Posts Tagged ‘Matt Haley’

Wonder Woman ’77 #6 Review: “Who Is Wonder Woman? Part 3” by Marc Andreyko, Matt Haley, and Richard Ortiz

April 16, 2015

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The final issue of this Wonder Woman ’77 arc ends with a bang as Wonder Woman faces a gang of some of her fiercest villains in a battle royale. Sort of. As the end of last week’s issue revealed, Dr. Psycho was behind the appearance of a new Wonder Woman and Diana’s apparent depowering, controlling her mind with some sort of fiendish apparatus. This week, Dr. Psycho’s still got some mental sway, but not enough to overcome Wonder Woman.

He conjures up a group of foes for Wonder Woman, including Giganta, the Cheetah, Silver Swan, and Cathy Lee Crosby’s Wonder Woman. After a few pages of fighting, Wonder Woman realizes that the villains aren’t real and wraps herself in her own lasso so that she can see what’s actually going on. What she finds is a fleeing Dr. Psycho, who she quickly nabs with her lasso, using it to make him think a legion of Wonder Woman zombies are after him. She returns him to prison, and then skips out on a date with Steve to instead relax in the tub. The gal had a long day.

The issue is a fun conclusion to the series’ second arc, and I was glad to see so many villains in the mix, even if they weren’t real. The first arc was just about Silver Swan, which was good and all, but it was cool to see classic villains like Dr. Psycho, Giganta, and the Cheetah worked into Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman universe. I always wondered why the TV show didn’t make more use of Wonder Woman’s classic rogues gallery, so it’s fun that we finally get to see Lynda Carter face off against them, even if it’s in comic book form nearly 40 years later.

The writing is strong throughout the issue, though necessarily sparse. It’s the big final fight, so there’s really no need for exposition or a lot of chitchat. I love the assortment of villains that Marc Andreyko picked, and that he focused so much on female villains. I also love that his Cheetah is Priscilla Rich, harkening back to her Golden Age incarnation rather than the Barbara Minerva incarnation that most fans are more familiar with these days. You’ve got to enjoy a deep cut like that.

Matt Haley and Richard Ortiz do a good job with the issue. They capture all of the villains well, and continue a strong and accurate depiction of Lynda Carter. That’s the lynchpin of the whole series, really. Wonder Woman HAS to look like Lynda Carter, or else what’s even the point? If she doesn’t, then it becomes just another Wonder Woman comic. Haley and Ortiz do a very good Carter here, giving us fans what we want most. I also like the subdued take on Dr. Psycho. He’s not deformed or creepy or over-exaggerated, a trap I’ve seen several artists fall into. Haley and Ortiz make him villainous without making him into some sort of crazed ogre.

Overall, this was a fun arc, and I’m excited to check out the collection of the first two arcs of Wonder Woman ’77 when it hits stores soon. It will be very cool to have some Lynda Carter Wonder Woman comics in print form. Digital is great, but for me there’s nothing like paper. It adds something to the experience, I find. I do sort of wish they’d print Wonder Woman ’77 and Batman ’66 on the old style, cheap paper though, just for fun, to capture the retro vibe even more. While I doubt it would be the best showcase for today’s modern art and colouring, it would be so cool. But modern paper is good too. Look for the Wonder Woman ’77 Special #1 in comic shops everywhere on May 6.

This might be it for Wonder Woman ’77 for a while, and perhaps forever depending on sales. It’d be great to see more, but I’m not sure what the plans are. Next week, Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman is back, promising some monsters and a great Emanuela Lupacchino cover!

Wonder Woman ’77 #4 and #5 Review: “Who Is Wonder Woman?” by Marc Andreyko, Jason Badower, and Matt Haley

April 9, 2015

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I was out of town last week and thus didn’t get to do my usual Wonder Woman digital comic review. I was disappointed to not dig into the first issue of the new Wonder Woman ’77 arc, but now that I’ve read the first two together, I’m glad that I waited. The reveal at the end of the second issue is not only a lot of fun, it totally explains away what would have been my only real criticism of these two issues.

Wonder Woman ’77 #4 begins with a dazed Diana Prince, unsure of what’s happened to her. She’s snapped out of her stupor by a cry for help, but her attempted spin change into Wonder Woman doesn’t do anything and instead another Wonder Woman shows up to save the day. Amusingly but somewhat confusingly, it’s Cathy Lee Crosby’s Wonder Woman from the little-watched 1974 television movie, a bit of a deep cut.

At first I thought this was an odd choice.   Not only is the Crosby Wonder Woman not very well known, this series is only four issues in.   We haven’t gotten that much Lynda Carter Wonder Woman yet, and we’re already swapping her out for a lesser known incarnation? I was further perplexed when an appearance from Hippolyta and Drusilla turned out to be Julia and Vanessa Kapatelis, Wonder Woman’s surrogate family from the George Perez years of Wonder Woman in the late 1980s. It all seemed like a mishmash of different eras of Wonder Woman, with not a lot of the Wonder Woman who was supposed to be headlining the book.

Eventually, the Lynda Carter version of Diana began to fight back against an angry Crosby Wonder Woman, and she soon emerged in the classic star spangled outfit and tiara we all love. That precipitated the big twist ending of Wonder Woman ’77 #5, a reveal so fun that I’m not going to spoil it here. Just go read the book. It’s classic Wonder Woman villain goodness and it will make you happy. Everything I was a little concerned about was immediately set aside, and the final issue in this arc is poised for a great conclusion.

While the different characters and twists were all a lot of fun, in general I am really impressed with how writer Marc Andreyko has adapted to digital comics. His first Wonder Woman #77 arc was enjoyable but a quick read that didn’t play to the strengths of the medium. This arc has had much more on the go thus far, and takes advantage of the digital format well. The result is a far more satisfying read. I had high hopes for Andreyko’s second arc, and I’m glad to see that he upped his game so well.

The art is also fantastic. Wonder Woman ’77 #4 in particular, drawn by Jason Badower, is gorgeous. He captures Lynda Carter beautifully and with great detail, and some of the panels are absolutely stunning. Romulo Fajardo Jr.’s colours perfectly compliment the line work, and really bring Carter to life. I mean, look at this spectacular Lynda Carter:

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The first issue is worth reading solely for the art; that the story is fun too is an added bonus. Matt Haley takes over with the second issue of the arc, and while his art is less detailed than Badower’s, it’s still solid work. Haley illustrated the latter half of the first storyline as well; he’s the go-to guy when the more detailed, initial artist seems to fall off schedule, and it looks like he’ll be back next week to finish the arc. Haley is a good artist, but it would’ve been nice to have complete Drew Johnson art in the first run and complete Jason Badower work in the second; these aren’t lengthy gigs, and it’s disappointing that for whatever reason they’ve had to be replaced.

Overall, these first two issues are a lot of fun, with a great twist that should set up an epic finale. Andreyko’s clearly steeped in the history of Wonder Woman, and while it seemed a bit haphazard at first it’s all came together at the end of today’s issue and I can’t wait to see where it goes from here. The final issue of this arc of Wonder Woman ’77 is scheduled for next Thursday, with Sensation Comics returning the following week, and the print version of this story will be collected in print in Wonder Woman ’77 Special #1 on April 29. Be sure to pick it up!

Wonder Woman ’77 #3 Review: “Disco Inferno, Part 3” by Marc Andreyko, Matt Haley, and Richard Ortiz

January 23, 2015

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The first arc of the digital-first Wonder Woman ’77 wrapped this week, and it was a solid ending that carried on most of the pros and cons of the two issues that preceded it. The conclusion wasn’t overly involved; Wonder Woman freed Steve from the Silver Swan’s hypnosis, defeated the Silver Swan, and celebrated with a dance party as Diana Prince. It was a lot of fun all around, if somewhat of a quick read.

Marc Andreyko writes a lot of great moments into this issue, as he has during this entire first arc. It’s all classic Wonder Woman fun, with lassoing and a boomeranging tiara and secret identity hijinks. It turns out that Diana was trapped in a broom closet for the entire time that Wonder Woman was fighting the Silver Swan and her mind-controlled horde; she always missed out on the excitement. The Silver Swan was defeated in a very era-appropriate manner as well, with Wonder Woman smashing the gem that powered the villain’s abilities by throwing a record at it, discus style. The book is silly and fun in all of the right ways.

The pacing is still not great, however. Like with the previous two issues, you burn through the book pretty quick. There’s not a whole lot of story here, but as I’ve said before it should all read better together in print.

There are some art changes in this issue as well. Drew Johnson is replaced by Matt Haley and Richard Ortiz, and it’s an odd change. Haley mimics the realistic style established by Johnson to some degree, as he did in the latter half of last week’s issue, though he doesn’t capture Lynda Carter as well and his pages lack a bit of life compared to past issues. Ortiz’s pages take a turn toward a more cartoonish style. The linework is thicker, the features are more exaggerated, and the difference is very noticeable. His Wonder Woman doesn’t really look like Carter, though his Lyle Waggoner is actually pretty good. All together, it’s an average outing on the art side of things, and it’s disappointing that Johnson couldn’t finish the whole storyline for whatever reason.

The book also has three different colourists, and it shows. The colouring starts smooth and nicely blended and gets rougher as the book goes on. It never veers into bad, however, though the changing lights in the disco make for a few odd choices, such as a Silver Swan whose skin appears to be bright pink at one point.

All together, it’s an enjoyable end to a pleasant first arc with a few problems here and there, some technical and some structural. While there are things that could be improved for the second arc, all of the fun of the television show definitely comes through and it captures that spirit well. I’m excited to see what other villains and adventures Andreyko and the rest of the team have in store when Wonder Woman ’77 returns.

Speaking of scheduling, it looks like Sensation Comics will return next Thursday, and run for at least two weeks; there are two issues available for pre-order on Comixology right now for the following two Thursdays. After that, it continues to be a crapshoot. I assume that Wonder Woman ’77 will be back for a second arc, probably three issues again, before the print edition comes out in April, but that’s a big window. Either way, there should continue to be some sort of Wonder Woman digital fun each week, and for that I am very glad.

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:

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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!

Wonder Woman ’77 #2 Review: “Disco Inferno, Part 2” by Marc Andreyko, Drew Johnson, and Matt Haley

January 16, 2015

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After a bit of delay, Wonder Woman ’77 #2 came out late yesterday afternoon on Comixology, so this review is a day late. So it goes. When we last left our intrepid heroine, she was at a bustling discotheque in her Diana Prince identity, trying to track down a Soviet defector, when she came across Silver Swan. Now, in the second issue, things get dangerous. Diana turns into Wonder Woman when she realizes that Silver Swan is using her singing to turn the crowd into zombies, but then Silver Swan makes the entire group attack her. Not even the most stout hearted of men is immune; the issue ends on a cliffhanger, with Wonder Woman held at gunpoint by Steve Trevor!

This was just an okay issue for me, largely because it felt very brief. In my review of the first issue, I mentioned that the creative team wasn’t making the most of the format and were moving more at the pace of a regular print issue instead of maximizing the story in each digital issue. This is even more pronounced in this second issue. There’s a big fight, and that’s about it. It’s a good fight, with some fun things going on, but there are a lot of pages that are just two panels or less and as a result the story is over very quickly. There’s nothing bad about the writing, it’s just sparse and a book you can whip through in two minutes isn’t ideal for weekly installments.

The art remains solid, but I noticed that as the book goes on the likeness to Lynda Carter is becoming somewhat intermittent. Some panels capture her well, while others just look like any generic Wonder Woman. Johnson and Haley seem to have a handle on her look when they’re closer up on the face, but once the art pulls back some they have a bit of trouble capturing Lynda Carter from afar when less detail is available to them. And really, this must be a tricky task. She’s got such an iconic look, and to communicate that in what often amounts to a fairly small drawing is probably quite difficult.

I don’t really have a lot else to say about the issue because it was so quick. Middle issues are always a tough review to begin with, much less ones where you don’t have a lot of story to talk about. Wonder Woman pulls a tiara boomerang move, so that was pretty fun. But, getting back to the book’s quickness, said boomerang move takes up two entire pages. Literally 10% of the book is dedicated to it. I love a tiara boomerang move as much as the next guy, but that’s too much space.

Still, the book is a good time and I think it will read great in print form. I’m looking forward to the finale next week, and for the next storyline as well. Andreyko is a very good writer, and with this story under his belt I’m optimistic that he’ll have a better handle on how to make the most out of digital storytelling in the next arc.


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