Posts Tagged ‘Nicola Scott’

Wonder Woman #14 Review: The Grand Finale of “Year One”

January 11, 2017

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It’s been so long since we’ve had an in-continuity Wonder Woman story that was this good. Outside of continuity, there have been some great Wonder Woman tales over the past few years; The Legend of Wonder Woman was amazing, while there were some absolutely stellar issues of Sensation Comics over the course of its run. But in terms of the proper mainline Wonder Woman title itself, things haven’t been great for a while now. There were cool moments here and there, but the book has lacked a sustained start to finish arc that tells a good story and captures the essence of who Wonder Woman is, what she means, and why she’s important. Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott have given us such a tale, and it’s been a joy to read each issue. Today’s finale was a fitting close to the arc, one that stands on its own as a distillation of the heart of the character while also tying into everything else going on in “The Lies,” “The Truth,” and “Godwatch.” Let’s dig into it all, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

I am about to reveal all of the details in this exciting conclusion!

Look away if you haven’t read it yet!

Also, go read it! It’s really good!

When we last left our intrepid heroine, the god of war had appeared at the military installation where Wonder Woman was staying, and he seemed to be in a bad mood. His poor attitude wasn’t terribly surprising; Ares is known to have a rather foul disposition. But now we know what he was after: He wanted the location of the home of the Amazons, and he was going to take it by force if he had to.

Wonder Woman wasn’t interested in force, however. She battered Ares around a bit initially, but then took a different tack, and the scene that ensued captured everything I love about Rucka and Scott’s approach to Wonder Woman. First, she realized that fighting the god of war WITH war, i.e. confronting him directly and violently, wasn’t going to end well for anyone. He’s war incarnate, after all. He’s very good at it. So instead, she decided to talk to him, and supplicated herself before him.

Second, she then appealed to what is best in Ares. She didn’t insult him or try some kind of trickery. Instead, she gave him an honourable out when she told him, “Show us thine courage in mercy.” Wonder Woman recognized his power and offered him a way to use it that would make him look good while avoiding any bloodshed. It was a tactical move on her part, to be sure, but it also showed how Wonder Woman sees the best in everyone, understands their potential for good, and tries to help them achieve that. She met Ares on his own terms, and tried to turn him onto a path that would be for the good of all, himself included. And she was willing to humble herself to do so.

Third, Wonder Woman gave herself up for her friends. Kneeling before Ares is kind of a terrible idea. Exposing herself to the god of war, defenseless, could easily have taken a grisly turn. But she was willing to take that risk, put herself on the line, and trade whatever she could in order to find a peaceful solution to what could have been a violent conflict that endangered her friends. Her new friends, at that, and beyond. She barely knew Steve, Etta, and Barbara, and she’d been exposed to the evils of this outside world, and still she was willing to give herself up to keep them, and the wider world, safe.

Fourth, when all else failed and Ares didn’t get what he wanted, Wonder Woman knew how and where to hit him. She didn’t punch him, thus avoiding playing the game on his terms. Instead, she wrapped him in the lasso of truth and used its power to defeat him. Interestingly, while the lasso has retained its classic truth revealing elements in this incarnation of Wonder Woman, its added something new: Understanding. Wrapping themselves in the lasso is how Diana, Steve, Etta, and Barbara overcame their language barrier. It united them in a manner that allowed them to understand each other perfectly, despite their many differences. It may seem a little corny, but I absolutely love a story in which truth and understanding is the weapon the hero uses to defeat hate and war.

The rest of the issue was fun as well. Athena stepped in and revealed Ares’ fiendish master plan, so Wonder Woman and Steve went off and took care of that with ease. This resulted in another great scene for Diana; she was overcome with anger while fighting a group of terrorists and almost gave into a murderous impulse, but then she wrapped herself in her own lasso and the truth steeled her against the power of Ares’ lies. The fun continued in other ways as well, with the Etta/Barbara romantic subplot developing nicely, and for readers interested in some male eye candy, Nicola Scott had a lot of shirtless Steve Trevor in this issue. There was something for everyone, really. And the issue ended with a nice nod to Wonder Woman’s past, with an array of newspapers naming her “Wonder Woman” using different fonts that harkened back to the scripts used on the covers of Wonder Woman over the course of the series’ history.

