Posts Tagged ‘Derek Fridolfs’

Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman #32 Review: “Return to Gaia, Part 2” by Derek Fridolfs and Tom Fowler

April 30, 2015

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Well, that was a lot of fun. I absolutely loved this week’s conclusion of “Return to Gaia”, and I rank it among my favourite Sensation Comics stories thus far. Top five easy, maybe even top three. This finale is straight up bonkers monster fighting awesomeness. I have no idea how Sensation Comics is selling digitally because DC Comics doesn’t release those numbers, but it’s a real shame that the print version is selling so much less than Wonder Woman and Superman/Wonder Woman. The stories we’re getting in Sensation Comics are orders of magnitude better than Wonder Woman’s current New 52 adventures, and it bums me out that some stories that could go down as all-time Wonder Woman classics might be getting missed by a lot of readers. If you love Wonder Woman, you should read “Return to Gaia” because it totally takes advantage of the inherent potential mythological fun of Wonder Woman and just goes bananas with it. It’s so great.

Derek Fridolfs does a great job capturing the epicness of the Amazons’ battle with Typhon, even with the limited space of a digital book. The book begins with the Amazons mid-battle, fighting giants, cyclopes, a huge crazy leopard thing, and massive crab creatures. It’s an all out war on Themyscira as the father of monsters calls forth all of his grotesque creations. And it’s a battle that’s been going on for four days, because that’s how long Wonder Woman and Poison Ivy have been falling into the underworld to face Typhon head on. I love that detail SO MUCH. Nothing says mythic adventure like a FOUR DAY freefall just to get to the monster you need to fight.

Tom Fowler’s art continues to be excellent, and even better than the first issue because he has so much cool stuff to dig into. His monsters are fantastic, all varied and dangerous looking, and he captures the scope of the Themysciran battle very well. His Typhon is great too, just a massive creature with a beard of snakes and tentacles for legs. He’s just nasty and mean in all the right ways, and the fight with Wonder Woman and Poison Ivy is appropriately brutal.

One detail I really enjoyed was that early in the fight, Typhon smashes Wonder Woman and she bears the brunt of it with her shield, causing the shield to buckle. The shield them remains dented for the rest of the issue.   It’s such a minor detail, but I like how such a small thing communicates the fierceness of the fight and the danger they’re in. It’s a constant reminder of how strong their foe is. I find that it’s much more powerful when heroes get dinged up in battle than when they come out of a fight all pristine and unscathed.

Colorist Kelly Fitzpatrick does wonderful work throughout the issue not going overboard with the color while still mixing it up enough that it’s not monochromatic. The fiery fight with Typhon could have just been all red, but instead there’s green fog at the beginning, Poison Ivy’s pink mist, and lots of blues and greys in the background. Even the fire isn’t only red; oranges and purples get mixed in to add some variety. It’s some lovely work all around.

Also, kudos to letterer Saida Temofonte for her choices with Typhon’s dialogue. She goes with a big, chunky but slightly messy font to capture what felt to me like a deep, gravelly, monstrous voice. I also like the choice to color the text green; I don’t know if that was Fitzpatrick or Temofonte, but it works really well with the coloring of the panels as a whole.

All together, this was a big, crazy, fun issue, and a fantastic conclusion to a great story. I love how Wonder Woman and Poison Ivy worked together to defeat Typhon in the end, and how they even ended up on friendly terms despite Poison Ivy’s villainous past. There’s a nice moment of recognizing actions over reputation that I think very much gets to the heart of who Wonder Woman is. This is a great, epic story in general, but also a really good Wonder Woman story that gives her and the Amazons lots of fun action and excitement. Both digital issues are available now, and the print issue will be out on July 15. Do yourself a favour and check it out.

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Wonder Woman’s July 2015 Covers And Solicits

April 24, 2015

July is going to be a very busy month for Wonder Woman. Between her own titles, team books, and guest appearances, it sounds like she’s going to be around a lot. This could get expensive for all the completist collectors out there! Let’s take a look at what Wonder Woman will be up to in July, starting with her eponymous series:

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WONDER WOMAN #42
Written by MEREDITH FINCH
Art and cover by DAVID FINCH and JONATHAN GLAPION
TEEN TITANS GO! Variant cover by BEN CALDWELL
On sale JULY 15 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
To replace Ares as the God of War, Wonder Woman must better understand him – and that means a journey to Ares’ home! You can just imagine what that entails! Plus, learn who is behind the attacks on Paradise Island!

This costume still does nothing for me. Nor does Wonder Woman getting into a fight with this heavily pouched soldier person. Ares’ home is a thing that could be cool in theory but probably won’t in execution. And the attacks on Paradise Island must be a new thing we haven’t gotten to yet, unless it’s the attacks on the Manazons from last issue, but we already know who did those. Anyway, not much to look forward to here, but such will be the case so long as the Finches are on the book, I fear.

Onto Superman/Wonder Woman #19:

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SUPERMAN/WONDER WOMAN #19
Written by PETER J. TOMASI
Art and cover by DOUG MAHNKE and JAIME MENDOZA
TEEN TITANS GO! Variant cover by SEAN “CHEEKS” GALLOWAY
On sale JULY 15 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
The Superman epic you never expected – “TRUTH” continues! Is there truth in madness? Harley Quinn and the Suicide Squad guest-star!

Details are still very sparse on this “Truth” storyline, though some spoilers have come out this morning that might shed some light on things. And it sounds awful. I won’t spoil it here, but go check out Bleeding Cool. Anyway, Wonder Woman seems involved not just in this book, but in most of the Superman line as “Truth” crosses over with at least four series. Technically I could list all of Super-books, really, but the solicits are all equally vague. If this is a story that piques your interest, just buy all the books.

Now to Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman #12:

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SENSATION COMICS FEATURING WONDER WOMAN #12
Written by DEREK FRIDOLFS and MATTHEW K. MANNING
Art by TOM FOWLER, GEORGES JEANTY and KARL STORY
Cover by EMANUELA LUPACCHINO
On sale JULY 15 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T • DIGITAL FIRST
Diana’s visit to Paradise Island’s harvest festival is interrupted by monsters! Typhon, the last son of Gaia, is breaking free of imprisonment and his minions have already begun wreaking havoc. Help is coming from another woman with connections to the Earth Mother, but will Wonder Woman accept aid from Poison Ivy? Then, Batman sends Diana on a vacation in the mountains, hoping that “A Moment of Peace” will help her adjust to life in Man’s World.

The Fridolfs/Fowler story started digitally yesterday, and it is GREAT. So be sure to pick up this issue. It sounds like it’s going to be a good one, plus that Emanuela Lupacchino cover is pretty rad. She always does great work.

Wonder Woman is also front and center on the cover of Justice League #42:

julyjl42

JUSTICE LEAGUE #42
Written by GEOFF JOHNS
Art and cover by JASON FABOK
TEEN TITANS GO! Variant cover by DAN HIPP
On sale JULY 15 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
The epic “Darkseid War” event storyline continues with the critically acclaimed team of Geoff Johns and Jason Fabok! As Darkseid and the Anti-Monitor maneuver toward inevitable war, Wonder Woman leads the Justice League against a force that holds the answers on how to stop it – but the price might be Batman’s soul! Meanwhile, Mister Miracle faces off against a mysterious hero who has been fighting in the shadows for decades!

Wonder Woman is in the book every month, but I usually only spotlight it when she gets a good cover spot. I’m not reading the series, but from what I’ve seen of Jason Fabok’s take on her and her costume, I really like it. He seems to have a good grasp of the character. Also, in further spoiler news, it sounds like the Amazons may have a role in the upcoming “Darkseid War”, though not in a good way. Again, no direct spoilers here; head over to Bleeding Cool if you want to know what’s up.

Finally, Wonder Woman has a few guest spots lined up in July, but the one where she’s most prominently featured is Deathstroke #8:

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DEATHSTROKE #8
Written by TONY S. DANIEL and JIM BONNY
Art and cover by TONY S. DANIEL
TEEN TITANS GO! Variant cover by SEAN “CHEEKS” GALLOWAY
On sale JULY 22 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T+
“Godkiller” continues! Get ready for divine brutality when Slade’s contract on the Gods sends him smashing into combat against the one and only Wonder Woman!

