The new Wonder Woman ongoing, Sensation Comics, has been chugging along as one of DC’s best offerings in the New 52 since the title’s re-introduction to the comics world almost a month ago. The previous issues have dealt with different aspects of what makes Wonder Woman who she is, but there have also been some common strands that tie them together much more cohesively than would have been otherwise possible. As an anthology series released in digital first and then in print, Sensation Comics has quickly become one of my favourite reads any given week..
This week’s offering, Sensation Comics #5 begins a 2-part arc written by Ivan Cohen in which he explores the concept of Wonder Woman’s spirituality and what kind of an effect that can have on the public at large, and whether she is here to proselytize her beliefs or not. Much of this issue deals with the setup for the next week’s offering, much as Gail Simone’s first issue did, but there is also a lot to like here, and the artwork by Marcus To and Andrew Dalhouse is as great as it has been on the previous issues with the other artists who have worked on the series so far.
As I’ve mentioned previously, Gail Simone is leaving Batgirl for other projects, one of which involves her recently-announced reboot of Secret Six for DC, a Suicide Squad-style supervillain team book but with a different focus and outlook on the characters. Gail’s run on Batgirl made me fall in love with the character and with her leaving, I feel as if it is the passing of an era. On the other hand, Scott Snyderhas been running the showboat for Batman since the New 52 relaunch and he has been killing it, except on the recent Zero Year arc which ended up being nowhere near as good as it started.
Both Batgirl: Future’s End #1 and Batman: Future’s End #1 are really dire stories. In the former, we see how Barbara’s brother James Jr. crashes her wedding party and kills her husband, setting her off on the path of darkness once again. But in all of it, we also see how Stephanie Brown, Cassandra Cain and a young girl named Tiffany take up the fight to maintain the legacy of Batgirl and it is not as bleak as it may sound! In the latter, we see how an aging and troubled Bruce is fighting to maintain his own legacy in his own image, not in the image of young men and women he has inspired over the years, for Gotham must always have a Batman. Ray Fawkes has written this issue instead of Scott, and while I generally don’t like Ray’s writing, this issue was actually quite good in places.
There are a lot of titles in the New 52 that I haven’t gotten around to reading as yet, either because I’m already swamped with others that I’m more invested in, or because I don’t find them interesting enough. Batwing is one such title. It had a rough start, far as I can tell, and then it got soft-rebooted when a new creative came on board in the second year. And my interest has definitely peaked in recent months. With Detective Comics however, I only started reading it last year, and I haven’t really caught up with the first year-and-a-half’s worth of issues, though I’ve wanted to.
This month’s Future’s End event helps me with the former and solidifies my belief in the latter. With Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti as writers and Eduardo Pansica as artist, Future’s End: Batwing #1 is another great offering from DC this month, setting a great tone for the publisher this month, right off the start. And with Detective Comics, writer Brian Buccellato does something rather unique in concept, even as the trio of artists on the issue deliver something truly wonderful. The former is a very self-contained story while the latter ends abruptly, but I liked both issues well enough.
In very short order we have seen three issues of one of DC’s latest digital-first titles come out. Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman has been a great title right off the bat and I love that great creators like Gail Simone and Ethan Van Sciver got to do the debut of this anthology title. First with their 2-part arc, and then the one-shot with Amanda Diebert and Cat Staggs, this title has shown a great characterization of Wonder Woman, both in terms of the story and the artwork. It is relaxed and fun and compassionate, mirroring the superhero perfectly.
The new digital release sees another one-shot, this time from writer Jason Bischoff and art by David Williams and Wendy Broome and Saida Temofonte. This one goes back to Diana’s origins and covers her from when she was a young Amazon, about to be initiated before Athena herself, and through to her adulthood when she brings Steve Trevor back to the world of man from Themiscyra. Told from the perspective of her mother Hippolyta, the story was emotional and personal and also compassionate. A different side to the warrior I know and love, but just as amazing as anything else.
Something amazing happened back in 2012. DC Entertainment rolled out its first superhero television show in ages, partnering once again with CW. Starring Oliver Queen aka Green Arrow, Arrow quickly went on to become a mainstream hit, and in an age where superheroes are ruling the box office globally, it came in at the right time. In the gap left after the great success of ten seasons of Smallville, Arrow showed that a hero didn’t have to be Batman or Superman on the small screen to be successful. Taking a cue from the realism of the Christopher Nolan Batman movies, the show did a lot of things differently, but at its core it remained a comics adaptation, and here we are now, almost two years later, gearing up for a third season of the show, coming in just about a month more.
To tide fans until the new season premiere, DC Comics and have CW are now continuing their hit Arrow digital-first tie-in comics in a new season of the comic. Arrow Season 2.5 is going to cover the time between the explosive end of seasons 2 and 3 of the show, and give fans some of the connecting points to show how the various characters evolve in between that time. The first issue was released a few days ago and it is an explosive opener by far. Marc Guggenheim delivers on a script packed with perfect characterization and action while the art by Joe Bennett is very reminiscent of the show itself, making this a great adaptation.
Last week Gail Simone and Ethan Van Sciver wrapped up their 2-part arc “Gothamazon” on Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman where they showed how Wonder Woman would tackle Gotham’s various villains and anti-heroes in place of Batman. It was a really fun arc with some of Gail’s best writing that showed off a Wonder Woman who was less about smash-smash-smash and more about turning villains around. Ethan also got in some great artwork, making me wish that he had an ongoing right now with Wonder Woman. But, now it is time for a new team to take to the title and do their own spin on it.
After the opening 2-part arc on the title we are now into single-shot territory as writer Amanda Deibert and artist Cat Staggs come along and tell a self-contained story of Wonder Woman fighting off Circe and her magical villainy. And villainy is right because this issue had a great classic feel to it, very different from the current Wonder Woman print ongoing and I loved it as much as I loved Gail and Ethan’s issues. Amanda seems to get what makes Wonder Woman so special and important on her own, and Cat Staggs art, with John Rauch’s colours is equally amazing.
Thankfully, I’m finally settling back into the groove with comics reading and, most importantly, comics reviewing, as I managed to review a fair bit of titles this week and even caught up with reviewing some previous titles that I’ve unfortunately had to neglect for one reason or another.
The surprise hits of this week were Cartoon Network: Super Secret Crisis War: Billy and Mandy #1 from IDW Publishing, Wolverine Annual #1 from Marvel Comics and Vampirella #3 from Marvel Comics. The surprise flop of the week would be Batman: Eternal #20 from DC where the title seems headed downwards just when it was getting once again, and The Wicked + The Divine #3 from Image where the title took a nosedive this week after a second issue that was really good. No graphic novels again sadly, though I hope to correct that that this week. I hope..
Wonder Woman, as one of DC’s top three characters in terms of everything that really matters, got a second wind last week when DC launched Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman. Comics history buffs will recognize that the Amazon Princess made her debut so many damn years ago in the pages of Sensation Comics and now she’s back as DC puts out both an in-print ongoing and a digital-first comic featuring their most popular and recognizable female hero. The first issue by Gail Simone and Ethan Van Sciver was really good and I really couldn’t have asked for a better team-up for “Gothamazon“.
Sensation Comics #2 brings to a close the two-part “Gothamazon” arc, which also marks Gail and Ethan’s exit from the title for the present. The format for this series in print is going to be anthology-style, and I’m going to be a bit sad that these two fantastic creators are leaving, but all the same, at least their exit is great! The new issue is much more action-packed and it really gives you a look into Diana’s though processes and the comparisons with Batman are handled well. Plus the art is really good once again, though there were a few negatives scattered here and there, quite atypically Ethan Van Sciver.
Three years, that’s how long Gail Simone has been on DC’s New 52: Batgirl, making her the only female creator at the publisher to have stuck with a title for that long. Sure, there was the period back in December 2012 when things were uncertain and she was off the title, but she has helmed the series since its reboot regardless. And now it is coming to a close, and I find that I am not nearly ready for her to leave. Gail’s run on the title with the various artists that have come and gone has been fairly spectacular and as she leaves, she gives readers the best she had to offer with Batgirl #34.
Batgirl #34 is pretty much the end of the current creative team’s run on the title. I haven’t looked at the solicits for next month’s Future’s End special issue so I have no idea who is writing/drawing that issue, so I’m just gonna roll with that here. In the last few issues we’ve seen that Batgirl’s new nemesis Knightfall has finally begun to execute her long-held plans for Gotham into motion and that she is setting the stage for an epic war against crime and corruption in the city. Under Gail’s pen and Fernando’s pencil however, Knightfall is up against the greatest challenge of her life against Barbara Gordon aka Batgirl.
Wonder Woman is one of DC’s premier characters in the company’s long history. She has emerged over the decades as one of the most powerful and important characters in the entire DC mythos, and indeed, she forms a part of a DC Trinity alongside Batman and Superman, the three of the most central characters in DC’s main-verse. It kind of stands to reason that if Batman and Superman can sustain multiple simultaneous titles, then so can Wonder Woman. After all, she is also the most prominent of DC’s female superheroes in kids merchandise. And it seems that DC has finally listened to fans.
This week saw the release of a new digital title, Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman #1. In this title, writer Gail Simone explores the premise of what happens when Gotham’s villains take out Batman and Oracle calls in Wonder Woman to take care of matters in her friend’s sudden absence. Paired with artist Ethan Van Sciver, Gail Simone’s rendition of Wonder Woman feels very classic and unrestrained, with a lot of the character’s actionable charisma brought to the fore. This first issue is hopefully the start of something really great, something that can eventually translate into an ongoing print title!