Posts Tagged ‘Carmen Carnero’

Women & NB Creators at Marvel Comics Watch, February 2019 Solicits – 31 Creators on 29 Books

December 21, 2018

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Marvel’s starting the New Year right. After coming in just shy of thirty different female creators for the past few rounds of solicits, they’ve crossed that line with their February offerings. Now the publisher is in the ballpark of their past highs for the first time in a long time. It’s been an interesting road back up. Just a year ago, Marvel had only 11 female creators in the mix, but things have improved considerably since then. Let’s take a look at who’s doing what this February at Marvel:

  • Amanda Conner: Captain Marvel #2 (cover)
  • Amy Reeder: Ironheart #3 (cover)
  • Annie Wu: Love Romances #1 (variant cover)
  • Ashley Witter: Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #29 (cover), X-23 #9 (cover)
  • Carmen Carnero: Captain Marvel #2 (interior art, variant cover)
  • Emanuela Lupacchino: Age of X-Man: The X-Tremists #1 (variant cover), X-23 #9 (variant cover)
  • Erica Henderson: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #41 (cover)
  • Eve L. Ewing: Ironheart #3 (writer)
  • G. Willow Wilson: Ms. Marvel #38 (writer)
  • Gail Simone: Love Romances #1 (co-writer)
  • Gurihiru: The Unstoppable Wasp #5 (interior art)
  • Jen Bartel: Marvel Tales: Black Widow #1 (cover)
  • Jen Soska: Black Widow #2 (co-writer)
  • Jody Houser: Captain Marvel: Braver & Mightier #1 (writer), Star Wars: Age of Republic – Anakin Skywalker #1 (writer), Star Wars: Age of Republic – Count Dooku #1 (writer)
  • Kelly Thompson: Avengers West Coast #8 (writer), Captain Marvel #2 (writer), Mr. and Mrs. X #8 (writer)
  • Leah Williams: Age of X-Man: The X-Tremists #1 (writer)
  • Maria Lapham: Marvel Comics Presents #2 (co-writer), The Gunhawks #1 (co-writer)
  • Mariko Tamaki: X-23 #9 (writer)
  • Michelle Delecki: Age of X-Man: The Amazing Nightcrawler #1 (cover)
  • Naomi Franquiz: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #41 (interior art)
  • Natacha Bustos: Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #40 (interior art, cover)
  • Nnedi Okorafor: Shuri #5 (writer)
  • Rachel Dodson: Mr. and Mrs. X #8 (cover)
  • Rainbow Rowell: Runaways #18 (writer)
  • Sana Takeda: Miles Morales: Spider-Man #3 (variant cover)
  • Sara Pichelli: Ms. Marvel #38 (cover), Star Wars #61 (variant cover)
  • Seanan McGuire: Age of X-Man: The Amazing Nightcrawler #1 (writer), Spider-Gwen: Ghost-Spider #5 (writer)
  • Stacey Lee: The Unstoppable Wasp #5 (cover)
  • Sylvia Soska: Black Widow #2 (co-writer)
  • Yasmine Putri: Avengers: No Road Home #1 (cover), Avengers: No Road Home #2 (cover), Avengers: No Road Home #3 (cover), Shatterstar #5 (cover)

All together, there are 31 different female creators set to work on 29 different books in February, 2 more creators than in January and the same number of books. As far as I can tell, there are no non-binary creators in this round of solicits. While a jump of two additional creators isn’t particularly big, it does cross a significant threshold and takes Marvel over the thirty line for the first time in ages. That’s an achievement, as are the steady numbers the publisher has been posting lately. It’s good to see some stability at Marvel.

As well as some new names! This month, we’ve got Maria Lapham co-writing a couple of one-shots with her husband, David. They’re temporary gigs, and the Laphams are certainly busy with their own books elsewhere, but perhaps they’ll be back for more Marvel fun in the future. We’ve also got Naomi Franquiz doing interior art on The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, which is a book that’s always deliberate in its choice of creators. I wouldn’t be surprised to see more of her going forward, whether it’s back with Squirrel Girl or elsewhere.

