Posts Tagged ‘Goran Sudzuka’

Wonder Woman Annual #1 Review OR It’s Not Actually That Bad. I Know, I’m Surprised Too!

June 3, 2015


Well, this was a surprise. I did not have high expectations for today’s Wonder Woman Annual #1, the book that wrapped up Meredith and David Finch’s first arc on Wonder Woman. I’ve been extremely unimpressed with their work thus far, and constantly frustrated with the series and their lack of understanding of who Wonder Woman is and why she is awesome.   And so I was not at all looking forward to this annual, but guess what? It’s not bad. It’s not good, but it’s easily the best issue the Finches have produced thus far. Granted, that’s not saying a lot, but with the Finches sticking around for a second arc, it’s encouraging that their first ended with something almost decent instead of uniformly terrible. Let’s dig into the specifics, but first:


I am about to spoil not just this issue, but an ENTIRE arc of Wonder Woman!

Look away if you do not want to spoiled!

First off, before I say nice things about the story, I should point out that this issue does not wrap up the arc well at all. The ongoing plot involving underground creatures that’s been a part of the plotline from the beginning gets neatly wrapped up in the first few pages and has no bearing whatsoever on anything else that happens in the book. As a whole, this storyline added nothing to the book except for shoehorning in the Justice League so Wonder Woman could complain to various individual members about how overwhelmed she was. It was entirely unnecessary, and could lift right out without affecting anything in the primary storyline on Paradise Island. I think that this structural problem highlights Meredith Finch’s inexperience. To be fair, she’s never written a multi-issue arc of anything before, and it shows. You’d think that editorial might have steered her into something a little more relevant and less completely expendable here.

Aside from poorly capping the arc, this issue wasn’t bad. I was particularly impressed with the fight between Diana and Donna, for a lot of reasons. First, it was well choreographed. I know I’ve been hard on Finch in several of my reviews, but this was a readable, easy to follow, generally entertaining fight scene. There wasn’t much in the way of T & A or brokeback poses, just two warriors beating the hell out of each other. I think it’s the best sequence that Finch has done on the book to date. Even the double page spreads and splash pages work fairly well within the context of the fight.

I’d also like to highlight a cool choice that colorist Brad Anderson makes. We’re so used to seeing heroine with red or pink lips, a sort of permanent lipstick that never goes way. In many panels of the story, Anderson doesn’t do this. The lips are often just a slightly darker colour than the skin tone, and sometimes the same colour as the skin tone. It’s a small thing, but a cool decision that I really liked.

The writing for the big fight scene is hit and miss. Everything’s a little on the nose and sort of cornily bombastic in ways that don’t quite fit the characters, but Meredith Finch does a fine job with the fight’s conclusion. Throughout the fight, Diana and Donna debated what it truly means to be an Amazon, and the battle ends with Donna tied up in the golden lasso and these panels:


That’s not bad at all. It’s good, even. It’s a nice distillation of what it means to be an Amazon, a reinforcement of the obligation these women have toward each other, but also the love that should be at the core of their society. It felt like Finch misunderstood what it means to be an Amazon and who Wonder Woman is and what she stands for in her first issues, and this scene is the first time I thought that she might actually get it.

There’s a second story in the issue, drawn by Goran Sudzuka, that tells the backstory of Derinoe, the crone Amazon who teamed with Hecate to create Donna Troy, and it fleshes out the characters motivations fairly well. Derinoe was in love with Hippolyta, who had just become queen after the murder of her mother, but Derione was aged into an old woman when she saved Hippolyta from an attack by the witch Hecate. She grew bitter being the only old woman on an island of beautiful immortals, as well as seeing Hippolyta move on with other suitors, but there was also an element of seeing Hippolyta repeat the same mistakes that led to her mother’s death, Hippolyta’s ascension to queen, and Derinoe’s subsequent ill-fated fight with Hecate. It all was decently told, and improves the one dimensional, unexplained characterization we’ve had of Derinoe thus far. I think that the story would actually have worked better as a runner throughout the arc rather than as an information dump at the end, maybe in place of the pointless underground creature storyline. Slowly revealing Derinoe’s motivation would have made for a more compelling read than learning it all at once after everything else was wrapped up. Nonetheless, I was glad for the backstory.

