Posts Tagged ‘Wonder Woman’

Sales For Wonder Woman Drop Dramatically With Meredith And David Finch’s Second Issue

January 19, 2015

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A substantial drop in sales for a second issue of a comic book is rarely surprising, but we’ve got a bit of an odd situation with Wonder Woman. These big drops usually come after a new #1 issue; some people try out the new book to see if they like it, but a lot of people get the number ones just as a collector’s item, and then #2 doesn’t do as well. When a book doesn’t relaunch, such a big swing is less common; there’s not such a huge difference between #36 and #37. However, Wonder Woman #37 took quite a tumble on the charts.

First, let’s go back a bit. In October, Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang wrapped up their run in Wonder Woman #35, which sold 35,968 copies. This isn’t a lot, as evidenced by the book taking the 77th spot on the chart that month, though it was still a lot better than Wonder Woman had been doing pre-New 52 relaunch.

In November, Meredith and David Finch’s Wonder Woman #36 had a very strong debut. It sold 58,956 copies, a 64% jump from the previous issue, and rose to the 18th spot on the charts. This was a massive improvement, though perhaps somewhat less impressive than DC was hoping for seeing as David Finch’s last few projects for DC premiered much higher. Nonetheless, it was a very good jump for Wonder Woman, which hasn’t been a Top 20 book for some time.

Then in December, Wonder Woman #37 fell to sales of 43,006, a drop of 27% from the month previous, and dropped to the 42nd spot on the sales chart. Such a drop is in the higher range of typical for a #2 issue of a new series, but oddly high for a continuing series, especially one with such a well known artist.

As a comparison, let’s take a quick look at Superman/Wonder Woman, which saw a creative change in the same month as Wonder Woman:

  • In October, Superman/Wonder Woman #12 sold 47,885 copies for 49th place on the charts.
  • In November, with the new team of Peter J. Tomasi and Doug Mahnke, Superman/Wonder Woman #13 sold 44,013 copies for 40th place on the charts (despite a sales drop, it rose on the charts because the charts are dependent on what other books came out that month; fewer books, or books that dropped further, can result in a jump on the charts despite a sales drop).
  • In December, Superman/Wonder Woman #14 sold 41,231 copies for 45th place on the charts.

So the new team didn’t provide a bump, likely because October’s issue was a “Doomed” event tie-in, and those tend to sell better than regular comics, but the second issue drop for the new creative team was very minor compared to Wonder Woman, only 6% compared to 27%.

This suggests that the new Wonder Woman creative team may not have gone over well with readers of the first issue, and that retailers saw a big drop in interest. To get a better sense of how the book is doing, we’ll need a few more months of data. If Wonder Woman continues to tumble, obviously the audience is leaving, but if it stabilizes quickly, and at a higher level than the Azzarello/Chiang run, then it will be in a pretty good spot for Wonder Woman, historically. How the numbers go will also probably play a big role in whether DC brings back the Finches for a second arc after the “Convergence” event in April and May. Such a big second issue drop doesn’t arouse much optimism, but you never know. I’m going to keep an eye on things moving forward, and will report any significant changes.

Wonder Woman ’77 #2 Review: “Disco Inferno, Part 2” by Marc Andreyko, Drew Johnson, and Matt Haley

January 16, 2015

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After a bit of delay, Wonder Woman ’77 #2 came out late yesterday afternoon on Comixology, so this review is a day late. So it goes. When we last left our intrepid heroine, she was at a bustling discotheque in her Diana Prince identity, trying to track down a Soviet defector, when she came across Silver Swan. Now, in the second issue, things get dangerous. Diana turns into Wonder Woman when she realizes that Silver Swan is using her singing to turn the crowd into zombies, but then Silver Swan makes the entire group attack her. Not even the most stout hearted of men is immune; the issue ends on a cliffhanger, with Wonder Woman held at gunpoint by Steve Trevor!

This was just an okay issue for me, largely because it felt very brief. In my review of the first issue, I mentioned that the creative team wasn’t making the most of the format and were moving more at the pace of a regular print issue instead of maximizing the story in each digital issue. This is even more pronounced in this second issue. There’s a big fight, and that’s about it. It’s a good fight, with some fun things going on, but there are a lot of pages that are just two panels or less and as a result the story is over very quickly. There’s nothing bad about the writing, it’s just sparse and a book you can whip through in two minutes isn’t ideal for weekly installments.