All together, it was an excellent conclusion to a fantastic run that will go down as one of the best Wonder Woman stories of all time. It was well written and absolutely gorgeous, and it set the tone for who Wonder Woman is and what she means in today’s world. With such a good beginning, I can’t wait to see what’s next. Bilquis Evely, who drew the wonderful Barbara Ann Minerva standalone issue, is taking over the art for Scott on the new arc, “Godwatch,” a transition so perfect that it lessens the blow of Scott’s departure considerably. Wonder Woman‘s going to be good for a while, gang. It’s exciting times.

Wonder Woman #12 Review: The Penultimate Issue of “Year One”

December 14, 2016

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Unsurprisingly, “Year One” continues to be a joy to read. Between the four previous main issues and the special Barbara Ann Minerva outing, this storyline has resulted in one of the best Wonder Woman runs in recent memory, and perhaps of all time. Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott are in top form, and they’ve captured something in Diana that’s been missing for several years, even before the New 52 relaunch. While Wonder Woman #12 is perhaps the least exciting or interesting issue of “Year One” thus far, that’s only because it’s been preceded by such amazing issues; it’s still extremely good. Let’s dig into it, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

I am about to reveal all of the things that happened in this issue!

Go read it first!

You’ll like it!

Let’s start with how this issue didn’t work as well as past outings for me. It was chock full of discussions of the Sear Group, what their objective might be, and who is behind them. Like, in depth. It took up most of the issue. Wonder Woman even interrogated the terrorists with her lasso to find the real truth of what was going on. It was all fine, but it was also a lengthy, involved set up. Then the book ended with the reveal that Ares and his destructive ways were behind it all. The thing is, of course he was. Dudes are wantonly killing innocent people in a Wonder Woman origin comic book? It’s going to be Ares.

Also, and more annoyingly, he’s on the cover. That’s what you call a dead giveaway. I don’t mind the cover revealing who the issue’s villain is going to be; it’s nice to know who your hero will be facing off against. But when you’ve got 19 pages of your characters wringing their hands over who this villain could possibly be and then you set up you final page like it’s some kind of shocking reveal, maybe don’t put the bad guy on the cover. Because when you put him on the cover, the issue’s investigation becomes less of a compelling putting together of the puzzle pieces and more of a “Dang, when are these dopes going to figure this out. We already know it’s Ares.” Devoting an entire issue to characters figuring out something the reader already knows and making it seem like this is a rad cliffhanger is not the best storytelling.

But despite the anticlimactic conclusion, this was still a good, enjoyable issue. I mean, it’s as gorgeous as ever. Nicola Scott is doing the best work of her career, and Romulo Fajardo Jr.’s color work is just spectacular. I’ve enjoyed his work for years; he brings such texture and depth to the page. And with this detailed coloring on top of Scott’s fantastic, clean linework, the pages just sing. In particular, the double page spread of Wonder Woman flying, lifting tanks, and deflecting bullets is so joyous and lovely. It all looks amazing.

Scott excels at expression as well, especially in subtle moments. There’s a scene in which Barbara Minerva and Etta Candy discuss the poetry of Sappho, an ancient Greek poet from the island of Lesbos who is the root of the terms “sapphic” and “lesbian.” When Etta mentions that she’s “quite familiar” with this poetry, there’s a glance between the woman that is small but so telling. There’s a sense of a secret being communicated between them, along with a hint of flirtation. The text suggests it, but the looks we get from Etta really sell it.

Also, I think we’ve got a queer Etta Candy? How fantastic! And perhaps a queer Barbara Minerva, if her flustered response to Etta’s flirtation is any indication. But a queer Etta seems pretty clear here. Which is very cool, and fitting for the character. If you go way back to the Golden Age, Etta was the head of a bondage-heavy sorority that, given William Moulton Marston’s association of bondage with sexual pleasure, had queer implications between the lines. She was straigt throughout the Modern Age, and was with Steve Trevor for most of it, but the New 52 Etta is a completely different character and they seem to be taking her in a new direction.

