Posts Tagged ‘Karl Story’

Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman #38 Review: “A Moment of Peace” by Matthew K. Manning, Georges Jeanty, Karl Story, and Dexter Vines

June 11, 2015

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I’m not entirely sure how I feel about today’s digital first issue of Sensation Comics. It’s a decent story that’s well told, but I have mixed feelings about its take on Wonder Woman. The issue digs into some interesting territory, exploring what happens after Wonder Woman’s had a particularly bad day. I just don’t know if I’m on board with the conclusion.

The story is fairly straight forward, in a good way. Matthew K. Manning does solid job of not overstuffing this one-shot story and allowing some necessary room for quiet as Wonder Woman deals with a rough case. Dr. Destiny had kidnapped and linked tons of people, many of which appeared to be children and teens, into some sort of apparatus that fed him their dreams like a drug. When Wonder Woman finds the scene, the prisoners look like dead eyed zombies, grimacing and emaciated. It’s a horrible sight that hits Wonder Woman hard. Batman can tell she’s upset about it, so he suggests a vacation in a mountain retreat. There she finds Solomon Grundy, who has been terrorizing the local town. She tries to deal with him politely, but has to throw some punches when he refuses to leave. It turns out that excising her frustrations through a supervillain brawl was exactly what Wonder Woman needed to move past her Dr. Destiny encounter, and that Batman had sent her there specifically so she could do so.

Manning does a nice job telling the story. It’s not verbose at all, but there’s a lot going on in the silence. You can tell that Wonder Woman is very much in her own head and sort of suffering for it. I found the set up a little odd; Batman is there at the beginning of the story, but waits for Wonder Woman and lets her handle Dr. Destiny. I’m not sure why he just didn’t do it himself, but perhaps we were meant to assume this was a case she was investigating, thus the impact of finding all of those missing people like that hit her even harder.

The art is good too. Jeanty, Story, and Vines convey Wonder Woman’s shock and pain well, and also capture her fury upon finding Dr. Destiny in an interesting way. She only gets to hit him once, because after that he’s out and Wonder Woman’s not the sort to beat an unconscious man, but there’s a coiled rage to her that suggests that just one punch was not enough for her.

This, of course, leads to the cathartic Solomon Grundy fight at the end, which is where my mixed feelings begin. I understand the story the creative team was telling, and I think it all comes together fine as a story. I just don’t know if Diana is the type to need to beat the hell out of something to feel better. She’s clearly beating up Grundy because she couldn’t beat up Dr. Destiny, and beating up Grundy is fine because a) the dude’s a beast and can take it, and b) he was busting up a local town and needed to be brought in. But to me, Wonder Woman isn’t the sort of person who carries a rage inside her like that. While the issue is striking in its silences, I feel like Wonder Woman would recognize that she was upset and go talk to someone about it, Etta or her mother or whoever, and then channel that negative energy into something more positive. “I’m angry and so I need to hit something” strikes me as a little bit primitive for her. She’s a warrior, yes, but she’s much more than that.  I just think she’d have a variety of better releases instead of more violence.

That’s just my opinion on the character, of course, and doesn’t change the fact that this is a well told story and a good read. The story will be out in print on July 15 in Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman #12, along with the awesome Wonder Woman/Poison Ivy team up from a few weeks ago. That’s going to be a great issue all around, so definitely pick that up if for some odd reason you’re reading detailed reviews of a digital comic you haven’t read yet.

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Wonder Woman’s July 2015 Covers And Solicits

April 24, 2015

July is going to be a very busy month for Wonder Woman. Between her own titles, team books, and guest appearances, it sounds like she’s going to be around a lot. This could get expensive for all the completist collectors out there! Let’s take a look at what Wonder Woman will be up to in July, starting with her eponymous series:

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WONDER WOMAN #42
Written by MEREDITH FINCH
Art and cover by DAVID FINCH and JONATHAN GLAPION
TEEN TITANS GO! Variant cover by BEN CALDWELL
On sale JULY 15 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
To replace Ares as the God of War, Wonder Woman must better understand him – and that means a journey to Ares’ home! You can just imagine what that entails! Plus, learn who is behind the attacks on Paradise Island!

