Posts Tagged ‘Wonder Woman’

Superman/Wonder Woman #16 Preview OR One Seriously Messed Up Double Date

February 17, 2015

It’s a busy week for Wonder Woman enthusiasts. Yesterday I posted the preview for Wonder Woman #39, and today we’ve got a look at Superman/Wonder Woman #16, both of which come out tomorrow. The print version of Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman #7 hits stores tomorrow as well, so at least there’ll be one good Wonder Woman book. This month’s issue of Superman/Wonder Woman pits the eponymous duo against Magog and Circe in pretty much the worst double date of all time. SIDENOTE: How fun would this book be if it was a legit double date with Superman/Wonder Woman and Magog/Circe? What Silver Age style convolutions could bring that together? Now that’s a comic I’d want to read.

Anyway, let’s take a peek at Superman/Wonder Woman #16, courtesy of AV Club:

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The art breakdown appears to be the same as the last issue, with Doug Mahnke handling the present while Ed Benes draws Magog’s past. Benes has drawn the cover as well. Mahnke and Benes strike me as somewhat of an odd pairing, since their styles are fairly different, but I suppose it’s nice to have a contrast.

This is the sort of preview that annoys me because now we’re already a full quarter into the book and we have barely any new information at all. The three page flashback adds very little to what we already know about Magog. Basically the only progress we’ve made from the end of the last issue is that where that ended with Circe attacking, now we’ve hastily reached a standoff. I don’t want to sound like a grousing pennypincher, but this comic book costs four dollars. If you’re going to spend the first five pages on a superfluous flashback and an overblown double page spread, people are going to take their business elsewhere to books that give them more comic bang for their buck.

Superman/Wonder Woman #16 is available in comic shops and online tomorrow, but so is Sensation Comics #7. It’s fun and has some lovely art and well-constructed stories. If you’re going to buy one Wonder Woman book this week, pick up Sensation Comics. If you’re going to buy two or three, you’ll probably end up disappointed. But hey! You can get this lovely Francis Manapul variant cover at least:

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It’s very nice. Though isn’t it sad when a variant cover is better and more interesting than anything in the actual book?

Wonder Woman #39 Preview OR Gross Bugs And Stuff

February 16, 2015

After last month’s issue of Wonder Woman ended with Donna Troy presumably becoming the new queen on the Amazons, the preview for this month’s Wonder Woman #39 gives us none of that whatsoever. Instead, it focuses on the disappearing villages that Wonder Woman and the Justice League have been tracking, ie. the plot device that allowed Diana to vent her life frustrations at various league members over the past few issues. But now it’s built up to something, and that something is a gross cocoon of mangled humans. Let’s take a look at the preview, courtesy of Comic Book Resources:

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Well that sure turned nasty. But I will admit, I’m morbidly curious to see how this weird bug stuff ties into the rest of the book and Wonder Woman’s other travails. Though maybe it doesn’t; usually things tie together in stories, but Meredith Finch is new to the story writing game. It could just be its own little subplot that doesn’t tie into anything. However, I’ve got a feeling that it’s god of war related in some way or another.

I’m amused that the Justice League have been in every issue of the Finches’ Wonder Woman run thus far after they didn’t appear at all during Azzarello and Chiang’s tenure. The Finches seem to have kept the worst elements of the preceding run, the darkness and the squabbling, unpleasant Amazons, and lost all of the good bits, like Zola and Hermes and no Justice League. It’s a bad scene.

I did like one thing, though! Emanuela Lupacchino’s done a variant cover for the issue, with Wonder Woman and Donna Troy in her new, cool costume. I think it’s quite nice:

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So there’s that, at least.

Look for this nice variant cover at your comic shop this Wednesday, though if you’re going to skip the issue because of what’s inside, I’ll have a full review the same day that’ll give you all the details.

Sales For Wonder Woman #38 Fall 8%, Near Pre-Finch Levels

February 13, 2015

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Sales for Wonder Woman dropped again in January, though the drop for the third issue post-Finch was far less steep than the second. After Wonder Woman #36 debuted at 58,956 copies sold in November, Wonder Woman #37 fell to 43,006 copies sold in December, a drop of 27%. In January, Wonder Woman #38 slipped down to 39,669, a drop of 8%.

On the one hand, this isn’t too bad as far as third issue drops go. It usually takes a little while for retailers to find the right level when a new creative team takes over, and initial enthusiasm quickly wanes for most series. Nothing’s at all settled in only three issues into a new run.

On the other hand, after debuting far higher than the numbers for Azzarello and Chiang’s final issue of Wonder Woman, the Finches are almost back down to that level, less than 4,000 issues away. Currently, Wonder Woman is selling only about 10% better than it was before Meredith and David Finch took over. Azzarello and Chiang’s tenure was one big three year storyline with little in the way of jumping on points for new readers; by the end, only the diehards were left buying the book. I can’t imagine that anyone at DC is pleased to see that their revamped, accessible take on Wonder Woman, headlined by a superstar artist, is already nearing the previous run’s sales.

Wonder Woman #38 is going back to print, so the sales might tick up somewhat, and that perhaps bodes well for Wonder Woman #39. It’s still early days. But it’s very unlikely that things will improve. The best DC is looking at right now, if things level out quickly, is that Wonder Woman will sell in the mid-30,000 range, which isn’t much of an improvement on what they had before and a bit of waste of an artist who’s been regularly selling other titles at a much higher rate.

Furthermore, Superman/Wonder Woman is starting to fall at a troubling rate. The second issue of Tomasi and Mahnke’s run fell only 6% in December, which was quite good in terms of an inevitable second issue drop, but Superman/Wonder Woman #15 sold only 36,887 copies in January, a drop of nearly 11%. It’s never good when a third issue drop is higher than a second issue drop, especially this much higher. It seems that neither mainline Wonder Woman book is on solid ground right now.

New issues for both series are on sale next week, and how they fare in February will be a good indicator of whether things are leveling out or continuing to tumble. Both creative teams are scheduled to return to both books in June after the “Convergence” event, presumably to launch new arcs, but if sales don’t level out soon that may not be the best idea.

Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman #24 Review: “Wonder World, Part 2” by James Tynion IV and Noelle Stevenson

February 12, 2015

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At the end of last week’s issue of Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman, our intrepid hero was about to embark on a fierce battle with a powerful foe: A dance off at the arcade with the local Dance Dance Retribution champion. They were perilous times indeed for the teenaged Amazon princess, but she proved herself up to the task. “Wonder World, Part 2” by James Tynion IV and Noelle Stevenson begins with Diana making quick work of her opponent with such furious dancing that he is unable to keep up and falls off of the dance pad. Diana, on the other hand, declares the game to be “pretty refreshing.” As per their wager, the boys leave the arcade and Diana claims her enemy’s skull t-shirt, which she wears triumphantly for the rest of the issue.

It’s an enjoyable beginning to an issue that just gets better from there. The vanquished boy returns later and Diana’s Amazons guards find her, but after her Dance Dance Retribution win, Tynion and Stevenson devote four dialogue free pages to Diana and her new friends just having fun. It’s something that we rarely see Diana get to do; when she’s with the Justice League, she’s fighting bad guys and saving the world, and in her own books she’s been wrapped up in dark adventures for several years now. The only time I can remember Diana doing anything fun recently is her blowing off steam at a punk club early in Azzarello and Chiang’s Wonder Woman run, and some lame dates with Clark in Justice League and Superman/Wonder Woman. To see Diana having a good time with her new friends is, to borrow Diana’s phrase, pretty refreshing.

It’s also hilarious. Diana is a killer commander at laser tag, absolutely loves ice cream, wins her friends all of the prizes at the strength test, but is not particularly adept at roller skating:

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It’s all so heartwarming. Wonder Woman needs more of this. I know it’s easier for teen Diana to have fun times with her pals than it is for a grown up Wonder Woman with all her responsibilities, but she’s just so serious all the time. The adult Wonder Woman needs some of this spirit infused in her series. I’m not saying her book needs to be like the new Batgirl or some such, but some joy and camaraderie and fun would go a long way.

The rest of this issue is great, too. There’s an interesting discussion about how man’s world can be a terrible place but it’s also got its own wonders, and how friendship can overcome the bad aspects of the world. Plus the dancing boy calls one of Diana’s friends “chubs” and she straight up punches him in the face and knocks him out, which is pretty fun. The book ends by planting the seeds of who Diana will become as she advocates for the Amazons to come to man’s world and help make it better rather than staying cloistered away from its ills. And then everyone gets ice cream sundaes!

There have been a lot of excellent stories in Sensation Comics thus far, but I think this is my favourite one of them all. Tynion and Stevenson infuse the tale with so much charm and fun, presenting a young Diana who is very much a teenager but also very much the girl who will grow up to become Wonder Woman. Tynion’s writing is sharp and funny, and Stevenson’s art is exuberant and joyful. It’s all just absolutely delightful. Both issues are available digitally now, or you can get the story in print form on March 18 in Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman #8. I’m going to get both!

A Wonder Woman-Centric Review Of Justice League: Throne Of Atlantis

February 11, 2015

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DC Animation’s new direct to DVD movie, Justice League: Throne of Atlantis, focuses primarily on Aquaman discovering his heritage and joining the Justice League, but let’s face it: Nobody cares about Aquaman. His storyline was fine, albeit rather grim and grumpy. It was definitely odd to see DC Comics turning a corner in their comics with some new, lighter fare and then watch this movie that completely embodies the dark dourness of the early New 52. Directed by Ethan Spaulding and written by Heath Corson, the story is a tweaked version of “Throne of Atlantis”, a comic book crossover between Justice League and Aquaman, that throws in an origin story and a dead mother for the aquatic hero. It’s all about what you’d expect.

So let’s leave Aquaman behind and talk about the character everyone cares about. Or, at least, that I care about. Wonder Woman! While several voice actors reprise their roles from Justice League: War, Wonder Woman has a new actor behind her voice with Rosario Dawson replacing Michelle Monaghan. Dawson is decent in the role, thought she often slips into the formal, somewhat stilted delivery that a lot of actors go for when they play Wonder Woman. They hit the regalness a little too hard, and lose some of the humour and fun of the character. Dawson is a bit better at this than most, but she never really escapes it. Anyone who plays Wonder Woman in the future would be wise to listen to Susan Eisenberg in the Justice League animated show to hear how to find the perfect balance.

Wonder Woman is in an odd spot in the film, being the only woman on a team full of men. By the end of the film, she’s outnumbered on the Justice League by 8 to 1, and that’s not including the Justice League’s military liaison, Steve Trevor (who’s sporting a goatee for some reason). So what do the filmmakers do with the only woman on the team? They make her a romantic interest, of course.

Justice League: War hinted at some romantic feelings between Wonder Woman and Superman, and just like the comics it blossoms into full on romance. While a lot of the film deviates from the source material, the romance scenes are very reminiscent of their comic origins. Superman and Wonder Woman gaze out at the powerless masses and are brought together by their feeling that they don’t really fit in, and later on Clark shows Diana the wonders of using glasses as a disguise when they’re on a dinner date. Both scenes are cribbed from the comics.

There are additions, though. During said dinner date, Lois Lane stops by and has a staredown with Diana before settling in next to Clark in a very proprietary manner. The scene is a waste of two great female characters who would be better served doing pretty much anything else.

Once the action kicks into gear after Atlantis invades America, the romance fades into the background. Wonder Woman isn’t given a lot to do with the fighting. She takes out some sea creatures with her lasso, but then she’s one of several Justice League members struck down by the usurper king Orm when they visit Atlantis, and she spends the next chunk of the movie unconscious in a pod. Aquaman frees himself from his pod, then breaks out Superman, and they take down a giant sea creature together.   Wonder Woman is freed only after the battle ends.

Wonder Woman does have one good moment in the final battle against Orm. He wields a trident that only Atlantean royalty can handle, and Wonder Woman’s attack on him and his powerful weapon is one of the few that has any real effect on him. She snags the trident with her lasso, and struggles mightily against all of its great power that is now working against her. Most people, even most heroes, would be instantly felled, but she toughs out it out for an impressive amount of time before Orm is able to regain control.

Wonder Woman’s limited screen time seems largely due to the presence of Mera, here presented as an Atlantean guard who protects Aquaman. She gets a lot of screen time, and is generally pretty awesome, busting up bad guys left and right with her cool water powers. But it looks like the filmmakers only had space for one kick ass lady hero, and so Wonder Woman got relegated to the background for a lot of the film.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Mera’s arc quickly turns to romance as well. In fact, all of the film’s major female characters were either involved in a romantic subplot or got killed over the course of the film. The movie really isn’t a great showcase for varied portrayals of female characters.

Overall, Justice League: Throne of Atlantis was only okay for me. It wasn’t a great outing for Wonder Woman, which is a serious strike against it, but Wonder Woman aside it was pretty standard, almost bland superhero fare. The twists were telegraphed, you knew how it would end as soon as it began, and it lacked the heart that a good Justice League movie needs; the team spent most of their time squabbling with each other instead of working together. It’s not the worst DC animated film, but they’ve made much better. Furthermore, everyone behind the scenes really needs to rethink how they approach female characters, and definitely add some more women to the Justice League. I mean, 1 in 9? That’s just ridiculous.

Two New Sensation Comics Covers By Francesco Francavilla And Michael Zulli

February 10, 2015

We tend to get Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman covers at odd times. For some reason, several times now the book was solicited with interior art instead of the cover. The digital books are their own little world, it seems. It’s like the Wild West over there. But now, thanks to Comics Alliance, we’ve got two Sensation Comics covers at once.

First up is Francesco Francavilla’s cover for Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman #9, coming in April, which was originally solicited with some Mike Maihack interior art. Here’s Francavilla’s cover:

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I love Francavilla, and his covers are usually amazing, but this is just okay for me. I’m not a big fan of a skinny tiara, or of having forehead between the top of the tiara and her hair. Aesthetically, that look is just not my jam. Plus it’s weirdly busy with that odd background and the stars in her hair and such. It’s all just a bit over the map for me.

We’ve also got the cover for Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman #10, coming in May, which hasn’t been solicited yet. It’s going to have a story by Sara Ryan and Christian Duce and another written and illustrated by Aaron Lopresti. Here’s the cover, by Michael Zulli:

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I don’t love this one either. This is kind of a downer of a post, really, but this cover doesn’t do much for me at all. Wonder Woman looks sad and haggard, and her bloody sword looks more like a large knife. Also, that’s a weird outfit. I really don’t like anything about this. I’m predicting a situation where someone buys the April issue for the cute, hilarious James Tynion IV and Noelle Stevenson story and thinks, “This was fun, I’ll totally get the next issue,” and then they show up at a comic shop next month for the May issue and it’s THIS and they just full on recoil away from the shelf.

Sensation Comics’ slogan should be “The covers are hit or miss, but the stories are quite good!” I love the diversity of enjoyable stories we’re getting out of this book, but the inability of the covers to at all match what’s inside the book, and the straight up unattractiveness of several of the covers, seems like a poor publication strategy to me. It’s just going to confuse people.

Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman #23 Review: “Wonder World, Part 1” by James Tynion IV and Noelle Stevenson

February 5, 2015

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I’ve been looking forward to this issue of Sensation Comics for a while now. James Tynion IV is swell and all, but I absolutely love Noelle Stevenson’s work and I couldn’t wait for her to tackle Wonder Woman. The end product, or rather part one thereof, did not disappoint in the slightest. Any book with a dance off cliffhanger is doing something right, and everything leading up to it was an absolute blast.

The premise of the story is simple enough: The Amazons go on expeditions to man’s world occasionally, and a teenaged Diana was irked that she didn’t get to go on the latest trip. Thus she found her own way off of Paradise Island and made new friends when she landed in America. She and fellow teen girl named Riley were instantly united in their disdain for boys who wouldn’t let girls play games, and a battle of sorts ensued.

Tynion does a great job of staying true to Wonder Woman in the midst of a more light-hearted, fun story. His take on the teenaged Diana is reminiscent of the hero she’ll become while also a more immature version of Wonder Woman. She’s full of the bravado of youth, but there’s also an element of perhaps over-extending herself to impress her new friends; the “Gulp” before Diana takes on the boy bully in a game of Dance Dance Retribution is very telling. Being raised an Amazon, she seems fully confident that a girl can beat a boy at anything and that supporting your sisters is paramount, and she boldly strides into the arcade to demand justice for Riley. However, she is clearly untested in the world of men, and Dance Dance Retribution is her first true battle. The slight moment of nervousness before she steps onto the dancing platform both humanizes Diana and captures her youthfulness.

Alongside the arcade adventure, we get the tale of Techne and Epistme, Diana’s bodyguards who have to track her down. They are hilariously tough customers, and their shakedown of a drunken vagrant on the beach makes for a particularly fun moment. No doubt they will find their princess in next week’s issue, with amusing results, I’m sure.

Stevenson’s art here is great. The entire book is completely her style; much like her award winning webcomic, Nimona, Stevenson draws, colours, and letters everything. Through her work on Nimona, Stevenson is obviously comfortable with swords and armour, but she does an excellent job capturing the look of the real world as well. Riley and her friends all look like modern teenagers, with cool outfits, good hair, and a variety of body shapes. In a genre where female characters are often depicted generically in a sexualized, interchangeable manner, it’s always nice when an artist draws women who look like real people.

Her Diana is especially enjoyable. She looks like a younger version of Wonder Woman, with Amazonian garb instead of the usual outfit, and her constant look of determination as she confronts the bullies at the arcade certainly hints at the stalwart hero she will become. There are delightful smaller moments, too. Diana’s sheer joy upon entering the arcade, which she calls “a place of wonder”, is perfectly depicted, and her look of absolute scorn when she sees a woman on the side of an arcade game in a sexy, brokeback pose is spectacular. Diana looks about ready to punch the machine across the room:

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All together, this issue of Sensation Comics is an absolute blast, and definitely one of the best stories to come out of the series thus far. This is exactly the kind of Wonder Woman story we need. She’s been so dark and violent for so long, and just so damn serious. The market is screaming for an all ages Wonder Woman title, and I think one where a teen Diana visits man’s world to make new pals and have rad adventures would be the perfect way to do it. It’s a great premise used to wonderful effect here, and I’d love to see more of it after next week’s conclusion. Get on it, DC! And hire Tynion and Stevenson to do it, because they both killed it with this story.

“Wonder World” should be in print form in Sensation Comics #8, out on March 18. I don’t want to be rude to you, but you need to deal with this harsh truth: If you don’t buy this comic, then you’re a dummy. It’s so much fun, so get on it!


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