Posts Tagged ‘Richard Ortiz’

Wonder Woman’s March 2016 Covers and Solicits

December 15, 2015

DC’s March 2016 solicits went up yesterday, and we’ve got the usual Wonder Woman fun plus a cool and somewhat unexpected surprise. Let’s take a look at what Wonder Woman will be up to this March, starting with Wonder Woman #50:

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WONDER WOMAN #50
Written by MEREDITH FINCH
Art by DAVID FINCH and SCOTT HANNA
Polybagged variant cover by MASSIMO CARNEVALE
On sale MARCH 23 • 48 pg, FC, $4.99 US • RATED T
It’s a special super-sized 50th issue! Wonder Woman continues her quest to save Zeke and Olympus, but is she prepared for what she might find? Long-buried secrets suddenly brought to light will call into question everything she thought she knew about those she loves and trusts the most.

I’m pretty sure that this is the cover from last month’s solicits, so now I don’t know which book the cover will go on. I’m guessing it’ll be on the February issue, since the rest of this month’s 50th issues have snazzy, more iconic covers while this one has more gods than Wonder Woman. We’ll find out either way come February, I guess.

Anyway, the new Wonder Woman has made it to fifty issues! The last batch of which have not been great, but so it goes. I’m mildly interested in this issue because in a recent issue Meredith Finch revealed that they’re doing a backup story like they did earlier this year in the annual, and that back-up story was probably the best thing in the book since the Finches took over. I mean, it wasn’t good but it wasn’t terrible, so I’m glad for them to revisit that.

Up next, Superman/Wonder Woman #27:

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SUPERMAN/WONDER WOMAN #27
Written by PETER J. TOMASI
Art by DOUG MAHNKE and JAIME MENDOZA
Cover by ED BENES
Polybagged variant cover by CHARLIE ADLARD
On sale MARCH 16 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
“Savage Dawn” continues from this month’s ACTION COMICS #50! A comet drawn by Vandal Savage to Earth is wreaking havoc across the globe—and empowering his children in the most dangerous way possible!

True story: I bought the latest issue of this series the day it came out and forgot to read it, remembered that I had forgotten the next day, and didn’t bother to read it for about a week. Turns out, I wasn’t missing anything. I find that this book lacks a purpose. Their relationship is all out of whack, everything seems tangential to bigger plots going on in other Super-books, and the entire dynamic is just unpleasant. It feels unnecessary all around. And with that ringing endorsement, keep your eyes peeled for this issue in March!

Now to a book I love: The Legend of Wonder Woman #3:

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THE LEGEND OF WONDER WOMAN #3
Written by RENAE DE LIZ
Art by RENAE DE LIZ and RAY DILLON
Cover by RENAE DE LIZ
On sale MARCH 9 • 40 pg, FC, 3 of 9, $3.99 US • RATED T • DIGITAL FIRST
Themyscira comes alive with the sounds of Amazons on the hunt. Will they find their prey before Diana has a chance to rescue the outsider who fell from the sky? Hippolyta stands against her foes, and announces a tournament that will change Themyscira forever as the fate of the mysterious stranger hangs in the balance.

You’re going to want to be picking up this series, gang. The first issue is out in January, so GET ON IT. You’ll love it. It’s so much fun, and such a fresh but iconic take on Wonder Woman and the Amazons. This third issue seems to be getting to the Steve Trevor part of the story, which should be fun. Plus the tournament! I love the tournament in every incarnation; one of my favourite things in the mythos is that any Amazon could have been Wonder Woman and Diana is just the best of the best. But yeah, buy this book!