It’s a very quiet month for female characters, however. Most of the new books are centered on dudes, including titles for Conan, Daredevil, Peter Quill, Wolverine, and more. But we do have a couple team books with some ladies in the mix. Avengers: No Road Home features the Scarlet Witch, Spectrum (I think that’s the current handle for Monica Rambeau?), and Voyager. There are also a bunch of “Age of X-Man” mini-series starting, most of which have some female characters. It looks like Jean Grey, Nature Girl, Storm, and X-23 are in The Marvelous X-Men, a few teen gal mutants I don’t recognize are in Nextgen, and we’ve got Psylocke and Jubilee in The X-Tremists.

Overall, 2019 has been a very solid year for female creators at Marvel thus far. It would be nice to see this growth extend to non-binary creators as well, however. There is always room to grow further, in a whole host of ways. But on the whole, Marvel has more than 30 women working on their books right now, and that’s an impressive comeback after some dismal lows in 2018. Here’s hoping that the upward trajectory continues.

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Women & NB Creators at Marvel Comics Watch, January 2019 Solicits: 29 Creators on 29 Books

November 27, 2018

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Marvel closed out 2018 with solid gains in terms of female and non-binary creator representation, bouncing back well after some terribly low numbers last winter to plateau at a relatively decent level. The numbers aren’t great by any means, but they’re now consistently not bad, and that’s what counts for progress when it comes to representation in superhero comic books. Now we’ve got numbers from the new year, and this consistency is set to continue. Marvel is rolling into 2019 at about the same level they ended 2018, which is nice to see. Let’s take a look at who is doing what at Marvel this January:

  • Amanda Conner: Captain Marvel #1 (cover)
  • Amy Reeder: Ironheart #3 (cover)
  • Ann Nocenti: Marvel Comics Presents #1 (co-writer)
  • Ashley Witter: Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #28 (cover), X-23 #8 (cover)
  • Carmen Carnero: Captain Marvel #1 (interior art)
  • Emanuela Lupacchino: Conan the Barbarian #2 (variant cover), X-Force #2 (variant cover)
  • Erica Henderson: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #40 (cover)
  • Eve L. Ewing: Ironheart #3 (writer)
  • Gail Simone: Domino #10 (writer)
  • Gurihiru: The Unstoppable Wasp #4 (interior art)
  • Jen Bartel: Marvel Tales: Fantastic Four #1 (cover), Marvel Tales: Venom #1 (cover)
  • Jen Soska: Black Widow #1 (co-writer)
  • Jody Houser: Star Wars: Age of Republic – Jango Fett #1 (writer), Star Wars: Age of Republic – Obi-Wan Kenobi #1 (writer), Star Wars: Age of Republic Special #1 (co-writer)
  • Kelly Thompson: Captain Marvel #1 (writer), Mr. and Mrs. X #7 (writer), Uncanny X-Men #8 (co-writer), Uncanny X-Men #9 (co-writer), Uncanny X-Men #10 (co-writer), West Coast Avengers #7 (writer)
  • Kirbi Fagan: Conan the Barbarian #1 (variant cover)
  • Lauren Tsai: Captain Marvel #1 (variant cover)
  • Mariko Tamaki: X-23 #8 (writer)
  • Mirka Andolfo: Black Widow #1 (variant cover)
  • Natacha Bustos: Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #39 (interior art, cover)
  • Nnedi Okorafor: Shuri #4 (writer)
  • Rachel Dodson: Mr. and Mrs. X #7 (cover)
  • Rainbow Rowell: Runaways #17 (writer)
  • Rosi Kampe: Spider-Gwen: Ghost-Spider #4 (interior art)
  • Seanan McGuire: Spider-Gwen: Ghost-Spider #4 (writer)
  • Stacey Lee: The Unstoppable Wasp #4 (cover)
  • Stephanie Hans: Asgardians of the Galaxy #5 (interior art)
  • Sylvia Soska: Black Widow #1 (co-writer)
  • Yasmine Putri: Shatterstar #4 (cover), Solo: A Star Wars Story Adaptation #4 (variant cover)

All together, there are 29 different female creators set to work on 29 different comic books at Marvel in January, the same number of creators as in December though spread across 6 fewer books. As best I can tell, there are no non-binary creators listed in this round of solicits. So the number of female creators remains steady for the third straight month, which is good. Even though Marvel’s still below their past highs, 29 isn’t a terrible number. The drop in books is steep, though. Some event tie-ins have wrapped, which explains part of the decline, and while Marvel usually has a bevy of different one-shots each month, December’s had more female creators in the mix than January’s offerings do. Still, decent numbers all around.