We also get a confirmation of Wonder Woman’s queerness that was very good to see. Much has been made of the article in which Greg Rucka confirmed that his Wonder Woman was queer, but many fans, myself included, noted that while it’s great to publicly say so, it needs to be in the text as well. If it’s not canon, it can easily be ignored or undone. This issue gives us that canonical confirmation when Steve asks Diana if she left anyone “special” behind when she left her home, and Diana responded that she’d left someone named Kasia. It’s not the bold confirmation that some folks were hoping for, but the implication is pretty clear. Still, great as this is, I hope that Rucka continues to keep Wonder Woman’s queerness part of her story. Something a bit more direct wouldn’t hurt to help cement this aspect of her character.

Overall, this was an enjoyable outing that, while not perfectly executed, was still a delight to look at and a fun read despite its overly telegraphed conclusion. It also sets the arc up for what should be an exciting finale next month. Ares seems to be spoiling for a fight, and Wonder Woman’s been exploring her powers with Steve, so this could be quite a battle. I’m curious to see what form as takes. As much as the issue dug through the Sear Group and what they were up to, we still don’t know much about Ares other than that he doesn’t care for Amazons. Perhaps there’s something larger at play that will tie into “The Lies” and “The Truth” or perhaps the dude’s just a straight up hater and Wonder Woman will punch him out. Whatever the case, we’ll find out next month!

Wonder Woman #10 Review: The Heroine We Need When the World is Dark and Full of Terrors

November 9, 2016

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The world is a much more troubling place than it was yesterday. I was looking forward to reviewing the new Wonder Woman comic the day after Hillary Clinton became the first female president in American history; it would have been joyous. But that didn’t happen. The pollsters were wrong, white America is a callous, cowardly group, and Donald Trump is going to be the next President of the United States. Even though I watched it happen last night in real time, it still felt unfathomable when I woke up this morning. I’m lucky to live in Canada, where we’ve got a government that respects and supports all of its citizens, but I’m worried for all of my  American friends, especially the people of colour, LGBTQ+ folks, members of different religions, and those who need access to solid healthcare. They’re frightened, and rightfully so. The next four years could be very difficult for them.

It is, oddly enough, even more appropriate to read the new Wonder Woman today, in this dark environment. We need heroes to inspire us, and a queer immigrant woman who fights tirelessly on behalf of others is exactly the kind of heroine this day calls for. For those likely to face persecution and the revocation of their rights, Wonder Woman’s resilience and strength can be a beacon of hope. For those who might be broadly unaffected but want to stand with, support, and fight for those who are, Wonder Woman’s relentless compassion for others is an ideal model. Wonder Woman is the hero we need right now. America, if you can’t have a Wonder Woman in the Oval Office, at least you can have a legion of Wonder Women in the streets standing up for what’s right.

Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott have delivered a delightful issue that highlights the unique heroism of Wonder Woman, and I’m excited to talk about it, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

I am about to reveal everything that happens in this issue!

Do yourself a personal favour and go read it first!

It will cheer you up! It’s so dang good!

When last we left “Year One” way back in September, Wonder Woman was given powers from the gods and easily busted her way out of the military brig she was being held in. Now, with the military’s inability to hold her obvious to all, Steve Trevor talks his boss into letting her go out for a day trip. Diana, Steve, Etta Candy, and Barbara Ann Minerva go to the mall to expose Diana to the wider world. She is shocked by the noise and the crowds and how the air tastes different, but she loves it all. Diana even makes some new young friends, despite her limited language capabilities. It’s all very cute and enjoyable.

Just when the gang discovers that they’re all able to communicate with Diana if they hold the golden lasso, their fun day out gets interrupted by a shooting at the mall. This is the scene that we need most today: Wonder Woman’s powers are new to her, and she doesn’t actually know what they are, but she leaps into action nonetheless, without a thought for her own safety. In a moment spectacularly illustrated by Scott, she sees a terrorist about to shoot at her new, young friends and she rushes toward them. With speed she didn’t know she had, she arrives just in time to stop the bullets, deflecting them with her bracelets in a gorgeous double page spread.

Now, we can’t deflect bullets. We’re not superheroes, nor are we blessed with powers from the gods. But when we see something bad happening, when we see someone threatened, we can step in and try to help. And, just like Wonder Woman, when we do, we might discover powers and abilities that we never knew we had. We don’t know what we can do until we try, until we put our beliefs and our values and our heart to the test, and the next several years might require a lot of that.

