Posts Tagged ‘Romulo Fajardo Jr.’

Wonder Woman #42 Review: Jason Returns! From Where? And Why? Who Even Friggin’ Cares

March 14, 2018


It’s the second Wednesday of the month so we’ve got a new issue of Wonder Woman to dig into, and boy am I not feeling it today. I’ve been ill since the weekend, flattened out with some nefarious strain of the flu. Talking about whatever new travesty James Robinson has inflicted upon us is not how I’d like to be using what little energy I have right now. And yet, here I am. Am I a masochist? A hero? So addled by the flu that I’m making poor life decisions? It’s hard to say. Anyway, let’s jump into this latest batch of stupidity, but first:


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

They are all so dumb.

So very, very dumb.

So Jason is back, with fancy new armor and new abilities, and he has no idea where he was or who gave them to him. Sure, that seems legit. No wonder Diana agrees to fly off together with him. There’s nothing sketchy about this situation at all. Someone needs to tell the entire creative team and editorial that Wonder Woman is actually quite smart. Kind and compassionate, yes, but not foolishly so. And literally everything having to do with Jason thus far has required her to act foolishly and put her trust in someone who has yet to earn it in the slightest. Now the dude shows up more powerful, after eight days away, with ZERO explanation? Those are some serious red flags. And Diana just rolls with it all.

Grail’s back too, off to kill another deity or some such, so Diana and Jason team up to take her down. As they fly there, we’re treated to a useless five page flashback about the time Jason fought the Deep Six and met Grail for the first time. What a waste of a quarter of the book. It added literally nothing to the story that we didn’t know already. The editors must be asleep at the wheel here, because this is the filleriest of filler. All terribly written, too. There is nothing less compelling than a monologue from Jason.

After that pointless diversion, the actual fight happens. Wonder Woman ensnares Grail in the lasso to try to learn Darkseid’s evil plan, but only gets a small piece of it before Grail escapes. Now Wonder Woman knows that Darkseid is going after Themyscira, at least, and she can go stop him or whatever. It sounds like he’s on his way to A.R.G.U.S. to steal a bunch of artifacts, so it looks like Steve’s going to have a rough issue in two weeks’ time.

Anyway, across all of these twenty pages we learned not a dang thing about Jason’s disappearance other than he’s stronger now, and Wonder Woman knows a bit more about Darkseid’s plan. That’s it. This is really not effective comic booking. If you’re going to tell a story as pointless as the saga of Diana’s idiot brother, at least speed it up a bit so we can get onto something else. Or put in a modicum of effort to try to make it interesting or fun in some way. This issue is an entertainment vacuum. It has nothing enjoyable to recommend it.

Even the art is disappointing. Jesus Merino’s work is inconsistent throughout, with a few good panels and a lot of pages that look like they were hastily dashed off. Such is the reality of bi-weekly comics, I suppose. Merino’s a talented guy, and I’m guessing that some poor editorial management may have contributed to the sloppy look. Even the colors feel a little rough. Romulo Fajardo Jr. has been masterful with his coloring for nearly two years now, so an average issue from him suggests to me that there was a very short turnaround time for everyone involved in this outing. The result is an issue that’s not terribly appealing on any level.

All together, “Amazons Attacked” is a very good name for this arc. Longtime Wonder Woman readers will remember the Amazons Attack event from about a decade back, in which the Amazons invaded Washington, DC. It was TERRIBLE. Easily one of the worst Wonder Woman stories ever committed to paper. It was nonsensical, poorly written, and tied up in the fiendish machinations of Apokolips and the New Gods. “Amazons Attacked” shares all of the same poor qualities as its similarly named predecessor. My question is, did the editors name the arc this knowing it was going to be just as bad as the original? Or do they think they’re rehabilitating the name? If it’s the first, that’s hilarious, though said. If it’s the second, it’s not working out in the slightest.

Okay, I’m going to go lay down now. Happy Wednesday, everyone! Wonder Woman still sucks. The June solicits should be out next week though, so let’s all cross our fingers for an end to this horrible run.


