Posts Tagged ‘Gabriel Hardman’

Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman #18 Review: “Dig for Fire, Part 3” by Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman

December 11, 2014

sensation18b

Well, that was a twist! The second part of “Dig for Fire” had us all set up for a thrilling adventure where Wonder Woman and her newly freed Amazon sisters escaped Apokalips, but it took a hard left turn when the Amazons’ true plan was revealed. Unbeknownst to Queen Hippolyta or Wonder Woman, the gals had teamed up with Lex Luthor and were planning to destroy Apokalips once and for all with a LexCorp bomb that would make the planet implode. Needless to say, Wonder Woman was not onboard.

I really enjoyed how Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman threw in this twist, and how everything played out from there. The issue started with some standard Amazon butt kicking, as they all teamed up to use the golden lasso and collapse a tunnel on top of a horde of parademons. It was exactly the sort of fare I was expecting in this final issue, and then we learned that the Amazons had gone rogue. It was a cool turn that led to a lot of great moments.

First, we got to see Wonder Woman facing off with Darkseid. Her Amazon sisters took off with the bomb after the Furies showed up, capturing Diana, and she was brought to Darkseid in chains. Then, in a great scene, she talked herself out of them. Darkseid was trying to be all cool and aloof and “Take her away,” but Wonder Woman not only convinced him that there was a bomb, but that she should be the one to stop it. It’s rare to strike a deal with Darkseid, but Wonder Woman pulled it off.

Plus, the panel of her diving into the depths of Apokalips in a heatsuit while riding atop a robot is super cool:

sensation18a

This is what superhero comics are for, crazy scenes like his. I love it.

Wonder Woman stopped the bomb, of course. She’s Wonder Woman. That’s what she does. And Darkseid killed the two Amazons who brought the bomb, because that’s what he does. However, Wonder Woman was allowed to leave. He actually kept his deal with her, that’s how awesome Wonder Woman is. If anyone’s going to screw you over, it’s Darkseid, but even he wouldn’t cross Wonder Woman.

Now that we’ve got all three parts of the story, it’s cool to look back and see how Bechko and Hardman set all of the pieces up. The first issue introduced the Furies, who captured Wonder Woman in the third issue. The second issue brought in the scavengers and a mysterious package box from LexCorp, which were key parts of the finale. The writers did a great job creating issues that were enjoyable on their own, with good characters and a fun cliffhanger, while putting everything in place for it to come together at the end. I think it was a very nicely constructed story that made excellent use of the format.

Bechko and Hardman also have a great grasp of Wonder Woman. She is on task and to the point, and firm in her convictions. When her Amazon sisters tried to sell her on their plan to destroy Apokalips, she wasn’t having ANY of it. Not for a second. Even on the most evil planet in the universe, protecting innocent lives comes first. The end of the final issue also showed how Wonder Woman’s presence inspired the citizens of Apokalips; they saw someone stand up to Darkseid and leave alive. Wonder Woman didn’t give a big speech or anything like that. She just inspired them with her actions, which is how I think Wonder Woman would roll. I don’t see her as intentionally trying to inspire people, but rather just doing so inadvertently because of who she is and how she affects people.

All together, this was a great three issue run for Sensation Comics and I hope that Bechko and Hardman will get to write Wonder Woman again. They did a great job here, and the book was especially enjoyable because it came in the midst of a rough time for Wonder Woman comics in the New 52. I’d much rather see Bechko and Hardman at the helm of a Wonder Woman comic book than anyone who’s working on one now.

Don’t forget to pick up the print version of this story in Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman #5, out next Wednesday.

Advertisements

Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman #17 Review: “Dig for Fire, Part 2” by Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman

December 4, 2014

sensation17a

After a very strong first issue last week, part two of “Dig for Fire” continued the fun times on Apokalips and added even more mystery to the story. When we last left our Amazon princess, she’d been defeated by a group of Furies and faced certain doom when she was thrown into a fire pit. She was a goner, story’s over, no point in a part two, right? Wrong! Wonder Woman was saved by a scavenger robot operated by a clever society of workers who live underground and salvage weapons and other discarded items to resell them.

The underground scavengers were happy to save Wonder Woman, but were too scared of Darkseid to help her save her Amazon sisters. One, however, was kind enough to put her in the direction of where they’d be. In the end, Wonder Woman was able to save her sisters from execution, but the issue ended with the trio being hotly pursued by the evil hordes of Apokalips.

The story was a great read from start to finish, and also added some extra elements into the mix outside of the rescue plan. The scavengers seem like they might be back next week to play a part in the finale, and while Wonder Woman was with them she saw some items marked LexCorp, which hints at an ominous connection between two of DC’s biggest bad guys. Only having part three left might not be enough time to dig into the Luthor/Apokalips connection too much, but perhaps Bechko and Hardman will return down the road for a second adventure back on Earth where Wonder Woman confronts Luthor. I’d be super down for that.

