Posts Tagged ‘Wonder Woman’

Joye Murchison Kelly and Dorothy Roubicek Woolfolk to be Honoured with Bill Finger Award

June 14, 2018

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This is very, very cool. Two of the most important women in the early history of Wonder Woman are going to receive the Bill Finger Award at San Diego Comic-Con this summer. Joye Murchison Kelly was a ghost writer for William Moulton Marston in the early 1940s, while Dorothy Roubicek Woolfolk was an assistant editor on the original Wonder Woman comics and later returned to DC for a fascinating run editing Superman’s Girl Friend Lois Lane. Heidi MacDonald has a full report at The Beat, and you can read more on the official Comic-Con page.

The Bill Finger Awards honour comic book creators who have not received proper credit for their work and contributions to the industry. Bill Finger was famously screwed over by Bob Kane and DC. He did most of the work creating Batman, but Kane took all the credit. The awards were created by Finger’s friend Jerry Robinson in 2005, and 28 creators have won it since. Kelly and Woolfolk are the first women to do so.

I’ve written about both of these women in my books Wonder Woman Unbound and Investigating Lois Lane, and I’m absolutely delighted that they’re sharing this award. Both women are compelling and important figures in the history of the genre, and their work has been overlooked for decades.

In Kelly’s case, it’s because she was never credited. Marston hired her as a writing assistant in 1944, and she was soon writing full issues by herself as Marston’s health began to fail. Everything was still credited to “Charles Moulton,” Marston’s penname, in the comics, and Kelly’s contributions were long forgotten until DC’s Wonder Woman Archives line gave her due credit many decades later.

Kelly wrote several classic Wonder Woman stories featuring some of her most well known villains, including Dr. Psycho, the Cheetah, Dr. Poison, and more. She also continued Marston’s themes of female strength and power extremely faithfully, including Marston’s preoccupation with bondage imagery (it was a metaphor, but it had its limits). Perhaps most notably, Kelly coined Wonder Woman’s famous catchphrase “Suffering Sappho!” It had ancient Greek roots, of course, but was also a subtle nod to what the Amazons were actually getting up to on Paradise Island.

Woolfolk was an assistant editor on Kelly’s comics back when she was just Dorothy Roubicek. She worked for All-American publisher Max Gaines and was the first female editor at DC Comics, making sure that all the books came out on time. And when critics objected to Marston’s bondage fixation, Woolfolk was tasked with coming up with ways to tone things down. Marston didn’t listen to any of them, but it speaks to Gaines’ high opinion of her that she was his go-to gal on matters concerning his bestselling comic.

(Some sources suggest that Woolfolk wrote a few early Wonder Woman stories, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. She’s not credited as a writer in any of the Archives collections, which are painstakingly thorough).

Woolfolk worked for other publishers for a while, then married writer Bill Woolfolk and took a break from publishing when she had her kids. She returned to DC in the early 1970s as a full editor and revitalized the publisher’s romance line with fresh, relevant stories. Because of her success there, she was given control over Superman’s Girl Friend Lois Lane, and she brought the same modern, feminist sensibility to everyone’s favourite reporter. In her first issue, Lois dumped Superman and quit her job at the Daily Planet because she was sick of men telling her what to do. This feminist revolution was short-lived, though. The men in DC’s offices didn’t take kindly to having a woman around, and Woolfolk was unceremoniously ousted a few months later. You can read more about that in an excerpt from Investigating Lois Lane over at The Atlantic.

Both women are absolutely fascinating figures in comic book history, and this award is very much deserved. Kelly is 90 years old now, and will be in San Diego to accept the award. Woolfolk passed away in 2000, but her daughter will be there to accept the award on her behalf. This recognition is long overdue, but I’m so happy it’s here. Wonder Woman wouldn’t be the same without Kelly or Woolfolk, and I hope the award encourages fans and comic book historians alike to dig into their great work.

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Wonder Woman #48 Review: All Jason, All The Time. I Could Not Be Less Interested In This.

June 13, 2018

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Nope. Nope nope nope.

I’m not going to waste an hour of my life writing a review of a Wonder Woman comic that stars her stupid brother for the whole dang thing.

We’ll get into it all, briefly, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

Look away if you don’t want to know what happens in this Wonder Woman comic book that barely has Wonder Woman in it!

Ugh, this run.

THE WORST.

So basically, while Wonder Woman’s whisked off to Zamaron for the events of last week’s annual, Jason is left behind to fight the Dark Gods on his own. He uses a magic spear that I’m pretty sure is a rip off of the Chance Lance from Adventure Zone. And also he instantly knows everything about the Dark Gods because of the Athena powers in his special suit and he painstakingly tells us all about them via lengthy narration. Then the Justice League shows up to help for a bit. They lose. Wonder Woman is on the first and last page, and that’s it for her.

The Dark Gods look goofy. Jason is terrible. This issue is dumb and bad.

The end.

We’ll be back in two weeks, with Wonder Woman actually in the mix this time. Two more issues until this is over, gang. We’re almost there.

Wonder Woman Annual #2 Review: New Planet, Same Bad Writing

June 6, 2018

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So, remember a few weeks back when Wonder Woman was fighting an angry god and she defeated him by channeling the power of love? Well, for only five American dollars, you can read a very similar story this week in Wonder Woman Annual #2. Honestly, gang, I don’t know what anyone involved in this series is thinking right now. James Robinson is either phoning it in or he’s forgotten everything he ever knew about storytelling. The editors must be checked out entirely at this point to let this dreck hit the stands every two weeks. The artists are doing their best, I suppose. I do appreciate that. But why has this mess been going on for so long? It’s embarrassing.

Also, one year and a few days ago, the Wonder Woman movie was the biggest thing in the dang world. And in response, DC introduced her brother? Tied the book into the remnants of an out of continuity event? And now they do this story, which ties into their latest big event book? None of this is accessible for new readers. None of this is what anyone who loved the movie (or who loved the character before the movie, frankly) wants to see in a Wonder Woman comic book. The folks at DC have dropped the ball spectacularly when it comes to Wonder Woman, and wasted the biggest opportunity the character’s had in decades. It’s stupid, and it’s sad, and I hope they figure something out by the time Wonder Woman 2 comes out, because the comic should be a dang powerhouse.

Anyway, let’s talk about this dopey annual, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

I am about to reveal all the details of Wonder Woman’s encounter with the Star Sapphires!

I said it before, but this book costs FIVE DOLLARS!

For what? A rehashed plot? Good lord.

Last we saw Wonder Woman, she was being whisked away from Earth by the Star Sapphires to help them face a grave threat on Zamaron. Turns out, the Zamaron threat is a lot like the Earth threat. They have a Dark God, too, and it’s killing them one by one because it detects impurities in their love or something? I don’t know. That bit, like most of this issue, was pretty dumb. Anyway, Wonder Woman swaps costumes and goes to fight the god, learns his boring backstory, and channels all the love of the Star Sapphires to defeat him. The end. Except in the comic, it took like forty pages of drawn out conversations and subpar action scenes.

The book’s first big problem is that the Dark Gods just aren’t interesting. I mean, here’s the rationale for their appearance: At the end of DC’s Metal event, Wonder Woman was too vague in the wording of a magic wish she made. Oof. Robinson gets paid to come up with that? She wanted HER gods to return, but she wished for THE gods to return, and so the Dark Gods showed up. Never mind the fact that they’re from a different universe and you can’t return to a place you’ve never been. Let’s just set that incongruity aside, because why even bother? There’s no point in giving this comic more thought than the writers and editors did. But yeah, the Dark Gods are wreaking havoc on the universe because Wonder Woman misspoke slightly. Cool story.

This particular Dark God has a tragic backstory, of course. He’s from the Dark Multiverse, after all. It’s not a nice place. It’s in no way interesting, though. And now he’s all mad at Wonder Woman for separating some of the gods from the rest of their family, even though the gods don’t seem to like each other very much? Again, let’s not overthink this comic book. It does not warrant careful analysis. Just in terms of pure entertainment value, the dude is boring, he doesn’t even look cool, and the fight sucks. A fun encounter can make up for some haphazard plotting, but this book’s got neither.

In the end, Wonder Woman wins, and she goes back to Earth to fight more of these things. Oh, the Star Sapphires are in this, too. I like the Star Sapphires, but they’re pretty much wasted here. They deliver the exposition then help with the final takedown, and that’s about it. Also, there’s a mention of Blackest Night, a DC event from their old universe that’s no longer in continuity. And it was an event that was DEEPLY rooted in that universe’s continuity because it involved old friends and foes coming back to life, evil zombie style. So how Wonder Woman was flashing back to that, I have no idea. Her entire world is different now, twice over, since then.

The artists try their best with this issue, and the end result is a bit of a jumble. There are four different artists, which is a bit jarring. Sometimes swapping between them works, like when Frazier Irving steps in to do flashbacks to the Dark Universe and such. But then Irving does a chunk of the main fight as well, and it just doesn’t fit with the styles of the other three dudes who are doing the present day art. Their art is serviceable, if not particularly strong or interesting. And the book is really missing Romulo Fajardo Jr., who doesn’t color this issue! You can tell, too. Fajardo brings so much life and texture to his pages, and this book just feels flat. Though to be fair to the colorists, when an issue’s got four different artists, it usually means one guy was late and other guys were brought in to help so pages were coming in last minute. The colorists may not have had much time.

Overall, I was sort of curious about this Zamaron adventure. Wonder Woman getting snatched away a couple weeks back amused me, and I was hoping that this annual might be mildly fun. It was not. It was long and dull and not especially nice to look at, and I’m very annoyed that I had to pay five dollars for it. American, too. That’s like six something Canadian. But here’s some happy news: We’ve only got three issues of this left, then we get new creators. We can do it, gang. It’s gonna be rough, but we can do it.

Wonder Woman #47 Review: At Least the Art is Decent

May 23, 2018

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We’ve got four issues of this mess left, gang. An annual next week, then three more issues to get us to Wonder Woman #50 and the end of this god awful run. After that, new creators! And a writer who is actually good at both dialogue and plotting. I’m so looking forward to it. These past few months have been a real slog, and I’m optimistic that Wonder Woman will be readable once again come late July. Maybe enjoyable, even? I’ve got a good feeling about Steve Orlando, and Laura Braga and ACO on art should be a lot of fun.

But for now, we’re still in the middle of James Robinson’s foolishness. And dang, is it hard to care about this story. It’s just bad, and is building on all of the bad arcs that preceded it. It’s terrible all the way down. Jason’s still around, and he’s both the worst character AND the worst idea for a character I’ve seen in some time. And there are some Dark Gods that are doing something or other? We’re two issues in now, and we still don’t know much about them. It’s all so underwhelming. So let’s talk about it! But first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

Look away if you have not read this issue yet!

Unless you, unlike me, are sensible and have dropped the series and are just reading this to keep yourself in the loop of what’s going on!

I can understand that!

And I envy you your spare $3.99!

This issue is centered mainly on a fight between Wonder Woman and Supergirl, as we can see from the main cover. Kudos to Emanuela Lupacchino and the cover gang for the old school word balloons here. That’s a nice, classic touch. However, you should take a peek at Jenny Frison’s lovely variant cover for the issue:

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Ice cream fun with Diana and Kara! And you know they’re having a good time because a) they’re smiling and laughing, and b) they splurged on waffle cones, the most delicious form of cone. This is the story I’d much rather be reading, two superheroines out having a fun day, enjoying some ice cream. Something will inevitably go awry, of course, and they’ll shoot off to save the day. It sounds like a delightful issue! And I appreciate Jenny Frison giving me the opportunity to imagine such a pleasant story.

The actual issue is less pleasant. It begins with Supergirl, crazed by the Dark Gods, picking a fight with a flummoxed Wonder Woman. Much like the Cheetah battle two weeks back, Stephen Segovia does a solid job with the fight choreography, with some breakdown help from Rick Leonardi. The scene is dynamically rendered, with lots of action and velocity. And style, as well. I really like how he draws Supergirl’s heat rays with a bit of flair, and the entire flying battle is a master class in cape crumpling as she whips through the air. The whole thing is a good time.

Well, a good time until you read the words. Also much like last issue’s Cheetah battle, the fine visuals are undercut by some embarrassingly poor writing. The dialogue and narration are poor, and any sort of explanation for the fight is non-existent.