Wonder Woman #41 Review: Failing at All of the Little Things

February 28, 2018


I’m starting to worry that I may be trapped in Tartarus, the deepest depths of Hades where the dead are punished for eternity with cruel forms of poetic justice. Like Sisyphus pushing his boulder up a hill, like Tantalus unable to reach the fruit above him or the water below, so too am I subjected to a terrible new issue of Wonder Woman every two weeks in a run that feels like it will never end. I’m not sure what I did to end up in Tartarus. Typically, you have to offend Zeus, so perhaps my intense and vocal dislike of his part in Wonder Woman’s current origin story played a part? Whatever the case, here do I suffer, again and again.

So that’s where I am with Wonder Woman right now.

We’ve got another issue this week and, well, it sure is a comic book. There are words and drawings. Multiple pages. All of the ingredients you need for superhero fun. And yet somehow it offers no fun whatsoever. This book is a mystery, one that keeps finding new ways to be so, so bad. We’ll dig into it, but first:


I am about to reveal all of the details of this book!

Maybe that’s why I’m in Tartarus, for spoiling comics?

I always give a warning, Zeus! Every time!

Let’s start at the very beginning today with the cover. It’s not good, but it’s dramatic. We’ve got a crazed looking Wonder Woman, sword drawn in anger, standing over her fallen love. The title ominously proclaims, “For the Life of Steve Trevor!” This must be a doozy of an issue, right? No. Not even a little bit. Steve is in the issue, yes, but he’s totally fine. The only time he’s in any harm’s way is in a flashback. Nor are he and Wonder Woman exposed to any great danger in the present. The bulk of the issue consists of a conversation between the two of them as they fill each other in on what they’ve been up to. No blood, no angst, no destruction.

Also, and this is a silly nitpick, I know, but Steve’s hair doesn’t look like that in this issue. It’s longer and slicked back, not short. He doesn’t wear anything that resembles the outfit above either. All of this gets to the larger point I am trying to make here: It feels like the editorial oversight on this book is non-existent. The cover not matching the contents, both in story and appearance, is just the tip of the iceberg. Everything inside this book is a dang mess, and it’s been that way for months. The stories have been repetitive, undeveloped, and largely nonsensical. None of the characters feel right. So much of the writing is screaming for another draft following a lengthy list of editorial notes. I don’t know what the editors on Wonder Woman are doing other than sending the files off to the printer every couple of weeks. Do they not know their names go on the book too? This is a very embarrassing product to be associated with, guys.

And what’s especially morbidly fascinating about the series right now is how it’s bad in a different way with every issue. The structure of this issue actually isn’t an awful idea. Diana and Steve catching up after a rough week of fighting bad guys with flashbacks to their various encounters could be good. We’d get to see them as a couple, sharing feelings and perspectives on their unique lives. It’s a nice set up. The only problem is, the writer would need to be capable of writing dialogue that actual human people would say. The stilted, hackneyed conversation we get here is so awkward that the whole thing goes off the rails with the first page.

Moreover, the stories behind it all are both random and bad. First, the book starts with Darkseid speechifying about a plan that never gets mentioned again for the rest of the issue. Then we go to the Diana/Steve conversation, which honestly makes it look like Wonder Woman is losing control a bit. She’s taking down villains aggressively, and showing no concern for them. It’s wildly out of character. In one fight, she laments that destroying a mecha-creature crashed the brain of the woman powering it, not because she is presumably brain dead now, but because the women wouldn’t be able to explain the motive behind her attack. This is not how Wonder Woman rolls. Even at her lowest, laden with all the problems of the world, Wonder Woman still cares. It’s a defining trait of the character.

Diana then goes to confront Veronica Cale, which is another big left turn. Cale was behind the attacks, trying to earn some defense contracts, and fine. That sort of seems like her. But what does this have to do with anything? Cale hasn’t been in the book since Greg Rucka left. She’s had nothing to do with this storyline in the slightest. I suppose she reminds us that her daughter is in Themyscira with the Amazons, and it looks like Darkseid is going to attack there soon, but does that mention require an entire issue of brawls? That seems a bit much.

The book ends with everybody’s least favourite character in the world showing up. It’s Jason! And he’s got a new outfit. And presumably he and Diana are going to fight now or something. Whatever. Who cares. He’s the worst. Also, nothing in the story preceding this last page reveal had teased his return. He just shows up after this detour of an issue to get back to the Darkseid related stuff, I guess. It’s all such poor story crafting.

