Posts Tagged ‘Steve Trevor’

Wonder Woman #32 Review: Children of the Gods Continues, Unfortunately

October 11, 2017

ww32.jpg

Let’s start this review with a question: How many female characters other than Wonder Woman have speaking parts in this issue? During the initial “Rebirth” arcs, there were a wide variety of women in the mix, from allies like Etta Candy and Barbara Minerva to villains like Dr. Cyber and Veronica Cale. Plus Amazons. A whole lot of Amazons. Wonder Woman‘s last arc, “Heart of the Amazon,” was essentially a Diana/Etta team up story, and it featured an array of women in all sorts of different roles, good and bad, primary and incidental. There was even an entire team of female assassins, with several deep cut characters from DC’s history. So now with “Children of the Gods,” the story that’s introducing Diana’s brother to the world for whatever reason, how many women other than the title character are involved? For this issue, one. One woman in the entire book. Her role takes up about half a page, and she directs Diana to her brother. That is all, and I think that speaks volumes about this arc and it’s creative team. We’ll get into the issue as a whole, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

I am about to discuss all of the dumb things that happened in this issue!

Look away if you haven’t read it yet!

So the lack of female characters is disheartening, especially since the book spent the last year and a bit building such a stellar cast of women around Wonder Woman. On top of that, it’s just not a very good comic book, on any level. The story is clunky, the writing is poor, the art is middling. It’s not an enjoyable read, and it’s so awkward that it’s hard to feel any connection to the story. Even the big emotional climax at the end of the issue when Diana sees her brother for the first time falls absolutely flat because it’s so painfully clichéd; they immediately recognize each other because they’re twins and feel their connection, and I rolled my eyes so hard that I may need to go see an optometrist.

James Robinson’s writing is unremarkable throughout the book. For example, there’s two pages of Diana and Hercules’ lawyer driving to his home to read his will that are an enormous waste of space, as well as a battle with parademons that reads like it was tacked on to add a bit of action to this otherwise lifeless issue. The whole thing felt like filler, as if Robinson knew he wanted to end this issue with the reveal of Jason and just threw a bunch of things together to fill up the nineteen pages before that. We get slightly more information on the dead gods, I suppose, but it’s nothing that we didn’t already know from Grail in the last issue.

The art didn’t help matters, either. Sergio Davila’s pencils, with inks from Scott Hanna and Mark Morales, were generic superhero fodder. I didn’t find much in the way of a unique style or artistic flair. It was standard cape comic art, and not particularly strong art at that. It wasn’t terrible by any means, but there was nothing interesting about it. It was serviceable at best. Though I did like how Davila drew Diana’s hair later in the issue in a sort of up-do thing with her tiara perched higher up. That was kind of a cool look. I’m always down for a creative use of the tiara.

There were also two story choices that rubbed me the wrong way as a Wonder Woman fan. First was the depiction of Hercules. Back in the 1940s, Hercules was a villain. His betrayal and imprisonment of the Amazons is what led Hippolyta to leave the world of men and take her warriors to Paradise Island to live in an all-female utopia. For William Moulton Marston, Hercules represented the worst of men’s aggression and dominance, and most incarnations of the character have followed suit. We don’t know what, if any, role Hercules played in this modern version of the Amazons; all of the New 52 stuff is up in the air after “The Lies” and “The Truth,” and our knowledge of the true Amazons is limited. But introducing Hercules as a dude who’s done some good stuff and some bad stuff, and who admired Diana, largely ignores what he’s represented in past incarnations of Wonder Woman. I don’t hate that he’s sorry for his past mistakes, since it’s always good to show how people can change. It’s more that Hercules carries a lot of baggage in terms of the history of the Amazons, and his depiction in this arc doesn’t acknowledge this in the least. He’s kind of a loaded character, and they’ve ignored that entirely.

Second, this issue introduces the Oddfellows, Steve’s tactical team that is comprised of modern versions of his associated from the Wonder Woman movie. We’ve got Sameer, Charlie, and Chief, all written much like their film counterparts, just jumped ahead a century and given some heavier artillery. This annoyed me, in part because this arc has been so bad thus far that I hate to see these characters that I quite enjoyed on the big screen put to such poor use here. I also found it very telling that the creative team borrowed a bunch of the fellows from the Wonder Woman film, and yet Etta Candy has been absent from both issues of this new arc. I mean, come on now.

So, I did not particularly care for this issue, and I am not enjoying the specter of five more months of this that lies ahead. It all feels fundamentally flawed across the board, like the creative team and the editors just don’t understand what a Wonder Woman comic should be. We’re only two in, of course, and it may well pick up eventually. But thus far, this arc has done nothing but confirm all of my worst fears from when the storyline was first announced.

Advertisements

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

August 30, 2017

ww29.jpg

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 #25 Review: The Grand Finale for Rucka, Sharp, Evely, and the Rest!

June 28, 2017

ww25.jpg

As someone who is absolutely steeped in Wonder Woman, who’s written a book about her and has read every single issue of Wonder Woman, you can take it to the bank when I say this: I don’t think there’s ever been a better 25 issue run of Wonder Woman than what we’ve been enjoying for the past year since the “Rebirth” relaunch. Wonder Woman has had some amazing runs over the years, and I could see arguments for other eras; the first two years of the Perez era, perhaps, or the fantastic bizarreness that was the Golden Age. But for me, what Greg Rucka, Bilquis Evely, Nicola Scott, and Liam Sharp have put together takes the top spot. This is in part because it’s amazing on its own, but even more so because it so successfully reoriented the character after her increasingly disastrous five year New 52 run. The team managed to fix a bad situation and tell an expansive, fantastic story at the same time. It’s really quite a remarkable feat. And now we’re at the end of it! We’ll discuss it all, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

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

Look away if you haven’t read it yet!

Also, go read it! It’s very, very, very good!

This finale brings together all of the elements from this entire run, tying up the loose ends on some while leaving other plotlines open ended for future creators to explore. There are lots of references to past issues, including Wonder Woman’s first meeting with Batman and Superman from the recent Wonder Woman Annual #1; what seemed at the time like a fun, inconsequential one-off tale came into play here at the end. It’s a good example of what Rucka’s writing has done over the past year. Small beats had big ramifications down the road, and what seemed like tangents all added up to something bigger. I remember being frustrated with “The Lies” early on because it focused so much on the Cheetah, a character I’d just assumed was included as a quick initial foe for Wonder Woman, and took it’s time getting to the actual lies. But it turned out, of course, that the Cheetah was a pivotal player in this book, and that the slow burn at the start of “The Lies” laid a lot of the groundwork for everything to come. The master plan became visible only months later.

So the finale begins with Wonder Woman in a bad mood, and understandably so. Her family remains lost to her, the Cheetah has escaped, her lasso is gone, and worst of all, her gods have been lying to her. She’s got some anger about it all, so much so that she’s punching villains extra hard and ignoring Steve. But some straight talk from her pals Batman and Superman sends her on a quest to find her gods, and they honour her anger. A speech from a mysterious woman who turns out to be Athena sets things right; she acknowledges that Diana is right to be angry, but that even with all of the manipulations of the gods, “The truth of you has never changed, Diana. Even the gods themselves could not take that away from you.” It fits in text, a nod to Wonder Woman’s steadfast heroism during the trials of the past 25 issues. But I think the moment stands as a larger statement about Wonder Woman, that no matter how many different incarnations of the character there are, some of them good and some of them bad, there is a core to her that shines through, an essential truth about her strength, compassion, and heroism that was imbued in her from her earliest days. The gods then return her lasso as a sign that they love her, and she leaves with a renewed belief in herself and her larger mission.

She then finds Steve Trevor, and amorous activities ensue. I could be wrong, but I think that this might be the first time they’ve actually hooked up in text? It’s been implied at various times, but I can’t recall seeing them in anything like the heartwarming last page of this issue, with them in each other’s arms in bed. There was their kiss and the implication of something more during that night in the village in the Wonder Woman movie, but in the comics they dated from the 40s through the 80s, when they couldn’t show anything like that, and then Steve wasn’t a romantic factor for the next 25 years. With the New 52 relaunch, the romance was back but past. Now they’re actively together again, in ways I think we’ve never seen before. It works as a lovely end to the book, as a much deserved moment of love and happiness for Diana. Plus, Steve shaved for the occasion, getting rid of that god awful goatee, so it was a good scene all around!

