Posts Tagged ‘Joshua Middleton’

Two Dark Knight III #1 Variant Covers Featuring Wonder Woman

October 15, 2015

First off, how is Dark Knight III still subtitled The Master Race? Who thought that was a good idea? What an absolutely terrible title for a book, regardless of the content therein. I can’t even bring myself to put the subtitle in this post’s title. It’s just too dumb.

Anyway, on to the subject at hand. DC Comics is releasing about 30 variant covers for Dark Knight III #1, many of them specific to certain stores. Now, I don’t particularly care about this book at all. Frank Miller hasn’t done anything interesting in ages, and has regressed to downright offensive as of late, so I’m not excited for him to return to Batman yet again. But, in the midst of this sea of variants there are a couple with Wonder Woman, and I’m all about Wonder Woman.

At first glance, 2 out of 30 doesn’t seem like a lot, but it’s an understandable minority. To start with, it’s a Batman book. Plus everybody loves The Dark Knight Returns, and Wonder Woman’s not in that one. She’s all over the sequel, The Dark Knight Strikes Again, but nobody likes that one. That book is a dang catastrophe. So Wonder Woman relegated to just a couple of variants is about right, really.

So let’s get to the covers. First is a Joshua Middleton for Madness Games & Comics:

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I’ll say this: It’s super Frank Miller-like. He nailed the hair especially. The cover makes me think of what Miller’s art could be like if his work got more finessed and detailed over time instead of scratchier. His Wonder Woman is decent, and captures this world’s version of her well, but I’m particularly into the Carrie Kelly in the foreground; she looks great.

The second cover is by Artgerm, for Legacy Comics and Cards:

dk3who

At first glance, it’s pretty nice with his smooth artwork and a very lovely take on Wonder Woman, but the perspective kind of ruins it for me. Wonder Woman is in front of Batman, thus closer to the viewer, so she should be bigger. But Batman is HUGE behind her, to an outlandish degree that practically dwarfs her. It just looks weird. Nonetheless, the Wonder Woman on her own is really quite a lovely take on Miller’s version of the character. If they could excise or resize the Batman, it would be a great cover.

If you’re into either of these covers, getting a hold of them might be tricky. You’ll have to track down the specific store, and try to order the cover from their website or some such if they’re not local for you. I’m imagining they’ll be pricier than the regular comic too, so be prepared to pay a bit more; I think the Artgerm one is going for ten bucks. You might have some luck on eBay, too.  There also may be more variants with Wonder Woman, because not all of the covers have been released yet!

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Convergence: Wonder Woman #1 Review OR Fangs For The Memories

April 22, 2015

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It’s Wonder Woman vs. vampires! Eventually, anyway. There’s a lot of set up here, and very little of it involves Wonder Woman doing fun Wonder Woman things. After a while, the 1970s Wonder Woman cast faces off against Joker and the vampire of Red Rain, and things get moderately interesting as the book jumps into the “Convergence” battle phase, where the various domed cities are pitted against each other in all out war. The issue is fine, but lacking the nostalgic fun that seems to be the core element of so many of the other “Convergence” titles. We’ll dig into it all, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

I am about to reveal pretty much everything that happens in this issue!

Who bites who, who shoots who!

Look away if you haven’t read this issue yet!

I think part of why I didn’t love this issue was because I’m not personally nostalgic for any of the universes involved in this particular storyline. I’m a Wonder Woman enthusiast, for sure, but the 1970s comics era of the character is pretty low on my list of favourite Wonder Woman incarnations. They tried a bunch of different angles then, none of which really worked, and it’s just a mishmash of things for me. It’s hard to be nostalgic for a mishmash, unless you grew up in that mishmash I suppose. I read it all over a couple days a few years ago, rather than looking forward to it month by month. As for Red Rain, I don’t really give a hoot about it one way or another; I don’t think I’ve ever read it, to be honest.

