Posts Tagged ‘Wonder Woman’

Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman #14 Review: “No Chains Can Hold Her! Part 1” by Gilbert Hernandez

November 13, 2014


This is the story I’ve been waiting for since it was announced months ago! Of all of the creative teams that have been solicited for Sensation Comics thus far, Gilbert Hernandez was the one I was most looking forward to. Hernandez is a comics legend, best known for his work on Love and Rockets, but my favourite thing he’s done is more recent: Marble Season, a semi-autobiographical graphic novel about growing up in the 1960s. And now we’ve finally got his Sensation Comics story!

Or, half of it. It’s a two-parter. And oddly, in the print version it seems to be more than that. Sensation Comics #3, which came out in comic shops last month, features only about half of the story that was released digitally this week. So basically, a quarter of the overall tale. Maybe they’re stretching it out in print so as to maximize the amount of Hernandez. We’ll see in the months to come, I suppose.

Anyway, the story! Honestly, I didn’t love it. I liked it, and there are some great moments, but when I heard that Gilbert Hernandez was doing to write and draw Wonder Woman, I was looking forward to him writing and drawing Wonder Woman the hero, not a mind-controlled version thereof. Very soon into this first issue, Wonder Woman gets captured by aliens who make her their slave, and she ends up fighting Supergirl for the remainder of the issue. There’s more to come, I know, and I hope the fight quickly turns into a team up in part two, but I was expecting Wonder Woman to be the hero of the book, not Supergirl.

Nonetheless, there’s a lot of great stuff in this issue. First off, Hernandez playing around with Silver Age aesthetics and tropes is ridiculously fun. We’ve got Wonder Woman in her lace up sandals, a teenaged Supergirl constantly worried about “cousin Superman”, and weird robots and aliens with crazy schemes. It’s old school in all the best ways, and Hernandez leans into the setting with his dialogue as well. “They just don’t make killer robot slaves like they used to,” is a line you don’t read in a lot of comics lately.

And while I’m not enthused about Wonder Woman being enslaved by an evil alien, the fight with Supergirl that then follows is pretty fantastic. It’s over the top violent, with the women punching each other through mountains and hitting each other so hard that the reverberations are felt across the galaxy. But despite the heavy violence, it’s not gory or bloody. Both women remain generally unscathed, and the banter back and worth as they smash each other across a barren planet is a lot of fun. At one point, an irked Wonder Woman comments, “These collisions of ours are getting tedious.” Supergirl also has an amusingly sincere moment of self-correction when she realizes that she’d insulted Wonder Woman captors by calling them “alien goons” when she herself is also an alien.

The cliffhanger is solid as well. Another female hero shows up to join the fray, but she’s silhouetted so we don’t know who she is yet. Based on the cape and the skirt, I’m guessing maybe Mary Marvel; she would also fit the old school vibe of the story. But it could be any number of female heroes, or perhaps a villain in league with the aliens.

Overall, the issue is a good time and Hernandez’s work is as enjoyable as ever. I just wish that the story was a better showcase for Wonder Woman. Sensation Comics has been really heavy on the team-ups thus far, which takes a lot of time away from Wonder Woman and has resulted in a bit of guest star fatigue on my end. I mean, obviously you let Gilbert Hernandez do whatever he wants; he’s a master. But for future issues, it would be nice to see more of a focus on Wonder Woman herself and less of a rotating cast of the entire DC Comics universe. People shouldn’t be avoiding Wonder Woman so much in her own dang book.

That being said, the fight is really quite fun, and I’m looking forward to the second part of the story. If you’re reading Sensation Comics in print form, I have no idea how it’s going to be coming out, but you can at least check out the first half of this first part of the story in Sensation Comics #3, which is available now.

Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman Review: “Generations, Part 2” by Michael Jelenic, Drew Johnson, and Ray Snyder

November 6, 2014


I quite enjoyed the first part of “Generations” in last week’s digital issue of Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman, and I’m very glad to see that the story ended with an even stronger issue this week. Editors Kristy Quinn and Jessica Chen have done a fantastic job of cutting up a comic book that was created to be a standard, 22 page floppy into two digital issues; that can be a hard transition to pull off, and it worked out beautifully. I can absolutely see why they wanted to save this older, unprinted fill-in issue from the dustbin. It’s a lovely story, with excellent work from everyone involved.

The issue picked up where we left off last week, with Hippolyta bored out of her mind at her birthday party and Diana fighting the Cheetah over a phoenix egg. Part one was a strong mix of humour and action, and part two continued both of those elements and adds in some heart as well. It turns out that Diana skipped her mother’s party to go get her the phoenix egg to replace the one she broke as a child, fulfilling a promise she made years before. It was a heartwarming ending to a great story.

It was also a well constructed ending, as Wonder Woman was able to defeat the Cheetah by remembering the lessons that her mother taught her. In getting a gift for Hippolyta, Diana had to use all of the gifts that Hippolyta gave her. The relationship between Wonder Woman and Hippolyta is one of my favourites in all of comics, though I find it’s rarely done well. Michael Jelenic has done a marvelous job exploring it here, and it’s nice to see that Sensation Comics has depicted their relationship well in several stories now.

Jelenic also captured the core of who Wonder Woman is and what she stands for in a great speech given by Hippolyta to her daughter. “Fighting for something bigger than yourself” is not a groundbreaking sentiment, but it was delivered in a way that showed how important that message is to both Wonder Woman and the Amazons as a whole. Plus, the setting with the fire and Hippolyta explaining that the fireside is where knowledge has been passed down for generations added some extra gravitas to the scene. It was my favourite moment in what was a very strong issue.

The moment’s impact was heavily aided by artists Drew Johnson and Ray Snyder as well. Their art was just as fantastic as what we saw last week, and the regal majesty they instilled in Hippolyta added even more to the already great speech. The rest of the book was lovely too; they really hit it out of the park on every level, from big fight choreography down to small, quiet moments. What are these guys up to now, anyway? Google tells me that Johnson’s been on Ghost for Dark Horse; that’s a nice fit. I’m surprised he hasn’t had a more prominent Big Two gig lately, though. The man is very talented.

Lizzy John’s colouring continued to be strong in part two, especially as all of the scenes merged together.   Part one began with different palettes for each scene: Wonder Woman and the Cheetah, Hippolyta at Themyscira, and flashback to young Diana and her mother. They all became united via fire, through the fire raging in Wonder Woman’s battle to the fire in the flashback to Hippolyta watching the battle from afar. The colour from the fire bled into each different locale, bringing them all together. Also, nicely done by whoever came up with using the fire to unite the scenes, whether it was the writer or the artist. It was very effective.

All together, this was a great story, and I think it’s going to look fantastic in print, the way it was originally created. Again, you’ll have to wait until January for that, but both digital issues are lovely too. So we’ve already got the full January print book released digitally, and are still waiting on stories from December, November, and even October! I’m starting to enjoy the randomness of the digital release schedule. It’s like a surprise every week.

Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman #12 Review: “Generations, Part One” by Michael Jelenic, Drew Johnson, and Ray Snyder

October 30, 2014


Still no Gilbert Hernandez! His story is in the print version of Sensation Comics that came out this Wednesday, but I haven’t gotten to my comic shop yet. What’s a guy got to do to get this story in a digital form? This week’s digital first issue is part one of a two parter, so I’m betting we don’t get Hernandez next week either. The ways of digital distribution are mysterious.

Luckily, we’ve got another good story this week so I can’t be too sad about the lack of Hernandez. I’m a sucker for a Hippolyta story, and doubly so when Phillipus is involved, so “Generations” by Michael Jelenic, Drew Johnson, and Ray Snyder is right up my alley. The issue has a dual narrative. In the first, Wonder Woman has tracked down the elusive phoenix just as it burns out before being reborn from its ashes. She’s there to recover the phoenix egg, which grants eternal life, but the Cheetah shows up to contest her for her prize. In the second, the Amazons are having a party and Phillipus is orchestrating the celebrations.

