Posts Tagged ‘Wonder Woman’

Wonder Woman ’77 #6 Review: “Who Is Wonder Woman? Part 3” by Marc Andreyko, Matt Haley, and Richard Ortiz

April 16, 2015

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The final issue of this Wonder Woman ’77 arc ends with a bang as Wonder Woman faces a gang of some of her fiercest villains in a battle royale. Sort of. As the end of last week’s issue revealed, Dr. Psycho was behind the appearance of a new Wonder Woman and Diana’s apparent depowering, controlling her mind with some sort of fiendish apparatus. This week, Dr. Psycho’s still got some mental sway, but not enough to overcome Wonder Woman.

He conjures up a group of foes for Wonder Woman, including Giganta, the Cheetah, Silver Swan, and Cathy Lee Crosby’s Wonder Woman. After a few pages of fighting, Wonder Woman realizes that the villains aren’t real and wraps herself in her own lasso so that she can see what’s actually going on. What she finds is a fleeing Dr. Psycho, who she quickly nabs with her lasso, using it to make him think a legion of Wonder Woman zombies are after him. She returns him to prison, and then skips out on a date with Steve to instead relax in the tub. The gal had a long day.

The issue is a fun conclusion to the series’ second arc, and I was glad to see so many villains in the mix, even if they weren’t real. The first arc was just about Silver Swan, which was good and all, but it was cool to see classic villains like Dr. Psycho, Giganta, and the Cheetah worked into Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman universe. I always wondered why the TV show didn’t make more use of Wonder Woman’s classic rogues gallery, so it’s fun that we finally get to see Lynda Carter face off against them, even if it’s in comic book form nearly 40 years later.

The writing is strong throughout the issue, though necessarily sparse. It’s the big final fight, so there’s really no need for exposition or a lot of chitchat. I love the assortment of villains that Marc Andreyko picked, and that he focused so much on female villains. I also love that his Cheetah is Priscilla Rich, harkening back to her Golden Age incarnation rather than the Barbara Minerva incarnation that most fans are more familiar with these days. You’ve got to enjoy a deep cut like that.

Matt Haley and Richard Ortiz do a good job with the issue. They capture all of the villains well, and continue a strong and accurate depiction of Lynda Carter. That’s the lynchpin of the whole series, really. Wonder Woman HAS to look like Lynda Carter, or else what’s even the point? If she doesn’t, then it becomes just another Wonder Woman comic. Haley and Ortiz do a very good Carter here, giving us fans what we want most. I also like the subdued take on Dr. Psycho. He’s not deformed or creepy or over-exaggerated, a trap I’ve seen several artists fall into. Haley and Ortiz make him villainous without making him into some sort of crazed ogre.

Overall, this was a fun arc, and I’m excited to check out the collection of the first two arcs of Wonder Woman ’77 when it hits stores soon. It will be very cool to have some Lynda Carter Wonder Woman comics in print form. Digital is great, but for me there’s nothing like paper. It adds something to the experience, I find. I do sort of wish they’d print Wonder Woman ’77 and Batman ’66 on the old style, cheap paper though, just for fun, to capture the retro vibe even more. While I doubt it would be the best showcase for today’s modern art and colouring, it would be so cool. But modern paper is good too. Look for the Wonder Woman ’77 Special #1 in comic shops everywhere on May 6.

This might be it for Wonder Woman ’77 for a while, and perhaps forever depending on sales. It’d be great to see more, but I’m not sure what the plans are. Next week, Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman is back, promising some monsters and a great Emanuela Lupacchino cover!

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Patty Jenkins Is Now Directing Wonder Woman OR Well, That Was Quick

April 16, 2015

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We learned on Monday that Michelle MacLaren was parting ways with Warner Bros. and wouldn’t be directing Wonder Woman, and then just two days later we’ve got a new woman at the helm. We didn’t even have time to do much speculating! You know there’s a lot of websites out there that had someone compiling a list of possible replacements that now have to scrap those posts. Patty Jenkins is taking over as director, and the speedy turnaround means that Wonder Woman is set to remain on track to begin shooting in the fall.

