Posts Tagged ‘Michael Jelenic’

Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman Review: “Generations, Part 2” by Michael Jelenic, Drew Johnson, and Ray Snyder

November 6, 2014

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I quite enjoyed the first part of “Generations” in last week’s digital issue of Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman, and I’m very glad to see that the story ended with an even stronger issue this week. Editors Kristy Quinn and Jessica Chen have done a fantastic job of cutting up a comic book that was created to be a standard, 22 page floppy into two digital issues; that can be a hard transition to pull off, and it worked out beautifully. I can absolutely see why they wanted to save this older, unprinted fill-in issue from the dustbin. It’s a lovely story, with excellent work from everyone involved.

The issue picked up where we left off last week, with Hippolyta bored out of her mind at her birthday party and Diana fighting the Cheetah over a phoenix egg. Part one was a strong mix of humour and action, and part two continued both of those elements and adds in some heart as well. It turns out that Diana skipped her mother’s party to go get her the phoenix egg to replace the one she broke as a child, fulfilling a promise she made years before. It was a heartwarming ending to a great story.

It was also a well constructed ending, as Wonder Woman was able to defeat the Cheetah by remembering the lessons that her mother taught her. In getting a gift for Hippolyta, Diana had to use all of the gifts that Hippolyta gave her. The relationship between Wonder Woman and Hippolyta is one of my favourites in all of comics, though I find it’s rarely done well. Michael Jelenic has done a marvelous job exploring it here, and it’s nice to see that Sensation Comics has depicted their relationship well in several stories now.

Jelenic also captured the core of who Wonder Woman is and what she stands for in a great speech given by Hippolyta to her daughter. “Fighting for something bigger than yourself” is not a groundbreaking sentiment, but it was delivered in a way that showed how important that message is to both Wonder Woman and the Amazons as a whole. Plus, the setting with the fire and Hippolyta explaining that the fireside is where knowledge has been passed down for generations added some extra gravitas to the scene. It was my favourite moment in what was a very strong issue.

The moment’s impact was heavily aided by artists Drew Johnson and Ray Snyder as well. Their art was just as fantastic as what we saw last week, and the regal majesty they instilled in Hippolyta added even more to the already great speech. The rest of the book was lovely too; they really hit it out of the park on every level, from big fight choreography down to small, quiet moments. What are these guys up to now, anyway? Google tells me that Johnson’s been on Ghost for Dark Horse; that’s a nice fit. I’m surprised he hasn’t had a more prominent Big Two gig lately, though. The man is very talented.

Lizzy John’s colouring continued to be strong in part two, especially as all of the scenes merged together.   Part one began with different palettes for each scene: Wonder Woman and the Cheetah, Hippolyta at Themyscira, and flashback to young Diana and her mother. They all became united via fire, through the fire raging in Wonder Woman’s battle to the fire in the flashback to Hippolyta watching the battle from afar. The colour from the fire bled into each different locale, bringing them all together. Also, nicely done by whoever came up with using the fire to unite the scenes, whether it was the writer or the artist. It was very effective.

All together, this was a great story, and I think it’s going to look fantastic in print, the way it was originally created. Again, you’ll have to wait until January for that, but both digital issues are lovely too. So we’ve already got the full January print book released digitally, and are still waiting on stories from December, November, and even October! I’m starting to enjoy the randomness of the digital release schedule. It’s like a surprise every week.

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Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman #12 Review: “Generations, Part One” by Michael Jelenic, Drew Johnson, and Ray Snyder

October 30, 2014

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Still no Gilbert Hernandez! His story is in the print version of Sensation Comics that came out this Wednesday, but I haven’t gotten to my comic shop yet. What’s a guy got to do to get this story in a digital form? This week’s digital first issue is part one of a two parter, so I’m betting we don’t get Hernandez next week either. The ways of digital distribution are mysterious.

Luckily, we’ve got another good story this week so I can’t be too sad about the lack of Hernandez. I’m a sucker for a Hippolyta story, and doubly so when Phillipus is involved, so “Generations” by Michael Jelenic, Drew Johnson, and Ray Snyder is right up my alley. The issue has a dual narrative. In the first, Wonder Woman has tracked down the elusive phoenix just as it burns out before being reborn from its ashes. She’s there to recover the phoenix egg, which grants eternal life, but the Cheetah shows up to contest her for her prize. In the second, the Amazons are having a party and Phillipus is orchestrating the celebrations.

Jelenic does a good job of weaving the two separate stories together. Hippolyta is clearly missing her daughter’s at the party, while Diana is remembering her mother’s lessons about how Amazons engage in combat as she battles with the Cheetah. Both halves of the stories have very different tones. The party is light and fun, with some solid comedic moments. Phillipus’ play about the creation of the Amazons is particularly funny, with it quickly turning its focus to the Phillipus character. Some writers make the Amazons very serious and almost dour, but Jelenic has made them fun.

In the Wonder Woman half, it’s all action and excitement and blood. Wonder Woman yanks a spear out of her shoulder and throws it at the Cheetah; it’s hardcore stuff. But at the same time, the violence is tempered with Diana remembering to first seek peace before engaging in violence, which she does. Then when she’s rebuffed, it’s time to show her foe why peace was the better option. I really enjoyed how Jelenic framed the fight in this manner, using violence as a way to convince someone to try the peaceful route next time.

The art is great, though the layouts seemed a bit odd for a digital book. So I did some digging and apparently this story is an old one from the pre-New 52 era, created as a fill-in just in case the team on Wonder Woman was running late and DC had to publish something. It dates back to 2010 or so, and is set in the pre-New 52 continuity, but DC never had to use it so now it’s been repurposed for Sensation Comics. And I’m glad it has, because this is some of the best work I’ve seen from Drew Johnson.

Johnson was a regular on Wonder Woman in the mid-2000s, working with Greg Rucka during his run and popping up sporadically afterward. His work was always solid, but this issue is especially strong. His Amazons look fantastic, his Wonder Woman is regal, strong, and beautiful, and his Cheetah is fiendish and lithe. I’m excited to see the pages laid out as they were meant to be, in full page form, because I think they’ll be stunning. You can see a few of them as they were originally sized at Johnson’s DeviantArt page, if you are so inclined.

Ray Snyder’s inks are strong as well, and Lizzy John’s colouring is especially striking. Her use of warm reds and yellows in the Wonder Woman section and cooler blues and greens back with the Amazons create a nice contrast, and she’s achieved some lovely effects with her textures in a variety of areas, ranging from stones to skin tones. It’s a very pretty story all around.

And also, only part one! It was likely a 22 page story to begin with, so that’s more than 40 digital pages, and this week’s Sensation Comics comprises only half of it. It wasn’t created to be split up, but the artificial cliffhanger works well enough and the solid work throughout has me excited for the second half. The story is enjoyable and the art is wonderful.

If you’re waiting for the print version, it’s going to be a little while. This story, along with its second half, I assume, is scheduled for January’s print issue of Sensation Comics. It should be worth the wait, though. This is going to look great full sized.

Wonder Woman’s January 2015 Comic Covers And Solicits

October 21, 2014

DC Comics’ full January solicits went up yesterday, and Wonder Woman’s got a lot on the go with her three regular series. I thought that we might see the print version of the new Wonder Woman ’77 set for January as well, but it’s not on the list. Perhaps in February.

But we’ve got three other books I am looking forward to on a scale that ranges from “Not At All” to “Quite A Lot.” Let’s start with the book I’m least looking forward to, Wonder Woman #38:

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WONDER WOMAN #38
Written by MEREDITH FINCH
Art and cover by DAVID FINCH and RICHARD FRIEND
THE FLASH 75 Variant cover by TERRY DODSON and RACHEL DODSON
1:50 B&W Variant cover by DAVID FINCH and RICHARD FRIEND
1:100 Variant cover by DAVID FINCH and RICHARD FRIEND
On sale JANUARY 21 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
With her people against her, Wonder Woman has left Paradise Island more uncertain of her intentions than ever before! And with only the mantle of God of War to turn to, she’s challenged to give that up!

Well, that’s certainly an interesting cover. A berserker, blood spattered god of war Wonder Woman. Yeesh. That is not an appealing image.

As for the story, it sounds like Wonder Woman and the Amazons are having a bit of a spat. We’ve seen that sort of story done about 78 times before, including in the run that immediately preceded the Finches taking over, so that seems like an odd choice. It’s hard to have a fresh take on something that’s been done to death. Some month, I’d like Wonder Woman to have a really nice time in her own book for a change. Things go well, her family and friends are kind and helpful, and she takes out a bad guy and saves the day. No rage, no blood, no betrayal, just a pleasant day of superheroing. I know, it’ll never happen.

Onto Superman/Wonder Woman #15, which I remain very curious about:

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SUPERMAN/WONDER WOMAN #15
Written by PETER J. TOMASI
Art and cover by DOUG MAHNKE
THE FLASH 75 Variant cover by IVAN REIS
On sale JANUARY 14 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
Combo pack edition: $4.99 US
Wonderstar’s destiny is starting to become clear – and his path may lead to the end of humanity! Will Superman and Wonder Woman be able to prevent him from becoming what – or who – he’s meant to be?

I love that Superman is getting blasted on the cover while Wonder Woman remains unharmed. That’s a fun change from what we’ve seen in past Superman/Wonder Woman covers.

Also, random sidenote, is it just me or does Wonder Woman look like the gal from The Blacklist on that cover?

I know absolutely nothing about this run or the new Wonderstar character on account of Tomasi and Mahnke don’t even start on the book until next month, but here’s my theory on what’s going down: Wonderstar is either Superman and Wonder Woman’s kid from the future and/or an alternate universe, or it’s some kind of mixed clone thing that’s half Wonder Woman and half Superman. Either way, I think they’ll have some parental connection to this new character, and that’s why they’re so involved with him. We’ll see how it plays out over the next few months. I’m probably absolutely wrong, but you never know.

Finally, the book I am most excited for, Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman #6:

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SENSATION COMICS FEATURING WONDER WOMAN #6
Written by MICHAEL JELENIC and ADAM P. KNAVE
Art by DREW JOHNSON, RAY SNYDER and MATTHEW DOW SMITH
Cover by PAUL DAVEY
On sale JANUARY 21 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T • DIGITAL FIRST
Hippolyta’s first rule of war is demonstrated in “Generations,” as Diana and Cheetah battle over a phoenix egg – and its promise of immortality! Then Diana and Big Barda fight the awesome menace of robot gorillas in “Not Included.”

This cover isn’t doing much for me, but here’s what I’m excited about: BIG BARDA. I LOVE Big Barda, and a Big Barda/Wonder Woman team up is everything I could possibly want in a comic book. Plus they’re fighting ROBOT GORILLAS. Sign me up. This is already THE comic book of 2015 for me.

And there’s a Cheetah story too! Talk about bang for your buck. In a world of New 52 darkness, Sensation Comics is the gift that keeps on giving.

I will say that I’m a little bit disappointed at the lack of female creators, though. Usually Sensation Comics is good for at least one somewhere in the mix. Hopefully there’ll be some in February.

Look for all of these Wonder Woman comics in January online or at fine comic book shops everywhere!


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