Posts Tagged ‘Miguel Mendonca’

Justice League Dark and Wonder Woman #1 Review: The Witching Hour Draws to a Close

October 31, 2018

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The spooktacular conclusion of “The Witching Hour” crossover has come on the most apt of days. Happy Halloween, everyone! I hope that you’re having some creepy fun today, and that you bought good treats to give out to the kiddies tonight. Don’t cheap out! “Fun-sized” is a lie. And of course, give double the treats to anyone who dresses up as Wonder Woman. Those children are wise treasures with excellent taste and should be rewarded accordingly.

But while the kids (and let’s be honest, the grownups too) are digging into some tasty fun today, the treats were few and far between for the Justice League Dark team. “The Witching Hour” is over now, more or less, as we knew it would be. Crossovers can’t go on forever. And of course all of our intrepid heroes are richer for the experience and all of that. But it was an ending that came with a cost. Several, really. And the ramifications of this event look like they’re going to reverberate through the DC Comics universe for some time. Let’s dig into it all, but first:

SPOOKY SPOILER ALERT!!

Look away if you haven’t picked up today’s special issue!

It’s a good book! You should get it!

So, the heroes won. Shocking nobody. This is a superhero comic book, after all. Some things are a given. But a lot of things got wrecked along the way. I’m guessing a few of them won’t last, like the destruction of Nanda Parbat and the Parliament of Trees. Whenever DC wants to do a new Deadman or Swamp Thing book, they’ll figure out a way to bring both of those back and get rid of the Hecate replacements. “The Witching Hour” isn’t some sort of Crisis level event. It’ll affect the Justice League line for a while, certainly, but I feel like a few of the larger changes to the canon will be easily undone down the road. But some are clearly going to stick. The weakening of the veil between the world of the heroes and the world of those creepy magic eaters is definitely going to be a problem. Plus, Circe. Bad ass, crafty Circe. I’m very curious to see what she has planned for all of this power. Especially after Hecate tried to destroy and then recreate magic entirely. How’s Circe going to top that? I’m sure that James Tynion IV has something suitably epic cooking up in that brain of his.

In another non-shock, Wonder Woman survived the event after last week’s dramatic cliffhanger. Turns out, she wasn’t dead. Just sort of stuck. So she’ll be ready to go next month when G. Willow Wilson and Cary Nord take over Wonder Woman. But as inevitable as all of that was, it still played out enjoyably in the comic. I loved that Diana embraced the idea of her moon trap being a metaphor, and thus something she could escape because it wasn’t actually real. Her internal struggle as she swam into the depths of the moon, with her fighting against her own urges and making herself realize that the water she was “drowning” in was no threat, was such a cool set up. It was a clever escape all around.

And one that led us to Hecate’s fascinating backstory. It was a bit of an info dump, yes, and perhaps a lot to introduce us to at the end of a crossover. But still, I found it effective. We’d learned a bit about Hecate over the first four issues, and these scenes fleshed that all out even more. Plus we got a lot of mythological fun, which I am always on board for.

We also got my favourite moment of the entire issue, when the maiden and mother aspects of Hecate talked about the power of belief and showed Diana that her teammates were using her name as a rallying cry for their last, potentially doomed stand against the crone-dominated Hecate. Their belief in Diana allowed her to break through and take control of her body, and thus ultimately defeat Hecate. We often see comics where Superman is positioned as an inspirational symbol, a sort of beacon for others to rally around, but I feel like Wonder Woman is just as potent an icon. Perhaps even more so, in certain situations. Superman inspires hope. Wonder Woman inspires a fighting spirit, a defiance, a recognition of our own strength and power. Where Superman soars above us, Wonder Woman always tries to lift us up. Both are marvelous icons, but the inspiration Wonder Woman can provide is something special, and I think this issue captured that very nicely.

We’ve got Jesus Merino back with us on art for the finale, and he does a solid job with the bulk of the issue. He’s joined by Fernando Blanco, who takes on several of the Wonder Woman sequences here to wonderful effect. It’s not an easy gig either. Blanco has to go from the moonscape to the hidden Hecates to a tour through pantheon after pantheon of deities, and it all looks great. I really enjoyed his recent work on Batwoman, and it was cool to see him take on Wonder Woman here. He’s got a simpler, sometimes raw style that reminds me a bit of Cliff Chiang, and I’m a big fan of his stuff. Plus everyone’s work was looking extra good with some colours from Romulo Fajardo Jr. on top of the line art. Watch how he switches his approach subtly between Merino and Blanco. It’s all cohesive, but he’s got a different style for each artist. Dang, Fajardo is so good!

