Tag Archives: wonder woman

Review: Convergence Wonder Woman #2

cww02Part of the underlying problem with Convergence is its relevance to the modern comic reader.  Though some fans are well read in terms of comics from years gone by, most aren’t, at least not to the degree required to make all of the connections.  In the case of the Convergence Wonder Woman, the series is tying together two separate pieces of DC Comic history.  One is the short lives period in the 1960s when Wonder Woman lost her powers and became a white-clad kung fu expert, and the other is the Red Rain version of Gotham City, an Elseworlds reality where Batman’s villains have become vampires and werewolves.

The action in this second issue follows that of the same format as the other Convergence stories.  With the cities released from their year under the dome, the heroes regain their powers but are immediately thrown into battle with champions from other cities.  Previously Wonder Woman was shown to be dealing with a cult-like group at a church who believed that angels would return to free them from the dome, but they met there at the same time that Red Rain’s champions came to fight Wonder Woman.  This results in a second issue in this Convergence tie-in which is mostly Wonder Woman against a cast of creatures.  Ostensibly these creatures might resemble the Joker, Poison Ivy and Catwoman, but there is little to distinguish them aside from their names.

This goes with the rushed nature of this series, that there is no time to establish these versions of the characters outside of the regular DC continuity, and thus the characters are more like caricatures of the regular versions as opposed to the interesting twists which took place in the alternate realities.  This doesn’t help as the problem on the whole with Convergence has been the mismatch of characters from different eras and inspirations and such is the case again here.   In the history of Wonder Woman, at least since the 1980s, the Joker actually shows up fairly often as an enemy of Wonder Woman, but he is not an arch-enemy, and his presence here feels artificial, especially for what is supposed to be such a huge crossover.  Once again this is a misfire for DC and Convergence, as its big crossover of the summer seems to be going nowhere.

Story: Lary Hama Art: Aaron Lopresti
Story: 6.7 Art: 6.7 Overall: 6.7 Recommendation: Pass

How Old are Comic Book Characters?

How Old Do I Look? is an interesting website where you can upload an image and it’ll guess your age and gender based on that. While it’s fun putting people you know in, it also works in some drawings. So, I decided to put in some comic characters to see what the site says.

As you can see, it’s a bit all over the place, hell it thinks I’m in my mid-50s.

Around the Tubes

It was new comic day yesterday. What’d everyone get? What are you getting this week?

Around the Tubes

ScreenCrush – ‘Wonder Woman’ Officially Hires Director Patty Jenkins – Well that happened quickly.

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

The Beat – Archie vs. Predator #1

Bleeding Cool – Giant Days #2

BlogCritics – Gremlin Trouble

Talking Comics – Nutmeg #1

Talking Comics – RunLoveKill #1

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It’s new comic day! What’s everyone excited for?

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Previewsworld – Herb Trimpe Passes Away at 75 – Our thoughts are with his friends and family.

The Outhousers – Marvel Studios In Talks With “Guardians Of The Galaxy” And “Inside Out” Writers To For “Captain Marvel” – Cool!

The Beat – Wonder Woman and her pet tiger – This reminds me of Kevin Smith and the story about the spider.

Newsarama – Ruffalo Reveals Marvel Doesn’t Own Full Rights to Hulk Movie – Well that makes sense.

CBR – “Daredevil” Now Available to the Visually Impaired – Great to see the change.

iO9 – 10 Incredibly Stupid Ways That Superheroes and Villains Have Died – These are pretty bad.

Kotaku – Forget Batman, a Japanese Superhero Is Patrolling the Streets – Very cool.

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

Bleeding Cool – The Fox #1

CBR – The Fox #1

 

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So who spent the weekend watching Daredevil?

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The Comichron – March 2015 sales mildly up as comics outperform graphic novels; Princess Leia #1 leads the charts – Good news.

iO9 – The Most Depressing Days In Daredevil’s Preposterously Sad History – Yeah, there’s been a lot of low points.