The writing continues to be strong. It’s also to the point in a way I find very enjoyable. It’s not spartan, but it’s definitely making the most of the limited story length to pack in as much as possible. It’s got big, epic moments and awesome fights without losing the smaller, conversational moments that flesh out the world and the characters. The story has been very solidly constructed thus far.

The art continues to be great, not surprisingly given that the first issue looked very nice. Hardman’s style fits Apokalips well, and he also excels at giving characters their own style and look. Superhero comics can sometimes look homogenous, with almost interchangeable faces and body shapes, but Hardman is good at depicting a whole spectrum of characters.

I also love the shading in the issue. I’m not sure if it was Hardman or colorist Jordan Boyd, but the use of halftone dots for shading instead of simply darker colours adds such a cool style to the book. Marrying this old school colouring technique with Hardman’s modern style makes for a great look. I like sleek colouring as much as the next guy, but it’s fun when people mix it up. I mean, check out this cool scavenger robot:

sensation17b

It’s nice on its own, but I think the stylistic shading really elevates what is already a very solid drawing.

All together, I’m enjoying this story a lot and I’m glad that Bechko and Hardman were given three issues to really get into it. I think it’s one of the best stories we’ve seen in Sensation Comics thus far, and I can’t wait to find out how it ends next week.

Finally, as a reminder, the paper version of this story will be in comics shop everywhere on December 17. I definitely recommend checking it out!

Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman #16 Review: “Dig for Fire, Part 1” by Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman

November 27, 2014

sensation16a

Today is American Thanksgiving, though up here in Canada it’s just a normal Thursday with football on all day. Nonetheless, I am definitely thankful for one thing today: decent Wonder Woman comics. They are currently quite rare in the New 52, but every week we get a cool new Wonder Woman story from Sensation Comics. Some are better than others, of course, but thus far it’s been a consistently fun series and a pleasant respite from Wonder Woman’s dark adventures and awkward romance in the New 52.

This week’s story is such a treat that I suggest American readers enjoy it with their post-meal pie (conveniently, if the story sucked I also could have said it was a real turkey; Thanksgiving is handy for comic reviews). Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman take our favourite Amazon to Apokalips, which is template for all kinds of fun. It’s just the first of three parts, so there was a lot of setup, but it was excellent setup and I can’t wait to read the rest of the story over the next few weeks.

The plot is pretty simple: Wonder Woman goes to Apokalips to rescue a pair of missing Amazon spies, and gets into a big fight. But everything about it is so much fun. First, this is a world where Queen Hippolyta regularly sends Amazon spies to Apokalips to report on Darkseid’s evil plans. How fantastic is that? I love the idea of Hippolyta having Amazons scouts she can send to worrisome places to collect intelligence. I would definitely read a regular comic book about their adventures; it’s the coolest idea. When such a rad thing is just a jumping off point for the rest of the book, you know it’s going to be an awesome story.

So Wonder Woman goes to Apokalips, beats up a couple parademons and steals the armour from one of them so she can blend in, gets the scoop on her Amazons sisters from an untrustworthy shopkeeper, and then gets in a fight with a bunch of Furies. If that’s not the sort of comic book you want to read, then I don’t know what’s wrong with you. Wonder Woman infiltrating Apokalips is so entirely my jam.

The fight with the Furies ultimately goes south. Wonder Woman handles the first three with ease, but then a fourth shows up and shoot her with an explosive dart. You can hardly expect folks to fight fair on Apokalips. The issue ends with Wonder Woman being thrown into a fire pit, but given that there’s more issues of this storyline coming I’m going to assume she survives. Nonetheless, being thrown into the fiery depths of Apokalips is a pretty cool cliffhanger.

Bechko and Hardman have crafted a fun story, with so many great elements that Hardman illustrates well. He’s particularly good at capturing the harshness of Apokalips and its constant smoke and grime; it looks like an awful, alien, industrial wasteland, which exactly what you want out of Apokalips. My favourite bit is Wonder Woman disguised as a parademon, though. There’s something very enjoyable about a parademon with a golden lasso flying through Apokalips:

sensation16b

I love it. What’s great about Sensation Comics is that creators can go to town and come up with whatever crazy stuff they’d like to see, and Bechko and Hardman are embracing this entirely.

The only part of the issue I didn’t like is the cover. The cover rarely has anything to do with what’s going on inside, though there appear to be parademons reflected in Wonder Woman’s bracelets, so I’m hoping Superman doesn’t show up later in the story. I’m always annoyed when Wonder Woman has to share a cover with that dude, and that overly polished digital art rarely does much for me. Sensation Comics isn’t on a great run in terms of the covers accurately reflecting the fun going on inside the pages of the book.