And finally, we’re getting more Lynda Carter fun in Wonder Woman ’77 Special #3:

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WONDER WOMAN ‘77 SPECIAL #3
Written by MARC ANDREYKO, CHRISTOS N. GAGE, RUTH FLETCHER, AMANDA DEIBERT and TRINA ROBBINS
Art by RICHARD ORTIZ, STAZ JOHNSON, CAT STAGGS and others
Cover by NICOLA SCOTT
On sale MARCH 30 • 80 pg, FC, $7.99 US • RATED E • DIGITAL FIRST
In “Claymates,” when Clayface finds himself crumbling and drying up, he seeks a cure by any means necessary! Can Wonder Woman stop him before he enslaves Paradise Island? Then, Diana and Steve go undercover in “Oceans,” where a diplomat crucial to the Panama Canal negotiations has dangerous plans! After a battle with smugglers at home, Wonder Woman is surprised to find a warehouse full of ivory. In Africa, she teams up with the local IADC to track “Orion the Hunter.” Finally, Federal Agent Diana Prince joins a Congressman and his aides to investigate a cult. “Reverend Mike Loves You,” but can you trust his plans for the future?

This sounds really cool, and I’m excited to see that they’re mixing it up with a lot of different creative teams this time around. The longer arcs in past runs got a little bit formulaic, so it should be fun to just enjoy a bunch of short stories. There are some killer creators involved too. For digital readers, I’m guessing we’ll see these stories starting in February or so? The Legend of Wonder Woman is pretty far ahead of the print schedule, so maybe they’ll do a hiatus like they used to do with Sensation Comics.

Wonder Woman’s also involved in Teen Titans #18 and Titans Hunt #6, as well as the continuing saga of the “Darkseid War” in Justice League, so check those out as well if you’re interested. It could be a fun month all around; we’re certainly getting great stuff from the digital-first division, and maybe even the main series won’t be as bad as usual? Here’s hoping!

 

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Wonder Woman ’77 #9 Review: “The Cat Came Back, Part 3” by Marc Andreyko and Richard Ortiz

September 10, 2015

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After last week’s issue of Sensation Comics ended with a retread of a plotline the book had used just a few issues before, in which the villain took control of a horde of innocent people and set them against Wonder Woman, I didn’t have the highest of hopes for the finale to this arc. It’s not a great sign when the creative team recycles a story so soon. Plus, this sort of mind-controlled masses angle can only end one way, with the hero trying to avoid hurting the enthralled crowd and going after the source of the mesmerization. Unsurprisingly, that was what happened this week, with Wonder Woman corralling the crowd with the help of some lions and tigers and then beating the Cheetah in a final battle.

But let’s set the predictable, reused storyline aside for now; it’s a bummer, but not what struck me most about this issue. Instead, when I finished the book I was disappointed at the straight forward, surface level conclusion. It’s a superhero comic book, so chances are that the good guy is going to win. We know this going in, and because of this knowledge, something as simple as a big fight where the villain reaffirms their particular grievance and gets carted off to prison is very unsatisfying. As is the stinger at the end, revealing that “The Cheetah will return!” Yeah, we know. That’s how superhero comic books work.

Superhero comics have been around for more than 75 years. At this point in the game, a good ending has to have something more than just a big fight where the hero defeats the villain. Something that basic just doesn’t cut it. It needs a twist, or a surprising reveal, or a clever callback, or even a really well designed fight. Something needs to set it apart, or it’s just going to come off as bland and uninspired. I know that this comic is based on the Wonder Woman television show, which was your standard, formulaic 1970s fare, but good storytelling is good storytelling, and a key to a good story is an ending that feels earned rather than prescribed.

This is an ending that felt like it was just going through the motions. The Cheetah learned nothing. Wonder Woman learned nothing. The only thing remotely interesting in how it all played out, characterwise, is that Wonder Woman was able to befriend the lions and tigers that the Cheetah released to harm her, and we’ve seen this “Wonder Woman has a way with animals” thing a hundred times before. The second that the Cheetah set those animals free, every Wonder Woman fan reading the book knew that it wouldn’t work out for her. There just wasn’t anything new or interesting or surprising in the mix to elevate this finale from generic to enjoyable.