I will say, though, kudos to Saida Temofonte. Yes, most of the words are quite bad, but she does an excellent job laying them out on the page. I don’t talk about her lettering skills enough, partly because I spend most of my time rolling my eyes at the story and partly because when a letterer is good their work is so seamless that you almost don’t notice it. Temofonte is excellent, and has been doing a fine job on the book for months now. Her skills are on display particularly well during the fight scene. She stays out of the way of the action while still following along with the direction of the art, even across several two pages spreads. It makes everything easy to read and follow, which is exactly what you want in lettering.

If only they’d let her put in good words, instead of the bad ones James Robinson keeps choosing. He’s come up with an interesting fight scene here, and then sucks all the fun out of it with his writing. Every word he puts in Wonder Woman’s mouth, every caption that shows her thoughts, rings absolutely false. She just doesn’t feel like Wonder Woman. Supergirl’s got the excuse of being wacky with the Dark Gods’ influence; her dialogue should be wonky. But Wonder Woman’s in her right mind, yet she hasn’t seemed like herself for months.

Then we cut to Jason, who’s hanging out with the Fates because, I don’t know? Glaucus knows them, I guess? Anyway, we learn that his fancy new armor was meant for Diana, not him, and he still dons the armor anyway to go face the bizarre stone monoliths that have appeared in the sky. Kind of a jerk move, really. If Zeus wanted Diana to have it, he should probably stop using it.

I will say, I was mildly amused by the issue’s conclusion. Star Sapphires appear out of nowhere to take Wonder Woman off to Zamaron for next week’s Wonder Woman Annual #2, just as the battle with the Dark Gods is about to begin. The annual is going to suck, most likely, since James Robinson is writing it, but that ending is such a classic comic book move that I almost have to respect it a little bit. I love an out of the blue whisk away for a special issue.

This leaves us with a bigger problem, though. It sounds like the next issue of Wonder Woman proper is going to be Jason vs. the Dark Gods, and I do not want to spend four dollars on that shizz. When I go to buy Wonder Woman and her dopey brother is the star of the book instead, I get very, very, very annoyed. If we get little to no Wonder Woman in that issue, my review might just be “Nope. Nope nope nope.” Time will tell. But next week, Zamaron!

Wonder Woman #46 Review: Try To Care About The Dark Gods

May 10, 2018

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A new issue of Wonder Woman came out yesterday and I’ll be honest with you, gang: I completely forgot about it. The book comes out every two weeks like clockwork, so it shouldn’t be hard to remember. And yet here we are, a day late. I’ve been reviewing Wonder Woman for years now, and I don’t think I’ve ever been accidentally late. Sometimes I’ll be travelling or have other things on the go on Wednesday, but I plan accordingly. This time, I just forgot, and it was kind of inevitable. This run is terrible, and I haven’t looked forward to a new issue of Wonder Woman in months. I’ve remembered in time up until now, but there were some close calls. This is a telling turn of events, really. I mean, I love Wonder Woman so much that I wrote an entire book about her. I am a Wonder Woman enthusiast through and through. So if I can’t muster up enough interest in Wonder Woman to remember when it comes out, how bad must this book be? I used to wake up on Wonder Woman Wednesdays, excited to dig into the new issue. It hasn’t been like that for a while. Hopefully it will be again soon, once this god awful run ends. Anyway, there’s a new arc now, with James Robinson still writing the dang series, so let’s get into it. But first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

I’m about to tell you everything that happens in this issue!

A day late, but still!

It wasn’t worth the wait, unsurprisingly!

Let’s start with something positive! The art in this issue is quite good. Stephen Segovia does a fine job with the line art, and Romulo Fajardo Jr. colors it beautifully, as always. Segovia draws Wonder Woman well, and there were some sequences in this issue that I really enjoyed. Wonder Woman has a fight scene with the Cheetah that is very nicely choreographed and rendered, with cool angles and a real sense of motion. It’s stylish and exciting, and one of the better fights I’ve seen in Wonder Woman lately. You have to ignore the dialogue to enjoy it fully, of course, but that goes without saying in this run.

So yeah, the Cheetah is back. And Veronica Cale, Dr. Cyber, and Dr. Poison, all key players from Greg Rucka’s time on the book. That first year of “Rebirth” was fantastic, with great writing and fabulous art from Bilquis Evely, Nicola Scott, and Liam Sharp. Having a different team on the characters feels weird, especially in terms of the writing. It’s like night and day. Saying it feels wrong to have Robinson putting words in the mouth of the Cheetah and Veronica Cale is probably taking things a step too far, but it certainly doesn’t feel right. Rucka brought so much life to these characters, and they just fall flat here. While Segovia does a nice job drawing everyone, especially with the ferocity he brings to the Cheetah, the writing can’t keep up. The dialogue is awkward and stilted, and the characters just don’t feel like themselves. I’ve had that problem with Wonder Woman herself since this run began, and seeing so many characters I know well in the same boat really hammers that disconnect home.

Also, I know I mention this with every dang issue, but Wonder Woman isn’t in this book much. I hate to keep harping on it, but I also hate that it keeps happening in a book called Wonder Woman. By my count, she only appears on 7 of the 20 pages in this issue. The Cheetah is on 11 pages here, and it’s not even her book! And of course, we’ve got our regular check in with Jason that no one in the world cares about.

Speaking of that terrible character, it seems like the source of his mysterious new powers might be the Dark Gods everyone in this issue is all fired up about. This new arc follows up on DC’s recent Metal event, which opened up the mainline universe to a dark multiverse with all sorts of frightening worlds. The Dark Gods seem to come from there, and now that the Darkseid arc is all wrapped up, that leaves these new deities as the most likely source of Jason’s powers. Whoever they are, a lot of folks are concerned about their arrival. We don’t see them in this issue, but the Cheetah is all in a tizzy because they’re on the way. Supergirl is out of sorts as well, so much so that she shows up at the end of the issue to fight Wonder Woman to the death. She looks like her normal self, but I have to assume she’s possessed in some capacity? Or otherwise not herself. Whatever the case, the Darks Gods are coming.

I’m not entirely sure why, though. The end of the Darkseid arc two weeks back seemed like the perfect place to end this run, but it’s still going through July with this new story. Maybe it plays into the upcoming relaunch of the Justice League titles? Or maybe DC is really bad at making Wonder Woman and are just letting Robinson roll on while they scramble to figure out what to do next? Time will tell.

Whatever the case, this is an odd introductory issue to a new arc. It harkens back to old stories, but only to tease the new one, it seems. And while we know that the big bad Dark Gods are coming, Supergirl is the problem right now. It’s a slow build, and I couldn’t be less interested. I mean, obviously. I forgot that this issue was even out! Here’s a bit of good news, though: Stephen Segovia is scheduled to draw the next issue, and if this week’s fight between Wonder Woman and the Cheetah is any indication, her upcoming brawl with Supergirl might look really cool. Hopefully I’ll remember to read it.

Wonder Woman #45 Review: “Amazons Attacked” Stumbles to a Poor Conclusion

April 25, 2018

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Let’s start with some happy news: This run is going to end. We’ve always known this in the abstract, of course. Creative teams at the Big Two never last forever. But now we’ve got a date. On July 11, 2018, Wonder Woman #50 will come out and mark the end of James Robinson’s tenure writing the book. While it’s kind of a downer that they’re letting him write such a landmark issue after months of churning out terrible work, the bigger news is that it’s finally over. Steve Orlando and Laura Braga are taking over for a brief arc starting with Wonder Woman #51, and then a new, yet unnamed creative team will come in.

I’d be excited for anyone not named James Robinson to be writing the book, but Orlando is an especially good choice. I’ve enjoyed his work for a while now, and from his few comments on what’s to come it sounds like he’s got a good handle on Wonder Woman and why she’s amazing. Braga is a great choice, too. She’s done fantastic work on DC Comics Bombshells, and I’m looking forward to her drawing Wonder Woman in a more modern setting. It should all be a lot of fun. We’ve just got to slog through five more issues to get there!

Speaking of a slog, Wonder Woman #45 came out today, bringing the “Amazons Attacked” storyline to a close. The issue was bad, the arc was dumb, and damn near everything about this book continues to suck. So let’s talk about it, I guess? But first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

I am about to ruin the conclusion of this foolish arc!

Look away if you don’t want to know how Darkseid loses because… love?

It doesn’t make any sort of sense.

As I just mentioned, in this grand finale to months of painful storytelling, Wonder Woman defeats Darkseid with love. More specifically, she uses her love for her brothers, sisters, and other divine relatives killed by Darkseid in his quest to repower himself, loving them so fiercely that she somehow pulls their souls from his body. Darkseid, now weakened, burns up and disappears.

So, yeah. The thing is, Wonder Woman and love go hand in hand. Her compassion and her kindness have been hallmarks of the character from the very beginning. When William Moulton Marston created her, he made her the embodiment of the loving authority of women. If any superhero is going to use love to defeat a villain, it’s going to be Wonder Woman. The problem is, it still has to make sense. There’s need to be a degree of logic. You can’t just say that Diana’s love is “bright and true” and then ta-dah, Darkseid is done. Wonder Woman is not some sort of loving necromancer. She cannot draw out the souls of the dead through sheer affection alone.

And even if Robinson and co. wanted to make this a new superpower for her, then okay, explain it. It’s a bad, silly idea, but make it work. Set it up in some fashion. Do a little bit of foreshadowing and table setting so it doesn’t come off like a bizarre deus ex machina. Love is a wonderful, powerful thing, but to use it to such a degree, entirely out of the blue, kind of ruins the entire ending. Well, “ruin” is the wrong word. That implies that there was something good to begin with. But it’s cheap, and unearned, and generally dumb.

On top of that foolishness, this issue continues one of my main frustrations with this run: Robinson’s focus on male characters. I’ve said it a million times, but this book is called Wonder Woman. She should be the main character. And, almost as importantly, women should play an important role in the series, across the board. In this issue, we start with opening narration from Steve Trevor. Then Jason, a man, goes to Themyscira to save the Amazons from Grail’s attack. And finally Grail, once captured by the Amazons, is imprisoned with Ares so that HE can teach her the values of love and peace that he has learned. Learned from women, I might add; his wokeness comes from submission to Aphrodite and the Amazons. That’s too many dudes doing too many things. All while Wonder Woman defeats Darkseid in the dumbest of ways.

This issue is basically the culmination of so many terrible ideas. Bringing back Grail. Giving Diana a brother. Ignoring every rad female supporting character in the Wonder Woman mythos. Letting James Robinson write a comic book after, I’m guessing, he traded his skills at storytelling to some sort of evil leprechaun for magic beans? I’m not exactly sure how his writing turned so bad so quickly, but the larger point stands: The dude is doing garbage work here. And all of that combines into this boring, nonsensical conclusion that lacks any excitement, heart, or reader investment.

At least it looks pretty good. So long as you’ve got Emanuela Lupacchino drawing Wonder Woman, even if it’s just for some of the pages, it’s going to be a book worth looking at. She captures the character so well, and Ray McCarthy does a great job inking her work. Marco Santucci is solid, too. I prefer Lupacchino, but he carries off his pages nicely. And of course, series MVP Romulo Fajardo Jr. holds everything together with his coloring. The dude’s a magician. When books go off the rails like Wonder Woman has as of late, often times it shows up in the artwork. You see rushed drawing, and everyone down the production line starts phoning it in. While we’ve had some instances of hasty linework over the past few months, Fajardo Jr. has been making everyone look better with every single issue he colors. Give the man a dang raise, DC.

So, Darkseid is done, and now we’ve just got to get through some sort of Metal tie-in for the next five issues. Then we get a new creative team and maybe we can enjoy the book again? Gosh, I hope so. I’m real tired of hating what should be my favourite book.

Wonder Woman #44 Review: The Fight Rages On! And Remains Terrible/Nigh Unreadable!

April 11, 2018

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I had a really nice weekend, gang. I went to Chicago for C2E2, had a great time at the show, tried a poke bowl for the first time (it was DELICIOUS). It was excellent all around, and the fun started with a panel discussion about Catwoman at The Book Cellar with some super smart comic critics. Angelica Jade Bastien, Lauren Burke, Caitlin Rosberg, Katie Schenkel, and I spent the bulk of the time discussing Catwoman, of course, but every now and again the conversation would turn to the current run of Wonder Woman. And with that turn came utter bewilderment at what a mess the book is right now, partly in relation to its brilliant “Rebirth” relaunch and partly just on its own, entirely lacking merits. Everyone was utterly flabbergasted at the horrible depths the series has sunk to as of late. It was a cathartic conversation, with the general consensus being that James Robinson should perhaps consider a different career path entirely.

Anyway, there’s a new Wonder Woman out this week, so let’s talk about it. But first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

I am about to reveal the secrets of yet another painfully subpar issue of Wonder Woman!

They don’t make a lick of sense in terms of current continuity, though!

This book is dumb.

So this issue is mostly fighting, which I appreciated. The brawling meant that there weren’t long, drawn out conversations that lacked any semblance to normal human speech and simply regurgitated previously established facts. I’ve had enough of that with the past few issues. Now, the fighting wasn’t particularly good, nor were the quips and banter therein. The structure of the battle on the page jumped around a lot, seemingly at random, and the core brawl between Wonder Woman and Darkseid was the only one that actually mattered. Jason and Grail’s faceoff didn’t really go anywhere, while Steve and his Howling Commandos appeared to be entirely ineffective.

Like most of Robinson’s run, the battle was largely filler to get us from Point A to Point B without actually adding anything new or interesting to the story, revealing anything about the characters, or otherwise enhancing our reading experience. It was just a bunch of punches to burn through pages until Darkseid’s machine could be powered enough to open a portal to Themyscira. I do like a good fight. This is a superhero comic book, after all. But I like the fights to say something beyond “oh, this will fill up the issue until the dramatic reveal at the end.” This fight was entirely perfunctory. Any reader with any sense of how the story was unfolding would know that there were no stakes here at all. Darkseid’s plan was going to work, and no amount of brawling was going to change that.

And about this dramatic reveal. So Grail gets to Themyscira and turns some Amazons into parademons. I have two big thoughts about this. First, those Amazons would have DESTROYED Grail. I know she’s half Darkseid or whatever, but Amazons are Amazons and there were a bunch of them. Even with a surprise attack, the gal would have been taken down and hastily so. You don’t mess with the Amazons.

Second, this was framed as a homecoming for Grail after leaving the island years earlier, but here’s the thing: THIS IS NOT GRAIL’S PARADISE ISLAND. Remember when the New 52 relaunch messed up Wonder Woman and the Amazons so badly that DC brought in Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott to fix it? And that their solution was to explain that the New 52 Amazons were a fiction? Grail was created before this fix. She is a product of the fake Amazons, not the real Amazons. This Themyscira is not her home. Technically, her home doesn’t even exist and she is some sort of bizarre anomaly. The folks behind Wonder Woman don’t seem to care about any of this, and have decided to ignore the change in continuity entirely.

Continuity needn’t be a prison, of course, but these things were changed for a reason. The Wonder Woman mythos was fundamentally broken, and Rucka and Scott set in right in a way that resonated with scores of fans. But now, this run is undoing all of that. Rucka and Scott danced around Wonder Woman’s New 52, daughter of Zeus origin, giving DC an out for ever mentioning it again. This arc has made it a centerpiece of the story. Rucka and Scott wiped away the New 52’s terrible depiction of the Amazons, and this arc has brought back one of its oddest, dumbest choices with Grail. It’s mind boggling. Everyone did a very good thing with Wonder Woman: Year One. It’s easily one of the best Wonder Woman stories ever told! And now DC is letting this trash fire of an arc toss it all aside.

One bit of good news from this issue is that Emanuela Lupacchino is back. Even when she’s working on a tight schedule, which I suspect she may have been here, her art is always dynamic and enjoyable. She’s got a great grasp on Wonder Woman herself, and it was very fun to see her draw the Amazons, however briefly. It’s a shame that someone with such an obvious penchant for Wonder Woman and her world is being used for such a terrible storyline. I hope that she’ll get another shot at the book with a writer that actually understands and appreciates Diana. Romulo Fajardo Jr. remains on top of his game as well, like always. The richness of colour and the breadth of texture he brings to his work is just remarkable. It’s all so subtle and seamless, and remains the one thing keeping this entire run afloat. Luckily with Lupacchino he’s got some nice line work to enhance, but he’s definitely elevated several lesser artists in past issues and has maintained a consistent look for the title.

So yeah, we’ve got Amazon parademons now and more fights ahead, I assume. Good grief. There’s a few more issues of this foolishness, and then Robinson is starting yet another storyline. When will the horrors end?! Not anytime soon, it seems. Ugh.

 


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