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.
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.
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.
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.
Almost a month after the last time, I finally had a Magic 40 week! And not just any plan Magic 40 week, but one where I managed to read three graphic novels as well!
For this week, the surprise hits were Fables: The Wolf Among Us #1 from Vertigo Comics, Death of Wolverine: Logan Legacy #6 and Spider-Man & The X-Men #1 from Marvel Comics, Justice League #32-36 from DC Comics and The Valiant #1 from Valiant Comics. The comic (yes, the only one!) that proved to be rather disappointing, even unexpectedly so, was New Suicide Squad #5 from DC. Apart from that, a good run continued on several other titles like Hexed, John Carter: Warlord of Mars, Batman: Eternal, Birthright, Prometheus: Fire and Stone and others.
The three graphic novels for this week were: Grimm Fairy Tales: Code Red Volume 1, which is set during the recent Age of Darkness crossover event from Zenescope Entertainment, Mighty Avengers Volume 2 from Marvel, which is an effort by me to catch up on this mostly-good title, and Supergirl Volume 1, which is an older Supergirl title, pre-New 52.
A couple weeks back the awesome writing/artist team of Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman came together to do the current three-part arc on Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman. After somewhat of a glut of good stories on the title, the pair told a really fun story that had Diana travel to Apokolips to exfiltrate two Amazons who had gone missing on a mission to the death world. Corinna and Gabriel are among two of my favourite creators and to see them do a Wonder Woman story proved to be as exciting and satisfying as I expected, probably a bit more too.
In the first issue of the arc, we saw Diana travel to Apokolips, face off against some of Darkseid’s Furies, lose, and then get tossed into the inner fires of the death world. In issues #17 and #18, we see how she gets out of that particular mess, and how she ends up completing the mission, with a fair few complications and twists involved along the way. With these two issues, Corinna and Gabriel bring their three-parter to a close, and they do it in really great style, showing off how Darkseid and Diana interact in particular and what this can mean for the “relationship” between Apokolips and Themiscyra, moving forward.
After some really good opening arcs, some of the recent issues of DC’s digital-first Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman haven’t exactly been good tales, hence why I’ve avoided reviewing them as well. I just can’t focus on stories so damn boring and pedestrian. All the same, I think this title is still good because of the variety of the stories, which is what is missing with the main Wonder Woman title itself, the recent soft reboot of which was rather disappointing in all ways. Thankfully, things are different this week.
Sensation Comics #16 is written and drawn by one of my favourite duos in the industry, and they turn out a pretty damn good tale that is the first in a three-part arc, which is pretty awesome in itself. The new arc sees Diana sent to Apokolips on a vital mission for her mother and I love this opening third of the story. It features Diana in some of her best appearances yet, and also has some strong art from artist Gabriel Hardman, who doubles as the writer with Corinna Bechko. Absolutely magnificent issue I say.
The Secret Origins is one where each issue contains three short stories, each about a different superhero and supervillain in the DC universe and their respective origins. I’ve been fairly interested in the series for a while now, though I haven’t really gotten into it as yet. There’s already so many titles I want to read every month that just managing any more is a super-task. But still, the concept of the series is a good one and it really does seem to give you a brief taste of different characters and titles in a single package, so why not check it out yeah? Least, that’s what my thinking was when I picked up this week’s issue.
Secret Origins #6 is the origin stories of Wonder Woman, Deadman and Sinestro, from the respective creative teams of Wonder Woman, Justice League Dark and Sinestro, with some changes. Each story deals with the earliest days of the respective characters, and each story is executed well with enough callbacks to later events in the characters’ histories or even their respective ongoing titles. There is a right crazy mix of creators here, and I can definitely recommend this one, for it is a great standalone issue given you a great brief look at three of DC’s greatest characters.
The most recent “arc” of Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman has dealt with some rather cartoony things, whether that be the story itself, or the art, with the latter being much more prominent. Sensation Comics #7 wasn’t exactly a good issue, as far as I’m concerned, but the following Sensation Comics #8 was indeed quite a bit of fun. But then, that’s the value I suppose because more often than not the first eight weeks of this new digital-first title have provided some very classically-oriented Wonder Woman tales and that in itself has been a huge load of fun and awesome.
The newest digital issue, Sensation Comics #9, is another one-parter and this time we deal with Catwoman. It is kind of nice to go back to a Batman-oriented character at the end of the third “arc” since the first two issues dealt with a good majority of Batman villains, and just as Gail Simone and Ethan Van Sciver did with their cast of villains, so do writer Ollie Masters and artist Amy Mebberson in this issue, when Catwoman gets caught suspiciously easy by the London police and Wonder Woman is called in. Just as with last week, this week’s story is kind of cute and fun, with a great outing of Wonder Woman and Catwoman.
The first six weeks of Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman have been pretty darn good. Some classic-style stories with often classic-style art as well is what the title has been all about and I love it for that fact. It is different in a great way from the regular ongoing Wonder Woman series, and that’s the big thing. Last week’s #7 didn’t really work for me, in that it was very heavy-handed in its message and it was just boringly written, decent-enough art aside. With the whole 3 digital issues are a single print issue however, this week’s issue was something I was very interested in.
This week’s issue of Sensation Comics is very different from all the stories that we’ve seen before. This one sees Wonder Woman and Etta Candy teaming up to fight against Ra’s al Ghul and his League of Assassins. And midway, we get to see Deadman aka Boston Brand joining the fight as well. Neil Kleid tells a pretty fun story here, with no bells or whistles or frills and he just keeps the story rolling wherever it goes. It is unhurried and it just takes the time to let the reader have fun. And the art by Dean Haspiel is also great, very cartoony all the way through and simplistic, but fun.