Posts Tagged ‘Raul Fernandez’

Wonder Woman #16 Review: A Calamitous Chimera Conflict

February 8, 2017

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The new “Godwatch” arc began in Wonder Woman #16 today, with Greg Rucka returning to write the book along with new artist Bilquis Evely (and some ink assists from Mark Morales, Andrew Hennessy, and Raul Fernandez). You’ll probably remember Evely from Wonder Woman #8, a special oneshot starring Barbara Ann Minerva that tied into “Year One.” It was a gorgeous book, and the news that she’d be taking over for Nicola Scott on the series’ even numbered issues has certainly lessened the blow of Scott’s departure somewhat. “Year One” will go down as one of the best Wonder Woman stories of all time, giving “Godwatch” a lot of live up to, but this debut issues suggests that we’ve got another enjoyable arc ahead of us. We’ll dive into it all, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

I’m about to reveal ALL OF THE THINGS from this issue!

Make sure you’ve read it first!

The main thing I was wondering about with “Godwatch” was when exactly it would take place. “The Lies” and “The Truth” are set in the present, while “Year One” was five years ago. With this first issue of “Godwatch,” it turns out the story starts six months after Wonder Woman left Themyscira, so shortly after “Year One” and well before “The Lies.” After this issue, I’m curious to see if we stay this deep in the past and slowly see how the Godwatch organization is formed, or if we jump ahead a bit. This first issue has certainly laid the groundwork for why Godwatch was created, and it’ll be interesting to see if Rucka goes for a slow build or not. Knowing Rucka, my money’s on slow build, but I wouldn’t be surprised by a time jump next month.

So the issue starts out with Veronica Cale being a semi-evil industrialist with a deep dislike of Wonder Woman, but she’s hardly a super-villain. But her path seems to change when Ares’ sons Phobos and Deimos steal her daughter and force her to use the technology she’s developing to fight Wonder Woman and try to find out the location of Themyscira. Things go sideways from there; Veronica’s chief scientist Adriana uses the dangerous Cyberwalk system to confront Wonder Woman, and gets defeated by both Wonder Woman’s chimera pal and the machine’s deadly imperfections. Cradling her seemingly deceased friend, Veronica promises, “You will all burn.”

This, we have to assume, is the beginning of Godwatch. As we saw back in “The Lies,” Veronica is still trying to figure out how to get to Themyscira, so I can see this going one of two ways. Either Phobos and Deimos still have Veronica’s daughter and she’s been working for years to free her OR they’ll be sorted in the next few issues but she’ll keep trying to find its location out of a hatred for Wonder Woman and anything divinely related in general. Either could be an interesting journey.

Also, I don’t know whether this is intentional or not, but a trapped daughter is classic Wonder Woman villain motivation. Back in the Golden Age, Paula von Gunther worked for the Nazis because they has her daughter as a hostage, and after Wonder Woman learned of this and freed her, they became friends and allies and worked together to fight the Nazis from then on. Maybe Rucka is going in a similar direction, or is playing on this story in some way.

We also know that Adriana is still alive since we saw her in “The Lies.” Only in electronic form, though. My guess is that whatever happened at the end of this issue trapped Adriana in some king of machine, and while her body might be “dead” her mind lives on in a computer as Dr. Cyber. And perhaps in some sort of android, like we saw in this issue but one better suited for battles for battles in mythical beasts, because that would make for much cooler fight scenes down the road, of course.

Now, this is an issue of Wonder Woman without a lot of Wonder Woman, which usually irks me. But I thought it worked here. It set up Veronica Cale and her motivations very nicely, plus the brief moments we got of Wonder Woman were very good. The montage at the beginning was fun and nicely put together, and the battle between her, the chimera, and Cyberwalk showcased the best of Wonder Woman. I loved her talking to the chimera, trying to get her to calm down by connecting with her and explaining that she was new to this world too and yes, it’s a very strange place. I also liked that she tried to save everyone, both the chimera and Cyberwalk, not wanting either of them to harm the other. That’s how Wonder Woman should roll.

The art was quite good for most of the issue, but some of the inking let down Evely’s excellent pencils at times. Four different inkers rarely offers a cohesive look for a book, and is usually a sign that things were a bit rushed. I don’t know who did which pages, but a few of them were much rougher and lacked the detail that characterized the best of what the book had to offer. Still, the layouts were great, and I’ve seen some of Evely’s pencils for the issue online and they’re spectacular. If they can figure out the inking situation, it should be a gorgeous arc. I was also glad to see that Romulo Fajardo Jr. is staying on as colorist, because that dude is ridiculously good at what he does. I so enjoy the texture, smoothness, lushness, and light touch he brings to his work. It really makes the linework shine.

All together, this was a strong beginning to “Godwatch” and I’m excited to see where things go from here. It’d be nice to have more Wonder Woman in the future, but for this first issue the focus on the villains made a lot of sense and it set up a lot to deal with for our Amazon heroine. Wonder Woman‘s got a really nice one-two punch going right now, with intriguing new plotlines in both the odd and even numbered issues, and that makes for some fun reading.

Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman #42 Review: “Nine Days, Parts 2 and 3″ by Karen Traviss, Andres Guinaldo, and Raúl Fernández

July 23, 2015

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The three part “Nine Days” wrapped in today’s Sensation Comics, bringing to a close a story that never seemed to find its footing. There was a lot going on, with Strife and Eris, two sides of the same goddess, interfering in diplomatic relations between two hostile, neighbouring countries, with Wonder Woman in the middle trying to negotiate peace. Despite the many factors at play, the results were entirely predictable. The goddess of strife caused strife, the cartoonish leaders of each nation both reacted as you’d expect over one getting oil and not the other, and Wonder Woman literally had to throw them in a room together and make them sort out their differences. Oh, and there was sort of a fight in the middle.

When the reader knows how the broad strokes of a story are going to play out after the first installment, it’s not a particularly enjoyable read. If you’re going to follow an abundantly obvious formula, it better be the best version of that formula ever put to paper, or in this case to the screen, or the reader is going to be bored. We all know that superheroes are going to win in the end; that’s a given. But writers have to set up real stakes beyond that, invest the reader in the outcome of every character, and throw some twists and turns in along the way. “Nine Days” failed to do any of that.

The story’s awkward art only made things worse. It wasn’t terrible, but things never looked quite right to the point that it became a constant distraction, especially with Wonder Woman. For example, Guinaldo and Fernandez gave Diana oddly shaped glasses that never seemed to sit properly on her face. As Wonder Woman, her bangs shot off at odd angles in a way that gave her a bit of a mullet vibe. Little things like this added up to make the art an unpleasant reading experience. Combined with the obtrusive narration and a hit and miss colouring job, the book left a lot to be desired, visually.

I don’t want to keep going on about how this was a badly put together story because it’s not bad in an offensive way, just subpar across the board, so it’s nothing worth getting worked up over. I don’t really have anything nice to say about it, so I’m just not going to say anything more. The full story will be out in print form in September, so if you didn’t read it digitally, check out the book and see if you agree or disagree with my assessment! Sensation Comics will be back with a new storyline next week with what looks to be an Earth 3 crossover, the evil Superwoman vs. our favourite Amazon.

Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman #42 Review: “Nine Days, Part 1” by Karen Travis, Andres Guinaldo, and Raúl Fernández

July 9, 2015

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First off, things got busy last week and I didn’t have a chance to write a review of Sensation Comics #41, the finale to “Our Little Dance” by Adam Beechen and José Luis Garcia-López. It was fine. If you read the first issue, the second issue concluded about how you would expect. Wonder Woman had a big fight with the Cheetah, things got crazy for a bit, and ultimately Wonder Woman won. The tone at the end was perhaps a bit more cynical than you’d expect in a Wonder Woman comic, but the fight played to Garcia-López’s strengths and ultimately it was all a decent enough story.

Now we’re back on track, review-wise, with a new three-parter by Karen Travis, Andres Guinaldo, and Raúl Fernández. Three-parters are always tricky because if you don’t love it, you’re stuck with it for three weeks either way. With a bad one-shot, you’ll get something new next week. Not so with the lengthier tales. Unfortunately for me and my next two Thursdays, the first issue of “Nine Days” didn’t do much for me.

This issue had a lot of set-up, as one would expect from a part one, but it was lengthy and involved and barely showcased Wonder Woman at all. This version of Wonder Woman has a day job as the Themysciran ambassador at the United Nations, and she’s been asked to help settle a conflict between two bickering neighbour countries because Themyscira is a neutral party. Both countries have different things going on, and it’s even more complicated by an oddly dual Strife/Eris secretly getting involved in the process for yet to be disclosed reasons. This isn’t the whacky, cruel, yet delightful Strife from Azzarello and Chiang’s recent Wonder Woman run, but instead a completely different take on the character. I don’t know that it was wise to go this route with the fantastic job Azzarello and Chiang did with their Strife still fresh in everyone’s mind.

The structure of the book was a little offputting as well. Narration from the goddess Nyx runs through the entire story, often creating a bothersome back and forth where you read a panel’s narration, then the dialogue, then it’s a new panel and you’re now wrapped up in the dialogue and you go back to the narration and have to remember what she was talking about, and then back to the dialogue and you’ve got the same problem again. I find dual storytelling like that irksome unless very well handled, and this all came off a bit muddled.

The art was fine, with hints of something better that never really went anywhere. There were big, cosmic scenes with lovely bits to them, but they didn’t add up to anything particularly wowing. Also, how an artist draws Wonder Woman is usually a big factor in how I judge their work, seeing as she’s the star of the book, and while we got a fair amount of Diana, Wonder Woman didn’t have a lot to do here. I did like what little I saw, and I’m hoping that we’ll get to see Wonder Woman in action next week.

The art wasn’t at all helped by the colouring, which alternated between flat and sort of garish. The everyday scenes were dully coloured, while anything more colourful often involved unpleasant contrasts and a colour palette that just didn’t work. Excellent colour work can often elevate average art, but bad colouring can really bring down a book, and there was too much of that here.

Ultimately, nothing was really terrible in this issue, but nothing was particularly good. There are two more issues to come in this storyline, and while I hope that things pick up I’m also somewhat concerned that it’ll all play out rather expectedly. I feel like the first issue telegraphs how the rest of the plot will unfold; things will go bad for Wonder Woman in the second issue and probably end in a dramatic cliffhanger, and then she’ll fix everything up in the finale. Fingers crossed for twists and turns and some fun surprises, though. Two issues is a lot of space to turn things around after a ho-hum start.

Wonder Woman’s September 2015 Covers and Solicits, Plus Green Lantern Variants

June 19, 2015

Wonder Woman is keeping busy yet again in September. It’s nice to have Wonder Woman showing up in a variety of books as of late. While the quality of these books may be hit and miss, more books means a higher likelihood of good stories. A couple years ago, Wonder Woman had just one book, and if you didn’t like it you were hosed for the month. Now she’s got four books, and every fan should be able to find something they like in at least one of them. So let’s see what Wonder Woman is up to in September.

First up is Wonder Woman #44; here’s the regular cover and a variant cover celebrating Green Lantern’s 75th anniversary:

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WONDER WOMAN #44
Written by MEREDITH FINCH
Art and cover by DAVID FINCH and JONATHAN GLAPION
GREEN LANTERN 75 Variant cover by TERRY DODSON and RACHEL DODSON
On sale SEPTEMBER 16 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
Wonder Woman is on the trail of Donna Troy, who seeks refuge in London from both Diana and her past. But a new friend may be more trouble than help for the fleeing Amazon outcast!

Strife! I enjoy Strife, so to see her shadow on the cover is a good sign. Whether the Finches’ can do her justice is a whole other question, but Strife brings some potential for fun, at least. Also, Donna Troy is on the lam and Diana makes a new friend, which isn’t a terribly exciting solicit, but hey, Strife!

What I really want to talk about is how rad the Dodsons’ variant cover is. I love that it’s Green Lantern month but the Dodsons stuck him way in the back and just focused on Wonder Woman looking cool in her invisible jet. The Dodsons drawing Wonder Woman is always a good time, and I’m glad that DC’s constant variant lines bring them back to the character on a regular basis.

Next up, Superman/Wonder Woman #21 and it’s Green Lantern variant:

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SUPERMAN/WONDER WOMAN #21
Written by PETER J. TOMASI
Art by DOUG MAHNKE and JAIME MENDOZA
Cover by PAULO SIQUEIRA
GREEN LANTERN 75 Variant cover by JOE QUINONES
On sale SEPTEMBER 16 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US RATED T
The epic “Truth” arc hits close to the heart as dark secrets come to light, forcing Superman and Wonder Woman to question whether their relationship can work in this new world of identities revealed and questionable actions.

That costume doesn’t do a whole lot for me. I feel like the god of war’s outfit should be cooler; more bad ass than warrior hobo. The solicit isn’t giving us a lot to go on, which has been the case ever since the “Truth” storyline began. They keep teasing us with a possible break up, but it’s turning into the boy who cried wolf at this point.

However, the variant cover is a lot of fun! Sometimes the variant covers are the only enjoyable part of Wonder Woman’s mainline books. A lot of times, lately. It’s been fun to watch Joe Quinones blow up over the past year, and I like his Wonder Woman a lot.

We’ve also got Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman #14:

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SENSATION COMICS FEATURING WONDER WOMAN #14
Written by KAREN TRAVISS
Art by ANDRES GUINALDO and RAUL FERNANDEZ
Cover by NEI RUFFINO
On sale SEPTEMBER 16 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T • DIGITAL FIRST
It takes “Nine Days,” the gods say, for an anvil to fall to Earth from Olympus. But what happens when it strikes the world of men? Nyx, primordial goddess of night, is indifferent to the fate of the mortals below when she decides to teach her daughter Strife a lesson. Diana has nine days to step between two warring factions of godhood and stave off a disaster for those caught in the crossfire.

It looks like we’ve got another three parter digitally, which will comprise a whole print issue. That’s always a bit of a risk for an anthology book. If the story isn’t great, it’s all you’re getting! But Sensation Comics has been far more hit than miss, and Karen Traviss is a really good writer. The story sounds like a lot of fun, and I’m excited to check it out.

Finally, Wonder Woman co-stars in DC Comics Bombshells #2:

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DC COMICS BOMBSHELLS #2
Written by MARGUERITE BENNETT
Art by BILQUIS EVELY and STEPHEN MOONEY
Cover by ANT LUCIA
1:25 Variant cover by KEVIN WADA
On sale SEPTEMBER 2 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T • DIGITAL FIRST
Wonder Woman defies her mother’s orders and attempts to break Captain Steve Trevor out of his prison cell on Themyscira. But to accomplish this, she’s going to summon a little help from the deep in the form of Mera, Princess of Atlanta. Meanwhile, in Russia, two new heroes are about to be created to serve the Soviet Union: Supergirl and Stargirl!

Wonder Woman and Mera are teaming up for a prison break, so this issue sounds like the best thing ever. Also, I’m assuming that Mera is the Princess of Atlantis, not the Princess of Atlanta like the solicit suggests, unless they’ve radically changed her origin story. I’m intrigued that there are new artists on board. I love Marguerite Sauvage, but rotating artists could be cool too. I’m looking forward to this book a lot.

Look for all of these comics this September in comic shops and online!

Aquaman Annual #2 Review OR The Wonder Woman And Mera Team Up Steals The Show

July 31, 2014

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Wonder Woman not only co-starred in yesterday’s Aquaman Annual #2, she was actually in the book more than Aquaman himself. The issue began with Diana and Arthur investigating a castle in France to track down the giant-born, a group of powerful monsters disguised as humans. The story was fine, but somewhat underwhelming. There were a lot of references to past events and characters in Aquaman, which I am not at all up on, but that’s my problem and not all the fault of the book.

What didn’t quite work for me was the somewhat adversarial relationship between Diana and Arthur. For Justice League teammates, they didn’t get along very well. Their styles were very different, with Aquaman holding back while Wonder Woman wanted to go at the monsters full tilt, and this caused some tension. There was also a lot of distrust, and while under the thrall of one of the monsters they revealed the core of their problems: Wonder Woman thinks that Aquaman doesn’t care enough about the surface world and Aquaman sees Wonder Woman as a murdering goddess who thinks herself above humanity. They reconciled when the brawling was done, of course, with both understanding that they truly didn’t mean what they said while enchanted, but there seemed to be a bit of a core of honesty in their critiques of each other.

The fighting in the story was pretty fun, but Wonder Woman and Aquaman were sidelined for a lot of it due to a long, heroless introduction and then several pages where they’d been turned into stone. They were a good time when they were on the page, but that was only about half the story. When I got to the end, I was a little bit disappointed with the book.

Then I turned the page and there was another story! This time, Wonder Woman teamed up with Mera, and it was awesome the whole way through. Mera’s regal warrior mentality meshed well with Wonder Woman, and after the monsters refused their offers of diplomacy and mercy, both women realized that the creatures they faced were cruel monsters who needed to be destroyed. And so they did just that.

The ensuing brawl was well choreographed and exciting. Mera conjured water sharks to attack the monsters while Wonder Woman flipped her way through the horde, taking down creatures left and right. The finishing move was especially great. I loved the plan of Wonder Woman diving down to the bottom of the ocean to smash through to the lava below and Mera removing all the water under the creatures so they fell into the volcanic abyss. It was all sorts of cool.

But what really sold me on this story was the chemistry between Wonder Woman and Mera. With the Aquaman story, even though they knew each other well it all felt a little stiff and awkward, even before they revealed their deep, dark opinions of each other. Their battle styles weren’t complimentary, and the whole team-up seemed out of sync. With Mera, Wonder Woman didn’t know her well at all, yet they instantly connected and were on the same page, fighting side by side and working together with ease. It was an effortless partnership, and their instant camaraderie made the story a real pleasure to read.

Jeff Parker’s writing was solid throughout, though again I enjoyed what he did with the second story much more than the first. Superhero conflicts aside, the leadoff story was a bit too heavy on exposition and side characters for me. Yvel Guichet, Jason Gorder, and Wayne Faucher drew the first story, and I thought the art was decent. The monsters were gruesome and cool, and both heroes looked about right.

Alvaro Martinez and Raul Fernandez drew the second story, and they captured Wonder Woman and Mera very nicely. They also depicted the action and the finishing move in an  exciting way that flowed well and was easy to follow, and throughout the story they elegantly displayed the strength and power of both heroes.

Overall, I’d definitely recommend this comic, especially if you’re a Wonder Woman fan. She’s the real star of the book; Aquaman and Mera each get half the issue, but Wonder Woman is in the entire thing. Aquaman Annual #2 is in comic shops and online now, and while it’s priced at $4.99 the page count is much higher and you get almost twice the story of a regular comic book.


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