The story also seems to be a revamping of the Amazons origin story. Usually, Hercules betrays Hippolyta to steal her magic girdle and imprisons the Amazons, and then the gods help them escape and the Amazons start a new life far away from the world of men. Here, after the Spartans betray and murder Hippolyta’s mother and incite a war, Hippolyta marches to Sparta, Derinoe saves her life but is aged for it, and Hippolyta retreats to Paradise Island and forbids men from ever stepping on the island again. So it seems that Hercules and the classic origin may not be part of the Amazon’s history in this new universe, and that this misadventure with the Spartans and Hecate may be why the Amazons concealed themselves from the rest of the world. I don’t love the change, but it’s also better than pretty much every other horrific change to the history of the Amazons that we’ve seen since the New 52 debuted.

Also, the story mentions that the Amazons have enjoyed unnaturally long life for centuries, and that there is a cost for this. That may be some foreshadowing for what’s to come in Wonder Woman, and it seems like a potentially interesting avenue to explore.

Ultimately, while this wasn’t a great issue, it was far and away the best issue of the Finches’ tenure and it had several good moments. It wrapped up the arc as a whole in too neat and succinct a fashion, but it showed growth for both the writer and artist, which is a welcome sign seeing as they’re both back for another arc starting in a couple of weeks. While I’m not exactly looking forward to this new storyline, I’m not actively dreading it anymore, so that’s a definite plus. Their run started at horrible and now it’s all the way up to not bad, so hopefully that positive trajectory will continue with DCYou.

Wonder Woman Annual #1 Preview: Wrapping Up Meredith And David Finch’s First Arc

June 2, 2015

After a two month delay, Wonder Woman Annual #1 is hitting comic shops tomorrow. The book was supposed to be out just before “Convergence” began, but then Wonder Woman #40 got pushed back and it seems that DC just waited until “Convergence” was over to put out this annual. It’s a bit of an odd choice, seeing as the annual is meant to wrap up the main book’s current storyline. I don’t know that it’s wise of DC to bank on a) readers still caring two months later, and b) readers remembering they need to pick up this annual for the story’s conclusion two months later. Anyway, it’s out tomorrow, and Harpy has a big seven page preview of the book:



wwann1c wwann1d wwann1e wwann1f wwann1g wwann1h

It seems increasingly unlikely that the underground people storyline is going to tie into the Paradise Island storyline in any significant way, other than as fallout from how defeating the First Born played out. We won’t know until tomorrow, but just from this preview it seems to be fairly neatly wrapped up now with the spaceship solution. I’m guessing most of the issue will be devoted to Wonder Woman vs. Donna Troy.

The Manazons are now dead, which is unfortunate but also they won’t be missed. Men on Paradise Island? Just a terrible idea from the get go. I’d rather they hadn’t done it in the first place than some rogue Amazons kill them all, but either way they’re gone and we can move on from that terrible decision. I remain 100% Team Donna because Diana has been an unlikable mess of a person in this arc and entirely un-Wonder Womanlike, while Donna has a pretty sweet outfit and one cool thing versus zero cool things is enough to tip the scales for me. I’m sort of morbidly curious to see how it all plays out tomorrow, and how shocking they’ll go with this finale in order to set up some big changes for the DCYou mini-relaunch. Superman’s secret identity has been revealed and Batman is Commissioner Gordon in an armour suit, so the potential is definitely there for something crazy and status quo changing to go down in this annual.

Look for Wonder Woman Annual #1 in comic shops and online tomorrow! It’s five bucks, which is kind of annoying, but it’s also probably 40 pages or so. You won’t get hosed on quantity, at least. Quality may be a different matter.

Wonder Woman’s March 2015 Covers and Solicits

December 16, 2014

Wonder Woman is headlining four different books in March, though she’s doing so in the most annoying of ways with the over-sized, higher priced annual that wraps up the storyline you’ve been reading in the main books. Such a jerk move. “Oh, you’ve been enjoying this story for $3 a month? Well, it’s going to cost you $5 to get the end of it.” Not cool. I assume the rush to the conclusion was because “Convergence” is debuting in April and DC wanted to get stuff wrapped up before then, but still. That’s not classy. Let’s dig into the books.

