Posts Tagged ‘Cat Staggs’

Women At DC Comics Watch – September 2016 Solicits, 28 Women on 21 Books

June 28, 2016

womenatdcSEPT

DC’s not had the best run with female creators over the course of their past few rounds of solicits. Since their “Rebirth” relaunch began in June, the numbers have been well below their usual level, and far off from their previous highs. It looks like September might mark the end of this skid, but I’m not entirely sure that this increase in female creators is going to last. We’ll discuss more, after we look at who’s doing what at DC Comics in September 2016:

  • Amanda Conner: Harley Quinn #3 (co-writer, cover), Harley Quinn #4 (co-writer, cover), Harley Quinn and her Gang of Harleys #6 (cover)
  • Amanda Deibert: Wonder Woman ’77 Special #4 (co-writer)
  • Amy Chu: Wonder Woman ’77 Special #4 (co-writer)
  • Babs Tarr: Doom Patrol #1 (variant cover)
  • Becky Cloonan: Gotham Academy: Second Semester #1 (co-writer)
  • Bilquis Evely: The Flintstones #3 (variant cover)
  • Carmen Carnero: Astro City #39 (interior art)
  • Cat Staggs: Wonder Woman ’77 Special #4 (cover)
  • Claire Roe: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #2 (interior art)
  • Emanuela Lupacchino: Green Lanterns #6 (variant cover), Green Lanterns #7 (variant cover)
  • Fiona Staples: Gotham Academy: Second Semester #1 (variant cover)
  • Gail Simone: Clean Room #12 (writer)
  • Holly Black: Lucifer #10 (writer)
  • Hope Larson: Batgirl #3 (writer)
  • Jenny Frison: Clean Room #12 (cover)
  • Joelle Jones: American Vampire Anthology #2 (interior art)
  • Julie Benson: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #2 (co-writer)
  • Kamome Shirahama: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #2 (variant cover)
  • Marguerite Bennett: American Vampire Anthology #2 (writer), DC Comics Bombshells #17 (writer)
  • Meghan Hetrick: Red Thorn #11 (interior art)
  • Mirka Andolfo: DC Comics Bombshells #17 (interior art)
  • Nicola Scott: Wonder Woman #6 (interior art)
  • Rachel Dodson: Superwoman #2 (variant cover)
  • Sandra Hope: Cyborg: Rebirth #1 (inker), Gotham Academy: Second Semester #1 (inker)
  • Shawna Benson: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #2 (co-writer)
  • Tess Fowler: Wonder Woman ’77 Special #4 (interior art)
  • Trina Robbins: Wonder Woman ’77 Special #4 (co-writer)
  • Tula Lotay: Everafter: From the Pages of Fables #1 (cover)

All  together, there are 28 different female creators set to work on 21 different comic books, an impressive gain from August’s 20 and 21, respectively. September also marks DC’s best total since March, quite a lull for the publisher, though as I mentioned at the top, the numbers are still far from their past highs.

And also probably fleeting. Between a couple of anthology books (Wonder Woman ’77 Special #4 and the resolicited American Vampire Anthology #2) and variant covers, at least a third of the gigs listed above are unlikely to be back in October; they’re one-shot jobs. It’s great that these books are loaded with female creators and that so many women are getting cool variant cover gigs, but it’s not a stable position like writing or interior art tends to be. Next month could drop off quite a bit.

Though there are some new, more stable gigs in the mix. Gotham Academy: Second Semester returns with regular jobs for co-writer Becky Cloonan and inker Sandra Hope, while the new Everafter: From the Pages of Fables could prove to be a consistent cover position for Tula Lotay. Three more regulars is good news.

In terms of female characters, Supergirl is officially launching her new title in September, the return of Gotham Academy means more fun adventures for Olive and Maps, and there’s also a Raven mini-series. In new team books, Wonder Woman will be a key player in Trinity, while Raven and Starfire will be part of the new Teen Titans. So it’s a pretty solid month across the board for fictional women too, and a great month if you happen to be a Raven enthusiast.

Overall, September looks to be a strong month for women at DC, but I’m not sure that it will last. Gerard Way’s Doom Patrol is set to premiere then, though, which may mean that the rest of his line is rolling out soon; that would be good news, because several female characters have been attached to those projects. It’ll take several new books to keep these numbers up in October, and we’ll find out in a month or so if DC is up to the task.

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Wonder Woman’s September 2016 Covers and Solicits

June 21, 2016

DC Comics’ solicits for September were released yesterday, and it looks like Wonder Woman’s got some fun adventures ahead of her, as well as a new series in which she co-stars. How lovely it is to be looking forward to all of the Wonder Woman comics coming out in a given month; it’s been so long since that’s been the case. So let’s see what Wonder Woman will be up to in September, starting with her eponymous series:

septww

WONDER WOMAN #6
Written by GREG RUCKA
Art and cover by NICOLA SCOTT
Variant cover by FRANK CHO
“WONDER WOMAN YEAR ONE” part 3! Diana brings Steve back home, but the reception is not what either of them expected. Amid suspicion and a looming threat, the Patrons pay a visit, and new friendships are forged.
On sale SEPTEMBER 14 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

WONDER WOMAN #7
Written by GREG RUCKA
Art and cover by LIAM SHARP
Variant cover by TBD
“THE LIES” part 4! One god down—how many more to go? Diana takes another step closer to the truth, and Steve Trevor confronts his past!
On sale SEPTEMBER 28 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

The cover this month (we’re still only getting one of the two for some reason) is by Nicola Scott, and it’s fun to see Wonder Woman with her animal pals. Perhaps they’re planning an adorable prison escape? I’d be down for that. It sounds like the Amazons don’t love that Wonder Woman has brought Steve to their home, seeing as she’s in jail and all. But the world’s cutest jail break is on the way.

In the present, well, the solicit is very vague. It sounds like a bad time for the gods, since one of them is down and all, but we don’t know in what capacity they are down. Or if they’re even the real gods, I suppose. Everything is in question! Nothing is true! The gods sit on a throne of lies! It’s all very mysterious, but it should be a lot of fun.

Wonder Woman is co-starring in a new book, too:

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TRINITY #1
Written by FRANCIS MANAPUL
Art and cover by FRANCIS MANAPUL
Variant cover by TBD
“BETTER TOGETHER” part 1! Together again for the first time! Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. The core of the World’s Greatest Heroes…but with a new Man of Steel, the bonds these three share will be tested and redefined by super-star writer/artist Francis Manapul. In this premiere issue, see the trio travel from Metropolis to Gotham City and beyond to learn what forces launched their heroic careers. But how will this journey of discovery lead them to a new threat?
On sale SEPTEMBER 21 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

Team up! It’s just like Batman v Superman, but hopefully not so terrible. With Francis Manapul at the helm, it could be pretty cool. It’ll be gorgeous for sure, at least. His art is always spectacular. Plus we’ve got the good Superman back now since the New 52 Superman is dead; I’m optimistic, and I’m going to have to check this one out. We’ve got another pretty vague solicit here, but “superheroes teaming up for an adventure” is something I can always get behind if it looks bright and fun.

Finally, we’ve got another Wonder Woman ’77 special, though no cover yet:

WONDER WOMAN ’77 SPECIAL #4
Written by MARC ANDREYKO, AMY CHU, TRINA ROBBINS and AMANDA DEIBERT
Art by TOM DERENICK, DARIO BRIZUELA, TESS FOWLER and CHRISTIAN DUCE
Cover by CAT STAGGS
After narrowly escaping Wonder Woman (and the law) once before, Gault (actually his disembodied brain!) plots revenge…and seeks a new body to house his evil! Plus, “Worlds Collide” when a tape full of government secrets gets swapped for some excellent Super Funk! We peek at “The Man Behind the Curtain” when a dictator tries to fulfill his daughter’s final wish. And in “Seeing Stars,” Wonder Woman proves herself not a just the protector of Earth…but of the universe.
On sale SEPTEMBER 21 • 80 pg, FC, $7.99 US RATED E • DIGITAL FIRST

Just look at this line up of creators! There are so many amazing people in the mix here, both writers and artists. It should be a fantastic issue. Plus with that last story, “Seeing Stars”, is Wonder Woman going to space? That would be rad. Lynda Carter in space sounds like an exciting time, and exactly what the series is for, i.e. cool things the show could never have afforded to do. Looking forward to this one.