I should say, on a brighter note, that the art is decent. Stephen Segovia does a solid job here, and Romulo Fajardo Jr.’s colours are gorgeous as always. Both artists feel like they are actually trying to make an enjoyable comic book, and I certainly appreciate that since I’m not sensing an ounce of effort or care from the writer or the editorial staff. Ugh. I still can’t believe we have months of this left. MONTHS, gang. Or, if I’m right about being in Tartarus, all of eternity.

Wonder Woman #40 Review: Still With This Foolishness?

February 14, 2018


There’s a line in today’s issue of Wonder Woman that perfectly captures the quality of writing we’ve been dealing with for the past several months. The woefully underdeveloped villain Silver Swan is flying through the night sky, stinging from her recent battle with Wonder Woman, and as she sees the moon shining she notes, “The moon reflects the cold silver of my dead heart.” Friends, I laughed out loud. The unfortunate thing is, I don’t think writer James Robinson was trying to be funny here. He’s constructed what he must imagine is a serious villain, given the swath of bodies left in her wake, yet her internal monologue reads like a bad goth parody. And, unsurprisingly given how poor this run has been, the rest of the writing in this issue is not much better. I remain flabbergasted that DC Comics is allowing such a terrible story for one of their marquee characters. We’ll get into it all, but first:


Do not read this review unless you want to know all of the big reveals from this issue!

I mean, most of these reveals are very dumb!

And badly written!

But still!

Reviewing this series lately just feels like making a list of complaints, which is something I do not care for. And yet, here we are again. I’d much rather be celebrating a fine comic book than criticizing a bad one, but this book just keeps finding new ways to be unpleasant every other week. It’s like compounded interest, except with terribleness instead of money. And I’m not at all shocked to see a new array of dumb decisions in this issue, on top of the already asinine storyline.

Let’s start with the art. It was fairly solid, as always. Emanuela Lupacchino and Carmen Carnero are quite good at their craft, and there was a lot of nice work in this outing. Throughout this run, the art has been the one decent thing we can count on, even when these fine artists are drawing the dumbest of stories. However, there was an odd choice that I didn’t much like. Lupacchino drew Jason towering over Diana, making him a full head taller than her in several panels. She often looked like a little pixie when next to his imposing frame. First, this is new. Jason was drawn only slightly taller than Diana initially. And second, Wonder Woman is tall. She is an imposing figure herself. To make her look small, you have to be a dang giant, or at the very least some sort of basketball star.

Moreover, the juxtaposition made her look not weak, but lesser, to a degree. There’s nothing at all wrong with being shorter, of course. Strength is not relative to size. But Diana and Jason are twins, and I think it’s a poor choice to make the male twin so much bigger. Especially in a genre where the men are typically behemoths and the women are tiny. They should be equals, and they’ve not been drawn as such here.

We’ve also got a condescending Steve Trevor moment in this issue that felt very out of character. If you’re not writing Steve Trevor as a good dude, you’re not writing him well. He is a fundamentally decent, respectful person, especially when it comes to women. So I found it a bit during when, during his battle with the Furies, he patronizingly called Lashina “sweetheart.” It’s a small thing, to be sure. But it’s a small thing that’s indicative of a writer who’s just doesn’t seem that interested in getting the characters right. That’s not something Steve would say. And since he’s only in two pages this issue, and has been an afterthought for a lot of this run, such a glaring error stands out especially sharply.

This outing also sees the introduction of another villain, and I’m not excited about it. Why would DC give Robinson the chance to screw up another classic Wonder Woman villain? It’s mind boggling. The revelation comes near the end of the issue, when a reflection reveals that the kindly Dr. Edward Carne looks to in fact be Dr. Psycho. Now, I’m not great at predicting plots and twists, in part because I don’t like to. I’d rather just follow along with where the story’s going. But the second the book introduced a short, friendly doctor talking about “the power of the mind,” my immediate thought was “well, that’s probably Dr. Pyscho then.” I was very amused when the next page revealed just that. It’s a weak twist, and I really don’t want Robinson to screw up this character too. Haven’t we been subjected to enough already? I have zero faith that he’ll do something interesting with him.

Elsewhere, the arc continued in its usual underwhelming way. Diana and Jason argued about proper heroing. There was another fight with the Silver Swan, and ultimately Wonder Woman captured here. Then Jason decided to run away because he’s so bad at being a superhero. Except that when he went to leave, he was swept up in some type of malevolent purple force. My fingers are crossed that he’d dead and gone, but that seems unlikely. Chances are, Grail and Darkseid have him now and we’ll see him again sooner than later.