But cover aside, this is a great issue, and should make for an awesome few weeks of stories. If you’re waiting on the print version, this full story will be available December 17. I heartily recommend picking it up; I can comfortably predict that it will be the best Wonder Woman comic on the stands that month, and by a considerable margin.

Wonder Woman’s December 2014 Comic Covers And Solicits

September 16, 2014

DC Comics’ full December solicits came out yesterday, so it’s time to check in on what we’ll be seeing from Wonder Woman as we count down the days until Santa comes to bring us more Wonder Woman goodies. Also, for Jewish readers, Hanukkah is very well timed this year and you can get the new issue of Wonder Woman on the second night. Speaking of which, let’s start there.

Here’s what is coming up in Wonder Woman #37:

decww37

WONDER WOMAN #37
Written by MEREDITH FINCH
Art and cover by DAVID FINCH and RICHARD FRIEND
Variant cover by DARWYN COOKE
1:50 B&W Variant cover by DAVID FINCH and RICHARD FRIEND
1:100 Variant cover by DAVID FINCH
On sale DECEMBER 17 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
Superman arrives on Paradise Island to support Wonder Woman in her darkest hour, but their bond may be breaking apart! No time for Diana to think, though, as a mythological force seemingly tied to Wonder Woman’s role as War attacks the Amazons!

I’m usually a very nice person, but I’ll admit that when I read “Superman arrives on Paradise Island to support Wonder Woman,” I definitely flipped double birds at my computer screen. Wonder Woman has been a refuge from their dull and ridiculous relationship during Azzarello and Chiang’s tenure on the book, but now with the Finches in charge it’s only taken two issues to get Superman not only into the book but on Paradise Island. I am not pleased about this.

Apart from that, we don’t have a lot of information here concerning this issue. Something is going to attack the Amazons, and based on the cover it’s presumably a flock of Clash of the Titans looking birds, but other than that we’re in the dark. Maybe those birds will cart off Superman and Wonder Woman can have her book back.

On to Superman/Wonder Woman #14:

decsww14

SUPERMAN/WONDER WOMAN #14
Written by PETER J. TOMASI
Art and cover by DOUG MAHNKE
Variant cover by DARWYN COOKE
On sale DECEMBER 10 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
It’s no surprise that after recent events, Superman and Wonder Woman are cautious about the appearance of the new hero who calls himself Wonderstar. But this mysterious hero seems to be asking for nothing more than their guidance in dealing with his strange, erratic powers – and for their help in protecting his loved ones and his secret identity! The only problem is that his past is a blank slate. He doesn’t know who he is, where he comes from – or why is feels a strange connection to the Man of Steel and the Amazon Warrior!

What kind of world are we living in where I am more interested in the new issue of Superman/Wonder Woman than the new Wonder Woman? This actually sounds sort of good. I’m really digging Mahnke’s art; the covers we’ve seen thus far seem like a cool break from his usual style, and I’m very curious to see how that plays out inside the book. And we’ve got a mystery! So Wonder Woman and Superman can actually go investigate together instead of blathering on about their relationship. I mean, obviously Lois and Superman would be the better team up for solving a mystery, but that’s not going to happen. Regardless, I’m intrigued by this new creative team. It’s going to be hard to overcome the lameness of this relationship, but everything I’ve seen so far has me more interested in the book than I’ve ever been.

And finally, Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman #5:

decsens

SENSATION COMICS FEATURING WONDER WOMAN #5
Written by CORINNA BECHKO and GABRIEL HARDMAN
Art by GABRIEL HARDMAN
Cover by LAWRENCE REYNOLDS
On sale DECEMBER 17 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T • DIGITAL FIRST
Wonder Woman has accepted a covert mission from Queen Hippolyta: infiltrate Apokolips, find a group of Amazons imprisoned there by Darkseid, and bring them home alive. But a battle with the Female Furies almost proves fatal and throws Diana’s plans into chaos!

This cover looks like a Superman/Wonder Woman back up cover that DC had kicking around and decided to stick on Sensation Comics. I’m not saying that’s what happened, but that’s what it looks like. It’s all very New 52, and Superman is on it despite not being mentioned in the solicit.

However, I enjoy Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman, and Wonder Woman vs. the Female Furies on Apokolips is definitely a story I am interested in reading. And seeing as we’ve only got one creative team listed here, it looks like it will be a big tale, spanning three digital issues. I’m optimistic that Bechko and Hardman will make it suitably epic. You can’t go wrong with the evil hordes of Darkseid.

Look for all three books this December, and don’t forget that Wonder Woman and Superman/Wonder Woman both have pretty swell Darwyn Cooke variant covers that you might want to pre-order so you don’t miss out.


%d bloggers like this: