Posts Tagged ‘Marcus To’

Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman #6 Review: “Taketh Away, Part Two” By Ivan Cohen And Marcus To

September 18, 2014

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Finishing a tale that started in last week’s digital issue of Sensation Comics, this story certainly ended a lot better than it began. I was generally unimpressed with the first part; while it wasn’t egregiously bad by any means, it didn’t have a lot going for it either. This week’s second part was a more entertaining read that went in a couple of surprising directions.

What I enjoyed most about this issue was its choice of villains. After last week, I was anticipating some sort of showdown with the gods, whereby Wonder Woman proved herself to them or showed that she was just as strong without them. Instead, it turns out that the “gods forsaking her” angle last week was a nice bit of misdirection, and Dr. Psycho was behind everything. Before that reveal, Wonder Woman has an encounter with the Cheetah that was also unexpected and which made for a fun fight scene in a zoo. The shift from the gods to classic Wonder Woman villains was an enjoyable one, and was a twist that made clever use of the two-parter structure.

Along with this nice twist, Ivan Cohen’s writing was better all around this week. Wonder Woman fighting the Cheetah despite her lack of superpowers well captured the character’s determination and commitment, while using her brains instead of her brawn to ultimately defeat the Cheetah showcased Wonder Woman’s versatility. The takedown of Dr. Psycho at the end of the book was solidly executed as well, both with her fake out that lured Dr. Psycho to her and the subsequent page turn reveal of paramedics carting away Dr. Psycho on a stretcher in a neck brace. Both confrontations made for a good read.

I was less enthused about Wonder Woman’s talking to animals powers ultimately being what tipped her off. This is in part because I think it’s sort of a silly power; she’s not Animal Man, and while I can understand Wonder Woman having a connection to nature, when stories have her actually communicating with animals I tend to roll my eyes a little. I like the idea of Dr. Psycho forgetting to block out one of her minor abilities, but a comic whose resolution involves an explanation about how Wonder Woman can talk to animals just isn’t my jam. This plotline might have been aided by a little more subtlety at the end instead of such a straightforward run down.

Cohen very much stuck the landing with his final page, though. While talking with the talk show guy about the gods, Wonder Woman says, “It’s not my belief in them that’s important. It’s my belief in me.” It helps that she says this while flying off into the sky all cool-like. I love the sentiment that the gods, the very source of Wonder Woman’s powers in this particular incarnation of the character, aren’t as important as Wonder Woman believing in herself. She would still be a great hero without them, as we saw with the Cheetah fight. Her belief in herself is what matters most of all, and any Wonder Woman story that ends with a message like that is a good one in my books.

On the art side of things, Marcus To really picked up his game in this second issue. The Cheetah looked great, as did the snow leopard that ultimately did her in, and the fight scenes were much more kinetic than they were last week. There were some strong specific panels as well; I quite liked the bit where a dazed Wonder Woman is lying in the grass surrounded by chirping birds after the Cheetah threw her through a roof and into the bird sanctuary. It’s not an over the top panel, but there’s a slight comedic touch to it that I enjoyed.

I’m still not sure what was up with the poor “ugly” Wonder Woman reveal at the end of the last issue. When we learned this week that Dr. Psycho was behind Wonder Woman’s loss of abilities and that she still had them, she just didn’t think that she did, her continuing to look like herself made sense. Her beauty wasn’t gone, she just thought it was. But with the mirror panel at the end of the last issue, was Wonder Woman looking the same meant to communicate that her beauty wasn’t actually gone, as a sort of hint to the reader? Or did the slight bags under the eyes and such mean to illustrate how Wonder Woman saw herself, even though to me she looked about the same? If it was the former, that’s kind of clever, but the execution of it all left me confused. After a clever art move, the reader’s first thought shouldn’t be that the artist messed it up. Whatever was going on in last week’s final panel, it could have been done much clearer either way.

Overall, this was a decent issue. I liked the twist from what I was expecting, the art was better, and I got to read a story where Wonder Woman took down two classic villains in inventive ways. Even with the improvement shown in the finale, I’d still rank this story near the bottom of the list of what we’ve seen so far from Sensation Comics, but we’ve also only had four stories. That the bottom of the list is a fairly enjoyable tale speaks well for the series thus far.

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Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman #5 Review: “Taketh Away, Part One” By Ivan Cohen And Marcus To

September 11, 2014

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It’s tricky to review half of a story, especially when that first part amounts to only ten full pages of comic book material. It’s not a lot to go on, plus the more exciting bits of a comic tend to come toward the end of a story and you get to see how bits of the first part pay off. So let’s call this a tentative review, because a lot could change once part two comes out next week.

That being said, I definitely have some thoughts about this week’s digital issue of Sensation Comics regardless of how it ends later. On pretty much every level, it didn’t do much for me. I didn’t dislike it, but it was a decidedly average outing from a book that’s had a very strong beginning.

Let’s start with what I did like, which was the overall premise of the issue. Because Wonder Woman is an accepting and open-minded person, she states in a television interview that while she believes in the Greek gods, she’s not here to proselytize on their behalf. The gods, quick to anger as always, feel like Wonder Woman has denounced them and thus take away her powers. That’s a solid premise, and I’m curious to see how it plays out in the story’s finale.

However, the execution of this premise was fairly mundane. Ivan Cohen’s done a lot of great kids books for DC Comics, so maybe I was expecting more humour and fun from the story, but the writing was a little bit flat. Wonder Woman’s interview seemed unnecessarily long, with odd turns and no real pep, despite a bit of a cliffhanger that I assume will come up in some capacity next week. Wonder Woman’s interaction with an armed hostage taker was similarly uneventful. Cohen makes the gunman sexist, but in a very obvious way, and the scene’s attempt at a joke was mildly amusing at best. The dialogue throughout was okay, but there was no snap; there was no fire to Wonder Woman’s outrage, no cleverness from anyone, no real fun to any of it.

Wonder Woman’s loss of powers was also very telegraphed. She doesn’t realize that it’s happened until the last page, but earlier in the story when she wonders if there will be any repercussions from the gods for her statement, it’s clear that there will be. When she gets confused about where she’s going to stop a shooting and then fails to deflect a bullet, it’s obvious what is happening, though confirmation doesn’t come until the last page when Wonder Woman figures out what any reader could have put together pages before.

Marcus To’s art didn’t add a lot to the story, either. I’m a fan of To, but his work here matched Cohen’s writing in its middle of the roadness. Part of the reason the dialogue read so flat was because the characters didn’t have a lot of expression. The art felt very static and posed, lacking a sense of action and dynamism. Even when Wonder Woman fought some drakons at the end of the issue in a scene that felt needlessly tacked on to add a fight to the book, it was a fairly lifeless battle that was not helped by a white light that increasingly washed out the panels. The overwhelming light is on the colorist, but the rote art that accompanied it is on To.

The art also failed at a key moment in the issue’s cliffhanger ending. Wonder Woman realizes that the gods have forsaken her by looking in a mirror and seeing that her beauty, one of her gifts from the gods, is gone. The trouble is, in that panel she looks pretty much exactly like she did throughout the rest of the book. The only difference is a slight indication of bags under her eyes. She doesn’t look ugly, or even just average. She looks like a somewhat tired version of herself. It’s a pivotal moment in the story that the art doesn’t sell, at all.

Now, this isn’t a bad comic book at all. It’s okay albeit unexciting, and it’s failings are hardly catastrophic. It is, however, firmly average. Nothing’s terrible, but nothing is great or stands out as a really strong bit of writing or art. I’m hoping that next week’s finale will remedy this, and offer a good conclusion to a fun premise that just lacked a solid execution. Ideally, some of the things that read as mundane or dull in this first part will pay off in clever ways in part two, and my opinion of the story as a whole will shift firmly to the positive. I’ll be back next week to talk all about it, with the highest of hopes.

Cover And Solicit For Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman #2

June 23, 2014

Now that I’m home from vacation, I’m catching up on a few things I missed over the past two weeks. First up is all of the solicits for comics coming out this September. We’ve seen covers and solicits for September’s Wonder Woman and Superman/Wonder Woman’s “Futures End” event tie-in books already, but there’s now a third regular Wonder Woman book so let’s check in on Sensation Comics:

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SENSATION COMICS FEATURING WONDER WOMAN #2
Written by IVAN COHEN and JASON BISCHOFF
Art by MARCUS TO and DAVID WILLIAMS
Cover by GENE HA
On sale SEPTEMBER 17 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T • DIGITAL FIRST
Diana Prince’s heroics continue! Wonder Woman faces her greatest peril as the Gods’ gifts are withdrawn one by one. And since their first gift was life, how far will her unraveling go? Then, learn how Diana earned the twin bracelets that protect her from the bullets of Man’s World!

This sounds like a fun issue. Both Ivan Cohen and Jason Bischoff have been regular writers on DC’s cartoon-based comics so perhaps they’ll bring a lighter touch to their respective Wonder Woman stories. On the art side, Marcus To has worked on Red Robin and Huntress and recently drew the rather enjoyable Wendy’s kids meal Superman/Wonder Woman comic. There are a couple of David Williams who draw comics, but I’m guessing that this one is the artist who has recently worked on Batman ’66, Adventures of Superman, and Legends of the Dark Knight. Cover artist Gene Ha is the most well known of the bunch, with several Eisner awards and an impressive body of work that includes Top 10 and a variety of DC’s properties.

As much as I like this creator line-up, I’m a little bit disappointed to not see any female creators, especially after the first issue had several. I was hoping the series could be a showcase for female creators, but we’re already at all dudes and we’re only two issues in. Perhaps we’ll see more female creators with Sensation Comics #3.

Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman #2 is available in paper form on September 17, and the various stories it includes will be available digitally in the weeks leading up to that, so keep your eyes peeled for those.

Wendy’s Kids’ Meals Have Wonder Woman Toys And An Original Superman/Wonder Woman Comic Book

June 2, 2014

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Superman/Wonder Woman is coming out monthly from DC Comics, and it’s not great. Superman and Wonder Woman are dating, and the whole story revolves around Superman with Wonder Woman as his plus one; the book is very Superman-driven. But there’s a new Superman/Wonder Woman comic from an unusual place, Wendy’s Kids’ Meals. The original comic, written by Josh Elder with art by Marcus To, is a lot of fun. There’s no annoying romance stuff, just a classic superhero team-up to defeat Brainiac. It’s a Superman villain yet again, but beggars can’t be choosers.

The story begins with an exhibit of Amazon artifacts at a Metropolis museum that is rudely interrupted by Brainiac. Superman and Wonder Woman split up the duties, with Superman flying off to confront Brainiac while Wonder Woman takes down his legion of robots:

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Superman’s assault ends poorly, so Wonder Woman hops in the invisible jet and flies to Brainiac’s ship. The fight goes well initially:

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But Brainiac soon gets the upper hand. The solution, of course, is teamwork! Superman and Wonder Woman work together to defeat Brainiac and through their combined efforts save the planet:

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It’s an enjoyable comic from a team who knows how to tell fun stories. Josh Elder’s worked on the Scribblenauts and The Batman Strikes! comics, while Marcus To has drawn Red Robin, the Flash, the Huntress, and many other characters. The comic is edited by Alex Antone, one of DC’s big digital editors, and DC’s digital line has a solid track record of entertaining books. You can get the comic at Wendy’s, or check it out as a motion comic online.

But if you go to the restaurant, you can also get toys! Check out the cool stuff that comes with the kids’ meal:

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That disc toss looks pretty fun, but I’m all about that invisible jet. I am definitely making a trip to Wendy’s in the near future to pick up one of those. It looks super cool.

My thanks to DC Women Kicking Ass for spotting the toys! It’s been a long time since we’ve had Wonder Woman toys in a chain restaurant kids’ meal.


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