That’s not to say the book isn’t good just because it doesn’t match my particular nostalgia zones. Rather, my enjoyment of the book lacks the extra boost that nostalgia can bring. When a story is set in an era you’re a fan of and that you feel connected to, reading it comes with an inherent enthusiasm that can overlook average storytelling. Lacking any nostalgia at all for this book, I read it as it was and found it fine if a little bland.

I enjoyed Larry Hama’s take on Diana, especially her skepticism of the cult that believed angels were coming to rescue everyone from the dome. I was less impressed with Etta Candy; I think Etta’s smarter than to get wrapped in such nonsense like she did here. But I liked Hama’s Steve Trevor, and that’s rare for me. I usually just roll my eyes at Steve Trevor, so it was fun to have him treat Diana well and have some decently heroic inclinations here. It was a pleasant change of pace.

The problem with the angel cult storyline is that it takes up a lot of the issue, and I can’t imagine how it’s going to factor into the second issue seeing as most of the cult leaders have been turned into vampires now. There are a lot of pages of Diana and Etta at the cult, discussing it’s veracity and ultimately fighting with the cult leaders, and it seems like a big time investment for something that ultimately won’t matter. I suppose there’s a chance it will matter and my assumptions are way off the mark; we’ll find out next month. But as much as I’m not nostalgic for this era, I’d rather be enjoying some retro Wonder Woman action than getting involved in a random cult subplot. We’ve only got two issues here, so real estate is precious.

I will say that the lengthy cult storyline does have a fantastic payoff, one that’s almost worth the space it takes. The cult leaders are expecting angels to show up and save them, so when winged creatures arrive after the dome falls, they’re overjoyed until they see that they’re vampires, not angels. That’s a great, clever beat.

Once the vampires arrive, it’s about exactly what you’d expect. There’s some fighting, some taunts, and the various characters end the issue in precarious situations. Again, fine but normal, old school superheroing with nothing really new or interesting going on. It’s not bad in the slightest. It’s just straight down the middle, average and expected storytelling.

The art is decent, but somewhat underwhelming. I was really excited for Joshua Middleton, so my expectations were a little high. He does great covers, and I’ve enjoyed his art a lot in the past. His art here is as straight down the middle as the writing. It’s nice, and tells the story well. There are no bad panels or poor storytelling choices. It’s all okay, but just okay. There aren’t any cool or stunning panels, or layouts that make you go “Wow”. The colouring is pretty dull as well. Perhaps if Middleton had put a little more pop into the colours, the art would’ve had more impact.

All together, I wasn’t blown away with this issue by any means, but I didn’t hate it either. And I’ll admit, I’m a little bit curious to see what happens next month as Wonder Woman’s battle against the vampires begins in earnest. I doubt that it’s going to have a huge impact on “Convergence” in general, though I also doubt that “Convergence” is going to have a huge impact on DC’s comic book universe once the event is over. But Wonder Woman vs. vampire Joker might be fun. Middleton won’t be back next month, but Hama’s got some chops and the good moments in this issue have me intrigued to see how he finishes it off.

Convergence: Wonder Woman #1 Preview OR Under The Dome

April 21, 2015

I haven’t really been following DC’s “Convergence” event, so all I know are the basics. There’s some type of dome, and various heroes from DC’s past universes, and they’re all going to fight and then probably in the end work together to defeat whoever trapped them there. Brainiac, I think? The response to the first two weeks of “Convergence” tie-ins has seemed generally positive, partly because of nostalgia and the joy of having these characters back again but also because the books have apparently been pretty good. I haven’t gotten to my local comic shop yet to check out the few titles I’m interested in, but I’m glad that the reaction has been so positive. I had low expectations for a two month fill-in event, and now I’m excited to get reading.

The book I’m most looking forward to, of course, is Convergence: Wonder Woman, and it’s first issue is out tomorrow. Here’s a preview of the book, courtesy of Comic Book Resources:

conww1a conww1b conww1c conww1d conww1e conww1f

Generally speaking, I like to see Wonder Woman in a Wonder Woman preview, but there seem to be extenuating circumstances here. Has the dome taken Wonder Woman’s powers? Or are they doing that thing where she doesn’t have powers unless she’s transformed into Wonder Woman? Either way, it’s all Diana Prince so far. She’s shacking up with Steve Trevor (gasp!) and teaming up with cult enthusiast Etta Candy to help out elderly residents inconvenienced by the effects of the dome.

