This Wednesday is looking to be quite the sensational day for fans of the Amazon Princess – Wonder Woman! DC Comics has released “Wonder Woman” #36 (feat. the new creative team of Meredith and David Finch), “Superman/ Wonder Woman” #13 (feat. the new creative team of Peter Tomasi and Doug Mahnke), and the fourth issue of “Sensation Comics.”
As a fan of Cliff Chiang and Brian Azzarello’s acclaimed run, a story arc that lasted nearly three years, I was a bit worried as to the direction “Wonder Woman” would be taking. But thanks to fellow staff writer, Robert Lazauskas and solicited previews from DC Comics, this was the title that most excited me!
The husband and wife team of Meredith and David Finch are the perfect team to take over for Azzarello and Chiang. Focusing on delving into her psyche and exploring her emotional depth, the Finch’s deliver a fresh perspective on Wonder Woman not yet seen in The New 52. After having defeated the First Born, becoming the God of War, and reigning as the new Queen of Themyscira, Diana has a full plate of responsibilities. The book opens up with a tsunami forcefully striking a village, later reported as a “catastrophic environmental event [finding]Thailand and Ecuador hit the hardest.” The Justice League are perplexed over what could have caused the incident and offer theories as Cyborg reports that “the only readings [he’s] getting are vegetation.” Diana, traveling to Thailand, has an encounter with Swamp Thing and soon begin to fight as she angrily accuses him of costing the lives of so many. Wonder Woman, pissed off and powerful, demanding answers for “the senseless annihilation of thousands of innocents” is soon interrupted by Aquaman. Breaking up the fight, Swamp Thing tells them that the he cannot offer any insight other than having felt a massive disturbance in the green. The first issue by the Finch’s sets up what appears to be a global mystery, similar to the Denny O’Neil Batman stories of the 80’s. Told with more heart and attention to Wonder Woman, we are presented with a strong, powerful, and capable female that will always give her best and never let her friends, family, and world down. Focusing completely on her as a person, the tone of story shifts dramatically away from the mythological tone of the series previous 35 issues.[/caption]There are several moments in this book that set up what will hopefully be another definitive run in the 75 years of Princess Diana. Addressing her as not a comic book character, not just a member of the Justice League or Superman’s girlfriend, she becomes a very realistic and relatable person. Just because she’s Wonder Woman doesn’t make her feel any less “like being pulled in a thousand different directions.” David Finch, bringing over his distinct style, completelyrevamps the style and look of “Wonder Woman” and the world she inhabits. Going for a more realistic, in the world take, it could not be any clearer that this is a NEW creative team. It may turn people off as they have grown used to looking at a more classic, animated approach as handled by Cliff Chiang, but if you enjoy the character, you’ll soon get used to David Finch. It’s worth observing how Diana is illustrated, no longer the mythic-looking, amazon warrior superhero, she is now depicted as a demure yet strong woman. Lacking the bigger muscles of Chiang’s approach, Wonder Woman is ever so closer to seeming more in line with Gal Gadot. It seems plausible that as DC Comics had two years to establish Superman without his trunks before the release of “Man of Steel”, they are taking an approach to Wonder Woman that will have fans accustomed to her look once she makes her debut in “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” in 2016.
“Wonder Woman” #36 gets three out of five stars.
“Superman/ Wonder Woman” being handled by Peter J. Tomasi and Doug Mahnke is a whole different animal than “Wonder Woman” #36. Tomasi and Mahnke deliver an issue that is fast and furious to read, along with muscular action that is fitting for two of the strongest members of the Justice League. A real plus for this title is that it delivers on capturing the spirit of the super couple’s relationship. The dialogue between both Clark and Diana reads naturally and seems as if they are an actual couple (they are!) The pencils by Doug Mahnke never seem off and he illustrates a story that is clearly told and easy to follow.
In their story, “Battlefield of Love”, we are brought back five years ago. Reliving the early moments of the Justice League and their first battle with Darkseid, we see Superman and Wonder Woman encounter each other for the first time. Superman, impressed with Wonder Woman’s strength and ability to hold her own is only rivaled by how much he disagrees with her rough approach to helping others. Raised with the belief in others and the desire to be good for the sake of being good, he couldn’t be more different than Wonder Woman. She, unlike Clark, was raised on Themyscira, Paradise Island for Amazons. Wonder Woman is a natural born and bred warrior with little regard for Superman’s personal connection to the human race. Reminding him that he’s “definitely not one of them”, they continue to battle hordes of parademons, until Superman saves a man that needs immediate help. Annoyed at her attitude, Superman raises his voice at Wonder Woman while she is finally going to give her name to him. Taken aback at his authority and unflinching loyalty to others, she returns to the fight. The opening prologue really sets the tone for the rest of the issue that primarily focuses on Clark and Diana’s domestic life. It isn’t until near the end that we are given our first fight featuring two villains making a return appearance after last seen in “Forever Evil.” Tomasi writes a great issue that is sure to become popular for fans looking to see how a superhero relationship would play out. We get scenes of Diana rushing Clark to get his typing done so they could go on a date to a cute scene where Clark gives up four taxis in a row to others, while him and Diana are caught in a downpour. While issue #13 of “Superman/ Wonder Woman” may not seem like the “fast and furious to read” kind of book as I earlier described, believe me, it is! I don’t want to deliver any spoilers, but this is a terrific read that introduces us to a solid new creative team.
“Superman/ Wonder Woman” #13 gets four out of five stars.
“Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman” #4 is an overall fun issue to read. “Sensation”, much like “Adventures of Superman” before it, is a digital first then released for print comic book. Issue #4 features three different stories that feel as if they were ripped from the silver age of comic books.
The first story, written and drawn by Gilbert Hernandez seems like the closest to the original Wonder Woman created by William Moulton Marston. In what is most like the original “Sensation Comics”, the story finds Wonder Woman and Supergirl transported to a planet to battle each other for the entertainment of two aliens that love “female super warriors.” In several panels, Wonder Woman is seen delivering one solid blow to Supergirl that sens her flying. It is a purely comedic moment seemingly fit for a zany episode of WB’s “Looney Tunes.” It is here that Hernandez delivers his cartoonist approach to Wonder Woman by drawing her as a gigantic muscled superhero. “No Chains Can Hold Her” is a deliberately retro styled story that is a clear homage to Wonder Woman’s silver age. It’s great fun to read and hilarious to look at. It’d be interesting to see Hernandez’s story translated to an animated short.
The second story, “Attack of the 500-Foot Wonder Woman” written by Tom Lyle with art by Rob Williams, is another homage to the silver age tales of everyone’s favorite amazon. The story by Rob Williams finds Wonder Woman enhanced by one of The Atom’s growth fields. The Atom, helping her to regain her senses and equilibrium in her enlarged state, fights Byth (the creature of a thousand shapes) and foe to the planet, Thanagar. Wonder Woman, coming to the aid of Gateway City and Hawkman and Hawkgirl, eventually saves the day. While reading this story, you may notice the remarkable look of the story that screams George Perez with a touch of Brian Bolland. The real artist behind “Attack” is Tom Lyle and he accomplishes the feat of illustrating a story that is not only pleasing to the eyes but an invitation to fully read the short story.
The third and final story, “Ghosts and Gods” written by Neil Kleid and illustrated by Dean Haspiel, seems like an unused episode of Bruce Timm and Paul Dini’s “Justice League.” And, for those that know me, you know I love Bruce Timm! The story plays out like a classic Timm influenced by Kirby story. Wonder Woman, trapped by Ra’s Al Ghul in one of his secret lairs in the Tibetan mountains, battles her way though his fortress. She’s with a friend named Etta Candy, though she is currently possesed by Deadman. Wonder Woman has to stop Ra’s before he can use a stolen purple ray device to turn his League of Assassins into immortals. It’s a fun story that’s an easy read for anyone looking for a good comic.
“Sensation Comics” gets three out of five stars.