Women shine this week at DC, with new issues of Black Canary, Gotham Academy, DC Comics Bombshells and Legend of Wonder Woman.
There’s also the second installment of what we’re unofficially calling the “Superman Dies Again,” storyline that is a lead into DCs “not-a-reboot” Rebirth this summer, when several new heroes take over for the Man of Steel. Happily, until then, this Superman is more Grant Morrison All-Star Superman than Zack Snyder Superman.
Black Canary #10, Brenden Fletcher, writer, Moritat and Sandy Jarrell, artists
Ray – 8/10
Corrina: Classic Birds of Prey-style action.
Ray: Jarrell and Moritat are on board as guest artists this issue (although you can get an Annie Wu Black Canary fix in Gotham Academy this week!), and both do a capable job in an issue that goes sideways from last (non-fill-in) issue’s adventure focusing on the members of the band as Dinah goes missing. Dinah’s escaped from the assassin’s cult and made her way back to the states – Burnside, in particularly – to seek the help of Batgirl.
I’m not sure where exactly this takes place time-wise, because this version of Batgirl seems a bit lighter than the one that emerged at the end of Batgirl #50 last week. More like Batgirl from the beginning of Batgirl of Burnside. Still, their rapport is a lot of fun and I’m glad to see they’ve patched things up. Batgirl’s skepticism about the story of Canary’s aunt is welcome, because stories like this sort of need a character to serve as the voice of the audience’s suspicion. We get the first clues to the identity of the big bad, a shady recording artist who Dinah’s mother had dealings with. From there, ninjas show up! Along with a former rival of Dinah’s mother and aunt, and the two get into an epic kung fu rock duel which is easily the highlight of the issue. Annie Wu’s unique style on this book is missed, but even with replacement artists there is no one who does memorable action segments like Fletcher. This book is going to be greatly missed come Rebirth, but every new issue just makes me more excited for Fletcher’s upcoming Image works.
Corrina: One of my biggest gripes in the reworking of Batgirl into the “Batgirl of Burnside” was that it featured a Black Canary who was, well, mean. Despite all the reboots and reimagining of the character, she was always warm and compassionate. I was thrilled to see a full return to that characterization this issue, not to mention the banter between Babs and Dinah that has to be a nod to the femslash fandom.
This Dinah keeps edging closer and closer to the Dinah that existed in so many years of DC stories. Given how the character was just tossed unceremoniously aside on Arrow, I’m especially glad to have her back. As Ray said, the fight scenes are epic, including one wordless page that shows off Dinah’s martial skills. Fletcher’s image work should be interesting but I’m also hopeful for the upcoming Batgirl & the Birds of Prey.
The Legend of Wonder Woman #4, story and pencils by Renae De Liz, inks, colors and letters by Ray Dillon
Ray – 9.5/10 (Book of the Week)
Corrina: Read. This. Book.
Ray: Coming off the massively disappointing Wonder Woman: Earth One last week, it continues to be incredibly refreshing to see this in-depth, character-driven, and just plain fun retelling of Wonder Woman’s origin continue to hit on all cylinders. Diana’s time on Themysrica has always been a bit glossed over, but even more so is her time immediately after arriving on Man’s World. The first segment this issue focuses exclusively on that, as Diana wakes up in the cottage of an old fisherman couple, dealing with amnesia, depression, and confusion as she grapples with leaving everything she knew behind. There’s also a really nice new origin for her famous American flag costume. Once she’s gotten her bearings, she heads off into the world and encounters Etta Candy for the first time.
This Etta is one of the best reinventions of a character I can remember in a while – fun, brassy, self-possessed while not being a caricature, and with her own unique interests and talents that make her stand out as a young woman in the post-WW2 era. The character’s too often boiled down to a fat joke, and this version is the furthest thing. There’s virtually no action in this issue, no villains, and yet it may be my favorite issue of the title yet. This is a version of Wonder Woman and her supporting cast that everyone can fall in love with. Give Renae De Liz an ongoing, DC!
