Posts Tagged ‘Cliff Chiang’

Wonder Woman’s October 2016 Covers and Solicits

July 19, 2016

There’s some cool stuff on the way for Wonder Woman this October, from her regular bi-monthly series to a fun special to some intriguing collections. Between Wonder Woman’s 75th anniversary and the upcoming film, the character’s profile is sky high and we’ve been getting a pretty nice selection of Wonder Woman products announced each month. It’s an exciting (and often expensive!) time to be a Wonder Woman fan.

So let’s see what Wonder Woman is up to in October, starting with her regular series:

octww9

WONDER WOMAN #8
Written by GREG RUCKA • Art and cover by NICOLA SCOTT • Variant covers by JENNY FRISON • “Year One” part four! The world is finally introduced to Wonder Woman, and adversaries—both ancient and new—take note.
On sale OCTOBER 12 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

WONDER WOMAN #9
Written by GREG RUCKA • Art and cover by LIAM SHARP • Variant covers by JENNY FRISON • “THE LIES” part five! Diana takes another step closer to discovering the truth…and the mysterious Godwatch responds!
On sale OCTOBER 26 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

As usual, we’re only getting one of the covers, and this month it’s the Sharp one. I don’t love it, to be honest. Is it just me, or does Steve sort of look like a creep here? He’s weirding me out a little.

But, in fun news, Frank Cho is no longer doing the variant covers, and in his place we’ve got Jenny Frison, which is a huge upgrade. Cho’s covers weren’t terrible, but Cho’s a twit who seems to love to stir up sexist anger among his followers, so I’m not sad to see him go. His brand wasn’t a good fit for the book. And Frison is an amazing cover artist, so this should be very cool!

As for the insides, Rucka sure does love vague solicits. Wonder Woman is set to meet the world for the first time in “Year One”, while in “The Lies” Wonder Woman is moving slightly closer to the truth. Not a lot of information, but the series has been solid so far so I’m looking forward to it all nonetheless.

Next up, the second issue of the gorgeous looking team up, Trinity:

octtrinity2

TRINITY #2
Written by FRANCIS MANAPUL • Art and cover by FRANCIS MANAPUL • Variant cover by FRANK CHO
“BETTER TOGETHER” part two! Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman have uncovered a window into their very souls: and the power of temptation proves to be stronger than any villain they could battle! The bonds of friendship and trust between the most formidable heroes on the planet will be tested to their breaking point, with the lives of innocents hanging in the balance!
On sale OCTOBER 19 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

I mean, look at that cover! I am going to buy this book based on the cover alone; it’s just so pretty. And Manapul’s doing the insides too! It’s going to look so nice. The story sounds weird in ways that could be cool. I like that the book focuses on their friendship and testing them all together; it’s a premise I can get behind. I’m keen for this book to start.

Hilariously, Frank Cho seems to have landed here with a new variant cover gig. We can’t catch a dang break! But really, who’s going to want a Cho cover when they can get that Manapul cover? It’s just too good.

We’ve also got an exciting special:

octwwspecial

WONDER WOMAN 75TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL #1
Story and art by various • Cover by JIM LEE • Variant cover by NICOLA SCOTT • Variant cover by LIAM SHARP
An immense special issue celebrating seventy-five years of the Amazing Amazon, through phenomenal new stories, art, and stand-alone illustrations! Featuring a roster of incredible creators—some who’ve laid down legendary runs with the character, and some who’ve never drawn her before—including Rafael Albuquerque, Brian Azzarello, Cliff Chiang, Renae De Liz, Brenden Fletcher, Adam Hughes, Karl Kerschl, Gail Simone, and many, many more to be announced!
On sale OCTOBER 26 • 80 pg, FC, $7.99 US • RATED T

Eighty pages of Wonder Woman fun, by some killer creative teams! I’m particularly excited for Fletcher and Kerschl to do a Wonder Woman story, though more Renae De Liz is super awesome, and Adam Hughes always does a great Diana. Plus Cliff Chiang! I love Cliff Chiang so much. I’m curious to see who else gets announced; it’d be great to see some more women in the mix here. I think this book could be a blast, and I’m really looking forward to it.

Now to some collections, including a fancy absolute edition:

octabsoluteww

ABSOLUTE WONDER WOMAN BY BRIAN AZZARELLO AND CLIFF CHIANG VOL. 1 HC
Written by BRIAN AZZARELLO
Art by CLIFF CHIANG, TONY AKINS, DAN GREEN and KANO
Cover by CLIFF CHIANG
In these tales from the start of DC—The New 52, Wonder Woman learns that Queen Hippolyta has kept a secret from her daughter all her life—and when Diana learns who her father is, her life will shatter like brittle clay. The only one more shocked than Diana by this revelation? Bloodthirsty Hera—so why is her sinister daughter, Strife, so eager for the truth to be told? This Absolute edition collects WONDER WOMAN #1-18 and #0.
On sale FEBRUARY 1 • 484 pg, FC, 8.25” x 12.5”, $125.00 US

I have mixed feelings on this. While the first six issues of this run are AMAZING, it does go downhill somewhat after that. I’d say that about 90% of my affection for this era of Wonder Woman is tied directly to Cliff Chiang’s spectacular art, and seeing it oversized like this would be so fun, but there were a lot of fill ins too that were often only just passable. I’m not sure whether I’ll pick this up or not, especially at such a steep price. But I might; I just love Chiang too much, you guys.

Finally, the collection we’ve all been waiting for:

octloww.jpg

THE LEGEND OF WONDER WOMAN HC
Written by RENAE DE LIZ
Art and cover by RENAE DE LIZ and RAY DILLON
The new WONDER WOMAN 9-issue miniseries written and pencilled by Renae De Liz is collected here! In the beginning there was only chaos. But Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons, saw a better future—and eventually her daughter would be destined to bring that new world to life! Before her ultimate fate unfolds though, Diana of Themyscira must learn the important lessons of an Amazonian childhood!
On sale DECEMBER 7 • 288 pg, FC, $29.99 US

BEST OF WONDER WOMANS!! If for some reason you were crazy enough to not read this digitally and THEN not read this in single issues, pull yourself together and mark December 7, 2016, on your calendar because you need to get this book. It’s the best Wonder Woman story I’ve read in ages; it’s gorgeous and fun, and simultaneously classic and fresh. It’s just ridiculously good on every level. You’ve got to check it out, and if you’ve got the single issues already, get some of these for your friends. I mean, talk about a perfect holiday gift!

So October should be a lot of fun for single issues, and the collections that come out further down the road are looking cool too. Remember a few months back when all we got was the Finches on Wonder Woman and a terrible Superman/Wonder Woman series? We are living the high life now, gang!

My Top 10 Favourite Comic Books of 2015

December 29, 2015

Now that the year is almost over, it’s a good time to look back at the comic books I most enjoyed this year. Usually I like to do an all new Top 10, focusing on my new favourites, but so many books stayed ridiculously good this year that my pull list hasn’t changed a lot. So we’ll go for a split, with half returning favourites and half new books that I’m all about. We’ll start with the former!

MY FIVE FAVOURITE COMIC BOOKS

It’s been a fantastic year for comics, and several of my best books from 2014 remain at the top of my list here at the end of 2015. My top books, in order, are:

 bestCRIMINALS

5) Sex Criminals by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky: The book is hilarious and great and surprisingly heartwarming, but what I love more than anything is the letter column. It’s the funniest thing I read each month, comics or otherwise.

 bestTHOR

4) The Mighty Thor by Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman: The series was a blast all year as Thor, and now that it’s been relaunched as The Mighty Thor the fun continues. I liked the initial mystery aspect of the book, but the reveal of Thor’s identity has led to some interesting angles and new storylines that are even more compelling.

 bestODYC

3) ODY-C by Matt Fraction and Christian Ward: It’s a gender swapped take on The Odyssey in space. This concept could not be more up my alley, and the execution has been fascinating and gorgeous. And also informative! The essays in the backmatter are great, and are a fantastic compliment to the trippy main story.

 bestBITCH

2) Bitch Planet by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro: Feminism in space again. What can I say, I have a type. The Mighty Thor sort of fits that theme too, now that I think about it! Last year, I compared the first issue of Bitch Planet to a punch in the stomach but in the best way, and the series has continued as such throughout the year. While it’s often brutal, there’s a fury to the book that I love and that is much needed.

 bestMSMARVEL

1) Ms. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona, and others: This was my top pick last year, and it’s my top pick this year too. It’s just so good! I LOVE Kamala Khan, I love the world they’ve built around her in Jersey City, and I love that the book is classic superhero fun in a very fresh and new way. And now, Kamala’s made it through Secret Wars and is back in a relaunched title that continues her story in enjoyable new ways. Plus she’s an Avenger! 2015 was the year of Kamala, for sure.

MY FIVE FAVOURITE NEW COMIC BOOKS

The year also saw a bunch of new great books, from multiversal destructions to gals across various eras to a modern day crime lord. These were my favourite new books/revamps of 2015:

 bestSECRETWARS

5) Secret Wars by Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic: This book is bananas, and I love it. I’ve been following Hickman since he relaunched Avengers and New Avengers a few years back, and while the buildup was impressive, the payoff is epic. This is the first event series in ages that I’ve really enjoyed, plus it’s also led to some great tie-ins, including A-Force, Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps, and Runaways.

 bestCATWOMAN

4) Catwoman by Genevieve Valentine, Garry Brown, and David Messina: This storyline began in 2014, but it ran for most of this year and it was ridiculously good. Selina Kyle took over a crime family and tried to keep Gotham from falling into a gang war, with often tragic results. It was dark and tense and an absolutely fascinating new take on the character, and I was so disappointed when DC brought in a new creative team at the end of the year.

 bestPAPERGIRLS

3) Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang: It’s just so gorgeous. Regular readers will know that Cliff Chiang is my favourite artist, hands down, and he doesn’t disappoint here. Plus that Vaughan fellow is pretty good too, and he’s crafted a weird, mysterious story; we’re a few issues in, and I’m still not 100% sure what’s happening. I just know that it’s rad.

 bestLEGEND

2) The Legend of Wonder Woman by Renae De Liz and Ray Dillon: The print edition of the book doesn’t start until January, but the digital version has been coming out for weeks and it’s GREAT. It’s a classic take on Wonder Woman and the Amazons but with several new, fun twists, and the first few issues have spent a lot of time establishing Themyscira and introducing us to a young Diana. Simultaneously cute and ominous, this is the best Wonder Woman book in years.

 bestBOMBSHELLS

1) DC Comics Bombshells by Marguerite Bennett, Marguerite Sauvage, and more: When DC did their World War Two era “Bombshell” variant covers a while back, I thought it was kind of silly and unnecessary. But they were a hit, and now this series fleshes out the story behind the new designs, reimagining the war with scores of DC’s female heroes in the mix, and nary a male hero in sight. It’s so much fun and delightfully bad ass to see DC’s ladies working together to bust up Nazis, and I love how Bennett and her team of artists have added so much depth to what began as a line of pin-ups.

And those are my favourite books of the year! It’s all so much awesome. The comic book industry is an embarrassment of riches right now.

Wonder Woman #41 Review OR A Bland, Backwards Looking Start To A New Arc

June 17, 2015

ww41a

When Meredith and David Finch took over the series with Wonder Woman #36 last fall, their first issue was an absolute mess. The writing was awkard, the art made Wonder Woman look like a sexy adolescent, and the whole book was just an extraordinarily unpleasant reading experience. I’ve read EVERY issue of Wonder Woman going back 75 years, and Wonder Woman #36 was easily one of the worst. So I’m happy to say that Wonder Woman #41 is better than that. Unfortunately, it’s still not very good. We’ll dig into why, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

I am about to reveal every shocking revelation in this issue!

Just kidding, there really aren’t any!

But still, if you don’t want to be spoiled, look away!

Wonder Woman #41 is a chance for Meredith and David Finch to reintroduce their book to potential new readers. With the #DCYou mini-relaunch garnering a lot of attention, sales are sure to go up for returning books across the line, which means a lot of new eyes on Wonder Woman. The issue seems to be trying to address that, but they go way too far in doing so. The first three quarters of the book are basically a recap of the forty issues that came before, with nothing particularly new added to the mix. Plus it’s written in a weirdly stilted, expository fashion, with long internal monologue introductions for each new scene. It’s a bland, clunky read.

We start on Mount Olympus, where Wonder Woman visits Donna Troy to recap her crimes and offer her clichéd platitudes about how she can change and take control of her life. Wonder Woman is stern but caring, Donna is angry and pouty. It really adds nothing new if you’ve read the six issues beforehand, and I can’t imagine that it’s terribly intriguing if you haven’t.

Then Wonder Woman stops into visit Zola and Zeke, who appear to be living on Mount Olympus with Hera. This harkens back to the Azzarello and Chiang era, and is one of the few references the Finches have made to this run thus far. The Azzarello and Chiang run had its ups and downs, but one of the highlights was definitely the brash, spunky Zola and the evolution of her relationship with Hera. None of that is showcased here. Zola’s dialogue lacks her former folksy snark, while there are just hints of Hera’s amusingly snooty condescension. Neither character feels right.

Nor do they look right. Zola looks like a generic blonde woman, or rather like a generic blonde model. She’s sitting most of the time, but her limbs are long and slim, and her hair is fashionably cut. Cliff Chiang’s Zola was short with shaggy hair, and a very specific style. Finch has her in non-descript clothing even though Chiang always had her in redneck couture, with a lot of plaids and decorative t-shirts. She had a look with a lot of personality, and none of that is present here. I suppose it’s not particularly fair to compare Finch to Chiang, since they have completely different strengths. Chiang’s character design as epic, while Finch’s is… well, you’ve seen the new Wonder Woman costume. But even when Finch is channeling Chiang’s design, the result isn’t great. Chiang always drew Hera’s peacock cloak as voluminous and imposing, with detail in the feathers so you knew exactly what it was. Finch turns into a regular old cloak that sort of has a peacock feather design on it. She cuts a far less striking figure.

After that visit, Wonder Woman stops by to see Hephaestus, first to remind us that the Amazons who sided with Donna and killed the Manazons are now working at his forge, and second to get her new outfit. The costume supposedly shows her evolution form girl to woman and is “a reflection of everything I am now”, but neither the writing nor art explains exactly how or why. Wonder Woman calls it a “symbol” but the book offers no meaning behind her weird shoulder pads, thigh high boots, pointy skirt, and black unitard. Probably because it’s a #DCYou twist, and something resembling the old costume will be back sooner or later anyway. Big changes to the Wonder Woman costume never last.

The book ends with something new, a teen with a bomb. The teen is threatening to blow himself up if he doesn’t get to meet Wonder Woman, so she stops by to try to talk some sense into him. But the teen is no ordinary teen, and wants to fight even though Wonder Woman is not keen to do so. Ultimately, he jumps off a bridge and retreats to a secret lair. It’s an odd reveal because while there is a magic pool and a plot to have the teen replace Wonder Woman as the god of war is made very clear, we have no idea who either participant is.   Pegasus shows up at the end, which makes me think that the teen might be Perseus, but he could also just be any random dude with a dislike of Wonder Woman who craves power. Whoever’s in the pool is obviously mythologically based, but the details are few. I’m sure more will be revealed moving forward, but a little more information could have made this big reveal a lot more impactful. “Oh snap, it’s some random dude!” is far less compelling than “Oh snap, it’s Perseus!” or “Oh snap, it’s Icarus!” or whoever.

All together, it’s not a particularly well crafted issue, nor does it create a lot of excitement for the next issue. However, at least it’s just bland and not straight up awful. That’s a big step up from the Finches’ first issue back in November. It’s not an enjoyable issue. I wouldn’t say it’s in the ballpark of good yet. But it didn’t make me angry or sad, and I’m glad about that. I’ll take bored over furious any day of the week. While I hold little hope that Wonder Woman will ever be good again with the Finches at the helm, it’s always nice when an issue isn’t completely terrible. Well done, all involved, for clearing the lowest of bars.

Wonder Woman’s June 2015 Covers And Solicits

March 17, 2015

June is a big month for DC Comics, with 25 new series debuting and surprising changes for the rest of their ongoing series. We’ve already seen Wonder Woman’s new costume, which has gotten mixed reviews thus far, but let’s take a look at the solicits for Wonder Woman’s comics and find out what is up with the Amazing Amazon this June.

First up is Wonder Woman #41:

wwoutfit

WONDER WOMAN #41
Written by MEREDITH FINCH
Art and cover by DAVID FINCH and
JONATHAN GLAPION
THE JOKER Variant cover by BRIAN BOLLAND
On sale JUNE 17 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US RATED T
A daring new direction begins with the arrival of a brand-new villain! But while he may be new to us, he’s not new to the world he seeks to tame. And speaking of villains, Donna Troy’s quest to destroy Wonder Woman ratchets up another gear (if that’s even possible!), while the games of the Gods bring dark portents to the ultimate Amazon!

So apparently Wonder Woman is $3.99 now. I hope that’s a misprint; Wonder Woman has been $2.99 since the New 52 relaunch.

We’re getting a new villain, and it sounds like it’s an original creation from the Finches with the whole “new to us” bit. That’s sort of ominous. Given how poorly they’ve done with beloved, established characters, I’m worried about what sort of new character the Finches will bring into Wonder Woman’s world. It also sounds like the gods will have a bigger role, which will be a big change. After being a constant presence in the Azzarello/Chiang run, the gods haven’t been much of a role since the Finches took over.

Next up is Superman/Wonder Woman #18:

wwoutfit2

SUPERMAN/WONDER WOMAN #18

Written by PETER J. TOMASI
Art by DOUG MAHNKE and others
Cover by PAULO SIQUEIRA
THE JOKER Variant cover by CLIFF CHIANG
On sale JUNE 17 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
The epic new storyline “TRUTH” continues! As the pressure mounts, a relationship is tested!

While I don’t love the idea of Superman just wearing a t-shirt, I really like the t-shirt. I’d definitely wear that. The Fleischer’s Superman is all sorts of fun.

As for the story, this is a very vague solicit! The “Truth” storyline is running through Action Comics, Superman, and Batman Superman as well, and none of those solicits give any hints as to what this truth may be. Superman’s got some sort of secret, and that’s all we know. I’m not at all surprised to have Superman/Wonder Woman focusing on Superman and tying into the other Super-books again, though. God forbid they focus on Wonder Woman for any length of time.

We’ve also got Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman #11:

sensation11

SENSATION COMICS FEATURING WONDER WOMAN #11
Written by JOSH ELDER
Art by JAMAL IGLE and JUAN CASTRO
Cover by STEPHANE ROUX
On sale JUNE 17 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T • DIGITAL FIRST
Wonder Woman has always been both warrior and diplomat. Now she must stand against Ares, the god of war himself, if she is to bring peace to the central African nation of Itari, where a centuries-old tribal “Vendetta” threatens to plunge the nation into a bloody civil war.

It looks like we’ve got another three-part digital story that will become one full issue of the print version of Sensation Comics. That can be fun, if the story is able to carry the whole book. It worked great for Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman’s Apokalips story; that was great, and definitely warranted a full issue for itself. Hopefully this new story is similarly good. The creative team is decent, and a trip to Africa to fight Ares could be fun.

Finally, here are a couple of scheduling notes. First, Wonder Woman Annual #1, originally scheduled for April 1, has been moved to June 3. The annual is set to wrap up the current arc on Wonder Woman, but it looks like it won’t be done in time to be published before “Convergence” takes over DC for a couple of months.

Second, the Wonder Woman by George Perez Omnibus Volume 1 has been solicited, though it’s not out until August 19. It’s 640 pages for $75, and includes the first 24 issues of Perez’s legendary run. I’m also encouraged to see it listed as the first volume; it would be great to get more of Perez’s run in omnibus form. I’m really looking forward to this beast of a book!

Check Out These Wonder Woman Covers From DC’s Joker Variant Line For June 2015

March 13, 2015

DC Comics sure loves its monthly variant themes. From steam punk to movie posters to “Hey, let’s just let Darwyn Cooke do a bunch”, their variant cover themes have been a generally fun promotion. There are some stinkers in the mix, sure, but a lot of them have been quite nice, especially on Wonder Woman comics. Frankly, given the rough patch Wonder Woman’s been in as of late, there have been a lot of months where I’ve enjoyed the variant cover more than the actual book.

DC’s newest variant line, set for June, is based on the Joker. The Clown Prince of Crime will appear alongside many of DC’s heroes, including Wonder Woman. Let’s take a look, starting with Wonder Woman #41 by Brian Bolland:

jokerww

The use of black is kind of clever here. I like that. It doesn’t do much for me, generally, though. I’d much rather see the inevitable end of this scene, where Wonder Woman punches out the Joker. Also, her hair is super flat. Did she just come in from a rain storm or something?

Next up is Superman/Wonder Woman #18 by Cliff Chiang:

jokersww

I’m always a sucker for a Cliff Chiang Wonder Woman, but this is just fantastic all around. The children’s book vibe is clever, and the art captures everyone perfectly. Plus of course the Joker would love Wonder Woman! Who wouldn’t. This is super cute and fun, and I look forward to picking it up.

Wonder Woman is also on the cover for Justice League #41 by David Finch, Jonathan Glapion, and Brad Anderson. Oh great, more David Finch. Just what Wonder Woman needs:

jokerjl

It’s the Justice League with Joker smiles. A little obvious. I mean, compared to what Bolland and Chiang came up with, this is pretty unimaginative.

Finally, Wonder Woman’s on the cover for Justice League of America #1 by Howard Porter and Hi-Fi:

jokerjla

Again, a little unimaginative with the giant Joker and such. You’ve got to think outside of the box a bit, gang. Do something fun with it.

All of these covers will be available in June, but maybe make sure you to talk to your retailer before they come out so that they can set aside a copy for you if there’s any you really like. Variants can go quickly. You don’t want the joke to be on you!

Check Out The Wonder Woman Covers For February’s Harley Quinn Variant Month

November 14, 2014

In what is a rather smart move to capitalize on the popularity of one of their most successful characters, DC Comics has announced their next variant cover theme: Harley Quinn. The covers will debut in February, and both New 52 Wonder Woman series will be part of the line. With some excellent artists, too!

First up, Phil Jimenez has drawn the variant cover for Wonder Woman #39, with Hi-Fi on colours. Let’s take a look, courtesy of Newsarama:

harley1

Jimenez is beloved by the Wonder Woman fan community for his excellent run on the book years back, and it’s always fun to have him return to the character. This cover is a good laugh, with Harley besting Diana to become the new Wonder Woman with the help of her comically over-sized hammer. It’s very cute.

Next up is Superman/Wonder Woman #16, by Francis Manapul, courtesy of Comic Book Resources:

harley2

I love Manapul’s art, and this cover is just lovely. Somehow, the Superman/Wonder Woman variants we’ve seen over the past year from a variety of great artists sell me on their relationship more than the comics inside ever have. Manapul’s captured something very nice here, with Harley coming along to spoil the party, as always. This is a great one too!

Finally, just for the fun of it, former Wonder Woman artist Cliff Chiang has done a variant cover for Batgirl #39, and it’s fantastic. I miss you so much, Cliff!!

harley3

He’s just the best.

Look for all of these variants this February, and as always with variants it’s probably best to talk to your local comic shop ahead of time and get them to set one aside for you if there are any you’re keen on. They tend to go pretty quick.

Wonder Woman #35 Review OR The End Of An Era

October 29, 2014

ww35a

I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited for a comic than when DC announced that Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang would be relaunching Wonder Woman. I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I heard the news, how I flipped out in a public place and drew a lot of odd looks, and how I called my best friend to celebrate with someone comicly inclined who would understand the awesomeness of the day. I was a huge fan of Azzarello’s work on books like 100 Bullets and Loveless, as well the only guy I know who loved Superman: For Tomorrow, and I’d been following Cliff Chiang’s work for years; he was one of the few artists whose work I always bought no matter my interest in the book as a whole. I have a stack of Cliff Chiang comics starring characters I don’t give a hoot about, but I love the comics because they are GORGEOUS.

Now, more than three years later, their run on Wonder Woman is drawing to a close. It’s had its ups and downs, to be sure. I’m still not over the changes to the Amazons, and their portrayal of Diana was a bit all over the map. But when their Wonder Woman was good, which it was quite often, it was one of the best comics on the stands and portrayed a powerful and compassionate version of the character. Today, with their final issue, Azzarello and Chiang have finished strong, presenting a fantastic showcase for Wonder Woman and the wider cast they’ve built around her. But before we talk about that, first this:

SPOILER ALERT!!!

I am going to spoil not just this issue, but the ENTIRE run!

Go read it all first!

Don’t rob yourself of a good story and spectacular art!

Carrying on, let me start with a bit of self-congratulating. I called the Zola is Athena thing when I reviewed the last issue, as well as the Zeke/Zeus connection. So high fives all around for that!

Onto the book itself. This issue picks up where the last one left off, with Wonder Woman and her pals facing Poseidon on Olympus. Then things went sideways when the First Born showed up, and it looked like some of the team were going to meet a bad end. But, of course, the good guys won. It’s superhero comic; that was sort of a given. How they won, however, speaks to the strength of Azzarello and Chiang’s run.

Over the last few years, I’ve often commented on the lack of Wonder Woman in Wonder Woman. On average, she was lucky to be on half of the pages of her own book. But for this finale, Azzarello and Chiang had Wonder Woman take center stage and show her true heroism. She was on every single page of this final issue, driving the action and bringing the First Born’s reign to an end.

When all was lost and it looked like the heroes would be defeated, Wonder Woman was spared because the minotaur couldn’t kill her. He remembered what she did when he was in the same circumstances in Wonder Woman #0, subdued and about to be killed. The young Diana couldn’t kill the minotaur and now, years later, because of that act of compassion, the minotaur refused to kill her. After three years of Wonder Woman’s compassion routinely biting her square in the ass, that it finally paid off for her when it mattered most was a nice, triumphant moment.

It also allowed Wonder Woman to regroup, and defeat the First Born. She took off her bracelets and went full on god mode, and could have killed him. Hermes was certainly cheering for that when he told her to show no mercy. But mercy and compassion are her core. She tricked the First Born; Wonder Woman is clever as well. But instead of killing him, she sent him back down into the pit from whence he came to stay for another few thousand years. The act appeared to not be about malice or punishment, but rather about her belief that the First Born could, with time, learn to love and trust others. Despite all of his evil actions, she refused to see him as a lost cause.

Finally, Wonder Woman convinced Athena to save Zola, who she was set to discard as she returned to her divine form. Athena had been living as Zola, unknowingly, for twenty years, a pittance compared to the lifespan of a god, but Diana convinced her that her time as Zola was valuable and that Zola should live on, to help Zeke/Zeus and also to help others. I’m particularly glad for this turn of events, because Zola is one of the best new characters to come out of this run.

As a comic book, this final issue was well balance and paced. The action was a lot of fun, and the fights were great, but there was a lot more going on than a typical superhero beat ’em up as Wonder Woman’s compassion ultimately saved the day. Azzarello wrote great moments for all of his now fan favourite characters, and finished with a surprisingly happy yet fitting ending for his darker take on Wonder Woman’s universe.

The issue was beautifully drawn as always by Cliff Chiang, who captured the emotion of each beat perfectly. I don’t think that any other comic book artist communicates feeling and mood as well as Cliff Chiang, and definitely not as deftly and subtly. Plus, he can draw the hell out of a fight scene too. The man is incomparable, and I’m so sad to see him leave the title.

Matthew Wilson’s colours were gorgeous, which is not a surprise given the stellar work he’s done on this series. He always knows how to find the exact right palette for an issue, and then punctuate it fun ways to really drive home the key moments. This issue, I was particularly taken with how he coloured Wonder Woman, Zola, and Zeke as the dawn hit them on the second last page. Such lovely work.

Jared K. Fletcher’s lettering continued to achieve the key goal of lettering: To blend in so well with the art that you don’t even really notice it’s there. His work has been seamless from the first issue on, telling the story effectively while showcasing the artwork as well. Being a letterer isn’t the flashiest of jobs, but good lettering goes a long way and Fletcher has done some fantastic work on Wonder Woman over the past few years.

So the First Born is vanquished, the Amazons are back, and Wonder Woman and all her pals made it out alive. This issue is not only the end of this epic storyline, but also the end of an era. Largely due to Azzarello and Chiang’s star power, the series has been incredibly self-contained and avoided the wider world of the DC universe, specifically Wonder Woman’s foolish romance with Superman. From what we’ve seen of the Finches’ first issue set to debut next month, this separation is over and Wonder Woman will now be much more integrated with the rest of DC’s titles. Wonder Woman hasn’t received the best treatment in the New 52, so her autonomy in her own series was a nice respite. I suppose we’ll still have Sensation Comics, at least.

My congratulations to Azzarello, Chiang, and the whole Wonder Woman team for this great finale! While the run has had rough moments, I think that in the end there was a lot more good than bad and, as a whole, it will go down as one of the better runs in the history of the character.


%d bloggers like this: