Posts Tagged ‘Meredith Finch’

Wonder Woman #51 Review: It’s Almost Over, Gang

April 20, 2016

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“Rebirth” is so close now. Today’s Wonder Woman #51 is the penultimate issue of the series. The Finches will wrap up their run next month, and then Greg Rucka’s coming in with Liam Sharp and Nicola Scott to relaunch the book and hopefully make it not terrible anymore. Yes, another relaunch is sort of ridiculous, but I’m very much looking forward to it because a) Rucka knows how to write comics, b) Sharp and Scott are great artists, and c) there’s no way that they could make a worse Wonder Woman than what we’ve been getting over the past year and a half.

Case in point, this month’s issue. It serves as both a tour through the unpleasant missteps DC’s made with Wonder Woman throughout the New 52 era and as just a bad comic that’s part of a dumb arc. Wonder Woman’s in Tartarus because Hecate sent her there through a variety of painfully obvious lies and manipulations that sailed right over Diana’s head, and so she’s stuck dealing with some troubling manifestations of her subconscious mind or whatever. It’s not great stuff. We’ll discuss it all for as long as I can handle it (you’ll notice I didn’t even review last month’s issue; I was out of town visiting family and just couldn’t muster the energy to engage with the fiftieth issue “special”), but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

I am about to tell you ALL OF THE THINGS that happen in this issue!

Look away if you haven’t read it yet!

Or don’t! Whatever! I don’t care anymore!

So Wonder Woman is in Tartarus because she’s an idiot, basically. Or rather, because she’s being written as such. Everything about Hecate screams “SHE’S A VILLAIN!”, from the spiky horns coming out of her head to her telling Diana that she needed to steal from her friends and not tell anyone what she was doing or who she was working with. I mean, come on now. Those are some red flags. This is the issue where Wonder Woman figures out that she’s been duped, but it’s several issues too late. She should have put the pieces together on this one as soon as she met Hecate, just like every reader did.

The attempted emotional reveal of Wonder Woman realizing the mistakes she’s made falls completely flat. Having Wonder Woman look stupid never makes for a fun read. Furthermore, this astoundingly poor characterization of Wonder Woman takes you right out of the story. Instead of engaging with what’s going on, the reader is left wondering why Diana is even in this situation in the first place, and why a writer would do this to the character, and how an editor could possibly let this story be published.

While in Tartarus, Wonder Woman has some visions related to her past. First, we get her Amazon foe Aleka making fun of a young Diana, a reminder of how the Amazons have been the worst in the New 52. It was really interesting to hear Greg Rucka talk about the Amazons on the Word Balloon podcast after his return to Wonder Woman was announced, because he made the point that the Amazons are all about love, support, and trust. Jealousy and bitterness just aren’t how the Amazons should roll, yet that’s been the core of the Amazons since the New 52 relaunch. Rucka didn’t call out any of the New 52 books specifically because he’s a classy dude, but you got the sense that he saw the current depiction of the Amazons as a big misstep by DC.

Wonder Woman also has a vision of Superman, another of the New 52’s poorest choices. Their relationship never made much sense, nor did they have a lick of chemistry. Several writers took a stab at it too, across a variety of books, but it never landed in any real way. In fact, most of the time it was poorly handled and offputting. So this conversation, in which Diana talks about how she thought about settling down and starting a family with Clark, is an unpleasant reminder of their ill-fated relationship as well as not particularly believable. Their entire relationship was DC telling us they love each other without ever showing it or selling it, and this was more of the same.

Then Hera shows up and she and Wonder Woman fight, and Wonder Woman realizes that she was dumb to trust Hecate. After making up, they escape Tartarus and head back to Olympus to check on Zola’s baby Zeke, whose illness was the genesis of all of this foolish subterfuge. We don’t learn what’s up with Zeke but, shocking twist, it looks like Zola is dead.

