Posts Tagged ‘Drew Johnson’

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

August 27, 2015


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:


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.

Wonder Woman’s October 2015 Covers and Solicits, Plus Monster Variants

July 15, 2015

October is looking like another busy month for our favourite Amazon, with all of the usual fun plus a returning special I’m very much looking forward to. DC is also doing monster themed variants for many of their titles, just like they did in October last year. It’s good Halloween fun, and two of Wonder Woman’s titles will be part of the line. So let’s see what Wonder Woman will be up to in October!

First up, Wonder Woman #45:



Monsters Variant cover by CLAIRE WENDLING
On sale OCTOBER 21 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
With the Fates dead and Donna Troy still on the run, Wonder Woman must confront the sins of her past and a new, growing threat that’s closing in on the Queen of the Amazons!

I don’t imagine that the Finch cover is actually the final cover, but you never know. It just looks like a panel, and those blue bars don’t look great. I’m not sure whether Claire Wendling’s variant is the final cover or just a sketch either, but I’m super into it. I hope it is the final cover; I like the rougher aspects of it.

Anyway, the Finches carry on with their uninspired tenure on Wonder Woman. Apparently the Fates are dead. Thanks for the spoiler alert, because they haven’t even shown up in the comic yet. Also, Donna Troy hasn’t broken out of prison in the comics that have been published so far, but several solicits have told us she’s going to. You almost don’t have to read the comics, really. Just follow along with the solicits and you’ll get all the highlights.

Next up, Superman/Wonder Woman #22:



Written by PETER J. TOMASI
Cover by CARY NORD
Monsters variant cover by J.P. LEON
On sale OCTOBER 21 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
Following a shocking betrayal, Kal has lost faith in justice. Now, he’s embarking on a dangerous quest to restore his powers, while Wonder Woman makes unexpected allies of Lois Lane and Lana Lang.

The insides of this series have never done anything for me, but what I do love is it’s proud tradition of excellent variant covers. This one by John Paul Leon is fantastic. It’s a great idea for the monster theme, and is just all sorts of gorgeous. I’ll be glad to put this with my collection of Superman/Wonder Woman issues I’ll never read again but I keep to enjoy the lovely covers.

Man, Superman is really out of sorts, eh? Losing his faith in justice?! That’s a third of what he stands for! In theory I’m excited for a Wonder Woman/Lois/Lana team up, but being familiar with the quality of this book I’m not overly optimistic that it will go well.

We’ve also got Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman #15:


On sale OCTOBER 7 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T • DIGITAL FIRST
In “Our Little Dance,” when the well-meaning members of Debbi Domaine’s family argue that Cheetah needs rehabilitation more than incarceration, Wonder Woman is dragged into court! And Diana teaches a young thug a lesson about how having a pet forces you to train “Both Ends of the Leash.”

To be honest with you all, I wasn’t a big fan of either of these stories when they came out digitally, but I do love this cover. It’s lovely work by Jenny Frison, and will look amazing on the stands. The stories inside are pretty average, but neither of them are bad. They’re also very different stories, so chances are you might find something you’ll like.

Finally, Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman is back with Wonder Woman ’77 Special #2:


Get ready for three new stories based on the classic television series starring Lynda Carter! A scientist who is intensely jealous of Wonder Woman becomes empowered by an ancient artifact and Cheetah is born! A woman with the powers of both fire and ice seeks revenge against a corrupt politician. And, Halloween finds the princess up against an undead adversary.

So many stories! Plus the Cheetah and zombies, presumably. This should be a fun book. None of the stories have been released digitally yet, though I anticipate that they’ll be out soon. That’s a great lineup of artists, and Marc Andreyko did a fine job with the first few Wonder Woman ’77 stories so I’m glad to have him back. Nicola Scott’s cover looks fantastic as well. This will actually be out at the end of September instead of October, so keep your eyes peeled for that.

There’s a lot of Wonder Woman fun to be had this fall, and a lot of great covers. Remember to ask your local comic shop ahead of time if you’re keen to get a variant cover; they can go quickly.

Wonder Woman’s April 2015 Covers And Solicits

January 22, 2015

April is going to be a little different for Wonder Woman comics, with the “Convergence” event pre-empting her usual New 52 titles. While she’s got two books every month in the New 52, there will only be one Wonder Woman “Convergence” book. However, we’ve got two digital-first books to look forward to, so that’s a plus. Let’s dig into the solicits, starting with Convergence: Wonder Woman #1:


Written by LARRY HAMA
Art and cover by JOSHUA MIDDLETON
Variant cover designed by CHIP KIDD
On sale APRIL 22 • 32 pg, FC, 1 of 2, $3.99 US • RATED T
STARRING HEROES FROM CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS! Diana Prince is in the grip of a Domesday cult when Steve Trevor leaps into the fray! But can he save Etta Candy from vampires of Red Rain?

This solicit is a lot about Steve Trevor and not so much about Wonder Woman, which I don’t love. But on the plus side, I do enjoy Joshua Middleton, and I’m very excited to see him do two issues of Wonder Woman interiors.

“Convergence” brings together a multitude of DC Comics’ universes, and this one look to be pre-Crisis. Giving Larry Hama’s writing it, I’m guessing the characters will be from the 1970s, Bronze Age era of Wonder Woman, but given the universe mashing each character may well be from a different time period. We’ll have to wait for April to find out.

Next up, we’ve got the print version of the Wonder Woman ’77 digital first series:


1: 25 Variant cover by PHIL JIMENEZ
One-shot • On sale APRIL 29 • 80 pg, FC, $7.99 US • RATED E • DIGITAL FIRST
Don’t miss this digital-first special based on the classic TV series starring Lynda Carter! Travel back to the sizzling ’70s as the undercover Amazon Princess joins forces with special agent Steve Trevor to defend America against Cold War-era criminals. A search for an escaped Soviet scientist brings Wonder Woman to the hottest disco of the day, Studio 52. A live stage act might prove more of a threat to Wonder Woman than the Russian Roller Derby girls out to bring the scientist home.

I’ve been enjoying the digital issues, and I think this print collection of the comics will work even better. The story seems better suited to be read all at once than in installments. It’ll look really nice too; Drew Johnson and Matt Haley have been doing a really good job with the art.

It seems that they’re going with a publication method sort of like Legends of the Dark Knight, where a bunch of stories are collected in a bigger volume instead of regular issue size. The solicit only mentions the current arc, which is just three issues long and thus should only take up 30 pages or so, and so I assume a second arc is on the way.

Finally, we’ve got another issue of Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman to look forward to as well:


On sale APRIL 15 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • DIGITAL FIRST • RATED T
It’s a “Girls’ Day Out,” and Lois Lane doesn’t do “puff piece” interviews, which is fine, because Diana of Themyscira is not interested in being treated as fluff. But when they’re attacked by croco-aliens and robots, the situation really gets heated! Then, in “The Problem with Cats,” Wonder Woman has been summoned to the Isle of Cats to rescue her Justice League teammates, but can Diana save the day?

The art above looks to be a page from the Mike Maihack story and not the cover, so I’ll keep my eyes peeled for the reveal of Francesco Francavilla’s cover in the future. It’s sure to be lovely; the man is epic at covers.

Both of these stories sound fantastic! I am all about a Wonder Woman and Lois Lane team up, especially one involving aliens and robots, so that should be a fun a fun. And Mike Maihack is drawing a story! He’s great, as is Lauren Beukes, and I can’t wait to see what they’ve put together. I think it should be an excellent issue all around.

The solicits also include the upcoming Jae Lee designed action figure line, which has a very cool looking Wonder Woman.  They’ll be available in August 2015.

Look for all of these comic books this April in comic shops everywhere!

Wonder Woman ’77 #2 Review: “Disco Inferno, Part 2” by Marc Andreyko, Drew Johnson, and Matt Haley

January 16, 2015


After a bit of delay, Wonder Woman ’77 #2 came out late yesterday afternoon on Comixology, so this review is a day late. So it goes. When we last left our intrepid heroine, she was at a bustling discotheque in her Diana Prince identity, trying to track down a Soviet defector, when she came across Silver Swan. Now, in the second issue, things get dangerous. Diana turns into Wonder Woman when she realizes that Silver Swan is using her singing to turn the crowd into zombies, but then Silver Swan makes the entire group attack her. Not even the most stout hearted of men is immune; the issue ends on a cliffhanger, with Wonder Woman held at gunpoint by Steve Trevor!

This was just an okay issue for me, largely because it felt very brief. In my review of the first issue, I mentioned that the creative team wasn’t making the most of the format and were moving more at the pace of a regular print issue instead of maximizing the story in each digital issue. This is even more pronounced in this second issue. There’s a big fight, and that’s about it. It’s a good fight, with some fun things going on, but there are a lot of pages that are just two panels or less and as a result the story is over very quickly. There’s nothing bad about the writing, it’s just sparse and a book you can whip through in two minutes isn’t ideal for weekly installments.

The art remains solid, but I noticed that as the book goes on the likeness to Lynda Carter is becoming somewhat intermittent. Some panels capture her well, while others just look like any generic Wonder Woman. Johnson and Haley seem to have a handle on her look when they’re closer up on the face, but once the art pulls back some they have a bit of trouble capturing Lynda Carter from afar when less detail is available to them. And really, this must be a tricky task. She’s got such an iconic look, and to communicate that in what often amounts to a fairly small drawing is probably quite difficult.