The art continued to be fine, though somewhat average. I thought that Ortiz did a nice job on the big cats, in particular. However, the real hero of the book was colorist Romulo Fajardo Jr., who did fantastic work turning a fairly ho-hum story into something that looked interesting. Fajardo Jr. has a real knack for using colour to draw the reader’s eye to the key parts of the page, and his texture work is very impressive. There were a lot of panels with linework that looked quite flat, but Fajardo Jr. added depth and feel with the colours that did the artwork a world of favours. I think that the big reason the Cheetah’s look was compelling was because of his excellent blends and texture work to give it all such a realistic feel.

Ultimately, though, the book was a disappointment, and it largely comes down to the writing. It’s just too shallow and basic. I feel like a lot of people involved are riding on the buzz of “It’s Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman!” and letting that sell the book rather than the story. But that buzz will only get you so far. I hope that the arc that starts next week offers us something a little different to take this book up a level, because the premise remains great. This could easily be one of the most fun books on the stand, but three arcs in it’s been average to okay at best. Kick it up a notch, gang! Lynda Carter deserves some killer stories.

Wonder Woman ’77 #8 Review: “The Cat Came Back, Part 2” by Marc Andreyko and Richard Ortiz

September 3, 2015

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Wonder Woman’s confrontation with the new Cheetah, Barbara Minerva, continues with this week’s issue of Wonder Woman ’77, but it’s a somewhat underwhelming outing. The story goes as we all expected it would after the first issue: the Cheetah attacks Wonder Woman, they fight, and then there’s a cliffhanger ending promising more fighting in the finale next week. The problem is, we’ve seen this before, and I’m not just talking about the formulaic three act structure.

This week’s issue ended with the Cheetah calling on her goddess Mafdet to create a cheetah army for her, and scores of attendees at the museum’s Wonder Woman exhibit got turned into angry cheetah creatures just like Barbara who came after Wonder Woman in the cliffhanger ending. It’s not a bad cliffhanger, really, except for the fact that this is exactly how the second issue of the FIRST arc of Wonder Woman ’77 ended. The Silver Swan mind-controlled the innocent civilians at the disco and sent them after Wonder Woman, just like the Cheetah’s army swarmed her here. The Silver Swan outing was only six issues ago, and it’s disappointing to see Andreyko repeating himself so soon. It all feels a little uninspired.

It’s a pity about the copycat ending, because the issue up until then had been decent enough. Wonder Woman’s speech at her exhibit wasn’t much of a stirring piece of writing, I suppose, but I liked a lot of the Cheetah fight. I particularly enjoyed the moment after Wonder Woman lassoed the Cheetah and she just ran around a pillar a few times, wrapping the lasso around it, and pulled it down, causing Wonder Woman to go stop the building from collapsing while the Cheetah bounded off. That was a nice use of the lasso and a good display of the Cheetah’s nefariousness. But then the ending ruined the whole book for me.

The art didn’t help a lot either. Richard Ortiz had some good moments in this issue, and his Cheetah was fairly decent, but for most of the issue his Wonder Woman didn’t look a whole lot like Lynda Carter. I really don’t understand how DC structures these arcs, because every first issue of a storyline in Wonder Woman ’77 has begun with beautiful, detailed art that allows for rich colours and an overall delightful reading experience. Then the next two have more basic linework, the colours are simpler, the characters look less like the actors, and the whole thing makes for a less enjoyable read. During the last arc a while back, I speculated that perhaps the original artist fell behind schedule and they had to replace him for the next two, but I heard from Jason Badower, the artist of Wonder Woman ’77 #4 who did a spectacular job with that first issue, and he told me that he had only been contracted for that one issue. Why isn’t DC hiring people to draw the full arc? Drew Johnson’s work last week was gorgeous, and this issue suffers by comparison. It seems like an absolutely bizarre way to run things to me.