This had better be a fake out, because Zola has been a great character and one of the consistent bright spots in what’s been a very up and down five years for Wonder Woman. I like Zola a lot, even though the Finches never seemed to get her right at all; she was so much fun during Azzarello and Chiang’s tenure, and I like what she adds to the Wonder Woman mythos. She’s sort of a charming, redneck Etta Candy, and serves the important role of keeping Diana grounded with a human friend. So if she’s actually dead, I’m going to be pretty upset.

I suppose we’ll find out next month with the series finale. Given the entirety of what’s preceded it during the Finches’ run, I have no hope that it will be good, but it will be the end. And then “Rebirth”! One issue to go, gang. We can do it.

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Women at DC Comics Watch – May 2016 Solicits, 23 Women on 20 Books

March 2, 2016

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In the last month before DC Comics relaunches their superhero line yet again, the publisher’s female creator representation is set to be on the low end of their current average range. Thus far in 2016, DC has had at least 20 different women writing and drawing their comics each month, and this May is no exception, but the numbers have ticked down slightly from the two months previous. Let’s take a look at who’s doing what at DC in May 2016:

  • Amanda Conner: Harley Quinn #28 (cover, co-writer), Harley Quinn and her Gang of Harleys #2 (cover), Starfire #12 (co-writer, cover)
  • Amy Chu: Poison Ivy: Cycle of Life and Death #5 (writer)
  • Annie Wu: Black Canary #12 (art and cover), Gotham Academy #18 (interior art)
  • Babs Tarr: Batgirl #52 (cover)
  • Bilquis Evely: Legends of Tomorrow #3 (interior art)
  • Eleonora Carlini: Batgirl #52 (interior art)
  • Elsa Charretier: Starfire #12 (interior art)
  • Faith Erin Hicks: Gotham Academy #18 (writer, interior art)
  • Gail Simone: Clean Room #8 (writer), Secret Six #14 (writer)
  • Helen Mingjue Chen: Gotham Academy #18 (cover)
  • Holly Black: Lucifer #6 (writer)
  • Jenny Frison: Clean Room #8 (cover)
  • Joelle Jones: Scooby Apocalypse #1 (variant cover)
  • Laura Braga: DC Comics Bombshells #12 (interior art)
  • Lauren Beukes: Survivors’ Club #8 (co-writer)
  • Marguerite Bennett: DC Comics Bombshells #12 (writer), DC Comics Bombshells #13 (writer)
  • Marguerite Sauvage: Unfollow #7 (interior art)
  • Meredith Finch: Wonder Woman #52 (writer)
  • Ming Doyle: Constantine: The Hellblazer #12 (co-writer)
  • Mirka Andolfo: DC Comics Bombshells #12 (interior art), DC Comics Bombshells #13 (interior art)
  • Natasha Alterici: Gotham Academy #18 (writer, interior art)
  • Renae De Liz: The Legend of Wonder Woman #5 (writer, penciller, cover), The Legend of Wonder Woman #6 (writer, penciller, cover)
  • Stephanie Hans: Lucifer #6 (interior art)

All together, there are 23 different female creators set to work on 20 different books in May, a double drop from April’s 25 women and 22 books. It’s not much of a tumble, more of a slight shift that we can chalk up to the vagaries of comic book publishing; things fluctuate. It is, however, DC’s second month in a row of lowered numbers, and the total of female creators is a fair bit off from the year’s high of 31 in January. So not disastrous, but certainly below what DC is capable of.

By and large, the women working at DC in May are the usual suspects, and it’s good to see so many female creators getting steady work at DC. For new creators, I don’t think Natasha Alterici has done anything at DC before, and while Stephanie Hans has done a ton of work for Marvel, her art on Lucifer might be her first DC gig, which is very cool.

For female characters, with a relaunch just around the corner there wasn’t anything new on the superhero front, but DC is set to begin their Hanna Barbara relaunch in May. There aren’t any female creators in the mix thus far, apart from a Joelle Jones variant cover, and the number of female characters involved doesn’t seem too high, at least in terms of lead characters. Daphne and Velma will be part of the new Scooby-Doo Apocalypse, and there look to be a handful of women on the cover of Future Quest #1, but the leads all seem to be guys.