Corrina: I’m consistently amazed at this series’ ability to take older, ingrained elements of various Wonder Woman stories and create something new and fresh that nevertheless honors what has gone before. I’m excited for Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott’s upcoming reworking of Wonder Woman’s origins in her regular title but I can’t imagine how it can match this. Perhaps it’ll just be something different.
I love that Etta remains a full-figured person, as vital and as competent in her own way as Diana is in hers. It’s the little touches that I love, like how everyone is “you’re so tall!” to Diana. The charm of the bickering coupe in the beginning also made me smile and provided a lovely reason for Diana to wear the Stars and Stripes. Despite having little action in this issue, it remains compelling. Plus, as I keep saying, the art is lush and gorgeous.
Constantine the Hellblazer #11, Ming Doyle and James Tynion IV, writers, Travel Foreman, penciller, Joseph Silver, inker
Ray – 9/10
Corrina: Constantine in Hollywood!
Ray: This book’s take on the world of magic is probably the most fascinating I’ve seen in comics in quite some time. While Dr. Strange – another excellent book – is a big, sweeping, epic take on magic, Constantine is dirty, grimy, and all around human. And that’s the key. This issue takes Constantine out of his old haunts in NY to a dark, dangerous, and unfamiliar territory – LA. It seems LA’s magic community is overseen by the Angel Gabriel, patron angel of entertainment, who hobnobs with the world’s biggest stars. Constantine’s efforts to get him to resettle countless magical refugees of Neron’s takeover of NY fall on deaf ears, leading to a chance encounter with Deadman that leaves Constantine possessed and battling for control of his own body in the most bizarre and hilarious scene in the series so far.
The comic is usually dark and disturbing, but its twisted sense of humor is one of its secret weapons. Foreman comes on for art, and Rossmo is missed, but Foreman does a great job of keeping the comic’s trademark style while working in some of his own flourishes. We’re back to last issue’s cliffhanger at the end, leading into the final arc, and this comic is yet another – like Midnighter, Omega Men, We Are Robin, and Black Canary – that deserved so much better sales-wise. Hopefully the new creative team will do Constantine justice as well.
Corrina: Alas, though we’re in Hollywood, no Lucifer, but perhaps that character wouldn’t be enough of a contrast to John. The Angel Gabriel, all in simmering white, is a much better counter-point, especially when it seems like he’s less heroic than even John. It’s a skewed view of an angel’s job to help humanity but, then, this is Constantine and helping him can have serious and unforeseen consequences as Gabriel knows. Deadman showing up was unexpected and perfect and the scene Ray describes when Deadman takes over John reminded me of the segment in All of Me where Lily Tomlin first takes control of Steve Martin.
My one complaint: it’s taking too long for the main plot to finish. But then we’d lose the Hollywood interlude. Argh. So maybe that’s not a complaint after all.
Batman/Superman #31 – Peter Tomasi, Writer; Doug Mahne, Penciller; Jaime Mendoza, Inker; Wil Quintana, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Corrina: Bruce/Clark is back!
Ray: It’s the second part of “The Last Days of Superman,” formerly known as Super-League, and if the first issue was mostly a quiet contemplation of Superman’s mortality, this issue is very much not. The issue opens with a huge action sequence as Batman is up against an army of Z-list Bat-villains that Tomasi created for his Batman and Robin run, including the elephant crime-lord Tusk. Superman shows up to help out, and after easily defeating the villains, Batman quickly picks up that something is very wrong with Superman.
After explaining what’s going on, Superman recruits Batman’s help to track down Supergirl, who’s mysteriously gone missing since the end of her series. I’m glad DC is actually addressing her odd absence in DC You, and while I’m of two minds about elements such as National City (and in Rebirth, the Danvers name) making their way into the DCU from the series, it’s really good to just see Supergirl be a part of a Superman comic again. Superman and Batman have a great rapport here, the perfect mix of friendly banter and sullen mistrust, and there were a few great scenes here involving Alfred, Titus, and Bat-Cow. Before they can make much progress, though, an army of Zodiac-themed villains attack, potentially tied to the upcoming emergence of the All-New Superman. And what’s with the mysterious escaped con who seems to get possessed by Superman at random moments? Lots of mysteries here, grounded in a very human story of a man coming to terms with his mortality. I don’t know how this will play out over eight issues, but we’re off to a great start. Tomasi is going to be excellent on Superman, I think.
Corrina: It’s obvious that there’s a plan to bring Supergirl back to the DCU in a version closer to the one on television. Given I like the concept of that version better because that Supergirl is sunnier character than anyone we’ve seen in the comics in the past decade, this is a good thing.
But here’s the big news this issue, other than Superman is still dying: Superman and Batman act like friends. Real friends. Their dialogue reflects how much that friendship means to each one of them, especially Batman. You know, if this Superman had been like this since the beginning of the new 52, I wouldn’t have had so many complaints about him. The writing on his “final” arc is superior to anything since 2012.
DC Comics Bombshells #11, Marguerite Bennett, writer, Mirka Andolfo and Laura Braga, artists
Ray – 9/10
Corrina: Amanda Waller In a Plane Over London Shooting Down Nazis.
Ray: The Battle of Britain kicks off with a huge bang, as the entire cast of Bombshells – and a few new ones for good measure – converge on the UK to defeat the Tenebrae before they can convert more innocents to their cause. This issue is really just a non-stop barrage of badassery. Big Barda and Doctor Light make a fantastic battle couple and their debut on the scene is a blast, and in between fighting Sea Monsters Diana and Mera let slip a little reveal that I’m sure a lot of people will absolutely love.
However, I felt like the real stars this issue were the Bombshells without powers. Amanda Waller in a plane over London shooting down Nazi demons? Did not know I wanted until now. Kate Kane has been the breakout star of this comic ever since her first appearance, and that continues as she runs a certain traitor to ground and delivers a much-deserved beating – and manages to inspire Kortni Starikov in the process. Mirka Andolfo’s art is fantastic as always, and the comic never slows down. It feels like a big, no-holds-barred conclusion to act one, as well as a perfect set-up to act two. As good as this is, it’s really disappointing that Bennett is not on any other DC books come Rebirth.
Corrina: Who knew that a variant cover idea could lead to a universe like this, the most feminist reimagining of the DCU ever? I give credit to that to Bennett and Andolfo but that DC would actually publish the book is amazing. This is the best Waller since the original Suicide Squad. The only grip I had is that there are so many heroines to enjoy that none of get enough pages but that just means I want to read the next issue.
Also a nice touch? Steve Trevor’s recovery from PTSD. It’s been a simmering plotline in all of his appearances to this book and Trevor finally is able to come to terms with the horrors of war in this issue.
Harley Quinn and her Gang of Harleys #1 – Jimmy Palmiotti and Frank Tieri, Writers; Mauricet, Penciller and Inker; Hi-Fi; Colorist
Ray – 7/10
Corrina: First issue starring Harley I haven’t enjoyed.
Ray: DC does not seem to be able to get enough of Harley lately, and it’s not a surprise – she’s one of the few reliable sellers for them. I think the surge in content has been helped by the fact that for all the spin-offs, virtually all of them except last week’s Suicide Squad tie-in have been written by the main writers of the original book, although this one does have an assist from Frank Tieri replacing Amanda Conner. That helps the content feel very stable and in-character no matter how many spin-offs come out. That’s the case here. This comic very much feels like it could be an arc in the main book. That’s also part of the problem – it probably should have been an arc in the main book.
The focus shifts to Harley’s “personal assistants” – a gang of diverse Harley fans who carry out vaguely illegal missions for her when she’s too busy. This includes beating up a group of hipster mobsters shaking down a Brooklyn farmer’s market, in the issue’s funniest segment. The book does a bit of a recap on the various members of the gang, but they still tend to blend together at points. The main plot involves Harley faking a kidnapping to test her team’s skills – only for it to become a very real kidnapping when a new enemy of Harley’s takes matters into her own hands. As for the identity of the villain? Probably the most bizarre last page you’ll see in comics this week. It has potential, but it feels a bit slight. This would probably go down a bit better for me as a $2.99 chapter in a biweekly Harley book like we’re getting in Rebirth.
Corrina: The Gang of Harleys was a good idea for a few issues. I enjoyed them at first but now I feel as if they’re a one-arc batch of supporting characters that have outlived their natural lifespans. It was a weird issue to read–all the elements I’ve enjoyed in the main title are in this one—but I didn’t enjoy this at all. The jokes about the hipster gang fell flat while the various Harleys searching/not searching for their kidnapped mentor seemed more like filler than character examination.
Sorry to be so down on this. But it just didn’t work for me, right down to the weird final panel where Harley seems to have a stalker who’s even weirder than she is.
Gotham Academy #17, written by Brenden Fletcher, Michael Dialynas, David Petersen, art by Adam Archer, Annie Wu, Sandra Hope, Michael Dialynas, David Petersen,
Ray – 9/10
Corrina: Nice Nods to Gotham & Hogwarts
Ray: The best installment yet of Yearbook, this issue brings in some top-tier creative teams to bring light to a trio of stories, and sheds some light on the backstory of our favorite characters in the process. As Maps and Olive continue to unravel the mystery of the book and exactly what Robin wanted with it, the flashbacks take us to memorable moments through the last year. The first and strongest is by Fletcher and Annie Wu, guest-starring…you guessed it, Black Canary and the band!
Turns out kid equipment manager Heathcliff was a Gotham Academy student and Pomeline’s boyfriend before dropping out to go on the road, and he and Pomeline have an emotional reunion in a story much more about character than wacky antics. The second story, written and drawn by Michael Dialynas, takes Maps and Olive back to Olive’s least favorite game, Serpents and Spells, as they wind up facing off against Klarion’s familiar Teekl in a story that’s more silly than scary. I’ve liked the multiple callbacks in this story, and it’s great to see a Klarion that’s not the weird cyborg-sorcerer from the short-lived Nocenti book. The final story also deals with Serpents and Spells, telling the unfortunate story of a quartet of afficionados who remind me a lot of the Marauders from Harry Potter, in a creepy tale by David Petersen. Although it’s still an anthology, this arc seems to have become more plot-heavy as it heads towards its conclusion, which I like.
Corrina: I haven’t found the Yearbook segments plot happy, more like quick examinations of various characters in the Academy, which is good because all of them, even Maps and Olive, could use more fleshing out. It’s funny, for a comic set at a school, we rarely actually see them at school. (Though that was likely true for Hogwarts as well.)
The resemblances of the characters in Petersen’s story to the Mischief Managed crew in Harry Potter is entirely intentional, and I suspect that Serpents & Spells = Dungeons and Dragons. Both call outs are done well and it’s a natural comparison as the high concept of this series is “Gotham’s Hogwarts.”
As for Klarion, I still find him confusing and ill-defined, Nocenti run or no Nocenti run.
Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #5 – James Tynion IV, Writer; Freddie E. Williams II, Artist; Jeremy Colwell, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Corrina: Happy TMNT Fan in My House
Ray: This continues to be the most enjoyable inter-company crossover in well over a decade, serving both families of characters well and fusing them together in some crazy ways. The story has a great balance of humor and drama, with the former being provided by the Turtles finally meeting Damian Wayne, who reacts to giant reptiles in HIS Batcave about as well as you’d expect. Maybe he’s a bit more early Morrison Damian than late Tomasi, but this title sort of exists on the fringes of continuity, as shown by grey-haired moustached Jim Gordon, who has just about reached his weirdness limit. The drama, meanwhile, is kicked into high gear when Leonardo collapses, the mutagen in his body starting to degrade – and Splinter and the other Turtles soon to follow. Casey shows up with a device that could help them get back home, but before they go, Ra’s and the Foot take over Arkham Asylum, setting up one final showdown – complete with an array of mutagen-transformed Bat-villains. Think your list of comics this week is complete? It’s not complete until you’ve seen Bane as an Elephant. It’s a light read, to be sure, but that’s exactly what the best inter-company crossovers do well.
Corrina: I will turn this review over to my younger son: “The new one is here! Great!” ::reads it immediately:: “This writer is really good at knowing all the turtles personalities.” “Omigod, Shredder transformed everyone in Arkham to animals. Plus, Penguin.” “You mean Penguin is now a penguin?” “Yep, it’s awesome.”
Basically, we have a very happy TMNT fan in this house.
Catwoman #51 – Frank Tieri, Writer; Inaki Miranda, Penciller; Elia Bonetti, Inker; Eva De La Cruz, Colorist
Ray – 6/10
Corrina: Not a Great Way to Wrap-up the Series
Ray: Despite making it all the way to the #50 mark which only 11 other books did, Catwoman is wrapping up next month and not relaunching into Rebirth, surprisingly. That leaves this final arc to tie up all the loose ends. I really enjoyed the last issue’s conclusion, but this new arc doesn’t really do it for me. It seems like a lot of writers go back to the well of Black Mask, since he’s arguably Catwoman’s most iconic villains. This issue has him involved, but it’s more concerned with his father – a successful Gotham businessman and criminal himself who had a run-in with Selina and an old boyfriend of hers years ago. It didn’t end well for the guy. While the head of the Sionis clan is on his deathbed, his evil son is looking to claim his inheritance by speeding up the process, and the False Face Society has a new leader, calling himself White Mask – whose identity is not even the slightest bit a surprise, given past stories like Hush. There’s nothing overtly bad about this story, save for Black Mask getting up to a bit too much graphic violence while dressed in a nurse’s outfit, but the majority of the issue is just rather predictable and forgettable.
Corrina: I suppose readers should be glad to have Catwoman back to her classic characterization of a thief and that the final arc has her facing her nemesis, Black Mask, but instead of seeming like a classic Catwoman story, this read like a lesser version of better stories in her past.
Having a former partner come back to haunt Selina was better done in Catwoman: Selina’s Big Score by Darwyn Cooke and, beyond that, Selina’s relationship with her boyfriend in the flashbacks scenes feature a carefree, almost naive Selina, and that didn’t work for me at all. Of course, it was the Cooke/Brubaker run that featured Black Mask in a brutal confrontation with Selina, and that makes the current storyline pale by comparison too.
Starfire #11, Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti, writers, Elsa Charretier, art
Ray – 8/10
Ray: This book has been a bit of an odd duck from the start, veering drastically between spy action, alien sci-fi adventure, and slice-of-life comedy. I always found it to be at its best when it was as far from a standard superhero comic as possible, and Starfire, Atlee, and Stella’s extended sojourn into a colorful underground city for some R&R definitely fits that bill! With the threat eliminated, the trio decides to stay for a while and enjoy the hospitality of Atlee’s home. That leads to a series of bizarre events involving an auto-reproducing small furry critter, a kraken that gives massages, and a hot spring that brings out the truth in everyone. That one’s less fun and relaxing than anticipated, though, as it causes Stella to blurt out the truth about her worries involving her brother and a relationship with Starfire, potentially setting up Kory’s departure from Key West.
There’s some great emotional moments in this issue, and some fantastic visuals even without regular artist Emanuela Lupacchino (lots of fill-ins this week – preparing for Rebirth?). One of the best issues yet, and it might be a good thing that this title is heading out with next issue, making this whole story feel like a unique, memorable vacation on Starfire’s journey.
Corrina: This book has hardly gotten any buzz and, I admit, Ray and I haven’t featured it very much. But every month, it’s delivered solid entertainment that contains a great dose of fun, something needed in superhero comics. At times, it did become too gory for the tone of the rest of the series, but I forgive that, as it’s been a joy to read.
The reason? Because the characters are good people, they want to do the right thing, and they take care of each other. That’s why Stella admitting she fears for her brother’s safety had such an emotional punch because Stella genuinely cares for Kory, and Kory cares for Stella and her brother. I hope the book is well-remembered and becomes an essential piece of Starfire’s history.
Earth 2 Society #11, Dan Abnett, writer, Federico Dallocchio, artist
Ray – 3/10
Corrina: The Plot Is Hopeless.
Ray: No franchise has sunk so far from its heights in such a short time as Earth 2. I’ve used the comparison of the Ultimate Universe in fast-forward before, and it continues to be apt – the world is so constantly apocalyptic and depressing that it’s very hard to get invested in anyone’s victories, because you know another tragedy or horror is just around the corner. There’s a few moments of hope here and there, such as Ted Grant stealing the show as a burly boxer holding his own against a powered supervillain, but they’re few and far between. New villain Nimbus is a generic corrupt corporate criminal with superpowers, and the reveal about how the Amazons survived to arrive on this world is…well, it’s less horrible than I imagined, at least. No actual massacre. I found Green Lantern’s attempt at a peace summit between the warring city-states to be sort of darkly funny, albeit unintentionally. Nothing works, because everyone truly is doomed. That sums up this world in a nutshell. Bring back the JSA, please. Alan Scott, Jay Garrick, and Ted Grant deserve better than a slowly dying ball of rock.
Corrina: It has been a slog to read this series and that’s so disappointing given how it began with such hope, with the Earth-2 refugees on a new world. (Though I would have preferred if DC didn’t destroy Earth-2 at all.) Yet from the start, it’s been all doom and gloom, showing off the worst of humanity and even the worst of our supposed superheroes.
I guess it’s good the Amazons aren’t evil, exactly, but the fact that this planet has no resources at all gives me no hope for the ending of this series. A serious lost opportunity.
Green Lantern Corps: Edge of Oblivion #4, writer, Tom Taylor, layouts, Aaron Kuder, pencils, Ardian Syaf
Ray – 7/10
Corrina: Cover Is the Best Part
Ray: This is a perfectly serviceable GL story, delivering a lot of action and creepy-looking villains but not much in the way of character development. It’s good to see Simon Baz get a spotlight before DC really tries to make a go of the character in Rebirth, but I wish he had more to do. Most of the issue is spent in the dungeon where we find out heroes as captives of the creepy-looking Marniel, who last issue revealed she can wield GL rings with ease. Guy Gardner has apparently angered her enough that he’s been muzzled, so he just mumbles through Kilowog’s apology to him. However, after an escape attempt and confrontation with Marniel, an empathic GL manages to glimpse her backstory and reveal that far from an evil tyrant, she’s actually an ancient guardian of the world who is the last of her kind. Unstable, perhaps, but still inherently decent. The same can’t be said for Ausras and Dismas, who are horrific world-eaters who consume the residents of the worlds they arrive on. This would be a lot more shocking if those two weren’t incredibly evil looking. It’s a quick, tense read with an ending that seems to place the GLs on opposite sides for the final act, but much like most recent GL arcs, it suffers from villains who feel much more like obstacles than characters.
Corrina: I feel as if the universe has been dying forever now, hanging over the background for this miniseries and for much of the last one but no one ever seems to do anything about it. But what that tells me is very little of what happens on this last planet matters, so I find it hard to care which aliens are evil and which one is trying to save the world. That the next issue is the promise of yet another Lantern-Lantern fight only adds to my disengagement.
It was probably an impossible job, to make this miniseries stand out, given its parameters. I do love the cover, though.
Red Hood/Arsenal #11, Scott Lobdell, writer, Dexter Soy, artist
Ray – 1/10
Corrina: ::deep sigh::
Ray: I’ve actually been much softer on this comic than Corrina has, finding this run to be mostly unobjectionable with some flashes of fun here and there. I was even starting to warm up to Joker’s Daughter a bit as the title addressed that she was essentially a messed-up kid with a serial killer fixation who was really bad at the whole supervillain thing. So naturally, along comes this issue to take everything I sort of enjoyed about the book and set it on fire. First, the Joker’s Daughter stuff. She’s preparing to complete her reformation by leaving the “life” behind and enrolling in high school again – only for Jason to confront her, reveal that he’s known she’s been hiding the Joker skin mask, and provoke her into a confrontation that results in him shooting her. Jason shooting a teenage girl – that seems a promising development for the character.
Meanwhile, Roy’s story may be even worse. Scratch that – it definitely is. Turns out he was part of some group of global vigilantes that was helping people in trouble spots around the globe – only he found out they were committing war crimes, so he flat out murdered them with a drone. No ambiguity. He trapped them in a pit and called in a drone strike while escaping. Now they’re back as mutants and want revenge. So looks like we can add Roy Harper to the list of “This well-liked teen hero is now a murderer” along with Donna Troy and the entire Teen Titans. As for Jason, sadly, it doesn’t look like he’ll be free from this title’s orbit any time soon.
Corrina: Remember how in the last season of Buffy, the First tells Andrew that Buffy will never accept a murderer in their group? And Andrew says “Confidentially, a lot of her people are murderers.”
I feel as if we’ve reached that point with these second-generation characters. All three in this issue are, well, killers of one sort or another, and passing judgment on other killers. That doesn’t elicit sympathy from me, only a shrug. It’s too bad because I enjoyed Roy’s internal monologue about wanting to be something different than what he was. But the choice to have him set up the assassination of his former friends as a way to set his path on a more heroic one boggles the mind.
As for the Joker’s Daughter, I wish this character would be gone fast. She’s so bad that I was kinda okay with Jason shooting her, though I expect that it’s a fakeout of some sort. Or maybe not, given this series.
Wonder Woman ’77 Special #3 – Mark Andreyko, Christos Gage, Ruth Fletcher Gage, Trina Robbins, Amanda Delbert, Writers. Richard Ortiz, Christian Duce, Dario Brizuela, Cat Staggs, Stan Johnson, Artists
An interesting collection of stories in this collection, some a lot better than others. There’s no real “lead story” this time like in the two previous collections, so this feels much more like an anthology. The opening story, by regular series writer Marc Andreyko with Richard Ortiz and Christian Duce, pits WW against Clayface as he attempts to cure his deterioration by stealing mystical clay from Themysrica. It’s kind of a thin story, but has some great visuals as he takes on multiple forms and sizes to try to get the best of her. The second story, by Christos Gage and Ruth Fletcher Gage, with Dario Brizuela on art, finds Diana in Africa as she tries to stop an ivory poaching ring with the help of a female game warden. Some good scenes involving Diana’s rapport with animals, but a predictable villain and a really preachy script including points where Diana talks directly to the reader.
Trina Robbins and Cat Staggs tell a bizarre story involving Diana taking on a mysterious cult that is actually a front for an alien invasion, and the volume concludes with Amanda Delbert and Stan Johnson giving us an old-fashioned Wonder Woman spy tale involving Diana and Steve undercover on the high seas to foil a terrorist plot in the Panama Canal – that turns out to include Greek monster Charybdis. This one feels like an episode of the show with a higher FX budget. A mixed bag, but worth it for the last 20 pages.