Overall, this issue was a series of disappointments, really. The few strong moments were countered by a blatantly recycled plotline and a substantial drop off in the quality of the art. I was very excited for this week’s issue after the arc’s solid debut last week, and now after this I’m not particularly looking forward to next week’s conclusion at all. I feel like editorial should have been much sharper here, both in terms of catching the story duplicate and in ensuring consistent art through the arc. A lot of balls were dropped by everyone involved when it came to this issue, it seems. It’s a shame, because this should be such a fun comic book.

Wonder Woman’s October 2015 Covers and Solicits, Plus Monster Variants

July 15, 2015

October is looking like another busy month for our favourite Amazon, with all of the usual fun plus a returning special I’m very much looking forward to. DC is also doing monster themed variants for many of their titles, just like they did in October last year. It’s good Halloween fun, and two of Wonder Woman’s titles will be part of the line. So let’s see what Wonder Woman will be up to in October!

First up, Wonder Woman #45:

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WONDER WOMAN #45
Written by MEREDITH FINCH
Art by DAVID FINCH and JONATHAN GLAPION
Cover by DAVID FINCH
Monsters Variant cover by CLAIRE WENDLING
On sale OCTOBER 21 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
With the Fates dead and Donna Troy still on the run, Wonder Woman must confront the sins of her past and a new, growing threat that’s closing in on the Queen of the Amazons!

I don’t imagine that the Finch cover is actually the final cover, but you never know. It just looks like a panel, and those blue bars don’t look great. I’m not sure whether Claire Wendling’s variant is the final cover or just a sketch either, but I’m super into it. I hope it is the final cover; I like the rougher aspects of it.

Anyway, the Finches carry on with their uninspired tenure on Wonder Woman. Apparently the Fates are dead. Thanks for the spoiler alert, because they haven’t even shown up in the comic yet. Also, Donna Troy hasn’t broken out of prison in the comics that have been published so far, but several solicits have told us she’s going to. You almost don’t have to read the comics, really. Just follow along with the solicits and you’ll get all the highlights.

Next up, Superman/Wonder Woman #22:

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SUPERMAN/WONDER WOMAN #22
Written by PETER J. TOMASI
Art by DOUG MAHNKE and JAIME MENDOZA
Cover by CARY NORD
Monsters variant cover by J.P. LEON
On sale OCTOBER 21 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
Following a shocking betrayal, Kal has lost faith in justice. Now, he’s embarking on a dangerous quest to restore his powers, while Wonder Woman makes unexpected allies of Lois Lane and Lana Lang.

The insides of this series have never done anything for me, but what I do love is it’s proud tradition of excellent variant covers. This one by John Paul Leon is fantastic. It’s a great idea for the monster theme, and is just all sorts of gorgeous. I’ll be glad to put this with my collection of Superman/Wonder Woman issues I’ll never read again but I keep to enjoy the lovely covers.

Man, Superman is really out of sorts, eh? Losing his faith in justice?! That’s a third of what he stands for! In theory I’m excited for a Wonder Woman/Lois/Lana team up, but being familiar with the quality of this book I’m not overly optimistic that it will go well.

We’ve also got Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman #15:

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SENSATION COMICS FEATURING WONDER WOMAN #15
Written by ADAM BEECHEN and CARLA SPEED McNEIL
Art by JOSE LUIS GARCIA-LOPEZ, KEVIN NOWLAN, SCOTT HANNA and CARLA SPEED McNEIL
Cover by JENNY FRISON
On sale OCTOBER 7 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T • DIGITAL FIRST
In “Our Little Dance,” when the well-meaning members of Debbi Domaine’s family argue that Cheetah needs rehabilitation more than incarceration, Wonder Woman is dragged into court! And Diana teaches a young thug a lesson about how having a pet forces you to train “Both Ends of the Leash.”

To be honest with you all, I wasn’t a big fan of either of these stories when they came out digitally, but I do love this cover. It’s lovely work by Jenny Frison, and will look amazing on the stands. The stories inside are pretty average, but neither of them are bad. They’re also very different stories, so chances are you might find something you’ll like.

Finally, Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman is back with Wonder Woman ’77 Special #2:

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WONDER WOMAN ‘77 SPECIAL #2
Written by MARC ANDREYKO
Art by CAT STAGGS, RICHARD ORTIZ, DREW JOHNSON and JASON BADOWER
Cover by NICOLA SCOTT
RETROSOLICIT • On sale SEPTEMBER 30 • 80 pg, FC, $7.99 US • RATED T • DIGITAL FIRST
Get ready for three new stories based on the classic television series starring Lynda Carter! A scientist who is intensely jealous of Wonder Woman becomes empowered by an ancient artifact and Cheetah is born! A woman with the powers of both fire and ice seeks revenge against a corrupt politician. And, Halloween finds the princess up against an undead adversary.

So many stories! Plus the Cheetah and zombies, presumably. This should be a fun book. None of the stories have been released digitally yet, though I anticipate that they’ll be out soon. That’s a great lineup of artists, and Marc Andreyko did a fine job with the first few Wonder Woman ’77 stories so I’m glad to have him back. Nicola Scott’s cover looks fantastic as well. This will actually be out at the end of September instead of October, so keep your eyes peeled for that.

There’s a lot of Wonder Woman fun to be had this fall, and a lot of great covers. Remember to ask your local comic shop ahead of time if you’re keen to get a variant cover; they can go quickly.

Wonder Woman ’77 #6 Review: “Who Is Wonder Woman? Part 3” by Marc Andreyko, Matt Haley, and Richard Ortiz

April 16, 2015

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The final issue of this Wonder Woman ’77 arc ends with a bang as Wonder Woman faces a gang of some of her fiercest villains in a battle royale. Sort of. As the end of last week’s issue revealed, Dr. Psycho was behind the appearance of a new Wonder Woman and Diana’s apparent depowering, controlling her mind with some sort of fiendish apparatus. This week, Dr. Psycho’s still got some mental sway, but not enough to overcome Wonder Woman.

He conjures up a group of foes for Wonder Woman, including Giganta, the Cheetah, Silver Swan, and Cathy Lee Crosby’s Wonder Woman. After a few pages of fighting, Wonder Woman realizes that the villains aren’t real and wraps herself in her own lasso so that she can see what’s actually going on. What she finds is a fleeing Dr. Psycho, who she quickly nabs with her lasso, using it to make him think a legion of Wonder Woman zombies are after him. She returns him to prison, and then skips out on a date with Steve to instead relax in the tub. The gal had a long day.

The issue is a fun conclusion to the series’ second arc, and I was glad to see so many villains in the mix, even if they weren’t real. The first arc was just about Silver Swan, which was good and all, but it was cool to see classic villains like Dr. Psycho, Giganta, and the Cheetah worked into Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman universe. I always wondered why the TV show didn’t make more use of Wonder Woman’s classic rogues gallery, so it’s fun that we finally get to see Lynda Carter face off against them, even if it’s in comic book form nearly 40 years later.

The writing is strong throughout the issue, though necessarily sparse. It’s the big final fight, so there’s really no need for exposition or a lot of chitchat. I love the assortment of villains that Marc Andreyko picked, and that he focused so much on female villains. I also love that his Cheetah is Priscilla Rich, harkening back to her Golden Age incarnation rather than the Barbara Minerva incarnation that most fans are more familiar with these days. You’ve got to enjoy a deep cut like that.

Matt Haley and Richard Ortiz do a good job with the issue. They capture all of the villains well, and continue a strong and accurate depiction of Lynda Carter. That’s the lynchpin of the whole series, really. Wonder Woman HAS to look like Lynda Carter, or else what’s even the point? If she doesn’t, then it becomes just another Wonder Woman comic. Haley and Ortiz do a very good Carter here, giving us fans what we want most. I also like the subdued take on Dr. Psycho. He’s not deformed or creepy or over-exaggerated, a trap I’ve seen several artists fall into. Haley and Ortiz make him villainous without making him into some sort of crazed ogre.