Venturebeat – New Nintendo mobile partner DeNA confirms layoffs at Vancouver game studio – Wonder how this’ll affect their Marvel or Transformers games.

iO9 – The First Ever Sketch Of Wonder Woman Is Going On Sale – Very cool piece of history.

BoingBoing – Make this display frame that holds 10 comic books – This is really cool.

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

CBR – Convergence: Nightwing/Oracle #1

Talking Comics – Convergence: The Question #1

Bleeding Cool – Rat Queens #10

CBR – S.H.I.E.L.D. #4

The Importance of Faithfulness in Comic Book Costumes

It wasn’t that long ago that the world’s first glimpse of a new superhero costume for a live-action project would premiere in, say, the pages of a fan magazine, or even an early trailer. Now, we live in a time when every major news outlet scrambles to score the first run of such an image. The recent debuts of Jason Momoa‘s Aquaman costume from Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Melissa Benoist‘s Supergirl costume from the upcoming CBS show got me thinking.

With so many examples of superhero costumes for fans to examine, which have been the most faithful to their four-color roots? And is there any connection between the loyalty of a costume to its source material and the quality of the adaptation; that is, do they go hand in hand? Let’s take a look through some of the most reverent examples and see what we can find. All of the costumes I considered for this article were from live-action projects, as animation doesn’t carry as many challenges for transitioning a costume. I also omitted CGI characters such as The Hulk and The Silver Surfer, since their creation was primarily digital.

685635SupermanChristopherReeve

1) Christopher Reeve as Superman, Superman: The Movie (1978): What better place to start than with an icon? While the suit doesn’t conform expressly to any one comic artist, it does replicate all the hallmarks of the widely accepted Superman look: spit curl, wide “S” on the chest, secondary yellow “S” on the cape, thin yellow belt with circular buckle, even the subtle “M” shapes cut into the top of the red boots. The thorough translation of that look, along with Reeve’s heartfelt performance, lifted Superman: The Movie to its status as both the first serious superhero blockbuster and the grandfather of the entire comic-book film landscape.

Andrew-Garfield-Spider-Man The_Amazing_Spider-Man

2) Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014): Another iconic hero, another familiar costume, though perhaps not from a film afforded the same affection as Superman: The Movie. Whatever your thoughts regarding Marc Webb’s second stab at Spidey, you have to admit that the costume is hard to criticize. It’s all there, as if he just swung in from an early Stan Lee/John Romita Sr. issue: the rounded white eyepieces (not pointed; a detail that bugged me about the Raimi films), the bright blue and red in their classic configuration, even the black web-rings that encircle the web-slinger’s fingers. If anyone ever thought that the Spider-Man costume wouldn’t work on film as is, here’s proof to the contrary.

CAPA011_covcol captain-america-the-winter-soldier-poster-sebastian-stan

3) Sebastian Stan as The Winter Soldier, Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014): A more recently created character, but another successful translation from page to screen. The Winter Soldier springs from the mind of Ed Brubaker into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, complete with metal arm and a half-mask that makes him look like a Cobra trooper. The comic design of the Winter Soldier already lent itself to cinematic copy, and the recent debut of the character allowed much of the general audience to experience the character on film without prior knowledge.

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4) Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman, Wonder Woman (1975 – 1979): Much like Christopher Reeve’s super-wear, this costume was a crystallization of Wonder Woman’s history of slightly modified battle attire (sometimes shorts, sometimes a skirt, etc.) by cementing the “swimsuit” style look in the public’s mind. Like Reeve, it helped that Carter was a solid physical match for the character. This is generally what springs to mind when one thinks of WW: golden tiara with red star, gold and red top, blue star-spangled lower piece, bullet-stopping bracelets and striped red boots. While the show suffered from an overabundance of camp and the absence of a generous budget, the costume would continue to appear in much the same form across multiple media formats for decades.

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5) Robert DowneyJr., Iron Man, Iron Man (2008): An instant classic. Utilizing Adi Gradov’s Extremis-era armor design from the comics (which made sense as Gradov worked as a concept artist on the film), the Stan Winston Studio delivered a detailed, believable armored battle suit that filtered the multitudes of Iron Man suits into a crowd-pleasing singularity. Bonus points for the design of the Mark 1 armor, capturing the DIY feel of a clunky, first-draft walking tank with panache. A rare example of all elements of a film working together to produce something special and unexpected.