So May looks to be a slightly low month for women at DC, but within their average range. June is where things will get really interesting, with scores of new books and special set to debut as part of the “Rebirth” initiative. Hopefully that will be a jump in the number of female creators; we know what books are coming, but we’ve got no official confirmation on any of the creators yet. A number of books will be double shipping moving forward as well, which will probably mean rotating art teams and thus more opportunities for work. It’ll be interesting to see who nabs those opportunities. As well as which books don’t make the cut for the relaunch, and where the female creators working on those books end up. It can’t be worse than the New 52 relaunch, I suppose. Surely there’ll be more than two women in the mix.

Wonder Woman’s May 2016 Covers and Solicits

February 23, 2016

May is going to be another busy month for Wonder Woman, and will mark the end of her two mainline series. Wonder Woman is set to relaunch in June with a new #1 issue, while Superman/Wonder Woman will be done forever, thank goodness; that book never even got close to decent, despite three years of trying. But that’s June. In May, both series are wrapping up, plus Wonder Woman’s got a few other things in the mix, including a very cool surprise. Let’s take a look at what she’ll be up to in May, starting with Wonder Woman #52 and its two covers:

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WONDER WOMAN #52
Written by MEREDITH FINCH
Art by MIGUEL MENDOÇA
Cover by YANICK PAQUETTE
Variant cover by DAVID FINCH and MATT BANNING
On sale MAY 18 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
Hecate’s true motivations are revealed and Wonder Woman’s dream of a happy ending is called into question by the Amazon warrior herself. You can’t afford to miss the epic conclusion of the quest to save baby Zeke and the Olympians.

While we don’t have official confirmation on the new Wonder Woman creative team, all signs point to this being the last issue for Meredith and David Finch. And there was much rejoicing throughout the land. Their final outing wraps up the storyline of Zeke’s illness, and it sounds like Hecate might be up to no good. Really? The creepy looking witch goddess with the spikes coming out her head doesn’t have the purest of intentions? I did not see that coming (I actually did, in my review of the start of this arc last week. I think I was sarcastic about her then, too. That sounds like me).

Anyway, the Finches will be done and maybe the series will be good for a change from now on. Here’s hoping!

Onto Superman/Wonder Woman #29:

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SUPERMAN/WONDER WOMAN #29
Written by PETER J. TOMASI
Art by DOUG MAHNKE and JAIME MENDOZA
Cover by KARL KERSCHL
On sale MAY 18 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
It’s the penultimate chapter of “Super League”! When all the Supermen have fallen, it’s Supergirl to the rescue! But can Kara and Wonder Woman stop a villain who wants to end Clark’s hope for future Supermen?

This is a whole big crossover scene with all of the other Super-books, and seeing as I don’t buy any of those than I’m guessing this issue won’t make a lick of sense to me. But it’s a Wonder Woman/Supergirl team-up, and that could be fun. Plus a Karl Kerschl cover! This issue has some stuff going for it, certainly. Though it also sounds like a fitting end to this series that has consistently focused on Superman over Wonder Woman, with a Super-crossover that’s yet again all about the Man of Steel.

We’ve also got a double shipping Legend of Wonder Woman in May:

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THE LEGEND OF WONDER WOMAN #5
Written by RENAE DE LIZ
Art by RENAE DE LIZ and RAY DILLON
Cover by RENAE DE LIZ
On sale MAY 4 • 40 pg, FC, 5 of 9, $3.99 US • RATED T • DIGITAL FIRST
Double shipping in May! In issue #5, the Holliday Girls are off to Boston! But while the girls go shopping, Etta and Diana have more dangerous errands to run. Diana visits the newspaper that published tales of the Duke of Deception…and discovers a new mission—perhaps she can save Themyscira by saving the people of Man’s World from him!

THE LEGEND OF WONDER WOMAN #6
Written by RENAE DE LIZ
Art by RENAE DE LIZ and RAY DILLON
Cover by RENAE DE LIZ
On sale MAY 18 • 40 pg, FC, 6 of 9, $3.99 US • RATED T • DIGITAL FIRST
Double shipping in May! There’s a war devastating the outside world, and while Diana tries not to care, she cannot help but want to protect the many who are suffering. As she finally confronts the Duke of Deception and his minions, she must decide whether to chase her answers of home, or use her new strengths to defend the outsiders.

Double the shipping, double the fun! Two issues of the Legend of Wonder Woman sounds like a good deal to me. This book is so good, I’d gladly pay for it twice in one month. It’s the best Wonder Woman comic in years, by a considerable margin. We’ve seen the contents of the fifth issue already in digital form, and it’s super good; Diana and Etta hijinks are the best. And the next issue will finally have Diana going off to the war to battle the Duke of Deception, which should be an excellent time. It’s the best comic, gang. Buy it!

Finally, a fun surprise: A Wonder Woman coloring book!

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COLORING DC: WONDER WOMAN TP
Art by GEORGE PEREZ, PHIL JIMENEZ, DAVID FINCH and others
Cover by EMANUELA LUPACCHINO
On sale JUNE 29 • 96 pg, B&W, $15.99 US
DC’s Amazon princess stars in a new coloring book focusing on her greatest covers, splash pages and more by some of comics’ top artists!

This sounds SO cool. Wonder Woman art by her classic artists will be so much fun to color, plus the book is 96 pages long! That’s a lot of coloring bang for your buck. I’m excited to see what pages and covers they include in the book, and I’m definitely going to pick this one up.

The solicits also listed several new Wonder Woman figures. We’ve discussed most of them before elsewhere on the site, but here are the details of when you can get them:

  • The DC Comics Icons Wonder Woman figure designed by Ivan Reis is out in September 2016 for $28 US.
  • The DC Designer Series: Greg Capullo line Wonder Woman figure is also out in September 2016 and also sells for $28 US.
  • The September 2016 fun continues with a Wonder Woman 3-pack of figures that includes her first Golden Age appearance, the Terry Dodson figure, and the New 52 figure. It sells for a surprisingly steep $75US.

Look for all of the comics in May, the coloring book in June, and the figures in September. Also, maybe start saving your pennies now because that’s a lot of things to buy!

Wonder Woman #49 Review OR What the Hecate is Wrong with Zeke?

February 17, 2016

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Here’s the good news: “Rebirth” is coming. If the rumours prove true, DC is going to relaunch a bunch of their books in June or July, and apparently the top contender for taking over Wonder Woman is Marguerite Bennett. I am all for it. Bennett is a fantastic writer who’s been doing great work on a variety of different series lately, including writing Wonder Woman in DC Comics Bombshells, and I think she’d be a great fit. No artists have been announced yet, and nothing’s been officially confirmed in any way other than that “Rebirth” is some sort of thing that is going to happen this summer, but it seems like Wonder Woman will be heading in a new direction with new creators at the helm.

Until then, Meredith and David Finch are still on the book, running out the clock with a new storyline about Zeke, i.e. Zeus in the form of a child, suffering from a mysterious ailment caused by the chaos surrounding the Olympian gods. If this first issue is any indication, it’s not going to be a great arc. It may, however, be a fitting end to the Finch’s tenure, a nonsensical tale with offputting art and the lamest of twists and turns. We’ll discuss the issue momentarily, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

I am about to tell you everything that happened in this issue!

Look away if you haven’t read it yet!

Or if you hate reading about poorly crafted stories!

So here’s the scoop on what’s happening. Zeke is sick, and Hera sends Wonder Woman to find Gaia to try to get her to cure him. But Gaia won’t respond, and instead Hecate shows up; she’s a goddess of magic and witchcraft who’s all creepy looking with weird spikes coming out of her head. Despite Hecate being the sketchiest looking character ever, Wonder Woman decides to secretly work with her to help Zeke, and agrees to steal some orbs from the bottom of Hera’s pool, after which she gets knocked out by a cyclops and the issue ends with the one-eyed monster carrying her away.

There’s some other stuff in the mix, too: Hera seems to be doping Zola magically and may be up to something mysterious and/or nefarious, Ares and Eirene are maybe back together, and Apollo is on the prowl for a new lady. None of it is particularly interesting.

Wonder Woman working with Hecate AND not telling her friends about it is just straight up dumb. Stories like these drive me crazy; I hate it when characters who are supposed to be smart, sensible people do stupid things to add drama to the narrative. Such stories always reflect a lack of understanding of the character. Wonder Woman would never team up with such an obvious villain, much less keep her closest friends in the dark about it, no matter the circumstances. I get that she’s trying to save Zeke, but she’s not an idiot. It’s obvious that this team up isn’t going to end well for her, yet she launches herself into it and steals from Hera, who’s become one of her closer allies over the years. And now she’s captured by a cyclops and no one even knows because she was skulking through Olympus on the sly. This is why you always go with the buddy system, gang.

Also, Wonder Woman could take a cyclops, even if it snuck up on her. Cyclops are hardly good sneakers, anyway. They’re huge! She’d hear him coming and take him out accordingly. I mean, she’s Wonder Woman.

So the plot is silly and makes Wonder Woman look bad, which is uncool. Even worse, the design of Hecate is just pure David Finch. He’s actually done a solid job through this run of reining in his art some; his Diana started out looking like a weirdly sexualized teen, and he evolved her look so that she’s now more mature. Kudos to him for that. But before Wonder Woman, Finch was known for some bad, super sexualized artwork. His Catwoman in Justice League of America had her zipper undone to her navel. He created a character in Batman: The Dark Knight who was basically a playboy bunny. Historically, his work with female characters hasn’t been great.

Such is the case with Hecate. First off, the gal is barely covered, which is irksome. Any new female character design that is basically just some version of a bikini is hot garbage. It’s 2016; give her an actual costume. Also, this hot girl with evil tweaks aesthetic is played out. Finch draws Hecate’s face in his usual style; his range with female faces isn’t great, so her features are generically attractive. On top of this, he adds weird horns and tattoos and snake eyes to make her more gruesome, but it just doesn’t come together. It’s not a complete design. It’s a standard Finch face with evil accoutrement. Finch is actually really good at drawing monsters and creepy creatures, and I’d be mildly curious to see what direction he’d take a more monstrous version of Hecate that embrace the evil bits a little more. But a pretty gal with spiky horns is just boring.

Frankly, “boring” is a good word for this issue as a whole. The Finches are setting up lots of things, putting a bunch of balls in the air as the arc begins, but it’s all so dull. Nor does any of it feel true to the character, nor is any of it particularly well drawn. It’s yet another issue of this run where I find myself asking who thought that this story was a good idea, on any level but particularly with editorial. It’s just such a poor product all around.

Women At DC Comics Watch – April 2016 Solicits, 25 Women On 22 Books

February 2, 2016

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DC’s April 2016 solicits mark the seventh straight month in which DC has had more than 20 different women working on their books, which is a pretty solid run. There’s been some fluctuation along the way, but things haven’t dipped into the teens. Nor have the numbers soared particularly high; we’re not seeing much in the way of growth, or a return to their past highs in the low 30s from a year ago. But things are relatively steady nonetheless. Let’s take a look at who’s doing what in April 2016:

