Posts Tagged ‘Rachel Dodson’

Women & NB Creators at Marvel Comics Watch, April 2019: 32 Creators on 31 Books

March 21, 2019

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Thus far, 2019 has been a strong year for female and non-binary creators at Marvel Comics. And the streak goes back further than that, too. Marvel came out of the summer with some solid gains and by November they were pretty near the level they remain at today. That’s six months of decent representation now. Are there still WAY more dudes? Of course. It’s superhero comics. Change is slow. But this kind of consistency is rare, and encouraging to see. Let’s take a look at who’s doing what at Marvel this April:

  • Alti Firmansyah: The Unstoppable Wasp #6 (interior art)
  • Amanda Conner: Captain Marvel #4 (cover), War of the Realms #1 (variant cover)
  • Amy Reeder: Ironheart #5 (cover)
  • Ashley Witter: Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #1 (cover), X-23 #11 (cover)
  • Audrey Mok: Marvel Rising #2 (cover)
  • Carmen Carnero: Captain Marvel #4 (interior art)
  • Erica Henderson: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #43 (cover)
  • Eve L. Ewing: Ironheart #5 (writer), Marvel Team-Up #1 (writer)
  • Gail Simone: Hotshots #2 (writer)
  • Jen Bartel: Star Wars: Age of Rebellion Special #1 (variant cover)
  • Jen Soska: Black Widow #4 (co-writer)
  • Jody Houser: Star Wars: Tie Fighter #1 (writer)
  • Kamome Shirahama: Hotshots #2 (variant cover)
  • Kate Niemczyk: Age of Conan: Belit, Queen of the Black Coast #2 (interior art)
  • Kelly Thompson: Captain Marvel #4 (writer), Mr. and Mrs. X #10 (writer), West Coast Avengers #10 (writer)
  • Kirbi Fagan: Shuri #7 (cover)
  • Leah Williams: Age of X-Man: X-Tremists #3 (writer)
  • Mariko Tamaki: X-23 #11 (writer)
  • Michelle Delecki: Age of X-Man: The Amazing Nightcrawler #3 (cover)
  • Natacha Bustos: Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #42 (cover)
  • Nilah Magruder: Marvel Rising #2 (writer)
  • Rachel Dodson: Star Wars: Age of Rebellion – Grand Moff Tarkin #1 (cover), Star Wars: Age of Rebellion – Princess Leia #1 (cover)
  • Rainbow Rowell: Runaways #20 (writer)
  • Rebekah Isaacs: Age of Conan: Belit, Queen of the Black Coast #2 (variant cover)
  • Sana Takeda: Age of Conan: Belit, Queen of the Black Coast #2 (cover), War of the Realms #1 (variant cover)
  • Savanna Ganucheau: Marvel Rising #2 (varaint cover)
  • Seanan McGuire: Age of X-Man: The Amazing Nightcrawler #3 (writer), Spider-Gwen: Ghost-Spider #7 (writer)
  • Stacey Lee: The Unstoppable Wasp #6 (cover)
  • Sylvia Soska: Black Widow #4 (co-writer)
  • Tini Howard: Age of Conan: Belit, Queen of the Black Coast #2 (writer), Thanos #1 (writer)
  • Vita Ayala: Age of X-Man: Prisoner X #2 (writer), Shuri #7 (writer)
  • Yasmime Putri: Avengers: No Road Home #8 (cover), Avengers: No Road Home #9 (cover), Avengers: No Road Home #10 (cover), Star Wars: Vader – Dark Visions #2 (variant cover), Uncanny X-Men #16 (variant cover)

That is a lot of names to spell correctly and books to italicize! All together there are 32 different female and non-binary creators set to work on 31 different books this April, the same number of creators as in March across four more titles. I’m not used to seeing steady numbers from Marvel in any form, much less at a relatively high level. This year has been solid for the publisher so far.

Also, we’re introducing a new element to these posts, where we look at the number of titles being released. DC’s trimmed back their line noticeably, and so an apples to apples comparison doesn’t really work so well anymore. This April, Marvel has 79 new books on their schedule, which means there are female and/or non-binary creators working on 39% of their titles. We’ll use that as a baseline for comparisons moving forward.

In terms of new names, April looks to be pretty quiet. For as far back as I’ve been keeping track, we’ve not seen Rebekah Isaacs at Marvel before. She’s got a variant cover on the new Age of Conan: Belit, Queen of the Black Coast spinoff. Savanna Ganucheau looks to be new as well, with another variant, this time on Marvel Rising. The rest of the list are regulars, I think.

It’s also a low key month for new female-led titles at the publisher, which is unfortunate because there certainly are a lot of new books. War of the Realms is kicking off, with all sorts of tie-in mini-series and the like. Few have any female or non-binary creators in the mix, and while there are a handful of female characters in a couple of the team books, it all looks a bit dude forward. I miss Lady Thor. Unbeatable Squirrel Girl is going to tie into the event, so there’s that, I suppose. And Ms. Marvel is starring alongside Spider-Man in a new Marvel Team-Up.

Overall, the numbers are steady at Marvel and female and non-binary creator representation is holding relatively strong. There remains, as always, a lot of room to grow, but this has been a decent streak for Marvel. I’m curious to see if they can keep it up or even hit higher levels in the months to come.

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Women & NB Creators at DC Comics Watch, April 2019: 17 Creators on 17 Books

March 19, 2019

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April looks to be a quiet month all around for DC Comics. May is set to bring the dawn of yet another new event series, but April is just the same old, with no new titles or big creative shifts in the mix. And the same old means another subpar month for female and non-binary creators. Sub-subpar, in fact. Nothing’s really changed and yet the numbers have dropped from March. Let’s take a look at who’s doing what at DC Comics this April:

  • Abigail Larson: The Dreaming #8 (interior art)
  • Adriana Melo: Female Furies #3 (interior art)
  • Amanda Conner: Batman #68 (interior art, cover), Second Coming #2 (cover), Supergirl #29 (variant cover)
  • Cecil Castellucci: Female Furies #3 (writer)
  • G. Willow Wilson: Wonder Woman #68 (writer), Wonder Woman #69 (writer)
  • Joelle Jones: Catwoman #10 (writer, cover)
  • Kat Howard: The Books of Magic #7 (writer)
  • Kelly Sue DeConnick: Aquaman #47 (writer)
  • Mairghread Scott: Batgirl #34 (writer)
  • Mirka Andolfo: Scooby Apocalypse #6 (variant cover)
  • Nalo Hopkinson: House of Whispers #8 (writer)
  • Nicola Scott: Female Furies #3 (cover)
  • Rachel Dodson: Wonder Woman #68 (cover), Wonder Woman #69 (cover)
  • Tiffany Turrill: Lucifer #7 (cover), The Dreaming #8 (cover)
  • Tula Lotay: Pearl #8 (variant cover)
  • Yasmine Putri: Nightwing #59 (cover)
  • Zoe Quinn: Goddess Mode #5 (writer)

All together, there are 17 different female creators set to work on 17 different comic books this April, three fewer creators than in March though the same number of books. As best I can tell, there are no non-binary creators listed in this round of solicits. So, three down is a noticeable drop when there are so few creators in the mix to begin with. There’s always a bit of shifting month to month, but the hope is that things about even out, not that your female workforce drops 15% in one fell swoop.

We’re also going to start keeping track of the number of each titles each month to give us more context, on account of DC is cutting back their line considerably. They’re only putting out 54 new comic books in April, which means that there is female creator representation on 31% of their titles. This will be our baseline moving forward, and we’ll do the same with Marvel to see how things stack up.

In terms of new names, there’s not much going on here. We haven’t seen Tula Lotay in a little while, maybe? I’m always glad to see her show up, even if it’s just a variant cover. Her art is amazing. Everyone else is pretty much a regular at this point.

No new books this month either, which means no news on the female character front. I suppose I should point out that while Second Coming #2 is listed above since it was in the solicits, it has since been cancelled by DC after some dumb conservative outcry. The book has since found a new home elsewhere, but if you want to get technical about it there will only be 16 books with female creators at DC in April.

Overall, it’s going to be an uneventful month for female and non-binary creators at DC Comics, yet again. As much as the contraction of DC’s line is definitely playing a factor in these lower numbers, Marvel’s got nearly twice as many female and non-binary creators across their books and not even close to twice the number of titles. DC is lagging behind, and has been for some time now.