First up is Wonder Woman #40:


Art and cover by DAVID FINCH and BATT
1:50 B&W Variant cover by DAVID FINCH and BATT
1:100 Variant cover by DAVID FINCH and BATT
On sale MARCH 18 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
It’s the penultimate chapter of the series-altering first story arc by the new creative team of writer Meredith Finch and penciller David Finch as Wonder Woman faces a challenger to her throne created solely to defeat her. But how can Diana stop a foe whose every strength is matched to her every weakness?

“First story arc” sort of bums me out because I was hoping that this would be the only story arc we got from the Finches and that we’d get a new creative team post-“Convergence.” That does not seem to be the case. Anyway, Diana’s fighting someone. I doubt it’s going to be a thrilling read, but hey, you never know. Maybe the book will get better after its disastrous first issue. Stranger things have happened.

The storyline line concludes in Wonder Woman Annual #1, at a much higher price:


Art and cover by DAVID FINCH and BATT
Backup story art by GORAN SUDZUKA
Advance solicit • On sale APRIL 1 • 48 pg, FC, $4.99 US RATED T
A story so big we couldn’t contain it in the monthly title! Wonder Woman faces off with the foe destined to become her ultimate nemesis in a battle that will determine the fate of Paradise Island! And in a backup tale that will alter the course of the Amazon Queen, an old face returns, and we mean VERY old! You couldn’t ask for more from Wonder Woman’s very first annual!

I almost don’t mind this cover. Wonder Woman still looks like a teenager, but at least it’s not all sexy and whatnot. Most of the Finch covers we’ve seen for Wonder Woman thus far have been pretty dull and/or sexy, so this somewhat okay cover is a nice change. As for the returning “old face”, I’m going to guess… Ares, maybe? Get rid of this dumb god of war thing by having him take it back? I’d be down for that. Or maybe Zeus will be back in full force.

Moving on to Superman/Wonder Woman #17:


Written by PETER J. TOMASI
Cover by ED BENES
MOVIE POSTER Variant cover by GENE HA
On sale MARCH 11 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
It’s a bloody showdown as Circe and Magog attack the power couple! And the outcome will bring about a major change in Kal and Diana’s relationship.

Is Wonder Woman wearing hoop earrings on that cover? Wonder Woman doesn’t wear hoop earrings. They look weird. But “a major change” in the relationship sounds promising! Maybe they’ll break up. I must confess, when I heard that DC was cancelling a bunch of titles in March, I really hoped that this one would be on the list. But nope. Still going strong. Dang it.

Finally, the good Wonder Woman book, Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman #8:


Cover by JAE LEE
On sale MARCH 18 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T • DIGITAL FIRST
Teenaged Diana comes to Man’s World and discovers a “Wonder World” where she makes new friends. That part’s great, but her Amazon bodyguards are busy tracking her down and scaring everyone she meets! Then, in “Sabotage Is in the Stars,” Wonder Woman aids India’s space program, making it safe for them to launch their new SpaceCrops platform. But when Diana discovers that LexCorp caused the problem, she takes matters into her own hands!

I went on about my excitement for this issue last week, and I remain just as keen to check out this book. What a killer lineup, and a great cover too. This issue should be a blast all around. You’re definitely going to want to pick this up, gang.

Look for all of these Wonder Woman comics this March, except for the annual which is out the first week of April, just before “Convergence” kicks off in full force.

Secret Origins #6 Review OR Wonder Woman’s New 52 Origin Finally Revealed

October 22, 2014


This week’s issue of Secret Origins tells the tale of how Diana, Princess of Paradise Island, became Wonder Woman. Sort of. It’s a truncated story that leaves out a lot of the parts traditionally associated with Wonder Woman’s origin story. Nonetheless, it provides some fascinating backstory for a character who hasn’t had a lot of it thus far. We’ll dig into it all, but first:


I am about to reveal Wonder Woman’s secret origin!

You should read it yourself first!

The book is worth buying for that amazing Lee Bermejo cover alone!

Okay, so back to the origin. The story is written by Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang, and a lot of it is stuff we know already from their run on Wonder Woman. Diana is actually the daughter of Zeus and Hippolyta, but she and the rest of the Amazons think that she was made of clay. The story is a snippet from the life of Diana, starting with her desire to someday leave Paradise Island and ending with Steve Trevor crash landing there being her ticket out. It doesn’t go back in time to tell us about the history of the Amazons, nor does it show us how Wonder Woman left Paradise Island. It’s sort of a mini-origin, which is somewhat unsatisfying.

However, what we did get was both enjoyable and illuminating. The biggest reveal was Diana and Aleka’s relationship. They’ve been antagonistic for most of the current Wonder Woman run, but here in the past they were good friends, and perhaps more. There was a definite flirtation between them, and the way the fight scenes were constructed seemed to regularly place them in somewhat sexual poses. Whether or not they were more than friends isn’t clearly stated, but I got the feeling that there was an attraction between them, perhaps that had yet to be explored.

Whatever the nature of their relationship, their closeness in the past explains their distance in the present. Diana wanted to leave and Aleka wanted her to stay, and after Diana left to become Wonder Woman it’s obvious that Aleka didn’t take it well and turned against her. Her deep anger in the present again hints at a spurned lover or an unrequited love situation more than a broken friendship to me, but that’s again not explicitly stated.

This backstory adds a lot to both characters. Aleka’s been rather one note, but now we can understand her better. As for Diana, seeing her curiosity and desire to explore the wider world explains a lot of who she is today.

The story’s style is very similar to Wonder Woman #0, the flashback issue where a young Diana is mentored by Ares. It’s got a Silver Age vibe, both in terms of the writing and the gorgeous art by Goran Sudzuka, which is some of the best work I’ve ever seen from him. The tone is very upbeat and light, almost in an artificial way, which suggests that the story might not be a perfect recreation of what “actually happened,” and that there was more darkness and emotional depth beneath the cheerful surface.

Another surprising reveal was the first official appearance of Athena, in the form of an owl-like creature. I’ve been harping on the lack of Athena in Wonder Woman for years now, and in my review of the latest issue of Wonder Woman I revealed my theory that Zola is actually Athena in disguise. Part of my theory hinged on what happened to Zola’s eyes, how they took on an owly appearance when she visited Olympus. Owls are traditionally associated with Athena, and now we see Athena as a full on owl-like person, so I think my theory has definitely increased in likelihood.

While the story was limited in scope, that may well be a good thing. I was hoping for but also dreading reading more history of the Amazons; Azzarello’s done some bad stuff to the Amazons, turning them into rapists and murderers. While something that addressed and fixed these changes would have been nice, not having anything worse added to their altered history can only be considered a positive. It also leaves parts of their story, particularly the Amazon’s very beginnings, unexplored, which will allow other writers to fill that in and hopefully present a better take on the Amazons in the future.

Similarly, we don’t know if there was any sort of competition for who returned Steve Trevor or anything like that, which is usually a big part of Wonder Woman’s origin stories. Again, someone else can pick up on that in the future, which is cool.

All told, the Wonder Woman story in Secret Origins #6 is both enjoyable and adds a lot of interesting, albeit limited, elements to her backstory, and to Aleka as well. It should also have ramifications for Azzarello and Chiang’s upcoming Wonder Woman finale, if my Zola/Athena theory proves to be true. Plus it was all pretty gay, really, however unspecifically, and that’s fun to see. There is obviously a massive lesbian component to the Amazons, and I’m glad to see them start to be explored.

Secret Origins #6 is available online and in stores today, and also features the origins of Deadman and Sinestro. I didn’t read the latter two, but hey, more stories! The issue is worth buying for the Wonder Woman story alone, and the fantastic cover.

Wonder Woman’s October 2014 Covers And Solicits

July 14, 2014

October is going to be a busy and significant month for Wonder Woman. Not only are Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang wrapping up their run on Wonder Woman, they’re unveiling her New 52 origin story in Secret Origins as well. Wonder Woman’s two other series have new issues as well, so let’s get to the solicits. First up, Wonder Woman #35:


Art and cover by CLIFF CHIANG
On sale OCTOBER 15 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
It’s the grand finale of the historic WONDER WOMAN epic by writer Brian Azzarello and artist Cliff Chiang! Saying more would spoil all the surprises – and there will be plenty!

Well, we’ve got no information whatsoever. But we’ve got an amazing cover from Cliff Chiang that showcases Wonder Woman and all of the book’s prominent female characters. Zola in a Wonder Woman shirt is awesome, and it looks like Aleka is sporting Wonder Woman’s Hephaestian armour. I wonder if she’ll be wearing the armour inside the book too? This book would be worth buying just for this great cover, but the inside should be something special too. I’m excited to see how Azzarello and Chiang wrap up their run. I’ve had my issues with their time on the book, but there’s been a lot of good too and I’m really hoping that they bring it home in spectacular fashion.

Azzarello and Chiang are back again a week later with Secret Origins #6:


On sale OCTOBER 22 • 48 pg, FC, $4.99 US • RATED T
The same month the acclaimed creative team on WONDER WOMAN exits that book, they arrive to tell the Amazon Warrior’s secret origin! Plus, the beginnings of Deadman by J.M. DeMatteis and Kevin Stokes, and Sinestro’s origin by series writer Cullen Bunn and artist Igor Lima!

Oh man, that Bermejo cover is nice. I love Bermejo’s art, and this is a fierce work of beauty. And, seeing as we’ve got no plot details again, the cover is all we can really talk about. Luckily, it’s a great cover. Bermejo’s done some epic, iconic images with this series thus far, and his Wonder Woman is a fantastic addition to the line.

It also looks like Goran Sudzuka will be helping out Cliff Chiang with the art, which makes sense given that Chiang has his Wonder Woman finale to finish. This should be an interesting issue; Azzarello’s track record with the Amazons has not been good, so I’m a little bit worried about how he’ll handle Wonder Woman’s origin. That being said, I’m still eager to check it out.

Here’s a book I’m less eager for, Superman/Wonder Woman #12:


On sale OCTOBER 8 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
“SUPERMAN: DOOMED AFTERMATH”! Diana recovers from the events of DOOMED, and the sacrifices and betrayals made. Is love lost?

“Is love lost?” I sure hope so! Please do that, DC! I am loathe to read more “Doomed” stuff, but if it means Wonder Woman and Superman are through than I am all over it.

It’s an interesting art mix this issue. I have never heard of Jack Herbert, and I read the solicits every month, so this could be fun. I like checking out new work. Tony Daniel’s cover looks really phoned in, which is disappointing, but Bill Sienkiewicz is doing a monsters variant cover and that should be AMAZING.

Finally, we’ve got Sensation Comics #3:


On sale OCTOBER 15 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US
When Wonder Woman allows an other dimensional science-villain to capture her, she expects to swiftly deal with his android minions and save the day. But he’s able to brainwash her and that’s when things go haywire! Then, back on Earth, we share a rare moment from Diana’s rock-star days.

I put this up last week when it was revealed earlier, but I’m putting it up again just to have everything in one place. I’m very, very, very excited for this issue, and am generally so excited that this book exists.

Check out all of these books in stores or online this October! It should be a fun month for Wonder Woman fans.

Wonder Woman #32 Review OR The War Of The Gods Continues

June 19, 2014


Things are not going well for the Olympian deities. The First Born has taken Mount Olympus, and now he’s trying to kill off the gods one by one. Demeter is the target in this issue, but now the remaining gods are working together to thwart his plans. Oh, and Wonder Woman’s in there somewhere too. Let’s talk about the issue, but first:


I am about to reveal ALL of the goings on in this comic book!

I may still be on vacation, but I am not on vacation from spoiling this comic!

Carrying on, Cassandra and her minotaur pal attacked Demeter in her woodland sanctuary in Wonder Woman #32, but now the gods are wise to the First Born’s plans. Artemis and Eros showed up to help out, and then Wonder Woman, aka. the god of war, popped by too. The gang was able to defeat Cassandra and the minotaur, but then the First Born showed up and infected everything with his evilness. While most of the gods escaped, Wonder Woman stayed behind to allow them to do so, and now her fate is uncertain. Though the book is called Wonder Woman and she’s on a bunch of the upcoming covers, so I’m betting she’s alive.

