war had appeared at the military installation where Wonder Woman was staying, and he seemed to be in a bad mood. His poor attitude wasn’t terribly surprising; Ares is known to have a rather foul disposition. But now we know what he was after: He wanted the location of the home of the Amazons, and he was going to take it by force if he had to.

Wonder Woman wasn’t interested in force, however. She battered Ares around a bit initially, but then took a different tack, and the scene that ensued captured everything I love about Rucka and Scott’s approach to Wonder Woman. First, she realized that fighting the god of war WITH war, i.e. confronting him directly and violently, wasn’t going to end well for anyone. He’s war incarnate, after all. He’s very good at it. So instead, she decided to talk to him, and supplicated herself before him.

Second, she then appealed to what is best in Ares. She didn’t insult him or try some kind of trickery. Instead, she gave him an honourable out when she told him, “Show us thine courage in mercy.” Wonder Woman recognized his power and offered him a way to use it that would make him look good while avoiding any bloodshed. It was a tactical move on her part, to be sure, but it also showed how Wonder Woman sees the best in everyone, understands their potential for good, and tries to help them achieve that. She met Ares on his own terms, and tried to turn him onto a path that would be for the good of all, himself included. And she was willing to humble herself to do so.

Third, Wonder Woman gave herself up for her friends. Kneeling before Ares is kind of a terrible idea. Exposing herself to the god of war, defenseless, could easily have taken a grisly turn. But she was willing to take that risk, put herself on the line, and trade whatever she could in order to find a peaceful solution to what could have been a violent conflict that endangered her friends. Her new friends, at that, and beyond. She barely knew Steve, Etta, and Barbara, and she’d been exposed to the evils of this outside world, and still she was willing to give herself up to keep them, and the wider world, safe.

Fourth, when all else failed and Ares didn’t get what he wanted, Wonder Woman knew how and where to hit him. She didn’t punch him, thus avoiding playing the game on his terms. Instead, she wrapped him in the lasso of truth and used its power to defeat him. Interestingly, while the lasso has retained its classic truth revealing elements in this incarnation of Wonder Woman, its added something new: Understanding. Wrapping themselves in the lasso is how Diana, Steve, Etta, and Barbara overcame their language barrier. It united them in a manner that allowed them to understand each other perfectly, despite their many differences. It may seem a little corny, but I absolutely love a story in which truth and understanding is the weapon the hero uses to defeat hate and war.

The rest of the issue was fun as well. Athena stepped in and revealed Ares’ fiendish master plan, so Wonder Woman and Steve went off and took care of that with ease. This resulted in another great scene for Diana; she was overcome with anger while fighting a group of terrorists and almost gave into a murderous impulse, but then she wrapped herself in her own lasso and the truth steeled her against the power of Ares’ lies. The fun continued in other ways as well, with the Etta/Barbara romantic subplot developing nicely, and for readers interested in some male eye candy, Nicola Scott had a lot of shirtless Steve Trevor in this issue. There was something for everyone, really. And the issue ended with a nice nod to Wonder Woman’s past, with an array of newspapers naming her “Wonder Woman” using different fonts that harkened back to the scripts used on the covers of Wonder Woman over the course of the series’ history.

All together, it was an excellent conclusion to a fantastic run that will go down as one of the best Wonder Woman stories of all time. It was well written and absolutely gorgeous, and it set the tone for who Wonder Woman is and what she means in today’s world. With such a good beginning, I can’t wait to see what’s next. Bilquis Evely, who drew the wonderful Barbara Ann Minerva standalone issue, is taking over the art for Scott on the new arc, “Godwatch,” a transition so perfect that it lessens the blow of Scott’s departure considerably. Wonder Woman‘s going to be good for a while, gang. It’s exciting times.


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