Posts Tagged ‘Shea Fontana’

Wonder Woman #30 Review: The Heart of the Amazon Shines

September 13, 2017

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Today’s issue of Wonder Woman brings us the finale of “Heart of the Amazon,” a story that has challenged Diana on multiple levels. There were the villains, of course, a multitude of assassins that she and Etta dispatched with relative ease. But there were also more existential threats as Diana contemplated her heroic purpose. Yes, she’s a divinely powered superhero who can take on more than anyone else can bear, but she’s also just one person. Perhaps the gifts inside her were meant for something more, something that required a great sacrifice. We’ll get into it all, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

Don’t read this review if you haven’t read the issue!

Also, go read the issue! And the whole arc! It’s great!

So, it turns out that no, the gifts inside her weren’t meant for something more. At least, not yet and certainly not under these circumstances. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Hamilton Revere, the man who sent a group of assassins after Wonder Woman, is not a good dude and does not have the best interests of humanity at heart. After Diana willingly went to see him at the end of the last issue, curious if her divinely powered blood could help cure diseases like he claimed, things quickly took a dark turn. Revere wanted to develop an army of super soldiers, first and foremost, and use them to strike fear into the hearts of American enemies and compel global peace. Wonder Woman wasn’t into it because obviously that’s a terrible idea, and some enjoyable fighting ensued.

I think that anytime a Wonder Woman story ends with a message that men are bad and can’t be trusted with power, the writer is definitely doing things right. I mean, look around. Men ARE bad and CAN’T be trusted with power. That’s been true for time immemorial, and was also a key component of the original Wonder Woman in the 1940s; back then, she was straight up arguing for a matriarchal revolution. I loved Shea Fontana’s internal monologue for Diana in this issue as she fought back against Revere’s forces and reflected on the awesome responsibility of her powers and how she must be careful and judicious with how she uses them. Fontana also mentioned the golden lasso and the truths it reveals, which is key. Wonder Woman is, above all else, firmly rooted in the truth of things. She can’t lie to herself, or disguise selfish motivations with a benevolent facade. The lasso ensures that her motivations are pure, and thus she is best suited to the amazing gifts of the gods. Folks like military directors, world leaders, and soldiers don’t have a lasso, and thus should not be entrusted with such powers. The monologue is specific to the scene, but there’s also a larger implication that we as a society must be careful in selecting who we entrust with power, which is all sorts of timely.

On top of these deeper reflections, this issue also has Etta Candy pitching a bunch of grenades and using the lasso, which is just fun times. Steve Trevor’s reactions when Etta keeps pulling out grenades are priceless. Fontana’s done a wonderful job bringing Etta and her friendship with Diana to the fore throughout this arc, and I’m hoping that it’s something that sticks moving forward. They’re such a great pairing. And, again, their friendship harkens back to the 1940s as well. Fontana has tapped into some classic Wonder Woman here.

The art rotation continued this issue with the return of David Messina after Inaki Miranda drew the last outing, and he did a swell job again. Maybe even better than his first issue in some ways. His style felt a little looser this time around, which I enjoyed. He seemed to be channeling Mirka Andolfo somewhat as well, adding just a bit more of a cartoonish aspect to his work. Messina did well with all of the serious talking and discussion that kicked off the issue, and then really shone once the fighting began. The double page spread of Wonder Woman busting her way through multiple opponents is just gorgeously composed. And the colours by Romulo Fajardo Jr. add so much to that sequence. He captures the passage of time as Wonder Woman moves through her assailants by starting with pale colouring and making each image of her as she moves through her assailants brighter and more detailed until the final Wonder Woman is fully coloured in detail. Also, shout out to Messina for Diana’s swoopy hair in this spread. It’s so good.

Overall, “Heart of the Amazon” was an excellent Wonder Woman story, one that fully embraced her re-established status quo in the “Rebirth” era and captured the core of what makes her a great hero. It’s such a fundamentally good, enjoyable tale. It’s not a huge game changer like Rucka’s run, and it’s not some event tie-in or flashy crossover. It’s contained, stellar storytelling, and that’s so good to see. I hope we’ll get a lot more like this from Wonder Woman moving forward.

Well, after the next arc, anyway. For some reason, DC feels compelled to follow up on “Darkseid War” and the “Rebirth” special, stories from a Wonder Woman universe that is now drastically different. I have no idea why, but we’ve got six issues of stories about Wonder Woman’s brother ahead of us, so hold onto your hats. I’ll hope for the best, of course. You never know what could happen. But I’m not terribly optimistic about any part of what’s coming.

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Wonder Woman #29 Review: A Bountiful Battle and a Bold Decision

August 30, 2017

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The first year of Wonder Woman in the “Rebirth” era was a major undertaking, with the creative team trying to reorient the character after a five year run that failed to capture the classic, empowering core of Diana and the Amazons. While they told a great story in the process, it was a huge, sprawling, universe altering tale that was all in service of establishing a new status quo for Wonder Woman that was more in line with who the character is and what she’s meant for decades. And they succeeded beautifully! Now, with all of that heavy lifting done, we can enjoy good Wonder Woman stories again. “Heart of the Amazon” hasn’t been as momentous or world shattering as the year of stories that preceded it, but that was the point of that year, to get Wonder Woman on a solid footing moving forward. Shea Fontana and her team of artists have made the most of this solid footing and the arc has been tremendously fun and well-crafted thus far. It’s captured everything good about the restored Wonder Woman while telling a great story and adding new depths to the characters. “Heart of the Amazon” was exactly what I was hoping for following Diana’s reorientation, and it’s been a blast to see the creative team do stellar work with each issue. Today’s penultimate outing is a particularly well-crafted book, and it sets us up for a very intriguing finale. We’ll dig into it all, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

I am about to reveal major plot points from this issue!

Look away if you haven’t read it yet!

Also, go read it! It’s very good!

Now, before we get to the excellent insides of the book, let’s talk about the cover. I’ve been harping on these covers with every issue lately, but they’re just not good. This one at least offers a look at what’s going on inside the issue instead of the generic posing we’ve seen before. The problem is, it’s a bad cover. The art is kind of a mess, and if I saw this on a shelf I wouldn’t be tempted to pick it up at all. These covers just aren’t working, and I don’t understand why DC hasn’t promoted Jenny Frison to be the primary cover artist for this run because her variants have been stellar. Covers are how you advertise comic books; it’s kind of important that they look good and not like jumbled masses that fail to entice anyone.

Luckily, the story inside is super good. I was surprised to see that Inaki Miranda drew the issue, though! When David Messina took over with the last issue, I assumed that he’d be there for the rest of the arc, but not so much. And now, I have no idea who’ll be drawing the next issue. While I usually don’t like multiple artists on an arc and prefer a more consistent look, all three artists on “Heart of the Amazon” have been good, and despite their different styles I think it will come together well in the collected edition.

When we last left Diana, five assassins were after her, and Fontana and Miranda’s handling of the opening pages is very well done. Fontana’s given us all female villains, which is a fun touch, but she’s also made each of them distinct, starting with the last issue. Originally, we had a sniper. Now the five new assassins each have different specialities: Cat Eye is allegedly some sort of cat warrior goddess, Cheshire is a classic assassin, Abolith is a super soldier, Plastique is a bomber, and Baundo is a teleporter. It’s a unique assortment of villains that allows Miranda to showcase his skills as he depicts their varying personalities and power sets. The fight is nicely choreographed as well, very legibly laid out and easy to follow, which is always good to see. Plus they’ve got Etta Candy right in the middle of the action, fighting alongside Wonder Woman and taking out a few of the villains totally on her own.

Miranda does a solid job throughout the issue. First, he brought back the curl in Etta’s hair, which I’m very glad to see. Mirka Andolfo’s redesign of Etta was amazing, and Miranda seems to be embracing it here. While Miranda’s characters aren’t as expressive as Andolfo’s, his subtler approach works nicely for the seriousness of the story being told in this issue and he captures the emotions of each. His work is particularly strong in the flashback to young Diana on Themyscira, with the child wanting her mother to be proud of her and Hippolyta affirming how much she loves her. It’s a sweet, touching scene that everyone knocked out of the park. Romulo Fajardo Jr.’s coloring has remained an artistic constant throughout this run, and he again does stellar work here adjusting to a new artist. There are some nice touches with fine colored lines and textures that add a lot to Miranda’s more sparse approach to linework. They make for a fine pairing.

While the fight that starts the issue is nicely done, it’s the ending that is the most compelling. When Wonder Woman learns that a biomedical researcher is behind the plot to kill her, hoping to use her divine/Amazon physiology to cure a wide array of diseases, she willingly submits to the researcher, not caring for his methods but nonetheless willing to help as many people as she can. It’s a sacrifice that is classic Wonder Woman, but also very fitting for this arc. “Heart of the Amazon” began with Wonder Woman admitting that she took on every problem, every hurt, every horror herself because she was the only one able to bear it all. Now she takes on the monumental task of curing diseases with a very sketchy researcher behind it all. I’m curious to see if this proves to be too much for Diana to handle all on her own. If it is, luckily she’s got some excellent friends who will have her back.

All together, this was another wonderful issue. Great action, great story, even great romance with Steve finally returning to the book, though only after Wonder Woman and Etta had taken out all of the assassins, of course. I’m sad to see this arc end, but I’m looking forward to finding out how it all comes together in two weeks’ time, as well as discovering who will be drawing the book this time around! So many mysteries to be solved.

Wonder Woman #28 Review: Assassination Rehabilitation

August 16, 2017

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“Heart of the Amazon” continues this week with Shea Fontana still writing but a new artist on board. Mirka Andolfo did the first two, and it looks like the rest of the arc will be by David Messina. It’s an interesting switch; Andolfo and Messina’s styles aren’t exactly similar, but the swap may capture a change in tone, intentionally or inadvertently. Andolfo’s art is bright and exuberant, which fit well with the wedding fun of the first issue and the further establishment of Diana and Etta’s friendship. Messina’s art is more grounded and realistic to a degree, which pairs well as the story continues to take a darker turn with assassins targeting Diana. We’ll get into it all, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

If you haven’t read this issue yet, look away!

I am about to tell you most of what happens in it!

Let’s start with the cover again, because while the comics themselves have been quite enjoyable throughout this arc thus far, the covers have been uniformly bland. With the first two issues especially, the run of the mill covers failed to communicate the unique spark of the art inside in any real way. For this issue, the cover just feels paint by numbers. Wonder Woman deflecting bullets is always fun, but you could put this cover on any issue of Wonder Woman and it would be generally applicable. It’s a very generic image, and this isn’t a generic story. Nothing about Wonder Woman has been generic since the “Rebirth” relaunch, and the covers for the first 25 issues reflected that well. The covers since have failed to do so, and it just feels like poor advertising on the part of DC.

The story inside is fun, though. Etta’s recovered well from the bombing at the end of the first issue of the arc, and is able to go home from the hospital, whereupon she and Diana are again attacked by an assassin. These gals can’t catch a break! The action is nicely done, with a focus on Wonder Woman’s speed and reaction time throughout, even though it’s Etta who saves the day in the end. This is one of those big fight issues that can read a little quick because it’s got more punching than dialogue, but that’s what superhero comics are for. It can’t be all lengthy discussions and introspection and such. It’s good to have a full on brawl every now and again.

Beyond all of the action, though, Diana and Etta’s friendship shines through, and it seems to be the major focus of this arc. It was great to see Etta get to save the day, and have her military prowess highlighted throughout the issue. From a well timed and well aimed shot to Diana correcting a nurse to inform her that Etta should be addressed as “Commander” and not “Ms.,” Etta’s credentials are underscored and proven over the course of this outing.

The best moment comes near the beginning, though, when Diana signs Etta out of the hospital to be released into her care. Diana takes her signature very seriously, and is determined to care for Etta for the six weeks of her leave because she has signed an oath to do so. It’s all very cute and fun, and makes for an amusing scene with Diana doing the dishes because she is fully committed to taking care of Etta on every single level. Friendship plus Diana taking simple things very seriously is a delightful combination.