The cult angle seems like a weird choice here. With all of the past eras of Wonder Woman to choose from for “Convergence”, the 1970s Wonder Woman would have been at the bottom of my list to begin with, and having her deal with a religious cult is not exactly what I look for in a Wonder Woman comic. It could totally turn out cool, and I hope that it does. But on paper, I’m not really seeing anything that fans have been clamouring for like I am with Renee Montoya back as the Question or Cass and Steph back Batgirling. It all seems a little random, but there’s lots of story left to tell and I’m curious to see where it goes. The solicits keep saying vampires, though, which isn’t terribly encouraging.

The art here is okay, but not as exciting as I was expecting after enjoying Joshua Middleton’s covers for years. The colours are pretty flat and while the linework is decent enough, it’s hardly the best work that I’ve seen from him. I’m still looking forward to Diana going full Wonder Woman at some point, though, and I’m hoping things will be a little flashier then.

Convergence: Wonder Woman #1 is out tomorrow, and I’ll have a full review then. Check out the book online or pick it up at your local comic chop!

Wonder Woman’s May 2015 Covers and Solicits

February 20, 2015

May is the second half of DC’s two month “Convergence” event, so Wonder Woman’s solicits remain a little wonky. Instead of the usual Wonder Woman and Superman/Wonder Woman, she’s starring in only one “Convergence” title, though she appears to be guest starring in a bunch as well. First up, let’s take a look at Convergence: Wonder Woman #2:

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CONVERGENCE: WONDER WOMAN #2
Written by LARRY HAMA
Art by AARON LOPRESTI and MATT BANNING
Cover by JOSHUA MIDDLETON
Variant cover designed by CHIP KIDD
On sale MAY 20 • 40 pg, FC, 2 of 2, $3.99 US • RATED T
STARRING HEROES FROM CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS! Diana Prince gets blood on her jumpsuit as she takes on vampire versions of The Joker and the rest of the Red Rain ghouls!

When we looked at last month’s solicits, I was very excited to have two issues of Joshua Middleton drawing Wonder Woman because I quite like his work. Turns out, he’s only doing the first one and Aaron Lopresti is drawing this issue. It’s not a bad change; I quite like Lopresti. But I’ve seen him do Wonder Woman before and I was really looking forward to seeing Joshua Middleton do it up.

I’ll be honest, though, the cover doesn’t look great and I’m not super curious about the story either. Wonder Woman vs. weird vampire versions of the DCU could be fun, but this looks all dark and moody and serious. Hopefully the book turns out to be entertaining and not just a violent bloodbath.

Versions of Wonder Woman are also popping up in several other “Convergence” titles. They are:

  • Flashpoint Wonder Woman in Convergence: Speed Force #2.
  • Red Son Wonder Woman in Convergence: Action Comics #2.
  • Kingdom Come Wonder Woman in Convergence: Justice League International #2.
  • DC One Million Wonder Woman in Convergence: Crime Syndicate #2.

And I wouldn’t be surprised if a few other versions pop up elsewhere across the line.

Also in May we’ve got Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman #10:

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SENSATION COMICS FEATURING WONDER WOMAN #10
Written by SARA RYAN and AARON LOPRESTI
Art by CHRISTIAN DUCE and AARON LOPRESTI
Cover by MICHAEL ZULLI
On sale MAY 20 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T • DIGITAL FIRST
Very few people know how to reach Wonder Woman directly, and when Clarice Anthony reaches out, Diana can’t deny her old friend the help she needs. But when that means going undercover as a pop-country starlet’s trainer, the world isn’t sure what to make of this new “VIP” persona! Then, the dragons of Sostratos became “Casualties of War” in a battle between Amazons and humans. Now, the sole survivor is taking his revenge on Diana!

