Posts Tagged ‘Constantine’

Wonder Woman #57 Review: Exorcising The Witching Hour

October 24, 2018

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I know I usually go with the main cover to start my review, but this Jenny Frison variant cover was too amazing to ignore. Look at that! It’s so creepy and menacing and gorgeous. While Frison has done consistently fantastic work with her Wonder Woman variants, this is one especially excellent. And perfectly spooky!

But onto the story. This Justice League Dark team certainly comes up with a lot of big ideas. Last week, it was Wonder Woman trying to channel Hecate’s powers and use them against her. That went sideways pretty quickly, though. Hecate is the goddess of witchcraft, after all. She knows what she’s doing with this whole magic thing. This week, the big plan was courtesy of Zatanna and Constantine. Since Wonder Woman is possessed by Hecate now, why not bring in the best exorcist in the game to try to cast Hecate out? Much like Wonder Woman’s plan from last week, it was basically a hail Mary. The old ways of magic aren’t working, Hecate is defeating them all, and the apocalypse is more or less nigh. They have to try something. And it works, sort of, before it takes a surprising turn at the end of the issue. We’ll dig into that big cliffhanger momentarily, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

I’m not going to tell you what happens on the last page in the first paragraph of my review!

Read on only if you’ve read the entire issue!

Which you should do, because this is a fun crossover!

So let’s backtrack a little bit. The issue opens with Wonder Woman on the moon, except not really. For our ancient ancestors, the moon was the first mystery and they saw a sort of magic in it. Hecate, as the goddess thereof, thus adopted this magical concept of the moon as her domain, what Witchfire calls “the primal dominion of magic.” Her power exists not on the real moon, but within the metaphor of what the moon represents. It’s all super weird, and I love it.

First off, waking up with a shock is a bit of a trope, sure, but one that can be a lot of fun when handled well. And in a spooky story like “The Witching Hour,” the surprise wake up was an excellent choice, especially since when we last left Diana she was fully possessed by Hecate and straight up destroying Nanda Parbat. Second, to have her wake up on the moon is enjoyably unexpected. And third, then everything gets all tricky, what with her being trapped on a metaphor of the moon and all, and I was so into it. This is a big crossover with all sorts of characters and locations, and this moon section, while important, will only be a small part of the overall story. It could have been simpler. Vaguer. Easier. But James Tynion IV took the time to make it unique, to come up with a big, interesting idea to make the scene extra cool. You gotta respect that level of commitment to telling a fun story.

Everything about this opening was delightful, the art especially. Emanuela Lupacchino always does excellent work, but I tend to focus on her lovely female characters. While she’s still slaying on that front here, she also does a gorgeous job with the lunar landscape, making it feel like the moon but not quite the moon. It looks like a metaphor for a magical representation of the moon, basically, which I’m guessing was very hard to pull off. And Romulo Fajardo Jr. colours it beautifully. It’s a pale, silvery world but it never feels flat, and Wonder Woman’s pop of colour is just enough of a contrast to stand out without being garish or out of place. The whole sequence is gorgeous.

And the issue stayed strong from then on. While it wasn’t as action packed as last week’s, it had some good moments for everyone, a few payoffs and twists on past events in the crossover, and some major developments. In terms of character growth, we learn that Constantine is gravely ill and, with magic not working correctly, beyond help. If this doesn’t get sorted in the finale next week, I’m guessing this will play out in future issues of Justice League Dark. On the story side of things, we have the exorcism. I came into this issue having no idea how the team was going to deal with a possessed Wonder Woman, and dang if this isn’t an enjoyably elegant solution. Of course they try an exorcism! They’ve got John friggin’ Constantine. Why wouldn’t they? It’s played wonderfully as well, with neither Constantine nor Zatanna terribly confident it will work but yet keen to try it nonetheless because they have literally no other options at this point.

Of course, it all takes a terrible turn. Black Orchid and Manitou Dawn are freed from Hecate’s control, but Constantine miscalculated things and all of their power races into Diana. It’s a lot of power. Too much power, it seems, because the issue ends with Witchfire telling Diana that she has died.

Now, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that I don’t think that Wonder Woman is dead. DC’s got G. Willow Wilson and Cary Nord coming on in a couple weeks in what is a pretty big deal for the publisher. I’m quite confident that Wonder Woman is going to survive this crossover. But that doesn’t mean she isn’t in a pickle right now. If she is dead, they’re gonna have to bring her back, and if she isn’t then she’s certainly not in a good way. Whatever is going on, it’s going to need sorting in the finale next week. Diana’s still trapped in the lunar metaphor, and I presume the wrath of Hecate is going to be swift and violent. Nothing’s coming easy for the team in this run, and I’m excited to see what hare-brained scheme they come up with next week in the crossover’s grand finale.

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New Superman Prequel Show ‘Krypton’ Coming; Have We Hit Superhero Over-Saturation?

December 9, 2014

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It seems that every single channel wants to have their own superhero show. We’re already loaded with them during this fall TV season; the only weeknight free of a DC or Marvel property is Thursday. And now, another one is coming: Krypton, a Superman prequel set on the doomed planet two generations before (SPOILER ALERT) it is destroyed. Syfy is developing the program with Man of Steel‘s David Goyer and Once Upon a Time‘s Ian Goldberg at the helm. Here’s a brief synopsis:

Years before the Superman legend we know, the House of El was shamed and ostracized. This series follows The Man of Steel’s grandfather as he brings hope and equality to Krypton, turning a planet in disarray into one worthy of giving birth to the greatest Super Hero ever known.

This could be a pretty cool show, because Krypton is kind of awesome. I love the Silver and Bronze Age comics set on Krypton, and one of my most prized comic book possessions is a digest of World of Krypton stories that tell the history and legends about the planet and its people. I’m definitely going to watch it, even though with the combined creative genius of Man of Steel and Once Upon a Time it’s probably going to really suck. Nonetheless, I am onboard. It’s something different, taking the whole “prequel” thing that shows have been doing lately to a whole new level. It’d be like if Gotham was set in the 1920s or something (also, THAT is a great idea; I’d definitely watch that).

However, I’m worried that we’re hitting a tipping point with super-based properties, especially from DC. They already have four shows airing now, plus iZombie is coming at some point next year. Supergirl and Titans are also in development at CBS and TNT respectively, and now we’re throwing Krypton into the mix. I’m a HUGE nerd, and I can’t even keep up with what we’ve got now. I’m months behind on Constantine because I just have too many shows on the go, superhero and otherwise, and I watch all of my favourites first. If I can’t keep up with four shows, how am I going to keep up with eight? And I’m their target demo.

I think Marvel is managing their television properties in a much smarter way. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D is their only show that lasts an actual full season. Agent Carter is going to be an eight-episode event, while their slate of upcoming Netflix shows will run 13 episodes each and be released separately, creating a similar event feel for each one. The more contained approach seems like a better way to go about things. The shows don’t get drawn out or burn through all the cool characters quickly, and it requires less of an investment from fans.

In general, television is heading towards this model for serialized shows anyway, and this is how a lot of cable shows roll, but I think it’s a particularly good fit for superheroes. Especially on the major networks. There’s always a tension on network shows between serialization and stand alone stories, but comic books are all about serialization. People get bored when there’s a bunch of shows where the Flash just takes down some random dude and a bigger plot isn’t forwarded very much. Fans like the master plan, the build towards the big bad. That’s much better accomplished with a shorter, tighter season than the usual 22 to 24 episode run. All killer, no filler, if you will.

Plus, it keeps things special. A 13 episode show is an event you have to be there for because every episode matters. A regular show is just a show. It’ll pile up on the DVR and you’ll get to it eventually. Imagine if next year there’s an hour-long DC property on every single weeknight, which is a definite possibility. Imagine how full your DVR is going to be. You’re not always in the mood for superheroes, and shows are just going to end up falling through the cracks. Superheroes are a hot commodity and I understand wanting to cash in on that, but glutting the market isn’t good for anyone.

Anyway, I’m still excited for Krypton. I just have no idea when I’m going to watch it. I probably should get through this pile of Constantine first.


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