The finale leaves the rest of the cast in several interesting, open ended spots. Etta Candy, who’s been an absolute delight in this run, is going after the Cheetah, her former girlfriend Barbara turned crazed feline foe. This is a story I need to see. Their relationship was a background element that became increasingly important in terms of the Cheetah’s connection to her humanity. I hope that Etta getting Barbara back is a priority for a future creative team. The Cheetah’s a much more interesting character now as well, and I very much hope that DC stays true to Rucka and Sharp’s revamp of her in the future.

And finally, my evil favourite, Veronica Cale. She’s the worst and I love her. Her backstory was so well established that we totally understand her full embracing of villainy now, and as much as it’s sad that she didn’t turn away from it, damn she’s a good villain. I’m going to miss Bilquis Evely drawing her so much. She brought such heart to the character throughout “Godwatch” and really sold the story through her take on Veronica. And here, Evely’s depiction of Veronica’s confrontation with Wonder Woman is just perfect. Her sneer when she refuses to help Diana is spectacular. Veronica Cale could be an epic villain for years to come, and I hope that DC embraces that and does her justice in the future.

So we’ve reached the end of the run, and while I’m sad it’s over, I’m glad that Wonder Woman has been so well reoriented. I’m also sort of happy that Rucka and everyone decided to end things here. I’d have been down for more, but everything has wrapped up well and they’ve accomplished what they set out to do beautifully. Diana is in a good place, and is well positioned for new teams to tell exciting stories with her moving forward. I’m looking forward to Shea Fontana and Mirka Andolfo taking over the book for the next few issues, though I’m considerably less keen on James Robinson coming in after that. However, I’m optimistic that his run is just a bit of “Rebirth” housekeeping and that the New Year will bring a new team with a fresh perspective to the book. Rucka, Evely, Scott, and Sharp have demonstrated how amazing Wonder Woman can be, and it will be fun to see new voices picking up the baton from here on.

Wonder Woman Movie Action Figures: Reviewing the Entire Fantastic Line!

June 22, 2017

IMG_20170621_234559

I don’t know how things are where you live, but here in Halifax it’s been hard to track down the DC Multiverse line of Wonder Woman movie action figures. Luckily, I have a sister who lives near the American border and was able to order the entire line up! And she brought them all last night (the picture above doesn’t include Hippolyta, because I was able to get that one earlier), so now I have the entire set. And they are GREAT. I’m hoping it’s just the beginning of the line because there are definitely a few missing characters I’d love to see, but it’s a fantastic start. As an action figure enthusiast, I’m really pleased with the quality of the work here. So let’s take a closer look at all of them!

We’ll start with the main Wonder Woman figure:

IMG_20170622_142802

Honestly, it’s kind of an odd figure with the cloak and all. I understand that the Multiverse line did a (not so great) Wonder Woman figure for Batman v Superman last year so they’d want to mix it up a bit here, but this one is hard to play with. Also, full disclosure, I am 100% a take it out of the package sort of dude, so playability is key for me. Still, it’s a pretty nice figure. She comes with her sword and her lasso (which is hidden under her cloak) and the costume underneath the cloak is very nicely done. The face sculpt is decent as well. It’d be a better figure if the cloak was removable, though. I know she wears it for a lot of the movie, but it’s hard to play with.

Luckily, there’s a Wonder Woman variant figure that’s a Toys R Us exclusive, and it’s awesome:

IMG_20170622_142906

It’s the Batman v Superman sculpt with brighter colours and a new face, and it’s a vast improvement on both that original figure and her cloaked counterpart in the Wonder Woman line. She looks a lot more like Gal Gadot, and she’s got a variety of points of articulation that make her easy to play with. Her accessories are rad too; while we’ve got the standard sword and lasso, the shield is the most impressive piece here. It’s a detailed, accurate recreation of the movie shield that will allow you to stage all kinds of fun poses from the film. If you want a good Wonder Woman figure, I suggest going to Toys R Us and tracking this one down.

We’ve got a third Diana, in her Themyscira outfit:

IMG_20170622_143000

She comes with the sword and lasso yet again, but everything else is new including an alternative head sculpt with a braid and of course an entirely different costume. The figure is very poseable, and looks good all around. It’s a great representation of her Themyscira look, and with some other Amazons in the line you can recreate some sparring scenes! It’s a simple figure, but a fun one.

Queen Hippolyta is slightly more ornate:

IMG_20170622_143252

They did a great job with the costume here, capturing all of the elements quite nicely. She’s got a cloak as well, which makes playing with her a little bit difficult, but it’s not as cumbersome as the black cloak on the main Wonder Woman figure. The figure also comes with a sword and a spear; all of the weapons in this line look good, plus they’re fairly sturdy and easy to put in the figure’s hands, which is always helpful. Hippolyta’s face sculpt makes her look a bit stern, but that’s in keeping with the character, really.

Our final Amazon is Menalippe:

IMG_20170622_143351

And honestly I have NO idea why she has a figure and Antiope doesn’t. That makes no sense at all. But it’s a super cool figure nonetheless! She comes with a spear as well, but I’ve got her in this awesome bow and arrow pose. The costume looks great, the weapons are cool, and she’s pretty good to play with despite some limitations due to the length of parts of her skirt. It’s a fun figure all around. I just don’t know why she’s not Antiope. Maybe we’ll get one in a future line!

Now onto the boys, starting with Steve Trevor:

IMG_20170622_143423

He’s fine. This was never going to be a super exciting figure, since he lacks the visual flair and cool weaponry of the Amazons. He’s got a gun and that’s about it. And that green jacket isn’t exactly a stunning outfit. But the textures aren’t bad and for the simple figure it is, it looks pretty decent and is good to pose and play with. He’ll look good running behind my Wonder Woman figure!

And finally, the Ares build-a-figure:

IMG_20170622_143452

So, I think the filmmakers changed their mind on how Ares should look during production because both this figure and the Lego Ares look like this, with old fashioned armor and a ram skull helmet and such, and his look in the movie is kind of different. The toys must have been developed so far that they couldn’t change things when the movie did, and so we get this figure that’s not terribly movie accurate. The good news is, I think the figure looks a lot cooler than the movie version! He’s kind of awesome. I’ve got him pictured with one of the fiery swords that come with Menalippe and the shield that comes with the Toys R Us exclusive Wonder Woman, but there’s another sword that comes with someone in the main line that’s fine as well. He was easy to build and very fun to put together. I’ve never collected a full line before, so I’ve never made a build-a-figure. It’s fun! And he’s bigger than everyone else, which is cool for a bad guy. Here’s a comparison shot:

IMG_20170622_152211

It’s a great Ares all around, and he’s a blast to play with.

There are a few figures I’d love to see in a hypothetical second line, Antiope first and foremost among them. It’s bizarre that she’s not in this line. It’d be fun to have an Etta as well; she was such a joy in the movie, and I’d love to pair her with one of my Wonder Women. Dr. Poison would be cool too, to give us another villain, and perhaps a Ludendorff for the same reasons. I’d also be okay with a Diana Prince figure, in her London garb, just to have another Wonder Woman in the line. Sameer, Charlie, and Chief I can take or leave. It’d be fun to have the team, but there are other characters that I think would be more fun. So hopefully there’s more coming! But if not, this line is great and there’s a lot of fantastic figures in the mix.

Wonder Woman Film Review: A Movie Worthy of its Heroine

June 2, 2017

wwposter

Well it’s finally happened, gang. After decades of watching the boys get movie after movie, we’ve finally got a Wonder Woman solo film. And here’s the good news: It’s really, really good. Great even. Full of heart and action and excitement. It’s far and away the best film from the DC cinematic universe so far and, more importantly, it does Wonder Woman justice and captures the heart of the character well. Let’s dig into it all, first with some spoiler-free general thoughts, and then with full on spoilers after a jump so anyone who hasn’t seen it yet won’t have anything ruined for them.

So gosh, where to start? With Wonder Woman herself, probably. Gal Gadot is pretty much a perfect Wonder Woman. We got to see her for a few minutes in Batman v Superman and she totally stole the show, and now with a show all of her own, she absolutely shines. Gadot captures the heroism and compassion of Wonder Woman so well; she’s fierce when she needs to be, kind when she needs to be, and just has so much heart. She smiles a lot, which is a lovely contrast with the grim darkness that’s dominated other DC movies, and it’s the most earnest and charming smile. It’s Wonder Woman’s smile, really. It’s something that could easily turn corny, but Gadot makes it utterly genuine, sincere, and believable. And while Diana’s got an interesting journey throughout the film, a sort of loss of innocence as she leaves her utopian home and experiences the horrors of war, Gadot does a fantastic job playing this evolution and it’s darker, questioning moments without losing the heart of the character. She’s just so good. I want to see her continue to play Wonder Woman again and again and again.