Oof, that cover is rough stuff. But it’s a big month for Aaron Lopresti! He’s writing and drawing a story here, along with another by Sara Ryan and Christian Duce. The solicit says something about dragons, so you know I’m on board. I love a good dragon.

Look for all of these comics in May at comic shops everywhere!

Wonder Woman’s April 2015 Covers And Solicits

January 22, 2015

April is going to be a little different for Wonder Woman comics, with the “Convergence” event pre-empting her usual New 52 titles. While she’s got two books every month in the New 52, there will only be one Wonder Woman “Convergence” book. However, we’ve got two digital-first books to look forward to, so that’s a plus. Let’s dig into the solicits, starting with Convergence: Wonder Woman #1:

aprilww1

CONVERGENCE: WONDER WOMAN #1
Written by LARRY HAMA
Art and cover by JOSHUA MIDDLETON
Variant cover designed by CHIP KIDD
On sale APRIL 22 • 32 pg, FC, 1 of 2, $3.99 US • RATED T
STARRING HEROES FROM CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS! Diana Prince is in the grip of a Domesday cult when Steve Trevor leaps into the fray! But can he save Etta Candy from vampires of Red Rain?

This solicit is a lot about Steve Trevor and not so much about Wonder Woman, which I don’t love. But on the plus side, I do enjoy Joshua Middleton, and I’m very excited to see him do two issues of Wonder Woman interiors.

“Convergence” brings together a multitude of DC Comics’ universes, and this one look to be pre-Crisis. Giving Larry Hama’s writing it, I’m guessing the characters will be from the 1970s, Bronze Age era of Wonder Woman, but given the universe mashing each character may well be from a different time period. We’ll have to wait for April to find out.

Next up, we’ve got the print version of the Wonder Woman ’77 digital first series:

aprilww771

WONDER WOMAN ’77 SPECIAL #1
Written by MARC ANDREYKO
Art by DREW JOHNSON and MATT HALEY
Cover by NICOLA SCOTT
1: 25 Variant cover by PHIL JIMENEZ
One-shot • On sale APRIL 29 • 80 pg, FC, $7.99 US • RATED E • DIGITAL FIRST
Don’t miss this digital-first special based on the classic TV series starring Lynda Carter! Travel back to the sizzling ’70s as the undercover Amazon Princess joins forces with special agent Steve Trevor to defend America against Cold War-era criminals. A search for an escaped Soviet scientist brings Wonder Woman to the hottest disco of the day, Studio 52. A live stage act might prove more of a threat to Wonder Woman than the Russian Roller Derby girls out to bring the scientist home.

I’ve been enjoying the digital issues, and I think this print collection of the comics will work even better. The story seems better suited to be read all at once than in installments. It’ll look really nice too; Drew Johnson and Matt Haley have been doing a really good job with the art.

It seems that they’re going with a publication method sort of like Legends of the Dark Knight, where a bunch of stories are collected in a bigger volume instead of regular issue size. The solicit only mentions the current arc, which is just three issues long and thus should only take up 30 pages or so, and so I assume a second arc is on the way.

Finally, we’ve got another issue of Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman to look forward to as well:

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SENSATION COMICS FEATURING WONDER WOMAN #9
Written by CECIL CASTELLUCCI and LAUREN BEUKES
Art by CHRIS SPROUSE, KARL STORY and MIKE MAIHACK
Cover by FRANCESCO FRANCAVILLA
On sale APRIL 15 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • DIGITAL FIRST • RATED T
It’s a “Girls’ Day Out,” and Lois Lane doesn’t do “puff piece” interviews, which is fine, because Diana of Themyscira is not interested in being treated as fluff. But when they’re attacked by croco-aliens and robots, the situation really gets heated! Then, in “The Problem with Cats,” Wonder Woman has been summoned to the Isle of Cats to rescue her Justice League teammates, but can Diana save the day?

The art above looks to be a page from the Mike Maihack story and not the cover, so I’ll keep my eyes peeled for the reveal of Francesco Francavilla’s cover in the future. It’s sure to be lovely; the man is epic at covers.

Both of these stories sound fantastic! I am all about a Wonder Woman and Lois Lane team up, especially one involving aliens and robots, so that should be a fun a fun. And Mike Maihack is drawing a story! He’s great, as is Lauren Beukes, and I can’t wait to see what they’ve put together. I think it should be an excellent issue all around.

The solicits also include the upcoming Jae Lee designed action figure line, which has a very cool looking Wonder Woman.  They’ll be available in August 2015.

Look for all of these comic books this April in comic shops everywhere!

Joshua Middleton’s Cover For Wonder Woman #613

May 19, 2011

For the past couple days, Joshua Middleton has been posting glimpses of his artwork for the cover of Wonder Woman #613 on his blog… here’s a look at the pencils:

And today he posted the full colour version of the cover:

I think that’s definitely going to pop on the stands, all logoed up and whatnot.  I really hope Middleton is on the book for more than two issues… he and Alex Garner doing both covers would be crazy fun!!

Wonder Woman #613 is scheduled for release on July 27, 2011.

August 2011 Solicits: Wonder Woman #614

May 17, 2011

While there are several Wonder Woman books solicited in August, we’ve looked at most of them already.  Flashpoint: Wonder Woman and the Furies #3 and DC Retroactive: Wonder Woman – The 80s and The 90s have been posted, but the Retroactive books still don’t have real covers… I’ll post those once they are released.  But there is one new Wonder Woman book!!  It’s the real, totally not a fake-out, they 100% promise it’s the last one finale to the “Odyssey” storyline, Wonder Woman #614:

Written by J. MICHAEL STRACZYNSKI and PHIL HESTER; Art by DON KRAMER and WAYNE FAUCHER; Cover by JOSHUA MIDDLETON 1:10 Variant cover by ALEX GARNER

The all-new Wonder Woman reaches the end of her epic “Odyssey” and comes face-to-face with the malevolent force behind it all! But the only way to defeat her nemesis may be to become her – giving her own powers over to an all-consuming hatred for life on Earth! Is Diana strong enough to control a force that seeks vengeance on all mankind, or will the warrior within her condemn her to a life of eternal bloodshed?

First off, that Joshua Middleton cover is fantastic… he’s supposed to do the Wonder Woman #613 main cover too (I suspect this picture might actually be the #613 cover… it’s been months since an issue of Wonder Woman has hit the stands with the originally solicited cover), and I hope he sticks around for whatever comes next for the series.  Preferably on interior art… that would be crazy fun!!  But at least on covers.  This cover is the first time I’ve actually really liked the new outfit.

Storywise, an “all-consuming hatred for life on Earth” sounds ominous, but we know how these things end.  I expect Wonder Woman will be back to her normal self in September, and I am curious to see who’s going to be writing and drawing the book.  Bleeding Cool points out that pretty much every major DC book comes to a conclusion of some sort in August, which coincides with the end of Flashpoint (we know that “Odyssey” was supposed to end in June but DC extended it two more issues, perhaps to match this timing?).  They also say that every DC book is going to relaunch with a new #1 in September, so we’ll see what that brings for Wonder Woman in the weeks ahead.  Hopefully anyway… DC likes to tease things, but this sounds like a situation where they might go radio silent instead.

Other notable solicits news:

  • There are A LOT of Flashpoint books.  June, July, and August are going to be exhausting for doing the Women in Comics stats!!
  • There’re a lot of Retroactive books too!!  I am going to be worn out!!
  • I sincerely hope that the “identity crossroads” in the Batman #713 solicit means that Dick Grayson isn’t going to be Batman anymore.
  • Kelly Sue DeConnick’s Supergirl sounds like it’s going to be a lot of fun.
  • Darwyn Cooke’s cover for Justice Society of America #54 is awesome.
  • I want to buy the 100 Bullets hardcovers even though I already have the trades… that series deserves to be bought in every format possible
  • Of course this hypothetical renumbering won’t last… I mean, books like Detective Comics and Action Comics are institutions, plus they just redid the Wonder Woman numbering.  If this renumbering thing happens, I expect some of it to be quickly undone.

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