Posts Tagged ‘Wonder Woman’

Wonder Woman #25 Review OR Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh

November 20, 2013

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This probably won’t be the most in depth review I’ve ever written, because one panel ruined the entire book for me.  I’m not particularly interested in dissecting the rest of the issue on account of I’m busy being rather perturbed with Brian Azzarello yet again fundamentally misunderstanding Wonder Woman.  It’s getting so old.  This is a series with a lot of good things going for it, but none of those good things are Wonder Woman herself.  Anyway, let’s get to it, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

I’m going to tell you everything that happened in this issue!

Briefly, but still!

Go read it first!

So let’s do a quick rundown first.  Strife got some sort of pin from Hephaestus for killing Wonder Woman.  Cassandra’s taking her kidnapped brother, Milan, to a secret base in Chernobyl.  Apollo and Dionysus have a creepy meal.  Orion and Hermes fight, then Strife shows up with gifts for everyone, then Siracca pops in and everyone runs out to save Milan.

After all of the setup in last month’s issue, I expected a lot more to happen here, but it was little more than a lot of posturing and several scenes that didn’t seem to serve much of a purpose.  Cassandra, Milan, and her weird airplane get four pages of the book, in which we learn absolutely nothing new.  The only thing we do learn about her plot, that she’s got a base in Chernobyl, comes from Siracca with the main gang in London.

There are two pages set in the very modern kitchen of Olympus, where Dionysus is serving up chunks of the still alive First Born to his brother, Apollo, for dinner that are similarly pointless.  We know that the gods are brutal, and the only thing achieved by these two pages is a hint that Apollo is going to bring Dionysus into the fold a bit more.  I will say that it’s an impressively twisted scene, but that’s a lot of space for such a small takeaway.  I like the idea of the scene, but it would have been far better served with some dialogue and circumstances that actually mattered.

Back in London, the gang is sitting around gabbing for most of the book, and herein lies the panel that ruined the issue for me.  Strife has brought gifts for everyone, returning Hera’s peacock clock and bringing a blanket for Zeke, but for Wonder Woman she has Ares’ helmet.  Strife makes a snide comment while giving it to her, and Wonder Woman calls her a bitch:

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Seriously?  How far off the mark is Brian Azzarello’s idea of Wonder Woman that he thinks she would ever call anyone a bitch?  Not to mention that it’s 2013 and the only person who calls anyone a bitch anymore is Jesse Pinkman.  He may have come up with some cool takes on the gods and a fun supporting cast, but I think that fundamentally Brian Azzarello doesn’t have a good handle on Wonder Woman at all.

It’s bad enough that she’s the least interesting character in the book, and that she’s lucky to grace half of the pages in her own series.  But now she’s calling another woman a bitch, and this is a real problem for me.

Bitch is a gendered insult, one that’s been used for ages to demean women.  By its original definition, there’s nothing wrong with the word.  It’s a female dog.  But in turning that word into an insult, what we have is a situation whereby womanhood IS the insult.  Our modern use of the word bitch perpetuates the idea that there is something inherently less good about womanhood.  The gender is the insult.  It’s a word with some seriously sexist baggage, and to have it come out of Wonder Woman’s mouth is just ridiculous.

The word has been reappropriated in some feminist circles, turned into a badge of honour instead of an insult.  Bitch Media, for example, proudly embraces the term as a symbol of their outspoken nature.  There was a great “Weekend Update” sketch a few years back where Tina Fey and Amy Poehler talked about how Hillary Clinton is a bitch, and so are they, and that that’s a good thing because “bitches gift stuff done.”  Wonder Woman calling Strife a bitch was not such a reappropriation.