And so was “The Witching Hour.” Kudos to James Tynion IV for masterminding a crossover that was actually worth reading. All of us comic fans have been burned so many times by drawn out, unexciting events that are just trying to sell us more books. This was a well told and well timed outing, perfect for October. And perfect for raising Wonder Woman’s profile a bit before the new creative team takes over. This was a smart move all around by DC Comics, and that is not something I get to say very often. Only two weeks until Wilson and Nord, too! I can’t wait. It’s been a fun few months for Wonder Woman fans, and it looks like the fun is going to continue.

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Wonder Woman #52 Review: Finally, It’s Over

May 18, 2016

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It’s finally here, you guys. We made it to the end. This is the Finches’ last issue of Wonder Woman, and Greg Rucka, Liam Sharp, and Nicola Scott are waiting in the wings to relaunch the title. Arguably the worst run in the history of Wonder Woman is now over, and we can move on, embrace the new creative team, and never ever speak of this era again. Not just the Finches, but any of it, really. Wonder Woman’s romance with Superman, her becoming the god of war, the rapist and murderous Amazons, the death of Hippolyta; all signs point to these horrible story choices going out in the window in favour of a new run much more in keeping with a traditional, heroic, inspiring Wonder Woman.

For those of you who, like me, stuck it out through all 52 issues of this series, what were we thinking? Why did we do this to ourselves? It’s been awful. The first few years of Wonder Woman were decent overall, largely because Cliff Chiang is like unto a god, but there were some ROUGH moments. Plus Wonder Woman was not well written anywhere else in the DC universe (RIP Superman/Wonder Woman, mercifully ending today as well, thank goodness). And then Meredith and David Finch took over Wonder Woman and turned the series into one of the worst comics on the stand for the past year and a half. Why did we keep reading it? I know I write about Wonder Woman professionally so I probably needed to keep abreast of current events, but I could’ve just waited, got trades from the library, and just not supported a book that I loathed reading each month. Valuable lesson learned, I suppose. If you don’t like a book, don’t read it even if it’s your very favourite character. That’s how I’m going to roll from now on. I predict a far happier life for myself moving forward.

However, since I’ve made it through this hellacious marathon all the way to the very last issue, I suppose I should say a few words about it. But first:

SPOILER ALERT!!!

I am about to reveal everything that happened in this grand finale!

None of it is particularly good and/or interesting!

But still, if you don’t want it spoiled for you, look away!

So, this issue was a mess. It leaves everyone in an unpleasant spot, and undoes some of the good things about this era. First, shocking twist, Hera is the actual big bad. She’s been the one trying to kill Zeke, wanting to off him before he grows up to become Zeus again so that she can remain the Queen of Olympus and keep all of her new power. Hera’s evolution was one of the best things about the Azzarello/Chiang era; her friendship with Zola helped her grow as a person and learn compassion, and she went from the book’s villain to a key ally for Wonder Woman. It was all really beautifully done, an impressively orchestrated turn around that took three years of solid writing and art. And now that’s totally undone and Hera’s the bad guy again, so that’s irksome.

This made Hecate only a semi-villain, and her motivations were cringeworthy. She hooked up with Zeus way back and he’s the only one who saw the beauty beneath her frightening exterior, blah blah blah, so she tried to kidnap Zeke and return him to his original form so that they could be together again. It was all very clichéd and lame, and rather juvenile, “He’s the only one who understands me!” is a pretty weak motivation for a powerful witch and goddess who’s been around for millennia. Give the gal some depth, please.

The very best part of the early years of the new Wonder Woman was Zola, the gal who got caught up in the chaos of the gods after Zeus seduced her and essentially impregnated her with himself. She was hilarious and fun and tough, and always called everyone on their foolishness. Zola was a great character to have in the midst of all of these powerful beings. During the Finches’ tenure, she’s barely been featured, and as the book ends she’s still alive (last issue’s ending was a fake out) but ultimately devastated by the loss of her baby after Zeus returns, a move that snuffs out the light of what had been the series’ brightest character for some time.