Overall, this was a fun arc, and I’m excited to check out the collection of the first two arcs of Wonder Woman ’77 when it hits stores soon. It will be very cool to have some Lynda Carter Wonder Woman comics in print form. Digital is great, but for me there’s nothing like paper. It adds something to the experience, I find. I do sort of wish they’d print Wonder Woman ’77 and Batman ’66 on the old style, cheap paper though, just for fun, to capture the retro vibe even more. While I doubt it would be the best showcase for today’s modern art and colouring, it would be so cool. But modern paper is good too. Look for the Wonder Woman ’77 Special #1 in comic shops everywhere on May 6.

This might be it for Wonder Woman ’77 for a while, and perhaps forever depending on sales. It’d be great to see more, but I’m not sure what the plans are. Next week, Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman is back, promising some monsters and a great Emanuela Lupacchino cover!

Wonder Woman ’77 #3 Review: “Disco Inferno, Part 3” by Marc Andreyko, Matt Haley, and Richard Ortiz

January 23, 2015

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The first arc of the digital-first Wonder Woman ’77 wrapped this week, and it was a solid ending that carried on most of the pros and cons of the two issues that preceded it. The conclusion wasn’t overly involved; Wonder Woman freed Steve from the Silver Swan’s hypnosis, defeated the Silver Swan, and celebrated with a dance party as Diana Prince. It was a lot of fun all around, if somewhat of a quick read.

Marc Andreyko writes a lot of great moments into this issue, as he has during this entire first arc. It’s all classic Wonder Woman fun, with lassoing and a boomeranging tiara and secret identity hijinks. It turns out that Diana was trapped in a broom closet for the entire time that Wonder Woman was fighting the Silver Swan and her mind-controlled horde; she always missed out on the excitement. The Silver Swan was defeated in a very era-appropriate manner as well, with Wonder Woman smashing the gem that powered the villain’s abilities by throwing a record at it, discus style. The book is silly and fun in all of the right ways.

The pacing is still not great, however. Like with the previous two issues, you burn through the book pretty quick. There’s not a whole lot of story here, but as I’ve said before it should all read better together in print.

There are some art changes in this issue as well. Drew Johnson is replaced by Matt Haley and Richard Ortiz, and it’s an odd change. Haley mimics the realistic style established by Johnson to some degree, as he did in the latter half of last week’s issue, though he doesn’t capture Lynda Carter as well and his pages lack a bit of life compared to past issues. Ortiz’s pages take a turn toward a more cartoonish style. The linework is thicker, the features are more exaggerated, and the difference is very noticeable. His Wonder Woman doesn’t really look like Carter, though his Lyle Waggoner is actually pretty good. All together, it’s an average outing on the art side of things, and it’s disappointing that Johnson couldn’t finish the whole storyline for whatever reason.

The book also has three different colourists, and it shows. The colouring starts smooth and nicely blended and gets rougher as the book goes on. It never veers into bad, however, though the changing lights in the disco make for a few odd choices, such as a Silver Swan whose skin appears to be bright pink at one point.

All together, it’s an enjoyable end to a pleasant first arc with a few problems here and there, some technical and some structural. While there are things that could be improved for the second arc, all of the fun of the television show definitely comes through and it captures that spirit well. I’m excited to see what other villains and adventures Andreyko and the rest of the team have in store when Wonder Woman ’77 returns.

Speaking of scheduling, it looks like Sensation Comics will return next Thursday, and run for at least two weeks; there are two issues available for pre-order on Comixology right now for the following two Thursdays. After that, it continues to be a crapshoot. I assume that Wonder Woman ’77 will be back for a second arc, probably three issues again, before the print edition comes out in April, but that’s a big window. Either way, there should continue to be some sort of Wonder Woman digital fun each week, and for that I am very glad.


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