We’ve got some new names in the mix as well. Laruen Tsai is doing a variant cover for the new Captain Marvel, and I don’t think we’ve seen her at Marvel before. We’ve also got the Soska Sisters, Jen and Sylvia, writing a new Black Widow series. We’ve seen them before briefly, in one of those aforementioned one-shots, and now they’ve jumped to an ongoing book. That’s the benefit of including female and non-binary creators in these one-shots: It’s a great way to find talent that you can promote to a bigger role.

Marvel’s one-shots this month just aren’t doing that. They’ve got a series of specials lined up to celebrate the publisher’s 80th anniversary, and it’s a dude-centric affair. The vast majority of the books star male characters, and the vast majority of the creators involved are men. Ann Nocenti’s got a story in the special Marvel Comics Presents, and that’s about it. It’s not a great look.

We’ve got a couple big new books with female leads, though. Captain Marvel is relaunching yet again, with Kelly Thompson and Carmen Carnero on board. I’m very excited for this one; Kelly’s been killing it on so many books lately, and Carmen Carnero is always good. We’ve got a new Black Widow series too, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the Soska Sisters bring to it. Elsewhere, there are a few teams books with some ladies in the mix as well, including relaunches of Guardians of the Galaxy and Champions.

Overall, it looks like Marvel is starting the year on a good foot. Their numbers are consistent, some of their biggest female characters are launching new titles, and their embarrassingly poor start to 2018 is becoming a distant memory. As much as there’s lots of room to grow, as always, steady representation at Marvel is rare. Hopefully it continues as the year goes on, and even grows.

Women & NB Creators at Marvel Comics Watch, September 2018 Solicits: 26 Creators on 21 Books

July 19, 2018

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After what has been a rough year thus far for female and non-binary creator representation at Marvel, the publisher seems to have settled into a bit of a groove now. Unconventionally, too. Maybe about half of the gigs listed below are steady, ongoing jobs. The rest are variant covers, one-shots, or mini-series, positions that don’t last for long. And yet, Marvel’s keeping their numbers steady on the backs of such gigs. More long-term work would be nice to see, and the publisher does remain well below their past highs, but at least they’ve pulled themselves up from the terrible numbers they were posting earlier in the year. Let’s take a look at who’s doing what at Marvel this September:

  • Agnes Garbowska: Marvel Super Hero Adventures: Captain Marvel – First Day of School #1 (cover)
  • Ashley Witter: Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #24 (cover), Star Wars: Doctor Aphra Annual #2 (variant cover)
  • Becky Cloonan: Moon Knight #199 (cover)
  • Carmen Carnero: X-Men Red #8 (interior art)
  • Devin Grayson: Marvel Rising: Omega #1 (writer)
  • Emanuela Lupacchino: Avengers #7 (variant cover)
  • Erica Henderson: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #36 (cover)
  • Eve Venture: Avengers #7 (variant cover)
  • G. Willow Wilson: Ms. Marvel #34 (writer)
  • Gail Simone: Domino #6 (writer), Domino Annual #1 (co-writer)
  • Gurihiru: Marvel Rising: Omega #1 (cover)
  • Helen Chen: Marvel Rising: Omega #1 (variant cover)
  • Jenny Frison: X-Men Red #8 (cover)
  • Jody Houser: Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #23 (writer)
  • Kelly Thompson: West Coast Avengers #2 (writer)
  • Leah Williams: Domino Annual #1 (co-writer)
  • Margaret Stohl: The Life of Captain Marvel #3 (writer)
  • Mariko Tamaki: X-23 #4 (writer)
  • Natacha Bustos: Domino Annual #1 (interior art), Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #35 (interior art, cover)
  • Rainbow Rowell: Runaways #13 (writer)
  • Sara Pichelli: Avengers #7 (interior art), Fantastic Four #2 (interior art)
  • Sing Ji: Spidergeddon #0 (variant cover)
  • Tini Howard: Captain America Annual #1 (writer)
  • Vanessa Del Rey: Sentry #4 (variant cover)
  • Yasmine Putri: X-23 #4 (variant cover)

