Posts Tagged ‘Trina Robbins’

Women At DC Comics Watch – September 2016 Solicits, 28 Women on 21 Books

June 28, 2016

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DC’s not had the best run with female creators over the course of their past few rounds of solicits. Since their “Rebirth” relaunch began in June, the numbers have been well below their usual level, and far off from their previous highs. It looks like September might mark the end of this skid, but I’m not entirely sure that this increase in female creators is going to last. We’ll discuss more, after we look at who’s doing what at DC Comics in September 2016:

  • Amanda Conner: Harley Quinn #3 (co-writer, cover), Harley Quinn #4 (co-writer, cover), Harley Quinn and her Gang of Harleys #6 (cover)
  • Amanda Deibert: Wonder Woman ’77 Special #4 (co-writer)
  • Amy Chu: Wonder Woman ’77 Special #4 (co-writer)
  • Babs Tarr: Doom Patrol #1 (variant cover)
  • Becky Cloonan: Gotham Academy: Second Semester #1 (co-writer)
  • Bilquis Evely: The Flintstones #3 (variant cover)
  • Carmen Carnero: Astro City #39 (interior art)
  • Cat Staggs: Wonder Woman ’77 Special #4 (cover)
  • Claire Roe: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #2 (interior art)
  • Emanuela Lupacchino: Green Lanterns #6 (variant cover), Green Lanterns #7 (variant cover)
  • Fiona Staples: Gotham Academy: Second Semester #1 (variant cover)
  • Gail Simone: Clean Room #12 (writer)
  • Holly Black: Lucifer #10 (writer)
  • Hope Larson: Batgirl #3 (writer)
  • Jenny Frison: Clean Room #12 (cover)
  • Joelle Jones: American Vampire Anthology #2 (interior art)
  • Julie Benson: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #2 (co-writer)
  • Kamome Shirahama: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #2 (variant cover)
  • Marguerite Bennett: American Vampire Anthology #2 (writer), DC Comics Bombshells #17 (writer)
  • Meghan Hetrick: Red Thorn #11 (interior art)
  • Mirka Andolfo: DC Comics Bombshells #17 (interior art)
  • Nicola Scott: Wonder Woman #6 (interior art)
  • Rachel Dodson: Superwoman #2 (variant cover)
  • Sandra Hope: Cyborg: Rebirth #1 (inker), Gotham Academy: Second Semester #1 (inker)
  • Shawna Benson: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #2 (co-writer)
  • Tess Fowler: Wonder Woman ’77 Special #4 (interior art)
  • Trina Robbins: Wonder Woman ’77 Special #4 (co-writer)
  • Tula Lotay: Everafter: From the Pages of Fables #1 (cover)

All  together, there are 28 different female creators set to work on 21 different comic books, an impressive gain from August’s 20 and 21, respectively. September also marks DC’s best total since March, quite a lull for the publisher, though as I mentioned at the top, the numbers are still far from their past highs.

And also probably fleeting. Between a couple of anthology books (Wonder Woman ’77 Special #4 and the resolicited American Vampire Anthology #2) and variant covers, at least a third of the gigs listed above are unlikely to be back in October; they’re one-shot jobs. It’s great that these books are loaded with female creators and that so many women are getting cool variant cover gigs, but it’s not a stable position like writing or interior art tends to be. Next month could drop off quite a bit.

Though there are some new, more stable gigs in the mix. Gotham Academy: Second Semester returns with regular jobs for co-writer Becky Cloonan and inker Sandra Hope, while the new Everafter: From the Pages of Fables could prove to be a consistent cover position for Tula Lotay. Three more regulars is good news.

In terms of female characters, Supergirl is officially launching her new title in September, the return of Gotham Academy means more fun adventures for Olive and Maps, and there’s also a Raven mini-series. In new team books, Wonder Woman will be a key player in Trinity, while Raven and Starfire will be part of the new Teen Titans. So it’s a pretty solid month across the board for fictional women too, and a great month if you happen to be a Raven enthusiast.

Overall, September looks to be a strong month for women at DC, but I’m not sure that it will last. Gerard Way’s Doom Patrol is set to premiere then, though, which may mean that the rest of his line is rolling out soon; that would be good news, because several female characters have been attached to those projects. It’ll take several new books to keep these numbers up in October, and we’ll find out in a month or so if DC is up to the task.

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Wonder Woman’s September 2016 Covers and Solicits

June 21, 2016

DC Comics’ solicits for September were released yesterday, and it looks like Wonder Woman’s got some fun adventures ahead of her, as well as a new series in which she co-stars. How lovely it is to be looking forward to all of the Wonder Woman comics coming out in a given month; it’s been so long since that’s been the case. So let’s see what Wonder Woman will be up to in September, starting with her eponymous series:

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WONDER WOMAN #6
Written by GREG RUCKA
Art and cover by NICOLA SCOTT
Variant cover by FRANK CHO
“WONDER WOMAN YEAR ONE” part 3! Diana brings Steve back home, but the reception is not what either of them expected. Amid suspicion and a looming threat, the Patrons pay a visit, and new friendships are forged.
On sale SEPTEMBER 14 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

WONDER WOMAN #7
Written by GREG RUCKA
Art and cover by LIAM SHARP
Variant cover by TBD
“THE LIES” part 4! One god down—how many more to go? Diana takes another step closer to the truth, and Steve Trevor confronts his past!
On sale SEPTEMBER 28 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

The cover this month (we’re still only getting one of the two for some reason) is by Nicola Scott, and it’s fun to see Wonder Woman with her animal pals. Perhaps they’re planning an adorable prison escape? I’d be down for that. It sounds like the Amazons don’t love that Wonder Woman has brought Steve to their home, seeing as she’s in jail and all. But the world’s cutest jail break is on the way.

In the present, well, the solicit is very vague. It sounds like a bad time for the gods, since one of them is down and all, but we don’t know in what capacity they are down. Or if they’re even the real gods, I suppose. Everything is in question! Nothing is true! The gods sit on a throne of lies! It’s all very mysterious, but it should be a lot of fun.

Wonder Woman is co-starring in a new book, too:

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TRINITY #1
Written by FRANCIS MANAPUL
Art and cover by FRANCIS MANAPUL
Variant cover by TBD
“BETTER TOGETHER” part 1! Together again for the first time! Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. The core of the World’s Greatest Heroes…but with a new Man of Steel, the bonds these three share will be tested and redefined by super-star writer/artist Francis Manapul. In this premiere issue, see the trio travel from Metropolis to Gotham City and beyond to learn what forces launched their heroic careers. But how will this journey of discovery lead them to a new threat?
On sale SEPTEMBER 21 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

Team up! It’s just like Batman v Superman, but hopefully not so terrible. With Francis Manapul at the helm, it could be pretty cool. It’ll be gorgeous for sure, at least. His art is always spectacular. Plus we’ve got the good Superman back now since the New 52 Superman is dead; I’m optimistic, and I’m going to have to check this one out. We’ve got another pretty vague solicit here, but “superheroes teaming up for an adventure” is something I can always get behind if it looks bright and fun.

Finally, we’ve got another Wonder Woman ’77 special, though no cover yet:

WONDER WOMAN ’77 SPECIAL #4
Written by MARC ANDREYKO, AMY CHU, TRINA ROBBINS and AMANDA DEIBERT
Art by TOM DERENICK, DARIO BRIZUELA, TESS FOWLER and CHRISTIAN DUCE
Cover by CAT STAGGS
After narrowly escaping Wonder Woman (and the law) once before, Gault (actually his disembodied brain!) plots revenge…and seeks a new body to house his evil! Plus, “Worlds Collide” when a tape full of government secrets gets swapped for some excellent Super Funk! We peek at “The Man Behind the Curtain” when a dictator tries to fulfill his daughter’s final wish. And in “Seeing Stars,” Wonder Woman proves herself not a just the protector of Earth…but of the universe.
On sale SEPTEMBER 21 • 80 pg, FC, $7.99 US RATED E • DIGITAL FIRST

Just look at this line up of creators! There are so many amazing people in the mix here, both writers and artists. It should be a fantastic issue. Plus with that last story, “Seeing Stars”, is Wonder Woman going to space? That would be rad. Lynda Carter in space sounds like an exciting time, and exactly what the series is for, i.e. cool things the show could never have afforded to do. Looking forward to this one.

Be sure to pick up all of these books in September! It looks like it’s going to be a great month for Wonder Woman.

Women at DC Comics Watch – March 2016 Solicits, 28 Women on 22 Books

January 4, 2016

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I thought it would be fun to start off a new year of posts with some good news, so here’s what I’ve got: DC is poised to have a pretty decent March in terms of female creators, and their 2016 solicits thus far have been relatively strong.   The numbers aren’t as high as they were a year ago, when DC was busting up records left and right, but they’re considerably better than they were in the wake of last June’s #DCYou mini-relaunch. So yeah, things are looking up! I mean, women still constitute a tiny minority of DC’s overall creator total; things are better but not particularly good. Still, improvement! Let’s see who’s doing what at DC this March:

  • Amanda Conner: Harley Quinn #26 (co-writer, cover), Starfire #10 (co-writer, cover)
  • Amanda Deibert: Wonder Woman ’77 Special #3 (co-writer)
  • Amy Chu: Poison Ivy: Cycle of Life and Death #3 (writer)
  • Annie Wu: Black Canary #10 (art and cover)
  • Babs Tarr: Batgirl #50 (art and cover)
  • Becky Cloonan: Harley Quinn #26 (variant cover)
  • Bilquis Evely: Legends of Tomorrow #1 (interior art)
  • Cat Staggs: Wonder Woman ’77 Special #3 (interior art)
  • Chrissie Zullo: Fables: The Wolf Among Us #15 (cover)
  • Elsa Charretier: Starfire #10 (interior art)
  • Gail Simone: Clean Room #6 (writer), Secret Six #12 (writer)
  • Genevieve Valentine: Batman & Robin Eternal #22 (writer), Batman & Robin Eternal #23 (writer)
  • Holly Black: Lucifer #4 (writer)
  • Jenny Frison: Clean Room #6 (cover)
  • Laura Braga: DC Comics Bombshells #10 (interior art)
  • Lauren Beukes: Survivors’ Club #6 (co-writer)
  • Marguerite Bennett: DC Comics Bombshells #10 (writer)
  • Marguerite Sauvage: DC Comics Bombshells #10 (interior art)
  • Meghan Hetrick: Red Thorn #5 (interior art)
  • Meredith Finch: Wonder Woman #50 (writer)
  • Michelle Delecki Davis: Green Arrow #50 (cover)
  • Ming Doyle: Constantine: The Hellblazer #10 (co-writer)
  • Mingjue Helen Chen: Gotham Academy #16 (cover)
  • Nicola Scott: Wonder Woman ’77 Special #3 (cover)
  • Renae De Liz: The Legend of Wonder Woman #3 (writer, art, and cover)
  • Ruth Fletcher: Wonder Woman ’77 Special #3 (co-writer)
  • Trina Robbins: Wonder Woman ’77 Special #3 (co-writer)
  • Tula Lotay: Slash & Burn #5 (cover)

All together, there are 28 different women set to work on 22 different comic books this March, solid gains from February’s 21 and 19. Furthermore, the schedule for 2016 thus far is 31 different women in January, 21 in February, and 28 in March; it’s a bit up and down, but the numbers are decent relative to DC’s second half of 2015. While inconsistent, the numbers appear to be trending in a positive direction, and hopefully DC will soon be in record setting territory (for them) again.

We’ve also got a couple new names in the mix, which is always good to see. Elsa Charretier is drawing Starfire, and Ruth Fletcher is writing a story in the Wonder Woman ’77 Special #3. We’ve got some returning favourites in new places as well, with Bilquis Evely drawing the “Sugar and Spike” story in the new Legends of Tomorrow, and a bunch of folks taking part in that Wonder Woman ’77 Special, including Amanda Deibert, Cat Staggs, Nicola Scott, and Trina Robbins.

The Wonder Woman ’77 special is just a one-time deal, though, which may not bode well for the April numbers. Of the 28 different women working at DC in March, 5 of them are on this special and likely won’t be back next month. Ideally, they may show up somewhere else or there’ll be new people on other books, but we need to take overall numbers bolstered by one-shots with a grain of salt.

For new female characters, it’s a fairly quiet month for new books across the board apart from the Legends of Tomorrow anthology. The only female character in the mix there is half of “Sugar and Spike”; the rest are all men.

Overall, March looks to be a solid month for women making comics at DC as 2016 continues to improve on DC’s recent performances. There’s still massive amounts of room to grow, of course, and with so many names tied up in a one-shot, a decline in April seems likely. But we’ll see what April brings. Let’s start 2016 on an optimistic note and hope for continued growth.

Wonder Woman’s March 2016 Covers and Solicits

December 15, 2015

DC’s March 2016 solicits went up yesterday, and we’ve got the usual Wonder Woman fun plus a cool and somewhat unexpected surprise. Let’s take a look at what Wonder Woman will be up to this March, starting with Wonder Woman #50:

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WONDER WOMAN #50
Written by MEREDITH FINCH
Art by DAVID FINCH and SCOTT HANNA
Polybagged variant cover by MASSIMO CARNEVALE
On sale MARCH 23 • 48 pg, FC, $4.99 US • RATED T
It’s a special super-sized 50th issue! Wonder Woman continues her quest to save Zeke and Olympus, but is she prepared for what she might find? Long-buried secrets suddenly brought to light will call into question everything she thought she knew about those she loves and trusts the most.

I’m pretty sure that this is the cover from last month’s solicits, so now I don’t know which book the cover will go on. I’m guessing it’ll be on the February issue, since the rest of this month’s 50th issues have snazzy, more iconic covers while this one has more gods than Wonder Woman. We’ll find out either way come February, I guess.

Anyway, the new Wonder Woman has made it to fifty issues! The last batch of which have not been great, but so it goes. I’m mildly interested in this issue because in a recent issue Meredith Finch revealed that they’re doing a backup story like they did earlier this year in the annual, and that back-up story was probably the best thing in the book since the Finches took over. I mean, it wasn’t good but it wasn’t terrible, so I’m glad for them to revisit that.

Up next, Superman/Wonder Woman #27:

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SUPERMAN/WONDER WOMAN #27
Written by PETER J. TOMASI
Art by DOUG MAHNKE and JAIME MENDOZA
Cover by ED BENES
Polybagged variant cover by CHARLIE ADLARD
On sale MARCH 16 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
“Savage Dawn” continues from this month’s ACTION COMICS #50! A comet drawn by Vandal Savage to Earth is wreaking havoc across the globe—and empowering his children in the most dangerous way possible!

True story: I bought the latest issue of this series the day it came out and forgot to read it, remembered that I had forgotten the next day, and didn’t bother to read it for about a week. Turns out, I wasn’t missing anything. I find that this book lacks a purpose. Their relationship is all out of whack, everything seems tangential to bigger plots going on in other Super-books, and the entire dynamic is just unpleasant. It feels unnecessary all around. And with that ringing endorsement, keep your eyes peeled for this issue in March!

Now to a book I love: The Legend of Wonder Woman #3:

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THE LEGEND OF WONDER WOMAN #3
Written by RENAE DE LIZ
Art by RENAE DE LIZ and RAY DILLON
Cover by RENAE DE LIZ
On sale MARCH 9 • 40 pg, FC, 3 of 9, $3.99 US • RATED T • DIGITAL FIRST
Themyscira comes alive with the sounds of Amazons on the hunt. Will they find their prey before Diana has a chance to rescue the outsider who fell from the sky? Hippolyta stands against her foes, and announces a tournament that will change Themyscira forever as the fate of the mysterious stranger hangs in the balance.

You’re going to want to be picking up this series, gang. The first issue is out in January, so GET ON IT. You’ll love it. It’s so much fun, and such a fresh but iconic take on Wonder Woman and the Amazons. This third issue seems to be getting to the Steve Trevor part of the story, which should be fun. Plus the tournament! I love the tournament in every incarnation; one of my favourite things in the mythos is that any Amazon could have been Wonder Woman and Diana is just the best of the best. But yeah, buy this book!

And finally, we’re getting more Lynda Carter fun in Wonder Woman ’77 Special #3:

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WONDER WOMAN ‘77 SPECIAL #3
Written by MARC ANDREYKO, CHRISTOS N. GAGE, RUTH FLETCHER, AMANDA DEIBERT and TRINA ROBBINS
Art by RICHARD ORTIZ, STAZ JOHNSON, CAT STAGGS and others
Cover by NICOLA SCOTT
On sale MARCH 30 • 80 pg, FC, $7.99 US • RATED E • DIGITAL FIRST
In “Claymates,” when Clayface finds himself crumbling and drying up, he seeks a cure by any means necessary! Can Wonder Woman stop him before he enslaves Paradise Island? Then, Diana and Steve go undercover in “Oceans,” where a diplomat crucial to the Panama Canal negotiations has dangerous plans! After a battle with smugglers at home, Wonder Woman is surprised to find a warehouse full of ivory. In Africa, she teams up with the local IADC to track “Orion the Hunter.” Finally, Federal Agent Diana Prince joins a Congressman and his aides to investigate a cult. “Reverend Mike Loves You,” but can you trust his plans for the future?

This sounds really cool, and I’m excited to see that they’re mixing it up with a lot of different creative teams this time around. The longer arcs in past runs got a little bit formulaic, so it should be fun to just enjoy a bunch of short stories. There are some killer creators involved too. For digital readers, I’m guessing we’ll see these stories starting in February or so? The Legend of Wonder Woman is pretty far ahead of the print schedule, so maybe they’ll do a hiatus like they used to do with Sensation Comics.

Wonder Woman’s also involved in Teen Titans #18 and Titans Hunt #6, as well as the continuing saga of the “Darkseid War” in Justice League, so check those out as well if you’re interested. It could be a fun month all around; we’re certainly getting great stuff from the digital-first division, and maybe even the main series won’t be as bad as usual? Here’s hoping!

 

Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman #51 Review: THE FINAL ISSUE! “Island of Lost Souls, Part 3” by Trina Robbins and Chris Gugliotti

October 29, 2015

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It’s a very sad day for Wonder Woman fans because we’ve reached the end of Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman, one of the best outlets that the character has had in some time. Print readers still have a couple of issues to go before the book is wrapped up for good, but today was the final digital installment of the series. It’s unfortunate that the series is over, because it was a heck of a lot of fun. There were so many great, different creators involved, telling a wide range of stories each with a different take on Diana. And the best part was that even if you didn’t like a particular story, soon you’d have another one with a completely new creative team and a new approach to Wonder Woman. The surprise of each new arc was one of my favourite things about this series. Plus, most of them were pretty enjoyable. I liked some better than others, but a lot of them were really great and there weren’t a lot of duds in the mix. An anthology series is a crapshoot, but Sensation Comics had a solid record.

The end of the book is particularly disheartening because it was an outlet for Wonder Woman fans to get away from the current incarnation of the character. Since the New 52 relaunch four years ago, Wonder Woman has been a fairly dark series, and her treatment elsewhere in the mainline books has left a lot to be desired, particularly her awkward romance with Superman. DC seems to have gotten away from the classic, iconic version of Wonder Woman, and Sensation Comics was an opportunity to have that character back via fun, out of continuity adventures.

And now it’s over. It had a solid run, and lasted about as long as DC’s character focused, digital first anthologies tend to go. The silver lining of the end of Sensation Comics is that it’s conclusion will make way for a new digital first series for Wonder Woman, Renae De Liz’s The Legend of Wonder Woman. The new book will run for 27 digital issues, 9 print, and tell stories about Diana’s childhood as she learns what it means to be an Amazon. It sounds fantastic, and I’m glad that we’ll continue to have a weekly dose of digital Wonder Woman fun.

Sensation Comics also ended strong, with a quirky arc by Trina Robbins and Chris Gugliotti. It was a fitting conclusion to the book with Wonder Woman doing what she does best, fostering compassion in others and helping them find their better self. After locating the source of the Urzkatarga cult, the Cheetah became overwhelmed with malicious power and attacked Wonder Woman, but Wonder Woman encouraged Barbara to fight the evil influence and, with the help of their new kitten friend, Molly, set her free from its control. I loved that this story arc centered on Wonder Woman helping her biggest enemy, because that’s such a Wonder Woman thing to do. The final page revealed that their rivalry may not be over forever, but the story nonetheless showed the core of who Wonder Woman is.

Chris Gugliotti’s art has been a lot of fun. It’s a little bit unconventional, and I’ve been seeing mixed reactions online, but I’ve enjoyed it. I think this is what Sensation Comics is all about, trying something new and out of the mainstream; this book looks nothing like Wonder Woman’s New 52 adventures, and I think that’s very cool. Gugliotti’s got his own style that fit the story well and that, along with his superb colouring, made this story one of Sensation Comics‘ more interesting outings, visually. I was into it.

Anyway, I’ve had a blast reading and reviewing Sensation Comics each week, and I’m glad it went out with a legend at the helm in Trina Robbins, and with the promise of more Wonder Woman digital stories on the horizon. That takes away a lot of the sting of it ending. For you print fans, this story will be collected in Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman #17, the book’s final print issue, on December 2, so keep your eyes peeled for that and its gorgeous cover. My thanks and compliments to all of the wonderful creators who have worked on the book, and editors Kristy Quinn and Jessica Chen for putting together such a great series; it’s been a blast. Now I’m counting down the days until The Legend of Wonder Woman begins!

Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman #50 Review: “Island of Lost Souls, Part 2” by Trina Robbins and Chris Gugliotti

October 22, 2015

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Usually a fiftieth issue is cause for celebration. Lasting fifty issues in the comic book business, even digitally, is a rare achievement these days in a jam packed market full of constant relaunches and reboots. But while this is a impressive milestone for Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman, it’s also the series’ penultimate issue. Next week, we’ll be saying goodbye to Sensation Comics for good. That tamps down the celebratory mood somewhat.

Nonetheless, this is a very good issue. The book is going out with a bang as Trina Robbins and Chris Gugliotti continue to tell a weird and enjoyable story with mad scientists and talking animals. The last issue ended with Wonder Woman teaming up with the Cheetah, an unusual pairing brought on by the Cheetah being near death because of a lack of urzkatarga berries, the source of her powers. Wonder Woman and the Cheetah crash landed on an island where a scientist was experimenting on animals with the berries, and in this week’s issue the duo met the scientist behind the island’s bizarre creatures.

Robbins continues to throw twists into the narrative by again discarding the assumed villain. When the Cheetah showed up last week, it looked like she was the villain before the circumstances quickly changed. With this issue, it looked like the scientist would be the arc’s big bad. He’s experimenting on animals with the funding of Lex Luthor; he’s severely misguided at best, and a full on villain at worst. Plus he’s got a talking attack dog and captured Wonder Woman and the Cheetah. But he’s not the arc’s big bad either. Luthor wasn’t pleased with his lack of scientific process, and the doctor doesn’t survive the issue. The fun of it is, now Luthor looks like the big bad, but we’ve been down this road before. With one issue left, we can’t really assume anything about how the story will end because the rug has been pulled out from under us twice already.

I enjoy that Robbins is totally doing her own thing, and that the usual conventions of superhero comics are sort of out the window here. There’s not a lot of time dedicated to superhero brawls, in this issue or last week’s. Today’s issue does end in an action packed way, but it’s fairly brief. Instead of pages and pages of fighting, we get story that lets us get to know the characters. It also makes for a longer read; you’re absolutely getting your money’s worth with this arc, because there’s a lot going on. It’s not a book you breeze through in just a minute.

You’re also getting your money’s worth from the art in the book, which continues to be unique and expressive. Plus Gugliotti’s animals are super cute; the ferret computer expert is particularly fun. But it’s not just all adorable animals. Gugliotti does a nice job with the action as well, adding a lot of drama and suspense to the issue’s conclusion. On top of all of that, his colouring remains absolutely gorgeous. I’d recommend the book on the colouring alone, because Gugliotti is doing some great stuff with texture and light that I’m finding very visually compelling.

Overall, this story continues to be a good read. If Sensation Comics has to end, I’m glad it’s ending with this creative team telling this weird, fun story. “Island of Lost Souls” really captures what Sensation Comics was all about, enjoyable Wonder Woman stories that don’t fit in today’s dark world of mainline Wonder Woman comics. I’m excited for next week’s conclusion, in a very melancholy way.

Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman #49 Review: “Island of Lost Souls, Part 1” by Trina Robbins and Chris Gugliotti

October 16, 2015

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Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman began its final arc yesterday, marking the beginning of the end one of the best showcases for Wonder Woman in recent memory. These digital first series are rarely long for the world; Adventures of Superman and Legends of the Dark Knight lasted about the same length. But the loss of Sensation Comics is more significant, seeing as Wonder Woman has never had the many series that Superman and Batman regularly star in. Usually she’s just got her eponymous title. Even more unfortunate, lately that main title and her co-starring series, Superman/Wonder Woman, have been pretty terrible. The end of Sensation Comics is a huge blow for fans of Wonder Woman.

But on the plus side, Sensation Comics is going out with a bang. Trina Robbins is writing the final arc, and I’d be hard pressed to think of a better choice. Robbins is a legend, from her underground comix to her fantastic historical work on women in comics to her past Wonder Woman stories. Joining her on art is Chris Gugliotti, a newcomer to DC with a unique style. The combination of the two makes the start of this finale something special.

The story is an unlikely team up between Wonder Woman and her nemesis, the Cheetah. The urzkatarga berries that turn Barbara Minerva into the Cheetah are disappearing, and Minerva is getting weaker after each transformation as she rations her limited supplies. Her situation is so desperate that she turns to Wonder Woman for help, betting that her compassion will make her help her enemy. And she’s right, of course. Wonder Woman can’t not help someone, especially someone who’s life is in peril.

As with most first issues, part one of the story is a lot of set up. Robbins explains the origins of the Cheetah and her reliance on the urzkatarga berries, and sets up the quest to find more. But it’s also an unconventional start. I’ve written a lot about the three part arc formula in my recent digital reviews because so many creators seem to be following the same basic pattern of establishing a villain, having a small fight, then finishing with a final fight. Everything is built to move toward that end battle, and the stories are rather predictable.

This story is different. There’s a scuffle between Wonder Woman and the Cheetah at the beginning, and the reveal of a potential villain at the issue’s end, but the focus is on helping the Cheetah rather than building to a fight. There’s a lot of ambiguity; the Cheetah isn’t the most trustworthy companion, and that guy at the end in charge of the reverse Dr. Moreau scene on the island the duo visits could be a friend or a foe. The story sets up a lot of fun stuff with potential to go in a variety of different directions, and I’m excited to see where Robbins takes it.

Gugliotti’s art is a treat as well. I’m not familiar with his work, but I’m absolutely going to check it out now. He’s got a cartoony style that will appeal to both children and adults, and his characters are wonderfully expressive. Gugliotti seems unconsidered with the typical superhero aesthetic of beautiful women carefully posed to be as lovely as possible. There are a variety of panels where Wonder Woman and the Cheetah do look very pretty; I mean, look at how gorgeous this opening page is all around:

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But he plays to the emotion of each story beat above all else, trying to capture something real in their expressions rather than maintain a posed facade. It’s good stuff. His colouring elevates the artwork even further. It’s rich and textured, but varied as well. Gugliotti doesn’t rely on any one technique or style with his colours. Instead, it’s sometimes smooth and sometimes rough, sometimes blocked out and sometimes detailed, but all of it carefully rendered in a beautiful way.

Also, DANG that Anna Dittman cover. That’s all I have to say about it, DANG DANG DANG DANG DANG. It’s killer.

If Sensation Comics has to end, at least it’s ending on a high, with a legend at the helm writing the book and lovely, innovative art throughout. There’s almost an air of defiance to the book, like it’s saying to the comics market, “We may be going out, but here’s what you’re going to be missing and you’ll be sorry when we’re gone.” I’m looking forward to the next two weeks. If you’re waiting for the print version of this story, it’ll be compiled in Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman #17, on sale on December 2.


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