- May 19, 2021
Wonder Girl & Comic Book Reviews for 5/19
This week was light on comics, both from my pull list and in general. Usually this doesn’t happen until the last Wednesday of the month, but I’m not complaining. Between the long awaited arrival of the new Wonder Girl and some continuing favorites in X-Men and Daredevil, I didn’t read a single bad issue this week.
Hell, if you can believe it, I’m still enjoying Brian Michael Bendis’s Justice League. It’s consistent in its slow improvement, and if Wonder Girl can replicant the same thing, Infinite Frontier can turn around.
Wonder Girl #1, written and drawn by Joelle Jones
That being said, Wonder Girl is good, not great. It has a great foundation, but it doesn’t stand powerful legs just yet.
The Next Batman: Second Son was the first, Future State: Gotham was the second, and Wonder Girl is now the third book to survive the temporariness of Future State. I’m a bit disappointed to say that it’s probably the weakest of the three, but at the same time that in no way means it’s bad. I swear, I’m going to sound negative, but only because I had unfairly high expectations going in.
More than any of the other Future State continuations, Wonder Girl #1 feels like a set up issue. It doesn’t develop its own conflict and actually push the story forward like The Next Batman. It also doesn’t directly follow-up its Future State story to continue any sort of drama or conflict. The first issue of Wonder Girl is all setup. the ways in which it succeeds are in spite of that.
We don’t get much in the way of character development for our new Wonder Girl, Yara Flor. We already know she’s a hero so re-establishing her heroic qualities by helping with a car accident doesn’t do much. The opening scene is intriguing for just how brave she is, to a fault even, but its unclear as to what is happening.
I’m not sure enough if this scene is actually of Yara Flor to credit her character. Either way, the child in the opening scene is brave enough to face a Spartan-like warrior, but not aware enough to keep her actions from getting someone else killed. This makes hard to see any hint of future character development, but that’s not terrible.
So this is essentially a pilot issue. It builds the foundation for some mysterious conflict with the two Amazon tribes we know, and Olympus.
More than anything, Wonder Girl feels like Joelle Jones was far more into being the artist than the writer. She creates striking panel after striking panel, but they don’t say or tell us much. Her Nubia especially should be how all other artists aspire to capture her. At the same time, there’s just not much substance behind this art.
I hope this Wonder Girl book is only suffering from a weak pilot issue, but honestly, it shouldn’t. We already had the pilot issue in Future State, there’s little excuse to do it again. Wonder Girl has a lot of potential, I hope Jones capitalizes on it with a character she’s created.
Justice League #61, written by Brian Michael Bendis and drawn by David Marquez
Bendis’s Justice League is continuing to exceed my original expectations. It’s not gonna be any new seminal Justice League run by the looks of it, but its something akin to comfort food. Bendis isn’t reinventing any wheels, he’s not pushing any of the characters to new places, but by not doing that, there’s little risk in anything out of character happening.
You’d think this would run the risk of being boring, but the character interactions are fun enough, if not a bit simple.
Simple but fun would be the operative way to describe what works about this book. The plot of chasing after a well-designed villain whose just looking for a new home works to setup enough stakes and action. The best thing about it has to be how it spreads the action around so far, or sets it up to at least. I may be a little biased, but seeing Black Canary take out people in one shot makes me giddy. Then setting her up alongside Batman, Green Arrow, and Naomi to take on the big bad rather than any big gun leaves me excited.
So comfort food is definitely the best way to describe this book. The characterization is consistent and good enough, but nothing special. the plot is consistent and good enough, and the art remains outstanding, but it’s also nothing special.
The art is really the only thing that’s special. David Marquez is drawing possibly the most beautiful Justice League I’ve ever seen to match Jorge Jimenez. It feels a bit wasted on a story that’s just good at best.
So I am a bit disappointed that this isn’t much more than simple fun. It can be better and these characters deserve better, but I expected much worse. Hopefully, this first arc is how Bendis wets his feet before getting to something really good that makes the most of this League’s roster.
One way to really spruce up this book, would be replace Hippolyta with Nubia. Just saying. She deserves to be the Wonder Woman of this league more than Hippolyta.
Way of X #2, written by Si Spurner and drawn by Bob Quinn
I’m pretty sure Legion is just about the only one on the island who definitely isn’t a clone. Sure, his new body definitely is, but since his conscious can float from one body into another without it being rewritten onto his brain, we know this is the same David Heller as always.
Way of X continues to ask the questions we’ve been asking since Dawn of X amd continues to lead us towards answers. Nightcrawler truly is the perfect choice for a series like this. There are so many philosophical implications made by the way mutants live now, but few mutants would question it. It’s understandable that they wouldn’t, at least not so early. Mutants have lived in fear of humanity for generations, why question the greatest gift they’ve ever received?
Kurt Wagnar though, has been able to look past all the pain he’s suffered and safety he’s gained. Nightcrawler has always been one to look at the greatest picture of all, that of the creation itself. Spurner handles this with grace and nuance.
Nightcrawler has this perpetual state of uncomfortableness about him. It comes to a head when he finally does what he wouldn’t before, kill a mutant so they would be reborn. The way Nightcrawler gives up on his prayer halfway through before killing Legion, says all we need to know about his state of mind, and the effect his questions are having on him.
Everything on paper says that Kurt is doing the right thing by putting Legion out of his misery, allowing him to be resurrected. Everything in Kurt’s heart, on the other hand, says otherwise.
Spurner also doesn’t fail to continue the subplots of this book. This is one of the few where we can see D-list mutants get some character and relationship development rather than just cameos. The burgeoning romance between Loa and Mercury continues here since it can’t in X-Factor; Fabian Cortez’s failure weighs deeply and humorously on him; and Pixie continues to be a delight whenever she opens her mouth.
This is one of those books you should read if you can’t read all, or at least most of the X-Men books. Despite not being the mainline title, it feels like one. It keeps major players always in view, and assures that the story feels big enough that it can affect any title, despite the rather niche roster it has.
It only helps that its also drawn by the talented Bob Quinn. At some point, I think I need to do an article about how several of the X-Men artists have this similar art style. It makes them all feel like they’re from the same brand. Bob Quinn really confirms that for me.
Wolverine #12, written Benjamin Percy and and drawn by Scot Eaton
I am well aware that few people like the vampire storyline of Wolverine as much as I do.
Sucks for them.
I’m in love with this storyline and may just be one of, if not my favorite storyline for Logan’s Wolverine yet. Logan’s angst is only ever used to help others in this story, particularly Louise. After being turned into a vampire, she considers suicide to abide by her creed, but Wolverine assures her being a vampire alone is not cause for death.
He uses his pull with Krakoa to help her remain who she is while she’s stuck as a vampire. It’s a rather beautiful thing he does. He gets her a suit that lets her walk in the sunlight and staves off her hunger.
This does run the risk of staving her own character development I will admit, but it doesn’t kill it. She may lose the suit and have to contend with the loss of sunlight and a taste for blood eventually. Should this happen, Louise will have to decide whether she can be a vampire and a vampire hunter. This character moment for Wolverine doesn’t make that impossible.
The comparisons between mutants and vampires also still continues to fascinate me, but in this issue, it’s little more than lip service. That’s fine, it can’t be relevant in every issue, I accept that. I really do think comparing two outcasted species as they found their own nations, is an entertaining comparison. It’s one I honestly think doesn’t get enough credit.
Scott Eaton’s art really doesn’t compare to Adam Kubert’s from earlier issues, but at least Louise’s darker skin tone is colored closer to what it originally was. I do apologize, this week I haven’t given much recognition to the artists, and that’s a problem I’ve been having. I’m trying to be more conscientious about it. I do struggle with it because, save for some exception, art is something I passively forget about.
So yeah, Wolverine is great this week. Even if you don’t care for this storyline, they did bring back a certain mutant of Arakko that might attract even the biggest skeptics of this storyline.
Daredevil #30, written by Chip Zdarksy and drawn by Marco Checchetto and Mike Hawthorne
Daredevil is the gift that keeps on giving. It’s always here, and it always impresses. This is more than just comfort food like Justice League, this is a gourmet meal every issue. This story feels perfectly paced. It can feel slow and methodical, while always moving the story forward at natural pace.
This is true of both plots, the first A-plot of Matt Murdock in prison, and the second A-plot of Elektra being Daredevil. Matt is offered a chance to make a difference in prison, beyond just serving his time. Elektra takes on a new protege, battles a new Kingpin, and discovers the Hand. In both plots, there’s real pathos throughout every page.
Elektra comes to care for the people she protects. She particularly takes to this young kid named Alice. This has come to mean that every failure of her protege is a failure on her, but she reacts rather maturely and that makes her failure in protecting Alice all the more emotionally devastating. At the same time, her building rage at adhering to Matt’s code creates tension that boils once she realizes the Hand has arrived.
Matt is on the opposite track in a way. He’s not conflicted, so much as he is causing conflict for everyone else. At every turn his friends want to help him, to save him from prison, which is code for himself. Matt rebuffs them at every turn, he refuses to be treated better than anyone else. He killed a man and he will serve his sentence, even if it kills him, even if everyone else thinks it’s stupid. It makes him such an admirable character, allowing us to understand why Elektra wants to meet his standard of character.
Daredevil was my favorite comic of last year, and its quality shows no signs of stopping.
Closing Thoughts on this Week in Comics
It was a good week. There was no really big events or reveals this week. We got Wonder Girl, a continuation of Future State, and the return of Legion. Those feel like the biggest things to happen and they were good.
Daredevil continues to impress by at this point, why expect anything else? Justice League has continue to not depress so maybe I should expect something else. It’s a good week, which makes for middle of the road excitement. It could be far worse or it could be better. I’m happy with this week, almost as happy as I was with last week’s comics. I hope so are you.