All together, there are 26 different female creators scheduled to work on 21 different comic books at Marvel in September, 1 more creator than in August and the same number of books. As far as I can tell, there are no non-binary creators listed in Marvel’s solicits. So we don’t have much of a gain here, but what we do have is some much needed stability. The publisher has had at least 20 female creators in their ranks for four months running now, and this is their highest total since last September. Of course, Marvel’s been well into the 30s before so the mid-20s is nothing to write home about. Hooray for staying out of the teens and all, but there’s still a long way to go for the publisher to reach the level they’re capable of.

We’ve got some new creators set for September. Two of them, Eve Venture and Sing Ji, are on variant covers, while Tini Howard is writing a Captain America annual. These are all one-time gigs, but who knows where they could lead in the future? I don’t think we’ve seen Agnes Garbowska at Marvel before either, and she’s on covers for a new Marvel kids’ book.

New titles are few for September, but Asgardians of the Galaxy is set to debut and it features both Angela and Valkyrie. Everything else is dudes, including returns for Wolverine and Iceman. So there aren’t a lot of female characters premiering in new books this month, but there aren’t too many new books either.

Overall, September looks decent for female creator representation at Marvel. It’s taken a while for the publisher to dig out of their hole, but now their numbers are holding strong at a reasonable level. Marvel can now be slightly less embarrassed about their lack of female creators! They should still be embarrassed to some degree, though. They’ve still got hundreds of dudes versus 26 women. But things are starting to look up.

Women + NB Creators at Marvel Comics Watch, August 2018 Solicits: 25 Creators on 21 Books

June 5, 2018

womenatmarvelAUGUSTThe year thus far has not been great for female and non-binary creator representation at Marvel, with the numbers dropping down to the low teens for a stretch this spring. So when I say that this is the publisher’s best month of 2018, that’s not saying much. Still, things are improving, even if Marvel’s past highs remain a long way off and sustainability continues to be an ongoing concern. August doesn’t look like it’s going to be terrible, and that’s a welcome change of pace. Let’s take a look at who’s doing what at Marvel in August:

  • Amanda Conner: Extermination #1 (variant cover)
  • Ashley Witter: Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #23 (cover)
  • Becky Cloonan: Moon Knight #198 (cover)
  • Carmen Carnero: X-Men Red #7 (interior art)
  • Devin Grayson: Marvel Rising: Ms. Marvel/Squirrel Girl #1 (co-writer)
  • Elsa Charretier: Marvel Rising: Ms. Marvel/Squirrel Girl #1 (variant cover)
  • Emanuela Lupacchino: Fantastic Four #1 (variant cover), X-Men Gold Annual #2 (variant cover)
  • Erica Henderson: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #35 (cover)
  • G. Willow Wilson: Marvel Rising: Ms. Marvel/Squirrel Girl #1 (co-writer), Ms. Marvel #33 (writer)
  • Gail Simone: Domino #5 (writer)
  • Gurihiru: Marvel Rising: Ms. Marvel/Squirrel Girl #1 (cover)
  • Irene Strychalski: Marvel Rising: Ms. Marvel/Squirrel Girl #1 (interior art)
  • Jenny Frison: X-Men Red #7 (cover)
  • Jody Houser: Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #22 (writer), Star Wars: Poe Dameron Annual #2 (writer)
  • Kamome Shirahama: Infinity Wars #1 (variant cover)
  • Kelly Thompson: West Coast Avengers #1 (writer)
  • Margaret Stohl: The Life of Captain Marvel #2 (writer)
  • Mariko Tamaki: Hunt for Wolverine: Claws of a Killer #4 (writer), X-23 #3 (writer)
  • Natacha Bustos: Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #34 (interior art, cover)
  • Nnedi Okorafor: Wakanda Forever: Avengers #1 (writer)
  • Rainbow Rowell: Runaways #12 (writer)
  • Sara Pichelli: Fantastic Four #1 (interior art, variant cover)
  • Vanesa Del Rey: Wakanda Forever: Avengers #1 (variant cover)
  • Yasmine Putri: Infinity Wars #2 (variant cover), Wakanda Forever: Avengers #1 (variant cover)

All together, there are 25 different female creators scheduled to work on 21 different comic books at Marvel in August, 3 more creators and 3 more books than in July. As far as I can tell, there are no non-binary creators with gigs at Marvel this month. The August totals are Marvel’s highest of the year, and their best showing since last September. It’s been a bit of a free fall since then, but maybe they’re climbing out of it?

