Posts Tagged ‘Sean Parsons’

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

December 13, 2017

ww36.jpg

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:

SPOILER ALERT!!

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.

Advertisements

Wonder Woman #31 Review: It’s Going To Be A Long Six Months

September 27, 2017

ww31.jpg

I just don’t understand why this is happening, gang. DC finally has Wonder Woman back on track after the New 52 reboot took her increasingly off course for five years, and her popularity is sky high following the massive success of the movie this summer. Greg Rucka, Bilquis Evely, Nicola Scott, and Liam Sharp re-established her beautifully with the first year of “Rebirth” and then Shea Fontana, Mirka Andolfo, David Messina, and Inaki Miranda made the most of the new status quo with their excellent, compelling “Heart of the Amazon” arc. And now we’ve got a story about Diana’s brother, tied to a pre-“Rebirth” event no one particularly cared about, with several elements that are technically no longer part of Wonder Woman’s continuity. It is the opposite of accessible, and it’s also the opposite of what anyone who’s loved the first thirty issues of the new Wonder Woman and/or the movie is looking for. I’m utterly flabbergasted that DC is dedicating six months and twelve whole issues to this story that next to no one is clamouring for.

Plus, most damningly, it’s just not good. This first issue is rough in a lot of ways, but here’s the big thing you need to know about it: It’s an issue of Wonder Woman in which Wonder Woman only appears on six pages. If Wonder Woman isn’t the star of your Wonder Woman, you’ve done screwed up. I was really hoping that, as much as I didn’t love the idea of this arc, it would turn out to be surprisingly good and interesting, but this first issue has squashed that hope considerably. It’s bad and dumb and seems destined to try my patience. Let’s dig into it all, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

It’s a first issue so I won’t be too spoilery moving forward!

However, a couple of plot points will be discussed!

Continue to read at your own discretion!

So let’s start with the elephant in the room that is James Robinson. Once a legend in the business because of Starman, his fame has dimmed in recent years after some gruesome and grotesque superhero outings and his transphobic indie book. His work over the past few years seems generally at odds with the message and tone of Wonder Woman, especially in her re-established “Rebirth” form. Furthermore, after Rucka’s fine work on the book, a lot of folks, myself included, were hoping that the writing reins would get passed on to one of the many amazing female writers working in the business today. Robinson taking over the book for an extended run is an all around bizarre choice by DC.

And one that has resulted in a very bad first issue. There’s the fact that Wonder Woman is barely in it, of course, but more than that it’s a clumsy, awkwardly expository outing. The book takes twelve pages to set up the villain, with more than half of the story dedicated to a character who’s quickly taken off the board. I don’t want to get too into the details for folks who haven’t read it, but essentially Grail is taking the power of gods to repower Darkseid, and a huge portion of the book is dedicated to setting that up. The execution of this both sidelines Wonder Woman and drags on with shrug-inducing reveals and painful dialogue.

The dialogue especially is a constant problem throughout the issue. Not only are characters over explaining everything, but there’s no natural flow to any of it. It’s stilted and drawn out, laden with rough transitions, and it all combines to take the reader out of the story again and again. It’s so clunky that I kept thinking, “Nobody talks like this. Why is this so awkward?” and it makes for an unpleasant read.

The art, however, was quite strong throughout. Penciller Carlo Pagulayan and his inkers Sean Parsons, Jason Paz, and Scott Hanna do a nice job with every aspect of the book, bringing some life to the weak script and saving the issue from being a complete disaster. Wonder Woman’s fight with Giganta is particularly well done, and they’ve got an excellent handle on Wonder Woman herself. I can see some of Nicola Scott’s take on the character, with a little bit of Gal Gadot mixed in too, all rendered in Pagulayan’s own style to add up to quite a good Wonder Woman. Their action scenes are enjoyable as well, and quite compelling if you ignore the dialogue and just focus on the visual storytelling. I’m curious to see more from them, and have my fingers crossed that they’ll end up with fun things to draw as the story progresses. Also, shout out to Romulo Fajardo Jr.! He’s back again colouring the book, and doing an amazing job as always. The man has an uncanny ability to pair seamlessly with any artist he works with in a complimentary way that elevates the art even higher, and he’s at it again with this issue. I’m so glad to see he’s sticking with the book.

So we’ve got good art and terrible writing, but the scales tip decidedly to the negative all together when we consider the ridiculous premise. The primary antagonist Grail is a product of the New 52 Amazons who have since been revealed as a fabrication by the gods, so basically she should not exist. But because of her prominent role in “The Darkseid War” event and the fact that she’s Darkseid’s daughter, she somehow carries on to plague Wonder Woman. And Wonder Woman’s brother, which is also a thing that is happening. He was teased in the “Rebirth” special, but seemingly forgotten for the next 15 months and never mentioned at all in the new Wonder Woman as much better stories were told instead. But here we are, picking up on some very dumb loose threads and tying it all together. At a time when everyone is in love with Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman and wants more Diana, more Amazons, more bad ass female characters generally, and more women in charge of these feminist icons, the comic’s got a male writer telling a story centered on Wonder Woman’s brother. And, if the first issue is any indication, a really bad story at that. I have no idea why DC is doing this. All I know is that it looks like it’s going to be a very long six month for Wonder Woman enthusiasts.

Wonder Woman: Rebirth #1 Preview: The New Direction Begins!

June 7, 2016

I haven’t posted a preview of Wonder Woman in quite a while now. I used to post them every month, because I was excited to read each issue. Then I got less excited about the book, started to dread it each month, in fact, and just stopped with the previews all together. But now, I’m excited again! As part of DC’s “Rebirth” initiative, Wonder Woman is relaunching with a new creative team and a new direction.

I’m not yet sold on “Rebirth” as a whole; DC sort of feels like the boy who cried wolf now when it comes to relaunches that promise big things, and their kickoff special two weeks back didn’t do much for me. But what I am sold on is the new Wonder Woman creative team. Writer Greg Rucka is returning after a decade away from the character, and he seems excited to right the ship and present a more iconic take on the character. Artists Liam Sharp and Nicola Scott are both ridiculously talented, and are enouragingly keen to take on Wonder Woman and her world. The book could be good again, gang! All signs are pointing to a strong run for Wonder Woman.

And now we’ve got a preview of the Wonder Woman: Rebirth special that will launch this new direction tomorrow. Let’s take a look:

ww1a

ww1b

ww1c

ww1dww1eww1f

Right off the bat, we’re digging into what I’m most curious about, Diana’s origin. The New 52 relaunch changed the classic clay creation into a Hippolyta/Zeus hookup, but this first page suggests some confusion. There appear to be two Hippolytas even, one brunette and one blonde. Perhaps the universe bending shenanigans that have been mentioned elsewhere might be utilized to bring back Wonder Woman’s classic origin? There’s a weird melding of the pre-New 52 and New 52 universes that’s going on right now that could lead to big changes for Wonder Woman.

I could speculate more, but I’d rather find out what’s up tomorrow when I read the issue. Instead of thinking it to death, I’m just going to enjoy the first issue of Wonder Woman that I’ve looked forward to in several years. THEN I’ll speculate it up like crazy, though we’ll only have to wait two weeks to find out what happens next, which is cool. Pricey, but cool, and a lot of fun if the book turns out as good as I hope it will be. Wonder Woman: Rebirth #1 will be available in comic shops and online TOMORROW. Pick it up!

Superman/Wonder Woman #20 Preview OR Five Pages And No Wonder Woman To Be Seen

August 18, 2015

They really ought to just call this book Adventures of Superman or Superman: The Man of Steel or something because Superman/Wonder Woman is a complete misnomer. Since its inception it’s been a Superman-centric book, run by the Superman editorial offices, and it’s spent a significant portion of its tenure tied up in Superman events. Just like Action Comics is the book Lana Lang shows up in and Superman is the book with Lois Lane, Superman/Wonder Woman should be renamed and just be the Super-book that Wonder Woman is a frequent guest star in, because that’s about all she does.

This opening rant is brought to you by the fact that we have a five page preview of Superman/Wonder Woman #20 in which Wonder Woman does not appear nor is she even mentioned. I’m sure she’ll be somewhere in the full issue, but her complete lack of presence here underscores the second fiddle position she’s had in this series since day one. It irks me.

Anyway, here’s some Superman stuff in Superman/Wonder Woman #20, courtesy of The AV Club:

sww20a

sww20b sww20c sww20d sww20e sww20f

I feel like a crotchety old man saying this, but this isn’t my Superman. He hasn’t been my Superman since the New 52 relaunch four years ago. DC has somehow lost all of the qualities that make Superman super, and that’s very disappointing. I think the only storyline that has captured the essence of Superman for me since the relaunch was the first arc of Greg Pak and Aaron Kuder’s Action Comics. That arc was amazing. Everything else just doesn’t feel like him, and this angry, t-shirt wearing, buzz cutted Superman is the incarnation furthest away from how I see the character.

Anyway, he’s arguing with Steve Trevor in the Oval Office or whatever. All of his friends have been captured. I liked the Lois Lane panel, at least. That was fun. The rest was just tough dude posturing. It all could have used a little bit of Wonder Woman, really.

Superman/Wonder Woman #20 is available in stores and online this Wednesday! Here’s my suggestion: Action Comics Volume 5: What Lies Beneath is the first volume of Greg Pak and Aaron Kuder’s run, and the paperback is only $14.99. It’s KILLER. Take a few months off of Superman/Wonder Woman while this dumb “Truth” storyline plods along and use the money you’re saving to pick up that trade and just have yourself a fantastic time.


%d bloggers like this: