Posts Tagged ‘Sara Ryan’

Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman Review: “VIP, Part 2” by Sara Ryan and Christian Duce

March 26, 2015

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I really enjoyed the first part of this story last week, with its non-linear narrative and various mysteries, but the conclusion this week was a little more straight forward and telegraphed. However, this is a comic where Wonder Woman says, “The lasso compels truth, but it can’t stop mansplaining,” and that’s just fantastic. All together, this was a decent issue of a story that I think will read very well all together. While the opening was stronger than the close, it’s still a lot of fun.

Everything worked out like I thought it would in this issue. After last week’s story, I was worried about the fans getting VIP passes, and it turns out they could have died were it not for Wonder Woman. I was also pretty sure the skeevy head of security was up to something shady, and today we find out that he’s the one behind the VIPs near-death dilemmas. There really wasn’t much in the way of surprises or twists in this conclusion.

It’s also a much quicker read than last week’s issue. Part one had a lot for the reader to unpack and put together as they went through the book and figured out who was who and how they were connected. It was all very cleverly structured. The structure this week is a lot simpler and far more linear. There are no time jumps and the scene changes are much more organic. It’s also less dense, with far less dialogue and no real mystery to the words being spoken. Several of the scenes last week started not just mid-conversation but mid-sentence. Everything about this issue is much more straight forward.

That’s not to say that this issue was bad in any way. It was just put together differently than I expected, and it was still a lot fun. I particularly enjoyed the head of security’s speech about why he sabotaged the concert. There was a bit of nuance to it where he ALMOST had a decent point to make about how our culture sexualizes and objectifies young stars and how he didn’t want Esperanza to go in that direction, but then it turned into a weird puritanical angle where he wanted girls to stay girls so that men could stay men and it got gross again. I enjoyed that Sara Ryan gave him a slight smidge of a halfway decent point to make before taking the turn into him just being a patronizing ass with antiquated ideas about gender. Then Esperanza punched him out, which was fun.

Christian Duce’s art was solid again. This may seem like a weird, random thing to focus on, but I like that Duce make’s the star on Wonder Woman’s tiara big. I find a lot of artists make it too small or too skinny; I am bizarrely particular about her tiara, and Duce does a very nice job keeping the star prominent.

Ultimately, this week’s Sensation Comics is a decent end to a great beginning. Once all of the pieces were set up in part one, it makes sense that part two would be less twisty as everything came to a close. One fun thing to come out of this issue is that I’ve got a new author to check out! Sara Ryan’s written a bunch of comics as well as some YA novels, and her work here has me intrigued so I’m definitely going to check out some of her other stuff.

For all of you print folks, this story will be available in comic shops on May 20. It’s a fun one; I recommend checking it out.

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Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman #29 Review: “VIP, Part 1” by Sara Ryan and Christian Duce

March 19, 2015

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The description for this issue says that Wonder Woman is “going undercover as a pop-country starlet’s trainer”, so I thought that this might be a Wonder Woman meets Taylor Swift sort of thing, which would have been fun. I was expecting something light and breezy, but this issue went in the opposite direction in some very interesting ways. It’s a first issue that really drew me in and left me curious and excited to find out what happens next week.

The story centers on Esperanza, a young music star who is on tour and getting some creepy and dangerous threats. Her teacher/bodyguard has a past connection with Wonder Woman, and so she asks for Diana’s help in handling the situation. Wonder Woman decides to pitch in and help, joining Esperanza’s team as a “trainer” while she’s secretly there to protect the starlet. There’s also a sketchy record company executive in the mix, as well as a couple of teens who get upgraded to VIP status, though I fear that may have some ominous implications for them.

The plot doesn’t sound too complex on paper, but the structure of the story is very cool. It jumps around a lot, visiting several characters and going back in time to explain their relationships with each other and to tease their role in the situation with Esperanza. Unlike some past issues of Sensation Comics that you can fly through in a minute or so, this issue requires you to pay attention and keep track of who’s who, which is a nice change of pace. New scenes often start mid-conversation, without a lot of explanation. It is both sparse and detailed, and the non-linear structure isn’t confusing so much as it keeps you engaged as you start to put the pieces together. I really like how Sara Ryan constructed the story here.

I also love how Ryan set up Wonder Woman’s relationship with Esperanza’s teacher (who I don’t think is named in this issue?). They met ten years ago at a women’s shelter where Wonder Woman was teaching self defense, and it seems that they kept in touch over the years. The issue doesn’t go into the details of the teacher’s situation back then, nor does it have some sort of on the nose soliloquy about the importance of women’s shelters and such. Instead, through simply showing Wonder Woman’s relationship with the teacher and the changes in her life from where she was then to where she is now, it subtly demonstrates the importance of women’s shelters as well as her strength in overcoming whatever her situation may have been.

The relationship captures Wonder Woman beautifully as well. Of course she teaches self defense at a women’s shelter, and of course she stays in touch with her students and jumps to help them if they need it, even a decade later. That is exactly what Wonder Woman would do with her spare time, and exactly how she would react when a friend is in need.

The art is good, and does a nice job of communicating each new setting and time period. The jumping narrative could have gotten muddled with poor art, but Christian Duce keeps things focused and moving along well. Plus there are fun little moments interspersed through the story that he nails. In particular, a two page scene where Wonder Woman is on the phone with Esperanza’s teacher could have been dull, but instead Wonder Woman is fighting some bad guy while talking on the phone, nailing him with a sweet tiara boomerang shot. It’s a fun scene, and Duce does a great job capturing the bad assness of Wonder Woman.

The issue doesn’t end with a dramatic cliffhanger so much as it just stops and says “To Be Continued” but I was definitely intrigued by the story and am looking forward to seeing how it all plays out. I don’t trust that executive guy, and I’m worried about the teens at the concert, though I also know that it’s a Wonder Woman comic and she’ll sort it out all out because that’s what she does. I’m excited to see how she does it, though. If it’s anywhere near as interesting and clever as this issue, it should be a very fun finale.

If you’re waiting to read this story on paper, the print issue will be out May 20. You should definitely pick this one up.

Women At DC Comics Watch – May 2015 Solicits: 26 Different Female Creators On 25 Different Books

February 23, 2015

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As the second and final month of “Convergence” wraps up, DC Comics’ female representation ticks down somewhat from the numbers in the April solicits to their second lowest total of the year thus far. Nonetheless, it’s still far better than where they were at any point in 2014, or several years previous. Let’s take a look at who’s doing what at DC Comics in May 2015:

  • Alisa Kwitney: Convergence: Batgirl #2 (writer)
  • Amanda Conner: Convergence #6 (variant cover), Convergence #7 (variant cover), Convergence: Action Comics #2 (cover)
  • Babs Tarr: Convergence: Superboy #2 (cover)
  • Becky Cloonan: Convergence: Aquaman #2 (cover), The Kitchen #7 (cover)
  • Caitlin Kittredge: Coffin Hill #18 (writer)
  • Celia Calle: The Names #9 (cover)
  • Chrissie Zullo: Fables: The Wolf Amoung Us #5 (cover)
  • Christy Marx: Convergence: Green Arrow #2 (writer)
  • Claire Wendling: Convergence: Catwoman #2 (cover)
  • Emanuela Lupacchino: Convergence: Titans #2 (cover)
  • Gail Simone: Convergence: Nightwing/Oracle #2 (writer)
  • Jan Duursema: Convergence: Nightwing/Oracle #2 (penciller)
  • Jill Thompson: Convergence #8 (variant cover), Convergence: Nightwing/Oracle #2 (cover)
  • June Brigman: Convergence: Superman – The Man of Steel #2 (penciller)
  • Kai Wu: The Flash Season Zero #8 (co-writer)
  • Keto Shimizu: Arrow Season 2.5 #8 (writer)
  • Lauren Ceto: The Flash Season Zero #8 (co-writer)
  • Louise Simonson: Convergence: Superman – The Man of Steel #2 (writer)
  • Marguerite Sauvage: Hinterkind #18 (cover)
  • Marley Zarcone: Effigy #5 (interior art)
  • Ming Doyle: The Kitchen #7 (interior art)
  • Nicola Scott: Convergence: New Teen Titans #2 (art and cover)
  • Pia Guerra: Convergence: Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #2 (cover)
  • Sandra Hope: Convergence #5 (inker)
  • Sara Ryan: Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman #10 (writer)
  • Yishan Li: Convergence: Blue Beetle #2 (interior art)

All together, there are 26 different female creators scheduled to work on 25 different books, a drop from April’s 32 female creators but the same number of series. A big part of this drop was that the Vertigo quarterly special pumped up the April numbers, so without it the May numbers fell off a bit. Vertigo’s also got Strange Sports Stories #3 coming out, and while the second issue had two female creators listed last month, this month the only credits are “Various.” So things are about the same for the regular books.

Of course, all of these regular books will be gone next month, when “Convergence” ends and DC returns to its regular titles. June should be very interesting, seeing as DC is debuting 24 new series with some new creators in the mix. While several of the women who worked on “Convergence” probably won’t be back at DC in June, it looks like there are a lot of ladies set to take their place. I’m curious to see if DC can top their record total yet again; that would certainly be a good way to kick off a bold new direction for the publisher.

There’s not much new for female characters in May, seeing as it’s just more “Convergence”. The crossovers are starting to expand, though, so female characters from random universes will probably be showing up haphazardly across the line. I counted 5 or 6 different Wonder Womans in various titles, and she’s only headlining one book.

Overall, May isn’t a record breaking month for DC, but it’s a solid showing. I remain pleased to see so many women involved in an event like this; past events at DC, like their regular September stunts, usually result in a big drop for female creators, so it’s great that there are so many in the mix for “Convergence”. June’s going to be a whole new ball game, and I’m cautiously optimistic that DC will be up in the 30s again to launch their new direction.

Wonder Woman’s May 2015 Covers and Solicits

February 20, 2015

May is the second half of DC’s two month “Convergence” event, so Wonder Woman’s solicits remain a little wonky. Instead of the usual Wonder Woman and Superman/Wonder Woman, she’s starring in only one “Convergence” title, though she appears to be guest starring in a bunch as well. First up, let’s take a look at Convergence: Wonder Woman #2:

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CONVERGENCE: WONDER WOMAN #2
Written by LARRY HAMA
Art by AARON LOPRESTI and MATT BANNING
Cover by JOSHUA MIDDLETON
Variant cover designed by CHIP KIDD
On sale MAY 20 • 40 pg, FC, 2 of 2, $3.99 US • RATED T
STARRING HEROES FROM CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS! Diana Prince gets blood on her jumpsuit as she takes on vampire versions of The Joker and the rest of the Red Rain ghouls!

When we looked at last month’s solicits, I was very excited to have two issues of Joshua Middleton drawing Wonder Woman because I quite like his work. Turns out, he’s only doing the first one and Aaron Lopresti is drawing this issue. It’s not a bad change; I quite like Lopresti. But I’ve seen him do Wonder Woman before and I was really looking forward to seeing Joshua Middleton do it up.

I’ll be honest, though, the cover doesn’t look great and I’m not super curious about the story either. Wonder Woman vs. weird vampire versions of the DCU could be fun, but this looks all dark and moody and serious. Hopefully the book turns out to be entertaining and not just a violent bloodbath.

Versions of Wonder Woman are also popping up in several other “Convergence” titles. They are:

  • Flashpoint Wonder Woman in Convergence: Speed Force #2.
  • Red Son Wonder Woman in Convergence: Action Comics #2.
  • Kingdom Come Wonder Woman in Convergence: Justice League International #2.
  • DC One Million Wonder Woman in Convergence: Crime Syndicate #2.

And I wouldn’t be surprised if a few other versions pop up elsewhere across the line.

Also in May we’ve got Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman #10:

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SENSATION COMICS FEATURING WONDER WOMAN #10
Written by SARA RYAN and AARON LOPRESTI
Art by CHRISTIAN DUCE and AARON LOPRESTI
Cover by MICHAEL ZULLI
On sale MAY 20 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T • DIGITAL FIRST
Very few people know how to reach Wonder Woman directly, and when Clarice Anthony reaches out, Diana can’t deny her old friend the help she needs. But when that means going undercover as a pop-country starlet’s trainer, the world isn’t sure what to make of this new “VIP” persona! Then, the dragons of Sostratos became “Casualties of War” in a battle between Amazons and humans. Now, the sole survivor is taking his revenge on Diana!

Oof, that cover is rough stuff. But it’s a big month for Aaron Lopresti! He’s writing and drawing a story here, along with another by Sara Ryan and Christian Duce. The solicit says something about dragons, so you know I’m on board. I love a good dragon.

Look for all of these comics in May at comic shops everywhere!


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