The action continues for the rest of the issue, with Wonder Woman and Steve stopping the attackers and ending their assault. We also get an interesting reveal at the end of the issue: The terrorists are part of the Sear Group, which Steve has been tracking, and they are marked with the black tree that poisoned Diana back on Themyscira in Wonder Woman #2 and that Barbara saw on her travels last month in Wonder Woman #8. Something bigger is clearly afoot, and it ties into the Amazons and perhaps the gods. It seems that Steve’s arrival on Themyscira and Diana’s journey to the world of men was not just a chance turn of events.

As the issue closes, we’ve got a mystery to be solved over the next two issues, and I’m curious to see who is behind all of this. Even better than that, the story gave us a break from the world around us, hopefully one that encourages and fortifies its readers. Things look bad today and they feel even worse, and reading a comic book might seem like a silly thing to do when the world is on fire. But there’s a reason superheroes have been around for 75 years. There’s a reason Captain America punched Hitler in the face and Wonder Woman left Paradise Island to battle the Axis before America even declared war on Germany. Superheroes can do the things that we can’t, and they inspire us to do the things that we can. Stand up for yourself and for those around you, work together to stay safe, and believe that the future can be better if you fight to make it so. Don’t stand on the sidelines. Be a Wonder Woman.

Women at DC Comics Watch – January 2017 Solicits, 26 Women on 24 Books

November 1, 2016

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After a strong run to close the year, female representation at DC Comics looks to be taking a bit of a step back to start 2017. The January solicits have DC’s lowest number of female creators since last August, a disappointing start to the year after the publisher posted some of its best numbers ever in November and December. Let’s take a look at who’s doing what at DC Comics in January 2017:

  • Amanda Conner: Harley Quinn #11 (cover, co-writer), Harley Quinn #12 (cover, co-writer)
  • Becky Cloonan: Gotham Academy: Second Semester #5 (co-writer), Shade, the Changing Girl #4 (cover)
  • Cecil Castellucci: Shade, the Changing Girl #4 (writer)
  • Elena Casagrande: Vigilante: Southland #4 (interior art)
  • Emanuela Lupacchino: Green Lanterns #14 (variant cover), Green Lanterns #15 (variant cover)
  • Hope Larson: Batgirl #7 (writer)
  • Jenny Frison: Wonder Woman #14 (variant cover), Wonder Woman #15 (variant cover)
  • Jody Houser: Justice League of America: Killer Frost Rebirth #1 (co-writer), Justice League of America: Vixen Rebirth #1 (co-writer), Mother Panic #3 (writer)
  • Joelle Jones: Shade, the Changing Girl #4 (variant cover)
  • Julie Benson: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #6 (co-writer)
  • Kamome Shirahama: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #6 (variant cover)
  • Laura Braga: DC Comics Bombshells #21 (interior art)
  • Marguerite Bennett: DC Comics Bombshells #21 (writer), Detective Comics #948 (co-writer), Detective Comics #949 (co-writer)
  • Marguerite Sauvage: DC Comics Bombshells #21 (cover), Justice League/Power Rangers #1 (variant cover)
  • Marley Zarcone: Shade, the Changing Girl #4 (interior art)
  • Mingjue Helen Chen: Mother Panic #3 (variant cover)
  • Mirka Andolfo: DC Comics Bombshells #21 (interior art)
  • Msassyk: Gotham Academy: Second Semester #5 (interior art)
  • Nicola Scott: Wonder Woman #14 (cover, interior art)
  • Pia Guerra: The Hellblazer #6 (interior art)
  • Sandra Hope: Gotham Academy: Second Semester #5 (inker)
  • Shawna Benson: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #6 (co-writer)
  • Stephanie Hans: Batman #14 (cover and interior art), Raven #5 (cover)
  • Tula Lotay: Everafter: From the Pages of Fables #5 (cover)
  • Vita Ayala: Suicide Squad Most Wanted: El Diablo and Amanda Waller #6 (co-writer)
  • Yasmine Putri: Justice League/Power Rangers #1 (variant cover), The Hellblazer #6 (variant cover), The Odyssey of the Amazons #1 (variant cover)

All together, there are 26 different female creators set to work on 24 different books at DC this January, 7 fewer women than in December though 1 more book. It’s a dispiriting drop, though not wholly unexpected. A string of strong months is inevitably followed by a drop. If we’ve learned anything in tracking these numbers it’s that it’s an up and down game. And while 26 women is low relative to the past four months, it’s higher than several of the months before that, and above DC’s abysmal start to their “Rebirth” relaunch in which they could barely muster 20 women a month. So it’s a big drop, to be sure, but the end result is a performance that’s fairly middle of the road for DC in terms of the past year.

