Posts Tagged ‘Ian Churchill’

Sales For Wonder Woman Up 8% In August, Superman/Wonder Woman Up 6%

September 29, 2015

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Wonder Woman #42 had a terrible July, tumbling almost 20% in the second month of DC’s mini-relaunch, while Superman/Wonder Woman #19 slipped down as well, falling 8%. But looking at the August sales numbers, things have improved for both series.

After selling 36,668 copies in July, Wonder Woman came in 39th place on the charts in August with 39,646 copies sold, an increase of 8%. Superman/Wonder Woman sold 36,666 copies in July, but came in at 41st place on the charts in August with 38,834 copies sold, an increase of 6%. Nothing substantially changed for either book; Wonder Woman had Ian Churchill on art, but the change was announced so late that I doubt the ordering was affected in any significant way. Superman/Wonder Woman had the exact same creative team, and both books continued their storylines that began with DC’s mini-relaunch in June.

Taking a look at the DC books around Wonder Woman on the chart, we see a similar trend. The Flash was up 11%, Action Comics rose 10%, and Green Lantern jumped 8%. Such consistent gains for these titles suggests something else is at play. It’s not that folks are suddenly getting interested in Wonder Woman’s current adventures, so much as there was a uniform gain for DC’s titles.

This may be a course correction as retailers try to figure out how many of each books to order, seeing as they’re just a couple of months into the mini-relaunch. Perhaps they under-ordered everything in July, and then increased all of their orders in August as they searched to find the right purchasing level. That might have had some influence on the sales numbers, but I think it was probably minimal.

Instead, I think the real source of these gains were the Bombshell variant covers, where DC heroes are drawn like World War Two era pin-ups. These covers are wildly popular, so much so that they’ve spawned their own series, DC Comics Bombshells (which premiered HUGE in August with 59,253 copies sold, an epic debut for a digital first series), as well as tons of merchandise. The second round of Bombshell variants ran in August, on all of the titles listed above, and so it seems likely that retailers upped their orders to get more of the covers for their enthusiastic customers.

Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman #13 went without a variant cover, and dropped 4% to 10,175 copies sold. The book’s not long for the world now, with only four print issues left, and the low sales are a significant reason why. For some reason, all of these character-based digital-first book, like Legends of the Dark Knight and Adventures of Superman have petered out around this point.

Ultimately, the variant cover boost was a big help for Wonder Woman’s two mainline titles, but I doubt that the Green Lantern 75th anniversary variants in September will be quite as impactful. It’ll be interesting to see what next month’s numbers bring, and it should give us a better picture of where Wonder Woman’s books stand with readers.

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Wonder Woman #43 Review OR Donna Troy On The Lam!

August 20, 2015

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I was out of town yesterday so I’m a day late getting to read this month’s Wonder Woman, but going through the issue today tells me I really didn’t miss much of anything. This issue is kind of a mess, and honestly at this point I’m not sure how the editors at DC Comics think this book is something worth putting on the shelves. It’s harsh to say, I know, but this is such sub-par comic booking. I know DC puts out a ton of books each month and some of them are going to fall through the cracks, but this is WONDER WOMAN. She’s the most famous female superhero ever, plus she’s going to play a key part in the upcoming film universe. You might want to put her in a book that’s not so aggressively bad each month. Before we dig into the issue, first I need to say:

SPOILER ALERT!!

I am about to reveal everything that happened in this comic!

If you haven’t read it yet, look away!

If you have read it, my condolences! It’s rough stuff!

Let’s start with the writing. The writing on the series hasn’t been great as a whole since Meredith Finch took the helm, but this issue is a special kind of bad. It just doesn’t work on any level at all. First, her use of space is bizarre. The book opens with four pages of Wonder Woman finding out Donna Troy has escaped and trying to figure out what’s happened when Strife is RIGHT THERE. It’s so drawn out, and largely unnecessary. The book could have started with Wonder Woman meeting Milan to look for Donna and added a quick paragraph explaining Donna is gone and she can’t find her and the book wouldn’t lose anything. We know from last issue that Strife was getting into Donna’s head. There’s absolutely no new information presented in these pages.

Speaking of which, when we finally catch up with Donna in London, we’re met with three pages where Donna recounts her entire life story. Literally, all of it. Granted, she’s only a few weeks old at this point, but it’s nonetheless a lengthy recounting of things we already know. I understand the need to remind people of what happened, and even to make the book accessible for new readers; every issue is someone’s first issue. But three pages is beyond excessive and, yet again, adds nothing new to the story.

Donna is in London to find the Fates, and Finch writes them like Yoda but more incomprehensible. I had to read several of their panels more than once because in her attempt to make them sound mystical and mysterious, Finch made their dialogue just a straight up mess. One of the lines is, “Your thread, spun not have these hands.” What the Fate is trying to say here is, “These hands have not spun your thread,” and putting the words in a blender to make them sound fancier just doesn’t work.

After Donna’s visit with the Fates, Wonder Woman shows up, but here’s how she found them: Milan explained his vision to her and it was all vague and such, and Wonder Woman picked up on one of the words, “fate”, and made a list of all of the places in London with the word “fate” in the name. She then checked them out, and wouldn’t you know it, she found them at the very last place on the list. It’s so dumb. She literally flies to this place, holding the dang list. What this means is that Wonder Woman went to the trouble to get this mystical vision from Milan, sat down with the London phonebook, and wrote out every place with the word “Fate” in the name. At least that wasn’t a three page scene in the book. It’s all such a bizarrely basic and silly way for the god of war to interpret a divine vision.

Then a random street urchin shows up, followed by Aegeus (we know it’s Aegeus because he tells Wonder Woman “and the name’s Aegeus”) and his golden arrows. He shoots Wonder Woman and causes her to bleed out of the eyes before she collapses in the street. Cliffhanger! Oh, plus someone kills the Fates and in a classic Frasier-style mix up, Wonder Woman thinks it was Donna when it was actually someone else who has yet to be revealed to us. What hijinks that misunderstanding should cause. It’s all just such bad writing.

I also read Superman/Wonder Woman #20 today and while I really don’t enjoy that series in the slightest, it was a well constructed issue. The story flowed logically, it wasn’t mired in redundant information, there was a dual narrative that worked well and unobtrusively, and no one did anything blatantly ridiculous. Peter J. Tomasi knows how to put together a story that makes sense and doesn’t make me shake my head every other page. Even if I don’t like the story he’s telling, he knows how to construct the bones of a story in a way that works and isn’t structurally problematic. This is probably because he’s written a ton of comics. With this issue, her tenth on Wonder Woman counting the annual, Meredith Finch has written a grand total of eleven comic books, and it really shows.

I expected that this review would be more about the art, because Ian Churchill replaces David Finch for this issue, but then the writing was so bad that I had a lot to say about that. The art doesn’t help the writing, though. There’s a lot of pursed lips and tall hair; it all felt very early 2000s to me, more so than some of Churchill’s previous work that I remember from the actual early 2000s. The whole thing seemed very dated. Also, all of the women looked about the same. The pursed lips and big hair was part of this, but even with the Fates, who were supposed to be old, it just looked like Churchill drew his usual female facial structure and added a bunch of wrinkle lines on top of it. This was most telling with the Fate with the mad cleavage. This busty Fate wore a revealing dress, and it was wrinkle lines all the way down until her balloonish, smooth breasts. It was a bizarre artistic choice in a variety of ways. I did like Churchill’s Donna Troy, though. He nailed the costume, which I love anyway, and because her hair is a little different he couldn’t draw her quite in the same way he drew everyone else, and the result was some decent work.

Overall, this is a very bad comic book. I hoped that Wonder Woman would get better at some point, but it’s just treading water at this point. Thus far, this second arc has presented a less terrible take on Wonder Woman herself, at least, but the structure of the book is such a redundant mess that it’s just painful to read. Also, I’ve been hard on Meredith Finch here, but the editorial team really needs to step up and help shape this book into something more readable. They’re falling down on the job massively, because with some tweaks this book could be a lot more bearable. Not good, but better. Inoffensively bland instead of full on awful. A lot of this stuff is fixable at the script stage. When there’s an unnecessary three page flashback, maybe someone should say, “There are perhaps better ways to spend our time.” That might help things.

Wonder Woman #43 Preview OR Ian Churchill Replaces David Finch For An Issue

August 17, 2015

Wonder Woman #43 is out this Wednesday, and things are going to look a little bit different. David Finch is taking the month off and Ian Churchill is in to take his place as the first fill-in artist to appear in the book since the Finches took over. I honestly expected it a lot sooner; David Finch isn’t the best at keeping a regular schedule, but he did eight straight issues of Wonder Woman and part of an annual. Say what you will about the quality of his art, but that’s a solid streak for a guy not known for his speed.

Let’s take a look at what we’ll get in Wonder Woman #43 this month, courtesy of Comic Vine:

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I haven’t seen Ian Churchill’s work in a long time. I think the last issue of his I read was maybe an early issue of Supergirl when they relaunched it after the Michael Turner run in Superman/Batman? That must be almost a decade ago now. His style here looks more cartoonish than I remember. Also, everyone sort of looks like they’re eating lemons; there’s a lot of puckering going on here. At first glance I’m not loving Churchill’s take on things, but I’ll reserve judgment until I’ve read the whole issue.

The story seems to be continuing to plod along at a glacial pace. If Donna Troy is gone and Strife is there, it really shouldn’t take four pages for Wonder Woman to but two and two together and go off looking for her. “Do you know anything about this?” is perhaps the dumbest possible response to finding Strife at the scene of a suspicious incident. She’s Strife. Of course she was involved.

Anyway, after months and months of subpar comic booking we’ve got something a little bit different with this new issue of Wonder Woman. Whether it will be better remains to be scene, but the look will be changed up at least. Look for Wonder Woman #43 in comic shops and online this Wednesday!


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