4336738-art10 The-Crow-brandon-lee

6) Brandon Lee as The Crow, The Crow (1994): While admittedly a relatively simple look to replicate on film, the late Brandon Lee’s striking performance leapt out from behind the rage-mime makeup to create a truly memorable character: raw, emotional, caring and vengeful. The unadorned black clothing kept the focus on the power of the character and his mission while satisfying the fans of James O’Barr’s graphic novel.

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7) Billy Campbell as The Rocketeer, The Rocketeer (1991): Such a period-evocative costume design that feels as if it could only have exploded out of the 1930s, yet Dave Stevens’ high-flying aviator first appeared in 1982. Disney’s 1991 film followed Stevens’ lead exceptionally well, nailing the thick-buttoned leather jacket, jet pack, puffy pants, boots and that Art Deco helmet that looks like Dr. Fate’s blue-collar cousin. This adherence to Stevens’ design helped the film achieve its rollicking derring-do and high adventure as an energetic throwback to the early days of cliffhanger serials.

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8) Nicolas Cage as Ghost Rider, Ghost Rider (2007): Ghost Rider’s costume design isn’t necessarily the most eye-popping, from the neck down. From the neck up, well, it’s just hard to beat a burning skull that can talk, laugh and spew brimstone. But the filmmakers did an admirable job of equipping that flaming skull with all of his comic-accurate accoutrements: lots of leather (with buttons that transform into metal spikes), a long length of lethal chain, and of course, that seriously intimidating bike. While the film may have stumbled with wild shifts in tone, the look of the main character was handled with aplomb.

Hellboy_The_Wolves_of_St_August Ron Perlman stars as Hellboy. Photo credit: Columbia TriStar Films

9) Ron Perlman as Hellboy, Hellboy (2004): A great example of an above-and-beyond creation of costume design. The Hellboy design team, under the direction of Guillermo del Toro, duplicated Mike Mignola’s Hellboy comic design even down to the underbite that gives him that tough-guy profile. The devil’s in the details: the filed-down horns, the symbols cut into his skin, the worn duster jacket, and of course the Right Hand of Doom. The character’s relative human-like size allowed practical effects to create him believably in live-action, as opposed to Michael Chiklis’ Thing in Fantastic Four, who was rendered much smaller than his on-the-page counterpart. Coupled with Ron Perlman’s surly yet lovable performance, Hellboy translates improbably well into our world.

2002920-watchmen_window_rorschach Rorschach

10) Jackie Earle Haley as Rorschach, Watchmen (2009): Aside from the shifting mask, the rest of Rorschach’s ensemble may seem a bit pedestrian. But this one’s all about the little touches: broken belt loops, old bloodstains; all the effects of an obsessive crime-fighting mission on a man without Bruce Wayne’s resources. This wear and tear, combined with Haley’s mastery of the character’s objectivist rage and bulldog tenacity, made Rorschach as much of a standout in the film as he was in the graphic novel.

 

Now obviously this isn’t an exhaustive list, or even particularly ranked on a subjective scale of comic-faithfulness. It’s simply my opinions regarding the examples that bridged the visual gap between comic and film in the best way. But within these picks there seems to be one through-line that pertains to the best examples: attention to replicating a character’s costume usually runs parallel to attention paid to the character’s inner workings and personality. Not always the case (Ghost Rider may be an exception) but many times a commitment to the legacy of a character’s outside equals a respect for the character’s inside.

Strange Comic Trends: Similar Homage From Different Publishers

homage001Comic companies in the past few years have gotten wise to the collecting aspect of comics in a way which they never had before.  The idea must have come from comic conventions, where publishers made alternate overs available for purchase (or sometimes to give away).  The alternate covers caught on, and it became clear that there was money to be made by those that were willing to invest a little bit in variant covers, as truly some diehard fans would buy them all, as well as it served as a crossover for some others that would otherwise be uninterested in buying a comic at all.  A lot of times these covers had a fairly basic premise, for instance showing characters common to the series in the city where a convention was based.  Equally some covers were left blank for artists to fill in at the conventions.