The book is written and drawn by Tony Daniel, who spent some time with Wonder Woman when he helped launch Superman/Wonder Woman a while back. It’s not a terribly auspicious association with the character, and she looks oddly crazed here, but at least it’s nice to see Wonder Woman getting so much exposure in July. Weird she’s not in the new costume, though.

You better start saving up now to buy all these Wonder Woman comics in July! It could put a serious dent in your wallet.

Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman #31 Review: “Return to Gaia” by Derek Fridolfs and Tom Fowler

April 23, 2015

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While it was fun to dive into Wonder Woman ’77 over the past few weeks, it’s nice to have Sensation Comics back again. With Wonder Woman ’77, you know you’re going to get an enjoyable Lynda Carter adventure, but every new storyline in Sensation Comics is a little bit of a mystery, and I like that. It’s sort of like the excitement of a new #1 issue, but on a regular basis, and that element of exploring something new is a good time.

It’s especially fun when you get a great story out of it, and such is the case with this week’s Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman #31. It says a lot about this story that the description promises monsters and we don’t even get to see any of them but it’s still a good read. The issue is the first of a two-parter, so it’s a lot of build-up, but it’s build-up with fun characters in a story that’s set up for what should be an epic ending next week.

The book begins with some disturbances on Themyscira, and Wonder Woman and Hippolyta flying off to find the cause. Hippolyta is riding a pegasus, so the book starts off all sorts of rad. They find a group of Amazon soldiers wrapped up in roots, with an unexpected foe behind it all: Poison Ivy. There’s the usual superhero/supervillain posturing for a bit before Wonder Woman and Poison Ivy realize that they’re on the same team and that Gaia, the earth mother, is warning them that her son Typhon, the father of all monsters, is about to escape from the depths of the Earth. The book turns into a team-up, with Wonder Woman and Poison Ivy armouring up to face Typhon in next week’s conclusion.

Derek Fridolfs writing is strong, and his familiarity with the digital format really shows. He packs a lot into this issue without overcrowding the issue, and moves the story along well. I love having Poison Ivy on Paradise Island. She’s one of those villains that could conceivably pop up anywhere there are plants, really, and digging into her connection to Gaia via her plant powers was a very cool angle to take. Fridolfs writes a noble, heroic Wonder Woman and a menacing but ultimately amenable Poison Ivy; she’s tough, but there to fight for the Earth, not against the Amazons.

Tom Fowler’s art is fantastic, from the composition and page layouts to costume choices and expression. I’m not terribly familiar with his work, but his style reminds me a little bit of Paul Pope with maybe some George O’Connor mixed in, while still being very much his own thing. I think my favourite part of the art was the armour he gives Wonder Woman and Poison Ivy. Here’s a look at their headgear:

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Poison Ivy gets decked out in an almost Groot-like battle suit made of tree materials. It looks strong and tough, like good armour should be, but I love how Fowler uses the tree forms to make the armour look cool, particularly with the hornlike branches on the helmet. It’s a killer design, plus she’s got big leafy wings too! It’s pretty bad ass all around. Wonder Woman’s armour is simpler, but elegant. It’s clearly a take on her Kingdom Come armour, aka. the chicken armour, but it’s more streamlined and minimal. It evokes it’s eagle inspiration without being a straight up eagle head. I think it’s gorgeous, and I’d love to see it more in other comics. The folks making the Wonder Woman would be wise to look at a lot of Fowler’s design choices here, really. He creates a great Themyscira, and all of the outfits look very sharp.

All together, I enjoyed this book a lot, and next week is going to be armoured Wonder Woman and Poison Ivy fighting Typhon, and I am totally on board for that. It should be a spectacular battle, and I can’t wait to see what Fowler does with the father of monsters. This story will be in the July 15 print edition of the book, Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman #12, so be sure to pick that up!


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