Jelenic does a good job of weaving the two separate stories together. Hippolyta is clearly missing her daughter’s at the party, while Diana is remembering her mother’s lessons about how Amazons engage in combat as she battles with the Cheetah. Both halves of the stories have very different tones. The party is light and fun, with some solid comedic moments. Phillipus’ play about the creation of the Amazons is particularly funny, with it quickly turning its focus to the Phillipus character. Some writers make the Amazons very serious and almost dour, but Jelenic has made them fun.

In the Wonder Woman half, it’s all action and excitement and blood. Wonder Woman yanks a spear out of her shoulder and throws it at the Cheetah; it’s hardcore stuff. But at the same time, the violence is tempered with Diana remembering to first seek peace before engaging in violence, which she does. Then when she’s rebuffed, it’s time to show her foe why peace was the better option. I really enjoyed how Jelenic framed the fight in this manner, using violence as a way to convince someone to try the peaceful route next time.

The art is great, though the layouts seemed a bit odd for a digital book. So I did some digging and apparently this story is an old one from the pre-New 52 era, created as a fill-in just in case the team on Wonder Woman was running late and DC had to publish something. It dates back to 2010 or so, and is set in the pre-New 52 continuity, but DC never had to use it so now it’s been repurposed for Sensation Comics. And I’m glad it has, because this is some of the best work I’ve seen from Drew Johnson.

Johnson was a regular on Wonder Woman in the mid-2000s, working with Greg Rucka during his run and popping up sporadically afterward. His work was always solid, but this issue is especially strong. His Amazons look fantastic, his Wonder Woman is regal, strong, and beautiful, and his Cheetah is fiendish and lithe. I’m excited to see the pages laid out as they were meant to be, in full page form, because I think they’ll be stunning. You can see a few of them as they were originally sized at Johnson’s DeviantArt page, if you are so inclined.

Ray Snyder’s inks are strong as well, and Lizzy John’s colouring is especially striking. Her use of warm reds and yellows in the Wonder Woman section and cooler blues and greens back with the Amazons create a nice contrast, and she’s achieved some lovely effects with her textures in a variety of areas, ranging from stones to skin tones. It’s a very pretty story all around.

And also, only part one! It was likely a 22 page story to begin with, so that’s more than 40 digital pages, and this week’s Sensation Comics comprises only half of it. It wasn’t created to be split up, but the artificial cliffhanger works well enough and the solid work throughout has me excited for the second half. The story is enjoyable and the art is wonderful.

If you’re waiting for the print version, it’s going to be a little while. This story, along with its second half, I assume, is scheduled for January’s print issue of Sensation Comics. It should be worth the wait, though. This is going to look great full sized.

Wonder Woman #35 Review OR The End Of An Era

October 29, 2014


I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited for a comic than when DC announced that Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang would be relaunching Wonder Woman. I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I heard the news, how I flipped out in a public place and drew a lot of odd looks, and how I called my best friend to celebrate with someone comicly inclined who would understand the awesomeness of the day. I was a huge fan of Azzarello’s work on books like 100 Bullets and Loveless, as well the only guy I know who loved Superman: For Tomorrow, and I’d been following Cliff Chiang’s work for years; he was one of the few artists whose work I always bought no matter my interest in the book as a whole. I have a stack of Cliff Chiang comics starring characters I don’t give a hoot about, but I love the comics because they are GORGEOUS.

Now, more than three years later, their run on Wonder Woman is drawing to a close. It’s had its ups and downs, to be sure. I’m still not over the changes to the Amazons, and their portrayal of Diana was a bit all over the map. But when their Wonder Woman was good, which it was quite often, it was one of the best comics on the stands and portrayed a powerful and compassionate version of the character. Today, with their final issue, Azzarello and Chiang have finished strong, presenting a fantastic showcase for Wonder Woman and the wider cast they’ve built around her. But before we talk about that, first this:


I am going to spoil not just this issue, but the ENTIRE run!

Go read it all first!

Don’t rob yourself of a good story and spectacular art!

Carrying on, let me start with a bit of self-congratulating. I called the Zola is Athena thing when I reviewed the last issue, as well as the Zeke/Zeus connection. So high fives all around for that!

Onto the book itself. This issue picks up where the last one left off, with Wonder Woman and her pals facing Poseidon on Olympus. Then things went sideways when the First Born showed up, and it looked like some of the team were going to meet a bad end. But, of course, the good guys won. It’s superhero comic; that was sort of a given. How they won, however, speaks to the strength of Azzarello and Chiang’s run.

Over the last few years, I’ve often commented on the lack of Wonder Woman in Wonder Woman. On average, she was lucky to be on half of the pages of her own book. But for this finale, Azzarello and Chiang had Wonder Woman take center stage and show her true heroism. She was on every single page of this final issue, driving the action and bringing the First Born’s reign to an end.

When all was lost and it looked like the heroes would be defeated, Wonder Woman was spared because the minotaur couldn’t kill her. He remembered what she did when he was in the same circumstances in Wonder Woman #0, subdued and about to be killed. The young Diana couldn’t kill the minotaur and now, years later, because of that act of compassion, the minotaur refused to kill her. After three years of Wonder Woman’s compassion routinely biting her square in the ass, that it finally paid off for her when it mattered most was a nice, triumphant moment.

It also allowed Wonder Woman to regroup, and defeat the First Born. She took off her bracelets and went full on god mode, and could have killed him. Hermes was certainly cheering for that when he told her to show no mercy. But mercy and compassion are her core. She tricked the First Born; Wonder Woman is clever as well. But instead of killing him, she sent him back down into the pit from whence he came to stay for another few thousand years. The act appeared to not be about malice or punishment, but rather about her belief that the First Born could, with time, learn to love and trust others. Despite all of his evil actions, she refused to see him as a lost cause.

Finally, Wonder Woman convinced Athena to save Zola, who she was set to discard as she returned to her divine form. Athena had been living as Zola, unknowingly, for twenty years, a pittance compared to the lifespan of a god, but Diana convinced her that her time as Zola was valuable and that Zola should live on, to help Zeke/Zeus and also to help others. I’m particularly glad for this turn of events, because Zola is one of the best new characters to come out of this run.

As a comic book, this final issue was well balance and paced. The action was a lot of fun, and the fights were great, but there was a lot more going on than a typical superhero beat ’em up as Wonder Woman’s compassion ultimately saved the day. Azzarello wrote great moments for all of his now fan favourite characters, and finished with a surprisingly happy yet fitting ending for his darker take on Wonder Woman’s universe.

The issue was beautifully drawn as always by Cliff Chiang, who captured the emotion of each beat perfectly. I don’t think that any other comic book artist communicates feeling and mood as well as Cliff Chiang, and definitely not as deftly and subtly. Plus, he can draw the hell out of a fight scene too. The man is incomparable, and I’m so sad to see him leave the title.

Matthew Wilson’s colours were gorgeous, which is not a surprise given the stellar work he’s done on this series. He always knows how to find the exact right palette for an issue, and then punctuate it fun ways to really drive home the key moments. This issue, I was particularly taken with how he coloured Wonder Woman, Zola, and Zeke as the dawn hit them on the second last page. Such lovely work.

Jared K. Fletcher’s lettering continued to achieve the key goal of lettering: To blend in so well with the art that you don’t even really notice it’s there. His work has been seamless from the first issue on, telling the story effectively while showcasing the artwork as well. Being a letterer isn’t the flashiest of jobs, but good lettering goes a long way and Fletcher has done some fantastic work on Wonder Woman over the past few years.