As for Wonder Woman, well, she got duped again. This has been the hallmark of the New 52 era; Wonder Woman will fall for anyone’s lies and go along with any dumb plan that plays on her heart strings, and then have to deal with the fallout when she is inevitably betrayed. She’s been a wholly reactive, passive character for five years now, bounced around by the whims and machinations of others instead of driving the action herself. And this finale is no different. Hecate betrayed her a couple issues back, and Hera betrays her in this one, leaving her to protect Zeke all by herself as a temple comes crashing down around her. Plus, in the end she doesn’t save Zeke; Zeke turns into Zeus and saves her, because the power of her love or whatever causes him to return to his original form and save her from the rubble.

The issue ends with Wonder Woman weeping over the loss of Zeke, who she calls “the closest I may come to a child of my own.” First, why? If she wants to have kids, she can have kids. Right now she’s focusing on her superhero career, but if she decides that she wants to be a mother at some point there’s no reason that she can’t do so. Second, ugh. Another dang cliché. To slot Wonder Woman into this maternal role when she’s basically just been a Cool Aunt feels so forced. I get her loving the kid, but this whole baby she’ll never have angle is both dumb and hacky.

And so it ends. Zeus is back on the throne of Olympus, order is restored, and please dear god let us move on from all of this with the greatest of haste. I’m hoping that the upcoming “Rebirth” special explains how and why everything is about to take a sharp left turn, and when Wonder Woman relaunches a couple of weeks later we can just jump right in with some cool new stories. The sooner we forget this era, the better. All I want to remember from the past five years is the pretty Cliff Chiang art, how rad Hermes looked, and maybe keep Zola around because she’s delightful. Pitch the rest of it and move on, please.

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.

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’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 #47 Review OR The Cheetah Never Prospers

December 30, 2015

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We’ll close out the year properly tomorrow on a high note, with a review of the latest two issues of The Legend of Wonder Woman, far and away the best Wonder Woman series being produced currently. But for now, we’ll spend the penultimate day of the year in the doldrums of Wonder Woman’s mainline continuity, pondering what deities we must have offended to continue to be subjected to this series. Meredith and David Finch have been on Wonder Woman for over a year, with several months to come yet, at least, and the book continues to be mediocre comic booking. I’m starting to run out of ways to say “This book is bad.” I’ll try to come up with some more for today’s issue, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!!

I am about to reveal every plot point in this issue!

Look away if you haven’t read it yet!

Not that this story has any real consequence, but still!

No one likes to be spoiled!

Many recent issues of Wonder Woman haven’t had much going on in the way of a plot. There’s a lot of conversation and a fight or two, but the story doesn’t move forward in any real way; by the issue’s end, we’re no further ahead with things than we were a month ago. This is a book that likes to tread water and then have a million things happen at once. Last month’s comic was such an issue, and that flurry of revelations has been followed by a meandering tale that seems to add nothing to the overarching plot in any sort of story or character way. Ares and Apollo returned and Donna Troy is now the Fates personified, so Wonder Woman has a lot of balls in the air right now, but none of that played much of a role in today’s issue.

Instead, we get an entirely inconsequential Cheetah story. The Cheetah came to Paradise Island to steal the Eye of Antiope, a jewel that’s key to the Amazons’ immortality. Wonder Woman goes to stop her, they fight for a couple of pages, the ghost of Hippolyta tells Wonder Woman she can’t enter the temple of Hera because she’s the god of war and Hera would be offended, Cheetah gets the jewel from the temple but then has to throw it back because the deity who is the source of her powers is offended and was starting to take them back. None of this is terrible, really. It’s not particularly compelling or well-written, either. It’s just bland, and sort of pointless, a limp heist story for no good reason.

Furthermore, it doesn’t even take up the full page count. The story gets fleshed out with bits meant to make Wonder Woman feel bad, because constantly highlighting Wonder Woman’s failings has been a hallmark of this series since the dawn of the New 52. First, an Amazon named Dessa tells Wonder Woman that her mood affects the whole island because the Amazons are all linked, and so Wonder Woman worries that her internal discord over being the god of war may have infected her sisters and led them to follow Donna Troy and kill all of the male Amazons. Then, while running through the jungle to find Cheetah, she comes across the last surviving Manazon, battered and furious, who blames her for the attack and yells at her for not saving the men. It’s a real morale boost all around for our heroine.

It’s also done in Meredith Finch’s tell and not show fashion, with lengthy conversations explaining the ins and outs of every plot point in detail. Were you wondering about the Eye of Antiope and the specific benefits and limits of its powers? Fear not, because the book spends two full pages running through ALL of that. Were you wondering how Cheetah knew where to find the Eye of Antiope? Look no further than this poetic dialogue: “According to this old map I stole from A.R.G.U.S. before I left, I’m almost at the temple, and then the Eye of Antiope, and the key to Amazon immortality will be mine!” What a handy reminder of the information we learned in the earlier Eye of Antiope report, too.

Finch then hammered home the moral of the story as blatantly as possible, as if this were a comic book for a five year old. It was hardly anything deep; the Cheetah showed that getting what you want can come with a price, in a very obvious fashion. Nonetheless, the book ended with Wonder Woman underscoring the moral just in case as she declared, “Sometimes getting what we want comes at the price of sacrificing who and what we really are. Today, that’s a price even Cheetah wasn’t willing to pay.” This series would be at least 20% better if Finch realized that the readers can fill in some of the blanks and don’t need every little thing spoon fed to us.

The other half of the Finches, artist David Finch, was off this month, which may explain the issue’s inconsequential feel. It may have been written to serve as a fill-in issue, and the main story will continue next month when David returns. Replacement penciller Miguel Mendonça was fine, if fairly straight forward. Everything looked okay and the story read well enough, but the art felt a bit static and lacked much in the way of unique style or pizzazz. It was all very middle of the road for me. The old costume is back, though! I was glad for that. The new costume they’re trying to make work is just god awful. Hopefully the change here marks the end of the outfit, and wasn’t just a miscommunication.

Overall, this issue wasn’t terribly good, which isn’t much of a surprise at this point. I suppose we can be glad that it wasn’t actively bad, because we’ve certainly been there before. There’s nothing here to get upset or offended about, so much as it’s just a very bland, kind of pointless issue. Actually, all of the blaming and shaming Wonder Woman stuff was sort of terrible; that’s worth getting bothered. This book needs to cool it with constantly trying to tear her down. But the main plot was all just boringly below average, which is disappointing because the Cheetah can be cool when done well. But not today.

Wonder Woman’s December 2015 Covers and Solicits

September 21, 2015

Let’s jump into the books straight away because Wonder Woman stars or appears prominently in about 843 different comics in December. Actually, now that I look at the list again, it’s 7. But still, it’s a lot of books! So let’s see what she’s doing to be up to during the festive season, starting with Wonder Woman #47:

decww47

WONDER WOMAN #47
Written by MEREDITH FINCH
Art by MIGUEL MENDONÇA
Cover by DAVID FINCH and JONATHAN GLAPION
Variant covers by AMANDA CONNER
On sale DECEMBER 30 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
As her duties as God of War draw Wonder Woman into battle, the Cheetah resurfaces to strike!

The Finches are still here, so that’s disappointing. But David’s got the month off for interior art. I’m not familiar with Miguel Mendonca, but it looks like a lot of his work has been done at Zenescope, which isn’t a terribly encouraging sign. But you never know; he could be great! We’ll find out in December.

Next up, Superman/Wonder Woman #24:

decsww24

SUPERMAN/WONDER WOMAN #24
Written by PETER J. TOMASI
Art by DOUG MAHNKE and JAIME MENDOZA
Cover by YANICK PAQUETTE
On sale DECEMBER 16 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
It’s the team-up you never expected, as Superman and Parasite take on those other energy suckers, the Pale Riders, to free Firestorm! Meanwhile, Wonder Woman fights an unstoppable behemoth that can contain—and consume—her powers!

Firestorm is still in the book? He just showed up last week. He must be sticking around for a while. I’m glad to see Superman and Wonder Woman on separate adventures this month. I’m totally on board for keeping them apart.

Superman/Wonder Woman has an annual out in December too:

decswwannual2

SUPERMAN/WONDER WOMAN ANNUAL #2
Written by KEITH CHAMPAGNE and PETER J. TOMASI
Art by YANICK PAQUETTE, CHRISCROSS, MATTHEW CLARK and others
Cover by YANICK PAQUETTE
On sale DECEMBER 30 • 48 pg, FC, $4.99 US • RATED T
Forged in the fires of battle, their union is one the world fears and hates—and some have tried to tear it asunder! Now witness the trials of the romance of Kal and Diana, and how it all came to be. See the first kiss and last breath of Superman and Wonder Woman in this epic tale that recounts the most dangerous love story of all.

Hooboy, this sounds awful. Highlights of one of the lamest romances of all time seems like a terrible idea for a comic. But Yanick Paquette is drawing some of it, so it should like nice, at least. I’m going to be so annoyed shelling out $5 for this.

Next up, Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman #17:

decsensation17

SENSATION COMICS FEATURING WONDER WOMAN #17
Written by TRINA ROBBINS
Art by CHRIS GUGLIOTTI
Cover by ANNA DITTMAN
On sale DECEMBER 2 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T • DIGITAL FIRST • FINAL ISSUE
Diana’s compassion is tested when Dr. Barbara Minerva appears, begging for assistance as she seeks out the last remaining source of urzkatarga, the plant that supplies the serum that transforms her into the Cheetah. And if she can’t use it to replenish her supply, she’ll die. But when the Amazon princess/super-hero and the scientist/super-villain make their way to the “Island of Lost Souls,” they find more is at stake than expected!

The final issue!! I’m so upset. I know that these digital books never last that long so I expected that the ax would be falling on Sensation Comics soon, but I love this book! It’s Wonder Woman’s only decent regular showcase, and so many great stories have come out of it. I’m glad to see that Trina Robbins is writing the final installment. She’ll bring it, for sure, and end the book with a bang.

Now we move to some non-Wonder Woman books that feature her prominently, starting with Harley’s Little Black Book #1:

decharley1

HARLEY’S LITTLE BLACK BOOK #1
Written by AMANDA CONNER and JIMMY PALMIOTTI
Art by AMANDA CONNER and a bunch of people who owe her favors
Cover by AMANDA CONNER
Variant covers by J. SCOTT CAMPBELL
On sale DECEMBER 2 • 48 pg, FC, $4.99 US • RATED T+
It’s the sensational debut of a bimonthly, overstuffed, oversized team-up series in which Harley meets (and almost certainly annoys) the greatest heroes and villains of the DC Universe! First up? The incredible Wonder Woman! There’s a plot to assassinate Wondy, and Harley is convinced that only she could possibly stop it! (Hey, you want to tell her about all the other options? We tried.)

Harley Quinn’s got a new series and Wonder Woman is the first guest star! I don’t love them putting Wonder Woman in a tiny outfit on the cover, but the inside of the book will probably be fun. Harley Quinn is an odd but enjoyable book, and I’m sure this new title will carry on in the same vein. And Amanda Conner drawing Wonder Woman could be a good time.

Wonder Woman’s front and center on Justice League #47 as well:

decjl47

JUSTICE LEAGUE #47
Written by GEOFF JOHNS
Art and cover by JASON FABOK
Variant covers by JIM LEE
On sale DECEMBER 16 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
Super-star artist Jason Fabok returns as the second act of “DARKSEID WAR” begins! As the members of the Justice League struggle with their new Godhood abilities, Wonder Woman must turn to the beings that have fought the Anti-Monitor before: the Crime Syndicate! Plus, what secret does Grail hold that will change Diana’s world forever?

The Anti-Monitor is in this? I haven’t been following “Darkseid War” at all, though I’m looking forward to reading it when it’s collected because I really like how Jason Fabok draws Wonder Woman. Plus, Fourth World stuff is usually pretty fun. Isn’t Batman now Metron or something? The occasional tidbits I hear about this storyline always sound super weird, but sort of intriguingly so.

Finally, Donna Troy is stopping by to visit Titans Hunt #3:

dectitanshunt3

TITANS HUNT #3
Written by DAN ABNETT
Art by PAOLO SIQUEIRA
Cover by YANICK PAQUETTE
On sale DECEMBER 2 • 32 pg, FC, 3 of 12, $3.99 US RATED T
Haunted by a past they no longer recognize, Dick Grayson and Roy Harper hunt for the truth. Somehow, somewhere, there must be someone who can explain the memories that obsess them but don’t belong to them. Their search has unleashed the rage of Atlantis, but that’s nothing compared to the fury of the Amazonian outcast waiting for them in the shadows.

I’m not 100% on what the premise of this book is. Is it that the New 52 versions of the old Teen Titans are being haunted by memories of themselves in the old universe, or are the old universe Teen Titans back somehow? Whatever the case, Donna Troy’s in this one, wearing her rad new costume. And it sounds like she’s going to be angry because Amazons are always angry these days. Man, Yanick Paquette’s having a busy month!

Look for all of these titles this December in comics shops and online! Or ask Santa to bring them to you.


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