Posts Tagged ‘Cheetah’

Wonder Woman ’77 #7 Review: “The Cat Came Back, Part 1” by Marc Andreyko and Drew Johnson

August 27, 2015

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No new digital issue of Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman this week can only mean one thing: Wonder Woman ’77 is back! Apparently DC can’t run two digital Wonder Woman titles simultaneously, but whatever. We’ve got more Lynda Carter inspired fun and that’s delightful. I’ve been waiting for these digital issues to start since DC announced a double sized collected print issue for the end of September. I actually expected these to start a lot sooner. We may get six straight weeks of Wonder Woman ’77 now to try to beat the print book, and still the final digital installment would come out after the book’s print date.

Wonder Woman ’77 #7 continues the series’ tradition of bringing Wonder Woman’s classic comic book villains into the world of the television show. Silver Swan and Dr. Psycho were the big bads for the first two arcs, and now we’ve got the Cheetah, arguably Wonder Woman’s most iconic villain. I was a little bit surprised when the book began with Barbara Minerva, because she’s a more modern Cheetah that post-dates the show by a decade or so. Then I remembered that the last arc of Wonder Woman ’77 had Wonder Woman facing hallucinations of several of her villains, including the original Cheetah, Priscilla Rich. A display at a museum’s Wonder Woman event in this issue also included Priscilla Rich’s costume. It seems that in the continuity of this television show inspired universe, Priscilla was the Cheetah originally, before the comic began, and now Barbara is the new Cheetah. Which is cool. The continuity works and they explained it all fairly well. Barbara even exclaimed “Time for a new Cheetah!” after her transformation at the end of the issue.

The book was a fun read, setting up the major conflict that should play out over the next two issues. The most dangerous thing Wonder Woman faces here is a couple of dopey thieves trying to make off with some paintings, and she subdues them quickly with a little lasso work. The bulk of the issue is dedicated to Barbara Minerva, who’s forced to close her museum exhibit to make room for a new Wonder Woman display. She’s irked by this, and when she accidentally pricks herself with an African artifact her anger turns to full on rage as the knife’s magical properties transform her into the Cheetah. Presumably, she and Wonder Woman will duke it out over the next two weeks now.

As far as introductory issues go, this was one was decent. I’m starting to notice a formula for three issue arcs in digital books that’s getting a little bit old, though: introduction issue, build to fight issue, full on fight issue. It’s a formula that works, clearly, but it’s getting stale. The first step is executed well here, and Andreyko has displayed a better feel for writing digital installments with each arc. I just would have liked to see the formula shaken up a bit.

The enjoyable if standard opening was elevated by excellent artwork from Drew Johnson. The issue is really lovely, and Johnson captures Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman beautifully. That’s the key for any issue of this series; everything else is secondary after getting Lynda Carter right. Johnson does a nice job with the Cheetah as well. His page layouts with Barbara’s panels are distinctive, interspersed with African artifacts and cheetahs. He also utilizes some smart techniques to save the full reveal of Barbara’s transformation, which takes place over several pages, until the final page. By zooming in very close on some panels and pulling out wide on others, we get a good sense of what’s happening to her and her progress through the museum, but the final panel unveils the Cheetah in all her glory. And quite nicely too; she looks ferocious.

The book was coloured by Romulo Fajardo Jr., who has a wonderful way with colours. His faces are especially impressive; his colouring almost seems heavy handed, with a lot of different shades and colours in the mix, but he blends everything beautifully and the end result is very striking. This panel in particular, the first appearance of Wonder Woman, is a good example of both Johnson and Fajardo’s fine work:

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He’s great with texture as well, especially with the old stone of the museum. There’s a lot of great, often subtle stuff going on with the colours throughout the book that combine to make for an enjoyable, immersive reading experience.

All together, this was a very nice first issue to a new arc of Wonder Woman ’77 and I’m excited for more over the next couple of weeks. Plus it’s got a killer Nicola Scott cover, and that’s always a treat. The print issue is scheduled for September 30, so mark your calendars for that if you’re waiting to pick it up on paper.

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Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman Review: “Generations, Part 2” by Michael Jelenic, Drew Johnson, and Ray Snyder

November 6, 2014

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I quite enjoyed the first part of “Generations” in last week’s digital issue of Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman, and I’m very glad to see that the story ended with an even stronger issue this week. Editors Kristy Quinn and Jessica Chen have done a fantastic job of cutting up a comic book that was created to be a standard, 22 page floppy into two digital issues; that can be a hard transition to pull off, and it worked out beautifully. I can absolutely see why they wanted to save this older, unprinted fill-in issue from the dustbin. It’s a lovely story, with excellent work from everyone involved.

The issue picked up where we left off last week, with Hippolyta bored out of her mind at her birthday party and Diana fighting the Cheetah over a phoenix egg. Part one was a strong mix of humour and action, and part two continued both of those elements and adds in some heart as well. It turns out that Diana skipped her mother’s party to go get her the phoenix egg to replace the one she broke as a child, fulfilling a promise she made years before. It was a heartwarming ending to a great story.

It was also a well constructed ending, as Wonder Woman was able to defeat the Cheetah by remembering the lessons that her mother taught her. In getting a gift for Hippolyta, Diana had to use all of the gifts that Hippolyta gave her. The relationship between Wonder Woman and Hippolyta is one of my favourites in all of comics, though I find it’s rarely done well. Michael Jelenic has done a marvelous job exploring it here, and it’s nice to see that Sensation Comics has depicted their relationship well in several stories now.

Jelenic also captured the core of who Wonder Woman is and what she stands for in a great speech given by Hippolyta to her daughter. “Fighting for something bigger than yourself” is not a groundbreaking sentiment, but it was delivered in a way that showed how important that message is to both Wonder Woman and the Amazons as a whole. Plus, the setting with the fire and Hippolyta explaining that the fireside is where knowledge has been passed down for generations added some extra gravitas to the scene. It was my favourite moment in what was a very strong issue.

The moment’s impact was heavily aided by artists Drew Johnson and Ray Snyder as well. Their art was just as fantastic as what we saw last week, and the regal majesty they instilled in Hippolyta added even more to the already great speech. The rest of the book was lovely too; they really hit it out of the park on every level, from big fight choreography down to small, quiet moments. What are these guys up to now, anyway? Google tells me that Johnson’s been on Ghost for Dark Horse; that’s a nice fit. I’m surprised he hasn’t had a more prominent Big Two gig lately, though. The man is very talented.

Lizzy John’s colouring continued to be strong in part two, especially as all of the scenes merged together.   Part one began with different palettes for each scene: Wonder Woman and the Cheetah, Hippolyta at Themyscira, and flashback to young Diana and her mother. They all became united via fire, through the fire raging in Wonder Woman’s battle to the fire in the flashback to Hippolyta watching the battle from afar. The colour from the fire bled into each different locale, bringing them all together. Also, nicely done by whoever came up with using the fire to unite the scenes, whether it was the writer or the artist. It was very effective.

All together, this was a great story, and I think it’s going to look fantastic in print, the way it was originally created. Again, you’ll have to wait until January for that, but both digital issues are lovely too. So we’ve already got the full January print book released digitally, and are still waiting on stories from December, November, and even October! I’m starting to enjoy the randomness of the digital release schedule. It’s like a surprise every week.

Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman #12 Review: “Generations, Part One” by Michael Jelenic, Drew Johnson, and Ray Snyder

October 30, 2014

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Still no Gilbert Hernandez! His story is in the print version of Sensation Comics that came out this Wednesday, but I haven’t gotten to my comic shop yet. What’s a guy got to do to get this story in a digital form? This week’s digital first issue is part one of a two parter, so I’m betting we don’t get Hernandez next week either. The ways of digital distribution are mysterious.

Luckily, we’ve got another good story this week so I can’t be too sad about the lack of Hernandez. I’m a sucker for a Hippolyta story, and doubly so when Phillipus is involved, so “Generations” by Michael Jelenic, Drew Johnson, and Ray Snyder is right up my alley. The issue has a dual narrative. In the first, Wonder Woman has tracked down the elusive phoenix just as it burns out before being reborn from its ashes. She’s there to recover the phoenix egg, which grants eternal life, but the Cheetah shows up to contest her for her prize. In the second, the Amazons are having a party and Phillipus is orchestrating the celebrations.

Jelenic does a good job of weaving the two separate stories together. Hippolyta is clearly missing her daughter’s at the party, while Diana is remembering her mother’s lessons about how Amazons engage in combat as she battles with the Cheetah. Both halves of the stories have very different tones. The party is light and fun, with some solid comedic moments. Phillipus’ play about the creation of the Amazons is particularly funny, with it quickly turning its focus to the Phillipus character. Some writers make the Amazons very serious and almost dour, but Jelenic has made them fun.

In the Wonder Woman half, it’s all action and excitement and blood. Wonder Woman yanks a spear out of her shoulder and throws it at the Cheetah; it’s hardcore stuff. But at the same time, the violence is tempered with Diana remembering to first seek peace before engaging in violence, which she does. Then when she’s rebuffed, it’s time to show her foe why peace was the better option. I really enjoyed how Jelenic framed the fight in this manner, using violence as a way to convince someone to try the peaceful route next time.

The art is great, though the layouts seemed a bit odd for a digital book. So I did some digging and apparently this story is an old one from the pre-New 52 era, created as a fill-in just in case the team on Wonder Woman was running late and DC had to publish something. It dates back to 2010 or so, and is set in the pre-New 52 continuity, but DC never had to use it so now it’s been repurposed for Sensation Comics. And I’m glad it has, because this is some of the best work I’ve seen from Drew Johnson.

Johnson was a regular on Wonder Woman in the mid-2000s, working with Greg Rucka during his run and popping up sporadically afterward. His work was always solid, but this issue is especially strong. His Amazons look fantastic, his Wonder Woman is regal, strong, and beautiful, and his Cheetah is fiendish and lithe. I’m excited to see the pages laid out as they were meant to be, in full page form, because I think they’ll be stunning. You can see a few of them as they were originally sized at Johnson’s DeviantArt page, if you are so inclined.

Ray Snyder’s inks are strong as well, and Lizzy John’s colouring is especially striking. Her use of warm reds and yellows in the Wonder Woman section and cooler blues and greens back with the Amazons create a nice contrast, and she’s achieved some lovely effects with her textures in a variety of areas, ranging from stones to skin tones. It’s a very pretty story all around.

And also, only part one! It was likely a 22 page story to begin with, so that’s more than 40 digital pages, and this week’s Sensation Comics comprises only half of it. It wasn’t created to be split up, but the artificial cliffhanger works well enough and the solid work throughout has me excited for the second half. The story is enjoyable and the art is wonderful.

If you’re waiting for the print version, it’s going to be a little while. This story, along with its second half, I assume, is scheduled for January’s print issue of Sensation Comics. It should be worth the wait, though. This is going to look great full sized.

Wonder Woman Sales: The Cheetah And The First Born Near The Bottom Of Villains Month

October 21, 2013

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We’re going to eschew the usual charts and whatnot this month because Villains Month has everything all jacked up.  The charts in general were a bit of a mess; all of the Villains Month titles had two entries, one for the fancy 3D covers and one for the cheaper, non-3D covers.  I went through and added everything together, and while The Cheetah and The First Born issues did well relative to what Wonder Woman usually sells, they were at the back of the pack among the other Villains Month books.  Here are their numbers, with the last issue of Wonder Woman thrown in for comparison:

  • Wonder Woman #23: 34,747 copies sold, 55th place
  • Wonder Woman #23.1 – The Cheetah: 47,504 copies sold, 67th place
  • Wonder Woman #23.2 – First Born: 42,383 copies sold, 75th place

So yes, these issues sold better than the normal book does.  People love 3D covers, I guess.  But as you can see, they were much further down the chart.  This is because the other Villains Month books KILLED it.

DC set up Villains Month in a very smart way.  Instead of every title having their own issue, their better selling titles had multiple Villains Month issues and they left all of their lower selling books out of the mix.  So instead of a specific title for lower selling books like Superboy or Supergirl, there were four issues each for Action Comics and Superman. Wonder Woman was near the bottom of this sales cutoff.  The only series who had Villains Month books and sold less than Wonder Woman in August were Teen Titans, Green Arrow, and Swamp Thing.  With a million Bat-books and various other high selling series shipping multiple titles, the deck was stacked against Wonder Woman.

This showed in the numbers.  Among the 52 Villains Month books, The Cheetah’s combined total for 3D and non-3D issues was ranked 46th and First Born was 50th. It’s not a great showing, but this is what happens when you load up on the bestselling titles.  When you ship FOUR issues of Batman, everything else is going to slide down.

So despite selling better than usual, every other book selling better than usual pushed the two Wonder Woman titles down the charts, along with everything else.  Of the Top 80 bestselling books (where the Villains Month titles end) on the adjusted overall charts, 54 of them were DC books.  That’s just insane.  This stunt paid off for DC in a HUGE way, because I guess we’re all suckers who shell out the big bucks for largely irrelevant books with fancy covers.   We can moan about these stunts all we want, but they certainly sell.

Everything should be back to normal next month, and Wonder Woman should end up in a better spot, albeit with less sales, so we’ll leave this aberrant month behind us and pick up with the usual charts and such when the October numbers come out.

Prediction For Next Month: I underestimated the public’s love for shoddy lenticular covers in last month’s predictions, and was under by about 7,000 issues for each book.  Not good.  But I’m going to try to shake it off and come back strong with this prediction: In October, Wonder Woman #24 will sell 34,050 copies, a drop of about 2% from the August total.  Check back next month to see how I did!

The Lack Of Wonder Woman, And Women Generally, In The Robot Chicken DC Comics Special

September 11, 2012

The Robot Chicken DC Comics Special aired this weekend on Cartoon Network, and it was kind of meh for me.  I know comedy is all sorts of subjective, but usually Robot Chicken is amusing… their Star Wars stuff was funny.  DC is ripe for parody, but the show didn’t really amount to much other than some tired Aquaman jokes and Superman kissing dudes.  The Bane breaking Batman’s back gag was a little bit funny, but I don’t think I actually laughed out loud once.  The whole thing felt like a missed opportunity to me.

Comedy value aside, the Robot Chicken DC Comics Special also continued the troubling trend of not giving female characters much to do.  I know that being serious about a comedy show is never very fun, but we see this all the time with superheroes.  Female characters get marginalized, wherever they may appear.

Case in point, Wonder Woman.  First off, how they went a whole half hour without making a bondage joke I have NO idea.  Second, Wonder Woman is part of DC’s Big Three, and their most famous female character, and she only had four lines in the entire show.

In her first scene, she made fun of Aquaman with Superman and Green Lantern.  You can check out that scene here:

In her second scene, she again made fun of Aquaman with Superman.  Her two lines consisted of mocking cruise ship passengers and congratulating Superman on his Aquaman burn.

Finally, in the big brawl at the end of the show, Wonder Woman busted up a bunch of villains and exclaimed “Yeah, droppin’ motherf***ers!! Who’s next?!” while looking like this:

And that was it.

She was also in the background for a few other scenes, but she had very little to do in the show.  Mr. Freeze had more lines.  Mirror Master had more lines.  Firestorm had more lines.  The smelly guy from the mail room of the Legion of Doom headquarters had more lines.  Wonder Woman was little more than an afterthought.

This was true of all of the other female characters in the show.  Lois Lane had two lines setting up a bit where Superman kisses all of his villains to wipe their memories.  Abby Arcane had a line in a four second Swamp Thing bit.  Ice closed an all freeze-related villain sketch that went on for a few minutes with all male characters before she popped up to do the closing line.  Giganta stole Aquaman’s pants.  Cheetah called Catwoman a bitch.  Harley Quinn implied that the urine in the Joker’s flower that just sprayed Batman was, in fact, hers.  All quality bits…

All told, seven female characters spoke eleven lines of dialogue in the entire show.  A few more appeared in the background, like Catwoman and Zatanna and Stargirl (of course, since Geoff Johns was involved), but for the most part there weren’t many female characters and those who were there spoke very little.

Also, while most of the major male heroes were in the special, a lot of well-known female characters weren’t, particularly those headlining their own books.  Batgirl, Batwoman, Black Canary, Huntress, Power Girl, and Supergirl were nowhere to be found.  Nor was Hawkgirl, who a lot of people know from the Justice League cartoon.  The show was pretty much wall to wall male characters, some of them rather obscure, with a lady very occasionally.

Ultimately, it’s bad enough that the show wasn’t funny.  They didn’t need to do absolutely nothing with Wonder Woman and exclude female characters generally too.  And good lord, people, Aquaman jokes are PLAYED OUT.  Get some better, more diverse, material.


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