Posts Tagged ‘The Cheetah’

Wonder Woman #19 Review: Back in Action

March 22, 2017

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It’s going to be an abbreviated review this week because your faithful reviewer is in the middle of an absolutely bananas week; so it goes, sometimes. We’ll still get to all the fun of the issue, just more succinctly. First, some good news: The reveal at the end of Wonder Woman #17 was everything we thought it was and Wonder Woman is totally back. The return of Ferdinand sparked her memory and she left the asylum to take on Godwatch. However, things went steadily downhill for her from there. We’ll get into it all, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

Details of this issue will soon be revealed!

Look away if you haven’t read it yet!

So Wonder Woman’s joyful return quickly took a dark turn when she learned that Barbara Ann had given herself up to Veronica Cale and became the Cheetah again. She also learned that nearly everyone from the Picket was killed. Oh, and that several of her top villains are working together against her. It was a bevy of bad news. Plus Dr. Cyber called her a “self-righteous, arrogant, simplistic little airhead,” which was rude. Then the issue ended with Wonder Woman getting shot through the chest, so yeah. It was a rough twenty pages for our favourite heroine.

It wasn’t the most action packed issue, with a lot of it dedicated to Dr. Cyber’s bloviating, but there were some key developments. There was Wonder Woman’s return, of course, but Etta found Sasha Bordeaux as well, which could mean that another member of the team will be back in action soon. That’s good news, because they need all the help they can get.

There’s also some exciting developments on Themyscira. Initially, the Amazons are unsure if Diana is still alive or not, but the appearance of the Greek gods in their animal form, just as we saw them back in “Year One,” sparked hoped in everyone. My guess is that rather than Wonder Woman returning to her true home for the first time, Hippolyta and a delegation of Amazons may go find her first. Again, she needs all the help she can get, especially after how this issue ended.

The art for this issue was a bit hit and miss for me. Liam Sharp had some great moments; there’s a panel with Diana wearing a red cloak that is just gloriously detailed, for example. But Sharp did this sort of morphing thing with Dr. Cyber where her appearance was constantly shifting and it was a bit odd. Some of them looked cool, but some of them looked a bit messy and overdone. There was also one incarnation of her that was a full body shot where she had metallic balloon breasts for some reason; it reminded me of Cyber-Cat from Jim Balent’s Catwoman run, which is never the best thing to hark back to. Still, when Dr. Cyber looked cool, she looked really cool, and Laura Martin’s colours added a great mood and style to the pages, and to the book as a whole.

Overall, this was a decent issue, if not the best one the team’s done lately. It was more a table setter, bringing Diana back into the mix, moving some pieces around, and closing with a dramatic cliffhanger. You need to have issues like this from time to time, and it was still an enjoyable read. The Amazon bits in particular continue to be great, and Etta’s love for Barbara and her fury over losing her again was really powerful stuff. Things look like they’re going to get intense in the next few issues, and I’m looking forward to it.

Wonder Woman #18 Review: Who Watches the Godwatch?

March 9, 2017

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I’m a day late to this review after being busy all day yesterday with some family things, but I got to read the issue yesterday and having an extra day to think back on it has only increased my appreciation of it. “Godwatch” is clearly a different kind of story than “The Lies,” “Year One,” or “The Truth,” and I like that about it very much. The arc is keeping a dual focus on Veronica Cale and Wonder Woman, having them circle each other without meeting yet as they both grow into their new roles, Wonder Woman as a superhero and Veronica as the woman trying to learn her secrets. It’s made for some excellent storytelling so far, and we’ll dive into it all momentarily, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

I am about to disclose all of the things that happen in this issue!

Read no further if you haven’t picked up this issue yet!

First things first, we’ve got a time jump. I love a good time jump. It can be a really effective storytelling technique when done well, and I think it was nicely executed here in a very sensible way. At the end of Wonder Woman #16, everything had gone wrong for Veronica; Deimos and Phobos had her daughter, her best friend was dead, and her plan to capture Wonder Woman had failed on every level. This issue begins a year later, with Veronica having festered in this defeat for a year. Wonder Woman’s reknown and power has only grown, meanwhile Veronica’s daughter remains creepily faceless, Deimos and Phobos are still around, and she’s only just figured out how to bring back Adrianna’s consciousness as Dr. Cyber. The time jump gives us a sense of Veronica’s pain, and shows us the steps to her becoming the hard-edged villain we see in the present day arcs. All of this horror has been her life for a full year, a crucible forging her into what we know she’ll become.