So the overarching story is still plodding along. The Silver Swan tale is done for now, and it sounds like we’ve got Darkseid vs. the Amazons coming up next. And then, hopefully, a new creative team that knows what they’re doing. But after all of this complaining, let’s take a moment to recognize something amazing about this series. Jenny Frison has been doing variant covers for Wonder Woman for well over a year now, and they are consistently fantastic. I usually put up the main cover at the start of my review, but DANG did Frison outdo herself this week and I had to post that instead. That cover is stunning, and one of her best yet. I don’t know why DC isn’t making her covers the main ones, because they are gorgeous. Though really, I don’t know why DC isn’t doing a lot of things differently with Wonder Woman these days. Nonetheless, what a stellar piece of art. She’s been doing phenomenal work.

Wonder Woman #39 Review: Let’s Talk About The One Good Thing This Book Has Going For It

January 24, 2018


It’s tough to come up with new and creative ways to say a comic book is terribly written every two weeks, and James Robinson is doing me no favours by continually churning out one of the worst Wonder Woman runs in recent memory. And that’s saying something. Remember the Finches? This might be even worse than that. Point being, I can only talk about this horrendous storyline so much before I lose my mind. It’s just too terrible. So today, let’s turn a negative into a positive. Yes, today’s new issue of Wonder Woman is still hot garbage and everyone at DC should feel bad about themselves for putting out such a bad book. However, today is also Colorist Appreciation Day, when comic book fans take to social media to celebrate the pivotally important, criminally overlooked artists who make the comics look good (#ColoristAppreciationDay). So let’s do that instead! But first:


I’m gonna run through the stupid contents of this issue real quick first!

But then I’m going to tell you how rad Romulo Fajardo Jr.’s coloring is!

So basically, Wonder Woman is still fighting Silver Swan, the most underdeveloped villain in the history of villains. Apparently there’s some sort of nanobot situation behind her transformation? Anyway, she’s evil and angry and spending most of her time rehashing literally everything we learned last issue, in typical Robinson fashion. Also, Darkseid and Grail are hanging out in the Amazon rain forest, and Darkseid sends the Female Furies after Steve Trevor and his knockoff Howling Commandos. Oh, and Jason tries to get into the fighting mix and uses some dumb wind power or something. Surprising no one, it proves ineffective. So yeah, it’s all very bad.

Apart from the art! Before I get to the colorist, I should again praise the fine work of Emanuela Lupacchino and Ray McCarthy, who are making some horrible writing at least nice to look at. This week they’re joined by Carmen Carnero, who does some fine work as well. It’s a good looking book. You’d be better served to look at the pretty pictures and make up your own story and dialogue, really.

The lovely art is, of course, brought to life by the marvelous coloring of Romulo Fajardo Jr. He’s been the only real constant on Wonder Woman since it’s “Rebirth” relaunch, and has been doing great work on the title for over a year and a half now. After sharing duties with Laura Martin, who colored Liam Sharp’s art, for the first year, he’s been the sole colorist since. It’s been a remarkable run for several reasons.

First, by my count, he’s worked with over eleven different line art teams during that span. That’s a lot of change, and with each new artist he’s adapted his style to fit their artwork. Fajardo Jr. could have just colored them all exactly the same, but he doesn’t. When the art is more realistic, his colors are more subtle and textured to bring out the realism. When the art is more cartoonish, he goes a bit brighter and bolder and sells the style. There’s definite consistency throughout his work, too. The man’s blending in his shading, especially with skin tones, is impeccable, and the dude does amazing work with different textures. His ability to adapt to his artists while putting out high quality work is impressive, and it gives the series a cohesiveness that counters the constant upheaval of the line art changes.

Second, it’s hard to be a colorist under the best of circumstances. If a script is late or the artist gets behind, the colorist is the last line of defense to ensure that the book comes out on time. This often involves working on crazy deadlines to pick up the slack for everyone else. It’s a thankless, high pressure job, and is doubly so on a bi-weekly series like Wonder Woman. The book is coming out every two weeks come hell or high water, and Romulo Fajardo Jr. is the person that has to carry the baton for the final stretch of the race with each and every issue. And he nails it! Every two weeks, we get a gorgeously colored comic book. No matter who’s writing or drawing it, the coloring is smooth and uniform and pulls the whole issue together.