Be sure to pick up all of these books in September! It looks like it’s going to be a great month for Wonder Woman.

Women at DC Comics Watch – July 2016 Solicits: Rebirth Disappoints, 20 Women on 17 Books

April 25, 2016

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We missed the first month of “Rebirth” because I was busy travelling and some things fell by the wayside, but we’re back again for the second month of DC’s new initiative and, like with every single dang new initiative DC’s done over the past several years, there are fewer women involved than in the months before the new launch. DC’s June and July solicits posted their lowest number of female creators thus far in 2016, making “Rebirth” a big step backward for the company at first glance. In June, DC had 19 different female creators on 18 different comic books, their lowest total since last September. Let’s see how things changed in July:

  • Amanda Conner: Harley Quinn #30 (co-writer, cover), Harley Quinn and her Gang of Harleys #4 (cover)
  • Bilquis Evely: Legends of Tomorrow #5 (interior art)
  • Cat Staggs: Adventures of Supergirl #5 (art and cover), Adventures of Supergirl #6 (cover), Batman ’66 Meets Steed and Mrs. Peel #1 (variant cover)
  • Claire Roe: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey: Rebirth #1 (interior art)
  • Elsa Charretier: Harley Quinn #30 (interior art)
  • Emanuela Lupacchino: Green Lanterns #2 (cover), Green Lanterns #3 (cover)
  • Emma Vieceli: Adventures of Supergirl #5 (interior art), Adventures of Supergirl #6 (interior art)
  • Gail Simone: Clean Room #10 (writer)
  • Holly Black: Lucifer #8 (writer)
  • Hope Larson: Batgirl #1 (cover)
  • Jenny Frison: Clean Room #10 (cover)
  • Joelle Jones: American Vampire Anthology #2 (interior art)
  • Julie Benson: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey: Rebirth #1 (co-writer)
  • Laura Braga: DC Comics Bombshells #15 (interior art)
  • Marguerite Bennett: American Vampire Anthology #2 (writer), DC Comics Bombshells #15 (writer)
  • Meghan Hetrick: Red Thorn #9 (interior art)
  • Mirka Andolfo: DC Comics Bombshells #15 (interior art)
  • Nicola Scott: Wonder Woman #2 (interior art)
  • Renae De Liz: The Legend of Wonder Woman #8 (writer, art, cover)
  • Shawna Benson: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey: Rebirth #1 (co-writer)

All together, there are 20 different female creators scheduled to work on 17 different books in July, a slight tick up in women but a slight tick down in the number of comics they’ll be working on. These “Rebirth” numbers are not good; DC’s solicits averaged about 25 different women in the spring months before “Rebirth.” Of course, “Rebirth” is still unfolding and there may be more women in the mix as new books premiere in August and September. But so far, it’s very underwhelming for women at DC.

We do have several new names, though, including Hope Larson writing Batgirl and writers Julie Benson and Shawna Benson along with artist Claire Roe on Batgirl and the Birds of Prey. The latter team combine to join the creative teams of the digital first series DC Comics Bombshells and The Legend of Wonder Woman as DC’s only books written and drawn primarily by women.

For new female characters, with “Rebirth” rolling out another batch of titles we’ve got some ladies across a variety of new series. Batgirl, Black Canary, and Huntress star in the aforementioned Batgirl and the Birds of Prey, and Batgirl has her solo series relaunching in July as well. Women make up 2 of the 7 teammates of the new Justice League (Wonder Woman and Green Lantern) and while that’s still a small minority, it’s better than when the last Justice League launched in 2011 with just one woman on board. We’ve also got a female lead in the “how does this still exist?” series Red Hood and the Outlaws; Artemis will be part of the team along with Red Hood and Bizarro. Finally, DC’s premiering a new Flintstones comic for some reason, and so we should be getting Wilma, Betty, and Pebbles.