Wonder Woman lashed out at Strife with a gendered insult, one that a strong, Amazon princess should be loathe to use.  It was lazy, hacky writing, perhaps meant to make Wonder Woman look tough or bad ass, but here’s the thing: Wonder Woman doesn’t need to insult someone to look like a bad ass.  Insults, especially gendered ones, are for people so weak and insecure about their own selves that they have to tear down other people to try to regain control of a confrontation.  Wonder Woman is better than that.  There is no reason for that word to ever come out of her mouth; she’s WONDER WOMAN.  Yes, Strife was being a jerk, but Wonder Woman didn’t need to react in kind.  A slightly arched eyebrow and a stern glare from an Amazon warrior would have communicated “Who the hell do you think you are and what the hell do you think you’re doing” better than spitting out “You bitch” ever could.

Anyway, I am rather unimpressed with Azzarello’s treatment of Wonder Woman.  It’s just one word, but it perfectly encapsulates how Azzarello just doesn’t understand her.  Combined with the terrible Guillem March variant cover for Superman/Wonder Woman #3 that came out today (and that I’m not even going to show or link to because it’s awful), it’s not been a great day for our favourite Amazon princess.  I’m disappointed, DC.

Wonder Woman #25 Preview OR A Suspended Cage Of Emotion

November 19, 2013

Wonder Woman #25 is out tomorrow, and Maxim has the exclusive preview.  Because that makes a lot of sense.  A Wonder Woman preview should definitely be right next to illuminating articles like “The Superhot Secrets of Lesbian Sex” and “TV’s 12 Hottest News Anchors.”  According to the blurb before the preview, everyone at Maxim is a big fan of this book, so congratulations Wonder Woman team!  The skeevy dudes at Maxim are super into what you’re doing.

Anyway, let’s take a look at the preview:

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So Strife is looking to take out Wonder Woman with some sort of magic pin, Cassandra has poor Milan trapped in a frightening cage, and Wonder Woman is still trying to sort out how she feels about Hermes when Orion shows up and just starts blowing stuff up.  People in this comic need to start pausing for a moment to take a deep breath before they react to things.  It would save a lot of wanton destruction.

Hopefully Hermes is okay.  He’s a god, I suppose.  He can probably survive a blast.  And if the cover is any indication, it looks like things are going to escalate quickly with Strife, so perhaps the Orion/Hermes fight will be brief.  We’ll find out soon enough!

Wonder Woman #25 is on sale in comic shops everywhere and also available online tomorrow.  After all of the pieces were set into place last issue, some stuff should start to go down this month.

Smallville Season 11 #19 Review OR Superman Takes The Spotlight

November 14, 2013

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Sadly, we’ve reached the end of Smallville Season 11’s “Olympus” arc.  It’s one of the best Wonder Woman comics I’ve read in years, a doubly impressive feat considering that this is actually a Superman book.  Bryan Q. Miller and Jorge Jimenez’s take on Diana has been refreshing and entertaining, a nice break from the darker tone of the New 52 universe.  While the finale was a bit light on Wonder Woman, it’s been a great arc.  We’ll get into that in a minute, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

If you read this review before you read this comic, you will rob yourself of joy!

Read the comic first!

There was a lot of Wonder Woman in the first three issues of this arc, and I suppose it was inevitable that Superman would come to the fore at some point.  It’s HIS series, after all.  This isn’t Superman/Wonder Woman, where you’d expect a balance of representation for the characters (and be disappointed by the lack thereof…).  It’s a book about Superman in which Wonder Woman was guest starring, so ultimately Superman got to save the world.

And in an enjoyable way.  Hades’ siege of Washington, DC ended with Superman flying him into space and threatening to leave him there in the void, a brutal, kingdomless state for someone who so craves power.  Hades ultimately agrees to return to Tartarus, to rule his own kingdom and leave the Earth alone rather than have no kingdom at all.  It’s a very Superman way to solve a problem, and he didn’t even have to kill the bad guy to do so (coffcoffManofSteelsuckscoffcoff).

Wonder Woman didn’t have a lot to do in this issue, what with Superman taking the lead.  She did slice her way through the hordes of Hades’ reanimated army in a pretty bad ass fashion, and she had a fantastic confrontation with the conquering god: Diana refuses to kneel before Hades even though he’s captured Steve Trevor, and Hades is surprised that an Amazon is defying a god to honor a man.  Wonder Woman replies:

I do not fight for this man — I FIGHT FOR ALL MANKIND!!!