I don’t really have a lot else to say about the issue because it was so quick. Middle issues are always a tough review to begin with, much less ones where you don’t have a lot of story to talk about. Wonder Woman pulls a tiara boomerang move, so that was pretty fun. But, getting back to the book’s quickness, said boomerang move takes up two entire pages. Literally 10% of the book is dedicated to it. I love a tiara boomerang move as much as the next guy, but that’s too much space.

Still, the book is a good time and I think it will read great in print form. I’m looking forward to the finale next week, and for the next storyline as well. Andreyko is a very good writer, and with this story under his belt I’m optimistic that he’ll have a better handle on how to make the most out of digital storytelling in the next arc.

Wonder Woman ’77 #1 Review OR A Fun Start To This New Digital First Series

January 8, 2015


Wonder Woman ’77, a new digital first series based on the Lynda Carter television show, was announced this fall at New York Comic-Con, and then was pretty much never mentioned again by DC Comics until yesterday when a preview went up in advance of its release today. So now it’s here! Albeit with little fanfare. You’d think they would have hyped this up some more, especially with the success of Batman ’66. But regardless, we’ve got a fun new Wonder Woman comic book to read and that is always a good thing.

The comic, much like the show on which it’s based, is set in the 1970s, with Wonder Woman fighting crime and Diana Prince working at Inter-Agency Defense Command with Steve Trevor. After a gang of Soviet roller derby ladies tried to kidnap a scientist who defected to America (and were thwarted by Wonder Woman, of course), Diana and Steve set out to rescue another high profile defector. The scientist embraced American life in the 1970s and was a fixture at the city’s hottest discotheque, Studio 52, so Diana and Steve put on their disco finery and hit the club only to find the villainous Silver Swan in a cliffhanger ending.

Obviously, all of that sounds fantastic. I mean, Wonder Woman beating up a Soviet roller derby girl gang? Diana Prince at a disco? That’s just great stuff, and writer Marc Andreyko does a solid job of turning these fun premises into a good story. The book is campy, but not too over the top, and captures the vibe of the television show well. I also like that the series in bringing classic Wonder Woman comic book villains into the show’s universe. The show was usually its own thing, and a lot of elements from the comics didn’t make their way to the small screen, so it’s cool to see Lynda Carter tackling iconic Wonder Woman foes. The Silver Swan is a particularly good choice for a disco-themed story; that outfit screams 1970s.

The art is excellent as well. First, Nicola Scott’s cover is absolutely amazing. Is this going to be a poster? It should be a poster, or at least a print. I want to hang it on my wall. Second, Drew Johnson’s interior art is fantastic too. Johnson is no stranger to Wonder Woman, having drawn her series during Greg Rucka’s run and most recently a fill-in story of his from a few years back was repurposed into an enjoyable two-issue Sensation Comics arc. He transitions from the comic Wonder Woman to television Wonder Woman beautifully, capturing Lynda Carter’s likeness really well. His Lyle Waggoner could still use a little work, but frankly no one has even cared about Steve Trevor.

Johnson also does a good job portraying the era. Everything feels very 1970s, and he really goes all out when it’s called for, like in the scenes set at the disco. Check out the outfits that Diana and Steve are rocking:


They are both era appropriate and character appropriate. Diana’s outfit is nice but somewhat demure for such a happening disco (and the all white is reminiscent of the mod era of Wonder Woman), as befitting her less flamboyant alter ego, while the confident lothario Steve Trevor’s wearing a shirt open almost down to his navel. It’s also a fun switch-up from typical superhero fare; most times, the man is more covered up and the woman’s got the navel plunging neckline.

All together, this is a fun book that captures the television show in a variety of ways while also exploring beyond the limitations of the program. I have a feeling that it will read better in print form than in digital; the pacing is a little slower, and indicative of a team writing and drawing for it to be read all at once rather than to maximize each digital issue. Nonetheless, it’s still an excellent first issue, and a great addition to Wonder Woman’s impressively good and ever-growing digital library.

Speaking of which, it looks like Sensation Comics is going to be on hiatus while Wonder Woman ’77 comes out. As I understand it, Wonder Woman ’77 is going to come out in chunks rather than continuously, and I’m hearing that Sensation Comics will be back at the end of the month, so my guess is that we’ll get the full three parts of this Wonder Woman ’77 and then it will be back to Sensation Comics on Thursday until we get another few weeks of 1970s hijinks. I have no idea when the print issue of this story will available, because I don’t think it’s been solicited yet. It will be April at the earliest, I assume.

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

November 6, 2014


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


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.

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