Daily Archives: September 21, 2011

A New 52 Review: Wonder Woman #1

Wonder Woman #1
“The Visitation”
Writer: Brian Azzarello
Artist/Cover artist: Cliff Chiang
Colors: Matthew Wilson
Letters: Jared K. Fletcher
Editor: Matt Idelson
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $2.99 US

When DC announced the creative team for Wonder Woman, I was sold. Brian Azzarello rarely disappoints with his edgy plots and intelligent scripting, and Cliff Chiang boasts one of the most appealing and all-too-rarely seen styles in super-hero comics today. Their previous collaboration — Dr. 13: Architecture and Mortality — was one of the more inventive and entertaining stories DC has produced in recent memory, with its use of obscure characters and focus on metafiction. Wonder Woman boasts a radically different atmosphere than the irreverent tone throughout the creators’ last joint effort, though, but it’s just as engrossing and entertaining. Azzarello said in an interview in advance of the release of this comic book it was more of a horror series than a super-hero book, and he was true to his word. The best take on Wonder Woman I’ve read up to this point was George Perez’s relaunch of the character in the late 1980s, in which he embraced the mythic elements in her origin. Azzarello does the same, but in a darker and perhaps more accurate manner. Whereas Perez’s heroine was an innocent who was learning about how the world works and the wonders it contains, Azzarello’s take on the iconic character s wiser, jaded and well-versed in the dangers that lurk on the periphery of mundane life.

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A New 52 Review: Batman #1

Batman #1
“Knife Trick”
Writer: Scott Snyder
Pencils/Cover artist: Greg Capullo
Inks: Jonathan Glapion
Colors: FCO Plascencia
Letters: Comicraft
Editor: Mike Marts
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $2.99 US

Writer Scott Snyder’s run on the previous incarnation of Detective Comics has been hailed by critics as one of the best Batman stories to come along in some time, so I looked forward to delving into his take on Gotham and its caped crusader with this newly relaunched Batman series. Well, he definitely delivers an entertaining read that celebrates the vast array of weird characters that populate Gotham, from classic villains to modern additions to the mythos. But what was more surprising to me was how much I enjoyed Greg Capullo’s artwork here. His exaggerated style — still clearly influenced by the 1980s and ’90s excesses of artist Todd (Spawn) McFarlane’s work — suits the intense and psychotic nature of these characters. Furthermore, he’s not content to just depict these characters as they’ve traditionally been shown. Capullo adds his own twists on the visual concepts, bringing a fresh look to decades-old characters while also remembering where they come from and what made them popular in the first place. This first issue was a tremendous fun read, incorporating much of the Batman family and the lion’s share of the title character’s rogues’ gallery.

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And the Morales of the Story Is…

Ultimate Spider-Man v.2 #1
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Sara Pichelli
Colors: Justin Ponsor
Letters: Virtual Calligraphy
Cover artists: Kaare Andrews (regular)/Sara Pichelli (variants)
Editor: Mark Paniccia
Publisher: Marvel Worldwide
Price: $3.99 US

When the first issue of the original incarnation of this title debuted, a number of people complained the title character didn’t really make an appearance. In fact, while Peter Parker was the star from the start, Spider-Man, in full costume, didn’t really appear until several issues later, and some argued the pace of the storytelling was too slow. I didn’t agree, viewing Bendis’ plotting choices refreshing. He took his time so he could focus on character, so he could really delve into Peter and explore who he is. It worked incredibly well, and it wasn’t long before some were calling it decompressed storytelling. The term took on a negative connotation later on, as some seemed to adopt the method to lengthen shorter stories for the collected-edition treatment. Well, Bendis keeps things fairly slow with this new title and new Spider-Man as well, and just as it did the first time, it pays off. Bendis crafts a lead character that mirrors Peter Parker in many ways, but he differs in so many as well. Of course, the strength of the writing comes as no surprise to those of us who’ve been following Bendis’ journey on Ultimate Spider-Man for more than a decade. What might surprise is the work artist Sara Pichelli delivers along with Bendis’ script. Her bright, crisp and convincing linework exhibits a lot of personality.

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