The story almost shouldn’t work. We already know Veronica Cale is a villain who hates Wonder Woman. This arc adds backstory to that, but not a lot else as of yet, and it would be really easy for this to be a flat, unessential tale. Luckily for us, Greg Rucka and Bilquis Evely know what they’re doing. The characterizations are so strong and the emotions so clear that it makes for a very compelling read. I even feel sorry for Veronica and the terrible situation she’s in, and I’m Team Wonder Woman a billion percent! Seeing the joy of her getting her friend back and the sorrow of not having her daughter, it’s hard not to have some sympathy for the difficult spot she’s in, even though she does horrible things to characters we love.

Barbara Ann Minerva is both a good example of Veronica’s terrible acts and of presenting backstory in a powerful way. We all know she’s going to become the Cheetah, and that Veronica has something to do with that. That’s been well established earlier in the series. But getting a glimpse into how Barbara’s relationship with Diana has developed in the year since she became Wonder Woman adds more emotional heft to the story, and seeing the ways Veronica manipulates the situation so Wonder Woman can’t save her friend is genuinely upsetting. The scene when Wonder Woman finally arrives to find a bitter Barbara in her new Cheetah form is just heartbreaking. And we all knew it was coming!

Also, kudos to Rucka for his symmetry. Having Barbara become the Cheetah again in an emotionally brutal scene two weeks back in “The Truth” in Wonder Woman #17 and following it with her original transformation this week is quite the one-two punch. Tough on my poor heart; I’ve really grown to love Barbara. But so well executed and structured.

A key part of this arc being so effective is Bilquis Evely’s stellar artwork and what she’s able to bring to all of the characters. We know the broad strokes of this story already, and while Rucka’s doing a swell job writing the book, it’s all on Evely to communicate the emotions of the scenes that make filling in this backstory worthwhile. And she’s hitting it out of the park. The look of horror on Diana’s face when she realizes that she was too late to save her friend is so powerful that it sells the entire scene from the get-go. Similarly, she brings so much to Veronica, humanizing someone we could easily see as a monster. Again, Rucka’s writing her well, but it could feel hollow in the wrong hands. With Evely, each beat plays out true. The final page of the issue, in which Veronica is ashamed of the magnitude of horror she’s perpetrated to save her daughter, is particularly compelling. Evely captures the human side of her so well that you can’t help but sympathize with her despite all she’s done.

Evely’s helped by Scott Hanna on inks, and I’m glad to see that they were able to have just one inker for this outing. It was much stronger than last month’s issue, when several different inkers contributed to the books and the differences were clear and somewhat jarring. Romulo Fajardo Jr.’s colours remain stellar as well. That man has a deft touch. Evely’s linework pairs best with a muted colour palette, which could be limiting, but he’s able to find vibrancy and contrast within this somewhat subdued range that makes the book look absolutely gorgeous. It’s a different set of skills that Fajardo showed us with “Year One” and it’s just as lovely.

Overall, this issue was a heartbreaker, and a very well executed one at that. We knew the bulk of what was coming and it not only still hurt, it conjured up some sympathy for the villain of the piece! That’s kind of remarkable. This arc has been great so far, and I can’t wait to see how Rucka and Evely toy with our emotions again in a month’s time.

Wonder Woman #17 Review: Free Your Minotaur

February 22, 2017

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Things remain bleak for Wonder Woman and the gang. Etta and Steve are on the lam, Barbara is in the clutches of Godwatch and Veronica Cale, and Diana doesn’t know who she is and remains in an asylum. While there is progress on one of those fronts in this second part of “The Truth,” there is a heartbreaking setback in another. All told, it is an issue about balance, about trading life for life and friend for friend, and in the end the gains and losses even out to leave the team no further ahead, except for one key element: Wonder Woman. It was a good issue and we’ll dig into it all momentarily, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

I mean, if you’re reading this review then you’ve probably read the issue!