In the past few years there has been an influx of these new titles, often times with a singular inspiration for an entire month for an entire publisher.  This specifically happens at the big two publishers, as for instance in a somewhat shameless move by Marvel and its head company Disney, they decided to add in a string of variant covers for Tron Legacy right when the movie was being released (Tron Legacy being a Disney movie.)  Other themes have followed since them between the two two companies, as well as occasionally with others, although the theme to note in this case specifically is the one which DC has ongoing at the moment, over its #40 issue of the new 52, and that is to pay homage to well known movie posters.

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Tron Spider-Man

Some have been a bit forced, such as the Aquaman cover with Arthur as Free Willy.  Others have been a bit more inspired and required a bit more imagination, as for instance the 2001: A Space Odyssey poster for Green Lantern, which mixes up too famous sci-fi Hals in a space setting.  While the theme is a bit of a stretch at times, what doesn’t fit in exactly is the main cover to this week’s Jungle Book: Fall of the Wild.  As opposed to being a variant cover, it was the main cover and was evidently inspired by the movie poster for Life of Pi.  The cover even kind of fits, as Mowgli has been kidnapped off of her island and has animal companions in tow.  Due to its theme though, it fits almost too well in with DC Comics’ similarly themed month, which could cause some confusion as to what certain people might be purchasing.  Perhaps that confusion was part of the appeal on Zenescope’s part, for fans hoping to collect all the covers and then see another that fits.  More likely though, the decision to use this cover was probably made long ago, and it was just coincidental timing that saw the Life of Pi cover go to press for instance during the same week as the Wonder Woman 300 poster cover.

Wonder Woman As The Three Goddesses

Wonder Woman underwent a bit of a renaissance during the new 52 relaunch.  The tone was different and so was the outlook focusing much more on the role of the Greek Gods in modern life.  While this subject is not always a popular one among the dedicated fans of the series, it proved well to draw in other fans, and for the first time in a long time, Wonder Woman became a must-read series.  One of the introductions in the series was to feature Wonder Woman as the Goddess of War, a role which she was said to be trained for since her younger years, but none other than Ares himself.  This was a notable difference for the character, who although associated with the Greek Gods since her inception as a character, was one that very few had to should be deified.  In truth, the role of Goddess has only occurred a few times, and all of them relatively recently.

Goddess of Truth

wwgooddess001The post-Crisis on Infinite Earths was a time of character deaths.  It all started with Superman’s death, at the time an unheard of occurrence for a major character, but it was soon after followed by the death of Hal Jordan, the broken back of Bruce Wayne, and the death of Wonder Woman.  The death of Wonder Woman was one tied closely enough to another company wide crossover, Underworld Unleashed, and specifically its main antagonist, Neron.  For a time it seemed as though Neron might be established as another major player in the DC Universe’s cavalcade of villains, but he soon after mostly dropped off the map save for showing up intermittently to pose a temporary threat to other heroes.  At the time though it was a fairly ambitious move by DC, taking characters that had been written to be less powerful or just different in their post Crisis stories and to beef them up with some diabolical power from Neron, and while the characters lasted in their changed forms, Neron was mostly done with having a major influence on the DC universe.  He would mostly be associated only with Underworld Unleashed were it not for John Byrne choosing him as the agent which would kill Wonder Woman as she journeyed to Hell to rescue her allies.

Wonder Woman held out for a while, but soon succumbed to her injuries.  Almost immediately though she was reborn as Diana, Goddess of Truth.  The persona did not last long, as Diana struggled with the necessity to leave mankind to their own perils, instead deciding to save them as much as she could.  She was soon kicked out of Olympus and given back her old title as Wonder Woman, and her past as goddess was soon forgotten, even when some stories in her coming years brought her back closer to the ranks of the Gods.

Goddess of War

wwgooddess002Wonder Woman in the new 52 was born as a God before she ever had the chance to aspire to more. Gone was her back story of the child formed from clay, and it was replaced with a lie.  This had been told to leave her ignorant of the truth, that Zeus was her father, and if anyone were to find out this truth that she would be in the wrath of Hera.  This dynamic served as one of the main focuses of the new Wonder Woman series, but soon other aspects became important as well.  The rise of the First Born would tie the entire story line together, as did the #0 issue of the new title which served to give back some of the lost history of the characters during an entire month of #0 issue for the new 52.  It was explained that Diana had trained with the God of War since childhood, and that she regarded him as much as a father as a teacher.  He had known the truth of the training, that one day she would rise to take his place.  When it came to pass Wonder Woman realized that she did not want the title but without it she could not defeat the power of the First Born.  Thus for the second time Wonder Woman was inducted into the role of Goddess, and remained so after the crisis had passed, and moving forward into the new direction of her ongoing series.

Goddess of Peace

wwgooddess003In what is kind of a Elseworlds tale, and kind of not, Wonder Woman was reimagined once again as another Goddess in the pages of Future’s End.  The two part Future’s End Wonder Woman and Superman-Wonder Woman told the story of the future gone wrong after her years acting as the Goddess of War.  It was a relatively short story, spread over only two issues, but fans of the character, and specifically those of the Perez version of the character thought that the distinction between war and peace was an important one.  It was after all Perez who took the character and turned her away from the regular model of heroes and transformed her into something more.  She was now not in man’s world to fight gangsters, but had instead come as an envoy of peace, first to stop a plot by Ares, but then to act as ambassador.  For the character fighting became the last option instead of the first and was a new hallmark of a character focused on helping people more so than punching bad guys.  It was the Future’s End version of the character which best captured this era for the Perez fans, and as a goddess might have made the most sense.

 

The Smithsonian Air & Space Museum Put Wonder Woman’s Invisible Jet on Display

Today, the Smithsonian added a new addition to their already fantastic display at their Air & Space Museum in Washington, DC, Wonder Woman‘s Invisible Jet! They received it on loan from the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington. The plane did a flyover the National Mall before being place in the museum for today only.

They launched the display in a series of Tweets and a live video all of which you can read below.

And the video Tweeted above.

Review: Wonder Woman #40

ww040There has been little that has not been contentious about the run of this new creative team on this title since they took over, or even before they took over.  Some challenged Meredith Finch for her lack of experience as a writer.  Others saw problems with David Finch’s explanation of the Amazon princess as something other than a feminist.  The criticism of the series didn’t relent once it was actually released with the new team at the helm, but while some of this criticism is due, much of it is not, as people are comparing what is essentially a return to the monthly norm against Azzarello’s thought provoking run on the title.

Where this series potentially had the best chance to regain some readers while also maintaining interest for those already on board, was through the reintroduction of Donna Troy.  While the timing seems a bit odd considering that Convergence in this same month could give the conditions for reintroducing this character from her pre-Flashpoint days, she was instead reintroduced a few months previously.  The reintroduction was a gran enough gesture to return Wonder Woman to a bit of normality, but with the sometimes maddening focus put on Wonder Woman’s different roles in this series, between superhero, queen and goddess, the return of Donna could have acted as an anchor to the series which was wavering.  It is therefore a bit of a disappointment in this series that Donna Troy is continually used as a deux ex machina on an issue by issue basis, and finally when she is allowed to cut loose here that it is completely out of character from her past.

Perhaps the creative team has something else in mind for where the character is heading, or some other big reveal about Donna Troy or how she could be presented as a hero and not a villain, but at the moment the direction of this series remains confusing.  The potential is there for this series to succeed with this creative team, only it would appear that the wrong pieces are being used at the wrong time.  Instead this needs a back-to-basics approach and to focus on what makes this character popular to begin with.  With the onset of Convergence, it allows for a bit of a break hopefully and to refocus the series to get back on the desired track, as it started out well with this team, but has been gradually declining in its coherence since then.

Story: Meredith Finch Art: David Finch
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.0 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Pass

 

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