Tag Archives: Wonder Woman

Heroes in Crisis

Uh oh. DC is getting grim again. Tom King and Clay Mann’s Heroes in Crisis #1, out this week, is a powerful opener to an intense murder mystery. The scene of the crime is a secluded rural safehouse, Sanctuary, that had been set up as a kind of therapeutic retreat for superheroes dealing with the kind of trauma that, well, comes with the job. The crime scene is a grisly litter of bodies, with several heroes — some of note, even — victims of a mass murder. And the two suspects appear to be, at least at the onset, Harley Quinn and Booster Gold.

Cut between the interactions of Booster and Harley, neither of whom seems particularly clear on the details of what had transpired on the farm, is the preliminary investigation by DC’s Holy Trinity. Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman take in the scene with all the weight and seriousness that the event deserves, devoid of the typical technicolor melodrama that often serves as an appropriate separation between the superheroic fictional world and our own sobering reality. It’s the same kind of dark, arresting narrative that we saw from Brad Meltzer and Rags Morales in 2004’s Identity Crisis, and, as such, one can’t help but look back on how that singular event affected the DC Universe that we know — both in print and on the screen — today.

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Wonder Woman

You’ll excuse us from being overly enthusiastic about this Wonder Woman week. Not only is one of the most iconic superheroes in western civilization finally getting her own big-screen Hollywood blockbuster, but early returns have Patty Jenkins’s film standing apart from virtually every other DC flick in recent years: it sounds like a hit! And for New Comic Book Day, the team that brought you one of our favorite books of the Rebirth initiative delivers the Wonder Woman: Rebirth Annual #1, a beautiful oversized issue with four vignettes centered on the original Princess Diana.

Unlike boxing fight nights or seasons of Game of Thrones, comic book collections like this always lead with the heavy hitter. The first story is what makes this book worth picking up. Writer Greg Rucka and artist Nicola Scott pull a precious moment from Wonder Woman’s “Year One” storyline, and imagine that first meeting between a young Amazonian warrior and the other two members of DC’s superheroic trinity.

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The Best of DC Rebirth #2: Wonder Woman

One of the principal goals of any comic book publishing initiative, particularly one entitled “Rebirth,” is to offer the audience a fresh starting point: for new readers, casual fans, and even the devotees excited for original storylines. This can be a daunting task, particularly when trying to balance character and origin introductions with engaging plot directions that adhere to decades of continuity. No other fanbase is as devoted to the sanctity of said continuity than that of DC comics, so if you’re going to muddy up the timestream, or reorient the multiversal topography, make damn sure you know what you’re doing. Lucky for us, the creative team of Greg Rucka, Liam Sharp, and Nicola Scott know exactly what they’re doing and, with Wonder Woman, have crafted not just one of the best comics in DC’s Rebirth, but one of the best monthly books of 2016.

Dealing with DC’s publication schedule for the Rebirth initiative was another tall order for many creative teams. DC pared down its slate of books to a more focused number (29 new series through the first half-year), but many of those books were scheduled to ship twice a month. Unlike Marvel, whose recent history suggests a company policy of never letting a schedule get in the way of a good story, DC has done an admirable job keeping up with its biweekly comic book blitz. Admirable, if not for the glut of rushed or half-assed scripts, layouts, and artwork. The Wonder Woman team, better than any other group of writers and artists on the Rebirth books, seemed to have appreciated these challenges from the very beginning, and structured a series that actually embraced the publication schedule, using the two books per month to its advantage. Wonder Woman, with its twelfth issue due this week, has woven together two distinct storylines that, while narratively independent of one another, work together to offer both a welcome perspective on the character’s past, as well as an exciting new chapter in the revitalized DC universe. Continue reading The Best of DC Rebirth #2: Wonder Woman

DC: Rebirth – Week 18

Wow. I didn’t think this book was coming. Not that I wasn’t expecting a Trinity #1, but a DC superhero book that connects on a human level was a welcome surprise. These characters in capes and armor are manifestations of our fantasies, symbolic of the struggle between good and evil. But when written with care, they become as stirring a curiosity as the real people we encounter. Yes, I do like seeing Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman fight monsters and villains, but what an awesome feeling it is to feel like these characters have real humanity behind them. If universes collapsed, and people that were thought dead turned up alive, I’d expect someone to have some sort of existential crisis, but instead there’s been a lot of business as usual. To see DC’s big three sit down at a dinner table, to watch Bruce speak one way in front of everyone, yet wax sentimental in a moment with Clark, or seeing Wonder Woman confide in Lois because her sisters in Themyscira are lost to her –those are the kind of nuances that take these superhero books out of childish distractions and into the realm of thoughtful entertainment.

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Favorite Comics of 2016 (So Far)

eisnerawards_logo_11Comic book award season is upon us, and before this year’s Eisner Winners are announced in San Diego, it felt like a good time to reflect upon some of my favorite releases thus far in 2016. Outside of the conversations we’ve had regarding Marvel’s All-New All-Different initiative, and DC’s recent Rebirth, the funnybook-obsessed Idlers hadn’t really discussed everything else we’d been digging until just recently.

Nice to see we’re all on the same page regarding Vaughan & Chiang’s Paper Girls (although, personally, I’m rooting for Zander Cannon’s Kaijumax in the Best New Series category). We all snatched up Clowes’s Patience as soon as it came out. We all agree that Jason Aaron can’t possibly script enough books. Beyond that, here are five other highlights from the midpoint of the year.

TurningJapaneseTurning Japanese – MariNaomi

MariNaomi’s follow-up to 2014’s Dragon’s Breath is every bit as moving and personal as that collection of autobiographical comics, but with a more singular narrative focus. She recounts the exploration of her Japanese heritage, primarily following a move from San Francisco to San Jose in the 90’s, and a subsequent gig at one of that town’s underground Japanese hostess bars. She sets about learning Japanese, with a curriculum rooted in one of the most improbable and hilarious settings one can imagine. From there, it’s a year spent in Japan, more fully immersing herself in the culture and reconnecting with her family.


I’ve always been very interested in the notion of “home,” particularly as modern generations exhibit an increasingly restless disconnect with what defines that home, both physically and culturally. Similar to MariNaomi’s experience with the Japanese language, I didn’t learn Italian until later in life (although, unlike her situation, it was due to my own stubbornness – my folks tried like hell to teach me when I was a kid), and extended visits to Italy always filled me with an odd mix of pride and alienation. Her novel isn’t just a beautiful, often funny, poignant memoir of her own cultural affirmations; MariNaomi’s Turning Japanese is a tour guide for all of us wandering souls who haven’t given up on finding home, or reconnecting with some aspect of ourselves.

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All New All Different Marvel – Week 39

Like all good summer comic book events, Marvel’s Civil War II has no shortage of crossovers. We get two important narrative pieces in tie-in issues this week, along with big news from HQ regarding Marvel’s post-event initiative. We were pretty curious as to how long we could keep adding weeks to that ANAD counter.

File_000 (6)The new creative team of Christos Gage and Kris Anka begin their run in Captain Marvel #6 with what amounts to more prologue for Civil War II. Confused as to how Carol and James “Rhodey” Rhodes had become so close in the lead-in stories prior to War Machine getting obliterated by Thanos? Or maybe you were just hoping for some steamy extended bedroom scenes to help you visualize who you’d rather see Marvel cast for the film version: Emily Blunt or Brie Larson? My money’s on Brie, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to see Emily brandishing the Kree star…

Emily Blunt? Yes. Don Cheadle? He wishes.
Emily Blunt? Yes. Don Cheadle? He wishes.

Captain Marvel fixes up the Alpha Flight space station just in time to deal with an extra-powerful Dr. Minerva. And, oh the chaos that woman can cause. If only there was a way to foresee massive tragedy and prevent this kind of crap from happening! While the major conflict in the main Civil War title seems to be a brewing clash between the Inhumans and the rest of the superhero community, this Captain Marvel arc should provide more insight into the philosophical divide that separates Danvers and Tony Stark. You’ve got an Inhuman kid who can help you  predict and possibly prevent future catastrophes. Now, should you?

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New Comics: Black Panther

We’re still posting our rankings for the first six months of Marvel’s relaunch, but the hits keep on coming from the House of Ideas, and I don’t doubt that had we waited until All New All Different Marvel – Week 27 to tabulate results, Black Panther by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Brian Stelfreeze would have made the Top 10.

In an interview with NPR, National Book Award recipient Coates talks about how working with Marvel, despite his first experience writing comics, nonetheless makes him “feel back at home.” And home, in this case, is taking a character that debuted fifty years ago in the pages of The Fantastic Four, and making him powerfully relevant in the present.

IMG_0620Given Black Panther’s impending appearance in Marvel Films’ Captain America: Civil War, and a planned solo movie, it would have been easy for the company to simply inundate the comic shop with team book appearances; new series, both limited and ongoing; and half-hearted attempts at putting his face on as many covers as possible. You know, like Deadpool.

Granted, T’challa is part of Ewing & Rocafort’s The Ultimates, but this Coates and Stelfreeze series is the definitive Panther book, and by no means  a requisite media tie-in. And despite a fair amount of back-story to churn through, including the current state of Wakanda, the fictional African kingdom ruled by the T’challa, this new Black Panther delivers on Marvel’s promise to offer an excellent jumping-on point for new readers. Continue reading New Comics: Black Panther