So the First Born is vanquished, the Amazons are back, and Wonder Woman and all her pals made it out alive. This issue is not only the end of this epic storyline, but also the end of an era. Largely due to Azzarello and Chiang’s star power, the series has been incredibly self-contained and avoided the wider world of the DC universe, specifically Wonder Woman’s foolish romance with Superman. From what we’ve seen of the Finches’ first issue set to debut next month, this separation is over and Wonder Woman will now be much more integrated with the rest of DC’s titles. Wonder Woman hasn’t received the best treatment in the New 52, so her autonomy in her own series was a nice respite. I suppose we’ll still have Sensation Comics, at least.

My congratulations to Azzarello, Chiang, and the whole Wonder Woman team for this great finale! While the run has had rough moments, I think that in the end there was a lot more good than bad and, as a whole, it will go down as one of the better runs in the history of the character.

Wonder Woman #35 Preview OR A Peek At Brian Azzarello And Cliff Chiang’s Epic Finale

October 28, 2014

After more than three years, Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang’s time on Wonder Woman is coming to a close tomorrow with Wonder Woman #35. It’s been quite a run, and despite my qualms with some aspects of the story, their tenure’s high points have been remarkable and certain issues will go down as some of the best in the history of Wonder Woman, I’m sure. I’ll talk more about their legacy in my review tomorrow, but first let’s take a look at what’s coming.

When we last left our intrepid heroine, she’d gone to Olympus with Hermes, Zola, and Zeke, and Poseidon had arrived to stop their plans. The preview picks up right where Wonder Woman #34 left off:







Well, now I’m very worried about Hermes. He’s been one of my favourites characters from the very first issue; if you’ve kept up with my reviews, you’ll remember how I sad I was when he was on the outs with Wonder Woman during the second year and was barely in the book. Hopefully Olympus is a place of immortality, as he says, because I don’t want to lose such a great character.

Zola is looking ever more owly, which I think is significant given the owl/Athena connection. We’ll find out tomorrow if my theory is correct. If it is, we’ll see Zola revealed as a disguised Athena, and possible Zeke revealed as a disguised Zeus. I think I might be onto something here.

Finally, Wonder Woman’s “Um… no?” in reply to Poseidon’s demands is perfect and hilarious. I’m expecting a spectacular showcase for Wonder Woman in this final issue, with the vanquishing of foes and the triumph of good over evil and all of those things. This preview looks to be a good start on that road. I’m going to miss Cliff Chiang drawing Diana so much. For me, he draws the definitive Wonder Woman. He captures her exactly.

Wonder Woman #35 will be available in stores and online tomorrow. It should be pretty epic, so go check it out! I’ll be back with a full review sometime on Wednesday afternoon. I’m anticipating having a lot of feelings about the end of this run, and am looking forward to hearing all of your thoughts on the finale as well.

January’s Flash Variant Covers For Wonder Woman #38 And Superman/Wonder Woman #15

October 24, 2014

Every month, DC Comics has a variant cover theme for twenty or so of their titles. We’ve had selfie variants, Batman variants, Halloween variants, and now in January we’re going to get Flash variants. I assume this has something to do with the wildly successful Flash television show, which premiered to great ratings a couple weeks back and which I have been enjoying thoroughly thus far. The concept for the Flash variants is fun: Artists recreate classic DC covers, with the Flash running through them.

The Flash variant cover for Wonder Woman #38, drawn by the always excellent Terry and Rachel Dodson, is a recreation of Ross Andru and Mike Esposito’s cover to Wonder Woman #155 from July 1965:


It’s a lovely cover, and a lot of fun. Wonder Woman marrying a monster is classic Silver Age ridiculousness, and the Dodsons always draw an amazing Wonder Woman. I’m going to try to pick up this one for sure.

As a sidenote, the yellow lines all over the New 52 Flash costume irk me. They always look slapped on, like the artists didn’t want to draw them so the colorist has to figure out where to put them. The Flash costume is so iconic and great, and doesn’t need all of those superfluous lines. Especially when he’s running fast and lightning is crackling around him anyway.

The Flash variant cover for Superman/Wonder Woman #15, drawn by DC’s superstar artist Ivan Reis, is a recreation of Jim Lee’s cover to Justice League #12, the kiss heard round the world:


It’s an amusing take on a cover I’ve never been fond of, more for its implications than it’s art. I like that the Flash has tied up Wonder Woman and Superman with the lasso, and generally stunned them out of their romantic revels. It lacks the classic fun of the Wonder Woman cover, but Superman and Wonder Woman’s pairing only goes back so far. It’s not like there’s some great Silver Age cover with the two of them.

Both covers will be available this January, along with many more across a variety of other DC comic books. I’d suggest talking to your local retailer ahead of time and get them to set aside one for you if you’re interested in picking one up. The variants go fast sometimes, and perhaps even faster in January seeing as the Flash is on them!

Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman #11 Review: “Not Included” by Adam P. Knave and Matthew Dow Smith

October 23, 2014


First off, how was this not the Gilbert Hernandez story? I’ve been looking forward to the Hernandez story since it was announced months ago, and it’s scheduled for the print edition next week. Maybe that’s when we’ll finally get it, in print first. Who knows? This week’s digital first story isn’t scheduled to be published in print until January, which just seems bizarre. I’ve never followed a digital series before, so this scheduling strikes me as rather odd, but oh well. We’re getting a new Wonder Woman story every week, and that’s the important thing.

While I may have been disappointed with the lack of Gilbert Hernandez this week, my spirits were quickly buoyed by finding a Wonder Woman/Big Barda team up instead. Big Barda is one of my favourite characters of all time, and I think that she pairs perfectly with Wonder Woman. They’re both bad ass warriors, but Wonder Woman leans towards the brain a bit more while Barda leans toward the brawn. Of all the awesome ladies in the DC Comics universe, these two are the last ones you’d ever want to cross.

Adam P. Knave has written a very fun story and jam packed it with action, as one should do with a Wonder Woman/Barda team up. I’ve mentioned before that the constant team ups in Sensation Comics are wearing on me a bit because I’d like the book to be more of a showcase for Wonder Woman, but Knave does it right. He doesn’t waste any time explaining who Barda or flashbacking to her origin for a page or two. She’s just there, she’s tall, and she likes busting things up, and that’s all we need to know. Her inclusion in the story doesn’t take away from Wonder Woman; instead, the contrast between them highlights what is great about both characters, and the story is ultimately a fantastic showcase for Wonder Woman.

While on their way to an interview with Lois Lane, Wonder Woman and Barda get sidetracked by an explosion at the Museum of Alternate energy. Barda throws herself wholly into taking down the robot gorillas they find inside, and while Wonder Woman does her fair share of robot wrecking, she also tries to piece together who is behind the attack. When she finds the villain Brain and his gorilla pal, Mallah, Wonder Woman shows why she’s such a fantastic hero. While Barda and Mallah fight in the background, Wonder Woman talks to the Brain and gets to the heart of why he’s there. Rather than taking him out, she offers him assistance for his problem if he surrenders, and he accepts. I’m always on board for a story where Wonder Woman, one of the best fighters in superhero history, tries to find a peaceful solution before she throws a punch.

The story is amusing and well paced, packing the short length with action and fun. Knave’s strong writing is complimented by Matthew Dow Smith’s art, which reminded me of a mix of Michael Lark and Tommy Lee Edwards, two of my favourite artists. At first glance, the art seems to have a rough quality, but it tells the story well. It’s unconventional art for a superhero book, but it’s a style that really works for me.

I also enjoyed colorist Rex Lokus’ choice to colour Wonder Woman’s New 52 costume with more traditional Wonder Woman colours. The gold metal adds warmth to the outfit that I find is often missing with the New 52’s silver, and the new costume still looks good with the colours changed. Lokus’ colours throughout the issue are excellent, melding well with the art to make a very good looking comic book.

“Not Included” was a fun read, and a great team up of two of the best female characters of all time. If you’re only getting the paper versions of Sensation Comics, this story won’t be out until January, so you’ve got a bit of a wait ahead of you. But mark it on your calendar! It’s a team up with Wonder Woman and Big Barda. You’re gonna want to pick that up.

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