I’m cautious, because so many of the jobs above are temporary. I know I bang this drum every month, but as much as one-time gigs can be a foot in the door, dependence on them can lead to a collapse of the numbers. We’ve seen it several times over the past few years. Only about half of the women listed here are guaranteed to be back next month. Others may be be back too, but it will be elsewhere, and that shuffling can sometimes collapse. It’s been holding well for the past few months, though, and perhaps an influx of new, stable jobs will shore things up and help the numbers continue to grow.

Speaking of new, stable jobs, we’ve got a couple this month in the form of two returning favourites! Kelly Thompson is back, writing West Coast Avengers, and it looks FANTASTIC. Hawkeye is in the mix (I mean the good one, not the dude one, though he’s there, too) along with Gwenpool, America, and a few fellows. I think it’s going to be a blast. Sara Pichelli is back as well, drawing Marvel’s long-awaited relaunch of Fantastic Four. I’m not so keen on the writer there, but Pichelli will make the book look amazing, I’m sure.

These new books mean it’s a good month for fictional women as well. Hawkeye, Gwenpool, and America are front and center in West Coast Avengers, Sue Storm is back in Fantastic Four, and the Extermination event focuses on the original X-Men, which means a big role for young Jean Grey. The Wakanda Forever oneshots are continuing, too, and that brings us another rad Dora Milaje adventure. And the Marvel Rising oneshots feature more Squirrel Girl, Ms. Marvel, and more.

Overall, Marvel’s definitely on the up right now. While they dug themselves a very deep hole and they’re still far behind their past highs, they’re in the ballpark of some relatively okay numbers this month. The big issue is whether or not the numbers will hold, and so far they seem to be doing so. After the bottom fell out in the spring, the obvious worry is that it will happen again. But hopefully Marvel continues to regain ground and grow!

Women & NB Creators at DC Comics Watch, May 2018 Solicits: 23 Creators on 20 Books

March 6, 2018

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May looks to be another pedestrian month for female and non-binary creator representation at DC Comics. Despite a lot of big changes and new initiatives, the numbers have been sitting in the mid-20s for several months now. While it’s not the worst we’ve seen from the publisher, they’ve shown themselves to be capable of far higher totals. And unfortunately, the future isn’t looking very bright at the moment, either. Let’s take a look at who’s doing what at DC Comics this May:

  • Amanda Conner: Harley Quinn: Harley Loves Joker #1 (cover), Harley Quinn: Harley Loves Joker #2 (cover)
  • Becky Cloonan: Shade, The Changing Woman #3 (cover)
  • Carmen Carnero: Green Arrow Annual #2 (interior art)
  • Cecil Castellucci: Shade, The Changing Woman #3 (writer)
  • Emanuela Lupacchino: Wonder Woman #46 (cover), Wonder Woman #47 (cover)
  • Hope Larson: Batgirl #23 (writer)
  • Jenny Frison: Wonder Woman #46 (variant cover), Wonder Woman #47 (variant cover)
  • Jill Thompson: Action Comics Special #1 (interior art)
  • Jody Houser: Mother Panic: Gotham A.D. #3 (writer)
  • Joelle Jones: Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles #5 (variant cover)
  • Julie Benson: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #22 (co-writer), Green Arrow Annual #2 (co-writer)
  • Kamome Shirahama: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #22 (variant cover)
  • Magdalene Visaggio: Eternity Girl #3 (writer)
  • Marguerite Bennett: Batwoman #15 (writer), Bombshells United #17 (writer), Bombshells United #18 (writer)
  • Marley Zarcone: Shade, The Changing Woman #3 (interior art)
  • Nicola Scott: Mera, Queen of Atlantis #4 (cover)
  • Paulina Ganucheau: Bombshells United #17 (cover)
  • Rachael Stott: Motherlands #5 (interior art)
  • Rachel Dodson: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #22 (cover), Bombshells United #18 (cover)
  • Sandra Hope: The Silencer #5 (cover)
  • Shawna Benson: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #22 (co-writer), Green Arrow Annual #2 (co-writer)
  • Siya Oum: Bombshells United #17 (interior art)
  • Yasmine Putri: Nightwing #44 (variant cover), Wonder Woman Annual #2 (cover)

All together, there are 23 different female creators set to work on 20 different books at DC Comics in May, the same number of creators as in April though on 3 fewer books. As best I can tell, there are no non-binary creators listed in the solicits this month. These totals are among the lowest DC has posted in a while, though they remain in the ballpark of where the publisher has been lately. A range of 23-27 women and non-binary creators has been the norm, and it’s been that way despite some big creative changes. Losses somewhere were met with gains elsewhere, keeping things about the same for a while now.

But this could change very soon. A couple of big cancellations were announced recently that are going to have a significant effect on the numbers. First, Batgirl and the Birds of Prey is shipping its final issue in May. That book has been a powerhouse for female creators. It accounts for four of the names listed above, and has done so more or less steadily for the past year and a half. On top of that, Bombshells United is set to wrap up soon. From DC Comics Bombshells through Bombshells United, the book has been a bastion of female representation at DC for years now. Not only were women working on it at all levels of production, it also double shipped frequently, adding a slew of names to the list each month. It was a showcase for female artists as well, with creators like Mirka Andolfo, Laura Braga, Carmen Carnero, and many more doing fantastic work there before moving on elsewhere in the DC universe. Without it, not only are the numbers going to take a hit, but an important pipeline for female creators will be lost.

So that’s going to be a lot for the rest of the line to have to overcome. Batgirl and the Birds of Prey will be gone in the June solicits, and Bombshells has maybe a month or two left. And we’ve yet to see any news on what female and non-binary creator-led titles could replace them. Things are ramping up for a lot of big changes at DC, with Brian Michael Bendis taking over the Superman line and Scott Snyder tackling the Justice League. But from the looks of things, they’re bringing a lot of dudes with them to draw those books. Unless DC’s got some exciting new announcements up their sleeve, and several of them, I fear the numbers are going to start to drop very soon.

Wonder Woman #40 Review: Still With This Foolishness?

February 14, 2018

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There’s a line in today’s issue of Wonder Woman that perfectly captures the quality of writing we’ve been dealing with for the past several months. The woefully underdeveloped villain Silver Swan is flying through the night sky, stinging from her recent battle with Wonder Woman, and as she sees the moon shining she notes, “The moon reflects the cold silver of my dead heart.” Friends, I laughed out loud. The unfortunate thing is, I don’t think writer James Robinson was trying to be funny here. He’s constructed what he must imagine is a serious villain, given the swath of bodies left in her wake, yet her internal monologue reads like a bad goth parody. And, unsurprisingly given how poor this run has been, the rest of the writing in this issue is not much better. I remain flabbergasted that DC Comics is allowing such a terrible story for one of their marquee characters. We’ll get into it all, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

Do not read this review unless you want to know all of the big reveals from this issue!

I mean, most of these reveals are very dumb!

And badly written!

But still!

Reviewing this series lately just feels like making a list of complaints, which is something I do not care for. And yet, here we are again. I’d much rather be celebrating a fine comic book than criticizing a bad one, but this book just keeps finding new ways to be unpleasant every other week. It’s like compounded interest, except with terribleness instead of money. And I’m not at all shocked to see a new array of dumb decisions in this issue, on top of the already asinine storyline.

Let’s start with the art. It was fairly solid, as always. Emanuela Lupacchino and Carmen Carnero are quite good at their craft, and there was a lot of nice work in this outing. Throughout this run, the art has been the one decent thing we can count on, even when these fine artists are drawing the dumbest of stories. However, there was an odd choice that I didn’t much like. Lupacchino drew Jason towering over Diana, making him a full head taller than her in several panels. She often looked like a little pixie when next to his imposing frame. First, this is new. Jason was drawn only slightly taller than Diana initially. And second, Wonder Woman is tall. She is an imposing figure herself. To make her look small, you have to be a dang giant, or at the very least some sort of basketball star.

Moreover, the juxtaposition made her look not weak, but lesser, to a degree. There’s nothing at all wrong with being shorter, of course. Strength is not relative to size. But Diana and Jason are twins, and I think it’s a poor choice to make the male twin so much bigger. Especially in a genre where the men are typically behemoths and the women are tiny. They should be equals, and they’ve not been drawn as such here.

We’ve also got a condescending Steve Trevor moment in this issue that felt very out of character. If you’re not writing Steve Trevor as a good dude, you’re not writing him well. He is a fundamentally decent, respectful person, especially when it comes to women. So I found it a bit during when, during his battle with the Furies, he patronizingly called Lashina “sweetheart.” It’s a small thing, to be sure. But it’s a small thing that’s indicative of a writer who’s just doesn’t seem that interested in getting the characters right. That’s not something Steve would say. And since he’s only in two pages this issue, and has been an afterthought for a lot of this run, such a glaring error stands out especially sharply.

This outing also sees the introduction of another villain, and I’m not excited about it. Why would DC give Robinson the chance to screw up another classic Wonder Woman villain? It’s mind boggling. The revelation comes near the end of the issue, when a reflection reveals that the kindly Dr. Edward Carne looks to in fact be Dr. Psycho. Now, I’m not great at predicting plots and twists, in part because I don’t like to. I’d rather just follow along with where the story’s going. But the second the book introduced a short, friendly doctor talking about “the power of the mind,” my immediate thought was “well, that’s probably Dr. Pyscho then.” I was very amused when the next page revealed just that. It’s a weak twist, and I really don’t want Robinson to screw up this character too. Haven’t we been subjected to enough already? I have zero faith that he’ll do something interesting with him.

Elsewhere, the arc continued in its usual underwhelming way. Diana and Jason argued about proper heroing. There was another fight with the Silver Swan, and ultimately Wonder Woman captured here. Then Jason decided to run away because he’s so bad at being a superhero. Except that when he went to leave, he was swept up in some type of malevolent purple force. My fingers are crossed that he’d dead and gone, but that seems unlikely. Chances are, Grail and Darkseid have him now and we’ll see him again sooner than later.

So the overarching story is still plodding along. The Silver Swan tale is done for now, and it sounds like we’ve got Darkseid vs. the Amazons coming up next. And then, hopefully, a new creative team that knows what they’re doing. But after all of this complaining, let’s take a moment to recognize something amazing about this series. Jenny Frison has been doing variant covers for Wonder Woman for well over a year now, and they are consistently fantastic. I usually put up the main cover at the start of my review, but DANG did Frison outdo herself this week and I had to post that instead. That cover is stunning, and one of her best yet. I don’t know why DC isn’t making her covers the main ones, because they are gorgeous. Though really, I don’t know why DC isn’t doing a lot of things differently with Wonder Woman these days. Nonetheless, what a stellar piece of art. She’s been doing phenomenal work.

Wonder Woman #39 Review: Let’s Talk About The One Good Thing This Book Has Going For It

January 24, 2018

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It’s tough to come up with new and creative ways to say a comic book is terribly written every two weeks, and James Robinson is doing me no favours by continually churning out one of the worst Wonder Woman runs in recent memory. And that’s saying something. Remember the Finches? This might be even worse than that. Point being, I can only talk about this horrendous storyline so much before I lose my mind. It’s just too terrible. So today, let’s turn a negative into a positive. Yes, today’s new issue of Wonder Woman is still hot garbage and everyone at DC should feel bad about themselves for putting out such a bad book. However, today is also Colorist Appreciation Day, when comic book fans take to social media to celebrate the pivotally important, criminally overlooked artists who make the comics look good (#ColoristAppreciationDay). So let’s do that instead! But first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

I’m gonna run through the stupid contents of this issue real quick first!

But then I’m going to tell you how rad Romulo Fajardo Jr.’s coloring is!