  • Amanda Conner: Harley Quinn #27 (co-writer, cover), Harley Quinn and her Gang of Harleys #1 (cover), Harley’s Little Black Book #3 (co-writer, cover), Starfire #11 (co-writer, cover)
  • Amy Chu: Poison Ivy: Cycle of Life and Death #4 (writer)
  • Annie Wu: Black Canary #11 (cover)
  • Babs Tarr: Batgirl #51 (cover)
  • Bilquis Evely: Legends of Tomorrow #2 (interior art)
  • Chrissie Zullo: Fables: The Wolf Among Us #16 (cover)
  • Colleen Coover: Gotham Academy #17 (interior art)
  • Eleanor Carlini: Batgirl #51 (interior art)
  • Elizabeth Torque: DC Comics Bombshells #11 (interior art)
  • Elsa Charretier: Starfire #11 (interior art)
  • Faith Erin Hicks: Gotham Academy #17 (co-writer, art)
  • Gail Simone: Clean Room #7 (writer), Secret Six #13 (writer)
  • Heather Nuhfer: Teen Titans Go! #15 (co-writer)
  • Holly Black: Lucifer #5 (writer)
  • Jenny Frison: Clean Room #7 (cover)
  • Jill Thompson: Bloodlines #1 (variant cover)
  • Lauren Beukes: Survivors’ Club #7 (co-writer)
  • Marguerite Bennett: DC Comics Bombshells #11 (writer)
  • Meghan Hetrick: Red Thorn #6 (interior art)
  • Meredith Finch: Wonder Woman #51 (writer)
  • Ming Doyle: Constantine: The Hellblazer #11 (co-writer)
  • Mingjue Helen Chen: Gotham Academy #17 (cover)
  • Mirka Andolfo: DC Comics Bombshells #11 (interior art)
  • Renae De Liz: The Legend of Wonder Woman #4 (writer, penciller, cover)
  • Tula Lotay: Slash & Burn #6 (cover)

All together, there are 25 different women working on 22 different books, the same number of books as last month but a drop from March’s 28 different woman. It’s a slight decline, but numbers fluctuate. While three fewer women is more than you’d like to see, it’s not a massive drop by any means, and 25 is pretty par for the course at DC lately.

There aren’t a lot of new names in the mix for April, but I think that Eleanor Carlini might be new to DC. Plus, it’s always fun to have creators like Colleen Coover, Faith Erin Hicks, and Jill Thompson pop into DC to do some work. DC’s compiled a pretty solid group of women who work on their books each month now; there are lots of steady gigs in the mix here. Even without guest creators or fill-ins or variant covers, DC would be at around 20 different women each month with regular creators alone. Such a permanent stable of regularly working women is good to see.

For female characters, April looks to be Harley Quinn month at DC. She’s launching yet another spinoff, Harley Quinn and her Gang of Harleys, and will start in a Suicide Squad special drawn by Jim Lee. There’s not much else new for April, perhaps due to DC’s rumoured relaunch “Rebirth” this June. They might just be sticking with the books they have for now before unleashing a new slew of the over the summer.

Overall, April looks to be a fairly average month for women at DC. The number of women working on their books isn’t low, relative to past months, but nor is it particularly high. While DC’s hit on a fairly consistent range, an upward trajectory, however slight, would be much more encouraging, especially considering that 25 women still make up a very small minority of all of DC’s creators. Perhaps the “Rebirth” relaunch will shake up these numbers for the good.

Wonder Woman’s April 2016 Covers and Solicits

January 25, 2016

DC’s April 2016 solicits went up last week, and we’ve got the usual assortment of Wonder Woman fun plus a fairly surprising collection that’s due out in May. Of all the classic Wonder Woman runs that are currently out of print, I wasn’t expecting to see a spotlight shone on this one. We’ll get to that momentarily, but let’s start out with Wonder Woman #51:

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WONDER WOMAN #51
Written by MEREDITH FINCH
Art by MIGUEL MENDONÇA
Cover by DAVID FINCH
Variant cover by JOHN ROMITA, JR. and SCOTT HANNA
On sale APRIL 20 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
Wonder Woman returns to Paradise Island and the Tartarus Pit in her quest to save baby Zeke. But as she betrays those she loves in her struggle to save Olympus, she slips closer to an abyss in which she may lose Wonder Woman entirely!

Sigh. Still the Finches. Though with the rumours of a DC relaunch in June making the internet rounds as of late, my hopes are up that we’ll see a new team on Wonder Woman soon. But for now, this Zeke story is still rolling along with the Finches at the helm.

I actually don’t mind the cover, if only because it promises a dragon or a basilisk or some such, and Finch is pretty good at drawing that sort of thing. If there’s a big dragon fight in this issue, I might be on board. We’ll see what happens.

Next up, Superman/Wonder Woman #28:

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SUPERMAN/WONDER WOMAN #28
Written by PETER J. TOMASI
Art by ED BENES
Cover by PAUL RENAUD
Variant cover by JOHN ROMITA, JR. and SCOTT HANNA
On sale APRIL 27 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
In part four of “Super League,” Wonder Woman and Superman encounter the being that was discovered in BATMAN/SUPERMAN #31. But will this person be Superman’s savior—or destroyer? And what is Ulysses’s role in all of this?

Hooboy, this sounds not great. Tomasi’s run on Superman/Wonder Woman has been rough stuff, and Superman is currently the WORST; he’s such a jerk right now. So an event written by Tomasi with Superman at the center does not make this sound like an issue I am keen to read. Plus, the fourth part of a crossover I’m not going to read the rest of is never a great time.

Also out in April, the fantastic Legend of Wonder Woman #4:

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THE LEGEND OF WONDER WOMAN #4
Written by RENAE DE LIZ
Art by RENAE DE LIZ and RAY DILLON
Cover by RENAE DE LIZ
On sale APRIL 13 • 40 pg, FC, 4 of 9, $3.99 US • RATED T • DIGITAL FIRST
The seas have extracted a harsh price for Diana’s rescue of the outsider, casting her adrift upon the shores of Man’s World! A kind woman introduces her to this strange new home, and a new friend bolsters her confidence, but throughout the early days of her adventure, strange dreams of violence plague her nights.

I love this book! The digital issues are way ahead of the print, so I’ve already read two of the three digital installments that will be included in this print issue. And they’re GREAT. Etta Candy is in it in all of her classic, Golden Age glory, and it’s so much fun. This title is the best Wonder Woman comic on the stands, and if you’re not reading it, you’re missing out.

And finally, the aforementioned surprising collection:

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WONDER WOMAN BY MIKE DEODATO TP
Written by WILLIAM MESSNER-LOEBS
Art and cover by MIKE DEODATO
On sale MAY 11 • 376 pg, FC, $24.99 US
Collecting Mike Deodato’s run on WONDER WOMAN from issues #85, 0 and 90-100! In her mother’s eyes, Diana has not lived up to the task of being Wonder Woman, and now the Queen of the Amazons sets in motion a contest where a new Wonder Woman will be crowned. But Diana sees things differently and decides take on any and all comers—until she is bested by Artemis!

This seems like an odd choice. There are so many other books I’d rather see new collections of. Maybe some of Rucka’s run, or Jimenez. But Deodato’s been a pretty hot artist at Marvel lately, so it makes sense that DC would reprint some of his early work. It’s not the best stuff, though. He’s pretty solid now, and I loved his recent Avengers work, but Deodato’s old Wonder Woman art makes me cringe. It’s the embodiment of 1990s hyper-sexualization, plus Wonder Woman ends up with a really dumb costume, even worse than that high collared thing she’s been sporting lately. It’s more an amusing relic than a classic run, though Artemis is kind of fun. Also, the page count seems very long for only 13 issues, so I’d expect a lot of extras with this one.

Look for all of these books this April (and May for the Deodato book) at comic shops everywhere!

Wonder Woman #48 Review OR A Boring, Whitewashed Revamp of Doctor Poison

January 20, 2016

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I’ve been having a very nice but busy day so far. I’m still amped up from the Wonder Woman footage in last night’s “Dawn of the Justice League” special, and pleasantly surprised to have a bit of optimism about the film now. A couple of work things have come together in cool ways that I wasn’t expecting, with fun things working out on multiple fronts. Plus I had left over three cheese ravioli for lunch. Everything’s coming up Tim today.

So after that very busy morning and late lunch break, I sat down to read today’s Wonder Woman #48. Now, I never expect this book to be good. “Not actively unpleasant” would be a win when it comes to this run. But here, on this day that has been lovely thus far, Meredith and David Finch went and did the most boring, clichéd revamp of one of my favourite Wonder Woman characters. And now I’ve got to write about it! It’s killing my mood, gang, and I don’t appreciate it. Luckily, I didn’t get a chance to watch Agent Carter last night so my spirits will be rebuoyed soon enough when I dig into that. But for now, let’s chat about this issue after the requisite…

SPOILER ALERT!!!

I am about to reveal how the Finches turned a super cool character into something painfully dull!!

Look away if you haven’t read the book yet!!

Or if bad Wonder Woman comics make you sad!!

Let’s begin by jumping in the wayback machine for a quick history lesson about the original, Golden Age Dr. Poison. She first appeared in Sensation Comics #2, only the third Wonder Woman comic book ever made. The fiendish doctor was working with the Nazis, trying to poison American soldiers with the drug “Reverso” that made them do the opposite of what their officers commanded them. Doctor Poison wore a bulky green suit and a black mask, and was sort of grotesque. The villain’s creepy toothy grin was accompanied by bulged out eyeballs; it was a grim, unnerving countenance of a sinister man. Then, at the end of the issue, Wonder Woman ripped off the fiend’s costume and mask to reveal that Doctor Poison was actually the lovely Princess Maru, a chemical genius bent on destroying America:

doctor

This was awesome for a couple of reasons. First, she was essentially a crossdresser. The comics never dug too deep into the mind of Princess Maru so we don’t know whether her male identity was a simple disguise, a way to get ahead in a man’s world, or something that was a deeper part of her. She could certainly be read as one of the first trans characters in superhero comics, and at the very least the gender ambiguity of the character was unique and surprising for the time.

She was also Asian, a Japanese princess. The Japanese were fairly common in early Wonder Woman comics, but they were often oafish, racist caricatures. Princess Maru was different. She was both brilliant and beautiful, plus her villainous guise was a costume that turned her into a white man. The existence of Princess Maru doesn’t excuse William Moulton Marston and H.G. Peter for their awful depiction of Asian men, of course, but again she’s definitely an absolutely fascinating character, especially for 1942. A later version of Doctor Poison retained the gender ambiguity, as well as the grotesque appearance, in a handful of issues in the Modern Age.

So now let’s return to the present to look at Meredith and David Finch’s Doctor Poison. She’s a white woman, Russian instead of Japanese. She also dresses like a doctor; no fun, crossdressing costume or creepy mask, just a lab coat. She’s not a princess of anything either. Thanks to some clunky exposition, we learn that she was the daughter of Russians scientists who were branded as terrorists by the Russian government after American spies approached them to learn about their research. Take a moment to pause and think about the most clichéd, stereotypical thing that could happen to Russian scientists when the government is after them. Do you have it? Was it “They got sent to the gulag in Siberia and tortured and killed”? If you did, well done! And now, for some reason, Doctor Poison is mad at the Americans instead of the Russians and tries to kill the President at a G8 meeting in London. Wonder Woman stops her, of course.

This Doctor Poison is SO. VERY. BORING. The original Doctor Poison is bizarre and fascinating and has so many interesting things going on with her. Or him? It’s hard to say. That’s why she, or he, is so cool. This Doctor Poison is just tediously generic. We’ve seen villains just like this countless times. Plus the whitewashing isn’t cool either. Why swap a bad ass Japanese princess for yet another boring Russian? What is the story value in that? Simplifying a character so enjoyably complex is just the worst.

Plus, even her plan is lame. Poison the President? Whatever happened to rad drugs like Reverso? Make it complicated and fun. All Wonder Woman had to do was suppress Doctor Poison’s dumb drone and the President was saved. Easy peasy. Her escape plan was nothing fancy either. Doping up some civilians to turn them into violent zombies is yet another plotpoint we’ve seen several times, IN Wonder Woman comics, even. Wonder Woman ’77 did it twice already, just last year.

So yeah, not a great issue. What a dull revamp, and such a waste of a cool character. Furthermore, the story just seems to be filler. The book ends with a reveal that should form the backbone of the series for the next few issues, Zeke being ill, but that’s got nothing to do with Doctor Poison and the 18 pages of story before it. Unless Doctor Poison somehow got to Mount Olympus and poisoned Zeke. That seems unlikely. It would be fun, though; they should do something weird like that instead of whatever they’ve got planned. I’d be into it. Anyway, urgh. This book exhausts me.


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