The art remains solid, but I noticed that as the book goes on the likeness to Lynda Carter is becoming somewhat intermittent. Some panels capture her well, while others just look like any generic Wonder Woman. Johnson and Haley seem to have a handle on her look when they’re closer up on the face, but once the art pulls back some they have a bit of trouble capturing Lynda Carter from afar when less detail is available to them. And really, this must be a tricky task. She’s got such an iconic look, and to communicate that in what often amounts to a fairly small drawing is probably quite difficult.

I don’t really have a lot else to say about the issue because it was so quick. Middle issues are always a tough review to begin with, much less ones where you don’t have a lot of story to talk about. Wonder Woman pulls a tiara boomerang move, so that was pretty fun. But, getting back to the book’s quickness, said boomerang move takes up two entire pages. Literally 10% of the book is dedicated to it. I love a tiara boomerang move as much as the next guy, but that’s too much space.

Still, the book is a good time and I think it will read great in print form. I’m looking forward to the finale next week, and for the next storyline as well. Andreyko is a very good writer, and with this story under his belt I’m optimistic that he’ll have a better handle on how to make the most out of digital storytelling in the next arc.

Donna Troy Is Officially Wonder Woman’s Adversary In The New 52 Universe

January 15, 2015

I should probably start this with a SPOILER ALERT. Last month, the end of Wonder Woman #37 revealed that a secret Amazon cabal, in cahoots with some sort of sorceress, had brought Donna Troy to life. After literally years of fans waiting for her to return, Donna Troy was back, albeit in the hands of some evil folks. Now, in advance of the new issue of Wonder Woman hitting shelves next week, we’ve got some more information from series writer Meredith Finch’s interview with Newsarama, and things aren’t looking great for fans of a heroic Donna Troy.

Finch makes it very clear that this Donna Troy is a clean break from old portrayals of the character, and says:

I think that if we had brought Donna back as a character that was even remotely similar to who she was in old continuity it would have definitely been a very difficult temptation to avoid. Because we are bringing Donna back as a villain as Diana’s current rival, I have felt a lot more freedom to make her the character I want her to be and less the person fans expect.

She describes Donna as a “formidable opponent” for Diana, and says that turning her into a villain is part of her larger to plan to give Wonder Woman “her own rogues gallery of equally strong villains.” The solicits have hinted at someone challenging Diana for the throne of the Amazons, and it seems that this person will be Donna. She’ll be more of a traditionalist Amazon, presumably more isolationist than the globetrotting Diana and probably not at all thrilled about the Manazons.

So, this isn’t exactly the Donna Troy we were expecting. Making her a villain in the midst of what has been a resoundingly awful run thus far is not going to go over well with a lot of fans, but annoying fans with massive, unpleasant changes has pretty much been DC’s modus operandi with Wonder Woman and her mythos since the New 52 began. This is a big twist, and while a small part of me has some respect for the bold move, most of me is simultaneously annoyed that a great female hero is now a villain and entirely lacking faith that the creative team can turn this into anything interesting.

I will say this, though: I don’t mind the costume. Take a look at this upcoming page:

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I kind of like it. It seems to be combining elements of the upcoming movie costume with traditional Wonder Woman elements. It would have been nice to have some hints of the classic Donna Troy in there too, though. I think the black, starry outfit might look cool underneath all of this armour. Nonetheless, I think it’s a decent look.

And let’s be real, here. Donna Troy is going to be a hero again at some point. If the Finches don’t do it, someone else will. That whole “created to be a villain” schtick never ends well for the fiends who want to control their creation. She’ll develop her own opinions, probably learn about heroism by fighting Wonder Woman, and end up being a hero herself down the road. DC will, eventually, give us want we want, or at least some weird, New 52 semblance thereof. I can’t imagine that this arc is going to be in the ballpark of good, but at least Donna Troy is back in play; her future is wide open from here.

Meredith Finch was also asked whether she was returning to the book after the “Convergence” break in April and May, and while she said that she’s talking to editors about her next arc, she didn’t reply with a resounding “Yes” so perhaps she’s not officially onboard yet. I think that DC would be wise to bring in a new creative team and do a sort of clean slate take on Wonder Woman that brings her out of the darkness and unpleasantness she’s been mired in since the relaunch, but who knows what they’ll do. Probably more Finches, if the sales keep up.

Review – Wonder Woman: Bondage and Feminism in the Marston/Peter Comics, 1941-1948 by Noah Berlatsky

January 14, 2015

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It’s always a little bit odd to read someone else’s book about Wonder Woman when you’ve written one of your own, and there have been a few of them as of late so it’s been a particularly weird time for me. The latest, Wonder Woman: Bondage and Feminism in the Marston/Peter Comics, 1941-1948 by Noah Berlatsky was an enjoyable read all around, though. My full review of the book went up yesterday at The Comics Journal.

