Saturday, October 29, 2011

Justice League: Cry for Justice #5 (January, 2010)

Donna Troy tagged along with her Titans bestie Koriand'r for a swim in her 52 co-star Buddy Baker's family pool. Buddy's son Cliff wanted to swim too, but wife Ellen argued, "Kory and her friend are out there, and it's always a gamble if Kory will have her clothes on.

Donna thanked Ellen. "You're being a very generous host. Letting us hang out here... catch up, away from all the craziness." Ellen basically said that Kory was always welcome, "And if you're a friend of hers, you're welcome too."

The doorbell rang, and outside Ellen found the blue-skinned Starman (Mikaal Tomas) and Buddy's old teammate in the Forgotten Heroes, Congorilla. After suffering personal injuries through the machinations of the villain Prometheus, the pair had begun working together to track him down. The trail having gone cold, they were now seeking help from former allies. Animal Man agreed to join them, so long as they were out for justice, not blood. Starfire had worked with Starman in the "Justice League of Aliens," so she was happy to help if needed. Donna added, "Need us or not, I'm in. This all speaks to something bigger that's brewing. I'm wondering if I should call in the Titans." Possibly, but in the meantime, the quintet paid a visit to the Justice League Satellite. It turned out to have already been infiltrated by Prometheus, who had severed the right arm of Donna's former lover, Roy Harper...

The fifth chapter of Cry For Justice, “The Lie” was by James Robinson, Mauro Cascioli, and Scott Clark.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Justice League: Cry for Justice #1 (September, 2009)

Aboard the JLA satellite, Green Lantern Hal Jordan had taken stock of the deaths of Martian Manhunter and Batman during Final Crisis. He decided that the Justice League needed to actively seek out criminals before their plots could come to fruition, setting him in conflict with Superman and a more reactive group. "...These aren't the villains of yesterday, and our being 'good' and 'true' isn't scaring them back into the shadows. Not anymore."

Wonder Woman leaned into the conference room table. "Hal. This isn't like you."
"Cool, carefree Jordan? Not today, Diana."
"What are you saying?"
"I'm saying this will not stand. I'm saying they hurt us, we hurt back."

Superman wasn't sure he could allow Hal to go through with his plan, but Jordan scowled, "Try to stop me." No one did, and Green Arrow left with him.

“Cry For Justice: The Beginning” was by James Robinson and Mauro Cascioli.

Friday, October 21, 2011

2006 Wonder Woman on Paradise Island sketch by Mike Wieringo

Click To Enlarge

A swell piece by the late great.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sensational Comics for January, 2012

Wonder Woman
1:25 Variant cover by CLIFF CHIANG
On sale JANUARY 18 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

Wonder Woman has returned home to London…but leaving Paradise Island doesn’t mean leaving the gods behind, as two of the most powerful deities of the pantheon have come to town – and neither of them is leaving without being crowned King of the gods! Featuring guest art by Tony Akins (JACK OF FABLES)!
You here about the big reveal regarding Wonder Woman's origin? I'd hate to spoil it. Suffice to say, it's borrowed from someone I suppose doesn't need it any longer, and once again spits in the face of originality and the creator's whole point in devising it. At least there should be less Claymation Pinocchio crap.

Written by GEOFF JOHNS
Art and cover by JIM LEE and SCOTT WILLIAMS
1:25 Variant cover by ERIC BASALDUA
1:200 B&W Variant cover by JIM LEE
On sale JANUARY 18 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
Combo pack edition: $4.99 US

Now, with the teenaged powerhouse Cyborg at their side, this group of individual heroes must somehow put their differences aside to face the terror of Darkseid!
This issue is also offered as a special combo pack edition, polybagged with a redemption code for a digital download of the issue.
Notice how Superman is the only person on this cover not wielding a deadly weapon? Sheesh.

Cover #21 by MIKE S. MILLER
In a misguided attempt to save the Earth, Batman launches a chemical attack on an alien race. Will Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps arrive in time to stop the genocide? And in issue #22, the final battle begins! Under the leadership of Batman and Lex Luthor, the heroes launch an all-out assault on Brainiac – but the elusive Super Villain still has one more trick up his sleeve!
#21 on sale JANUARY 11
#22 on sale JANUARY 25
32 pg, FC, $2.99 US
End. Soon.

On sale MARCH 7
192 pg, FC, $22.99 US
In this final “Odyssey” volume, Wonder Woman faces Cheetah, Silver Swan, Dr. Psycho and the mysterious Morrigan. And as the old gods die away, only Diana’s inner strength can see her through the battle to come.
And in the finale, Wonder Woman learns that the only way to defeat her nemesis may be to give her own powers over to her! But is Diana strong enough to control a force that seeks vengeance on all mankind, or will the warrior within her condemn her to a life of eternal bloodshed? Collecting WONDER WOMAN #607-614!
Anyone lining up for a reprint of a reboot that already got rebooted?

Wonder Girl (Cassie Sandsmark)
Art and cover by BRETT BOOTH and NORM RAPMUND
1:25 Variant cover by BRETT BOOTH and NORM RAPMUND
On sale JANUARY 25
32 pg, FC, $2.99 US
Retailers: This issue will ship with two covers. The variant cover will feature the standard edition cover in a wraparound format.

In their first battle as a team, The Teen Titans square off against N.O.W.H.E.R.E.’s most powerful weapon... The Superboy! But can the cunning of Red Robin, the speed of Kid Flash and the psionic might of Bunker stop a threat that has already taken out the powerhouse known as Wonder Girl? The fight rages from a battle cruiser docked in the Hudson River to the Central Park Zoo, but as a world stands up and takes notice, there is a very real possibility the Teen Titans might not survive their high profile debut!
No there isn't. Liars. Way to spoil the previous issue on the Wonder Girl front, by the way.

Wonder Girl (Donna Troy)
Art and cover by ART BALTAZAR
On sale JANUARY 18
32 pg, FC, $2.99 US
Because you demanded it – Tiny Titans unmasked in a special all red hair issue! Barbara! Miss Martian! Starfire! Blackfire! And Speedy! Actually, Speedy’s hair is more of an auburn. Also, what’s Wonder Girl’s secret? What is she doing with all that fruit? A discovery is made when she reveals her secret oranges!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Warner Bros. Studio Store Wonder Woman Lithograph by Brian Bolland

Click To Enlarge

I've never laid eyes on one of these myself, and my attempts to find information on the internet haven't come to much. The artist posted the image on his brand new blog, along with a large black and white detail of his cover to Wonder Woman #81. The lithograph is supposed to be huge, framed, and signed & numbered with a Certificate of Authenticity. You can see the original 17" x 24" art here, as well as a preliminary sketch. If anyone would liked to chime in with more details, I'm all ears...

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Huntress #1 (December, 2011)

When I started this blog, it was going to co-feature the Huntress, a former back-up in early '80s Wonder Woman comics. It only took a few months to realize that I had too much to work with regarding Amazing Amazons to give Huntress due space, and I needed more heroines to cover at another blog, so she moved. Since I decided not to buy the latest Wonder Woman #1 (first by pre-order choice, then by it selling out within two hours of hitting local stands,) and I wanted to cover Action Comics #1 at Huntress' current home, I figured a special return guest appearance was in order...

Helena was finally back in Italy, and disembarking from the plane, wondered "how many corpses I'll leave behind this trip?" On reaching Naples, she was disgusted by the stink of the unresolved garbage strike. She was also down on men, even though she took advantage of them to get herself and her crossbow into the country without dealing with customs.

That night, the Huntress raided a ship with cargo planned to sail for Gotham City. She knocked out a guard with a weighted bolt, then insured that he would sleep through the night with a syringe full of nappytime. In a shipping container, the Huntress found crates full of guns behind the kidnapped young women of Arab descent. The women's pleas drew the attention of two guards, but Huntress' martial arts skills made short work of them. The innocents were escorted off the ship, and the container was destroyed in an explosion.

The next day, the sedated guard reported to his capo, Mr. Moretti. He couldn't care less about the women, who were easily replaceable, but losing a month's worth of smuggled firearms was infuriating. Moretti had security beefed up to deal with the mask, and shot the failed guard in the head.

Helena insisted on keeping things on a first name basis with Allesandro, the reporter who was part of a crusade to help exploited immigrants in the wake of the Arab Spring. "I am sick of reporting this disgusting story to a nation that does not get angry." Helena impaled a newspaper he was shaking to a wall with the toss of a letter opener. Italian citizens may not be concerned with human trafficking, but Helena made her point that at least they were on the case.

Helena, under the alias of Esposito, subtly requested from her bellhop that a prostitute be sent up. Soon, a dark-complected young girl in a tube top and microskirt showed up with a handler, demanding money up front. Helena kicked him in the face, but the scared girl called for help on her cell phone before the vigilante could convince her otherwise. Helena knocked out the call girl with a nerve pinch, then suited up for the inevitable armed response. "It's never simple. I wonder if Batman plans these moments better... or is he just luckier?" The Huntress beat the snot out of four armed enforcers, then left them tied up in her hotel room while she left with the hooker, Afaf. The men were found by more agents of Mr. Moretti, led by Giuseppe, who executed the lot for their failure.

"Crossbow at the Crossroads" was by Paul Levitz, Marcus To and John Dell. Based on a text piece at the back of the book, this story took place on the revived Earth-2, alongside the new Mr. Terrific series. While I always liked the Huntress gaining independence to become her own person, the piece hints that she may again turn out to be the daughter of that world's Batman and Catwoman... or not. Her last name was suspiciously withheld throughout.

With this script, Levitz clearly wanted to prove that you can teach an old dog new tricks. Decompression, silent action, sparse dialogue, the absence of thought balloons in favor of captions, light exposition, mature elements, and a hero who speaks casually of murder. What Levitz couldn't hide was a clear, conventional narrative and a reliance on action movie tropes, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Of the four first issues I've bought of the "New 52" (though this is technically a 53rd,) I liked this the best. The art is also pretty, like the lovechild of Gary Frank and Sam Basri, without the excessive titillation of the latter's recent work (though it's not completely absent.) To never sacrifices storytelling for money shots, every picture is lovely, his Huntress is athletic while still feminine, and he's great about referencing complex martial arts moves. So far, this is a perfect match of creators and character.

DC New 52

Saturday, October 8, 2011

DC Retroactive: Wonder Woman - The '80s #1 (DC, 2011)

A young girl was nearly run down in the street by a luxury sedan barreling through a red light at her. The car was caught and flung about by Wonder Woman, who learned the man responsible was some fat cat who felt above the law. Diana inflicted grievous bodily harm on the man and his driver, which even under the circumstances came across as excessive. Good thing Wonder Woman could just fly off before any police looked at her cross-eyed.

Major Diana Prince (she got promoted) returned to work at the Pentagon, and nagged Etta Candy about not sticking to her diet. No sooner had she arrived than a news report about the earlier incident sent her right out the door again. You see, that Wonder Woman was not Diana Prince. The Amazing Amazon was soon in her invisible robot plane, searching for her impersonator.

Inside a water tower, the "little ersatz Amazon" returned to the concealed lab of Dr. Psycho. A few weeks earlier, a plot by Ares to kill Wonder Woman through his newly created proxy Silver Swan had overlapped with Dr. Psycho's exploitation of Steve Trevor to create a perfect body for himself. Both plots ended in defeat. Silver Swan was left the powerless ugly duckling Helen Alexandros, but Dr. Psycho recognized that she still had usefulness. Using his Electroplasmotron, Psycho temporarily turned Helen into Wonder Woman, and promised to make the change permanent for a price.

Colonel Steve Trevor paid a visit to Major Prince's office, but finding her absent, asked Lieutenant Candy's advice: "How do I make Wonder Woman fall in love with me?" Etta had no answers, and with his efforts frustrated, Trevor blew off steam joyriding in a fighter jet.

Dr. Cyril Psycho's certified I.Q. of 237 had allowed him to devise a device to observe the invisible plane clearly. With the Electroplasmotron fired up, the false Amazon could pursue the true one. Further, if Alexandros were to kill the real Princess Diana, Helen could permanently absorb her essence. That's not to mention Alexandros' retaining some of her powers of flight from Ares, making her "Wonder Woman two-point-o!" Well, except Helen still bore the old eagle breastplate, while Diana had moved on to the "'Winged-W' sigil." The predictable fight ensued, with the unwanted telepathic encouragement of the doting Dr. Psycho in the former Silver Swan's head.

Diana had the advantage of experience, but Helen had more raw power. The deal-breaker was the invisible plane, spinning out of control, on a collision course with Steve Trevor's jet. Helen insisted on being the one to save him, recalling her infatuation with Captain Wonder. However, Helen was reminded that Steve was "only the pale prototype Psycho used to create him," and tossed the Colonel aside.

Diana had used Helen's reliance on brute force and lack of forethought against her, recalling the robot plane and catching Steve Trevor in midair. Since Psycho had experimented on him, Steve couldn't get Wonder Woman out of his mind, but assumed she could never love a man that she had to rescue all of the time. While Steve sulked, Helen smashed into Dr. Psycho's lab, sneering over her unwillingness to follow through on their deal. Rather than becoming the trophy wife of Psycho as agreed, Helen admitted that she was only ever in it for Captain Wonder, and in his absence, she was out. Dr. Psycho pleaded with her, but was backhanded for his simpering. Helen believed that she could still kill Wonder Woman, take her place, and search out a truly worthy mate. She shouldn't have showed her hand to Psycho prematurely then, because he caused the Electroplasmotron to self-destruct. The explosion killed Dr. Psycho, and the sudden loss of its power sent Helen Alexandros falling to her own death. Unable to hear her screams as the robot plane flew on, Steve Trevor noted, "Who could ever be a threat-- to the one and only Wonder Woman?"

"Double, Double..." was by Roy Thomas, Rich Buckler, Tim Smith 3, Carlos Rodriguez, Joe Rubinstein, Jack Purcell, and Norman Lee. That's six artists for twenty-six pages of story. It starts out pretty well with Buckler and Rubinstein offering an unusually ripped but otherwise classic Bronze Age Wonder Woman. Thomas' script is cute, drawing on plot threads left over from his run, although he clearly should have reread his own scripts. He seemed to forget how his creations worked, and amidst all the flashbacks might have explained how the villains were reunited. Unfortunately, the good artists ditch on page fourteen with seriously cruddy replacements in the second half. If fact, the art is so terrible, I suspect Thomas had to rewrite those pages, because the story quality seems to deteriorate around the same point into a dunderheaded slugfest. The grim coda is jarring, in part because Rubenstein returns to own those last two pages. A nasty little retroactive cap on Thomas' run.

DC Retroactive

Friday, October 7, 2011

Sensational Demographics

Page Views To Date:
According to Statcounter- 58,168
According to Google- 71,462

All the World is Watching You:
1) U.S.A. (53%)
2) Canada (6%)
3) U.K. (5%)
4) Brazil (4%)
5) Germany (2%)
Followed by France, Australia, Mexico, Italy & India.

The Top posts to date are...

10) The Top Five Giganta Covers: 387 Pageviews

9) Rule 63: Wonder Woman: 407 Pageviews

8) The Top 20 Wonder Girl (Cassie Sandsmark) Covers: 432 Pageviews

7) The Top 20 Donna Troy Covers: 511 Pageviews

6) The Top 20 Wonder Woman Covers of the 1970s: 642 Pageviews

5) Dragon*Con 2010 Black Lantern Wonder Woman Cosplay: 985 Pageviews

4) Dragon*Con 2010 Donna Troy Cosplay: 1,219 Pageviews

3) Jaimie Alexander on Wonder Woman in Maxim Magazine : 1,868 Pageviews

2) Dragon*Con 2010 Wonder Woman & the Wonder Girls Cosplay: 1,959 Pageviews

1) 2011 Wonder Woman TV Show Logo and Costume: 6,624 Pageviews

Thanks go to referring blogs The Idol-Head of Diabolu, Firestorm Fan, Paul D. Brazil, and Being Carter Hall!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

2010 Wonder Woman Redesign art by Brett Booth

Click To Enlarge

"I decided to toss my hat into the Wonder Woman redesign ring. I think I finally figured out what was bothering me about the re design. She doesn't look like Wonder Woman.. meaning she looks to young. In fact she looks more like Donna Troy (she might be young in the story so I might be wrong about this.) I know it's just a sketch, and that Jim did it quickly. I worked with him for years and sat over his shoulder watching him crank out pages and sketches. I did have a question, when did Wonder Woman get these enormous breasts? She didn't have them originally and now she's so top heavy I'm surprised she can fight at all!

So I drew up my redesign, trying to make sure she looked a bit older."

There's a Superman reworking at the link, as well.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Wonder Woman #290 (April, 1982)

Silver Swan tore through a brick wall to get into Dr. Psycho's lab in Virginia, intent on murdering Colonel Steve Trevor and Wonder Woman. Setting her beau on an operating table (and setting aside a flashback for late arrivals,) Wonder Woman explained, "We don't have anything to fight about, Swan-- not unless you want to give me good reason by trying to carry out your threat. But I'm warning you, lady... if you do, I'm more than ready to take you on!" Swan asserted that Diana and her boyfriend were living on borrowed time, "and I've just called in the debt!"

If she had to fight a madwoman, Wonder Woman was set on doing it outside, so as not to harm Steve. The pair engaged in midair wrestling, but Silver Swan easily shook the Princess off, and there were no strong air currents for her to glide upon. Wonder Woman instead relied upon her robot plane for salvation, grabbing a wing before turning back to lasso Swan. The Silver Swan was compelled to obey the Lasso of Truth, halting the fight.

Meanwhile, Dr. Psycho was infatuated with the Silver Swan on sight, like most men. "I've hated women my whole life, just as they've hated my hideous countenance. But I feel the strangest... compulsion... to aid her..." Although he was unable to affect permanent change without his equipment, Psycho's ectoplasmic powers still worked through the medium of Steve Trevor's unconscious mind, so that Captain Wonder was reborn. "I'll deliver the Silver Swan from Wonder Woman's power, and then the woman will be mine. For what woman could resist me in this form... one of such beauty and power...?" Possibly because every single design flaw in Wonder Woman's costume was magnified a hundredfold by the ambiguously gay Captain Wonder?

The Psycho Wonder sucker punched Wonder Woman right off her plane, freed Silver Swan, then caught the Amazing Amazon in her own lasso. Swan thought the Captain was magnificent. "My whole life, men have disappointed me... I was... the ugly duckling-- too hideous for them to even consider loving me! ...I hate men for what they've done to my life..." Despite their jaundiced appraisals of the opposite sex, it was "love" at first sight for Silver Swan and Captain Wonder, Psycho finding Swan lovelier than even his departed wife Marva.

Wonder Woman, Swan and Psycho had all had lengthy flashbacks, so Steve Trevor demanded his turn. He dreamed of his mission, begun on Trevor's parallel Earth of origin, from which he flew a jet through a vibrational barrier to Earth-1. Existentially, Trevor was aware that he was not of this Earth, but he was held fast upon meeting his angel, the Amazon Princess...

Mars was sorely displeased that Silver Swan had yet to complete her mission, and compounded his demands. Besides killing Princess Diana, "I wish you to destroy it all-- their President and this puny monument to their pretensions of power!" By this he meant that he wanted the robot plane to make a kamikaze run on the White House, where President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy were walking the grounds with Secret Service agents. None were appropriately responsive to the thunderous invisible missile aimed for them, as the game Captain Wonder carried on with Silver Swan.

Steve Trevor began to wake from his dream, destabilizing Captain Wonder. Wonder Woman sensed his vulnerability, and yanked Captain Wonder off the wing of her plane by the lasso used to drag her along. The Captain fell through the branches of a wooded area, protecting Dr. Psycho long enough to survive before his ectoplasmic construct dissipated. Wonder Woman saw this from above, and with stronger winds near the White House, was able to glide back toward her jet. However, Silver Swan caught her from behind, savagely tearing at the back of Wonder Woman's head with her fingernails. However, this afforded the Amazing Amazon a grip on the psychotic siren, an advantage she pressed until she batted Silver Swan to the ground. Dr. Psycho was as horrified by the "bone-shuddering" thump of Swan's body as she had been at the apparent demise of her newfound "love."

Agent Tomkins ordered President Reagan to "hit the dirt," but Wonder Woman's telepathic rapport with her robot plane allowed her to halt it before damage could be done. "Well. So that's this Wonder Woman I've heard so much about... I can't say as I much care for her method of dropping by to say hello, though..."

Mars was upset. "With all thy power, still you grovel in the dirt in the humiliation of defeat!" Helen Alexandros protested that the fight wasn't finished, but Mars found her unworthy of being the Silver Swan, and stripped away her powers. Helen hoped to find consolation in the arms of Captain Wonder, but instead discovered Dr. Psycho. Their eyes locked across a clearing, "but you see this time not the spark of love... and as one, you shudder-- before hurrying apart... in search of that which never truly existed-- a beauty that's forever gone." Wonder Woman didn't have time to capture either of them, hurrying back to Steve Trevor, whose "lovely angel" had finally enabled him to resolve the cosmic tug-of-war that had threatened his life.

"Panic Over Pennsylvania Avenue!" was by Roy Thomas, Paul Kupperberg, Gene Colan, and Romeo Tanghal. I had no idea that there was a change in scripting duties until I checked the credit box for this review. Despite the excess of flashbacks, this was a good issue that brought home the reason for mingling the Silver Swan and Dr. Psycho stories. Hell, for all I know, that contrast and the villains' aesthetic hypocrisy may well have inspired Silver Swan's very creation!

The Bronze Age