With every issue of Wonder Woman, whether I’m engrossed in the story and devouring it or appalled at the story and trudging my way through, there’s always at least one moment where I stop and marvel at something Fajardo Jr. has done. Often it’s something small, like the texture of a rock. An inconsequential bit that you could slap a bit of grey on and be fine, saving your time to make sure Wonder Woman herself looks good and fancy. But he always adds a little something to it to make it feel a bit more real, to make the comic book reading experience more immersive. I mean, look at this splash page from the last issue:


The linework is gorgeous, but he takes it to new heights. The smooth skin tones, the shine on the metal armor, the glow of the lasso, the texture in the stone, the grit on the girl trapped in the rubble. Everything pops. The man’s got an epic arsenal of skills at his disposal, and he uses them with aplomb. His attention to detail adds so much to the book.

Romulo Fajardo Jr. has been a key part of Wonder Woman’s comic book adventures for years now, not just with Wonder Woman itself but dating back to Wonder Woman ’77 as well. His coloring really brought Lynda Carter to life in the early issues of that series, and it’s been exciting to follow his career since then. I’m glad he’s remained part of the Wonder Woman family, and it’s been so fun to see him color some of my favourite artists, including Mirka Andolfo, Bilquis Evely, Emanuela Lupacchino, and Nicola Scott. The man is going to go down in history for “Year One” alone; Scott killed it, obviously, but his colors paired with her linework beautifully, and that collection is going to be a classic for as long as comic books exist. So my thanks go out to Romulo Fajardo Jr., the MVP of Wonder Woman! I hope he gets to color her and her adventures for years to come!

Wonder Woman #38 Review: This Silver Swan Tale is an Ugly Duckling

January 10, 2018


It’s a New Year, gang, and after spending the latter part of last year slogging through some truly horrendous Wonder Woman comic books, this first issue of 2018 offers us an opportunity for a fresh start. James Robinson remains the writer of the book, of course, for reasons no one seems to completely understand. But still, we’ve got the beginning of a brand new arc! Wonder Woman’s brother and all of the shenanigans with Darkseid and Grail are so 2017. Now it’s time for a different story, courtesy of the introduction of Silver Swan. Will it be a fun, new start for the book? (Spoiler alert: No). Will Robinson leave the sins of the past behind and tell a compelling story? (Spoiler alert: Also no). Will Wonder Woman finally get to take center stage in her own title? (Spoiler alert: Still, no). Let’s dig into it all and find out, but first:


I am about to reveal the major plot points of this issue!

Look away if you have not read it yet!

But also, just don’t read it. It’s still so bad. I’ve read it for you. Spare yourself the pain.

I have to say, the first eight pages of this issue aren’t terrible. They aren’t good by any means, but there’s potential. We’ve got Emanuela Lupacchino pencilling the book, with inks from Ray McCarthy, and that’s a very fine start indeed. Lupacchino draws a great Wonder Woman, and the book opens with a lovely full page spread of our favourite heroine, beautifully coloured as always by Romulo Fajardo Jr. The fight scene with Major Disaster that follows is nicely done as well, even as the girl Diana saved, a new version of Vanessa Kapatelis, takes over the narrative. The writing’s still iffy, laden with Robinson’s bizarre punctuation choices and his utter inability to craft words that Wonder Woman would conceivably say. But the story as a whole is decent. Wonder Woman saves Vanessa, who is paralyzed during Major Disaster’s attack, visits her regularly in the hospital, and the two become friends. It’s a nice start. Easily the best eight pages of Wonder Woman we’ve seen since Robinson became the book’s writer.

Then he drives the issue right off a cliff. Wonder Woman visits Vanessa less and less, because she’s busy, you know, saving the dang world, and Vanessa gets bitter and angry. The senseless death of her mother compounds these feelings, and hate begins to set in. Meanwhile, Jason throws a party at Diana’s beach house and she has to give him a talking to, which means a) that her dope of a brother is still around, and b) Diana’s role in the back half of this issue consists solely of scolding the dope.

