Posts Tagged ‘Hessia’

DC Announces New Miniseries, The Odyssey of the Amazons

October 13, 2016

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Wonder Woman has been one of the bigger hits of DC’s “Rebirth” initiative, and now the world of the Amazons is set to be explored further in a new mini-series, The Odyssey of the Amazons. Written by Kevin Grevioux with art by Ryan Benjamin, the book will debut this January. Here’s the official description:

THE ODYSSEY OF THE AMAZONS #1 is a brand-new miniseries set in the world of Wonder Woman from writer and actor Kevin Grevioux (New Warriors, Underworld) and artist Ryan Benjamin (BATMAN BEYOND). Years before the birth of Princess Diana, a group of Amazons set out on a globe-spanning quest to find others of their kind, encountering legendary creatures and beings along the way. But their journey soon turns into a rescue mission as two of their own are captured by the legendary Storm Giants of Norse mythology. It’s up to their leader, the stalwart Hessia, to keep them together through the many trials that lie ahead. The series will run for six issues.

I’m very excited that the world of Wonder Woman is finally expanding beyond her one core book. Characters like Batman and Superman have had entire families of comics for decades that follow both the main heroes and their many allies and partners. Wonder Woman’s only had Wonder Woman since the early 1950s, and while this is just a mini-series, hopefully it’s an exploratory step towards a larger presence for Wonder Woman down the line.

Now, at the same time, this seems like a bit of a weird book. It could definitely be cool; some Amazons going off on adventures sounds like a lot of fun. But I find it a bit curious that Hessia is in the mix, given that she was a part of the New 52 incarnation of the Amazons which seems to be in the process of being replaced with Greg Rucka’s run. It’s not like Hessia had much of a presence either, apart from a handful of appearances. Someone classic like Phillippus or another of the new Amazons Rucka has introduced might make more sense. The blank slate-ness of the character could be interesting, though, allowing Grevioux and Benjamin to make something new and cool.

Also, we’ve only got the cover art, but it feels very different than the Amazons Nicola Scott is drawing in “Year One” right now. The style is different, and their long legs and high cut briefs remind me more of Mike Deodato’s time on Wonder Woman than the Amazons current look. Benjamin’s a good artist and I’ve enjoyed some of his past work. The cover just feels a bit at odds with where the Amazons are now.

I’m hoping that this mini-series is being done in consultation with everyone who’s working on the main Wonder Woman book, lest we get anymore Amazon confusion. With “The Lies” still unfolding, everything is up in the air, and something that at first glance appears very disconnected from the current run might further muddy the water. So long as everything stays under Mark Doyle’s editorial auspices like the current Wonder Woman run, everything should be fine, but the gods help us all if this is somehow an Eddie Berganza book. Folks would FLIP. OUT.

The Odyssey of the Amazons is set to debut on January 18, 2017, and I look forward to checking it out! Here’s hoping it’s a fun expansion of the world of the Amazons!

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Wonder Woman #42 Review OR It’s Got A Dang Pegasus In It And It’s Still Not Very Good

July 22, 2015

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Remember when Wonder Woman Annual #1 came out and it wasn’t terrible, and I was mildly optimistic that the Finches’ second arc might be not too bad? Well, that optimism was ill placed. We’re two issues in and while this new arc isn’t as aggressively terrible as the first, it doesn’t have a lot going for it. It’s traded being offensively bad for just being boring, which isn’t much better. The Finches have fixed a lot of the problems of the first arc; the Justice League isn’t around, Wonder Woman isn’t complaining all the time, and she isn’t drawn like a sexy adolescent anymore. But the poor storytelling remains, and that’s really the most important element. Let’s discuss the issue, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

I am about to reveal ALL OF THE THINGS that happen in this comic!

If you haven’t read it, turn away!

Okay, carrying on. We’ve got a couple of new developments in this issue. The first ten pages are devoted to Diana and Hessia living it up at a dance club and Diana then chasing that new dude who’s trying to kill her through London. Nothing actually happens; the dude tries to kill her, misses, and ultimately gets away. He rides a pegasus, which is pretty rad, I suppose.

SIDENOTE: Pegasus is the classic winged horse, but I don’t know if this is THE Pegasus or another winged horse, or if we call all winged horses pegasuses or just Pegasus. I’m going to go with calling it a pegasus for now, and you can correct me in the comments if I’m wrong.

Anyway, not a lot goes on in the first half of the issue, but then we get a flashback and learn that the mysterious would-be assassin is Aegeus, a descendant of Thesus and thus Poseidon, and he’s trying to claim what he thinks is his rightful place as a god. We still don’t know who he’s working with, but there are hints that it might be Strife. Speaking of Strife, she shows up a little later to free Donna Troy after Wonder Woman has a long and boring conversation with her imprisoned sister about forgiving herself. Strife convinces Donna to go see the Fates.

And that’s about all that happens. In terms of changes from where we were at the end of last month’s issue, Wonder Woman knows Aegeus is after her, we know Aegeus’ backstory, and Donna Troy is free.

Rather than dig into various aspects of a story I don’t particularly care about, I’m going to focus on one scene to try to articulate why I find this comic so bland. It’s the opening scene, with Diana and Hessia at a dance club. When I posted the preview for this issue on Monday, I talked a bit about the cliché of the woman who’s harassed by a guy and then decks her harasser. It’s been done a bunch of times, with diminishing returns, and this is one of the most clichéd versions I’ve seen. The actual scene in the book is longer than the preview, with the dude hitting on Diana for a page beforehand and Diana clearly stating she’s not interested. The guy is a walking caricature, Diana’s reaction is exactly what you’d expect, and her speech afterwards aims for empowered anger but just reads as tacky. I understand what Meredith Finch was going for here, but it all just comes off as stale.

Apart from the harassment bit, the writing in the scene feels incredibly flat on several levels. There are more clichés with Diana spouting the usual “This was just what I needed”, dancing her troubles away line that you can see in pretty much any scene sat at a dance club in any form of media. Moreover, the club is in London, and you can’t tell at all. Nothing captures the locale in the slightest. I’m not saying that there should be Union Jacks everywhere and that Diana’s fellow dancers should be talking about tea and crumpets and the queen, but there should be some sense of setting and instead there’s none. It’s all just generic. In Azzarello and Chiang’s run, when Diana needed to blow off steam she went to a punk club. It had atmosphere and a sense of place and said something about the character. Meanwhile, this scene is just completely nondescript.

The art doesn’t help matters. David Finch dresses Diana and Hessia in generic club dresses. There are no designs, no textures, nothing unique about them. They are a red and a grey dress of the same construction. Also, Diana’s only got one move: hands in the air, hips sticking out to one side or another. She does it over and over. Plus there are actual music notes in the background to let the reader know that music is playing:

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It is all so very bland and nonspecific. Finch is not good at investing clothing and settings with any kind of mood or characterization. Because of this, he fails to set a scene properly, and also fails to communicate anything about the character and who she is through his art. This scene is like the clip art version of a dance club, everything boiled down to a simple, dull, non-detailed version of things.

I suppose we should be thankful that Finch didn’t try to come up with more creative outfits for Diana and Hessia, because he does so for Hera later in the issue and the result is a belly top and a loin cloth. It’s not great. His Zola is much improved, though! I’ll give him credit for that. He’s got her back in plaid and looking a bit more like herself.

Ultimately, this hopelessly bland and generic club scene is indicative of the Finches’ run as a whole. They’re not investing the characters with unique attributes that make them more than cardboard cutouts, and they’re not putting them in situations that speak to who they are in some way. Plus, they’re spending four pages on a clichéd dance club scene that really adds nothing to the book when they’ve got a dang pegasus in the mix. Pegasuses are SO COOL. How do you not have four pages of rad pegasus fun instead?

I feel like everyone in this book needs to push a little more. Dig into each scene, figure out why it’s in the book, what it’s saying about the characters, how you can bring out a bit more of everyone, add some excitement to the book, or do something unexpected. It all just feels boringly surface level and shallow, without much thought put into it. A pointless club scene, unfruitful chase, hints of backstory, and a moderately shocking ending is a really dull formula, doubly so when poorly executed. It’s hard to get invested in a book when there’s so little to get invested in.