The reaction to the news of Jenkins’ hiring has been positive, and I think she’s an interesting choice. She’s probably best known for Monster, her award winning film about a serial killer, but she also directed an episode of Arrested Development as well as a couple episodes of The Killing. That’s an interesting, somewhat eclectic assortment of gigs. Jenkins was going to direct Thor 2 for Marvel a couple of years back, but that fell through over creative differences. Thor’s loss is now Wonder Woman’s gain, and it’s somewhat comforting to know that Jenkins has some experience developing a mythologically rooted film, even if it didn’t work out.

The speed of Jenkins’ hiring suggests to me that this has been in the works for a while. Rumours are that there’d been friction between MacLaren and Warner Bros. for some time, so I’m guessing that they’d talked to Jenkins before the announcement of MacLaren’s departure on Monday. I’m curious to see what the working relationship is here, whether Jenkins will have a hand in development like MacLaren was supposed to or whether the studio will take a firmer hold of the reins this time around. I’m a little bit worried it will be the latter, but time will tell.

Ultimately, Wonder Woman‘s swapped out a great female director for another great female director, so the film seems no worse off. I’m somewhat concerned about what’s going on behind the scenes and why things didn’t work out with MacLaren and whether Jenkins will face similar issues. Studios don’t have a great track record with female directors generally, much less ones making superhero movies. It’s a hoping for the best but expecting the worst situation for me. On the plus side, Jenkins is pals with Charlize Theron, so maybe she’ll be in the movie? That would be fun. She could be a cool Hippolyta. Or the Cheetah maybe. Perhaps Athena? There’s a lot of choices.

A Smart Cover Change For Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman #9

April 15, 2015

I’ve been reading Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman digitally, but I always get the print version too because I am a big nerd and a paper enthusiast. Like many readers, I’ve noticed that the covers sometimes don’t match the tone of the story inside. Some issues have darker, bloody covers while inside there are cute, fun stories that would definitely appeal to younger readers. This disconnect is troubling because I love the series and want it to continue. Folks who buy the book with a dark cover expecting dark stories inside will be disappointed and maybe not purchase it again, while the folks who would enjoy the lighter fare might be turned away by a dark cover. It’s not the best sales strategy.

DC Comics seems to have noticed this discrepancy, and is making changes accordingly. Sensation Comics #9 and #10 were originally scheduled to have covers by Francesco Francavilla and Michael Zulli. The Francavilla cover was retro and fun, but the Zulli cover was weirdly dour and violent. Take a look:

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Now, the Francavilla cover has been moved to Sensation Comics #10 and the Zulli cover seems to have been dropped in favour of this brighter, friendlier cover by Ben Caldwell on today’s Sensation Comics #9:

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It’s a much nicer cover all around, and also far better reflects what’s inside the book. Lauren Beukes and Mike Maihack have a great, enjoyable story about little girls playing as Wonder Woman, and while I didn’t love Cecil Castellucci, Karl Story, and Chris Sprouse’s team up of Wonder Woman and Lois Lane, it’s much more in line with Caldwell’s bright cover than Zulli’s grim artwork.

So kudos to DC for changing the cover to fit the book’s contents, and thus giving the comic its best chance to find an audience. I know that lately some angry fanboys have been decrying cover changes as censorship, but some covers are just a bad fit for the book they’re supposed to be on. This was a good change by DC, and I like that they decided to do it themselves. There was no public outcry over the Zulli cover; the comments I saw about it were generally “Ehh, it’s not great”, but no one seemed to be getting mad about it. DC just changed it on their own, presumably to better match what was inside the book, and that’s smart comic book publishing. I harp on DC a lot when they make boneheaded moves, so they should definitely be applauded when they make a good one.

Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman #9 is available in comic book shops today! Go check it out! It’s pretty fun.

Michelle MacLaren Has Left The Wonder Woman Movie OR I Can’t Even

April 14, 2015

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I’m trying very hard to retain some sort of enthusiasm for the Wonder Woman movie, but Warner Bros. isn’t making it easy on me. First, Man of Steel was an abomination, and then they brought back Zack Snyder and David Goyer to introduce Wonder Woman on the big screen for the first time in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Gal Gadot seems fine, but she’s mostly a big question mark at this point, and the costume is not great.   There was just nothing to be excited about until last November when Warner Bros. announced that Michelle MacLaren was going to direct the Wonder Woman movie. MacLaren is a fantastic director who’s worked on shows like Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones, and I was over the moon when I heard that she’d be helming Wonder Woman’s solo film.

Now, five months later, Michelle MacLaren is gone from the project. Citing “creative differences”, the official statement declares that “Warner Bros. and Michelle MacLaren have decided not to move forward with plans to develop and direct Wonder Woman together”, which is most likely Hollywood code for she got fired. This is a massive blow for the film; MacLaren was literally the only person involved in the movie that I had any faith in whatsoever. She’s an epic director and a great, smart storyteller, plus a woman directing Wonder Woman is just perfect. And too good to be true, it seems.

In the wake of her departure, there are reports that MacLaren and Warner Bros. were never really on the same page with Wonder Woman. Supposedly they couldn’t even agree on which time period to set the movie in. That’s sort of an important first step. Also, MacLaren reportedly wanted Diana to have a pet tiger for some reason. Whatever was going on behind the scenes sounds like a real mess.

So here’s where we stand with the Wonder Woman movie: It’s scheduled for release in 2017 and is rumoured to be start shooting in the fall, but now there’s no director and apparently no story. I’d expect a delay. And any rumour we’ve heard about the film so far? Probably scrap that, because it sounds like the movie is still a total blank slate.

Warner Bros. inability to get any sort of Wonder Woman project off the ground is astounding. They had Joss Whedon, who left his Wonder Woman adaptation and then made the biggest superhero movie in the history of the world. They had Michelle MacLaren, pretty much everyone’s top choice to direct Wonder Woman the second that it was announced. And now they have no one. I sincerely hope they don’t haphazardly hire someone in a mad rush to just get the movie made. But they’ve let two excellent directors walk out the door, so who knows what they’ll do next?

I really don’t understand what’s so hard about making a Wonder Woman film.  She’s a great character with a rich history; you pick an angle and you go with it, like they do with EVERY superhero film.  People like to say that Wonder Woman is a complicated, difficult character, but she’s no more complex than any other superhero.  Every superhero has various incarnations and origins.  There’s no set blueprint for any of them.  The writer, director, and studio work together and pick what elements of the character they like and then they make a movie.  It’s happened about a million times with male superheroes.  They keep churning out male-led movies with ease, so I don’t see why getting the world’s most famous female superhero onto the big screen is such a difficult task.  We’re about to have our SIXTH live action Batman, all of them very different.  And Warner Bros. can’t figure out one Wonder Woman film?  It’s ridiculous.

In happier news, Marvel keeps making good movie decisions at least. Captain Marvel is still very much in development, and they’re after Nicole Perlman, the co-writer of Guardians of the Galaxy and Meg LeFauve, the co-writer of Pixar’s upcoming Inside Out, to work on the script together. That’s a pretty great team, and it’s cool to see Marvel pursuing female writers for the film. And if they’re looking for a female director, one just became available! Captain Marvel might not have a pet tiger, but she’s got a flerken at least.

Wonder Woman Movie News: Multiple Outfits? Steve Trevor Cast?

April 13, 2015

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Some new rumours about the Wonder Woman movie have been making the rounds lately, the veracity of which remains sketchy as always. We’ve got next to zero details from the studio itself, which seems to be helping rumours abound. Still, it’s fun to speculate.

The first big rumour is that Wonder Woman is going to have six different costumes in the movie. Self-described “fanboy journalist” Umberto Gonzalez broke the scoop last week, claiming that on top of the costume we’ve already seen, Wonder Woman will have an outfit more in line with the “classic standard costume”, and that another one of her outfits would be a dive suit.

I can buy the idea of multiple outfits. Of all of the superheroes, I think it makes sense for Wonder Woman to have different costumes for different circumstances. That being said, a dive suit? Really? I know that Lynda Carter rocked one back in the day:

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And it was silly and campy, which fit the show. But the current DC movie universe is all dark and such. I can’t see how a themed dive suit would fit the world and not be ridiculous.

It also runs counter to other rumours we’ve heard, specifically that the first film is set in the 1920s. Dive suits in the 1920s were still those big, bulky suits with the metal helmets that had a little window in the front. Maybe Wonder Woman has a fancy advanced Amazonian dive suit? Of maybe one of the rumours is false. Perhaps both! Nobody knows.

The second rumour surrounds Wonder Woman’s on again, off again beau, Steve Trevor. Scott Eastwood has been cast in the upcoming Suicide Squad film; that much is fact. The rumour part is that everyone seems to think that he’s playing Steve Trevor. He’d be a logical addition to the movie if they’re trying to capture something like the New 52 A.R.G.U.S. and plant the seeds for other franchises, ie. Wonder Woman.

The question then becomes, will he be in Wonder Woman? Actually, the first question should be “Is he actually playing Steve Trevor?” and then we go from there. He looks right for the part, being a bland, generic handsome white dude. That’s Steve Trevor exactly. The tricky thing about him appearing in the first Wonder Woman film is, again, if it’s set in the past, not even as far back as the 1920s, it wouldn’t make any sense for him to be in it. Say they go with the classic World War Two origin. Steve Trevor would be about negative forty years old in that movie. So again, we’ve got some rumour conflict.

In summation, what definitive facts have we learned today? Very few. Scott Eastwood is going to be in Suicide Squad, and that’s about it. The rest, the outfits and anything Wonder Woman specific, is all rumour and speculation at this point. Also, people keep saying that Wonder Woman is going to start shooting in the fall when discussing these other rumours, but we’re still lacking official confirmation of that and folks may just be parroting a past rumour. So hooray, we learned nothing! It’d be really swell to get an official update from Warner Bros. at some point about Wonder Woman and where it’s going. It’s just a massive swirl of a thousand rumours and like two solid facts right now.

Wonder Woman ’77 #4 and #5 Review: “Who Is Wonder Woman?” by Marc Andreyko, Jason Badower, and Matt Haley

April 9, 2015

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I was out of town last week and thus didn’t get to do my usual Wonder Woman digital comic review. I was disappointed to not dig into the first issue of the new Wonder Woman ’77 arc, but now that I’ve read the first two together, I’m glad that I waited. The reveal at the end of the second issue is not only a lot of fun, it totally explains away what would have been my only real criticism of these two issues.

Wonder Woman ’77 #4 begins with a dazed Diana Prince, unsure of what’s happened to her. She’s snapped out of her stupor by a cry for help, but her attempted spin change into Wonder Woman doesn’t do anything and instead another Wonder Woman shows up to save the day. Amusingly but somewhat confusingly, it’s Cathy Lee Crosby’s Wonder Woman from the little-watched 1974 television movie, a bit of a deep cut.

At first I thought this was an odd choice.   Not only is the Crosby Wonder Woman not very well known, this series is only four issues in.   We haven’t gotten that much Lynda Carter Wonder Woman yet, and we’re already swapping her out for a lesser known incarnation? I was further perplexed when an appearance from Hippolyta and Drusilla turned out to be Julia and Vanessa Kapatelis, Wonder Woman’s surrogate family from the George Perez years of Wonder Woman in the late 1980s. It all seemed like a mishmash of different eras of Wonder Woman, with not a lot of the Wonder Woman who was supposed to be headlining the book.

Eventually, the Lynda Carter version of Diana began to fight back against an angry Crosby Wonder Woman, and she soon emerged in the classic star spangled outfit and tiara we all love. That precipitated the big twist ending of Wonder Woman ’77 #5, a reveal so fun that I’m not going to spoil it here. Just go read the book. It’s classic Wonder Woman villain goodness and it will make you happy. Everything I was a little concerned about was immediately set aside, and the final issue in this arc is poised for a great conclusion.

While the different characters and twists were all a lot of fun, in general I am really impressed with how writer Marc Andreyko has adapted to digital comics. His first Wonder Woman #77 arc was enjoyable but a quick read that didn’t play to the strengths of the medium. This arc has had much more on the go thus far, and takes advantage of the digital format well. The result is a far more satisfying read. I had high hopes for Andreyko’s second arc, and I’m glad to see that he upped his game so well.

The art is also fantastic. Wonder Woman ’77 #4 in particular, drawn by Jason Badower, is gorgeous. He captures Lynda Carter beautifully and with great detail, and some of the panels are absolutely stunning. Romulo Fajardo Jr.’s colours perfectly compliment the line work, and really bring Carter to life. I mean, look at this spectacular Lynda Carter:

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The first issue is worth reading solely for the art; that the story is fun too is an added bonus. Matt Haley takes over with the second issue of the arc, and while his art is less detailed than Badower’s, it’s still solid work. Haley illustrated the latter half of the first storyline as well; he’s the go-to guy when the more detailed, initial artist seems to fall off schedule, and it looks like he’ll be back next week to finish the arc. Haley is a good artist, but it would’ve been nice to have complete Drew Johnson art in the first run and complete Jason Badower work in the second; these aren’t lengthy gigs, and it’s disappointing that for whatever reason they’ve had to be replaced.

Overall, these first two issues are a lot of fun, with a great twist that should set up an epic finale. Andreyko’s clearly steeped in the history of Wonder Woman, and while it seemed a bit haphazard at first it’s all came together at the end of today’s issue and I can’t wait to see where it goes from here. The final issue of this arc of Wonder Woman ’77 is scheduled for next Thursday, with Sensation Comics returning the following week, and the print version of this story will be collected in print in Wonder Woman ’77 Special #1 on April 29. Be sure to pick it up!

Wonder Woman #40 Review OR The Amazon Civil War Begins

April 1, 2015

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I was going to open this review with an elaborate April Fool’s Day joke about how great this issue was, but it just seemed mean to get everyone’s hopes up. Today’s Wonder Woman #41 is more of what we’ve seen since the Finches took over the series in November: lots of violence, angry Amazons, and an ineffective Wonder Woman who keeps screwing things up. It’s a book that’s devoid of fun or humour or feminism or charm, and reading it has become a very frustrating experience each month. We’ll discuss it more momentarily, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

I am about to reveal ALL OF THE THINGS that happened in this comic!

Look away if you do not want to be spoiled!

Stay if you do want to be spoiled!

This is the fifth issue of Wonder Woman I’ve reviewed since the Finches took over, and I’m feeling like things are getting a little stale on my end. I have little more to say than “This is pretty bad”, and the book remains consistently unpleasant in the same ways. So today, I’ll start with a brief recap and then we’ll come at things from a different angle.

So, Donna Troy is queen of the Amazons and Wonder Woman is not happy about it. They fight for a bit and then Diana agrees to a challenge in two days time to prove she is worthy to be the queen of the Amazons. Then with the Justice League, Wonder Woman finds the source of the mysterious village disappearances and it’s a predatory subterranean race that awoke when Wonder Woman reburied the First Born. So it’s all Wonder Woman’s fault, because of course it is. Finally, Donna Troy and her Amazons are sick of the Manazons and launch an attack on their camp, and it looks like they kill a whole bunch of them. Maybe all of them. Ugh, more Amazon murders.

All together, it’s a bad issue that in no way captures the spirit of Wonder Woman or the Amazons as they’ve existed for nearly 75 years, but you’ve heard me go on about this before. So let’s turn this around and talk about what the Finches seem to be trying to do here. They’re obviously interested in putting Wonder Woman through a very rough time in order to break her down and then presumably build her up later. It’s a common narrative arc in comics, and anywhere, really; a bunch of bad stuff happens to the protagonist, the protagonist gets overwhelmed, but then the protagonist finds new strength within and overcomes the obstacle, emerging changed but victorious. We’ve seen it a million times, because it’s a very effective storyline and a good framework for digging into a character.

There’s a similar arc going on in Batman right now with Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s “Endgame” story. I don’t want to spoil too much of it for you, but basically the Joker is back, all of Gotham is infected with a new, ominous Joker virus, everything is falling to pieces, and Batman is rapidly losing control of the situation. Also, just to add a weird, existential crisis into the mix, it looks like the Joker might be some sort of immortal being, and that’s really screwing with Batman’s head.

So the basic situations in Batman and Wonder Woman have a lot in common in a broad strokes sort of way. Batman is in over his head. Wonder Woman is in over her head. Batman has lost his home, Gotham City, to an enemy who is the opposite of him in every way, the Joker. Wonder Woman has lost her home, Paradise Island, to an enemy who is the opposite of her in every way, Donna Troy. The big difference is that Batman is really good, both a sales behemoth and a favourite with critics, while Wonder Woman isn’t going over particularly well with anyone. So what does Batman have that Wonder Woman doesn’t?

A more experienced writer, obviously, and that’s part of it, but it ultimately boils down to how these stories are told. Batman and Wonder Woman both screw up, both lose control of situations, both find themselves overwhelmed and facing great odds. But there’s an assuredness to Batman that keeps the reader cheering for him. Part of it is his own confidence, as he keeps on battling despite a dangerously worsening situation. This confidence comes from within, but also from the people around him who support him, and this camaraderie adds warmth and humour to the story even in the worst of circumstances. The book is dark and often grisly, but it’s not just dark and grisly. Batman can still crack a joke.

Wonder Woman, on the other hand, is perpetually flailing. She’s overwhelmed and unsure of herself, and we know this because we’ve had to read several long monologues where she says just that. Moreover, she’s got no support. Her Amazon sisters have deserted her, her mother is dead, and every time she talks to a fellow Justice League member they react harshly (probably because they’re sick of listening to the aforementioned monologues). Wonder Woman just seems to be sinking further into a hole, and that’s ALL the book is about. There’s no joy or light, just Wonder Woman having terrible day after terrible day with no end in sight. It’s a one-note pile on and the creators have given the reader no reason to believe that Wonder Woman is able to get out of it. The gal’s a mess.

What’s particularly bizarre about this is that Batman is just a man, albeit a supremely talented one, and he’s confidently trucking along. Wonder Woman is an Amazon and now a god, and she’s buried under some problems that should be simple for her. You have to be a queen and a superhero? No problem, you’re WONDER WOMAN. Donna Troy is stealing your crown? Take her down, you’re WONDER WOMAN. Weird subterranean people are invading the surface? Defeat them and send them back, you’re WONDER WOMAN AND ALSO THE ENTIRE JUSTICE LEAGUE IS THERE TOO. Batman’s facing more than Batman-sized problems, and running at them full tilt. Wonder Woman’s facing very manageable situations and is crying in the corner like a child. These are superhero comics. You give the heroes more than they can handle and have them win nonetheless. You don’t give them less than they can handle and have them flounder and collapse.

Anyway, that was a lengthy discussion that was half about a comic that has nothing to do with Wonder Woman. Great work, me. What I’m trying to get at it is how people tell stories, how they treat their characters, and how that affects the reader’s experience. We cheer for Batman because he keeps on fighting against increasingly terrible odds. Right now, I’m full on Team Donna Troy because she has a rad outfit and Wonder Woman is useless. I LOVE Wonder Woman, but I’ve got no reason to cheer for her in this comic. She lacks agency, she lacks confidence, and she’s just not Wonder Woman to me right now. That’s kind of a big problem.


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