Women & NB Creators at DC Comics Watch, March 2019 Solicits: 20 Creators on 17 Books

February 14, 2019

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So far, 2019 has not been a good year for female and non-binary creator representation at DC Comics. The numbers have been disappointingly low. Now, some of this is likely due to a contraction of DC’s line as a whole. They’re just not putting out as many books as they used to. But still, it’s a lot of books. By my count, they’re in the ballpark of 60 new comics in March, so having female creators on 17 of them means there are women involved in the art or writing of only about a quarter of DC’s output. That’s not great. Let’s take a look at who’s doing what at DC this March:

  • Adriana Melo: Female Furies #2 (interior art)
  • Amanda Conner: Second Coming #1 (cover)
  • Bilquis Evely: The Dreaming #7 (interior art)
  • Cecil Castellucci: Female Furies #2 (writer)
  • Elena Casagrande: Batgirl #33 (interior art)
  • Emanuela Lupacchino: Batgirl #33 (cover), The Terrifics #14 (cover)
  • G. Willow Wilson: Wonder Woman #66 (writer), Wonder Woman #67 (writer)
  • Heather Nuhfer: Teen Titans Go! #33 (co-writer)
  • Jenny Frison: Hex Wives #6 (cover)
  • Joelle Jones: Catwoman #9 (writer, cover), Detective Comics #1000 (interior art)
  • Kat Howard: The Books of Magic #6 (writer)
  • Kelly Sue DeConnick: Aquaman #46 (writer)
  • Mairghread Scott: Batgirl #33 (writer)
  • Mirka Andolfo: Hex Wives #6 (interior art)
  • Nalo Hopkinson: House of Whispers #7 (writer)
  • Rachel Dodson: Justice League #20 (variant cover), Wonder Woman #66 (cover),Wonder Woman #67 (cover)
  • Sarah Leuver: Teen Titans Go! #33 (interior art)
  • Tiffany Turrill: Lucifer #6 (cover)
  • Yasmine Putri: Batgirl #33 (variant cover)
  • Zoe Quinn: Goddess Mode #4 (writer)

All together, there are 20 different female creators set to work on 17 different comic books in March 2019, 2 more creators than in February and also 2 additional books. As best I can tell, there are no non-binary creators listed in this round of solicits. These gains are slight, and leave DC in the same range they’ve been for several months now. The low twenties are just where things are these days, and there doesn’t seem to be a huge desire to change things across the main line. Elsewhere, the DC Zoom and DC Ink young reader lines have lots of female creators in the mix, but not so much for the older readers, it seems.

We do have two new names this month, though. It looks like Sarah Leuver is making her DC debut with some interior art for Teen Titans Go! #33, while Tiffany Turrill is doing the cover for Lucifer #6. Neither are working in the main superhero line, tellingly, but it’s great to have them in the mix and I look forward to seeing more from them in the future.

March is a quiet month for new titles at DC. Both new series have male leads, and don’t mention much in the way of female or non-binary characters. And what’s sure to be the month’s biggest book, Detective Comics #1000, appears to be a largely male-centric affair. Men account for 22 of the 23 creators listed, with Joelle Jones as the sole woman. I understand that Becky Cloonan may be drawing a story as well, but she’s not listed in the solicits. And while I’m guessing we may get a Catwoman tale in the over-sized book, if last year’s Action Comics #1000 is any indication I wouldn’t hold up much hope for having many other female characters in the mix. That book’s lack of Lois Lane still astounds me.

Overall, DC Comics is in a rut when it comes to female and non-binary creators and the March solicits aren’t doing much to change that. They just don’t seem to be a priority for the main line right now. Perhaps April will bring some changes to the line after a quiet March?

Wonder Woman #62 Review: Making Peace with the God of War

January 16, 2019

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The first arc of G. Willow Wilson’s run on Wonder Woman draws to a close this week, bringing the war in Durovnia to an end while leaving us with a lot of unanswered questions for our heroine and her divine associates moving forward. This was a storyline that raised a lot of heavy issues, for Wonder Woman herself but also for us as readers as we all grappled with the troubling shades of grey that characterize modern warfare. No matter how good someone’s intentions are, they can still cause harm when they decide to step in with force, and this is especially true in the arena of war. It’s almost impossible not to cause harm in a war, and Wonder Woman comes out of the conflict in Durovnia carrying the weight of that truth. We’ll get into the arc’s conclusion momentarily, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

I am about to tell you all of the important things that happened in this issue!

Look away if you haven’t read it yet!

Also, read it! This run has been GREAT so far!

