Ask any comics fan who is the most iconic female superhero and the majority answer is likely to be Wonder Woman. Created by William Moulton Marston and Harry G. Peter in 1941, she has emerged as one of the most dominant of all female superheroes. Sure, you have the Storms and Jean Greys and Supergirls and Batgirls and Black Widow and others, but none come close to the pedigree of Diana, Princess of Themiscyra and Daughter of Hippolyta. Following the success of Man of Steel and Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice we finally have the character’s first live-action movie, Wonder Woman, that goes back to her origins and transposes the character into the war-torn era of the First World War and shows how a young girl made of clay become a legend and a myth.
Note: Some spoilers from the movie discussed in the review.
DC’s Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman got off to a really great start last year, but somewhere along the way, it kind of lost its momentum with some really odd stories that seemed to be shoehorned in, for no reason at all. And that’s kind of why I felt turned off from the experience of reading the comics, and even writing the reviews, because I didn’t want to review what I saw as less-than-expected. There were some good stories in the middle, sure, but mostly, it was all just rather boring.
Thankfully, issues #33 through #35 provide something of a revival in that respect. Some of the recent stories have been really good, and I think that it is this arc, Vendetta, that puts it all into perspective. Written by Josh Elder, this arc is all about a fateful encounter between Diana and Ares, set against the backdrop of a racial civil war in a war-torn African country. It feels simplistic at first, but it has a great message, and that’s the true value of it. The art by Jamal Igle, Juan Castro, Wendy Broome and Deron Bennett is also fairly decent, though it could use some improvements.
As I’ve mentioned before, Geoff Johns’ Justice League found a new lease on life following the Forever Evil crossover and that it returned to its previous levels of awesome, especially with artists Jason Fabok and Brad Anderson coming on-scene to provide the other half of the team. The AMAZO virus storyline was definitely all kinds of awesome, and I really enjoyed getting back into such an involved and moving story after the (almost) dead beats of Forever Evil. But now it is time for something different yet again, and recent experience seems to hold up well in the new arc.
With the recent Justice League #40, Geoff Johns is kicking off yet another new phase in the title, this one titled “Darkseid War“. The issue itself is told through the viewpoint of the being known as Metron, a universal entity far above the ken of even such mighty beings as superheroes. The entire issue is pretty much his monologue, and we learn some startling things about the DC universe, as well as the true nature of the being known as the Anti-Monitor and how the ongoing Convergence event fits into the whole tapestry that Geoff and others at DC have been working on of late.
In recent months, Geoff Johns’ Justice League seems to have found a new lease on being awesome after all the unpleasantness of the Forever Evil crossover, and has become one of my most anticipated titles in any given month. The current story arc with the AMAZO virus is incredibly by all accounts, and it is really nice to see a comic that mixes in supervillains working alongside superheroes work out so well. Plus, who can really fault a comic where the Justice League has to depend on Lex Luthor to save the day and even work with him on it? Crazy, I tell you!
We have seen in the previous issues that as far as the AMAZO virus is concerned, the fate of metahumans everywhere and even the world hangs in the balance. And all that stands between this supposedly sentient and ever-evolving virus and the world are Lex Luthor, Superman and Wonder Woman. Batman was a part of the action too, but unfortunately he too has “fallen” and is now part of the enemy host. What this issue does really well is show off the antagonism between Lex and Superman in a great way, while Wonder Woman gets some of the most amazing action sequences that a female superhero at DC has gotten in the last three and a half years.
Another week of a “Magic 40”, though no graphic novels.
This week’s surprise hits were Ivar, Timewalker #1 from Valiant, Mortal Kombat X #4 from DC, and Twilight Zone: Shadow And Substance #1 from Dynamite. The disappointments of the week were Spider-Woman #3 from Dynamite and Spider-Verse #2 and The Amazing Spider-Man #13 from Marvel and Vampirella: Feary Tales #4 from Dynamite. Ongoing greats were Wonder Woman ’77 #3 , The Flash: Season Zero #11 and Supergirl #38 from DC, Black Widow #14 and Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier #4 from Marvel, and, Grimm Fairy Tales: Realm War #6 from Zenescope among others.
I skipped another FSCR last week, largely because I kind of felt… tired about the whole thing and just wasn’t in the mood I suppose. But, to make up, I’m definitely back in it for this week!
The picks for this week are: Ivar, Timewalker #1, Scarlet Spiders #3, Spider-Woman #3, Wonder Woman #38, Samurai Jack #16 and Star Trek/Planet Of The Apes #2.
Geoff Johns’ Justice League, DC’s flagship team title, has seen a resurgence in recent months once all the madness with Forever Evil got over, Lex Luthor joined the team, and then the AMAZO virus broke out. I skipped the title for more than half the year in 2014, and only came back to it last month, wanting to know what was happening in the title, and also excited to see Jason Fabok and Brad Anderson take over as the artists on the issue. And it has been good actually, better than I expected, that’s for sure. The writing is great, the art is great, and that’s really all I wanted from the title during Forever Evil.
This past week’s Justice League #38 sees the only two uninfected members of the league take on the villain they consider to be Patient Zero for the AMAZO virus. Batman was around as well, but he did get infected towards the end of the issue, and now we deal with the fallout of all of that, even as we learn that duplicitous Lex Luthor had a yet another ace up his sleeve and that he’s still a manipulative bastard as ever, his membership into the League notwithstanding. This was a seriously good issue, and I’m definitely along for the ride.
A few days ago I did my best of 2014 list for the comics I read in the second half of 2014. And back in July of 2014, I did the first “best comics of 2014” post. The reason I mention that is because of the changes I’ve made for this list. While previously I used to do it so that I put up my top 6 comics, in July’14 I did a top 12 on account of the increased number of comics I was reading at the time. And that same holds true for this list as well since I’ve gone up on the number yet again, and this list has the top 20 and then 20 honourable mentions.
More comics, yay!
So, with the books of the second half of 2014 already having been covered, I now delve into my favourite monthly comics of the same period. The next post will be a list of the top graphic novels I read in all of 2014.
Let’s see what makes the cut and which comes close then!
I was hoping for a second Magic 40 week in a row, but turns out that it was just wishful thinking. Still, I managed to get up to 30 comics this week, though no graphic novels sadly.
There was only one surprise hit this week, Eternal #1 from Boom Studios, as pretty much all the other comics I read this past week were ongoing series I’ve been following for a while. The disappointments of the week were Spider-Woman #2 from Marvel and Future’s End #33 from DC. And the ones that continued a great trend were the likes of Black Widow #13, Justice League #37, Catwoman #37, Supergirl #37, Wayward #5 and others.
The eleventh book cover I pick for the 2014 edition of “12 Days of Best Covers of…” is for James Lovegrove’s Age of Shiva, the latest novel in his Pantheon series. The new novel is a major departure from the previous novels since it covers Hindu Mythology this time, and presents the most compelling “origin” yet of the superhero-ish characters to be found within. With a subtle story that also deals with issues of cultural misappropriation and religious satire, Age of Shiva stands as one of the best novels I’ve read this year.
The first of the eleventh set of comic covers I pick this year is for John Carter: Warlord of Mars #1 by Ron Marz, Abhishek Malsuni, Nanjan Jamberi and Rob Steen, with the cover by Bart Sears (another variant this time). The second is for Justice League #36 by Geoff Johns, Jason Fabok, Brad Anderson and Carlos M. Mangual with the cover by Jason and Brad. The third and final cover is for Velvet #8 by Ed Brubaker, Steve Epting, Elizabeth Breitweiser and Chris Eliopoulos, with the cover by Steve and Elizabeth. The first of these is obviously the first in a new series, one that has been pretty damn good in its first issues, with its soft reboot of John Carter’s mythology as developed by Dynamite and going in a very different to before. The second is for a series that I’ve recently come back to, only to find that two of my favourite artists are now on the title, which pleases me immensely, and the AMAZO virus story has been pretty fun I’ll admit. The third one is for a title that I think is one of the best ongoing titles of this year, by a good margin, with its focus on an awesome female protagonist and some great noir spy-action.
So without further ado, hit the break to see all the covers in their full glory! The full list of all these covers is available here.
Doing as many reviews as I do, especially for the holiday-themed Advent Reviews, things tend to slip through the cracks quite a bit, compounded by the fact that I tend to read somewhere in the region of three dozen comics each week. Or try to at least. Fast-Shot Comics Reviews is a way to cover many more comics than I’d usually be able to get around to, which is kind of ironic since there was a point some months back when I could do 12-13 reviews a week easy, but that time’s long gone. Hence, this new segment. Hope you enjoy this week’s offering, which might be the last for the year, depending on what happens next Wednesday on New Year’s Eve.
The picks for this week are: Bitch Planet #1, Django/Zorro #2, G.I. Joe #2-4, Scarlet Spiders #2, Spider-Woman #2, Batman: Eternal #36-37 and Justice League #37.
Last month DC’s Wonder Woman title underwent its first major creative change, with a completely new incoming creative team of Meredith Finch, David Finch, Richard Friend, Sonia Oback and Dezi Sienty. The outgoing creative team, headlined by writer Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang, had enjoyed a long and successful run, but now it was time for change, and the change when it happened, proved to be a rather disappointing one. With a major shift in characterization and art, Wonder Woman #36 was a poor experience since there was little to recommend itself.
The issue had some major problems with it and they don’t seem to have gone away with this past week’s Wonder Woman #37. While I gave up on the previous creative team almost two years ago, I am still pretty confused by the entirely dark turn that the meta-story has taken, with the Amazons acting like entitled people who couldn’t care less about the outside world, and who want to pressure Diana to take care of Themiscyra before anything else. Not to mention the fact that Hippolyta is now assuredly dead in a rather pointless sequence, and there are some dark elements on the Amazons’ island home that seem to have some rather dark designs on its people.