So basically, Wonder Woman is still fighting Silver Swan, the most underdeveloped villain in the history of villains. Apparently there’s some sort of nanobot situation behind her transformation? Anyway, she’s evil and angry and spending most of her time rehashing literally everything we learned last issue, in typical Robinson fashion. Also, Darkseid and Grail are hanging out in the Amazon rain forest, and Darkseid sends the Female Furies after Steve Trevor and his knockoff Howling Commandos. Oh, and Jason tries to get into the fighting mix and uses some dumb wind power or something. Surprising no one, it proves ineffective. So yeah, it’s all very bad.

Apart from the art! Before I get to the colorist, I should again praise the fine work of Emanuela Lupacchino and Ray McCarthy, who are making some horrible writing at least nice to look at. This week they’re joined by Carmen Carnero, who does some fine work as well. It’s a good looking book. You’d be better served to look at the pretty pictures and make up your own story and dialogue, really.

The lovely art is, of course, brought to life by the marvelous coloring of Romulo Fajardo Jr. He’s been the only real constant on Wonder Woman since it’s “Rebirth” relaunch, and has been doing great work on the title for over a year and a half now. After sharing duties with Laura Martin, who colored Liam Sharp’s art, for the first year, he’s been the sole colorist since. It’s been a remarkable run for several reasons.

First, by my count, he’s worked with over eleven different line art teams during that span. That’s a lot of change, and with each new artist he’s adapted his style to fit their artwork. Fajardo Jr. could have just colored them all exactly the same, but he doesn’t. When the art is more realistic, his colors are more subtle and textured to bring out the realism. When the art is more cartoonish, he goes a bit brighter and bolder and sells the style. There’s definite consistency throughout his work, too. The man’s blending in his shading, especially with skin tones, is impeccable, and the dude does amazing work with different textures. His ability to adapt to his artists while putting out high quality work is impressive, and it gives the series a cohesiveness that counters the constant upheaval of the line art changes.

Second, it’s hard to be a colorist under the best of circumstances. If a script is late or the artist gets behind, the colorist is the last line of defense to ensure that the book comes out on time. This often involves working on crazy deadlines to pick up the slack for everyone else. It’s a thankless, high pressure job, and is doubly so on a bi-weekly series like Wonder Woman. The book is coming out every two weeks come hell or high water, and Romulo Fajardo Jr. is the person that has to carry the baton for the final stretch of the race with each and every issue. And he nails it! Every two weeks, we get a gorgeously colored comic book. No matter who’s writing or drawing it, the coloring is smooth and uniform and pulls the whole issue together.

With every issue of Wonder Woman, whether I’m engrossed in the story and devouring it or appalled at the story and trudging my way through, there’s always at least one moment where I stop and marvel at something Fajardo Jr. has done. Often it’s something small, like the texture of a rock. An inconsequential bit that you could slap a bit of grey on and be fine, saving your time to make sure Wonder Woman herself looks good and fancy. But he always adds a little something to it to make it feel a bit more real, to make the comic book reading experience more immersive. I mean, look at this splash page from the last issue:

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The linework is gorgeous, but he takes it to new heights. The smooth skin tones, the shine on the metal armor, the glow of the lasso, the texture in the stone, the grit on the girl trapped in the rubble. Everything pops. The man’s got an epic arsenal of skills at his disposal, and he uses them with aplomb. His attention to detail adds so much to the book.

Romulo Fajardo Jr. has been a key part of Wonder Woman’s comic book adventures for years now, not just with Wonder Woman itself but dating back to Wonder Woman ’77 as well. His coloring really brought Lynda Carter to life in the early issues of that series, and it’s been exciting to follow his career since then. I’m glad he’s remained part of the Wonder Woman family, and it’s been so fun to see him color some of my favourite artists, including Mirka Andolfo, Bilquis Evely, Emanuela Lupacchino, and Nicola Scott. The man is going to go down in history for “Year One” alone; Scott killed it, obviously, but his colors paired with her linework beautifully, and that collection is going to be a classic for as long as comic books exist. So my thanks go out to Romulo Fajardo Jr., the MVP of Wonder Woman! I hope he gets to color her and her adventures for years to come!


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