But if you haven’t look away!

I’m going to spoil it all!

So, balance. There was a lot going on in this issue, and it all felt like a scale tipping back and forth with each major action that ultimately ended up just as balanced at the end as it was at the beginning. Everything had its opposite, and Barbara Ann Minerva’s sacrifice was the lynchpin to it all.

Barbara’s been one of the most compelling character’s of this current run of Wonder Woman, and a key player in all four arcs thus far. Her transition from the villainous Cheetah to regaining her role as a trusted ally has been a great story, and her relationship with Etta only made the story better. She even got her own solo issue during “Year One” that dug into her backstory. I’m now very invested in Barbara, which is probably what Rucka wanted; he’s gotten us all attached to her so that this issue would hurt all the more. Veronica Cale forced her to become the Cheetah again in order to save her friends, a sad but noble moment that juxtaposed poignantly with the rest of the issue.

First, we got the return of an old friend, Ferdinand the minotaur from Rucka’s original run on Wonder Woman. Steve and Etta sought him out to help Diana, hoping that her seeing a long lost, friendly face might spur her memory and remind her of who she is. Plus it’s always good to have a minotaur on the team; I think he’ll prove useful in the months ahead. But this joyful return had to have its opposite: The loss of an old friend as Barbara returned to her Cheetah guise and gave up her newfound humanity.

Next up, Etta, Ferdinand, and Steve survived a serious attack from Colonel Maru’s troops. They got blasted with a minigun and explosions; Poison wasn’t screwing around. They made it out alive but, again, there had to be balance. Their lives were spared because Barbara gave up hers to become the Cheetah again. She’s not dead per se, but being the Cheetah means that her true self is buried as her animalistic urges take over.

Finally, it looks like bringing in Ferdinand did the trick. On the issue’s final page, Diana appears to recognize Ferdinand, which would be an excellent sign that she remembers she’s Wonder Woman and is set to return to her heroic role. However, opposites. The return of a hero in Wonder Woman had to be balanced with the return of a villain in the Cheetah. The parallels run deeper as well; both women were trapped in a prison of their own making because they chose to return to their pasts. Diana was mentally shattered because of her journey to Themyscira while Barbara was ensnared because she went back to Godwatch. Moreover, an old ally led to their transformations, with Ferdinand bringing back Wonder Woman and Veronica Cale bringing back the Cheetah. And, of course, all of this action was shown in back and forth panels over the last few pages to underscore the dichotomy of the situation.

All of these gains being countered with losses should leave the team in about the same bleak spot where they began the issue, but there’s one key factor here. Yes, while the return of Wonder Woman is tempered by the return of the Cheetah, if Wonder Woman is back for real then it’s a whole new ballgame. The Cheetah’s a decent villain, but Wonder Woman is an amazing superhero. The scales don’t quite balance; with Wonder Woman fully back, she and her allies clearly have the upper hand now and can begin to move against Godwatch instead of playing defense.

This was a solid issue all around, and “The Truth” continues to weave a compelling tale in ways “The Lies” never seemed able to. I also like that we keep checking in on Themyscira; the Amazons are clearly going to play a part at some point in this story, and I’m excited to see what it is. I’m hoping for a reunion more joyous and less damaging than Diana’s last attempt to return to her family.

Liam Sharp continues to employ different styles for each part of the story, and it’s working well. His Nicola Scott impression on Themyscira is fun, the grit he brings to Etta and Steve’s adventures is fitting, and the combination of clarity and confusion in Diana’s scenes is well done, though I will say that I find the cartoon snake a little goofy. I much preferred that one panel with the skeleton snake; that was way cooler. Laura Martin’s colors remain great, as always, and match each style well. And Jodi Wynne continues to excel with the lettering. This issue in particular had a lot going on in terms of distinctive word balloons and speech; the Amazon language, Ferdinand, the snake, and Dr. Cyber are all unique, and Wynne integrated them seamlessly into the book. She’s done stellar work on Wonder Woman all through this run.

So, Wonder Woman seems to be back? Final page reveals can be tricky, but this one seemed pretty clear. Woe to Godwatch if she’s returned to her full power. And fingers crossed that she can save Barbara and bring her back! If anyone can do it, it’s Wonder Woman.

Wonder Woman #9 Review: Paradise Found?

October 26, 2016

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I can’t not comment on this cover again, even though there’s lots of other stuff to dig into in this issue, because Steve Trevor looks like a straight up creeper. I said it when they first released it in the solicits and I’m saying it now; this is a very offputting cover. The dude is wigging me out. This is not the best way to advertise what is otherwise a pretty decent comic book, and one of the best installments of “The Lies” so far. It still doesn’t hold a candle to any of the “Year One” issues, all of which have been spectacular, but it’s a good outing for Greg Rucka and Liam Sharp that finally gets the ball rolling on what “The Lies” actually are. After four issues of the slightest of teases on “The Lies” front and a whole lot of Cheetah/Urzkartaga adventuring, things are finally happening! We’ll discuss them all, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

I’m about to full on ruin this whole issue!

Look away if you haven’t read it yet!

Don’t spoil yourself!

Let’s start at the beginning: Everyone’s back in America and the lengthy African escapade is done. Steve Trevor is filing his report, and Diana, Etta, and Barbara Ann are going shopping because Barbara’s been freed from her Cheetah guise and, presumably, has lost track of her wardrobe over the past several years in which she was a cat-creature and didn’t need any clothes. Even better, everyone’s finally talking about “The Lies.” They’re using satellites to try to locate Themyscira, and contemplating exactly where/how it exists. Apparently, it doesn’t have a literal location so much as a spiritual one, so the trick to finding it is to track down a spot where the divisions between the literal and spiritual world is thin.

Which they do! And the book ends with Wonder Woman returning to her mother and her home. The only problem is that it’s the blonde Hippolyta with the violent, awful Amazons from the early years of the New 52. Diana’s happy to see her mother, but it’s clear that something is amiss. First, the skies are all cloudy and red and violent, which is always an ominous sign. And second, Steve looks super confused. These are not the Amazons that  Steve remembers at all. We’ve saw his time with the Amazons in the new Wonder Woman #2, and it was a bright, happy place with lovely buildings and lots of colour and a brunette queen. This brutal looking place is not the utopia that he remembers.

Wonder Woman, on the other hand, remembers both, and potentially several other of her incarnations as well. Her memory’s gone screwy, and her past is a blur in her mind. While she’s glad to see her mother now, it seems likely that everything’s going to go sideways next month as we get to the heart of what’s really happening with “The Lies.”

The issue also introduced a few other interesting developments. First, Veronica Cale is back! She’s a villain that we really haven’t seen much since Rucka’s last run on Wonder Woman, and I’m glad to see her facing off against her Amazon foe again. Veronica still doesn’t care for Wonder Woman at all, and looks to be plotting to take her down. We only get a couple of pages with her, so I’m not sure what her involvement is in the weird CIA group that Steve, Etta, and Sasha Bordeaux work for. She might be running the whole show, or she may have a mole on the inside that she’s using for intel and to manipulate things. Time will tell. Whatever the case, Veronica Cale is involved on the inside, and that doesn’t bode well for Wonder Woman at all.

Luckily for Wonder Woman, this bad news is tempered by a bit of good news: She and Steve are getting romantic again. They have a lengthy discussion about their relationship over the years and her recent dalliance with Superman, and it all ends with a kiss, so it looks like those two crazy kids are finally together. I’m ambivalent on this development, really. Steve is fine and all, and this is a classic pairing, but the two of them together have always lacked a spark for me that other signature comic book romances capture so well. Lois Lane and Superman are often dynamite together, as are Catwoman and Batman (or Selina Kyle and Bruce Wayne), but Diana and Steve are okay at best. There’s just not a lot of excitement there, but perhaps Rucka will be the writer that finally sells me on them together. I do love what he’s doing with Steve in “Year One,” though it’s somehow not translating into “The Lies” Steve, who’s been a bit flat. Also, that goatee is terrible. Plus that creepy cover. Maybe with a shave and something more to do than be captured, Present Steve will grow on me and I’ll like him as much as I do Past Steve.

Ultimately, there was a lot going on in this issue, and the bigger story of “The Lies” is finally moving forward. The book still exhibited several of the weak spots that we’ve seen previously in this arc, though. For one thing, it’s still very slow. And needlessly so; that two page spread of Wonder Woman greeting folks in the mall seemed unnecessary. Naming all of the stores after past Wonder Woman creators was cute, but I don’t think that scene needed 10% of the issue’s real estate. On the plus side, Sharp was more on top of the art this month. The visuals were far less inconsistent than the past couple of outings, and there were some nice panels in the mix. It might be his most consistent outing since Wonder Woman #1.

I’m excited to see where the story is going next, which is a first for me reading “The Lies.” At the end of previous issues, I was mildly curious about where things were heading, but there wasn’t a lot of immediacy to the cliffhangers and when the next issue rolled around I wasn’t clamouring to read it. But now, I’m very much looking forward to Wonder Woman #11. We’re finally digging into “The Lies”! And I hope we get some answers soon.

Wonder Woman #8 Review: Barbara Ann Minerva’s Archaeological Adventures

October 12, 2016

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“Year One” by Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott has been running in the even-numbered issues of Wonder Woman since the book’s “Rebirth” relaunch in June, but we’ve got a brief interlude this month with Wonder Woman #8. Scott is taking a breather while Rucka and guest artist Bilquis Evely delve into the pre-Cheetah days of Barbara Ann Minerva in an issue that ties into both arcs of Wonder Woman. The Cheetah is a major player in “The Lies,” which has focused on freeing her from the clutches of the evil god Urzkartaga, while Barbara debuted in “Year One” last month to help translate the language of the newly arrived Wonder Woman. A spotlight issue makes a lot of sense, and adds some valuable backstory to the two main arcs. Let’s dig into it all, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

If you hadn’t read the issue yet, look away!

All of the goings on therein are about to be revealed!

Don’t spoil yourself! It’s a really good issue!

I loved this issue top to bottom. We’ll get to the story and whatnot in a moment, but DANG Bilquis Evely killed it. I was excited when I heard about this issue because I’ve enjoyed her work elsewhere, and she did not disappoint. She brought so much to Barbara. I love the joy and determination she captured. As the Cheetah, Barbara is often fairly one note, just fiercely villainous without much in the way of interesting motivation. Honestly, I’ve never been a big fan of this incarnation of the character; I’m an old school, Priscilla Rich guy. But Evely’s rendition of nerdy archaeologist Barbara is a lot of fun. Rucka writes her well, of course, but Evely really brings her to life.

The rest of the art beyond Barbara is great as well. Evely captures a variety of locales with aplomb, all of the other characters are distinct and expressive, and she’s got some clever layouts in the mix, including a cool map/location montage. Romulo Fajardo Jr. adds a lot with the colours, too; he’s the regular colorist on “Year One” and he continues his fantastic work here. He always adds so much texture and depth to the page, and he and Evely pair beautifully throughout the issue.

But onto the story itself. Archaeologist Barbara Ann Minerva is trying to track down the home of the ancient Amazons, even though everyone around her thinks she’s crazy. And by “everyone” I mean dudes. Her stern, cold father tries to forcefully dissuade her from her interest in mythology, and her older co-worker at a dig in the Ukraine is a sexist ass who refuses to believe her when she makes a huge discovery that is subsequently buried in a landslide. Barbara continues on nonetheless in one of my favourite types of stories: women doing things after men tell them they can’t. And while the issue ends with disappointment for Barbara, as a reader we know she’s absolutely on track because we’re very much aware that the Amazons are real.

Also, shout out to Greg Rucka for the lengthy discussion of the potential historical reality of the Amazons and the different schools of thought therein. I could have read an entire issue of that; I love all of the theories that surround the Amazons, and I’m definitely with Barbara when it comes to side-eying the Greek accounts of the Amazons. The shutting down of the breast amputation was delightful as well. Those pages were great all around.

The issue also ties into some key aspects of “Year One.” First, we’ve got the mysterious tree from Wonder Woman #2 that housed the snake that almost killed Diana. It appears on the chest of an ill-fated man who steals Barbara’s research and goes after the Amazons, and shows up again at the issue’s end when Barbara thinks she’s found the home of the Amazons. That tree is clearly going to play a big role, and we got another clue from the dead guy: The tree was marked on his chest, and the word “sear” was marked on his arm. What that means remains to be seen. We’ve also got at least one goddess in the mix, with Athena secretly helping Barbara on her quest. We saw Athena last month in “Year One” and it seems like she may have some involvement in exposing whatever is going on in “The Lies.”

Ultimately, the issue is a fantastic showcase for Barbara Ann Minerva. It adds a lot of depth to a character that rarely has any. Originally, Barbara was kind of the worst. The basic elements were the same when George Perez created her 30 years ago; she was a wealthy heiress and an archaeologist, but she was a total jerk. She was arrogant and cruel and jealous of Wonder Woman. She just wasn’t pleasant at all. This rehabilitation of Barbara is still a wealthy heiress and an archaeologist, but she’s a lot of fun. She’s also a woman who’s clearly put in the work and effort to be where she is, and her trappings are in no way opulent. She’s out in the wilderness, roughing it and doing whatever she has to do to find what she’s looking for. This Barbara is motivated buy a love of mythology and the Amazons rather than jealousy, and as we’ve learned from the past few issues of Wonder Woman, she was friends with Diana before Urzkartaga screwed everything up. It’s a different, far more compelling take on the character.

In short, I would read a series about this Barbara, preferably with Bilquis Evely on board because she kills it. Barbara travelling the globe doing rad archaeological research and sticking it to dumb dudes would be amazing; she could be a female Indiana Jones, but with way more discussions of the patriarchal biases in our beliefs about ancient history. I fully realize that like 12 people would read it every month, but I would be ALL OVER IT. I absolutely loved this issue, and I love this new version of Barbara Ann Minerva. I know we’ll get more of her when “Year One” continues next month, but I’m very intrigued by her pre-Wonder Woman adventures. Go pitch it, Rucka and Evely! I’ll tell everyone I know to buy it!

Wonder Woman #7 Review: The Fall of Urzkartaga

September 28, 2016

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The gods lie. Every divine system has a trickster deity, of course, for good or ill or sometimes both, a Loki or a Puck or an Anansi. But more than that, systems of gods are a reflection of the humans who created them, and thus they have the same foibles and flaws. They tend to use their followers as tools for their own gain and glory, capriciously abusing their powers to satisfy their momentary whims. Zeus took different forms to trick women and have sex with them. Yahweh sent lying spirits to his prophets to deceive the Israelites when he wanted to punish them. Ishtar promised men wealth and power only to bleed them dry and leave them broken. The gods are deceivers.

This is what “The Lies” seems to be exploring, though Greg Rucka and Liam Sharp are delving into these themes in a world in which the gods are quite literally real. For us, the vast majority of the deities out there are just stories; even religious people believe in their particular pantheon and think the rest aren’t real. In the world of Wonder Woman, there are actual gods, and they’re just as bad as our mythologies make them sound.

Let’s dig into Wonder Woman #7, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

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

Look away if you haven’t read it yet!

So we’ve been assuming that “The Lies” are about Wonder Woman and her deities, and whatever power has compelled her to remember false Amazons and a false pantheon. But we’ve barely scratched the surface of those lies four issues into the arc; instead, we’re spending a lot of time with the Cheetah and her complex, abusive relationship with her patron deity Urzkartaga, and it turns out that Barbara Ann Minerva has been the victim of lies as well. She was told that the scores of girls delivered to Urzkartaga were there to worship him, and that he imparted some of his power to one of them. She became the Cheetah, the Protector who enacted his will throughout his realm.

But Urzkarataga’s worshippers weren’t powerless followers. They were his wardens. The women held all the power, and Urzkartaga deceived them by convincing them that they had none, and that only through him could one of them approach the divine. It was a ruse to hide his true weakness and immobilize a potential threat: The girls could destroy him if they worked together to do so. Which they did, at the end of the issue when Wonder Woman exposed the truth. Urzkartaga was vanquished and Barbara Ann Minerva was freed of her Cheetah persona.

In last month’s installment of “The Lies,” the Cheetah told Wonder Woman, “Your paradise was made by your gods. Perhaps they play games with you the same way Urzkartaga plays with me.” With Urzkartaga’s deception now exposed, there may be an additional layer to that sentiment: Perhaps Wonder Woman’s gods lied to her the same way Urzkartaga lied to the Cheetah. And it will be interesting to see which gods were involved. The Urzkartaga plot relied on reinforcing patriarchal authority, ensuring that men were in charge and that girls were seen as expendable so that his chief weakness could be contained. Depending on which gods have deceived Diana, we could be looking at another critique of patriarchy once she gets to the bottom of “The Lies.” Which would make sense, given that in her false world the Amazons had turned against each other, female deities persecuted them, and Athena, the goddess of wisdom, was nowhere to be seem. Retconning this as a nefarious patriarchal plot would be a fascinating reimaging of the largely disastrous New 52 era.

Now, the Urzkartaga reveal was interesting, and I’m curious to see how it plays out for Wonder Woman, but the journey to get here was very long. Even if there are parallels with Diana’s gods, this was a slow story that, while it’s had it’s cool moments, has been a bit underwhelming. I like the ideas behind it, and I’m all for the rehabilitation of the Cheetah. The execution thereof just hasn’t worked so well for me. It’s not been bad, but it’s not been particularly compelling or entertaining, especially compared to the amazing work we’ve seen in the “Year One” storyline.

The art hasn’t helped things either. When I reviewed last month’s outing, I was critical of Sharp’s work and said it felt a bit rushed and sloppy. All of those elements are even more pronounced this month. There are a couple of really lovely panels where he clearly took his time, but there are scores more where the inking feels slapped on and rough. Moreover, backgrounds are nearly nonexistent. They’re in a cave, so there’s not a lot of exciting stuff that can be done, but the roots and such that run behind them are pretty slapdash. Sharp’s skills lie in his lush, detailed renderings, and the timeline of a monthly schedule doesn’t seem to be allowing him to do dig into his artwork in this way. Laura Martin does what she can with the colors, but it’s always awkward to put smooth, blended coloring over blocky, rough artwork. It just looks incongruous. I think she singlehandedly salvaged a few backgrounds with some cool effects that broke up the perpetual brown of the cave, but the overall visual appeal of the issue is limited.

Ultimately, if the Urzkartaga reveal is foreshadowing for what Wonder Woman is facing with her own deities, that’s a clever touch. But the execution thereof has been somewhat lacking. The story is too drawn out, the art is flagging, and everything good about the book is getting a bit lost in how it’s been presented. There are two issues left in the arc, of course, and what comes next may well prove that every seemingly slow step along the way thus far has been a key moment for the larger story. That would be lovely. But while there are a lot of cool ideas in the mix here and some genuinely great moments, the pacing and deteriorating artwork of the first four issues are stopping “The Lies” from fully living up to the intriguing vision behind it.

Wonder Woman #7 Preview: “The Lies” Continue

September 26, 2016

We’ve got a new issue of Wonder Woman this week, and while I was skeptical of DC’s double shipping plan when it was first announced, it’s grown on me. It’s kind of fun to get a double shot of a good series each month or, in the case of Wonder Woman, one spectacular issue and one that’s fine. This week, we get the fine issue; Wonder Woman #7 continues “The Lies” by Greg Rucka and Liam Sharp. It’s been a bit of a slow burn, a Cheetah-centric story that has barely mentioned the titular lies at all. But things appear to be coming to a head now. Let’s take a peek at the issue, courtesy of Comicosity:

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So we’ve got Wonder Woman and Cheetah on the scene where Steve, his fellow soldiers, and the missing girls are being held. With the girls freed, I’m guessing the rest of the book will be a confrontation with the villain Cadulo and his evil deity benefactor, Urzkartaga. And then maybe “The Lies”? It’d be nice to get to them sooner than later, but it’ll depend how long it takes Wonder Woman and the Cheetah to defeat a warlord and a god. It shouldn’t be that hard, really.

Wonder Woman #7 will be available in comic shops and online this Wednesday! And keep your eyes peeled for the Jenny Frison variant cover because it’s super gorgeous. I mean, take a gander:

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The issue’s worth picking up for that story alone. I hope DC’s talking to Frison about maybe doing some interior stuff in Wonder Woman. Even just a short story would be fun. She’s just so good!


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