Holding his own with such a stunning take on Wonder Woman was a tall order for Chris Pine, but his Steve Trevor was excellent. I’m steeped in Wonder Woman comics and very familiar with every incarnation of Steve Trevor, and this was my favourite version of him ever, by a considerable margin. He was written really well; it’s a sidekick/love interest role that keeps the focus squarely on Wonder Woman, and Pine plays it spot on. He’s a tough guy with some skills, but he very quickly realizes he’s no Wonder Woman and is totally okay with that, in part because he’s just kind of in awe of her. Gadot and Pine’s chemistry together is delightful, Pine’s got charm to spare and is also hilarious, and the two of them made for a really winning partnership.

The supporting cast is pretty solid, too. Connie Nielsen and Robin Wright do great work as Hippolyta and Antiope, guiding the film well through it’s early scenes with young Diana. Wonder Woman’s crew in Europe are all fun too, but Lucy Davis’ Etta Candy is a total scene stealer. She’s so funny and enjoyable, albeit underused. I could have done with a lot more Etta Candy! The bad guys were suitably evil, as they should be, if somewhat underdeveloped, but such is the case with most superhero films.

In terms of the directing, Patty Jenkins did a remarkable job. While Wonder Woman had a lot of the beats you expect from a superhero movie, it also had its own unique style and tone. The action was especially spectacular; I’ve never seen fighting like that in a superhero movie, particularly some of the amazing acrobatics we got from the Amazons. They were astonishingly good. I also loved the little touches throughout the film, like the gorgeous, sweeping establishing shots we got for Themyscira, London, and the front. There was a real flair to the film that set it apart from other superhero movies. Jenkins also smoothly married the action and stunning visuals with the emotional aspects of the film. All of the humourous, romantic, and quiet reflective moments rang true, and everything flowed together nicely.

It was just fun to look at, too. Themyscira was so epic and cool, uniquely ancient and breathtaking in its scenery. I want to go to there. A lot of the movie was spent in the cramped confines of London or on the front, all of which was nicely done, but there was a good amount of time spent outdoors in lovely, natural settings that were shot exquisitely. On top of the settings, the costumes were quite striking. Wonder Woman wore an updated version of her Batman v Superman outfit, one that actually had colour this time, and it looked fantastic. All of the Amazons got cool costumes, with everyone wearing something a little bit different but yet thematically similar to the each other. The costumes in the outside world were a little bit drab in comparison, of course, but all of the major supporting characters had their own special look that suited them well.

If I wanted to nitpick, there are a few things I would change. For me, the final fight scene wasn’t quite as cool as the earlier ones and got a bit messy with all of the fire and chaos and CGI. Also, some of the supporting characters got outshone by the leads. To be fair, Gadot and Pine were ridiculously good, but a few folks did fall a bit flat. And there were a few changes to the Wonder Woman mythos I didn’t love, but we’ll save that for the spoilers section.

All in all, though, it was a great movie. Well executed on every level, so much fun, and most importantly, true to who Wonder Woman is and what she means to so many fans. I loved it. Now, that being said, I’m not sure that this is the movie they should have made. Setting the film in World War I was a big change that made a lot of elements very different from what we usually get with Wonder Woman, and while it was all done well and a lot of those changes were interesting, I don’t think it was the best showcase for what is great about Wonder Woman. Don’t get me wrong, it was an excellent showcase for Wonder Woman, but in an intriguing alternate universe way rather than a relevant, modern way. An origin set in the present day could have been more resonant and more reflective of the character, her past, and what she means, especially in terms of tackling modern women’s issues rather than poking fun at sexist attitudes that are a century past. I get that the film is what it has to be given the existing framework of the DC cinematic universe, and it succeeds triumphantly at that, capturing the heart of the character beautifully. I just think that setting up Wonder Woman as this older, wise superhero who predates Batman and Superman limits her in certain ways, and I’d rather see this young, plucky Wonder Woman dealing with the modern world, rather than the more experienced, somewhat world-weary Wonder Woman we seem to be getting with Batman v Superman, the framing device of Wonder Woman, and what we’ve seen from Justice League thus far. But so long as Gal Gadot is Wonder Woman, it’s absolutely a Wonder Woman worth watching, and Patty Jenkins and the whole team did an amazing job making this new setting and backstory work for the character and stay true to who she is.

Let’s move on to some spoilers now, after the jump!

(more…)

Wonder Woman #21 Review: The Compassionate Core of Wonder Woman

April 28, 2017

ww21.jpg

Yet again, I’m starting with an apology for a delayed review, with travel the culprit once more. But I’m back home now and should be settled here for the foreseeable future, so my reviews of Wonder Woman should be on the day of each issue’s release moving forward. This week’s issue was yet another outing that was worth the wait, as we see a lot of the key pieces that have been set up throughout “The Truth” thus far come together. With Wonder Woman, Steve Trevor, Barbara Ann Minerva/the Cheetah, and Veronica Cale all in the same spot for the first time, you knew something was going to happen. And a few somethings happened, all of them very interesting, but there was one moment that I loved best of all. We’ll dig into everything, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

I am about to dive into all of the twists and turns of this issue!

Look away if you have yet to read it!

So last issue’s cliffhanger, with Maru sniping Wonder Woman from afar, didn’t amount to much. What seemed to be a grievous issue last month was easily shaken off, a bit of audience manipulation that might have annoyed me if I didn’t appreciate the style with which it was executed so much. Greg Rucka and Liam Sharp ended Wonder Woman #19 in dramatic fashion and left us on the edge of ours seats, then began Wonder Woman #21 with a great action scene that had our heroine fighting through the pain, furiously deflecting bullets, and then nabbing Maru in impressive fashion. I particularly enjoyed the use of the sniper lens as a panel, and how it went from Maru seeing Wonder Woman from afar to Wonder Woman being right on top of her just a second later. It was a well executed sequence all around.

This led us to the Black Sea and the fake Paradise Island. Veronica and Barbara showed up with the still faceless Izzy and Veronica’s dogs, the imprisoned Phobos and Deimos, followed quickly by Wonder Woman and Steve. The small fight we got there was less innovative and visually inventive than what opened the book, but the emotions of the scene were the key focus here and that was very nicely done. Wonder Woman still believed in her friend and the humanity at the core of the Cheetah, even if Barbara felt that she’d lost herself fully in her feline form. And, of course, the true Barbara is still buried in there; the way she lashed out when Wonder Woman mentioned Etta made it clear that she still remembers and yearns for her other life.

Also, I’ve mentioned this before, but Liam Sharp’s redesign of the Cheetah is fantastic. For decades, the Cheetah has been very sexualized, drawn as a sexy cat lady rather than a dangerous creature. Sharp embraces the danger wholeheartedly. His Cheetah is fierce and frightening and more animal than human, and he does a good job marrying the feline traits to a female form that finds a balance between the two in ways we’ve never seen before. I really hope that this new look sticks around, because it’s so much cooler than past incarnations of the character.

The fight between Wonder Woman and the Cheetah served as a means to open the gate to, well, somewhere. The mysterious tree we’ve been seeing since this run began returned yet again, and Wonder Woman’s blood opened a portal through it. This was well depicted, especially the first reveal inside of it. Sharp’s swirly clouds and floating islands was all kinds of cool, but Laura Martin’s colours took the panel to the next level with her pinks and lavenders swirling about. It looked totally otherworldly. The way it was drawn on subsequent pages was somewhat less compelling; in general, I felt like Sharp was rushing things at times with this issue. But that opening shot to set the scene was gorgeous.

After Izzy ran into the portal, Wonder Woman and Veronica followed, and this led me to my favourite scene of the issue, and one of the best moments in Wonder Woman since “Rebirth” began. When Veronica explained that she was trying to find her daughter, Wonder Woman reached out her hand and replied, “We will seek her together.” This instantaneous compassion really captured the heart of Wonder Woman and who she is. Veronica Cale’s been working to destroy her for years. She turned her sweet friend Barbara into the vicious Cheetah, twice. She’s attempted to hurt or kill everyone Wonder Woman holds dear. And yet, the second Veronica needs help, Wonder Woman offered it. This doesn’t mean she’s forgiven, of course. But it shows that Wonder Woman saw the humanity in her, saw the woman who’s lost her daughter, not just in this bizarre realm but in a much deeper way, and decided that it was more important to help an enemy save an innocent girl than to exact any kind of revenge or even justice first. To me, the core of Wonder Woman has always been if someone needs help, she helps them, and then deals with whatever else may be going on after. Compassion comes first, and this issue illustrated that beautifully.

The issue ended with the big reveal that they’d stumbled upon Ares’ prison, as well as what appears to be a fully restored Izzy. I’m curious to see if this is a permanent restoration or a momentary reunification in this mysterious realm; we know from two weeks back that Ares had Izzy’s spirit/soul/what have you with him, so perhaps she really is whole again. Whatever the case, Ares is back in the mix again. Or, perhaps for the first time? We saw Ares back in “Year One,” but Wonder Woman doesn’t recognize him nor does he bear much resemblance to the cruel, bloviating deity we saw then. He doesn’t have fancy word balloons here, either. Could that first Ares have been a false Ares? Or maybe this Ares is false? Or maybe Wonder Woman just doesn’t recognize him without the armour and I’m reading way too much into this. I’m excited to see how this all shakes out, and given the interconnectedness we’re starting to see between “The Truth” and “Godwatch,” I’m hoping that we’ll at least get some hints in a couple of weeks with Wonder Woman #22. Everything is coming together, and it’s all very intriguing!

New Wonder Woman Movie Trailer Explores Her Origins

March 13, 2017

A new trailer for Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman debuted this weekend, and I’m happy to report that the movie is still looking great. We got a lot of new footage in this one, including a decent amount of time spent on Themyscira, and I really liked a lot of what I saw. Now, of course, this is the DCEU; good trailers don’t necessarily mean good movies. But so far, Wonder Woman has been hitting it out of the park and that has me cautiously optimistic about the film.

Warner Bros. describes the video as the “Origin Trailer” and thus we got a good look at the Amazons. They remain super bad ass and cool, and I like the design of the island and the Amazons themselves a lot. We also get some flashbacks, including a peek at a young Diana who is just adorable:

moviegif5.gif

I’m hoping we get a few scenes with her because she seems cute and fun.

Little Diana is staring at the “god killer” sword there, and I do remain irked at how much attention the sword is getting. Wonder Woman’s never been a character who wields a sword until very recently; she’s got a golden lasso that she’s rather famed for, and I wish that’s what young Diana was eying rather than a sword. To me, sword fighting just isn’t who the character is. But I was pleased to see the lasso play a key role as the trailer progressed, including this rad takedown:

moviegif3

moviegif4

Hopefully Wonder Woman’s real weapon gets its due throughout the movie as well.

On top of that lasso scene, we got a bunch of other cool action shots too. I think Wonder Woman is going to have some epic fight scenes. Everything we’ve seen so far looks very cool, and Wonder Woman’s fighting scenes in Batman v Superman were easily the most entertaining part of that movie. All of the action clips we’ve seen thus far in Wonder Woman trailers look exciting and well-shot, and it’s going to be a blast to see the full scenes.

One thing I’m particularly glad to see every trailer has included is humour, and this new one is no exception. Gal Gadot’s fish-out-of-water Diana shtick looks like it should be entertaining, Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor seems good for some wisecracks, and Lucy Davis’ Etta Candy looks like she’s poised to steal the whole show. I liked her trying to dissuade Diana from carrying her sword in public:

moviegif2

The humour in DCEU movies hasn’t been great, at all, and it’s nice to see some genuinely funny bits  are coming with Wonder Woman.

Finally, the trailer appears to confirm the daughter of Zeus origin story. Hippolyta ominously tells Antiope that Diana “must never know the truth about what she is,” which sounds like it might be a Zeus-related secret given this lightning display later on in the trailer:

moviegif1

I don’t care for the Zeus origin at all. I much prefer the clay origin, in which no men are involved and Diana’s origins are distinctly female and feminist. Making her a demigod who gets her powers from a man is boring, dumb, and kind of misses the point of the character. I’m hoping it’s not a huge point of focus for the movie, and that Zeus doesn’t come up too much.

So yeah, Wonder Woman looks pretty great. And in ways that seem to be addressing how DC’s other movies have been not at all great, which is encouraging. This could be really cool. And we’re less than three months away now! Can you believe it? Wonder Woman’s finally getting her own movie! And just when we need her the most.


%d bloggers like this: