Posts Tagged ‘Wonder Woman’

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.

Wonder Woman ’77 #1 Review OR A Fun Start To This New Digital First Series

January 8, 2015

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Wonder Woman ’77, a new digital first series based on the Lynda Carter television show, was announced this fall at New York Comic-Con, and then was pretty much never mentioned again by DC Comics until yesterday when a preview went up in advance of its release today. So now it’s here! Albeit with little fanfare. You’d think they would have hyped this up some more, especially with the success of Batman ’66. But regardless, we’ve got a fun new Wonder Woman comic book to read and that is always a good thing.

The comic, much like the show on which it’s based, is set in the 1970s, with Wonder Woman fighting crime and Diana Prince working at Inter-Agency Defense Command with Steve Trevor. After a gang of Soviet roller derby ladies tried to kidnap a scientist who defected to America (and were thwarted by Wonder Woman, of course), Diana and Steve set out to rescue another high profile defector. The scientist embraced American life in the 1970s and was a fixture at the city’s hottest discotheque, Studio 52, so Diana and Steve put on their disco finery and hit the club only to find the villainous Silver Swan in a cliffhanger ending.

Obviously, all of that sounds fantastic. I mean, Wonder Woman beating up a Soviet roller derby girl gang? Diana Prince at a disco? That’s just great stuff, and writer Marc Andreyko does a solid job of turning these fun premises into a good story. The book is campy, but not too over the top, and captures the vibe of the television show well. I also like that the series in bringing classic Wonder Woman comic book villains into the show’s universe. The show was usually its own thing, and a lot of elements from the comics didn’t make their way to the small screen, so it’s cool to see Lynda Carter tackling iconic Wonder Woman foes. The Silver Swan is a particularly good choice for a disco-themed story; that outfit screams 1970s.

The art is excellent as well. First, Nicola Scott’s cover is absolutely amazing. Is this going to be a poster? It should be a poster, or at least a print. I want to hang it on my wall. Second, Drew Johnson’s interior art is fantastic too. Johnson is no stranger to Wonder Woman, having drawn her series during Greg Rucka’s run and most recently a fill-in story of his from a few years back was repurposed into an enjoyable two-issue Sensation Comics arc. He transitions from the comic Wonder Woman to television Wonder Woman beautifully, capturing Lynda Carter’s likeness really well. His Lyle Waggoner could still use a little work, but frankly no one has even cared about Steve Trevor.

Johnson also does a good job portraying the era. Everything feels very 1970s, and he really goes all out when it’s called for, like in the scenes set at the disco. Check out the outfits that Diana and Steve are rocking:

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They are both era appropriate and character appropriate. Diana’s outfit is nice but somewhat demure for such a happening disco (and the all white is reminiscent of the mod era of Wonder Woman), as befitting her less flamboyant alter ego, while the confident lothario Steve Trevor’s wearing a shirt open almost down to his navel. It’s also a fun switch-up from typical superhero fare; most times, the man is more covered up and the woman’s got the navel plunging neckline.

All together, this is a fun book that captures the television show in a variety of ways while also exploring beyond the limitations of the program. I have a feeling that it will read better in print form than in digital; the pacing is a little slower, and indicative of a team writing and drawing for it to be read all at once rather than to maximize each digital issue. Nonetheless, it’s still an excellent first issue, and a great addition to Wonder Woman’s impressively good and ever-growing digital library.

Speaking of which, it looks like Sensation Comics is going to be on hiatus while Wonder Woman ’77 comes out. As I understand it, Wonder Woman ’77 is going to come out in chunks rather than continuously, and I’m hearing that Sensation Comics will be back at the end of the month, so my guess is that we’ll get the full three parts of this Wonder Woman ’77 and then it will be back to Sensation Comics on Thursday until we get another few weeks of 1970s hijinks. I have no idea when the print issue of this story will available, because I don’t think it’s been solicited yet. It will be April at the earliest, I assume.

Superman/Wonder Woman #14 Preview OR Star Of Wonder

December 22, 2014

Just because it’s Christmas Eve this Wednesday doesn’t mean that there won’t be new comics, and one of them is Superman/Wonder Woman #14. I wasn’t overly impressed with Tomasi and Mahnke’s first issue, and particularly their treatment of Wonder Woman, so hopefully their second issue is a major course correction. Let’s take a look at what’s coming this Wednesday, courtesy of a preview from the folks at Nerdist:

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Hey, a mysterious woman with a bunch of chained up ladies. Great. I know this was how most Wonder Woman villains rolled in the Golden Age, but there was a sort of silly charm to those books. These days, such tropes are done in a manner that’s so much more harsh and unpleasant. And after a baby sacrifice and a seemingly enslaved notable female character in last week’s Wonder Woman, more ladies being controlled by an evil, magical person is not what I want to see.

SPOILER ALERT: This evil, magical person is most likely Circe. She’s been mentioned in the solicits for upcoming issues of Superman/Wonder Woman, and there’s a woman on the cover of the March issue with white skin like we see here. They might say that at some point in the issue itself, too, but I think the cat is already out of the bag. Hopefully it’s not their last page reveal or some such.

Over in the main storyline, we get a couple of pages of Superman and Wonder Woman and Wonderstar talking to a cop, which is about as boring as it sounds. I’m sure it’s going somewhere, but this is really not scintillating comic booking. I have a sneaking suspicion that once we get the full comic, we could probably lift out those last three pages of the preview and lose very little from the story. There’s really not much going on here, other than establishing that Wonderstar is a real keener.

Superman/Wonder Woman #14 is out this Wednesday, in comic shops and online. If I decide to review it, which will require the book to be interesting enough to comment on, it probably won’t be until early next week on account of I have a lot of Christmasing ahead of me. We’ll see what happens.  Fingers crossed it turns out to be good and I can say some nice things about the New 52 Wonder Woman for a change!  It would be a Christmas miracle!

Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman #19 Review: “Rescue Angel” by Amy Chu and Bernard Chang

December 18, 2014

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Oh, Sensation Comics. You are the relief I so need in world where the New 52 Wonder Woman is just the worst. A good issue of Sensation Comics always improves my mood, and luckily this week the series has put out a great issue. Oddly, it’s got very little Wonder Woman in it, and seems to be set in a universe where Wonder Woman doesn’t actually exist. Usually a lack of Wonder Woman in a book about Wonder Woman bothers me, but this time I think it worked beautifully.

“Rescue Angel” is set in Afghanistan, where Lieutenant Angel Santiago has arrived at a Forward Operating Base to go visit a school for girls in a nearby village. The village elders are confused by the very existence of a female pilot, but Santiago is quickly embraced by the enthusiastic founder of the school. Then, after the visit, the story takes a dangerous turn.

Early in the issue, we learn that Santiago wears a lucky Wonder Woman charm with her dog tags that her niece gave her as a gift. At this point in the story, there’s no reason to suspect that Wonder Woman won’t show up at some point to save the day in some capacity, but that’s not exactly the case. When the military convoy is attacked by RPGs, Santiago rushes back to save an injured soldier. After she’s rocked by a blast, Wonder Woman appears to help her get up and move the soldiers to safety, but later we find out that a concussed Santiago was the only one who saw her. In fact, her doctors seem to think she hallucinated Wonder Woman’s appearance. As the issue ends, Santiago’s fellow soldiers bring her some issues of Wonder Woman from our universe. This isn’t a superhero story; this is the real world, our world, and Santiago is the true hero of the piece. She’s the one who saved the day, not Wonder Woman.

It’s a clever twist by writer Amy Chu, and a really smart use of the anthology format. We’re so used to stories about Wonder Woman that we easily believe that she’s actually there when she first appears, so the reveal at the end packs a very cool punch. It’s some nice outside the box thinking that makes this story an especially memorable one.

I also love the juxtaposition of Wonder Woman with Lieutenant Santiago. Showing Wonder Woman performing the brave, amazing feats that Santiago actually did is a powerful way to emphasize her heroism, and the heroism of soldiers generally. It’s easy to get caught up in the fun of superheroes, and we spend billions going to their movies, but there are people out there performing real heroic acts every day.

Bernard Chang’s art is strong throughout the issue, especially during the battle scene. It’s difficult to communicate the chaos of a battle while keeping the comic coherent and readable, but Chang does just that. It’s nice to have him drawing Wonder Woman again, however briefly. His issues during Gail Simone’s tenure on Wonder Woman were great, and I think he has a real knack for the character.

On top of being a well told and clever story, this issue is especially well timed given the recent, horrific terrorist attack on a school in Peshawar, Pakistan that left almost 150 people dead, most of them children. The school taught male and female students, and it’s beyond distressing to be reminded that there are parts of the world where just going to school can put children at such terrible risk. I appreciated that this issue highlighted not just the importance of education generally, but the commitment of local people in these regions to education and making a better society. It would’ve been easy to just paint Lieutenant Santiago as a hero and celebrate the troops, but Chu and Chang made sure to point out that there are so many locals who are heroes as well:

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Overall, this was a great issue of Sensation Comics with a clever story and strong art. This story will be available in print in February, so keep your eyes peeled for that.

Wonder Woman #37 Review OR What Did I Do To Deserve A Book This Bad?

December 17, 2014

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I don’t even know where to start with this hot mess of an issue. This is an astonishingly bad comic book in general, and an even worse Wonder Woman comic. The last page should make me so happy, but it just makes me sad. All of the pages before it are no better, and for SO many reasons. I’m having trouble recalling a Wonder Woman comic that was ever this bad, and I’ve read ALL of the Wonder Woman comics. These people do not know what they are doing. It’s a train wreck, but not the kind where you can’t look away. I’d be glad to run as far away from this book as possible, if Wonder Woman wasn’t my beat here. Anyway, let’s talk about this catastrophe, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!!

I am fixing to tell you all of the ridiculous things that happened in this comic, so be warned!

Though I know a lot of you are reading this instead of the comic, which I can understand!

It’s a really bad book!

Let’s start with some small things and then get to the big things. Wonder Woman has a lot of feelings, gang. She’s just overwhelmed by everything. Check out this panel from her conversation with Clark, where she reacts strongly to the his suggestion that she may have reached her breaking point:

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This is not how Wonder Woman rolls. She’s a damn warrior princess. She handles her business and keeps on trucking because that’s what an Amazon does. It’s not that Wonder Woman can’t have emotions or get overwhelmed by stuff. She’s not a robot. But she IS Wonder Woman. She doesn’t need to flip out and unload her troubles on a dude in every single issue.

Add to that this storyline where some random old Amazon lady is trying to make her choose between being a superhero and an Amazon queen, and you’ve basically got a book about a woman struggling to have it all. Which is ridiculous when that woman is Wonder Woman. If anyone can balance a myriad of responsibilities, it’s her. This plot is such a flawed approach to the character. Plus it reeks of a ridiculously dated take on female characters generally; this sort of thing was getting old when it was the angle of every female-led television show in the 1990s. Wonder Woman is SO much better than the story they are giving her.

Aside from the bad story, the art is a rough scene too. When David Finch was announced as the book’s artist, me and pretty much everyone familiar with his work was concerned that his style might be too sexy for Wonder Woman. And guess what? Yeah, it really is. I was hoping he’d tone things down a bit for a feminist icon, but not so much. There’s a scene where Wonder Woman goes into battle in special armour, and the chest plate doesn’t even cover her belly. It’s ARMOUR. It has a very specific purpose. Armour that bares your midriff is useless armour. Finch also poses Wonder Woman in odd ways; even when she’s just standing around, her hips are cocked slightly so as to stick her rear out a little bit.

Worst of all, we’ve got Amazon butt crack. I’m not even kidding. There’s an Amazon gal wearing little more than a loincloth around her nether regions, and in one panel we see her from behind and we can see some definite butt crack, bent over plumber style:

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This is a WONDER WOMAN comic book. We should not be getting butt crack.

Nor should we be getting Amazons colluding with evil witches to sacrifice babies, but here we are. The degradation of the Amazons is a pet peeve of mine. I hated what Azzarello did to them, turning them into rapists and murderers, but at least in their present interactions they didn’t behave like monsters to each other. There were quarrels, but ultimately they all worked together. Now, there are factions of the Amazons full on rebelling against Diana. The weird old lady Amazon and her associates are actively working with a sorceress to take down Wonder Woman, though we have yet to see a really good reason why other then they’re not happy to have the Manazons around. I hate when Amazons are jerks, and I hate when Amazons backstab each other. They are supposed to be better than us; it’s kind of their thing. Making them cackling, conniving villains is the worst. And also very 1990s. This book would have been ALL the rage with fanboys in 1993.

This sorceress collusion leads us to the big reveal at the end of the issue: The return of Donna Troy. I love Donna Troy, so I should be happy to have her back, but bringing her back buck naked via the cauldron of an evil sorceress bent on destroying the Amazons is pretty much the last way I wanted to see her return, especially with such a subpar creative team at the helm. The return of Donna Troy should be exciting. It’s been years since we’ve seen her! And yet my only reaction was, “Oh no, now she’s been dragged into this mess of a book too.” I could not possibly be less excited about this turn of events. All that I can hope for at this point is that she comes out of this storyline relatively unscathed and can find a home somewhere else in the DC universe with writers and artists who will do her justice. Secret agent Donna Troy might be fun in Grayson, perhaps.

So basically, I liked nothing about this comic book. I actively hated most of it, to be quite frank. I have seen nothing in these first two issues that suggests that Meredith and David Finch have any understanding of Wonder Woman, much less the ability to tell an interesting and engaging story. The whole thing is a mishmash of clichéd ideas about female characters, sexy adolescent Amazons except for the one super old one who is of course evil, and senseless shock value. It’s rough all around, and I really can’t see how it could get any better. I can’t believe I have months of this ahead of me.


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