By Isaac Mills and Miles Baker
Wonder Woman #18
Written by Gail Simone
Art by Bernard Chang
This was a pretty surprising comic to read, it’s the start of a story arc with Wonder Woman having some adventures…in space! Not usually where one pictures solo Wonder Woman adventures, she’s usually stuck doing Greek Amazon mythology-oriented stuff, so it’s good to see her branch out a bit.
I always hear great stuff concerning Gail Simone, but I haven’t read a whole lot of her stuff; she really got big on the book Birds of Prey, and I’ve only read a handful of those comics. Though her Villains United book, done a couple years ago now, was AMAZING. So I definitely had high expectations going into this Wonder Woman comic, and I received mixed results in return. The issue starts with Wonder Woman performing a courting ritual for some guy, and that really made me cringe. I’m not sure if I know this guy or not (he may be this character Nemesis, but I’m not sure) but it just doesn’t seem natural to me that a character with so much grace and dignity is going for some shmoe. I guess that was always a problem with Wonder Woman and her classic guy Steve Trevor, but it just stood out for me.
She leaves the hospital that her guy is being treated in (because he probably sucks) and is immediately attacked by aliens. That’s awesome. Just a random adventure moving into a new story, a very old school move – like how back in the Golden Age of comics a character could be adventuring in the darkest heart of Africa one issue, and the next punching Hitler in the mouth with absolutely nothing to tie the two events together. After Wonder Woman beats these guys down things get odd in the story. It turns out the warlike Khunds were paying her tribute by attacking her, and want her help dealing with something. So she gets in their spaceship and travels across the universe. Once on their planet the story gets kind of slow. A past story keeps being alluded to in regards to how these aliens even know about Wonder Woman, but it’s a story I clearly haven’t read, and it isn’t illustrated well what happened then. I’m sure it was one of those giant crossovers in the 90’s, maybe the “INVASION” one, but again, I haven’t read it.
You might say these guys needed a recap page at the beginning to get me up to speed on what’s going on, and that’s sort of true. The thing is, they couldn’t do a recap without spoiling that these aliens were going to appear, and that would hurt the flow of the story (yes, I know they’re on the cover, but you know what I mean), and also, I think the guys in charge of this one thought it was clearly explained in the story. It feels like it’s a case of these guys being too close to the material to perceive how someone like me would see the issue.
Not much to say about the art inside. It’s okay, but you get totally spoiled by the cover art by the team of Rachel and Terry Dodson, and just wish it all looked like that. It’s an alright issue, and the setup looks like it’ll be a fun next issue- Wonder Woman gets to fight a random Green Lantern! Time to look for a new Lantern for sector number 2828, am I right!?!
Ah, fine. I thought that was funny.
New Exiles #3
Written by Chris Claremont
Art by Tom Grummett
Inks by Scott Hanna
Marvel Comics, 2008
Well, this is a mess.
Only 3 issues in and Claremont and co. have created one of the most confusing comics I have ever read. It’s not that I don’t understand the premise of Exiles; it’s sliders with mutants instead of Jerry O’Connell — which could become confusing if you were wondering why Namor is black and Black Panther is a girl. It’s that the art and story are so infrequently matched that Claremont has to spell out for you what happened, and even if you did understand what happened Claremont is going to explain it anyway.
Seriously, Marvel, save yourself the money you would have spent on an artist here; you don’t need one. Claremont has, for his entire career, violated one of the most important guidelines of writing: show, don’t tell. He might as well go back to writing novels or start writing radio plays, because there’s no need for someone to draw a panel when it’s accompanied by “Y’know, I really think we caught her by surprise. We were so much in sync that the psychic shock of our punches hit her astral body with the force of physical blows.” (Also, tell your contact at the lettering company to go easy on the bold — for reasons that I hope are self-evident.)
Put the money you were going to spend on the artist and give it to Claremont so that that man can retire. The industry has grown much more mature, and Claremont’s writing has not.