So “Rebirth” is off to a slow start with female creators, and looking ahead at the rest of the lineup, I wouldn’t hold out a lot of hope for a dramatic spike in numbers any time soon. I’m also curious to see how Shelly Bond’s firing will affect the Vertigo books; Vertigo has been a bastion of female creator representation at DC for a while now, but cancellations and new titles may be forthcoming. On the plus side, Gerard Way’s weird new line seems to have a bunch of female creators in the mix, but that’s not coming until the fall. For now, the numbers are low at DC yet again as they stick to their tried and true method of two steps forward, one step back.

Women at DC Comics Watch – March 2016 Solicits, 28 Women on 22 Books

January 4, 2016

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I thought it would be fun to start off a new year of posts with some good news, so here’s what I’ve got: DC is poised to have a pretty decent March in terms of female creators, and their 2016 solicits thus far have been relatively strong.   The numbers aren’t as high as they were a year ago, when DC was busting up records left and right, but they’re considerably better than they were in the wake of last June’s #DCYou mini-relaunch. So yeah, things are looking up! I mean, women still constitute a tiny minority of DC’s overall creator total; things are better but not particularly good. Still, improvement! Let’s see who’s doing what at DC this March:

  • Amanda Conner: Harley Quinn #26 (co-writer, cover), Starfire #10 (co-writer, cover)
  • Amanda Deibert: Wonder Woman ’77 Special #3 (co-writer)
  • Amy Chu: Poison Ivy: Cycle of Life and Death #3 (writer)
  • Annie Wu: Black Canary #10 (art and cover)
  • Babs Tarr: Batgirl #50 (art and cover)
  • Becky Cloonan: Harley Quinn #26 (variant cover)
  • Bilquis Evely: Legends of Tomorrow #1 (interior art)
  • Cat Staggs: Wonder Woman ’77 Special #3 (interior art)
  • Chrissie Zullo: Fables: The Wolf Among Us #15 (cover)
  • Elsa Charretier: Starfire #10 (interior art)
  • Gail Simone: Clean Room #6 (writer), Secret Six #12 (writer)
  • Genevieve Valentine: Batman & Robin Eternal #22 (writer), Batman & Robin Eternal #23 (writer)
  • Holly Black: Lucifer #4 (writer)
  • Jenny Frison: Clean Room #6 (cover)
  • Laura Braga: DC Comics Bombshells #10 (interior art)
  • Lauren Beukes: Survivors’ Club #6 (co-writer)
  • Marguerite Bennett: DC Comics Bombshells #10 (writer)
  • Marguerite Sauvage: DC Comics Bombshells #10 (interior art)
  • Meghan Hetrick: Red Thorn #5 (interior art)
  • Meredith Finch: Wonder Woman #50 (writer)
  • Michelle Delecki Davis: Green Arrow #50 (cover)
  • Ming Doyle: Constantine: The Hellblazer #10 (co-writer)
  • Mingjue Helen Chen: Gotham Academy #16 (cover)
  • Nicola Scott: Wonder Woman ’77 Special #3 (cover)
  • Renae De Liz: The Legend of Wonder Woman #3 (writer, art, and cover)
  • Ruth Fletcher: Wonder Woman ’77 Special #3 (co-writer)
  • Trina Robbins: Wonder Woman ’77 Special #3 (co-writer)
  • Tula Lotay: Slash & Burn #5 (cover)

All together, there are 28 different women set to work on 22 different comic books this March, solid gains from February’s 21 and 19. Furthermore, the schedule for 2016 thus far is 31 different women in January, 21 in February, and 28 in March; it’s a bit up and down, but the numbers are decent relative to DC’s second half of 2015. While inconsistent, the numbers appear to be trending in a positive direction, and hopefully DC will soon be in record setting territory (for them) again.

We’ve also got a couple new names in the mix, which is always good to see. Elsa Charretier is drawing Starfire, and Ruth Fletcher is writing a story in the Wonder Woman ’77 Special #3. We’ve got some returning favourites in new places as well, with Bilquis Evely drawing the “Sugar and Spike” story in the new Legends of Tomorrow, and a bunch of folks taking part in that Wonder Woman ’77 Special, including Amanda Deibert, Cat Staggs, Nicola Scott, and Trina Robbins.