Part of the reason for this drop is a lack of new faces. Everyone above is someone we’ve seen recently at DC, most of them in the same gig as last month, and while it’s wonderful that they’re all back, the numbers grow best when there are new people in the mix in new places. We’re also missing a few books in January; Vertigo’s offerings are pretty slim, including no Clean Room, and Mariko Tamaki and Joelle Jones’ new Supergirl series seems to be taking a month off already. December was also bolstered by a oneshot holiday special, and there are no such festive celebrations scheduled for January.

However, we do have a couple of oneshots with female characters and a female co-writer. Killer Frost and Vixen are both set to be part of the new Justice League of America, and they’re getting special introductory issues co-written by Jody Houser. The rest of the new books are fairly light on female characters, though Wonder Woman is co-starring in Batman ’66 Meets Wonder Woman ’77, which should be a blast, and she’ll be a part of the Justice League/Power Rangers crossover comic, along with a couple of other female members on both teams.

Overall, DC looks to be starting 2017 in a rather run of the mill way. They’re down from their 2016 highs but up from their 2016 lows, a decidedly average beginning to the New Year. Hopefully the numbers will continue to grow as the year progresses. The January solicits were pretty quiet, and with a second round of “Rebirth” on the way we might see some shake ups in the creator ranks very soon.

Wonder Woman’s January 2017 Covers and Solicits

October 18, 2016

The New Year is set to begin with a variety of comic books and collections starring Wonder Woman and, in one new series, a group of her fellow Amazons. With the Wonder Woman film on the horizon, DC seems to be putting a bit of extra effort into their Wonder Woman offerings and featuring the character more prominently across the line. So let’s take a look at where Wonder Woman is scheduled to be in the January 2017 solicits, starting with her own series:

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WONDER WOMAN #14
Written by GREG RUCKA
Art and cover by NICOLA SCOTT
Variant cover by JENNY FRISON
“YEAR ONE” conclusion! With Steve Trevor by her side, Diana faces the God of War and embraces her destiny as Wonder Woman!
On sale JANUARY 11 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

WONDER WOMAN #15
Written by GREG RUCKA
Art and cover by LIAM SHARP
Variant cover by JENNY FRISON
“THE TRUTH” part one! Diana has finally seen the full scope of how her life and history have been transformed…unfortunately, the knowledge has driven her completely insane!
On sale JANUARY 25 • Each 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

The cover is Liam Sharp’s, presumably showing an insane Wonder Woman rocked by the revelations of “The Lies.” I like that “The Lies” are going to be followed by “The Truth,” even though it means that it may be a while yet until we get some answers about what’s up with Wonder Woman and her multiple pasts.

Meanwhile, “Year One” is set to conclude with Wonder Woman vs. the God of War, further cementing the fact that Ares will be the “big bad” of the arc as past solicits have hinted. It’s been done before with Wonder Woman origin stories, but it’s also a classic way to go and Rucka and Scott have been doing amazing work thus far.

Onto Trinity #5:

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TRINITY #5
Written by FRANCIS MANAPUL
Art and cover by FRANCIS MANAPUL
Variant cover by BILL SIENKIEWICZ
“BETTER TOGETHER” part five! Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman must battle for their lives against their greatest foes in an arena of their own making! And the fight won’t be done until they confront each other in this deadly match. The mastermind behind this attack has revealed himself at last: Mongul is back!
On sale JANUARY 18 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

I absolutely LOVED the first issue of Trinity last month. It was gorgeous and fun and just delightful from start to finish, and I’m excited to see where the book goes. January promises our heroic trio facing off against Mongul and Poison Ivy, which is a pairing I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. I’m intrigued!

