A lot of books came out this week. Here’s my opinions on some of them, including two with the word “wonder” in the title. Hooray for SEO! Now, on to the reviews!
Wonder Twins #1 (DC)
(w) Mark Russell (a) Stephen Byrne
Wonder Twins #1 is written by Mark Russell. Therefore, readers should go into this book expecting it to be fantastically written and low selling, resulting in a premature cancellation. Though a touch slower and sloppier than his other works, Wonder Twins ultimately is a success. Russell uses Zan and Jayna to highlight the teenage experience to great effect. In addition, the inclusion of the DC Trinity as the “straight men” is used to great effect. The writing is not the only thing working, as Stephen Byrne packs each page with fun little details that help build out this world. I may have despised them on Super Friends, but Wonder Twins #1 is a fresh reinvention of the purple-clad duo.
Bonus: check out a full-length review from one of our site’s contributors here.
Wonder Woman #64 (DC)
(w) G. Willow Wilson (a) Jesus Merino (i) Andy Owens (c) Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Grudges are powerful things, and when someone with enough resources has one, they can cause a lot of damage. That’s the crux of Wonder Woman #64. G. Willow Wilson continues her fantastic run on the title by setting up a new story arc dealing with personal anguish for both our hero and her antagonist, while also tackling the influence of corporate media. Though the artwork is at times spotty, Jesus Merino and company do an overall solid job, especially in those moments where emotions are running hot.
The Flash #64 (DC)
(w) Joshua Williamson (a) Rafa Sandoval & Jordi Tarragona
It’s a shame that Joshua Williamson had to follow-up the globe-trotting fun of “Force Quest” with the Heroes in Crisis tie-in “The Price.” Though billed as Batman and Flash teaming up to solve the “murder” of Wally West (which I personally believe is bullshit), instead the duo is forced to deal with the Dark Knight’s mishandling of the whole Gotham Girl problem from Tom King’s earliest arcs in Batman. Though Rafa Sandoval and Jordi Tarragona deliver some great artwork, it can’t salvage a subpar story that’s connected to one of the worst DC events in memory.
Blackbird #5 (Image)
(a) Jen Bartel (w) Sam Humphries
Giving artist Jen Bartel top billing among the creators is appropriate, as her work can be pointed to as the number one reason to pick up Blackbird. There’s a major sequence in which Nina and her missing-and-presumed-dead sister Marisa have a big magic fight in which Bartel’s use of vibrant colors and character expressiveness are used to great effect. Even mundane scenarios like a conversation at a bar looks great. The story, meanwhile, keeps chugging along with all new twists and turns that keeps the reader fully engaged and hotly anticipating the next issue.
Vampirella Valentine’s Day Special (Dynamite)
(w) Leah Williams (a) Maria Sanapo
Love can take unexpected forms as readers discover in the Vampirella Valentine’s Day Special. Teaming with a Cajun named Val Bordeaux, Vampirella takes on numerous things that go bump in the night as Mardi Gras comes to a close in New Orleans. Of course, Val isn’t what he seems, but he still is on the side of angels. But at its core, Leah Williams’ script touches on what it truly means to be good or bad, and what really makes someone a monster. It’s a bit heavy-handed, but it is effective in conveying that message to readers. The artwork from Maria Sanapo is solid, as are Ceci de la Cruz’s colors. There is a backup story, a reprint from the 2005 Vampirella Summer Special, which is out of place and only serves to bump the page count and justify the inflated price.
Savage Sword of Conan #1 (Marvel)
(w) Gerry Duggan (a) Ron Garney (c) Richard Isanove
Is this second Conan title better than the one that debuted only a few short weeks ago? I honestly don’t know, because I didn’t read it. However, I did read this one by Gerry Duggan and Ron Garney, which I found to be… okay. The change of format from a black-and-white magazine to a traditional comic has rankled some readers, but what’s more upsetting is the exposition-heavy, bland story. Garney’s artwork possesses the necessary grit and energy worthy of Conan, but Duggan’s script is just a slog to get through. Narrative boxes suffocate the artwork, rather than work in harmony with it. Conan himself possesses a necessary amount of brutality and curt language, but that is not enough to check out the second issue.