Superman/Wonder Woman #9 Preview OR The Doomed Get Doomedier

June 10, 2014

I’m taking a break from lounging on the beach to put up this preview of Superman/Wonder Woman #9, partly because I always put up previews of Wonder Woman books and partly because the site DC Comics has given the exclusive preview to looks so hilariously bad that it merits comment and scorn. The site is called Man Cave Daily, with headers that feature such illuminating topics as “Sex”, “Women”, and “Swagger.”” From the sidebar (which is as far as I’ve gone… I can’t bear to explore the rest of the page) we’ve got great articles like the “Hottie of the Day” and “5 Reasons Why Boobs Fascinate Guys.” Really great stuff; this is definitely a site that should host a preview of a Wonder Woman comic book.

Anyway, let’s look at said preview, courtesy of Man Cave Daily:

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Well, it seems that the Doomsday virus is not going well for Superman. And that the events of the last issue of Action Comics have him in Brazil under a Kryptonite sky. Wonder Woman’s there to sort it out, though, with her pal Hessia and a cool Amazonian weapon of some sort. I’m sure Wonder Woman will have Superman trussed up and carted off to S.T.A.R. Labs before the issue is over.

Wait, what’s that? This crossover is running through the summer? Then never mind. There will probably be a fight, some expressing of feelings, and then Superman will continue to rampage until the story ends. And, if this preview is any indication, there’ll be a lot of double page spreads so that you can read the issues in three minutes. Fun!

Ah, sarcasm. I’ve been relaxing a lot lately, and thus have not been snarking much at all. It’s nice to get back in the groove. Look for Superman/Wonder Woman #9 in comic shops and online this Wednesday. It’s also got a “Bombshell” variant cover, so if you’re interested in those keep your eyes peeled or ask your local shop to set one aside for you.

Superman/Wonder Woman #1 Review OR Could Have Been Better, Could Have Been Worse

October 9, 2013

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Given my many qualms about this series, I was expecting to be unimpressed by this first issue.  However, given my love of Wonder Woman, I set my qualms aside in the hope that it would turn out to be a well done, fun book that I enjoyed.  Turns out, neither happened.  It wasn’t bad, but nor was it particularly good.  While I liked a few things and others I didn’t care for, altogether it just felt bland to me.  More on this momentarily, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

I am about to tell you about all of the action AND all of the romance in this new series!

You’ll know it all!

So if you want to read it yourself first, run away!

Providing both action and romance, an adventure on the high seas is intermingled with a deep conversation about Clark and Diana’s relationship in this first issue.  Out on the ocean, a huge storm has kicked up, an airplane is in distress, and Doomsday is somehow involved.  Meanwhile, during the date night these aquatic shenanigans interrupted, Clark and Diana talk about whether or not to keep their relationship secret.  Clark likes the secrecy, Diana does not, and ultimately things appear to settle on the secrecy side before a move to the bedroom is postponed by the aforementioned oceanic disruption.

The action side of things is fine.  Superman gets punched straight out of the ocean and through an airplane, Wonder Woman angrily dismantles the guns on a naval ship, and then Doomsday shows up and fights Wonder Woman for a bit.  There’s no real explanation for the storm or Doomsday, but this is a set-up issue.  I’m sure we’ll learn more about that next month.  The action is nothing new or innovative, and they go a little hard with the splash pages and two-page spreads, but it’s not bad or anything.  Standard superhero fare, really.

The relationship side of things didn’t work as well for me.  I’m not a fan of the relationship in general because I just don’t find it interesting, and hearing them talk about it, Diana to a friend and then both Clark and Diana together, was kind of dull.  I just have no investment in it, so their issues and insecurities surrounding the relationship don’t do much for me.  The writing and art didn’t help either.  Again, it’s not bad by any means, but it lacked spark.  I wanted this book to sell me on this relationship, to show me what I’m missing in terms of why and how this is an interesting pairing, and I didn’t get that at all.

What’s worse, the way the relationship was discussed ultimately made me rather annoyed with both of them.  The New 52 has set up a universe where superheroes aren’t particularly beloved, and they’re out saving the world while humanity is more afraid and wary than grateful.  This can’t be fun, obviously, but Superman of all people should not get bogged down by this.  He’s SUPERMAN.  He should be able to let it go, and to understand the importance of rising above it.