The Wonder Woman ’77 special is just a one-time deal, though, which may not bode well for the April numbers. Of the 28 different women working at DC in March, 5 of them are on this special and likely won’t be back next month. Ideally, they may show up somewhere else or there’ll be new people on other books, but we need to take overall numbers bolstered by one-shots with a grain of salt.

For new female characters, it’s a fairly quiet month for new books across the board apart from the Legends of Tomorrow anthology. The only female character in the mix there is half of “Sugar and Spike”; the rest are all men.

Overall, March looks to be a solid month for women making comics at DC as 2016 continues to improve on DC’s recent performances. There’s still massive amounts of room to grow, of course, and with so many names tied up in a one-shot, a decline in April seems likely. But we’ll see what April brings. Let’s start 2016 on an optimistic note and hope for continued growth.

Wonder Woman’s March 2016 Covers and Solicits

December 15, 2015

DC’s March 2016 solicits went up yesterday, and we’ve got the usual Wonder Woman fun plus a cool and somewhat unexpected surprise. Let’s take a look at what Wonder Woman will be up to this March, starting with Wonder Woman #50:

marchww50

WONDER WOMAN #50
Written by MEREDITH FINCH
Art by DAVID FINCH and SCOTT HANNA
Polybagged variant cover by MASSIMO CARNEVALE
On sale MARCH 23 • 48 pg, FC, $4.99 US • RATED T
It’s a special super-sized 50th issue! Wonder Woman continues her quest to save Zeke and Olympus, but is she prepared for what she might find? Long-buried secrets suddenly brought to light will call into question everything she thought she knew about those she loves and trusts the most.

I’m pretty sure that this is the cover from last month’s solicits, so now I don’t know which book the cover will go on. I’m guessing it’ll be on the February issue, since the rest of this month’s 50th issues have snazzy, more iconic covers while this one has more gods than Wonder Woman. We’ll find out either way come February, I guess.

Anyway, the new Wonder Woman has made it to fifty issues! The last batch of which have not been great, but so it goes. I’m mildly interested in this issue because in a recent issue Meredith Finch revealed that they’re doing a backup story like they did earlier this year in the annual, and that back-up story was probably the best thing in the book since the Finches took over. I mean, it wasn’t good but it wasn’t terrible, so I’m glad for them to revisit that.

Up next, Superman/Wonder Woman #27:

marchsww27

SUPERMAN/WONDER WOMAN #27
Written by PETER J. TOMASI
Art by DOUG MAHNKE and JAIME MENDOZA
Cover by ED BENES
Polybagged variant cover by CHARLIE ADLARD
On sale MARCH 16 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
“Savage Dawn” continues from this month’s ACTION COMICS #50! A comet drawn by Vandal Savage to Earth is wreaking havoc across the globe—and empowering his children in the most dangerous way possible!

True story: I bought the latest issue of this series the day it came out and forgot to read it, remembered that I had forgotten the next day, and didn’t bother to read it for about a week. Turns out, I wasn’t missing anything. I find that this book lacks a purpose. Their relationship is all out of whack, everything seems tangential to bigger plots going on in other Super-books, and the entire dynamic is just unpleasant. It feels unnecessary all around. And with that ringing endorsement, keep your eyes peeled for this issue in March!

Now to a book I love: The Legend of Wonder Woman #3:

marchlegend3

THE LEGEND OF WONDER WOMAN #3
Written by RENAE DE LIZ
Art by RENAE DE LIZ and RAY DILLON
Cover by RENAE DE LIZ
On sale MARCH 9 • 40 pg, FC, 3 of 9, $3.99 US • RATED T • DIGITAL FIRST
Themyscira comes alive with the sounds of Amazons on the hunt. Will they find their prey before Diana has a chance to rescue the outsider who fell from the sky? Hippolyta stands against her foes, and announces a tournament that will change Themyscira forever as the fate of the mysterious stranger hangs in the balance.

You’re going to want to be picking up this series, gang. The first issue is out in January, so GET ON IT. You’ll love it. It’s so much fun, and such a fresh but iconic take on Wonder Woman and the Amazons. This third issue seems to be getting to the Steve Trevor part of the story, which should be fun. Plus the tournament! I love the tournament in every incarnation; one of my favourite things in the mythos is that any Amazon could have been Wonder Woman and Diana is just the best of the best. But yeah, buy this book!

And finally, we’re getting more Lynda Carter fun in Wonder Woman ’77 Special #3:

marchwwspecial

WONDER WOMAN ‘77 SPECIAL #3
Written by MARC ANDREYKO, CHRISTOS N. GAGE, RUTH FLETCHER, AMANDA DEIBERT and TRINA ROBBINS
Art by RICHARD ORTIZ, STAZ JOHNSON, CAT STAGGS and others
Cover by NICOLA SCOTT
On sale MARCH 30 • 80 pg, FC, $7.99 US • RATED E • DIGITAL FIRST
In “Claymates,” when Clayface finds himself crumbling and drying up, he seeks a cure by any means necessary! Can Wonder Woman stop him before he enslaves Paradise Island? Then, Diana and Steve go undercover in “Oceans,” where a diplomat crucial to the Panama Canal negotiations has dangerous plans! After a battle with smugglers at home, Wonder Woman is surprised to find a warehouse full of ivory. In Africa, she teams up with the local IADC to track “Orion the Hunter.” Finally, Federal Agent Diana Prince joins a Congressman and his aides to investigate a cult. “Reverend Mike Loves You,” but can you trust his plans for the future?

This sounds really cool, and I’m excited to see that they’re mixing it up with a lot of different creative teams this time around. The longer arcs in past runs got a little bit formulaic, so it should be fun to just enjoy a bunch of short stories. There are some killer creators involved too. For digital readers, I’m guessing we’ll see these stories starting in February or so? The Legend of Wonder Woman is pretty far ahead of the print schedule, so maybe they’ll do a hiatus like they used to do with Sensation Comics.

Wonder Woman’s also involved in Teen Titans #18 and Titans Hunt #6, as well as the continuing saga of the “Darkseid War” in Justice League, so check those out as well if you’re interested. It could be a fun month all around; we’re certainly getting great stuff from the digital-first division, and maybe even the main series won’t be as bad as usual? Here’s hoping!

 

Wonder Woman ’77 #12 Review: “Celsia 451, Part 3” by Marc Andreyko and Cat Staggs

October 1, 2015

ww7712

The second arc of this new round of Wonder Woman ’77 wrapped up today, concluding what has been the book’s best storyline so far. It’s like the whole team got together and decided to fix some of the issues that held back previous arcs. Instead of starting a story with one issue of fantastic arc and then closing out with two issues that weren’t as good, this arc brought in Cat Staggs to draw every issue and she provided consistent, great artwork throughout. Rather than relying on a formulaic three act structure of intro, small fight, big fight, writer Marc Andreyko took a new tack, throwing in the Atomic Knights at the end of last week’s issue for a fun twist that really mixed things up. Plus they kept the one thing that’s always worked like gangbusters: Nicola Scott’s’ fantastic covers.

The end result was a very enjoyable storyline, and a solid final issue this week. With the Atomic Knights in the mix, there was a lot going on. Wonder Woman was trying to capture Celsia, Celsia was trying to kill a senator, and the Atomic Knights were supposed to kill Wonder Woman AND Celsia. But the Atomic Knights weren’t monolithic; one of them had a conscience and refused to attack Wonder Woman. So there were a variety of players with different motivations, all fighting it out. It made for a much better read than a typical, simple Wonder Woman brawling with a bad guy finale. Andreyko had a lot of balls in the air, but made it all work.

I also enjoyed how everything was resolved. Wonder Woman is a hero who knows the difference between a real criminal and a misguided person who’s been wronged and is lashing out. I always like when Wonder Woman takes the time to understand the latter instead of just punching them out and carting them off to prison. Celsia did end up in prison, put on a much better path now that Wonder Woman ensured she would get justice for everyone harmed in the nuclear meltdown. It’s not hard to imagine a future where Wonder Woman stayed in touch with Celsia, and perhaps even sponsored her parole down the road and helped Celsia use her powers for good.

Another fun bit was Steve Trevor showing up only after Wonder Woman had sorted out everything. Friggin’ Steve Trevor. That guy is comically useless.

Cat Staggs finished the arc with yet another lovely issue. She had a lot to balance with so many players involved in the final battle, but she laid out everything with clarity and style. It was fun to see more of the Atomic Knights, too. I really like their design. Plus there was some laser deflecting from Wonder Woman with her bracelets! You know it’s a fun time when Wonder Woman is using her bracelets to deflect shots. Staggs has done fantastic work over this arc, and it was great to have an artist of her caliber onboard for the full story.

The previous Wonder Woman ’77 arcs weren’t bad by any means, but they were a little generic. “Celsia 451” broke out of the formula, and had consistently strong art to boot, leading to the book’s best storyline yet. Both of the last two arcs are collected in print in Wonder Woman ’77 Special #2, which came out yesterday. The special also includes a Halloween one-shot drawn by Jason Badower, which will be released digitally next week. Sensation Comics returns after that, unfortunately with its final storyline. It should be great though, with Trina Robbins writing! We’re set for an excellent few weeks on Wonder Woman digital fun, but that might be it for a while.

Wonder Woman ’77 #11 Review: “Celsia 451, Part 2” by Marc Andreyko and Cat Staggs

September 24, 2015

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Middle issues are probably the trickiest part of a comic arc to write. In the first issue, you set the stage and introduce everyone, in your last issue you have your final battle and resolve all of your plotlines, but the middle issue can sometimes feel like treading water. You’ve already done the setup but you can’t get to the conclusion yet. Wonder Woman ’77 hasn’t been great with middle issues; the book often falls into the usual formula of a minor battle with the primary villain leading to a “shocking” cliffhanger. But this week, the team mixed it up with enjoyable results.

There was still a battle with Celsia, the big bad, that was fairly typical middle issue fare. She attacked a party to capture a man who was behind a nuclear meltdown, Diana Prince quickly turned to Wonder Woman, and fighting ensued. All of that was fine, if a little typical. But then the end got interesting. Celsia escaped with her target and Wonder Woman gave chase, and I expected another skirmish leading to a conclusion where it appeared that Celsia had the upper hand, only to have Wonder Woman defeat her in next week’s issue.

But instead, someone else showed up! And provided less of a cliffhanger and more of a “Whaaaaaat?” moment. Marc Andreyko went for a deep cut here, bringing in the Atomic Knights to wrangle Celsia. Originally, the Atomic Knights were post-apocalyptic warriors who appeared in a regular feature in Strange Adventures in the early 1960s. They’ve been brought back a few times since then, but rarely for long. Andreyko’s clearly left behind the post-apocalyptic angle, moving them into the 1970s, but owing to the final page reveal, details about them are sparse.

And that’s what makes this a good middle issue. In all of those middle issues where the villain is about to defeat the hero, we know it’s going to turn around in the finale. Those cliffhangers lack any kind of punch, and telegraph the final issue. But here, with a new, obscure team brought it at the end of Wonder Woman ’77 #11, I have NO idea what’s going to happen next. I know they’re working for some guy who was at the party, but I don’t know if they’re good or bad, how Wonder Woman will react, or what their relationship is to Celsia. The finale is wide open now, and that’s the best way to go into a conclusion. Kudos to Andreyko for the fun curveball.

Also, Cat Staggs deserves a lot of credit too for selling the heck out of that final page reveal. The original Atomic Knights were kind of goofy, just some folks in irradiated armour riding big dogs around. Later incarnations have been all slick and modern. Staggs takes a new tack, making them look cool and suitably atomic while maintaining the 1970s sensibility. The costumes are something I could totally see on an old TV show, but a rad one with a great costume designer. They’ve got a great colour palette as well, the glowing logo makes for a cool look, and the overall effect results in an intriguing introduction:

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With such cool costumes, I want to know all about them, and I’m excited to see more of them next week.

Staggs and colorist Romulo Fajardo Jr. do a nice job with the rest of the issue as well. I particularly liked Celsia’s fire and ice powers, both in terms of how they look on the character and how they manifest when she shoots them out. It’s a good looking issue all around.

While most of this issue is a fairly run of the mill middle issue adventure, the surprise at the end elevates the entire book and has me very curious about what’s going to happen next week. I’m glad to see Andreyko break away from the typical formula, and with the Atomic Knights looking so cool next week’s issue should be a fun read.


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