Berlatsky’s book is quite different from mine, which made it especially fun to read. Whereas I come at Wonder Woman from a fairly straight forward historical perspective, Berlatsky has more of a theoretical approach. For example, the majority of his first chapter is a close reading of Wonder Woman #16 through the lens of earlier Freudian theories on incest, which is quite fascinating.

As a historian, I tend to put more of a focus on intent than interpretation, so the theoretical approach has certain limits for me, but Berlatsky does a great job combining both approaches in his final chapter. It’s a queer reading of the Golden Age Wonder Woman via modern theories on camp and closeting (among many other interesting ideas, including a comparison of Dr. Psycho and James Bond).  Berlatsky brings in a lot of Marston’s psychological work and prose fiction in a way that sets up a solid foundation for his analysis and bridges the gap between theory and history. While the whole book is quite good, his final chapter is a really impressive piece of comics scholarship.

Wonder Woman: Bondage and Feminism in the Marston/Peter Comics, 1941-1948 is available in stores and online today, and for more of my thoughts on the book be sure to pop by The Comics Journal.

Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman #20 and #21 Review: “Venus Rising” by Alex de Campi and Neil Googe

January 13, 2015

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I have no idea what’s going on with Sensation Comics right now. The first part of this story, Sensation Comics #20, came out on Christmas day and I was busy with festive activities so I decided that since it’s a two-parter, I’d just review it all at once next Thursday. That Thursday came with no new Sensation Comics, and then the following Thursday was the debut of Wonder Woman ’77! Now, on a Tuesday, we’ve finally got a new Sensation Comics and the second part of the story. Will Sensation Comics be out next Tuesday? I couldn’t tell you. All I know for sure right now is that the book is going to come out when it comes out.

But onto the story! “Venus Rising” by Alex de Campi and Neil Googe finds Wonder Woman representing the Justice League on a space shuttle travelling to the first human settlement on the planet Venus. Things quickly go awry, resulting in Wonder Woman fighting massive monsters in a cool spacesuit and ultimately saving the day when she realizes that the monsters aren’t actually their enemies at all.

The story is okay, but not particularly subtle. The real villain of the piece is the mission’s unrelentingly sexist leader, who was hoping they’d get Superman and not Wonder Woman. He’s a straight up caricature, with no real depth other than thinking that women aren’t as good as men. Some of the scenes are similarly on the nose, like when de Campi devotes three pages to Wonder Woman and the only female astronaut talking about how people take pictures of Wonder Woman’s butt and how Superman never gets asked what it’s like being a male hero. There are some panels that are fun individually, and are ideal for posting on tumblr and the like, but strung all together in the middle of a story in a digital medium where space is a priority, it all feels a little over the top.

The twist at the end is clever, though. De Campi reveals that the monsters attacking the ship are actually astronauts who were lost earlier in the story and gained a new form in the gases of Venus. They liked their new forms so much that they wanted their friends to join in the fun, and Wonder Woman talks them down instead of fighting and allows the astronauts to choose whether to return to Earth or live on Venus in this new form. One astronaut chooses to stay, the sexist captain, but his about face at the end rings rather hollow. He tells Wonder Woman, “I’m glad I met you,” but he’s only happy to have met her because it served his ultimate goal, being on the forefront of exploration, albeit in a way he never imagined. “Gals are okay because look I achieved my dreams!” is not really learning his lesson.

The art on the book is fun. Googe’s characters are very expressive, and his style reminded me a little bit of Rob Guillory on Chew, which is never a bad thing. I particularly like the outfits he puts Wonder Woman in. She never wears the classic costume. Instead, she shows up on the space shuttle wearing star spangled robes, including a hijab, after a trip to the Punjab, and then immediately changes into her fancy spacesuit. He also does an excellent job with the Venusian monsters, and illustrating the battle scene as they tear apart the space station. Those scenes have a great, epic feel.

I also love the effect on the space helmets, and I don’t know whether it was the colourists or Googe himself that did it. There’s a slight blur on the clear face masks, but it’s not actually a blur. Instead, it’s dots. I blathered on about halftone dots a few issues ago, too; people have been using it to great effect in Sensation Comics as of late! Check out how cool these helmets look:

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Such a nice touch. I love when people mix it up in such interesting, subtle ways.

All together, this story was just okay for me. The writing was a bit on the nose throughout, but the ending was decent and the art had strong moments. It certainly wasn’t bad by any means, just not quite as compelling as some of the highs this series has reached thus far. Still, it was fun. Wonder Woman fought giant monsters attacking a space station on Venus; that’s just a good time.

For those of you who wait for the print version, this story should be in Sensation Comics #7 along with Amy Chu and Bernard Chang’s story from a few weeks back. The book will hit comic shops on February 18!

Superman/Wonder Woman #15 Preview OR The Secret Origin Of Magog

January 13, 2015

Here’s how underwhelmed I was by the last issue of Superman/Wonder Woman: I read it just three weeks ago, yet when I went to read this preview I was very confused because I had entirely forgotten how the previous issue ended. It was not a particularly compelling or memorable book. But now I remember! And, SPOILER ALERT, Wonderstar is Magog and he’s here to save the world from Superman and Wonder Woman.

Today, with this preview of Superman/Wonder Woman #15 from Comic Vine, we go back in time a bit and explore the origin of Magog:

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First up, we’ve got a new artist on the book. These pages look like they’re drawn by Ed Benes, though the cover says that regular series artist Doug Mahnke is involved as well. My guess is that the book will jump to the present at some point, and perhaps Mahnke will be handling those pages while Benes does those set in the past. I’m fairly indifferent on Benes, and these pages do little to change my mind in that regard.

As for Magog’s origin, it seems he’s an angry young boy who gets transformed by Circe into a superpowered villain. You can tell he’s angry because he’s smacking his fist into his palm like all angry people do. Seriously, though, have you ever seen someone do that in real life? Much less a child? It strikes me as an odd art choice, but that’s neither here nor there.

Anyway, I don’t know a ton about the pre-New 52 Magog offhand, but I do know that while he was named David Reid, just as the boy is here, he was a grown man in the military or some such before he got his powers. I think they did the origin in JSA, and not in Kingdom Come where he first appeared. Either way, this is something different, a new take on the character for the New 52. While he looks about the same in costume, it seems that everything else is changed.

Look for Superman/Wonder Woman #15 in stores and online tomorrow.

A Closer Look At The New Wonder Woman Invisible Jet Lego Set

January 12, 2015

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Lego recently announced a new DC Comics Super Heroes set called “Gorilla Grodd Goes Bananas,” the core of which is a big Bat-robot along with a large Gorilla Grodd figure. It also comes with the Flash, Captain Cold, a dude in a banana truck, and, most importantly, Wonder Woman in her invisible jet. The set went on sale earlier this month, and I made sure to purchase one so that I could bring you all the details. I definitely didn’t buy it so I could spend hours playing with it. Nope, this is for work. It is a business expense, tax guy.

So let’s take a look at the set. Here’s everything, posed on my kitchen table. It was all pretty easy to put together. I’d say it took me an hour and a half to assemble it all, most of which was spent on the Bat-robot. It’s got a lot of complicated bits:

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The invisible jet was fairly simple, really. It took maybe 15 minutes to put together, if that. Here’s a closer look at it, along with the pants-wearing Wonder Woman minifig:

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And here’s an overhead shot of the jet, so you can get a better sense of it:

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And from the bottom as well. As you may have noticed in the above picture, it’s not all clear. The base of the plane is grey and white, but you actually don’t notice it very much when it’s right side up:

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Then there was a shocking turn of events! Gorilla Grodd attacked Wonder Woman during the invisible jet photo shoot:

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With his new evil henchman, a Ringwraith! Oh dear:

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Luckily, Wonder Woman’s pals Galadriel, Elrond, and Gandalf the Grey showed up to help out:

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Wonder Woman took out the Ringwraith while the Middle Earth gang defeated Gorilla Grodd, and peace was restored:

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I got some Hobbit Lego for Christmas. It’s pretty cool.

So yeah, this is a nice set all around. The Bat-robot is really cool, the little Flash is kind of adorable, and the invisible jet is great. Wonder Woman fits in the cockpit well, and there’s even space to stash her sword behind her. Those blue missiles on the wing shoot out if you want to get a big battle going, and the jet has blue flames coming out of the back for a rad look. This set is a must-have for Wonder Woman fans, and it’s available in stores now! Conversely, if you don’t want to drop $50 on a Lego set (or $60 in Canada), you can just get a Wonder Woman minifig, put her in a sitting position, and just pretend she’s in an invisible jet. Easy peasy.


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