Review: WONDER WOMAN, Vol.1 (DC Comics, Rebirth)

WonderWoman-Rebirth-Vol.01Writer: Greg Rucka | Art: Liam Sharp, Matthew Clark, Sean Parsons, Laura Martin, Jeremy Colwell | Letters: Jodi Wynne

Heroic. Iconic. Unstoppable. Armed with her Lasso of Truth and imbued with the power of the gods themselves, Princess Diana of Themyscira –known to the world as Wonder Woman — is one of the greatest superheroes in history.
But who is she… really? Not even Wonder Woman herself knows for sure. Diana’s links to both the Amazons and the Gods of Olympus have been severed. Her memories are a tangle of contradictions that even her lie-detecting lasso cannot untangle.
To solve the riddle of her origin, she must embark on her greatest quest of all: finding a way back to her vanished home. To get there, she must team up with her greatest enemy, the feral beast-woman, Cheetah. Will this unlikely alliance shine the light of truth on Diana’s darkest secrets, or bury them-and her-forever?

Collects: Wonder Woman #1, #3, #5, #7, #9, #11; Wonder Woman: Rebirth one-shot.

An interesting start to the most recent Wonder Woman series, written by returning scribe Greg Rucka, one of my favourite comics writers. This is a pretty good starting point for anyone new to the character, whether you’ve seen the excellent new movie or not. Although, of course, as this is a first volume, you are mainly getting an extended introduction to larger events still to come. Continue reading

DC Comics Takes Aim at Chinese Market…?


I haven’t been reading much coverage of DC Comics’ upcoming “Rebirth”, but I just stumbled across this title: New Super-Man. From the synopsis, it would appear that DC are aiming to crack the (no-doubt) growing Chinese comics market. Or just to capitalize on the growing awareness of China in contemporary society/politics/economics. The first story-arc, “Made in China” takes the DC universe in a potentially interesting direction — a new, “Justice League of China”…

“Made in China” Chapter One.

An impulsive act of heroism thrusts an arrogant young man into the limelight of Shanghai as China begins to form its own Justice League of powerful heroes. Rising from the ashes of The Final Days of Superman, award-winning writer Gene Luen Yang and on-the-rise art star Victor Bogdanovic introduce readers to Kong Kenan — the New Super-Man! When the world needed a new hero, China made him!

As someone who has studied China and Chinese history and politics for over a decade, this could be a really interesting title. Also, the fact that China made their own Super-Man is amusing — given the long history of Chinese manufacturers’ tendency to replicate Western creations (just as each new rising power has done, throughout history), this seems entirely apt.

New Super-Man #1 is due to be published on July 13th, #2 on August 10th. Here’s the synopsis for the second issue:

“Made in China” Chapter Two.

The New Super-Man must face off against the Justice League of China? When Kenan Kong was imbued with the powers of Superman, he didn’t waste any time using them! Now it’s up to the New Bat-Man and New Wonder-Woman of his home country to bring our hero back down to earth-just in time to stop the attack of the deadly Sunbeam!

Upcoming: DETECTIVE COMICS #934 (& Some DC Comics Rebirth Thoughts)

DetectiveComics-934-ArtSo, DC Comics is re-branding again. After five years, the New 52 has been brought to an end (judging from the leaked images from the DC Rebirth #1 issue, through an entirely-expected timey-wimey bit of trickery), and the entire DC line-up is, you guessed it, being renumbered again. All but two series are turning back to #1s. The two exceptions? Action Comics and Detective Comics — both of which are turning back the clock even further, and… picking up their numbering pre-New 52. I don’t really understand why, because the continuity of the New 52 is supposedly staying (aside from the aforementioned timey-wimey muddling). The Action Comics storyline sounds interesting (see here), but not as interesting as Detective Comics. Here are the details and synopsis for the first issue, #934:

Writer: James Tynion IV | Pencils: Eddy Barrows | Inks: Eber Ferreira


An unknown predator begins outdoing Batman, taking down dangerous threats with military precision. It’s up to the Dark Knight and series costar Batwoman to rally and train the young heroes of Gotham City to end this mysterious threat!

WHAT NOW: Batman and Batwoman begin training Spoiler, Red Robin and Cassandra Cain, but is the villainous Clayface ready for redemption?

This sounds pretty interesting, so I think I’ll be checking this series out, when it’s released on June 8th. What I’ve read of Tynion’s New 52 work, he’s a good writer. The New 52 iteration of Detective Comics was pretty shaky to begin with, but was brilliantly rescued by Gregg Hurwitz (penning three of my favourite Batman stories), and then sadly petered out a bit again afterwards — with the exception of Benjamin Percy’s two-parter, which was excellent. Continue reading

Witchblade: Rebirth, Vol.1 – “Unbalanced Pieces” (Top Cow/Image)

Witchblade-Rebirth-Vol.01Writer: Tim Seeley | Art: Diego Bernard | Inks: Fred Benes, Alisson Rodrigues | Colors: Arif Prianto of IFS

In the wake of Top Cow’s Rebirth, Sara Pezzini has relocated from New York to Chicago and struggles to adapt to being a private detective. Pezzini quickly discovers that a change of scenery and occupation hasn’t changed one thing… the Witchblade is still a magnet for the supernatural Quickly drawn into a conflict between two mystical gangs, she must once again balance her responsibility as bearer of the Witchblade with her personal life.

Collects: Witchblade #151-155

I haven’t read a great deal of Witchblade comics, or other comics in Top Cow’s universe (Artifacts, The Darkness), but I’m somewhat conversant in the mythology. I read the first book by Ron Marz, which was itself a reboot/jumping-on-point, but then became distracted by the New 52 and a selection of other books (I’m not proud of it, but… Batman, baby!). After it was announced that Tim Seeley was taking over writing duties, my interest was piqued once again, having rather enjoyed his Hack/Slash horror-comedy series. So I dove in… And rather liked what I found.

I’m not sure that this needs a particularly long review. People who know the series already will know pretty much what to expect – it’s dark, gothic, but also slick. The only major difference is the location, as Sara has moved to Chicago (interestingly, that’s also where Dick “Nightwing” Grayson just moved to in the DC New 52). For new readers, this book has a lot of extra material that gives you some background. It’s not essential to read in order to enjoy this, though, as the concepts are pretty tried-and-true, but with some well-conceived and original developments.

Seeley blends a private investigator storyline and feel with just the right amount of weird in the first issue/chapter to get us intrigued. But then things get really weird – Sara tangles with biker witches, age-sucking creatures with a very strange version of their own ‘Witchblade-armour’, and a strange, supernatural beastie with a long history of fighting bearers of the Artifacts…

Things are not going well for Sara in her new environment, and her sense of displacement and ennui is well written. She’s finding her place, and it’s not going particularly well – on the social, financial, and divine purpose fronts. Add to this a policewoman who has it in for Sara, and a rather unsatisfying romantic (un)attachment with a stage magician harbouring an ulterior motive.

The story is well-written, well-paced and well-realised. Despite my aforementioned lack of fore-knowledge of the extended Witchblade mythos, I didn’t have any trouble following this. It’s weird, it’s sometimes amusing, it’s often creepy. The art team does a great job of bringing Seeley’s story to life on the page in crisp, sharp artwork. It’s eye-catching and vivid. I’m very glad I picked up volumes two and three in the ComiXology sale the other day, as I think I’ll be sticking around for a lot more of this series. I may have to try out the Rebirth The Darkness series, too.

If you are a fan of supernatural stories, filled with the occult, magical and gothic weirdness – not to mention a few gribbly beasties – then Seeley’s Witchblade is absolutely for you. Definitely recommended.

“Green Lantern: Rebirth” (DC)

GreenLantern-Rebirth-TPBGeoff Johns re-boots the Green Lantern series

Writer: Geoff Johns | Artist: Ethan van Sciver | Colors: Moose Baumann | Inks: Prentis Rollins (#2-6) & Mick Gray (#5-6), Marlo Alquiza (#6)

Hal Jordan was considered the greatest Green Lantern of them all. But Jordan lost control, allowed himself to be corrupted and transformed into the villainous Parallax. Later, Jordan reappeared and made the ultimate sacrifice – a sacrifice that allowed him to become the Spectre, the Wrath of God. After several years of activity on Earth, The Spectre became restless and sought a way to prove himself worthy of that noble reputation. See how a man born without fear and seeking to rebuild his life, puts cosmic forces into motion that will have repercussions not only on Earth but across the universe.

Green Lantern: Rebirth is the book that re-booted the franchise and character pre-New 52. Penned by Geoff Johns (who is fast becoming one of my favourite comic authors), it explains how Hal Jordan, who killed himself while possessed by the malevolent entity Parallax, comes back to life. As super-heroes are so very wont to do. It’s not a bad place to start, but this could be because I’ve read other Green Lantern books and series, not to mention later chapters in Johns’s run (don’t ask why, but I’m reading it entirely out of order).

So, as this book begins, there’s a lot of new and weird shit going on. First off, Hal Jordan is no longer the being Parallax. Instead, he appears to have become the Spectre, an incredibly powerful being created (maybe by a god) to go around the DC Universe meting out justice. Secondly, one of Earth’s other Lanterns (there are four), Guy Gardner is some kind of alien-shape-changer-hybrid, and no longer in the Green Lantern Corps. He is still on good terms with another Earth Lantern, John Stewart. Kyle Rayner, the fourth, final, and youngest human Lantern, who we meet in the first pages as he crash-lands back on on Earth, is oddly absent for a lot of this book.


The first chapter is very focused on scene setting, for which I was grateful. The Justice League make an appearance, as they try to figure out what’s going on: Gardner appears to have gone biologically nova – he unwittingly unleashed a massive power blast that destroys a Green Lantern-themed bar (a bit tacky, but there we go), and seems to have lost control of his shape-changing abilities. It’s a big mess. There are signs of Jordan returning, and not in a good way, as many of his former colleagues in the Lantern Corps and also the Justice League only see him now as the Spectre. Batman, on the other hand, is highly suspicious. As he is wont to be.


We learn more of Hal’s powers as the Spectre, when the Justice League confront him after he fixes the old, dilapidated airfield where he learned to fly, where his dad died, and where he met Carol. But then the other Lanterns start going nuts – Stewart attacks the Justice League members, and then Guy Gardner gets his ring back and then he, too, goes mental and starts attacking everybody.

The third chapter finally gives me the catch-up I’d been waiting for; as we get a very good history of Parallax, the Guardians’ battle with him (it?), and also the nature and cause of the “yellow impurity” that has a strange, detrimental impact on the Corps: they have a weakness against the color yellow… (This made me snort. I think it’s daft, and I can’t see how they managed to get this past the editors way back when. At least now, though, they have a decent explanation…)


Then, of course, everything come to a gigantic battle-crazy climax, as revelations are had and surprises dealt out. Sinestro enters the mix, and things get even crazier and more brutal. I think I preferred the second half of this book, but I do see why Johns took the approach he did. I have a feeling that, had I read this issue-by-issue as released, rather than in one go, I may not have continued with it all the way. So yes, the final half of Green Lantern: Rebirth saves the book from leaving me completely lost and disappointed. It was still more all-star than I would like (why does the Justice League have to appear all the damned time?). I enjoyed the portrayal of Batman, as a suspicious… well, dickhead. And the pathetic fallacy of having him portrayed as always deep in-shadow was nicely done.

If you want to delve back into the pre-New 52 relaunch, then this is a book that could help. But, at the same time, maybe starting with Volume 1, “No Fear”, would be enough?

(I have already read “No Fear”, and I can say that both would have worked as starting points for me – with, again, the caveat that I’m not entirely new to the setting and characters.)