Let me just pause for a second here. WHO WANTS TO READ THAT?! I cannot understand how the writer and editors in charge of Wonder Woman thought that it would be a good idea to dedicate FIVE PAGES, a full QUARTER of the book, to Diana chastising her brother for partying it up and not properly dedicating himself to heroism. Granted, they’ve been making terrible story decisions for several months now. But still, NOBODY WANTS THIS. Nobody wants to read about her brother in the first place, much less her having to babysit him and try to keep him in line. When people buy Wonder Woman, they expect some Wonder Woman fun. Superheroing. Saving the world. Fun sisterhood. Smash the patriarchy a bit. Not this foolishness. Argh.

So after the scolding, a family Wonder Woman recently saved ends up dead. It turns out that Vanessa has become the Silver Swan and, fueled by her anger at Wonder Woman for abandoning her, flies into a jealous rage and murders them, then waits for Wonder Woman to show up so she can make a dramatic proclamation that she is her worst enemy.

This is all terrible, for several reasons. First, can Wonder Woman get a decent female friend at some point please? This is Wonder Woman. Sisterhood is kind of a big deal. We spent the last arc with her battling Grail, now she’s going to be battling Silver Swan, all the while the only people she talks to are Steve and her brother. Where’s Etta Candy? Where are her female superhero pals? Why is this book a sea of dudes, evil women, and occasionally, but only occasionally, Wonder Woman? It makes no sense.

Second, this is a very quick turn for Vanessa. To have her go from loving Wonder Woman to hating Wonder Woman in the span of an issue feels entirely unearned, doubly so because this is a revamp of a key character in the Wonder Woman mythos. During the George Perez relaunch in the late 1980s, Julia Kapatelis was Diana’s first friend in America, and she and her daughter Vanessa became like family to her. Vanessa’s relationship with Diana was lengthy and well fleshed out, and they went through a lot together. When Vanessa eventually became a new version of the villainous Silver Swan, it was after well over a decade of stories, and various fiendish machinations from other villains to brainwash her into the role. There was a deep history there by the time it occurred.

Here, Robinson bypasses all of that. He borrows the name but not the backstory, manufacturing a slapdash relationship between Diana and Vanessa that does no justice whatsoever to her past prominence. And then he turns it entirely halfway through, making her a villain because she was angry that Wonder Woman was too busy to visit her. That origin is a) weak sauce, and b) quite the change. Going from a brave teen persevering through her injuries to a stone cold murderer all in one issue is too fast a turnaround for it to have any emotional impact.

Also, we’ve had three villain origin stories in this run: Grail, Jason, and now Silver Swan. Each one featured a scene in which they see Wonder Woman on television and get angry over her being out and about and saving the day. It’s such lazy writing. All three villains thus far have been rage-fueled, jealous narcissists. Now, this could be interesting if the book served as a reflection on these traits and why Wonder Woman in particular sparks such anger, perhaps delving into how both men and women are conditioned to try to tear down strong women in our patriarchal society. That might be compelling. But this is not that. This is just lazy, hacky writing, recycling the same few notes and doing nothing new or interesting with any of it.

So basically, things aren’t any better now despite the new arc and the New Year. Shocking, I know. Being negative all the time brings me down; seriously, I’d much prefer to be gushing over how great Wonder Woman is and all of the little things I love about it. But the fact is, this run is awful and it’s just not going to get any better. We have to wait it out and hope for a better creative team and better editors when it’s done.

Wonder Woman #37 Review: Thunderbolts of Jove, This Book is Bad

December 27, 2017


For Christmas this year, Santa Claus left me some Funko Pops in my stocking, both of them from the Wonder Woman movie. One was Antiope in mid-leap, holding a bow and about to fire three arrows in a recreation of an iconic scene from the film. The other was Etta Candy, holding Wonder Woman’s shield and sword. They’re both awesome and adorable, and they also encapsulate what was so great about the movie. Wonder Woman was the star, of course, but the film was packed full of amazing female characters. Between the Amazons on Themyscira and Etta in England, Diana had female allies everywhere. Sisterhood was a core theme of the movie, and it showcased female strength in a variety of forms.

The film was a massive hit, and yet for some reason, DC Comics has decided to ignore everything that made it successful. We’ve got an arc focusing on Wonder Woman’s brother, Wonder Woman herself has been little more than an afterthought in several issues, and there are no female allies to be found. The only other woman in the book is Grail, a villain, and now Wonder Woman’s father has come to the fore with this issue. On top of all of that, the book is terribly written and just painful to read. So yeah, let’s talk about it, but first:


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

Look away if you haven’t read it yet!

But also, do yourself a personal favour and maybe don’t read it!

It’s quite awful!

The bulk of this issue centered on Zeus fighting Darkseid, a battle of two titans that could have been interesting but turned out rather humdrum. The men bloviated the entire time, crowing about their own superior power as they traded blows. I don’t buy Wonder Woman to see two dudes duking it out while bragging about how big and strong they are, so I didn’t particularly care for this focus. I also don’t buy Wonder Woman to see a man fighting Diana’s battles for her, as Zeus did here, so that angle wasn’t great either. The battle itself was drawn capably, but there was nothing really interesting or compelling about the depiction of it all. The choreography was pretty straight forward superhero brawling, really. I do still enjoy Zeus’ glowing cape, though; that’s a nice stylistic touch that colorist Romulo Fajardo Jr. makes look super cool. The rest was generally unexciting.

Also, I found it odd that Diana seemed so accepting of having her father back. She’s never met the man, ever, apart from perhaps in animal form during Year One. He’s not been a part of her life in any meaningful way, and owing to Rucka’s revamp we don’t know how she learned that Zeus was her father or what her perspective on her parentage is. Yet here, she’s instantly on board with him, calling him “Father” from the get-go. I understand her trying to save him from Darkseid; she’s Wonder Woman, after all, and would do her best to save anyone from Darkseid. But her instant acceptance of him felt very unearned to me.

I suppose they had to fast forward the relationship, seeing as Darkseid kills Zeus by the end of the issue in an entirely unsurprising twist. Turns out, Darkseid was killing Zeus’ kids partly to get their slices of divine power but partly to get Zeus to show up so that he could take his immense power and regain all of his strength. With Zeus not long for the world, there wasn’t much time to create a relationship with Diana or delve into their complicated past.

The execution highlights a key flaw of the book right now: None of this is really about Diana. The return of Zeus could have brought up a lot of stuff for her, and let her reckon with her past, her power, and her currently estranged relationship with her Amazon family. This development was potentially full of fascinating angles to examine and ways to dig into Wonder Woman’s character. But instead, it had nothing to do with her. Zeus’ return served as a shocking cliffhanger for the last issue, and a means to bring Darkseid back to his full strength in this issue. Diana’s feelings about her father’s return got minimal attention, and now he’s gone.

The issue also left me wondering where this arc is going. Darkseid is repowered back to his former self, and he and Grail escaped at the end of the issue. The solicits suggest that they’ll be back after the Silver Swan arc that’s set to begin in two weeks time, returning to vex the Amazons, but to what end? I’m still hoping that Darkseid will Omega Beam Jason and rid us of his pointless presence, but now that Darkseid’s back to full strength I can’t see him ending up defeated or captured. He’s not a normal villain. He’s a major player in the larger comic book universe. Grail could end up properly defeated, but Darkseid is.

Ultimately, this is another bad issue in a terrible arc that has failed to center Wonder Woman in any meaningful way. It’s also a bizarre sequel to an event no on particularly cared for, tied into outdated continuity, and it just doesn’t make a lick of sense in general. And now we’re letting James Robinson have a crack at the Silver Swan too? Who okayed that plan? Silver Swan is a classic Wonder Woman villain, and she deserves to be in the hands of someone who’s actually demonstrated an understanding of Diana and her world. At least Grail won’t be around for a while? That’s something to look forward to. I’ll take that break.

Wonder Woman #36 Review: Can We Just Not, With Any Of This?

December 13, 2017


Let’s begin with a story. Last Wednesday, I woke up prepared to begin my usual bi-weekly Wonder Woman review routine. Buy the comic. Read it a couple of times. Think about it a bit and formulate some opinions. Then sit down and write out my review. However, I was mistaken. Yes, it had been two weeks since the last issue of Wonder Woman came out, but November was a five-Wednesday month. The issue wouldn’t be out until the following week, because Wonder Woman comes out on the second and fourth weeks of each month. I was amused at my error, and tremendously relieved. I didn’t have to read Wonder Woman! It felt like a reprieve.

Anyway, now it’s the correct week and here we are. Let’s dig into this nonsense, but first:


This review reveals key plot points from this issue!

Don’t read this if you haven’t read the comic yet!

Though I can’t in good conscience recommend that you read this comic book!

So we’re in a bit of a catch-22 here!