This costume still does nothing for me. Nor does Wonder Woman getting into a fight with this heavily pouched soldier person. Ares’ home is a thing that could be cool in theory but probably won’t in execution. And the attacks on Paradise Island must be a new thing we haven’t gotten to yet, unless it’s the attacks on the Manazons from last issue, but we already know who did those. Anyway, not much to look forward to here, but such will be the case so long as the Finches are on the book, I fear.

Onto Superman/Wonder Woman #19:

julysww19

SUPERMAN/WONDER WOMAN #19
Written by PETER J. TOMASI
Art and cover by DOUG MAHNKE and JAIME MENDOZA
TEEN TITANS GO! Variant cover by SEAN “CHEEKS” GALLOWAY
On sale JULY 15 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
The Superman epic you never expected – “TRUTH” continues! Is there truth in madness? Harley Quinn and the Suicide Squad guest-star!

Details are still very sparse on this “Truth” storyline, though some spoilers have come out this morning that might shed some light on things. And it sounds awful. I won’t spoil it here, but go check out Bleeding Cool. Anyway, Wonder Woman seems involved not just in this book, but in most of the Superman line as “Truth” crosses over with at least four series. Technically I could list all of Super-books, really, but the solicits are all equally vague. If this is a story that piques your interest, just buy all the books.

Now to Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman #12:

julysensation12

SENSATION COMICS FEATURING WONDER WOMAN #12
Written by DEREK FRIDOLFS and MATTHEW K. MANNING
Art by TOM FOWLER, GEORGES JEANTY and KARL STORY
Cover by EMANUELA LUPACCHINO
On sale JULY 15 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T • DIGITAL FIRST
Diana’s visit to Paradise Island’s harvest festival is interrupted by monsters! Typhon, the last son of Gaia, is breaking free of imprisonment and his minions have already begun wreaking havoc. Help is coming from another woman with connections to the Earth Mother, but will Wonder Woman accept aid from Poison Ivy? Then, Batman sends Diana on a vacation in the mountains, hoping that “A Moment of Peace” will help her adjust to life in Man’s World.

The Fridolfs/Fowler story started digitally yesterday, and it is GREAT. So be sure to pick up this issue. It sounds like it’s going to be a good one, plus that Emanuela Lupacchino cover is pretty rad. She always does great work.

Wonder Woman is also front and center on the cover of Justice League #42:

julyjl42

JUSTICE LEAGUE #42
Written by GEOFF JOHNS
Art and cover by JASON FABOK
TEEN TITANS GO! Variant cover by DAN HIPP
On sale JULY 15 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
The epic “Darkseid War” event storyline continues with the critically acclaimed team of Geoff Johns and Jason Fabok! As Darkseid and the Anti-Monitor maneuver toward inevitable war, Wonder Woman leads the Justice League against a force that holds the answers on how to stop it – but the price might be Batman’s soul! Meanwhile, Mister Miracle faces off against a mysterious hero who has been fighting in the shadows for decades!

Wonder Woman is in the book every month, but I usually only spotlight it when she gets a good cover spot. I’m not reading the series, but from what I’ve seen of Jason Fabok’s take on her and her costume, I really like it. He seems to have a good grasp of the character. Also, in further spoiler news, it sounds like the Amazons may have a role in the upcoming “Darkseid War”, though not in a good way. Again, no direct spoilers here; head over to Bleeding Cool if you want to know what’s up.

Finally, Wonder Woman has a few guest spots lined up in July, but the one where she’s most prominently featured is Deathstroke #8:

julydeathstroke8

DEATHSTROKE #8
Written by TONY S. DANIEL and JIM BONNY
Art and cover by TONY S. DANIEL
TEEN TITANS GO! Variant cover by SEAN “CHEEKS” GALLOWAY
On sale JULY 22 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T+
“Godkiller” continues! Get ready for divine brutality when Slade’s contract on the Gods sends him smashing into combat against the one and only Wonder Woman!

The book is written and drawn by Tony Daniel, who spent some time with Wonder Woman when he helped launch Superman/Wonder Woman a while back. It’s not a terribly auspicious association with the character, and she looks oddly crazed here, but at least it’s nice to see Wonder Woman getting so much exposure in July. Weird she’s not in the new costume, though.

You better start saving up now to buy all these Wonder Woman comics in July! It could put a serious dent in your wallet.

A Smart Cover Change For Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman #9

April 15, 2015

I’ve been reading Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman digitally, but I always get the print version too because I am a big nerd and a paper enthusiast. Like many readers, I’ve noticed that the covers sometimes don’t match the tone of the story inside. Some issues have darker, bloody covers while inside there are cute, fun stories that would definitely appeal to younger readers. This disconnect is troubling because I love the series and want it to continue. Folks who buy the book with a dark cover expecting dark stories inside will be disappointed and maybe not purchase it again, while the folks who would enjoy the lighter fare might be turned away by a dark cover. It’s not the best sales strategy.

DC Comics seems to have noticed this discrepancy, and is making changes accordingly. Sensation Comics #9 and #10 were originally scheduled to have covers by Francesco Francavilla and Michael Zulli. The Francavilla cover was retro and fun, but the Zulli cover was weirdly dour and violent. Take a look:

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Now, the Francavilla cover has been moved to Sensation Comics #10 and the Zulli cover seems to have been dropped in favour of this brighter, friendlier cover by Ben Caldwell on today’s Sensation Comics #9:

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It’s a much nicer cover all around, and also far better reflects what’s inside the book. Lauren Beukes and Mike Maihack have a great, enjoyable story about little girls playing as Wonder Woman, and while I didn’t love Cecil Castellucci, Karl Story, and Chris Sprouse’s team up of Wonder Woman and Lois Lane, it’s much more in line with Caldwell’s bright cover than Zulli’s grim artwork.

So kudos to DC for changing the cover to fit the book’s contents, and thus giving the comic its best chance to find an audience. I know that lately some angry fanboys have been decrying cover changes as censorship, but some covers are just a bad fit for the book they’re supposed to be on. This was a good change by DC, and I like that they decided to do it themselves. There was no public outcry over the Zulli cover; the comments I saw about it were generally “Ehh, it’s not great”, but no one seemed to be getting mad about it. DC just changed it on their own, presumably to better match what was inside the book, and that’s smart comic book publishing. I harp on DC a lot when they make boneheaded moves, so they should definitely be applauded when they make a good one.

Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman #9 is available in comic book shops today! Go check it out! It’s pretty fun.

Sensations Comics Featuring Wonder Woman #27 Review: “Girls’ Day Out, Part 2” by Cecil Castellucci, Chris Sprouse, and Karl Story

March 5, 2015

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Last week’s opening installment of “Girls’ Day Out” was rather underwhelming, and failed to make use of the massive fun potential of a Wonder Woman and Lois Lane team-up. This week’s conclusion is no better, and perhaps worse, both in terms of structure and story. It’s a disappointing finish to a story I had very high hopes for.

Structurally, this issue was an even quicker read than last week’s. Not a single page has more than two panels, and altogether there are 31 panels spread across 20 pages. Almost half of the book is unnecessary full page spreads. You can read it all in about a minute. The writing is minimal, and the art seems lazy; when Lois saves the day with a flash mob armed with potted plants, we only see maybe 3 or 4 different people, hardly “mob” standards. It just doesn’t feel like anybody but a lot of effort into this story.

The story itself isn’t great either, and my major problem with it revolves around a scene where Lois is ensnared in Wonder Woman’s lasso of truth. First, Lois starts spitting out secrets left and right, which is just silly. I don’t think the lasso should automatically compel people to blurt out every secret they have, but that’s just being a nitpicky fan. I much prefer a take on the lasso where Wonder Woman controls the person in its grasp, and can force them to tell the truth if she so chooses.

Apart from my nitpicking, though, my bigger issue is with the truths that Lois reveals. Let’s go through them quickly:

  • “I feel insecure around you.” – This tired angle has been a constant for pretty much every Wonder Woman/Lois interaction. Can’t we just have them be friends who respect each other?
  • “I color my hair!” – So do most women. Why is this even a thing? Pointing it out like it’s some sort of juicy secret seems dumb.
  • “I’m worried about my career!” – Lois Lane? I don’t think so.
  • “I think you’re going to fail and we’re going to die!” – Again, Lois Lane? Not so much. Lois knows there’s always a way to beat the bad guys.
  • “I don’t believe superheroes will save the day!” – One last time, Lois Lane? Come on. Lois is all about superheroes, and sees the good in them even when the world doesn’t trust them.
  • “I think Clark Kent is kind of cute.” – Okay, this one I’m on board with. This is the only one that seems like a truth Lois would try to keep hidden.

Overall, this sequence is just a poor display of understanding Lois. It’s also indicative of the story’s approach to Lois as a whole; she never feels quite right.

In the end, the monsters are defeated and Lois gets to do a proper interview with Wonder Woman, which is a nice way to close the issue, but there’s just no meat on the bones of this two-parter. The characters don’t seem like themselves, the story is painfully short and rushed, and the whole thing is a forgettable waste of what should have been a great team-up. This easily could have been just one digital issue; it still wouldn’t have been good, but at least it would feel like you’re getting your money’s worth. Sensation Comics has been on a great run, but this was a misstep on every level. Next week’s issue is an Aaron Lopresti story with dragons, so let’s hope that turns out awesome.

Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman #26 Review: “Girls’ Day Out” by Cecil Castellucci, Chris Sprouse, and Karl Story

February 26, 2015

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Wonder Woman and Lois Lane are two of my favourite characters ever, so I was very excited to dive into this week’s digital issue of Sensation Comics. Their team ups over the decades have been hit and miss. Phil Jimenez had a good Lois story during his Wonder Woman run and George Perez brought her to Paradise Island for a fun arc, but petty jealousy and fighting over Superman have been the norm for a lot of their interactions dating back to the 1960s. There have been a lot of rough moments, for sure, and I had high hopes for a more modern, enjoyable team up here.

What we got in the first part of “Girls’ Day Out” was fine, if unremarkable. There was no cringe-inducing jealousy, nor did they come to blows battling for Superman’s affection, so that puts it way ahead of several of Wonder Woman and Lois’ past meetings. However, the whole issue was a little bit bland, largely owing to a poor use of the digital format.

It opened well enough, with Cecil Castellucci capturing what everyone should feel when they’re sitting across from Lois Lane: Fear. Wonder Woman thinks to herself, “I have faced gods in battle… yet somehow this seems harder.” It’s always a good call to highlight Lois’ reporting prowess. But the interview that follows is a puff piece for some undisclosed reason, with Lois asking if there are cat fights on Paradise Island and which superhero is hottest.

The scene is illustrated with a lot of repetitive art. Over multiple pages, Chris Sprouse and Karl Story use the same image of Wonder Woman over and over. It seems like this repetition of Wonder Woman’s frustrated face is supposed to be funny, but seven panels of basically the same piece of art over three pages instead comes off as lazy and flat. Lois changes, at least, but it’s Wonder Woman’s comic book. She should have more than one expression.

Things pick up a bit after this scene when a giant robot attacks them. Nothing breaks up the doldrums like a giant robot hand smashing through the window. Wonder Woman immediately takes on the robot, and Lois runs after her to cover the story and even starts fighting the robot herself. After the robot is defeated, weird creatures that were incubating inside start pouring out, setting up another battle in a cliffhanger ending. The robot fight is a fun idea, and I enjoy that Lois got involved, but the entire scene flies by. The fight takes up 15 pages, and there are only 20 different panels across this span. Furthermore, there are only 16 pieces of dialogue, either spoken or thought, over the same span. It’s a lot of full page spreads, and the sparse art is not balanced out by dialogue at all. Of course, not every page needs to have a bunch of panels or scads of word balloons, but a stark lack of both means that you can read the issue in about a minute and a half. You’re not getting much story at all.

The art itself is fine, but far from the best that I’ve seen from Sprouse or Story. Plus, with so few panels and so many full page spreads, you expect the art to be epic and justify taking up so much space, but it’s all just okay. It’s not bad art by any means. It’s just underwhelming for the amount of space that’s dedicated to it. Even the colouring is a little flat and uninspired, and Jordie Bellaire coloured the book! She’s one of the best colourists in the world, and the book still feels fairly bland.

Overall, Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman #26 is an average, somewhat uninspired story that fails to utilize the massive fun potential of a Wonder Woman and Lois Lane team up. Part two is coming up next week, and hopefully they’ll stick the landing and give us a more exciting tale that plays to both women’s strengths. If it’s 20 full page spreads of them busting up the creatures that spilled out of the robot, I’m not going to be impressed. The print version of this story will be out on April 15.

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:

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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:

aprilsensation

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!


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