While busting through some undead soldiers and landing in front of Hades, ready to face him herself.

Then Superman shows up and sorts things out, but it’s still a great Wonder Woman moment.

We also learn where she ends up when the threat is gone.  She decides to stay in America, defending the world as Wonder Woman AND as Diana Prince, the newest agent of the DEO:

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She tells Superman:

I will prove to the world — man and woman alike — that any who act on their beliefs in pursuit of truth and justice can make a difference.

I enjoy how Bryan Q. Miller writes Wonder Woman.

As for Steve Trevor, he becomes director of the DEO.  Plus, the pilot tasked with returning Hippolyta to Paradise Island is a gal named “Candy”, a fun reference for any Wonder Woman fan.

The end of the issue sets up the next big story for the Smallville universe, with Superman revealing to the president, and presumably the world, that he’s an alien.  While the series is set to carry on without Wonder Woman, I hope that she comes back soon.  Now that Batman and Wonder Woman have been established in the Smallville universe, a proper Justice League team up seems like a no-brainer.  I know I’d read that in a heartbeat.  Miller has done an excellent job retaining the good bits of the Smallville TV show, continuing to grow Clark, Lois, and the other established characters while creating a bigger world around them.  I always enjoy a good alternate universe, and from what I’ve read so far this one seems like a blast.

I doubt that this Wonder Woman is going to get the spinoff that I so badly want now, on account of DC Comics only seems interested in additional Wonder Woman books where she’s Superman’s girlfriend, but I’d love to see Miller write Wonder Woman again in the future, in the Smallville universe or elsewhere.  He really gets the character, making her both fun and noble.  I’d love to see more art from Jorge Jimenez as well, on Wonder Woman or any other book.  He’s got a cool style, and I think he’d fit well on any superhero title.  It’d be great to have him back for the inevitable Smallville: Justice League arc down the road so I could see him draw the rest of Smallville’s superhero cast.

This book has been the biggest surprise of 2013 for me, and I’m sad this arc is over.  I look forward to seeing more from everyone involved!

Superman/Wonder Woman #2 Review OR Not A Lot Of Bang For Your Buck

November 13, 2013

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I was hoping that having some of the Greek gods show up might make this issue more enjoyable than the first, but this felt like a lot of filler until the very last page when something actually happened.  Nothing of any real significance occurred in the 20 pages before that.  It’s only the second issue; they shouldn’t have run out of plot yet.  I’ll have more on the emptiness of this issue momentarily, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

I am about to ruin EVERYTHING that happens in this comic book!

Granted, it’s not a lot, but still!

Read it yourself first!

So we picked up where we left off, with Wonder Woman fighting Doomsday.  He beats her up for a bit and then disappears when Superman shows up.  Wonder Woman and Superman then visit the Fortress of Solitude to talk about the Phantom Zone and Doomsday, and Wonder Woman gives the Man of Steel a pep talk about how he can defeat that evil beast.  Because he’s so strong in so many ways; that is the theme of this issue, really.

As a sidenote, did Doomsday kill Superman in the New 52 universe?  The conversation he had with Wonder Woman was ridiculously vague.  I had no idea what sort of history Superman had with Doomsday, but Superman dying is a big deal.  If it had happened, Wonder Woman’s reaction probably would have been “Oh look, it’s that big creature who killed you” instead of “Hey, who’s that?”

Carrying on, the duo visits Hephaestus so Superman can get some armour to protect him if Doomsday comes back.  Hephaestus tests Superman strength by swinging his hammer at him, which Superman stops with ease.  See?  He’s so strong.  Then Apollo and Strife pop in, make some disparaging comments about Superman, and Wonder Woman’s taste in men, and then THEY fight.  And because Apollo is the sun, Superman gets turbo charged and tosses Apollo through the mountain.  Because, as you may recall, Superman is very, very strong.  Strife and Diana are all hot and bothered by this masculine display, and thus ends the main story of this issue.