Instead, he’s kind of antagonistic about it.  When Diana mentions sharing the wonders of his Fortress of Solitude with the world, segueing into a discussion of sharing their relationship with the world as well, Clark wants none of it.  He replies:

We give them everything.  This is ours.  At least for now.

There’s an irksome self-pity and self-aggrandizement in “We give them everything”, and a certain degree of entitlement in “This is ours”, like the world doesn’t deserve to know about his fortress or his relationship.  They’re too good and special for “them.”  To me, Superman is the last person in the universe who would have an us vs. them mentality when it comes to the rest of humanity, no matter how little he may be appreciated.

A similar frustration, and the us vs. them framework, show up again with Wonder Woman later in the issue.  When the naval ship shoots down the plane, thinking that Superman and Wonder Woman had attacked it, she angrily tears the guns off the deck, yelling:

WHY? We try to help you, and you fire on us?

Frankly, the naval crew just saw Superman blast through an airplane.  How were they to know he was punched out of the ocean by Doomsday?  It’s a reasonable mistake to make.  And yet there’s Wonder Woman losing her cool, furious at “them” for shooting at her and Superman.  Who the missile wouldn’t even hurt, by the way.  She’s a demigod and he’s the goddamn Man of Steel.  They would be FINE.  If she was mad that the pilots she rescued might have been injured, that would be understandable, but clearly that’s not the “us” she was referring to.

The rest of the issue was average, blandish superhero romance/adventure, but this antagonism towards humanity, this seeming inability to understand where they’re coming from and why they might be scared of superheroes, really rubbed me the wrong way.  When Diana offered to train Clark in combat because he’s more a wrecking ball than a fighter with any sort of finesse, she said:

You have things to learn, and I’m just the woman to teach you.

Initially I read that as a reference not just to combat but to Clark’s relationship with humanity and penchant for keeping secrets, that Diana would help him open up and share more with the world.  But then she flips out and starts wrecking a boat, furious at the stupid humans who dared misinterpret what was going on.  I know it’s not a huge component of the book, and I’ve blathered on about it longer than it deserves, really, but I hate when superheroes are dicks.  Both of them kind of were in this issue.

Of course, there’s much more going on in the book.  We get a look at the supporting cast, starting with Cat Grant, Clark’s website pal.  Clark Kent’s website is perhaps the least interesting Clark Kent story that’s ever been done (though on the plus side it did make me think of @CK1Blogs, an absolutely hilarious Twitter account), and the whole content/number of viewers discussion was just plain dull.  Cat is pals with Aaron Lord, though, who I think is a new character.  If he’s any relation to Max Lord, that could be interesting.  In the old DC universe, Max Lord took over Superman’s mind so Wonder Woman killed him.  In this universe, I have no idea what Max Lord has been up to, but perhaps some of the animosity will carry over.

What I did love was Diana’s supporting cast, an Amazon named Hessia who appears to be based in London.  It’s great to have another Amazon around, and I’m curious to hear the story of why she’s not on Paradise Island and turned into a snake like the rest of her Amazon sisters.  I think she could be a fun character, and I hope she gets more to do than dole out relationship advice to Diana.

All together, I feel pretty ambivalent about this book.  Charles Soules’ writing was okay, but just okay.  The pacing was sort of interesting, flipping back and forth in the story timeline and occasionally interweaving the date night/fight narratives.  He didn’t sell me on the relationship, or even pique my interest in it a bit, but the story moved along.

The art was fine, with occasional flashes of impressive work and occasional duds.  I don’t think that Tony S. Daniels quite has a handle on how he’s drawing Diana yet, and his work with her felt a little inconsistent, but that should come with time.  He also got saddled with a lot of scenes with people just standing around talking at each other, and it’s hard to make that exciting.  The action scenes were better, though they went to the splash page well a lot, and in close succession.

Overall, the issue added up to a fairly bland read for me.  I was neither enthused or outraged, and everything balanced out into a neutral, meh sort of feeling.  I hated the antagonism towards humanity and the us vs. them mentality, but I really like Hessia.  The action scenes were mildly interesting, and the romance scenes were mildly dull.  It all leveled out into an issue I neither cared for nor disliked.  I’m really curious to hear what everyone else thought about it, so please let me know in the comments.


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