David Messina does a solid job with the art, especially once the fighting kicks off, and he draws a tough, powerful Wonder Woman. There’s a very cool quality to his work where he’s not super heavy on his inks that I quite enjoy. Rather than having his blacks be completely solid, he colors them in and the texture of whatever coloring method he’s using remains. It almost looks like markers or some such, and you can see gradients within his blacks in a lot of the panels. It’s a fun touch that captures how inked artwork actually looks rather than the processed sheen it tends to take on once it gets scanned, cleaned up, and published.

I did miss Mirka Andolfo a bit, though. This is no knock on Messina, who did nice work. I just really love the vitality that Andolfo brings to her characters. And the fashion! Diana and Etta were dressed okay in this issue, but Andolfo would have had them in something more rad. Also, Messina straightened Etta’s hair, and I missed the curly bounce that Andolfo gave her. I was glad to see Romulo Fajardo Jr. still in the mix, though! His coloring was strong as always, though I did notice a couple of uncharacteristic mistakes; elements of Wonder Woman’s belt were miscolored, while Etta was a few shades too light in one panel. Nonetheless, his work was excellent elsewhere and his rich, textured tones paired especially well with Messina’s inking style.

All together, things are ramping up with this assassination plot and I’m excited to see where it goes. Someone is after Wonder Woman and wants her body, presumably for some sort of bizarre experimentation, and given that last page reveal, things are going to be difficult in the next issue as well with even more folks after her. Kudos to Fontana for including so many female assassins in the mix, too. I’m guessing that we’ll find out who the big bad is by the end of the next outing, since we’ve only got two installments left. And Apollo’s intervention to warn her about the attack has me thinking it might be a villain with some mythological associations. I’m looking forward to learning more in two weeks’ time!

Wonder Woman #27 Review: The One With The Doctor Brawl

July 26, 2017

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When we last left Wonder Woman, she was attending the wedding reception of Etta Candy’s brother and found a bomb hidden under one of the tables. Things looked very ominous, and this week’s Wonder Woman #27 picks up right after the blast. Then the story takes an unexpected turn into a sort of side conflict. It’s not a bad turn by any means, but the result is that the issue didn’t follow up on key parts of what Shea Fontana and Mirka Andolfo set up two weeks ago. While I enjoyed the issue, I’m now very much looking forward to the next outing to see if they’ll pick up on the threads from the first issue now that this side battle is all sorted. We’ll dig into it all, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

I am about to delve into details from this issue!

Look away if you haven’t read it yet!

So the bomb situation was quickly resolved with Wonder Woman absorbing most of the blast. Etta gut hurt in what looked like it could be a very serious injury, but she’s going to be fine. Apart from the blast at the beginning and the last page of the issue, not much attention was paid to who’s coming after Wonder Woman. Instead, the coughing doctor we were introduced to two weeks ago took a dark turn, resulting in a conflict that occupied the bulk of the story.

It was an interesting fight; Dr. Crawford was dying from a syndrome that targeted both her body and mind, and after spending her life on research to help others, she decided to help herself by grafting Wonder Woman’s DNA into her own in hopes that it would cure her disease. It’s a cool premise that plays out as expected, in that it does not go well. Her new super strength charged her aggression and paranoia as well, leading to a battle with Wonder Woman that she ultimately lost, of course. If you’re fighting Wonder Woman with her own powers, she’s going to beat you. She knows them better.

I really liked the end of the fight, with its clever use of the lasso. Wonder Woman’s powers come from the gods, as does the lasso, and so when Wonder Woman tied Dr. Crawford in the lasso, like recognized like. The divine lasso recognized that the divine powers of Dr. Crawford were not her truth, and expunged them from her DNA, returning her to her previous form. I’m all for unique uses of the lasso, and this was a particularly good one. I doubt it would work on every artificially powered supervillain; I suspect that the divine connection is what did the trick here, so the application is limited. Still, it’s another fun use of the lasso to add to the arsenal and a fun, outside the box idea from Fontana, which is always good to see.

Throughout the encounter, though, I couldn’t help but want to see a bit more of what was set up in the first issue. I was really intrigued with the idea of Wonder Woman seeing herself as a warrior who could handle anything, and perhaps neglecting her mental health for fear of unloading the burden of her many intense, frightening experiences on others. I thought that was fascinating, and this issue didn’t provide many developments on that front apart from adding a few more harrowing experiences to Wonder Woman’s psyche. Maybe Dr. Crawford absorbing Wonder Woman’s DNA and getting overwhelmed with anger and paranoia to such a degree that she lashed out violently speaks to what Diana has to wrangle within herself, but that’s about it.

I also loved the flashback to young Diana on Themyscira in the first issue, and while we got a bit of that again this week, it was very brief. You can never go wrong with cute little Diana, especially in that rad outfit she was rocking during her training session in this outing, and I hope that she plays a bigger role moving forward.

The art continued to shine in this issue, with Mirka Andolfo killing it yet again. She’s just so good. Her artwork is unique and expressive and stylish and fun, and I love everything she brings to Wonder Woman and her world. Especially her Etta! Every DC artist should study Adolfo’s Etta and draw her accordingly moving forward. Unfortunately, this will likely be the last we see of Andolfo on Wonder Woman. David Messina is scheduled to finish the rest of the arc, and while I quite like his stuff, he’s got a tough act to follow. DC’s got Andolfo all over the place in the months to come, with guest spots here and there across the line. It’s cool to see her profile rise and to have her do many different things, but I think that Andolfo deserves more of a permanent showcase. Maybe a run on Batgirl or Supergirl where she can really dig into the characters, design fun stuff, and leave her signature mark on a hero and their world. Though I’ve also got my fingers crossed that she’ll be back for the new Bombshells United! So basically, I’d like Andolfo to draw everything, please. And with Romulo Fajardo Jr. coloring, too! He did an amazing job here yet again, and I hope he’s sticking around next month to color Messina as well.

So, next month we’ve got a new artist and a new villain on Wonder Woman’s trail, as the book’s final page suggests. I don’t recognize her at first glance, but she looks super cool. I love a good helmet design. And her rifle appears rather dangerous. I expect that Wonder Woman’s bracelets will be getting quite a work out in two weeks time!

Women & NB Creators at DC Comics Watch, September 2017 Solicits: 27 Creators on 21 Books

July 21, 2017

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After a series of fairly solid rounds of solicits in terms of female and non-binary creator representation across the summer months, DC looks to be starting the fall towards the lower end of that range with their September solicits. A few new books have increased the ranks, while DC’s major autumn event seems to be entirely dude-centric thus far, and things have almost evened out. Let’s take a look at who’s doing what at DC this September:

  • Amanda Conner: Harley Quinn #27 (co-writer, cover), Harley Quinn #28 (co-writer, cover), Harley Quinn 25th Anniversary Special #1 (co-writer, interior art, cover)
  • Babs Tarr: Bombshells United #1 (variant cover)
  • Becky Cloonan: Shade, The Changing Girl #12 (cover)
  • Carmen Carnero: Detective Comics #964 (interior art)
  • Cecil Castellucci: Shade, The Changing Girl #12 (writer)
  • Eleanora Carlini: Suicide Squad #25 (interior art)
  • Gail Simone: Wonder Woman/Conan #1 (writer)
  • Hope Larson: Batgirl #15 (writer)
  • Jenny Frison: Wonder Woman #30 (variant cover), Wonder Woman #31 (variant cover)
  • Jody Houser: Mother Panic #11 (writer)
  • Julie Benson: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #14 (co-writer)
  • K. Perkins: Superwoman #14 (writer)
  • Kamome Shirahama: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #14 (variant cover)
  • Katie Jones: Shade, The Changing Girl #12 (backup story)
  • Marguerite Bennett: Batwoman #7 (writer), Bombshells United #1 (writer), Bombshells United #2 (writer)
  • Marguerite Sauvage: Bombshells United #1 (interior art), Bombshells United #2 (interior art)
  • Marley Zarcone: Shade, The Changing Girl #12 (interior art)
  • Mirka Andolfo: Teen Titans #12 (interior art)
  • Rachel Dodson: Bombshells United #1 (cover)
  • Rosemary Valero-O’Connell: Cave Carson Has A Cybernetic Eye #12 (variant cover)
  • Shawna Benson: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #14 (co-writer)
  • Shea Fontana: Wonder Woman #30 (writer)
  • Siya Oum: Batman Beyond #12 (interior art)
  • Stephanie Hans: Bombshells United #2 (cover)
  • Tula Lotay: Doom Patrol #9 (variant cover)
  • Vita Ayala: Batman Beyond #12 (co-writer)
  • Yasmine Putri: The Hellblazer #14 (variant cover)

All together, there are 27 different female and non-binary creators set to work on 21 different books in September, 2 fewer creators than in August and 1 fewer book. This is hardly a major change, and could very well just be normal shuffling around. We don’t expect the numbers to stay the same everything month, and a things going a little lower or higher is common. Small changes like this are only significant when it’s part of a larger trend. If DC lost 2 women/NB creators after posting losses in a couple of months previous, that would be disconcerting. This slight drop, though, after a decent August, is nothing too worrisome yet. Of course, we’ll see how the rest of the fall solicits unfold.

Before we dig into things more, here’s a quick note on the change in terminology. We’ve been keeping track of female creators at DC for several years now, but I recently learned that writer Vita Ayala, who I’ve categorized as female in the past, identifies as non-binary. Since the purpose of this project is to showcase creators who disrupt the typical male hegemony of the superhero industry, changing the title and the terminology to be more inclusive seemed like the right way to go. We’ve always listed women who are transgender, of course, but that didn’t necessitate a shift in nomenclature. This does, I think. If there are other creators whose identity lies outside of the male/female binary, I’d be glad to know about them and will include them on the list moving forward; let me know in the comments.

We’ve mostly got returning favourites this month, but there are a couple of new names in the mix. Katie Jones is doing a backup story in Shade, The Changing Girl #12, while Rosemary Valero-O’Connell drew a variant cover for Cave Carson Has A Cybernetic Eye #12. The “Young Animal” line has certainly been a solid outlet for representation at DC each month since it began, and these additions carry that on well.

In terms of new books, DC’s Dark Nights: Metal event and its various tie-ins continue to be male-dominated, both in terms of characters and creators. But in exciting news, the Bombshells are back! The superhero ladies will continue fighting the Second World War in Bombshells United, which will double ship with double Marguerites in September. Wonder Woman’s also got a new mini-series that teams her with Conan the Barbarian, and Harley Quinn will star in a special 25th anniversary issue.

So overall, September looks to be an average month for female and non-binary creators at DC. The numbers are firmly in the middle of the publisher’s range across 2017 thus far; DC’s stayed within a fairly narrow window. So things are relatively steady, but that also means that the numbers aren’t growing. It’d be nice to see things improve in the months to come; with ComicCon this weekend, perhaps we’ll get some exciting announcements to that effect.

Wonder Woman #26 Review: Diana Meets Her Destiny

July 12, 2017

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After a year of stellar comic books from Greg Rucka, Bilquis Evely, Nicola Scott, and Liam Sharp that restored Diana and the Amazons to their proper status in the DC universe, Wonder Woman‘s new creative team has some big shoes to fill. And I’m pleased to report that Shea Fontana and Mirka Andolfo are off to a fantastic start! I had a good feeling about this team; Fontana’s been doing great stuff with the DC Super Hero Girls comics, and I absolutely love Mirka Andolfo’s work on DC Comics Bombshells as well as her recent fill-in issue on Wonder Woman. Together they’ve crafted a story that moves Wonder Woman forward from all of the drama surrounding her origins and her past. That drama made for compelling comics, of course, but Rucka and co. wrapped it up perfectly and now it’s nice to see the new status quo carrying on in a new tale. We’ll dig into it all, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

Well, less spoilery than usual; more of a broad strokes overview!

Reading this probably won’t ruin the comic for you!

But regardless, go read the comic! It’s super good!

First off, before I get to how good this comic was, I’ve got to say that the cover is not great. Andolfo’s art has a stylized, cartoonish element that is so expressive and good, and pairing it with such generic, standard superhero art feels like a bad decision. It’s a poor advertisement for what’s inside the book, which is so much better. I don’t mind a book having different cover artist than interior artist, but the cover art should give some sort of indication of the tone and style of the interior. This does not, and I wish it had a fun, bad ass Andolfo cover instead.

That’s partly because Mirka Andolfo is GREAT and I’m never not excited to see more of her art. She’s got a style that’s clearly her own; I always know that I’m reading an Andolfo book from page one. Her work is gorgeous, and captures the characters wonderfully, almost exaggeratedly. There aren’t a lot of subtle emotions here. Instead, every feeling is displayed across each character’s face clearly, and I find their expressiveness so compelling and fun. Andolfo’s also got an amazing eye for style, and Diana and Etta’s outfits when they attend a wedding at the end of this issue are so darn good. Her work always feels fresh and modern to me, and I love when Wonder Woman has that sensibility.

Plus, here’s some amazing news: While the bulk of Wonder Woman‘s creative team over the past year has moved on, colorist Romulo Fajardo Jr. is still on board! This dude is a wizard. He adds depth and texture to every panel in a way that brings so much to every page without overwhelming the line work at all. I’m so glad he’s still on Wonder Woman. He’s one of the best colorists in the game today, and his stuff just gets better and better. He pairs well with Andolfo, too, highlighting her character work beautifully.

In terms of the story itself, this issue hits a lot of the elements that will make me love a Wonder Woman book. We’ve got Wonder Woman helping those who need it most, here dealing with an attack at a UN refugee camp in Greece. It always feels right to see Wonder Woman dealing with international issues, and never more so than when they are timely topics. We’ve also got young Diana on Themyscira, which I’m a sucker for. It feels like Fontana is drawing from the opening of the Wonder Woman film a bit here, and I’m all for it. Little Diana is so entertaining. We’ve got Etta Candy as well, i.e. Wonder Woman’s greatest supporting character of all time. And even better, we’ve got them hanging out at a wedding. I love Diana as a superhero, of course, but it’s also nice to see her having a life beyond that, hanging out with her friends outside of the costume. The costume is such a powerful symbol that it’s always interesting to see Diana away from it, partly because the gal deserves a break and partly because she can’t help but still be Wonder Woman to some degree, regardless of what she’s wearing, as her adventure with Destiny, a little girl at the wedding, shows.

So all of these elements are great, but I also really like what Fontana seems to be digging into in terms of the psychological cost of being a superhero. The flashback to Themyscira gives us a good look at Diana’s mindset, as her younger self tearfully locks away her beloved doll to toughen herself up and become the warrior that Amazons are supposed to be. Wonder Woman is very well adjusted as far as superheroes go, but the story effectively points out that she has to deal with seeing so many terrible things, all the time. Moreover, it suggests that this could be taking a toll on her mental health, despite her insistence that she can handle it all. There’s a scene where she says that she doesn’t want to put the burden of her experiences on someone else, and I think that’s going to be key moving forward. That’s a very heroic, self-sacrificing notion, but while Wonder Woman can handle a lot, much more than most, trying to deal with everything on your own can only work for so long. I’m curious to see how Fontana explores this with Wonder Woman as the story continues.

Also, there’s a big crazy cliffhanger at the end! That’s just fun comic booking. It’s a bit of a doozy, too, that leaves Wonder Woman in a very difficult spot. I know she’s Wonder Woman and all, but she’s really up against it with this one. It’s going to be hard to get out of it without any collateral damage. We’ll find out what she does in two weeks time, and I can’t wait! This was an excellent, gorgeous first issue for this new creative team, and I’m very excited for more.

Women at DC Comics Watch – August 2017 Solicits, 29 Women on 22 Books

June 13, 2017

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Despite a lack of female creators in several new series, mini-series and one-shots set to premiere in August, representation for women at DC Comics remained relatively strong across their wider range of books. Growth throughout the spring has led to a solid plateau at the publisher, though some changes are on the way that may soon change that this fall. Let’s take a look at who’s doing what at DC this August:

  • Amanda Conner: Harley Quinn #25 (co-writer, cover), Harley Quinn #26 (co-writer, cover)
  • Aneke: DC Comics Bombshells #32 (interior art)
  • Becky Cloonan: Gotham Academy: Second Semester #12 (co-writer), Shade, the Changing Girl #11 (cover)
  • Carmen Carnero: Detective Comics #963 (interior art)
  • Cecil Castellucci: Shade, the Changing Girl #11 (writer)
  • Eleanora Carlini: Green Arrow Annual #1 (interior art)
  • Emanuela Lupacchino: Scooby Apocalypse #16 (variant cover)
  • Hope Larson: Batgirl #14 (writer)
  • Jenny Frison: Wonder Woman #28 (variant cover), Wonder Woman #29 (variant cover)
  • Jody Houser: Mother Panic #10 (writer)
  • Julie Benson: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #13 (co-writer)
  • K. Perkins: Superwoman #13 (writer)
  • Kamome Shirahama: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #13 (variant cover)
  • Laura Braga: DC Comics Bombshells #32 (interior art), DC Comics Bombshells #33 (interior art)
  • Lea Hernandez: Teen Titans Go! #23 (interior art)
  • Leslie Hung: Shade, the Changing Girl #11 (variant cover)
  • Lilah Sturges: Everafter: From the Pages of Fables #12 (co-writer)
  • Marguerite Bennett: Batwoman #6 (co-writer), DC Comics Bombshells #32 (writer), DC Comics Bombshells #33 (writer)
  • Marguerite Sauvage: Shade, the Changing Girl #11 (interior art)
  • Marley Zarcone: Shade, the Changing Girl #11 (interior art)
  • Michelle Delecki: Deathstroke #22 (variant cover), The New Gods Special #1 (interior art, cover)
  • Mirka Andolfo: DC Comics Bombshells #32 (interior art, cover), DC Comics Bombshells #33 (interior art)
  • Msassyk: Gotham Academy: Second Semester #12 (interior art)
  • Sana Takeda: Mother Panic #10 (variant cover)
  • Sandra Hope: Gotham Academy: Second Semester #12 (inker)
  • Shawna Benson: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #13 (co-writer)
  • Shea Fontana: Wonder Woman #28 (writer), Wonder Woman #29 (writer)
  • Tula Lotay: Everafter: From the Pages of Fables #12 (cover)
  • Yasmine Putri: The Hellblazer #13 (variant cover)

All together, there are 29 different female creators set to work on 22 different books in August, 2 more women than in July though 1 less book. DC’s hit a decent level as of late, with the number of women on their books ranging from 27 to 31 over the past four months. In terms of both their own past performances and the numbers from their main competitor, this is a relatively good plateau.

It’s not a huge month for new names, though. Leslie Hung and Sana Takeda are the only two here, both of them on variant covers. We haven’t seen Michelle Delecki in a while either, but everyone else has been around recently. This lack of new women, and of new gigs generally, is somewhat odd given how many different series, mini-series and one-shots are scheduled for August. There are 11 new #1 issues, only one of which features a female creator, so that’s a rather dispiriting ratio.

Female characters aren’t a huge part of these new books either. Where they do appear, it’s in group settings; Wonder Woman looks to have a role in Dark Nights: Metal, and Suicide Squad Black Files seems to include Enchantress and Katana. We’ve got a new Mister Miracle book as well that should feature a lot of Big Barda, but her name’s not in the title. There’s also six one-shots that celebrate Jack Kirby, none of which star a female character.

Overall, August looks to be relatively solid for women at DC, but change may be around the corner. One key difference moving forward will be the end of Gotham Academy: Second Semester, which ships its final issue in August. That book has been a bastion for female creators at DC, and we may see its loss reflected in the numbers. The fall could bring even more new books as well, and given how few women are involved with August’s new offerings, that may not be great for the numbers either. We’ll see what the solicits bring. But for now, August is looking relatively strong for female representation at DC, at least.


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