Seriously, that’s it.  Oh, and a page with Cat Grant, trying to call Clark.

Then, in the last three pages of the book, there’s a disturbance in the Sahara Desert and General Zod appears, all red-eyed, blood-soaked, and furious.  I’m assuming that he will soon fight with Superman, which should be a good battle because, and I don’t know if you know this, Superman is quite strong.

Wonder Woman does nothing in this issue except get beat up by Doomsday, cheer up her boyfriend, and take him to visit her family.  Superman, on the other hand, lifts a massive navy ship and beats the hell out of the king of the gods.  I’m not sure why Wonder Woman is in this book, other than that she’s into big dudes who can beat up other dudes.  That they are both superheroes is the only thing they have in common and the entire basis of their relationship, so I suppose it’s good for them that she likes his assertive displays of power.   Lord knows they’ve got nothing else going for them other than dull, awkward conversing.

So the book wasn’t great.  It was kind of bad, really, both because a) nothing important happened until the end, and b) what did happen was dominant displays of aggression by Superman while Wonder Woman looked on and swooned dreamily.  Also, that big thing that happened at the end?  We knew it was coming from the solicits AND even if you didn’t, if you had a decent knowledge of Superman lore you probably guessed it was coming once the Phantom Zone was mentioned.  It was not a surprising reveal.  I mean, Man of Steel is out on Blu Ray this week.  Come on.

On top of these story (or lack thereof) issues, there was another problem: I read this book in about three minutes.  Part of the reason nothing happened in this book is because it’s such a quick read.  I mentioned in my review of the first issue that Tony S. Daniels was a little bit heavy with splashs and two page spreads, but he takes it to a whole new level here.  A full THIRTEEN of the book’s twenty pages contain three panels or less.  That doesn’t give you a lot of space for things to happen.  Wonder Woman gets punched across a ship, two page spread.  Superman picks up said ship, there’s a page.  Superman catches a hammer, full page for that.  Superman punches Apollo, better use up a whole page there.  ZOD!  Full page reveal, following a two page spread that exists solely to set up that reveal (I don’t think those poor Bedouins will come up again).  I’m a little worried that the next issue is just going to be picture book style, one image per page with a bit of text.

This annoying misuse of comic book real estate is exacerbated by the fact that this book costs four dollars.  Wonder Woman is $2.99 for the same amount of pages, with a reasonable number of panels per page, while Superman/Wonder Woman is $3.99 with less story.  Let’s do a quick comparison on how much you pay per panel for the last issue of each series:

Wonder Woman #24: 128 panels at $2.99 =  2.3 cents per panel

Superman/Wonder Woman #2: 67 panels at $3.99 = 6 cents per panel

Not all panels are created equal, of course, but you’re getting way more bang for your buck out of Wonder Woman.  You’re paying almost three times as more per chunk of story with Superman/Wonder Woman, and for about half as many panels.  It’s not a good deal.

All in all, I think this might be the last Superman/Wonder Woman review for now.  I’m going to keep buying it because it has “Wonder Woman” in the title and I’m a sucker like that, and I might post a few thoughts each month if any are warranted, but there’s just not much to talk about so far.  If it gets better, and I very much hope it does, I’ll start back up with full reviews again, but until then I don’t think these reviews are fun for anyone.  I don’t want to complain for a thousand words, and you probably don’t want to read that.  So from here on out, we’ll be following the series in a much less in depth manner.  I just don’t care for it.

Preview For The Wonder Woman Finale In Smallville Season 11 #19

November 12, 2013

Zap2It has a preview of Smallville Season 11 #19, the final issue of the Wonder Woman co-starring “Olympus” arc.  The book is so much fun, and if you haven’t read the past three issues I recommend them highly.  They’re good comics all around, but in particular they are fantastic Wonder Woman comics.

We’ve got a big preview here, with Superman, Lois, and Diana fighting the hordes of Hades who are laying waste to Washington DC.  It looks like a pretty epic finale:

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smallville19gSmallville Season 11 #19 is out tomorrow, and if you like good comics you should do yourself a personal favour and pick it up.  You’ll thank yourself if you do.

Cover And Solicits For Wonder Woman #28 And Superman/Wonder Woman #5

November 12, 2013

DC Comics’ February 2014 solicits have been released, and there are some fun books on the schedule.  I’m particularly excited for the Lois Lane special; I’m hoping it does well enough that a Lois Lane series follows.  Wonder Woman’s got her usual two titles as well, so let’s take a look at what’s on the way this February.  First, Wonder Woman #28:

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WONDER WOMAN #28
Written by BRIAN AZZARELLO
Art and cover by CLIFF CHIANG
1:25 Steampunk variant cover by J.G. JONES
On sale FEBRUARY 19 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
The last time the First Born came for Olympus, it took the death of the God of War to stop him. And if Wonder Woman is now the God of War…and if the First Born is more determined than ever to claim his birthright…then things are about to get VERY violent indeed!

It looks like the inevitable is set to occur, and the First Born will yet again make a play for the throne of Olympus.  Much carnage will ensue, I’m sure, and it will be beautifully drawn by Cliff Chiang.  And Wonder Woman will win in the end.  She’s Wonder Woman after all.  It should be a fun time.

DC also has several steam punk variant covers this month, and Wonder Woman gets one by J.G. Jones.  I’m not sure why DC is so keen on steam punk; my best guess is that it’s a tie-in to their Infinite Crisis online game, which has a steam punk universe as part of their overall multiverse.  Anyway, J.G. Jones is a great artist, and this might be a cool cover.

Now to Superman/Wonder Woman #5:

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SUPERMAN/WONDER WOMAN #5
Written by CHARLES SOULE
Art and cover by TONY S. DANIEL and BATT
1:25 Steampunk variant cover by DAN PANOSIAN
On sale FEBRUARY 12 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
Faora has joined Zod – and now, Earth must kneel before their combined might! Even Superman and Wonder Woman can’t stop their plan for the Phantom Zone!

So Wonder Woman isn’t even on the cover, which is pretty uncool.  BUT Faora is on the cover, and Faora is super awesome, so that evens things out a bit.  Nonetheless, it shows that this is very much a Superman book and Wonder Woman is a tagalong.  The villains have been Superman villains, Doomsday, Zod, now Faora.  Some of the god are supposed to be in the second issue, out tomorrow, but the book looks to be all in Superman’s world apart from that.  Seeing that the book is under the Superman editorial umbrella, this isn’t a huge surprise, but they could at least keep Wonder Woman on the cover.

Look for both titles this February!

Preview Of Superman/Wonder Woman #2

November 11, 2013

It’s a busy week for Wonder Woman on the comic stands, with Superman/Wonder Woman #2 and Smallville Season 11 #19 on sale this Wednesday.  We’ve got a preview for the former (and perhaps one for the latter before Wednesday; I’ll keep my eyes peeled), so let’s take a look.  Tony Daniel is really going to town with the two page layouts, so you’ll probably want to click on some of these images to get a closer look at them:

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So Wonder Woman gets busted up by Doomsday a bit, and then I assume she and Superman are off to investigate and such.  And probably talk about their relationship, and then make out, and then be upset at the puny humans who don’t appreciate them.

I didn’t much care for the first issue, but I’m going to review the second one again this week and we’ll go from there.  If I still don’t like it, I’ll stop reviewing it.  “This isn’t very good” is an annoying review every month.  Much as I have my issues with Wonder Woman, it also has strong moments and always provides lots to talk about.  If the first issue of Superman/Wonder Woman is any indication, my reviews will consist of little more than “I’m not sure why this book exists.”  But hey, it’s only one issue.  This second one could be way better, and I hope it is.

Superman/Wonder Woman #2 is out this Wednesday in comic shops everywhere.


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