Remember when Diana was the god of war? Oh, the New 52 days. So beautiful in its art, so increasingly troubling in its story choices. For all of that past run’s focus on Diana becoming the embodiment of war, it never really dug into the implications of what that could mean in a deeper, compelling way. War is inherently destructive and damaging. It harms innocents and profits the powerful. In short, it’s everything Wonder Woman hates. And yet, she often finds herself at the center of them. Fighting for peace, yes, but fighting nonetheless.

This arc dug into these contradictions, and fascinatingly so. By the end of this issue, Diana is shook. Yeah, she’s got some other stuff going on with the gods returning, a longing for home and a hope that the Amazons might be accessible again. But the war in Durovnia seems to have thrown her for quite the loop. Ares fashioning himself as a twisted version of her brand of heroism was disconcerting enough, and then the peace talks hit her hard. The president condemned the gods and empires that entered the fray, meaning Ares on the side of the rebels and American military assistance on the side of the government. Diana saw herself as beyond these sides, perhaps even above them, an impartial hero committed to protecting those caught in the middle. When she’s asked to leave with them, painted as part of the problem that exacerbated the conflict rather than part of the solution, it clearly stings.

Now, when an old, white dude whose government has been actively oppressing an ethnic minority calls you out like that, it’s a chastisement worth ignoring. I mean, that guy sucks. He’s blaming his own problems and the failings of his government on outside forces, admitting to past mistakes only once the entire nation nearly fell into chaos. This fool could have nipped all of this in the bud ages ago by not being such a terrible president. I feel like Diana should just brush off his dismissal of her and her efforts because, again, he sucks.

Also, so does Ares! Here’s another old, white dude misusing his power. And because of these two jerks, Diana is feeling a bit down on herself, a bit lost even. Not that there weren’t some interesting points raised over the course of their interactions. War is deeply, deeply terrible and it’s hard to be involved in it without hurting someone. But consider the source here. I’m very curious to see how Wonder Woman processes her feelings over the next few issues. It’s interesting that both men have her questioning herself, while Aphrodite and Etta are both telling her that she did a good job. Friggin’ patriarchy. Dudes tearing down women to make themselves feel better are the worst. What Diana needs right now are some more awesome ladies in her corner.

Which leads us to: AMAZONS. Wilson is teasing us at the end of this issue too much for this not to be happening, right? They’ve gotta be coming back! And I am very on board. First, the Amazons are the best and I miss them. And second, it feels like Diana is in a place where she could use some Amazon guidance. She’s been in man’s world for a while now. Their wars and aggressions are wearing on her, so much so that she’s starting to question herself. What she needs is some rad warrior women to remind her who she is, and to help her grapple with the disquieting questions that the harsh realities of modern warfare have raised for her.

Xermanico was back on art duties for this issue, and I liked it even better than his last one. I don’t know if it was him or Romulo Fajardo Jr. that brought in that Ben-Day Dot shading, but it looked super cool, especially in the night scenes with the battle. There was a bit of that two weeks back, but they really leaned into it here, for a nice effect. Xermanico is a good fit for this book, and I’ve enjoyed his two issues more than Cary Nord’s. His Diana feels more powerful and substantial, which is always good to see. And his art has actually improved from issue to issue, which we didn’t get with Nord owing to what appeared to be the time constraints of a bi-weekly book. I was wary when editorial had to swap artists so soon into the run, but they made a good choice here and I hope that we’ll see more of Xermanico in future issues. He carries on some of the cool style choices that Nord established, melding them well with his more conventional superhero comic style. I’m into it.

So we’re back in two weeks with Diana trying to deal with the successful but somewhat demoralizing outcome in Durovnia. Will there be Amazons? I sure hope so. And I’d love to see more of Aphrodite. That lady knows FAR more than she’s telling anybody, and that is definitely going to come into play in the issues to come. Plus, the search for Athena! She was name dropped this week and now I’m eager for her to join the mix as well. Something is up with the gods, and I’m keen for Wonder Woman to get to the bottom of that mystery. And find her mom! We have so much fun ahead of us, gang.

Women & NB Creators at Marvel Comics Watch, February 2019 Solicits – 31 Creators on 29 Books

December 21, 2018

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Marvel’s starting the New Year right. After coming in just shy of thirty different female creators for the past few rounds of solicits, they’ve crossed that line with their February offerings. Now the publisher is in the ballpark of their past highs for the first time in a long time. It’s been an interesting road back up. Just a year ago, Marvel had only 11 female creators in the mix, but things have improved considerably since then. Let’s take a look at who’s doing what this February at Marvel:

  • Amanda Conner: Captain Marvel #2 (cover)
  • Amy Reeder: Ironheart #3 (cover)
  • Annie Wu: Love Romances #1 (variant cover)
  • Ashley Witter: Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #29 (cover), X-23 #9 (cover)
  • Carmen Carnero: Captain Marvel #2 (interior art, variant cover)
  • Emanuela Lupacchino: Age of X-Man: The X-Tremists #1 (variant cover), X-23 #9 (variant cover)
  • Erica Henderson: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #41 (cover)
  • Eve L. Ewing: Ironheart #3 (writer)
  • G. Willow Wilson: Ms. Marvel #38 (writer)
  • Gail Simone: Love Romances #1 (co-writer)
  • Gurihiru: The Unstoppable Wasp #5 (interior art)
  • Jen Bartel: Marvel Tales: Black Widow #1 (cover)
  • Jen Soska: Black Widow #2 (co-writer)
  • Jody Houser: Captain Marvel: Braver & Mightier #1 (writer), Star Wars: Age of Republic – Anakin Skywalker #1 (writer), Star Wars: Age of Republic – Count Dooku #1 (writer)
  • Kelly Thompson: Avengers West Coast #8 (writer), Captain Marvel #2 (writer), Mr. and Mrs. X #8 (writer)
  • Leah Williams: Age of X-Man: The X-Tremists #1 (writer)
  • Maria Lapham: Marvel Comics Presents #2 (co-writer), The Gunhawks #1 (co-writer)
  • Mariko Tamaki: X-23 #9 (writer)
  • Michelle Delecki: Age of X-Man: The Amazing Nightcrawler #1 (cover)
  • Naomi Franquiz: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #41 (interior art)
  • Natacha Bustos: Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #40 (interior art, cover)
  • Nnedi Okorafor: Shuri #5 (writer)
  • Rachel Dodson: Mr. and Mrs. X #8 (cover)
  • Rainbow Rowell: Runaways #18 (writer)
  • Sana Takeda: Miles Morales: Spider-Man #3 (variant cover)
  • Sara Pichelli: Ms. Marvel #38 (cover), Star Wars #61 (variant cover)
  • Seanan McGuire: Age of X-Man: The Amazing Nightcrawler #1 (writer), Spider-Gwen: Ghost-Spider #5 (writer)
  • Stacey Lee: The Unstoppable Wasp #5 (cover)
  • Sylvia Soska: Black Widow #2 (co-writer)
  • Yasmine Putri: Avengers: No Road Home #1 (cover), Avengers: No Road Home #2 (cover), Avengers: No Road Home #3 (cover), Shatterstar #5 (cover)

All together, there are 31 different female creators set to work on 29 different books in February, 2 more creators than in January and the same number of books. As far as I can tell, there are no non-binary creators in this round of solicits. While a jump of two additional creators isn’t particularly big, it does cross a significant threshold and takes Marvel over the thirty line for the first time in ages. That’s an achievement, as are the steady numbers the publisher has been posting lately. It’s good to see some stability at Marvel.

As well as some new names! This month, we’ve got Maria Lapham co-writing a couple of one-shots with her husband, David. They’re temporary gigs, and the Laphams are certainly busy with their own books elsewhere, but perhaps they’ll be back for more Marvel fun in the future. We’ve also got Naomi Franquiz doing interior art on The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, which is a book that’s always deliberate in its choice of creators. I wouldn’t be surprised to see more of her going forward, whether it’s back with Squirrel Girl or elsewhere.

It’s a very quiet month for female characters, however. Most of the new books are centered on dudes, including titles for Conan, Daredevil, Peter Quill, Wolverine, and more. But we do have a couple team books with some ladies in the mix. Avengers: No Road Home features the Scarlet Witch, Spectrum (I think that’s the current handle for Monica Rambeau?), and Voyager. There are also a bunch of “Age of X-Man” mini-series starting, most of which have some female characters. It looks like Jean Grey, Nature Girl, Storm, and X-23 are in The Marvelous X-Men, a few teen gal mutants I don’t recognize are in Nextgen, and we’ve got Psylocke and Jubilee in The X-Tremists.

Overall, 2019 has been a very solid year for female creators at Marvel thus far. It would be nice to see this growth extend to non-binary creators as well, however. There is always room to grow further, in a whole host of ways. But on the whole, Marvel has more than 30 women working on their books right now, and that’s an impressive comeback after some dismal lows in 2018. Here’s hoping that the upward trajectory continues.

Women & NB Creators at DC Comics Watch, February 2019 Solicits – 18 Creators on 15 Books

December 18, 2018

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Well then. DC’s January solicits didn’t give us a lot of hope that the publisher was going to start the New Year off strong in terms of female and non-binary creator representation, and the February solicits haven’t helped matters at all. We’re back into the teens, which is just ridiculous. Embarrassing, really. In the year of our lord 2019, a major comic book publisher should be able to find more than 18 female and non-binary creators to work on their titles. They’re EVERYWHERE now. It’s really not that hard. Anyway, let’s take a look at who is doing what at DC this February:

  • Adriana Melo: Female Furies #1 (interior art)
  • Amanda Conner: Old Lady Harley #5 (cover)
  • Aneke: House of Whispers #6 (interior art)
  • Bilquis Evely: The Dreaming #6 (interiort art)
  • Cecil Castellucci: Female Furies #1 (writer)
  • Elena Casagrande: Catwoman #8 (interior art)
  • Emanuela Lupacchino: Batgirl #32 (cover), Supergirl #27 (variant cover). Young Justice #2 (interior art)
  • G. Willow Wilson: Wonder Woman #64 (writer), Wonder Woman #65 (writer)
  • Joelle Jones: Catwoman #8 (writer, cover)
  • Kat Howard: The Books of Magic #5 (writer)
  • Kelly Sue DeConnick: Aquaman #45 (writer)
  • Mairghread Scott: Batgirl #32 (writer)
  • Mirka Andolfo: Hex Wives #5 (interior art)
  • Nalo Hopkinson: House of Whispers #6 (writer)
  • Rachel Dodson: Wonder Woman #64 (cover), Wonder Woman #65 (writer)
  • Reiko Murakami: Lucifer #5 (cover)
  • Tula Lotay: Hex Wives #5 (cover)
  • Zoe Quinn: Goddess Mode #3 (writer)

All together, there are 18 different female creators scheduled to work on 15 different book at DC this February, 2 fewer creators though 1 more book than in January. As far as I can tell, there are no non-binary creators listed in this round of solicits. So yeah, not great. If a behemoth like DC is in the teens, they just aren’t trying hard enough. Or, much at all, it seems. I feel like they brought in a couple of huge names with G. Willow Wilson and Kelly Sue DeConnick and were like “Hey, we’ve got the famousest ladies! We can take a break on that front now!” Which, no. I mean, I love them both, but they don’t count extra. Everyone in DC editorial should feel bad about this showing.

In terms of new creators, we don’t have much here. Reiko Murakami is someone I haven’t seen before, and her cover for Lucifer looks cool. Everyone else is the usual gang of folks we’ve seen in recent months, though I am glad that Cecil Castellucci’s got a new book! Female Furies looks rad.

Speaking of, Female Furies is one of two new titles with female characters in a lead role this month. And given that it’s a pretty quiet month for new books, that’s some decent representation at least. We’ve got Big Barda and all of the Furies in this mini, getting up to some sort of Apokaliptic adventures. And we’ve also got a Wonder Twins book that co-stars Jayna, the sister half of the duo. I was never huge into Super Friends, but this book looks like it could be fun.

Overall, DC editorial needs to get their act together. These are some terrible numbers, way down from their recent highs. Both months of 2019 have been lower than the month before, and that’s not a good way to start the year. Sharpen up, DC! Representation matters, you know.

Wonder Woman #60 Review: With War on the Sidelines, Will Love Enter the Fray?

December 12, 2018

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We’ll get to Wonder Woman in a moment but first, let’s talk about the new She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. When Netflix announced that they were bringing back She-Ra with Noelle Stevenson as showrunner, I instantly had an idea of what the show could be. I’m a big fan of Stevenson, from Nimona to Lumberjanes to her early days of hilarious Tumblr comics. She’s got a delightful yet slightly dark sensibility that always comes through in her work. And when She-Ra debuted, it was everything I wanted it to be. It’s charming and hilarious and surprisingly heavy at times, and as queer as they let kid’s TV be these days. Basically, it was what I expected to get in a Noelle Stevenson project, in all of the best ways.

I feel the same way about this run of Wonder Woman. I’m a huge fan of G. Willow Wilson too, and I’ve enjoyed all of her comics and prose work. Her strengths lie in telling fun, action-packed stories that simultaneously dig into deeper, timely themes. I thought that he was the perfect choice to take over Wonder Woman right now, and she’s bringing everything I thought she would to the book. It’s an exciting story with lots of cool fights, but it’s also a deeper meditation on a whole host of issues, from the nature of war and heroism to the limitations and disappointments of supposed allies in these fraught times. Basically, it’s great, and exactly what I hoped it would be. Also, how awesome is it that we’ve got G. Willow Wilson on Wonder Woman in our comics and Noelle Stevenson on She-Ra on our televisions? Truly we live in a golden age of entertainment.

Let’s dig into the issue, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

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

Look away if you haven’t read it yet!

And make sure you do read it! It’s so good!

So, Ares sucks. I think we all knew that deep down, but I was hoping he’d come around, that he would learn something from Wonder Woman and channel his newfound quest for justice into something actually productive. But no, he’s just a dope. And even when Wonder Woman shows him the error of his ways in the most blatant, impactful way, he still takes the wrong lesson from it. Instead of fixing his mistakes and finding a better way forward, he just decides to leave. Even though he started the war, even though all of these deaths are his own doing, he’s decided he wants no part of it any longer and just steps away.

It’s a fascinating turn. There are so many ways to read it, all of them compelling. The book has felt like it’s about the nature of war and justice over the past few issues, asking whether answering violence with violence is wise or if it’s just perpetuating a vicious cycle. We get more of that here, with a critique of the power structures behind war. So often, those who start wars leave them unfinished, walking away unscathed while scars and lingering tensions remain for those caught in the middle of it. Ares is a global superpower in and of himself, igniting a conflict for his own selfish reasons and then leaving it behind when it gets to bothersome. We’ve seen this too many times in the real world over the past few decades.

But I think there’s another interesting angle here as well. With Ares so inspired by Wonder Woman, I can’t help but see him through the lens of male feminists who position themselves as allies to the cause, only to ultimately prove themselves to be self-serving above all else. Ares wanted to be like Wonder Woman, but not only did he fundamentally misunderstand her from the beginning, he balked when she pushed back and then left full of anger and spite. How often have we seen this with allies for all sorts of causes? These white male saviors who saunter in and spout the lingo only to turn away when the people who have actually been doing the work deign to challenge them in any way? It’s painfully common, unfortunately, and I think we see something similar here with Ares. He’s trying to help a worthy cause, but in the wrong ways and only to make himself feel good. When it feels good no longer, he leaves. It’s a biting critique of male allyship.

And also, the fights are cool! It’s a comic book, after all. Between all of the deep philosophizing, Wonder Woman is battling Ares, deflecting a bunch of bullets, and just generally being her awesome self. It’s a fun read.

Plus Steve’s adventures with the mythological creatures continue, and lead us to a fun surprise. We meet the leader of these Olympian exiles, and it’s none other than Aphrodite. This should be VERY interesting. First, Aphrodite is key to Wonder Woman’s own history. In her earliest adventures, love was the core of the Amazonian worldview, and Aphrodite was its embodiment. I’m curious to see if Wilson delves into that. Second, the goddess of love is an obvious contrast with the god of war, and having them so near, with conflict abounding, should prove to be compelling. And third, Aphrodite and Ares have quite the history. They were lovers, and in Rucka’s run it was the love of Aphrodite that led Ares to accept his imprisonment in the first place. So yeah, now that he’s free there might be some serious drama here. I’m excited to see where this all goes.

The art, however, remains a bit underwhelming for me. Cary Nord’s work here seems even sparser than the last issue, and the detail is lacking. We see this a lot when people take on a book that ships twice a month. A lovely first issue leads to a rougher second issue and then a bit of a slapdash third. It’s a ludicrous schedule for artists, and editorial would be wise to consider other approaches to ensure that the quality stays high. I got a distinct later Frank Miller vibe from a lot of these pages, and not in a good way. Nord is successfully telling the story and is not bringing down the writing here, but he’s not exactly elevating it either, which is disappointing.

Still, the book remains a great read overall. Wilson is doing some fascinating things, and I can’t wait to see where it all goes next, especially with Aphrodite in the mix. She could be a very fun wild card moving forward.


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