Posts Tagged ‘Inaki Miranda’

Wonder Woman #29 Review: A Bountiful Battle and a Bold Decision

August 30, 2017

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The first year of Wonder Woman in the “Rebirth” era was a major undertaking, with the creative team trying to reorient the character after a five year run that failed to capture the classic, empowering core of Diana and the Amazons. While they told a great story in the process, it was a huge, sprawling, universe altering tale that was all in service of establishing a new status quo for Wonder Woman that was more in line with who the character is and what she’s meant for decades. And they succeeded beautifully! Now, with all of that heavy lifting done, we can enjoy good Wonder Woman stories again. “Heart of the Amazon” hasn’t been as momentous or world shattering as the year of stories that preceded it, but that was the point of that year, to get Wonder Woman on a solid footing moving forward. Shea Fontana and her team of artists have made the most of this solid footing and the arc has been tremendously fun and well-crafted thus far. It’s captured everything good about the restored Wonder Woman while telling a great story and adding new depths to the characters. “Heart of the Amazon” was exactly what I was hoping for following Diana’s reorientation, and it’s been a blast to see the creative team do stellar work with each issue. Today’s penultimate outing is a particularly well-crafted book, and it sets us up for a very intriguing finale. We’ll dig into it all, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

I am about to reveal major plot points from this issue!

Look away if you haven’t read it yet!

Also, go read it! It’s very good!

Now, before we get to the excellent insides of the book, let’s talk about the cover. I’ve been harping on these covers with every issue lately, but they’re just not good. This one at least offers a look at what’s going on inside the issue instead of the generic posing we’ve seen before. The problem is, it’s a bad cover. The art is kind of a mess, and if I saw this on a shelf I wouldn’t be tempted to pick it up at all. These covers just aren’t working, and I don’t understand why DC hasn’t promoted Jenny Frison to be the primary cover artist for this run because her variants have been stellar. Covers are how you advertise comic books; it’s kind of important that they look good and not like jumbled masses that fail to entice anyone.

Luckily, the story inside is super good. I was surprised to see that Inaki Miranda drew the issue, though! When David Messina took over with the last issue, I assumed that he’d be there for the rest of the arc, but not so much. And now, I have no idea who’ll be drawing the next issue. While I usually don’t like multiple artists on an arc and prefer a more consistent look, all three artists on “Heart of the Amazon” have been good, and despite their different styles I think it will come together well in the collected edition.

When we last left Diana, five assassins were after her, and Fontana and Miranda’s handling of the opening pages is very well done. Fontana’s given us all female villains, which is a fun touch, but she’s also made each of them distinct, starting with the last issue. Originally, we had a sniper. Now the five new assassins each have different specialities: Cat Eye is allegedly some sort of cat warrior goddess, Cheshire is a classic assassin, Abolith is a super soldier, Plastique is a bomber, and Baundo is a teleporter. It’s a unique assortment of villains that allows Miranda to showcase his skills as he depicts their varying personalities and power sets. The fight is nicely choreographed as well, very legibly laid out and easy to follow, which is always good to see. Plus they’ve got Etta Candy right in the middle of the action, fighting alongside Wonder Woman and taking out a few of the villains totally on her own.

Miranda does a solid job throughout the issue. First, he brought back the curl in Etta’s hair, which I’m very glad to see. Mirka Andolfo’s redesign of Etta was amazing, and Miranda seems to be embracing it here. While Miranda’s characters aren’t as expressive as Andolfo’s, his subtler approach works nicely for the seriousness of the story being told in this issue and he captures the emotions of each. His work is particularly strong in the flashback to young Diana on Themyscira, with the child wanting her mother to be proud of her and Hippolyta affirming how much she loves her. It’s a sweet, touching scene that everyone knocked out of the park. Romulo Fajardo Jr.’s coloring has remained an artistic constant throughout this run, and he again does stellar work here adjusting to a new artist. There are some nice touches with fine colored lines and textures that add a lot to Miranda’s more sparse approach to linework. They make for a fine pairing.

While the fight that starts the issue is nicely done, it’s the ending that is the most compelling. When Wonder Woman learns that a biomedical researcher is behind the plot to kill her, hoping to use her divine/Amazon physiology to cure a wide array of diseases, she willingly submits to the researcher, not caring for his methods but nonetheless willing to help as many people as she can. It’s a sacrifice that is classic Wonder Woman, but also very fitting for this arc. “Heart of the Amazon” began with Wonder Woman admitting that she took on every problem, every hurt, every horror herself because she was the only one able to bear it all. Now she takes on the monumental task of curing diseases with a very sketchy researcher behind it all. I’m curious to see if this proves to be too much for Diana to handle all on her own. If it is, luckily she’s got some excellent friends who will have her back.

All together, this was another wonderful issue. Great action, great story, even great romance with Steve finally returning to the book, though only after Wonder Woman and Etta had taken out all of the assassins, of course. I’m sad to see this arc end, but I’m looking forward to finding out how it all comes together in two weeks’ time, as well as discovering who will be drawing the book this time around! So many mysteries to be solved.

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Women At DC Comics Watch – January 2013 Solicits

October 17, 2012

Holy cats, we’re into the 2013 solicits already!!  Time sure does fly when you’re writing a monthly check in on the state of female creators and characters at major comic publishers.  DC ended 2012 looking improved if not yet particularly good.  Let’s see how things will start out for them in the new year:

  • We’ve got the same female writers as December, with Ann Nocenti on Catwoman #16 and Green Arrow #16, Gail Simone on Batgirl #16, and Christy Marx on Sword of Sorcery #4.
  • There’s no Nicola Scott on Earth 2 in January, but we do have Sandra Hope inking Worlds’ Finest #8.
  • Also, Emanuela Lupacchino drew the cover for Ame-Comi Girls #4 featuring Power Girl and Jill Thompson is doing a variant cover for Before Watchmen: Ozymandias #5.
  • Over at Vertigo, Lauren Beukes and Inaki Miranda continue their run on Fairest, while Yuko Shimizu is on cover duties for The Unwritten #45.
  • DC has four annuals scheduled for January, none of which have any female creators and none of which seem to feature female characters in any prominent way.
  • However, we are going to learn the story of “the last Amazon” in Earth 2 #8.
  • Wonder Woman is on the cover of Injustice: Gods Among Us #1, but there are also seven dudes and no female creators.
  • There’s a lady on the cover of Insurgent #1 too, but again surrounded by a bunch of dudes and no female creators.
  • A bunch of books have final issues in January, none of which feature lead female characters or creators, so at least we’re not losing anybody. The only New 52 replacement book announced so far is the space adventure series Threshold, and of the cast listed there does seem to be one female character: Karel Sorenson, a member of the Star Rovers.  However, since the book is reinventing several old properties, maybe we’ll see some gender swaps or some such.  Also, no female creators are solicited on that book either.

So for January 2013, there are 9 female creators on 9 books, a slight step up from December’s 8 female creators on 9 books.  It’s not a huge improvement, and it’s still dwarfed by the 200 or so male creators, but it’s an improvement and it continues DC’s string of decent months they started in October.  An increase is always good to see!!

As for female characters in new books, there are several new series and annuals in January and none of them have a female lead.  However, a few of these new series are team books that include a female character among all the dudes, so that’s something at least.  Not a lot, but something.

Overall, January 2013 looks to be relatively decent for DC.  They’re not really going to town with new female characters or creators, but nor are they going backwards either.  Instead we get very slight improvement.  Hooray?

Women At DC Comics Watch – December 2012 Solicits

September 19, 2012

Ever since a very poor showing in the September solicits, DC’s been on an impressive streak with their female creators.  October was huge, November was well above average, and now December is looking good too.  It took a long time, but finally DC’s promise of more female creators is starting to show up in their books.  While the numbers are still small, they’re slightly bigger than they used to be.  Let’s go through the December 2012 solicits:

  • Female writers have a busy month, with Ann Nocenti on Catwoman #15 and Green Arrow #15, Gail Simone on Batgirl #15, and Christy Marx on Sword of Sorcery #3.
  • It’s a slower month for interior artists, with only Nicola Scott penciling Earth 2 #7 in the main DC books.
  • However, we do have a double appearance of Fiona Staples!!  She’s doing a variant cover for Action Comics #15 and drawing a story for Batman Beyond Unlimited #11.
  • Over at Vertigo, Lauren Beukes and Inaki Miranda continue their run with Fairest #10 while, as always, Yuko Shimizu is on cover duty for The Unwritten #44.
  • There’s not much new for female characters in December.  Two new books, Human Bomb and JSA: The Liberty Files – The Whistling Skulls don’t seem to have any ladies in a prominent role.  The covers are all guys.  Also, it looks like there’s a dude on the Birds of Prey team now, so that’s a thing that is happening.

Altogether, in December there are 8 different female creators scheduled to be on 9 different books.  That’s a nice step up from last month’s 7 and 7, and the best part is that a lot of these women are part of the regular lineup.  Fiona Staples is the only one without a regular gig, seeing as she’s busy with the FANTASTIC Saga over at Image, but it’s cool that DC’s brought her in for a couple guest appearances.  If they can maintain this number of regular female creators, DC will be at a much better level than they were for most of 2012.

Now, it’s still not a huge amount of female creators.  While 8 women is great, there’s a couple hundred different guys on these books too.  Moving up from 4 or 5 ladies a month to 7 or 8 is a nice jump, but the numbers are still paltry by comparison.  I’m glad about the increase, and the more consistent numbers, but there’s still a long way to go.

As for female characters, it’s a really quiet month.  Since Sword of Sorcery was announced, things have been fairly uneventful for new female characters.  There are rumours of a Fourth Wave in January, though, so perhaps something will come then.

Women At DC Comics Watch – November 2012 Solicits

August 17, 2012

Every month when the new solicits come out, we like to check in and see how DC Comics is doing with their promise of more female creators and characters.  In fact, it’s been a year since we started!!  That’s kind of fun.  I suppose some celebration is in order, and nothing says celebration like a chart!!  Look for a review of the past year sometime early next week, gang.

So October was HUGE for female creators, with 14 different women on 15 books.  November isn’t so high, but it’s still quite good.  Let’s take a look:

  • For the DC superhero line, Ann Nocenti is writing Catwoman #14 and Green Arrow #14 while Gail Simone in on Batgirl #14 and Christy Marx writes Sword of Sorcery #2.
  • Nicola Scott is set to pencil Earth 2 #6Before Watchmen: Silk Spectre ended in October, so no Amanda Conner this month, and for some reason there’s no Phantom Lady either, so no Cat Staggs.
  • Over at Vertigo, Lauren Beukes and Inaki Miranda write and draw Fairest #9, respectively, and as always Yuko Shimizu is on cover duty for The Unwritten #43.
  • There’s not much in the way of new female characters, but Batwoman’s team-up with Wonder Woman continues in Batwoman #14, it looks like Poison Ivy is in Detective Comics #14, and an Ame-Comi Girls: Batgirl book is coming out.
  • Also, Superman: Grounded, Volume 2 is coming out in paperback with a Jo Chen cover.

So we’re down to 7 women on 7 different books, a drop of 50% from October, but October was BONKERS.  Compared to every month we’ve seen, these numbers are pretty strong.  Plus they’re all regular gigs, so it’s likely they’ll all be back in December.  There’s nowhere to go but up, and things are already decent, relative to past months.

There’s not much new across the board in November, so while there aren’t any new female characters stepping up, there’s not many dudes either.  The only new book is an Arkham City one-shot, but the Batgirl issue of Ame-Comi Girls gives you a double shot of Batgirl for the month.

Overall, November is looking good.  Of course, while 7 female creators is great, comparatively, it’s still dwarfed by a couple hundred men, so there’s a lot of work to be done.  But we should still be pleased with the little things.  It’s getting slightly better.

Women At DC Comics Watch – October 2012 Solicits

July 10, 2012

We’ve been looking at DC’s solicits for almost a year now, ever since they promised to include more female creators and characters after the brouhaha at ComicCon last year.  In that time, things have been up and down for DC.  New female creators would come in, but others would leave.  There was the sporadic new female character, but old favourites are still missing.  Frankly, things haven’t been great, and last month kind of sucked.  But we just got the solicits for October 2012, and HOLY WOW it’s the best month yet, and by FAR.  Now, it’s only one month so let’s not get too excited, but it’s a pretty great month nonetheless.  Some excitement is called for.  Let’s go through the solicits… there are so many ladies that this is going to be tricky to present intelligibly:

  • Okay, let’s start with writers on DC’s main line, superhero books.  We’ve got: Amanda Conner on Before Watchmen: Silk Spectre #4, Ann Nocenti on Green Arrow #13 and her new gig on Catwoman #13, Gail Simone on Batgirl #13 AND Batgirl Annual #1, and Christy Marx on Sword of Sorcery #1.
  • Now to the art.  Amanda Conner is doing the art and cover for Before Watchmen: Silk Spectre #4 along with the same for Ame-Comi Girls #1: Wonder Woman, Nicola Scott is penciling Earth 2 #5 AND she has a story in Legends of the Dark Knight #1, Adriana Melo is drawing Catwoman #13, Becky Cloonan is drawing Swamp Thing Annual #1, Fiona Staples is doing the cover for National Comics: Madame X #1, and finally Cat Staggs is on art duties for Phantom Lady #3.
  • Holy cats, that’s a lot.
  • And there’s more!!
  • Over at Vertigo, Lauren Beukes writes Fairest #8 with Inaki Miranda on art, and the Ghosts anthology features work by Mary H.K. Choi and Amy Reeder.  And, as always, Yuko Shimizu is doing the cover for The Unwritten #42.
  • As for female characters, there’s not a ton new generally, but Wonder Woman stars in Ame-Comi Girls #1: Wonder Woman, Madame X is the subject of National Comics, and Rapunzel takes center stage in Fairest.  Plus Ann Nocenti on Catwoman might make that book WAY less awful.

So that’s a pile of ladies.  Last month there were only 5 female creators on 5 different books.  In October, it’s a whopping 14 women on 15 books!!  That’s HUGE.  It’s far and away the most female creators DC’s had in their solicits in AGES.  I’m a little bit astounded.

Now, of course, 7 of these gigs are one time deals, ie. the annuals and special anthologies and such.  But on the plus side, tons of those are doubles.  Gail Simone may not be writing a Batgirl Annual again next month, but she’ll be writing Batgirl.  Same with Nicola Scott on Legends of the Dark Knight… that’s a one time gig, but she’s still the regular artist on Earth 2.  So yeah, things will likely be down a bit next month, but a) this month is HUGE, and b) so is the new, ongoing status quo.  At least 11 women have steady gigs on a DC comic book for the foreseeable future and should be back next month, and of those Simone and Nocenti are writing 2 books each even!!  I’m not saying DC’s turned a corner yet, because the last few months haven’t been great, but if the numbers hold up like they look like they will then maybe things are changing.  We’ll have to see.

There wasn’t a lot going on with female characters, mostly because there were barely any new books, but of those new books there were a lot of ladies.  Given how few new books there are scheduled, October is actually pretty good for female characters too.

So yeah, go buy some DC comics in October!!  There are women all over the place, for a very nice change.

Women At DC Comics Watch – March 2012 Solicits

December 13, 2011

DC’s solicits for March 2012 were released today, so it’s time for our monthly round up of ladies at DC Comics.  After DC Comics promised more female creators and characters after ComicCon this summer, we’ve been checking in each month to see how they’re doing.  It hasn’t been great, but February was their best month so far with 6 women on 8 books, and two new lead female characters.  Let’s see how March is shaping up:

  • Well, we’re down a couple of our regulars, unfortunately.  Gail Simone is no longer co-writing Firestorm and Jenny Frison isn’t solicited to do the cover for I, Vampire #7.  Bummer… they’ve been 2 of the only 3 regular female gigs in the DCnU since the get-go!!
  • Also, Nicola Scott is nowhere to be seen after drawing Superman for February, because a new creative team is set to take over the title.
  • However, Simone is still writing Batgirl #7, and Amy Reeder is doing the cover and interior art for Batwoman #7, plus Ann Nocenti starts her new writing gig with Green Arrow #7.
  • The bi-monthly Gear of War is on an off month, so no Karen Traviss in March.
  • Yuko Shimizu is on covers for The Unwritten #35 and The Unwritten #35.5, holding down the fort for ladies at Vertigo.
  • The only new DCnU title is Marv Wolfman and Tom Mandrake’s Night Force #1, which doesn’t seem to feature a female protagonist.  Also, what the hell DC?  NO ONE is going to buy that book.
  • But at Vertigo, there are three new series with female leads!!  Saucer Country #1, Fables spinoff Fairest #1, and Dominique Laveau – Voodoo Child #1 all appear to feature women in prominent roles!!

So the tally for March isn’t looking great for female creators… we’ve got 4 women on 5 books.  That’s the lowest combined total since we started this tally back a few months ago with the November solicits.  That’s really not good at all.  It’s great that Ann Nocenti will be on a DC book, but her coming in the same month that Gail Simone goes off one of her books is just terrible timing… they’re no further ahead.  So far, this whole “more women” promise has been quite a failure for DC.  Is someone doing some fundraising to send Kyrax2 to the next big convention?  Because things aren’t getting better.

However, Vertigo provided a bit of a silver lining with their three new female-led titles, all of which look pretty good.  I’m particularly jazzed for Saucer Country!!  And, in some positive news for the future, the solicit for Fairest #1 promises stories by Lauren Beukes and Inaki Miranda down the road, which will be fun.

Nonetheless, DC’s main line is no further ahead in terms of female creators than they were five months ago.  The rumour is that some books are scheduled to get cancelled with their eighth issue, with new books to follow, so that might bring us more female creators in a couple months at least.  But for right now, it’s not looking good.


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