Posts Tagged ‘Sean Parsons’

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

September 27, 2017

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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.

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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:

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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:

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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.


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