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Posts Tagged ‘Wonder Woman’

DC: The New Frontier #3

July 17, 2012 Leave a comment

March 13, 2004

Quick Rating: Good
Title: The Brave and the Bold

As the Challengers of the Unknown are born, Hal Jordan finds a new purpose.

Writer/Artist: Darwyn Cooke
Colors: Dave Stewart
Letters: Jared K. Fletcher
Editor: Mark Chiarello
Cover Art: Darwyn Cooke
Publisher: DC Comics

The various plotlines woven into the first two issues of The New Frontier finally start to converge, albeit tangentially, in this issue. Four brave men band together as the Challengers of the Unknown. Meanwhile, J’onn J’onzz finds his secret jeopardized and Hal Jordan signs up with Ferris Aircraft, unaware of the fate that awaits him.

Darwyn Cooke’s story gets a bit more interesting this issue as some of the various plotlines from the first two issues begin to connect. He has done a good job generating a feel for the silver age incarnations of these characters, with the exception of the “big three” of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, each of whom seems like more of a holdover of their golden age selves and who are, in fact, painted as something of an “old guard” in this series. Cooke also adds in a new character in this issue, a black man who sets out to take revenge on white supremacists that assaulted him. The story isn’t entirely original, of course, but I find myself curious about it mostly because, DC geek that I am, I can’t seem to figure out what character he is supposed to be a corollary for.

If there’s any problem with this book, it’s that so much of it seems like retreaded territory. While the classic versions of the characters are welcome, the red scare story and the reactionary Commie-hunter story are both somewhat worn out, and Cooke’s storyline doesn’t feel like it’s adding much to it, at least not yet.

As usual, his artwork is fantastic. Cooke’s iconic style is absolutely perfect for an old-fashioned comic book story, or a story that tries to take old fashioned elements and cast them in a new light. He draws the best classic versions of Superman and Batman that I’ve seen since the creators themselves put down their pencils, and the otherworldly form he gives the Martian Manhunter is spot-on.

So far, this series is more remarkable for the artwork than the storyline, but the storyline is okay. And it’s still got plenty to potential to grow – Cooke just needs to find the new paths that are available with such great source material and stop going down the old ones so much.

Rating: 7/10

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Earth 2 #1

May 15, 2012 Leave a comment

May 6, 2012, 2012

Title: The Price of Victory

On Earth 2, a different trinity of heroes fights… but what happens if they fall?

Writer: James Robinson
Pencils:
Nicola Scott
Inks:
Trevor Scott
Colors:
Alex Sinclair
Letters:
Dezi Sienty
Cover Art:
Ivan Reis, Joe Prado & Rod Reis
Editor:
Pat McCallum
Publisher:
DC Comics

The Multiverse is back with this new title, the first book set in a world outside of the universe of the New 52. Five years ago, the Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman of another universe fought fiercely to save their world from an invasion by Steppenwolf and his Parademons. The world survived, but at an incredible price.

This issue is a lot of set-up, but it’s the most action-packed set-up you could possibly ask for. It’s clear that the classic DC trinity, although they’re in center stage here, will not be the stars of this title. Their appearance, in fact, is mostly here to set up the return of some other classic characters, albeit in new forms. It works nicely for that. This is the sort of all-out war you probably couldn’t get away with on “New Earth” (or whatever they’re calling the universe of the New 52 these days). Plenty of devastation, plenty of death, too much to deal with in 50 or so titles linked together in a single, current continuity. But as this book takes place on an alternate universe, and there are no other books set there (Worlds’ Finest is a spin-off, but that’s not quite the same thing) James Robinson could theoretically have a pretty free hand to go nuts, make major changes, and drastically alter the world as the story dictates. He’s done it before, but in things like The Golden Age. I’m really looking forward to seeing what he does with a book like this on an ongoing basis.

I’ve been a fan of Nicola Scott for some time now, but with Trevor Scott and Alex Sinclair joining her on the art for this book, we’re seeing some of the greatest work she’s ever done. The battle scenes here are incredible, and she gives us depictions of DC’s three biggest guns that look very familiar, but just different enough that we accept them as alternate versions of the characters.

This first issue was great, even if it felt more like a “zero” issue. It doesn’t really matter that much what the number is, though. It’s a fine way to start, and I can’t wait to see where this newer universe is going to take us.

Rating: 9/10

JLA #107

April 10, 2012 Leave a comment

November 8, 2004

Quick Rating: Good
Title: Maintenance Day (Syndicate Rules Part One)

The Justice League is taking a day for general maintenance, unaware of a growing threat from another world.

Writer: Kurt Busiek
Pencils: Ron Garney
Inks: Dan Green
Colors: David Baron
Letters: Jared K. Fletcher
Editor: Mike Carlin
Cover Art: Ron Garney
Publisher: DC Comics

I’m a little biased here, I’ll admit that up front. New writer Kurt Busiek is one of my favorite scribes working in comics today, and moreso, this is a title in serious need of improvement. The book hasn’t been good on a consistent basis since Mark Waid’s all-too-short tenure ended nearly 40 issues ago.

As the issue opens, the JLA is basically spending the day doing preventative maintenance. Several of them are keeping their eyes on the Cosmic Egg that contains a new universe ready to hatch. (This egg, of course, was a leftover from Busiek’s JLA/Avengers crossover, although he has to be careful never to mention any copyrighted properties of that other publisher by name.) As they do that, Martian Manhunter and The Flash do their regular sweep of various contacts around the globe, making sure no crisis demand their attention, and pay a visit to an old menace they have in containment.

Right off the bat Busiek is doing one of the things I think he, along with writers like Waid and Geoff Johns, do incredibly well. He picks up on the history of the League, tapping into old stories to create the new. Some readers may find things a bit daunting, but the particular threat that occupies our two heroes this issue (although not the main threat of this story arc) is one even I was unfamiliar with, but Busiek gives us everything we need to know to comprehend the story.

Ron Garney’s art is usually very good, but it appears somewhat unfinished here. Just as the last six issues, released biweekly, looked as though he rather raced through them, so did this first issue with his new writer. There’s nothing really bad about the artwork, but it’s not as strong as anyone who has seen his Captain America run knows he’s capable of. It’s possible he just needs time to rest and then get back onto a normal monthly schedule.

After a truly abysmal last story arc (which, admittedly, started with a strong first issue then spiraled into cliché and tedium), this issue is a breath of fresh air. Busiek has said he wants to join the small club of writers who has had long tenures writing both the Justice League and the Avengers. Hopefully this issue is just the start of great things to come.

Rating: 7/10

Trinity #2

December 5, 2011 Leave a comment

June 12, 2008

Quick Rating: Very Good
Title: A Personal Best at Robot Smashing & It’s Gonna Throw the Car

The members of the Trinity face a bizarre attack – and so does one of their teammates.

Writer: Kurt Busiek
Pencils: Mark Bagley
Inks: Art Thibert
Colors: Pete Pantazis
Writers (Second Story): Kurt Busiek & Fabian Nicieza
Artists (Second Story): Tom Derenick & Wayne Faucher
Colors (Second Story): Allen Passalaqua
Letters: Pat Brosseau
Editor: Mike Carlin
Cover Art: Carlos Pacheco
Publisher: DC Comics

As the three members of the Trinity return to their respective homes, each of them is faced with an unexpected challenge. A miniature solar system (including a familiar-looking sun) is threatening Superman’s Metropolis, Batman’s Gotham City has been plunged into another century entirely, and Wonder Woman has to stop a group of giant fighting robots from destroying Washington, DC. But what does any of this have to do with Morgaine Le Fay’s “anti-Trinity” and the mysterious dreams that afflict them?

While the first issue of the new weekly focused on bringing the three heroes together, issue two shows each of them dealing with a threat in their own style. What makes this work is that Busiek gets a chance to show us the real difference between our three heroes and how they handle a threat. There’s a nice little scene between Wonder Woman and Superman as well, which is also needed. As the least-popular member of the trinity (let’s be honest here), it really helps to remind us not only how capable she is, but how much respect she commands from her friends.

Mark Bagley’s artwork, of course, is as cool and polished as ever, although I do think his Superman looks a little too young. It’s a small complaint, however, and once I can easily live with.

In just two issues, the function of the second story in each issue has become clear: it’s not merely a space-filler, but a chance to show scenes that are relevant to the main plot, but that don’t feature our three heroes. This issue, we see Green Lantern John Stewart facing the bizarre double-threat of Konvikt and Graak. In terms of plot development, the most interesting thing here is that apparently they are of a species that John’s ring doesn’t recognize. Mostly, though, it’s just an action scene, but a good one. Tom Derenick’s artwork makes this second story look leaps and bounds above the artwork last week, which also helps quite a bit.

I also need to take just a second to point out how cool the naming convention of this series is – apparently each story will take its title from an amusing or pertinent snippet of dialogue. I dunno, I just think that’s neat.

Two issues down and fifty to go, but so far, this has been a really strong story. Busiek and Bagley have made legendary comics together in the past, and it looks like they’re on the right path to do it again.

Rating: 8/10

Super Friends (2008 Series) #20

October 31, 2011 Leave a comment

October 17, 2009

Super Friends #20 (DC Comics/Johnny DC)
By Sholly Fisch & Dario Brizuela

It’s Halloween, and the Super Friends are called out to take place in a parade. The fun is disrupted, though, when the scientist who called them directs them to a menace that’s out to ruin the fun — the Shaggy Man. Super Friends, of course, is a book for younger readers, and the content here works pretty well for that audience. Shaggy Man isn’t nearly the enemy he is in the mainstream JLA book, of course, and the ending is a tad anticlimactic, but the story is solid enough. Dario Brizuela stays on-model with the toy line fairly well, but I’m not a fan of his Wonder Woman at all. I don’t have the toy itself for reference, but just taken on her own, she looks entirely too bulky and solid, with very little femininity. I’m not suggesting that the kid’s version of the character be sexed up, of course, but there’s certainly a middle ground. For the little ones, this book is fine.
Rating: 6/10

DC Universe: Last Will and Testament #1

September 21, 2011 Leave a comment

August 30, 2008

Quick Rating: Very Good
Title: Conversions

What would you do the night before the end of the world?

Writer: Brad Meltzer
Pencils: Adam Kubert
Inks: John Dell & Joe Kubert
Colors: Alex Sinclair
Letters: Rob Leigh
Editors: Eddie Berganza & Dan Didio
Cover Art: Adam Kubert, Joe Kubert & Nei Rufino (Cover A); Adam Kubert, John Dell & Laura Martin (Cover B)
Publisher: DC Comics

Since Brad Meltzer is the one who started the DC Universe in its current direction way back in Identity Crisis, it’s only fitting that he come back to make his case as line reaches the end of that road with Final Crisis. It’s the night before the last battle, the night before the heroes of the DC Universe expect the world to end, and everyone is preparing in their own way. What they do, who they choose to be with, how they spend their final night… these are the choices who make the characters who they are.

Much of the book is made up of short vignettes. Powerful father-son moments with Clark and Jonathan Kent and Batman and his two true sons, sister moments with Wonder Woman and Wonder Girl, and tender moments between husbands and wives are plentiful, and are to be expected. There are unexpected moments, too. A villain almost chooses to be a hero, a hero almost chooses to be a villain. Those heroes who seek spiritual guidance find it in a surprising but highly satisfying place. One hero spends the night pining for a lost love, while others spend it with their soul mates.

The core of the book, however, is Geo-Force. In his Justice League of America run, Meltzer established Geo-Force’s drive to get revenge against Deathstroke for the death of his sister. On his last night on Earth, he chooses to make good on that vow. Even at the height of the Outsiders’ popularity, Geo-Force has never been more than a B-list hero, but this issue he’s a B-lister who steps up and delivers a powerful, emotional punch that even the top heroes in the DC Universe would have trouble matching.

Adam Kubert’s pencils are good as well, and John Dell’s inks compliment them very well. The real shocker on this book, however, comes in when several of the pages (as well as the variant over) are inked by the legendary Joe Kubert. His pages have a wonderfully classic look to them, as though they fell right out of the war comics of the silver age… and for a book like this one, a war story look feels wonderfully appropriate.

It’s not entirely clear why this isn’t specifically labeled as a Final Crisis crossover. Although they don’t specifically refer to the events of that book, the thumbprint of the series is obvious. I can only think of two real reasons the book is marketed the way it was. First off, there’s a clear effort in the company to make DC Universe a brand in and of itself (as evidenced by the zero issue from a few months ago, the several reprint specials we’ve seen, and the upcoming Decisions miniseries). Second, although the book clearly deals with the Crisis, you don’t really need any knowledge of that larger crossover to understand, appreciate, and get absorbed by this wonderfully emotional story. It’s part of something larger – something that goes back to Identity Crisis itself – but it stands on its own. And it’s well worth the read.

Rating: 8/10

Recent Reviews: August 17 Releases

August 23, 2011 Leave a comment