Here’s a positive thing to start with: I like the new corner box on the cover. It’s an old school affectation brought back with a modern feel. I’m into it. That “Rebirth” bar was getting tiresome after a year and a half, and this is a lot cleaner and more compact. I think it might hint at some coming changes for the line, too. DC’s been doing a lot of multiverse stuff lately, and that “Universe” designation might be significant. Spinning out of “Metal,” I wouldn’t be surprised to see new books set in different universes, with corner boxes that marked them as such. Could be cool. But whether that’s coming or not, I think it’s a good look.

And here’s even more good news: Wonder Woman is actually in this issue of Wonder Woman! On nearly every page, even. You wouldn’t think that’d be something we’d even have to celebrate, but there’s been a substantial lack of Wonder Woman in this run thus far.

That’s where the good news ends, though. The book is still really bad. The story is still really dumb. There are a few twists in this issue, none of them good or particularly unexpected. I will say, the art is nicer than it’s been lately. While Emanuela Lupacchino’s done fine work on her villain backstory issues, a misuse of her talents but excellent art nonetheless, the main story has been decidedly subpar. Carlo Pagulayan’s pencils with inks from Jason Paz and Sean Parsons are a definite step up, and of course Romulo Fajardo Jr.’s colours are fantastic, as always. While the story remains a trash fire, at least it’s nicer to look at this time around.

So let’s dive into the story itself. Grail and Jason have Wonder Woman trapped, and the issue begins with them all yelling at each other. Jason is bitter about his upbringing for no good reason, Grail just wants to kill folks, and Diana wants her brother to see reason. No one really breaks through with anyone, largely because all the speechifying is just there to lay the groundwork for Wonder Woman busting free and starting a big fight scene. I will say this for Robinson: I did enjoy the reveal that Diana could have broken out of her bonds at any time, but she stayed trapped and took Grail’s abuse to try to reach Jason. I mean, Jason sucks and all, but that’s a very Wonder Woman thing to do.

The fight takes a turn with the inevitable arrival of Darkseid, who has now grown to be a young man. Grail’s god killing seems to be feeding him well. Then we get the not at all shocking turn in which Jason finds out that Grail has been lying to him. Combined with Darkseid’s brutal treatment of his sister, Jason’s no longer sure he’s on the right team here and tries to stop him. This will likely lead to Diana and Jason teaming up to defeat Grail and Darkseid later on which, ugh, of course it will. I don’t know about you all, but I was cheering for Darkseid to blast Jason with an Omega Beam and free us from his tedious presence. No such luck this time around, but I’ll keep my fingers crossed for future outings.

Then finally, the twistiest twist of them all! Hercules’ weirdo lawyer is actually Zeus in disguise! Gasp. A story about two children of Zeus features an appearance from Zeus. Who saw that coming? Anyway, he’s in the mix now, threatening Darkseid to close out the issue. And he’s got an all new design, too. It’s not great, though I do enjoy the glowing white cape. That’s kind of cool. His armour bits are a little too Magogy for me, and I don’t care for him copying Wonder Woman’s bracelets. Also, that crown could be better. Still, on the larger spectrum of Zeus designs in Wonder Woman, I’d say this is one of the better ones. Zeus has never looked particularly cool. I mean, the dude showed up in a space unitard at one point

(HOT TIP: For an excellent take on Zeus, and the Greek gods in general, go read the Olympians series by George O’Connor! They are excellent comic books with really smart, clever takes on all of the gods, and it’s got far and away my favourite Zeus ever.)

So a bunch of things happened, none of them particularly interesting, all of them poorly written. The art was a little bit nicer, at least. And it looks like we’ve got a big fight coming, with Zeus and Darkseid set to battle it out in an Old God versus New God showdown. That could be a good thing, if only because the brawl might take up a lot of the next issue and thus cut down on the words therein. I’m all for anything that will make this book a quicker read and spare me from Robinson’s horrible dialogue.

Anyway, there’s some encouraging news for us to end on: We’re halfway through, gang. This ridiculousness is scheduled to last for twelve issues, and this was this sixth. By this time in March, we’ll have reached the grand finale and will be eagerly anticipating whoever is set to take over next. Will we get returning favourites? Will it be an up and coming team with a fresh voice for Wonder Woman? Will it be some random people they just grab off the street? Whoever they choose, it can’t be worse than this run.

%d bloggers like this: