GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — Sensation Comics, Gotham Academy, C.O.W.L.

Sensation Comics #7
Sensation Comics #7, Art by Marguerite Sauvage © DC Comics

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. This week we have a sensational Wonder Woman, meet the new students of Gotham Academy, and find out what the C.O.W.L. is up to.

Kelly Knox — Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman #7 by Sean E. Williams and Marguerite Sauvage

Wonder Woman’s weekly digital series—now moved to Thursdays on the release schedule—continues to delight fans of the Amazon princess. Issue #7 asks a “What if?” similar to the one we saw recently with Gwen Stacy in the Spider-Verse: What if our intrepid heroine was a rock star?

The one-shot story doesn’t waste much time asking why she would choose the rock star life over the life of a superhero, but it’s easy to guess why when you see how inspiring she is to her young fans. Even as a rock star in the band “Bullets and Bracelets,” Diana is true to herself and unafraid to speak her mind.

It’s the gorgeous art that really stands out for this issue, though. Marguerite Sauvage does a fantastic job of giving Wonder Woman her rock star makeover while still staying true to her costume and origin. The colors are striking, and I found myself flipping through the issue multiple times just to admire the art.

Age Recommendation: 12+

From the cover of Gotham Academy, image copyright DC Comics
From the cover of Gotham Academy, image copyright DC Comics

Corrina — Gotham Academy #1 by Becky Cloonan and Brenden Fletcher, art by Kark Kerschl, colors by Geyser with Dave McCaig.

This is a comic I never thought I’d see from DC. One, the inventive and eye-popping art style that causes me to study every page. Two, the unusual concept of a mysterious and dangerous prep school in Gotham City, sort of a Hogwarts for DC. Three, the book is headlined by a female lead and being written by a woman.

But the real reason to read Gotham Academy is that it’s fun, fascinating, and one of the more immersive books I’ve read in some time. Olive Silverlock is our guide to the academy in the first issue, irreverently introducing us to the headmaster (“Hammer-Head”), her schoolmates, lunch period (Belgian waffles? Sign me up!) , and restricted parts of the Academy which, naturally, Olive and her friend Maps need to explore. Bruce Wayne even makes a short guest-appearance. There are hints that something awful happened to Olive over the summer, which piques my interest as well.

Buy it. There’s nothing else quite like it on the stands.

Age Recommendation: Ages 6+ but be warned there are some scares of the gothic variety.

Lisa Tate — C.O.W.L. #4 by Kyle Higgins and Alec Siegel with art by Rod Reis

COWL Issue 4  Image Comics
C.O.W.L. Issue 4 Image Comics

The idea of a labor union as a subject of a comic seems both dry and over-political, but if that union happened to be made up of super-powered individuals and their cohorts, it makes for a pretty intriguing story.

The Chicago Organized Workers League (C.O.W.L.), made up of both “powered” and “unpowered” individuals, has been dubbed the world’s first superhero labor union. In the first three issues of this series, the team has defeated a team of villains, had their information compromised, and has been undergoing contractual negotiations with the city over such thing as cost for uniforms and health insurance. This is not to mention the individual members’ own personal battles with spouses and children, inner demons, reputation, and feelings of inadequacy.

By the fourth issue of the Image Comics release, their union woes are evident, as the mayor’s wish to hire “non-union” heroes has resulted in a C.O.W.L. strike. This now challenges the league’s already shaky camaraderie. Add a little blackmail and civic violence to the mix and the conflict continues to escalate.

I do find the characters a little hard to find sympathetic so far. Each of their stories is interesting enough, but it has been hard to really be moved by their struggles and goals. It also utilizes much of the familiar plot points (super-powers gained by exposure to radiation, the public’s mistrust of costumed vigilantes), but it is the setting itself that helps it stand out.

This series has the smooth and sleek 1960s appeal of The Avengers (the British Science Fiction spy series, not the superhero team), but it cranks it up a notch, with a grittier tone. Reis’s art is so varied, it sometimes looks like one those double issue comics, in which several artists lend their talents to different sections. I did enjoy this environment.

Fans of the 50s and 60s “spy fi” genre will enjoy this book, as long as they aren’t looking for the next Astro City, Watchmen, or even the television series Heroes.

Age Recommendation: Mature

Looking for something else, readers? Check out this week’s listed books:

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Action Comics #35
American Vampire Second Cycle #5
Aquaman And The Others #6
Batman ’66 Meets The Green Hornet #5 (Of 6)
Batman 75th Anniversary Trade Paperback Commemorative Collection
Batman Essentials: Batman The Black Mirror Special Edition #1
Batman Eternal #26
Batman Superman #14
Batman Vol 4 Zero Year Secret City TP
Detective Comics #35
Fables Deluxe Edition Vol 9 HC
Fairest #30
Fairest Vol 4 Of Men And Mice TP
FBP Federal Bureau Of Physics Vol 2 Wish You Were Here TP
Flash Season Zero #1
Flash Special Edition #1
Gotham Academy #1
Grayson #3
Green Arrow #35
Green Lantern #35
Green Lantern New Gods Godhead #1
Hinterkind #12
Injustice Gods Among Us Year Two Annual #1
Injustice Gods Among Us Year Two Vol 1 HC
Justice League #34
Justice League 3000 #10
Justice League Beyond 2.0 Power Struggle TP
Lobo #1 New Series
Looney Tunes #221 Kid Friendly
Names #2 (Of 8)
New 52 Futures End #22
Swamp Thing #35
Teen Titans Go Titans Together TP
Tiny Titans Return To The Treehouse #5 (Of 6) Kid Friendly
Wonder Woman #34
Wonder Woman Vol 4 War TP
Wonder Woman Vol 5 Flesh HC
All-New Ghost Rider Vol 1 Engines Of Vengeance TP
All-New X-Men Vol 1 HC
Black Widow #11
Bucky Barnes The Winter Soldier #1 New Series
Captain America #25
Dark Tower The Drawing Of The Three The Prisoner #3 (Of 5)
Death Of Wolverine #3 (Of 4)
Deathlok The Demolisher The Complete Collection TP
Edge Of Spider-Verse #4 (Of 5)
Fantastic Four Annual #1
Figment #5 (Of 5) Final Issue
Guardians 3000 #1 New Series
Iron Man Vol 5 Rings Of The Mandarin HC
Legendary Star-Lord #4 GeekMom Recommended
Magneto Vol 1 Infamous TP
Men Of Wrath By Jason Aaron #1 (Of 5)
Miracleman #11
Moon Knight #8
Moon Knight Epic Collection Vol 1 Bad Moon Rising TP
Moon Knight Vol 1 From The Dead TP
New Mutants X-Force Demon Bear TP
Silver Surfer #6
Spider-Man 2099 #4
Spider-Man Kraven’s Last Hunt Prose Novel HC
Thor #1 New Series
Uncanny Avengers #25
X-Men #20
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Angry Birds Comics #5 Kid Friendly
Ben 10 Classics Vol 3 TP Kid Friendly
Complete Chester Gould’s Dick Tracy Vol 17 HC
Flesh And Steel The Art Of Russ Heath HC
Kill Shakespeare The Mask Of Night #4 (Of 4) Final Issue
Popeye Classics #27 Kid Friendly
PUCK What Fools These Mortals Be HC
Rogue Trooper Classics #6 (Of 12)
Samurai Jack Vol 2 The Scotsman’s Curse TP Kid Friendly
Silent Hill Downpour Anne’s Story #2 (Of 4)
Skylanders The Kaos Trap HC Kid Friendly
Squidder #4 (Of 4) Final Issue
Star Trek Gold Key Archives Vol 2 HC
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #38
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Vol 9 Monsters Misfits And Madmen TP
Transformers Windblade TP
X-Files Year Zero #3 (Of 5)
Angel And Faith Season 10 #7
Art Of Naughty Dog HC
Art Of The Book Of Life HC
Concrete Park R-E-S-P-E-C-T #2 (Of 5)
Concrete Park Vol 1 You Send Me HC
Dream Thief Escape #4 (Of 4)
Edgar Allan Poe’s Spirits Of The Dead HC
Eerie Archives Vol 17 HC
Loverboys HC
Star Wars Darth Maul Son Of Dathomir TP
Star Wars Vol 3 Rebel Girl TP
Usagi Yojimbo Senso #3 (Of 6) 

Acronym Key: HC = Hard Cover / TP = Trade Paperback / GM = GeekMom Recommended Reading