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.
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.
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.
No “Magic 40” in the first week of the new year, but the second week definitely sees me hit that landmark number, and with graphic novels mixed in to boot!
This week’s surprise hits were Angry Birds/Transformers #2 from IDW Publishing, Ares & Aphrodite #1 from Oni Press, Operation: S.I.N. #1 and Wolverines #1 from Marvel. The disappointments of the week were Angela: Asgard’s Assassin #2 and Ant-Man #1 from Marvel and Future’s End #36 from DC. Ongoing greats like Swamp Thing #38 and Detective Comics #38 from DC, Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier #3 from Marvel, and John Carter: Warlord of Mars #3 from Dynamite to name a few were just as I expected them to be: superb.
As mentioned above, the graphic novels for the week were Legends of Red Sonja Volume 1 from Dynamite and Quest: Age of Darkness Volume 1 from Zenescope. The former was a fun book where Gail Simone brought together several different female prose writers, paired them with different artists, and wrote a grand, sweeping Red Sonja story. The latter was part of the publisher’s Age of Darkness event and was more a prequel story.
The Wonder Woman from the 1970s probably stands as one of the best comics adaptation for television to date, same as the Adam West-starrer Batman show. Both have become classics over time, imprinting themselves in pop culture for decades. And also because this show was Wonder Woman’s first ever television series, and also the first frontliner DC female hero to transition to the medium, if I’m not mistaken. And by that I mean the first series where Wonder Woman was Wonder Woman. In recent years, what with DC’s revival of the Batman show with tie-in comics and the widespread digital releases, it seems that one of Lynda Carter’s greatest projects is indeed coming back.
And in a big way too! Last week saw the release of Wonder Woman ’77 #1, which is set about halfway in the show’s continuity, which itself ran from 1975 to 1979. Just seeing the cover by Nicola Scott and Annette Kwok is enough to give you a huge dose of excitement, and the internal artwork by Drew Johnson & Co and the writing by Marc Andreyko also prove well worth all that emotional investment. I never saw the show properly, but from what bits and pieces I remember, I think the series is off to a great start with a great team.
Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman has given me something I’ve wanted to in the New 52 since I gave up on Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang’s Wonder Woman: a Wonder Woman title that I can actually have fun reading and not want to head-desk after. All the stories in this digital-first title have been short affairs, alternating between one-shots and two-parters, with each set of three then being collected in the print format. The stories have also been continuity-free and quite classic at times, which is just another big thing in the title’s favour.
The new issue this week sees the end of Ivan Cohen, Marcus To and Andrew Dalhouse’s two-parter Taketh Away. In the last issue we saw that after Diana spoke on national television about her gods, the Greek gods, not requiring the worship of the American people, she began to lose her powers, whether her strength or her beauty or something else. In this issue, Ivan Cohen solves the mystery for the reader and shows Wonder Woman at her best, as the title has done consistently in the past five issues. There’s a bit of hand-waiving involved here which didn’t work so well for me, but I loved the story and the art nonetheless.
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.
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.
This was a really busy comics reading week, primarily because I read two graphic novels this time around, both of them for Marvel no less. I have finally dipped my toes in full in Dan Slott’s Superior Spider-Man and the first taste has been quite interesting and fun. On the flip side, the somewhat older Immortal Iron Fist proved to be a bit of a mediocre book, but no less intriguing for that fact and I’m quite interested in the character now. Other than, a lot of the DC comics this week were really good and this is quite pleasing in fact. And Zero Year tie-ins are finally over so I look forward to a month of no such tie-ins.
I still have a big backlog of graphic novels to burn through, so I have that to keep me busy further I suppose. More on that as it happens.
Slow reading this week, mostly because of the fact that my weekend was taken up entirely with celebrations for Diwali, an annual Indian festival, and because the National Novel Writing Month began on the weekend too. So I was either having a blast with cousins, and getting tired out a lot, or doing lots of writing on a new project which you can read about here.
Right mix of comics once again, some of them disappointing, some of them unexpectedly good, and some in between as well. Got another graphic novel finished this week, which was good. I’ve had it on my reading list for ages now, so its nice to get that out of the way and reduce my immense reading pile by that much at least. Pretty tough to maintain a reading list as long as mine.
Next week, or this week rather, should be good since there are a lot of cool comics coming out. And I’m hoping to get another graphic novel out of the way. We’ll see.