We’ve also got the print edition of Batman ’66 Meets Wonder Woman ’77 #1:

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BATMAN ’66 MEETS WONDER WOMAN ’77 #1
Written by JEFF PARKER and MARC ANDREYKO
Art by DAVID HAHN and KARL KESEL
Cover by MICHAEL ALLRED
Variant cover by ALEX ROSS
What mysteries are hidden in the book Ra’s al Ghul hired Catwoman to steal? And why does this caper lead Batman down memory lane—to his childhood fight against actual Nazis? Witness the Caped Crusader’s first encounter with one of the greatest heroes the world has ever known: Wonder Woman!
This epic team-up is brought to you by writers Marc Andreyko (WONDER WOMAN ’77) and Jeff Parker (BATMAN ’66), with fantastic artists David Hahn and Karl Kesel (BATMAN ’66 Meets the Man from U.N.C.L.E.). It’s a time- and space-spanning adventure unlike anything you’ve seen before!
On sale JANUARY 18 • 32 pg, FC, 1 of 6, $2.99 US • RATED E • Digital first

This looks like it should be a blast. Both Batman ’66 and Wonder Woman ’77 are enjoyable series, and combining the two just seems logical. I’m curious to see how much interaction the heroes will have; Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman vs. Julie Newmar’s Catwoman would be the coolest too.

Onto a new series starring the Amazons:

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THE ODYSSEY OF THE AMAZONS #1
Written by KEVIN GREVIOUX
Art and cover by RYAN BENJAMIN
Variant cover by YASMINE PUTRI
Don’t miss the start of this new miniseries set in the world of Wonder Woman from writer/actor Kevin Grevioux (New Warriors, Underworld). Years before the birth of Princess Diana, a group of Amazons set out on a globe-spanning quest to find others of their kind, encountering legendary creatures and beings along the way. But their journey soon turns into a rescue mission as two of their own are captured by the legendary Storm Giants of Norse mythology. It’s up to their leader, the stalwart Hessia, to keep them together through the many trials that lie ahead.
On sale JANUARY 18 • 32 pg, FC, 1 of 6, $3.99 US • RATED T

I still don’t love this cover. They don’t look like Nicola Scott’s Amazons at all and the crotch shots are rather unnecessary. But a miniseries starring a group of Amazons could be very fun, and I’m hoping for the best here.

Wonder Woman is also front and center on DC’s free guide to their graphic novels:

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DC ESSENTIAL GRAPHIC NOVELS 2017
Cover by TONY S. DANIEL and SANDU FLOREA
Now anyone can experience DC from the best starting points possible with 25 graphic novels vital to anyone’s collection. From there, move on to your favorite characters: Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Justice League and more, with listings of the most important books to understanding those particular characters. The DC ESSENTIAL GRAPHIC NOVELS 2017 catalog makes it easy to find the perfect story for everyone!
On sale JANUARY 11 • 96 pg, FC, FREE

I just really like that cover. And hopefully, with so much new Wonder Woman material out lately, Wonder Woman will have a larger presence in this year’s book than she’s had in past editions.

Wonder Woman’s starring in some new collections as well, including this one:

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WONDER WOMAN: HER GREATEST BATTLES TP
Written by GEORGE PEREZ, JOHN BYRNE, GREG RUCKA, GAIL SIMONE, GEOFF JOHNS and BRIAN AZZARELLO
Art by GEORGE PEREZ, JOHN BYRNE, JIM LEE, CLIFF CHIANG and others
Cover by FRANK CHO
This new collection brings together the biggest and most unforgettable battles in Wonder Woman’s history as a DC Comics superhero, as she battles Ares, Cheetah, Medusa and more!
On sale FEBRUARY 8 • 168 pg, FC, $9.99 US

Ugh on the Frank Cho cover, and I’m definitely side-eying DC’s choice to focus on the warrior aspect of Wonder Woman. But that a great group of creators so I’m sure some excellent stories will be reprinted in this one. Plus it’s only $10, which is rad. There were a variety of other Wonder Woman collections in the January 2017 solicits as well, including the trade paperback collection of “The Lies,” the trade of the Finches’ last run on Wonder Woman, and another volume of Wonder Woman ’77.

Finally, Wonder Woman’s got some toys on the go, too, including this fancy figure:

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DC BLUELINE WONDER WOMAN ACTION FIGURE BY JIM LEE
Inspired by the art of Jim Lee, this new black-and-white action figure captures Wonder Woman in all her Amazonian glory!
Measures Approximately 6.75” Tall
$40.00 US • On Sale MAY 2017

While $40 is a lot for an action figure, she does look pretty cool. I’ve seen some other figures from this “Blueline” run and they’re kind of neat. The solicits also listed the Wonder Woman movie statues I mentioned last week, which are lovely and very, very expensive.

So it was a busy round of solicits for Wonder Woman! With the movie on the way, we Wonder Woman enthusiasts may find ourselves going broke to keep up with all of the fun new comics, collections, and collectibles. It’s a fun problem to have.

DC Announces New Miniseries, The Odyssey of the Amazons

October 13, 2016

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Wonder Woman has been one of the bigger hits of DC’s “Rebirth” initiative, and now the world of the Amazons is set to be explored further in a new mini-series, The Odyssey of the Amazons. Written by Kevin Grevioux with art by Ryan Benjamin, the book will debut this January. Here’s the official description:

THE ODYSSEY OF THE AMAZONS #1 is a brand-new miniseries set in the world of Wonder Woman from writer and actor Kevin Grevioux (New Warriors, Underworld) and artist Ryan Benjamin (BATMAN BEYOND). Years before the birth of Princess Diana, a group of Amazons set out on a globe-spanning quest to find others of their kind, encountering legendary creatures and beings along the way. But their journey soon turns into a rescue mission as two of their own are captured by the legendary Storm Giants of Norse mythology. It’s up to their leader, the stalwart Hessia, to keep them together through the many trials that lie ahead. The series will run for six issues.

I’m very excited that the world of Wonder Woman is finally expanding beyond her one core book. Characters like Batman and Superman have had entire families of comics for decades that follow both the main heroes and their many allies and partners. Wonder Woman’s only had Wonder Woman since the early 1950s, and while this is just a mini-series, hopefully it’s an exploratory step towards a larger presence for Wonder Woman down the line.

Now, at the same time, this seems like a bit of a weird book. It could definitely be cool; some Amazons going off on adventures sounds like a lot of fun. But I find it a bit curious that Hessia is in the mix, given that she was a part of the New 52 incarnation of the Amazons which seems to be in the process of being replaced with Greg Rucka’s run. It’s not like Hessia had much of a presence either, apart from a handful of appearances. Someone classic like Phillippus or another of the new Amazons Rucka has introduced might make more sense. The blank slate-ness of the character could be interesting, though, allowing Grevioux and Benjamin to make something new and cool.

Also, we’ve only got the cover art, but it feels very different than the Amazons Nicola Scott is drawing in “Year One” right now. The style is different, and their long legs and high cut briefs remind me more of Mike Deodato’s time on Wonder Woman than the Amazons current look. Benjamin’s a good artist and I’ve enjoyed some of his past work. The cover just feels a bit at odds with where the Amazons are now.

I’m hoping that this mini-series is being done in consultation with everyone who’s working on the main Wonder Woman book, lest we get anymore Amazon confusion. With “The Lies” still unfolding, everything is up in the air, and something that at first glance appears very disconnected from the current run might further muddy the water. So long as everything stays under Mark Doyle’s editorial auspices like the current Wonder Woman run, everything should be fine, but the gods help us all if this is somehow an Eddie Berganza book. Folks would FLIP. OUT.

The Odyssey of the Amazons is set to debut on January 18, 2017, and I look forward to checking it out! Here’s hoping it’s a fun expansion of the world of the Amazons!

Wonder Woman #8 Review: Barbara Ann Minerva’s Archaeological Adventures

October 12, 2016

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“Year One” by Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott has been running in the even-numbered issues of Wonder Woman since the book’s “Rebirth” relaunch in June, but we’ve got a brief interlude this month with Wonder Woman #8. Scott is taking a breather while Rucka and guest artist Bilquis Evely delve into the pre-Cheetah days of Barbara Ann Minerva in an issue that ties into both arcs of Wonder Woman. The Cheetah is a major player in “The Lies,” which has focused on freeing her from the clutches of the evil god Urzkartaga, while Barbara debuted in “Year One” last month to help translate the language of the newly arrived Wonder Woman. A spotlight issue makes a lot of sense, and adds some valuable backstory to the two main arcs. Let’s dig into it all, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

If you hadn’t read the issue yet, look away!

All of the goings on therein are about to be revealed!

Don’t spoil yourself! It’s a really good issue!

I loved this issue top to bottom. We’ll get to the story and whatnot in a moment, but DANG Bilquis Evely killed it. I was excited when I heard about this issue because I’ve enjoyed her work elsewhere, and she did not disappoint. She brought so much to Barbara. I love the joy and determination she captured. As the Cheetah, Barbara is often fairly one note, just fiercely villainous without much in the way of interesting motivation. Honestly, I’ve never been a big fan of this incarnation of the character; I’m an old school, Priscilla Rich guy. But Evely’s rendition of nerdy archaeologist Barbara is a lot of fun. Rucka writes her well, of course, but Evely really brings her to life.

The rest of the art beyond Barbara is great as well. Evely captures a variety of locales with aplomb, all of the other characters are distinct and expressive, and she’s got some clever layouts in the mix, including a cool map/location montage. Romulo Fajardo Jr. adds a lot with the colours, too; he’s the regular colorist on “Year One” and he continues his fantastic work here. He always adds so much texture and depth to the page, and he and Evely pair beautifully throughout the issue.

But onto the story itself. Archaeologist Barbara Ann Minerva is trying to track down the home of the ancient Amazons, even though everyone around her thinks she’s crazy. And by “everyone” I mean dudes. Her stern, cold father tries to forcefully dissuade her from her interest in mythology, and her older co-worker at a dig in the Ukraine is a sexist ass who refuses to believe her when she makes a huge discovery that is subsequently buried in a landslide. Barbara continues on nonetheless in one of my favourite types of stories: women doing things after men tell them they can’t. And while the issue ends with disappointment for Barbara, as a reader we know she’s absolutely on track because we’re very much aware that the Amazons are real.

Also, shout out to Greg Rucka for the lengthy discussion of the potential historical reality of the Amazons and the different schools of thought therein. I could have read an entire issue of that; I love all of the theories that surround the Amazons, and I’m definitely with Barbara when it comes to side-eying the Greek accounts of the Amazons. The shutting down of the breast amputation was delightful as well. Those pages were great all around.

The issue also ties into some key aspects of “Year One.” First, we’ve got the mysterious tree from Wonder Woman #2 that housed the snake that almost killed Diana. It appears on the chest of an ill-fated man who steals Barbara’s research and goes after the Amazons, and shows up again at the issue’s end when Barbara thinks she’s found the home of the Amazons. That tree is clearly going to play a big role, and we got another clue from the dead guy: The tree was marked on his chest, and the word “sear” was marked on his arm. What that means remains to be seen. We’ve also got at least one goddess in the mix, with Athena secretly helping Barbara on her quest. We saw Athena last month in “Year One” and it seems like she may have some involvement in exposing whatever is going on in “The Lies.”

Ultimately, the issue is a fantastic showcase for Barbara Ann Minerva. It adds a lot of depth to a character that rarely has any. Originally, Barbara was kind of the worst. The basic elements were the same when George Perez created her 30 years ago; she was a wealthy heiress and an archaeologist, but she was a total jerk. She was arrogant and cruel and jealous of Wonder Woman. She just wasn’t pleasant at all. This rehabilitation of Barbara is still a wealthy heiress and an archaeologist, but she’s a lot of fun. She’s also a woman who’s clearly put in the work and effort to be where she is, and her trappings are in no way opulent. She’s out in the wilderness, roughing it and doing whatever she has to do to find what she’s looking for. This Barbara is motivated buy a love of mythology and the Amazons rather than jealousy, and as we’ve learned from the past few issues of Wonder Woman, she was friends with Diana before Urzkartaga screwed everything up. It’s a different, far more compelling take on the character.

In short, I would read a series about this Barbara, preferably with Bilquis Evely on board because she kills it. Barbara travelling the globe doing rad archaeological research and sticking it to dumb dudes would be amazing; she could be a female Indiana Jones, but with way more discussions of the patriarchal biases in our beliefs about ancient history. I fully realize that like 12 people would read it every month, but I would be ALL OVER IT. I absolutely loved this issue, and I love this new version of Barbara Ann Minerva. I know we’ll get more of her when “Year One” continues next month, but I’m very intrigued by her pre-Wonder Woman adventures. Go pitch it, Rucka and Evely! I’ll tell everyone I know to buy it!


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