Staying behind to occupy the First Born while everyone escaped was a nice, heroic moment for Wonder Woman, and very in keeping with the character. I’ve questioned how well Azzarello understands Wonder Woman before, but he got it right with this scene. She’s absolutely the sort to tackle the big bad guy so everyone else can make it out alive. That bit was nicely done.

I also liked the development of her divine powers, weaponwise. I don’t know if this new ability is Zeus-based or part of being the god of war now, but I liked that she can manufacture whatever weapon she needs for the situation at hand, in this case a bow and arrow. These weapons manufacturing powers are growing on me; they let Wonder Woman be armed and get into cool fights without always having to carry an array of weaponry with her.

Now, as much as I liked those moments for Wonder Woman, overall there was a serious lack of her in this issue. She only appears in 7 of the books 20 pages, just barely a third of the book. Although Wonder Woman has, oddly enough, not been much of a showcase for Wonder Woman herself during this run, usually she makes it to about half of the pages at least. If you go read Batman or Superman, the eponymous heroes are never on so few pages. They’re in ¾ of the book easily, and usually more.

This lack of Wonder Woman in Wonder Woman really bothered mewhen she only had one book, and continued to irritate me when she was given such a secondary role in Superman/Wonder Woman, but now with Sensation Comics on the way I am less outraged. Wonder Woman looks to have one regular showcase at least; I can’t imagine that she won’t dominate the pages of Sensation Comics.

I wasn’t thrilled with the book’s conclusion either. Wonder Woman potentially sacrificing herself was good, but Orion showing up felt like a lot of the same old to me. I’m getting very bored with Orion swooping in to save the day every time Wonder Woman gets into a bad spot, and I really hope that’s not what is happening here. Ideally, Wonder Woman #33 will begin with Wonder Woman freeing herself for a change, and Orion can just join the charge on Mount Olympus when they get around to actually launching it.

So we had some good and some bad in this issue. On top of the main plot, I’m curious to see what game Strife is playing with the First Born, because it’s Strife so you know she’s up to something. Getting cozy with the First Born can’t just be some ploy to save her life; she’s got something else up her sleeve.

On the aesthetic side of things, I think that Goran Sudzuka is getting better with each issue. Cliff Chiang is a tough act to follow, especially when you’re trying to capture his style, but Sudzuka keeps getting better and better. In particular, I thought he captured Demeter really well, and did well with the rest of the gods generally. Chiang’s Wonder Woman is so spectacular that the fill-in artists never really come close, but Sudzuka’s gods are great. This is probably the best non-Chiang issue I’ve seen, artwise, since the New 52 began.

I am a) pretty much out of things to say about this issue, and b) still in Florida and I want to go to the beach, so I’m going to cut this review a little short. I hope that the Amazon attack on Olympus begins soon, because the build to it is starting to feel pretty drawn out. The inter-god battles are fun and all, but I’m eager to see Wonder Woman front and center, leading the charge. Maybe next month? Probably not; there’s a bunch to resolve yet. But you never know.

Wonder Woman #32 Preview OR Strife Comes To Olympus

June 18, 2014

If you read my review of Wonder Woman #31, you’ll know I was none too pleased with the sons of the Amazons returning to Paradise Island, and this next issue starts with them moving in. I have no idea who at DC thought this was a good idea, but it seems to be happening. In this preview of Wonder Woman #32 from Nerdist, we get a glimpse of moving day and a look at what some of the gods are up to. Let’s take a peek:

ww32a ww32b ww32c




Hell’s gone all weird without Hades to control it, while Strife has come to Mount Olympus. That can only end badly for someone; Strife is always up to no good. In particular, it could spell trouble for Wonder Woman, seeing as Strife has been rather irked with her as of late.

I’m hoping that the Amazon attack on Olympus finally happens in this issue. The build to it has been going on for a while, with little else happening in the book but divine shenanigans and the complete undoing of the Amazon’s legacy. I’m ready for a big fight.

Wonder Woman #32 is out today, online and in comic shops everywhere. Look for a review here tomorrow probably; I’m still out of town, but am planning to give the book a read and write something up tonight.

%d bloggers like this: