It was really interesting reading these volumes one after the other as I was able to see the evolution of comics, not just in the writing (both styleIt was really interesting reading these volumes one after the other as I was able to see the evolution of comics, not just in the writing (both style and content), but in the dynamics of the action as well style of layout. The first volume, which collected the issues from 1968 and '69, had a rather staid and restrained design, even taking into account the shake-up provided by the groovy hippie window dressings and the new storylines that came out of the decision to remove Wonder Woman's Amazon powers: the layouts keep to the methodical rectangular/square panels and the action stays confined within those panels; rarely are off-kilter shapes and designs used to enhance the action (usually a fight scene) and I can only recall one instance where a character, in this instance Diana Prince, was drawn coming out of her own panel and crossing into another (a technique a great deal more common in later decades) to show how dynamic her movements were. Volume two, collecting comics from 1969 and '70, is simply a continuation of the same; in fact, there seem to be fewer uniquely shaped panels than previously. About as wild as they get is some square panels with wavy lines—oooh, kooky! And the quality of drawing for the first two volumes is quite... artistic. Though it's doubtful any more effort was expended on creating those panels, each one looks as though it took hours rather than the mere minutes it more likely took. It creates a very classic comic book look, you know what I mean? Soft, rich, stylish.
But when we get to volume three, collecting the issues from 1970 to '72, things start to change. Immediately the artwork starts to look a bit rougher, not in a bad way, but certainly in a more modern way. (Except for The House That Wasn't which was drawn by Wally Wood.) Also, nearly all the panels are angular, uneven, layered; this time around, it's the more structured rectangular/square panels that are the rarely seen layouts. With volume three you get a lot of full-page action, sometimes all on its own, other times with smaller panels layered on top of that action, creating a truly rich environment for the eye to follow. Drawing angles are changed, too: not just straight on, but looking up, looking down, coming in from a side close up so that a body part takes up half of the frame while background action takes up the rest, etc. While the angles had begun to shift since volume one, these new perspectives combined with the intense action and somewhat harsher drawing style really gave this volume a different feel to the previous two, as though an even greater shift has taken place. Volume four continues this sensation, collecting the issues from 1972 to '73, and gives the impression that Wonder Woman has fully made the transition from the Silver Age of comics to the Bronze Age (even though it wasn't defined or thought as such at the time, that I'm aware of). But there's definitely a sense, especially at the end of the book, that something has come to the end and a new beginning has been written. Of course, this might have something to do with the last story, The Second Life of the Original Wonder Woman in which Diana loses her memory, not just of her life as Diana Prince but her previous life as Wonder Woman. All she knows is that she “must get back.” To where, she doesn't know, but that doesn't stop her from stealing a jet, getting shot down and crashing in the ocean, riding a shark to the surface, and finally getting rescued by her sister Amazons. Upon discovering her condition, Queen Hippolyta (saddened her own daughter doesn't recognize her) has Diana taken to the Amazon Memory Bank. There she's strapped into a very squiffy-looking chair (which looks like a very uncomfortable metallic recliner), has a metal band full of Memory Electrodes placed on her forehead, and is taken through a total replay of history. Except for Channels 3 thru 5, whatever those are, because they're a secret Queen Hipppolyta believes Diana doesn't need to know. So we're taken through the history of how the Amazons came to be (according to Robert Kanigher who wrote The Second Life of the Original Wonder Woman, and I'm rather curious as to which book of mythology he read in order to come up with said history), skipping over those mysterious Channels 3-4-5, of course. And as the Multi-Dimensional Memory Channels fade, Diana (Wonder Woman) Prince returns to her mother and the other Amazons of Paradise Island. Suddenly, a fully armored warrior woman appears, claiming that she is the true Wonder Woman. To prove which of them is truly Wonder Woman, the newcomer claims the Amazonian right to challenge the usurper, Diana, in hand-to-hand combat. Eventually, a tie is called and the armored newcomer is revealed to be... Nubia, Wonder Woman of the Floating Island, a fact which disconcerts Hippolyta mightily and sets up a new storyline which will be presumably explored in coming issues. Which is rather disappointing because the reader is left hanging right now: Who is Nubia? Why does her appearance disconcert Hipployta so? Why didn't she want Diana to see Memory Channels 3 thru 5? And now that Diana has returned to Man's world and reclaimed her alter-ego with a job as a universal translator at the U.N., will she ever reclaim her full Amazon powers and become Wonder Woman once more?
Crap, I've gotta know. (I mean, I know she gets her powers back, but I've gotta know exactly how it happens.)
One thing that confuses me, though: if the Amazons are based on Greco-Roman mythology, why do they greet each other with the Spanish "Hola"? Wouldn't "Ave" be better? ("Avete" in the plural form.) It meant 'be well' and was used as both 'hello' and 'goodbye', much like "aloha." (And that would be pronounced "AH-way" as the 'v' in Latin is pronounced as a 'w'. Just as an aside. Two years of high school Latin, silver medal in the National Latin Exam here, folks! Not to brag or anything.) Sorry for the ramble. These are the kind of things that take up most of my mental processing, which explains quite a bit about me, probably....more
These collections keep getting better, I must say. Volume 3 of Diana Prince, Wonder Woman was the most entertaining volume so far, containing much lesThese collections keep getting better, I must say. Volume 3 of Diana Prince, Wonder Woman was the most entertaining volume so far, containing much less of the issues that plagued the previous two volumes (rampant sexism and racism) and a great deal more of pure, energetic action and adventure. Again and again, Diana Prince proves that even without the awesome powers of Wonder Woman, she can still hold her own in a fight, all the while wearing a groovy outfit and a kicky pair of shoes! (Seriously, some of the shoes these guys drew are totally awesome; I want someone to replicate them so I can wear them, too.) The weakest link is the story where Diana is once again teamed up with Superman (Journey to the End of Hope): at a student rally in 1971 that gets violent, a shooting death there somehow causes the world to end up in total ruins 200 years later; so a super-computer sends probes into the past to find the two most superior human specimens through computer dating(!). How does this super-computer do this? By the ability to implant thoughts in humans--don't ask me how. These humans were I Ching and Perry White, who convince Diana and Clark to fill out the computer dating applications so that they might come together at the right place, at the right time, for the super-computer to bring these two superior humans (never minding the fact that Superman isn't human) to the future in order to prevent this one potential eventuality. Yeesh! Thing is, the computer dies before giving them detailed information on who they must save, so they go back in time with only a general idea; when they get back to the rally, they manage to save the life of a student who matches the computer's description, yet someone else, a guard who also resembles the computer's description, gets killed. Was that the person they were supposed to save? As Superman so desperately says in the last panel, they'll never know until it's too late! It's so clumsy and heavy-handed, even for the crunchy, granola '70s. I just barely stopped my eyes from rolling right out of my head.
The one thing that bugged me, that continues to bug me is the insistence on using the introduction of "Diana (Wonder Woman) Prince" on every story. Yes, I realize this is a collection of issues, but still, even those who had missed an issue between June of 1970 and February of 1971, for example, would still know and completely understand that Diana Prince is, was, and will always be the alter-ego of Wonder Woman. That fact doesn't need to be drilled into the reader's head every. Single. Time....more
In a way, in many ways, this collection was almost worse than the first volume of this series. The sexism is more rampant thanks to stories in which WIn a way, in many ways, this collection was almost worse than the first volume of this series. The sexism is more rampant thanks to stories in which Wonder Woman fights Lois Lane for the attention and hand in marriage of Superman (The Superman-Wonder Woman Team) and Bruce Wayne hits on Wonder Woman while fretting over the hit his ego will take if he lets a woman and a blind man (yup, I Ching is still hanging around) save him from the bad guys beating him up (The Widow-Maker). And while I believe today's political correctness has gotten excessively, exuberantly out-of-hand, some of the incorrectness on view is just unbelievably... ballsy. The most egregious being the story Red For Death in which both Diana Prince and her companion, the red-haired, quite Irish-looking Patrick McGuire, are made up in "yellow-face": given a Asian make-over, complete with wigs, in order to pass over the border into RED CHINA and rescue I Ching. (And in the midst of this rescue, Diana finds the time to take a bath and wash her hair because we all know how important that is to us "girls." Yeesh.) Oh, and once again the big bad is the villain Doctor Cyber, who is neither a doctor nor any kind of robotic entity *scratches head in confusion* and still trying to take over the world with her gang of henchwomen. So basically, volume two of Diana Prince, Wonder Woman is a confused mishmash of whiz-bang action that flies at you with primary colors and high-flying karate kicks. You know, like the first volume. And, I have a feeling, as volume three and four will be.
And yet...I enjoyed it. It's a fun, unapologetic, energetic, entertaining read that, like all comics of the Silver Age, may not always know what the heck it wants to be, but will have a damn fun time exploring the possibilities. Just plop yourself in the paisley-painted sidecar, strap on some goggles, and come along for the ride!...more
I have such a hard time rating this. On the one hand, coming into the world of Wonder Woman comic books as basically a newbie*, I enjoyed the drawingsI have such a hard time rating this. On the one hand, coming into the world of Wonder Woman comic books as basically a newbie*, I enjoyed the drawings themselves, the style, the coloring, the old-style action beats ("POW" "KRWAM" "WAP"). The pure, vibrantly-colored joy on each page made the entire book so much fun to read. On the other hand... *sigh* On the other hand, good lord, I have never seen a woman cry so much over a man! "Oh, poor Steve Trevor, what have I done to you?" "Oh, Steve, will you ever forgive me?" "Oh, Reggie, you lied to me, you said you loved me!" And on, ad nauseam. And that's simply one of many egregious outrages perpetrated against this formerly awesome Amazon. In stripping Wonder Woman of her powers, they stripped her of her personality, turning her into a "girl" who is more concerned with her clothes, her hair, and her man than with anything else.
As far as the main story, of Wonder Woman losing her powers and having to learn how to fight as a regular human (thanks to the miraculous appearance of the cringingly named character "I Ching"), in the history of Wonder Woman I can see how important it was, how much of a shake-up it caused, the idea of a divinely-created superhero suddenly becoming fully human and having to fend for herself with just some well-placed karate chops and judo kicks. The story wants to be progressive and feminist, especially in its use of villains, yet it comes off as neither. Instead, especially when looking back at it with modern eyes, it looks unbearably cheesy, occasionally lame, and at times a bit sexist. (One character distracts a female guard by pretending a mouse is chewing on her shoe; when he knocks the guard out, he says, "Never yet saw a chick who wouldn't be dumb if you gave her a chance!" I mean, ew!)
Oh, and then there's the strained attempt at "hippie talk" in the first story, Wonder Woman's Rival. All the "makin' the scene together" "cool your head, man" and one character calling Diana a "ginchy chick" (which reminded me of something, not Edd Byrnes from 77 Sunset Strip, but of a squeaky-voiced blonde woman from something else--it's bugging the crap out of me). Anyway, it was just so forced and hilarious.
But in the end I had to rate this a 3 star read because I did have fun with it, even if it was sometimes at the comic's expense. Okay, I did kind of girl-out over the "groovy" fashions. So sue me: I only ever pretended to be Wonder Woman.
*I grew up watching reruns of Wonder Woman with Lynda Carter (who will always be Wonder Woman to me, just like Christopher Reeves will always be my Superman; I'm stuck in a rut that way) and playing in the driveway dressed in my Wonder Woman underoos (wearing my sister's cuff bracelet I stole from her supposedly locked room). I may have read an occasional random comic book that had been part of my sister's collection, but that was it. I certainly wasn't one of those kids who ran out to buy the latest issue. So I've been at the sidelines (though still adding my vocal opinion) of some of the biggest changes and upsets in the Wonder Woman universe. (That whole issue #600 and post-52 costume design change still gives me heartburn; WW doesn't have to wear a miniskirt, but pants are just.. wrong. Then again, at least it wasn't black bicycle shorts like back in the '90s. Oy)...more
As with volume 1, Arrow: Volume 2 collects the tie-in comics of the the CW show Arrow, in this case issues 7 through 12, into one book. And as before,As with volume 1, Arrow: Volume 2 collects the tie-in comics of the the CW show Arrow, in this case issues 7 through 12, into one book. And as before, the stories are arranged into a further 18 "chapters", each one a short vignette which takes place in the past or present of the first season of the show, taking a small part of the storyline or character development and adding a bit more flesh to it. As with the first volume--I feel like a broken record here--this compilation is really only for fans of the show rather than fans of the original DC comic character Green Arrow. That said, even though this is the second volume, both books are stand-alone as there's no cohesive, over-arcing storyline to them, so if one is read without the other, other than any niggling feeling you might have from reading a set of books out of order (or does that only happen to me?) you won't run into any problems.
Because each chapter is drawn by a different artist--some having come over from volume 1--once again you run into a range of style and talent. However, there seemed to be a greater consistency between the artists with this volume, not necessarily with them trying to emulate each other's work, but with the artists trying to achieve a more consistent look from story to story, i.e. the characters look more like the actors portraying them rather than generic "female victim" or "male hero." Each artist still puts his individual stamp on the story they're creating, obviously--there's nothing homogeneous here--but there's also no great disparity moving from one chapter to the next which could startle you out of the mood the book has created. You know, when one artist uses a lighter hand with his outlining and shadowing, creating a more delicate look, and then the next artist relies on deep shadows and heavy lines, creating a more raw or crude look. Does my rambling make any kind of sense?
As I stated earlier, Arrow: Volume 2 is most enjoyable for those fans of the show who would like to explore further the characters and history of the world Guggenheim et al have created. Anyone else might possibly enjoy the artwork or the stories for the interaction between characters without actually knowing who they are and why they're behaving as such . . . but I doubt it as I think it would simply raise more questions than answers for them. As for me, since I am such a squeeing fan-girl of the show, I got a great deal of enjoyment out of the book; I think my only disappointment came from the fact that the stories were so short, causing the book to end much too soon....more
Okay, for my review, a few things should be known: I'm an unabashed, squeeing, fan-girl fan of the show Arrow (same goes with its brother, The Flash);Okay, for my review, a few things should be known: I'm an unabashed, squeeing, fan-girl fan of the show Arrow (same goes with its brother, The Flash); I have a very sad and pathetic crush on the lead, Stephen Amell, mainly because of his salmon ladder pull-ups *hummina, hummina, hummina*; I'm deficient in any knowledge of classic Green Arrow comic history--my time at DC Comics was mainly spent communing with Wonder Woman. With those things in mind, here is my review:
Arrow: Volume 1 collects issues 1-6 of the tie-in comic for the CW show, Arrow. Inside this compilation are 18 "chapters", each of which takes a scene or character and expands upon what we learned in the first season of the show. Basically the "chapters" flesh out points of the show that may have only been flashes on screen, giving us a deeper look at the world of Arrow as created in part by executive producers Marc Guggenheim and Andrew Kreisberg. Do these "chapters" provide a deep and insightful exposé? Not particularly. But if you're a fan of the show--which is really the target audience for these comics--you'll enjoy seeing what happened to Diggle in Afghanistan, for instance, or discovering the tragedy that made Helena Bertinelli into the Huntress, or getting a glimpse into Chien Na Wei's childhood before she became China White. And, of course, we follow alongside Oliver as he patrols the city, carrying out the promise he made to undo his father's wrongs and serve the city.
The storylines are pretty basic, nothing particularly striking or revelatory about any of them, but they are entertaining, full of quips and fast-paced action. The artwork is pretty good--as with any graphic novel or compilation that relies on multiple artists, the work can at times be hit-or miss. In some of the chapters, it's hard to differentiate between characters: the men all look the same and so do the women. I'd have to say the work of Mico Suayan and Omar Francia was the best, in my opinion, with Mike Grell and Xermanico as runners up. At times, the artwork is rather primitive, at others, overly cartoonish, but again that's what you get with several artists working together. In the end, it all evens out, I think, and there's nothing so overtly "wrong" with any of it that might jar the reader out of the book. So I count that as a success.
In the end, I honestly don't see fans, especially die-hard fans, of the classic Green Arrow comics particularly enjoying these comics or graphic novels as they're aimed at the viewing audience of the Arrow TV show. Even then I don't think casual or highly critical viewers of the show will find the need to read these or take much away from them as they probably won't answer the questions or issues they have with the show and will seem more superficial than beneficial. Me? Gimme more, gimme more!...more
This is a collection of comics set in the early days of the series, revolving around a story arc which, among other actions, gives us a glimpse into JThis is a collection of comics set in the early days of the series, revolving around a story arc which, among other actions, gives us a glimpse into Jo's past, her time spent in Afghanistan before she came to Eureka and, yes, her early love life. We also see the reappearance of Warren King, who, while helping to save the day, spends the rest of his time annoying Nathan with his obvious and active attraction for Alison. (Yup, Nathan's here; I told you this was an early-days story.) We also get Taggert (who finds himself threatened by the appearance of Jo's old boyfriend, even though he still trying to hide his attraction towards her, so we get a lot of cute, awkward scenes with him), a rather scary nanite-based bio-weapon (which Carter re-terms a "zombie weapon," to the despair of Warren and Nathan, even though the name perfectly describes the weapon), and a very cool "bubble" gun (which pretty much does as it sounds--another of Carter's descriptors). There's a bit more violence and bloodshed, which is a departure from the show (which rarely shows anything more than a nosebleed), but I think it's something to be expected from the medium, so it didn't bother me. Basically, it's a cute, light, and fun little book. And the illustrations ain't too bad, either; they capture the essences of the actors from the show without being slavishly faithful depictions, caricatures, or bland, indecipherable sketches....more
Bizarro, indeed. While a couple of the tales are just plain stupid, overall, this is a funny and fun take on those beloved classic comic book heroes aBizarro, indeed. While a couple of the tales are just plain stupid, overall, this is a funny and fun take on those beloved classic comic book heroes and heroines....more
I enjoyed the original mash-up novel, so when I heard of the graphic novel adaptation, I was quite excited. However, I was also leery, which is why itI enjoyed the original mash-up novel, so when I heard of the graphic novel adaptation, I was quite excited. However, I was also leery, which is why it took me so long to get my hands on it and when I did, it was as library copy. I was leery for the main fact that I knew the interpretation of the graphic novel could be potentially iffy. And I was right. The illustrations are technically skilled, but lacking distinction. The only way I could tell Lizzie and Jane apart was by Jane's dark hair. The other female characters, the young ones at least, were interchangeable and it was very easy to confuse one for another. Plus, the characters were bland and overly romanticized. It was like looking at a bunch of Barbie and Ken dolls dressed in regency-style clothing. The women all had full lips, petite noses and large, doe-like eyes. And of course the men had perfectly styled hair and dashing, Prince Charming features. Frankly, it got rather boring after a while, watching all the perfect people parade across the page.
Then we come to the actual story. Naturally, due to the manner of graphic novel storytelling, the original tale was abridged. But not well, which resulted in a choppy and abrupt storyline; while the original novel, due to the inherent nature of a literary mash-up, had the occasional disconcerting moment when new material was introduced into the old, there were exponentially more of those jarring moments in the graphic novel. And the numerous double entendres referring to "balls" and their enjoyment by the girls got truly tiresome and were completely out of place. Including the snort of laughter given by Lizzie after one of those references (concerning musket balls, as opposed to the dancing balls which were the main victims of the juvenile jokes).
In the end, I'm glad I read the book: It satisfied my curiosity. However, I'm also glad I didn't buy it as I had initially planned and instead got it as a loan from the library. Because it was truly a letdown and could've been so much better....more
Short, violent and to the point. Not much character development and what story there is serves only to move the action alone, nothing more. For thoseShort, violent and to the point. Not much character development and what story there is serves only to move the action alone, nothing more. For those looking to expand on their movie experience, move along, there's nothing to see here. In fact, it was the movie which expanded on the book, which only focuses on the tale of Paul Moses and his reactivation to the world of assassination. Other than that, the layout is crisp and focused, and the animation is vivid and well-done. I would say not much bang for your buck with this slim novel, but with the number of gunshots portrayed in the story, I'd be lying. I will say, unless you intend to pass this book among your friends to share its value, get it from the library first and then decide if you'd like to add it to your permanent collection....more
I was going to write reviews of the first three volumes of this series, but I decided to save my creative juices (and they are so little) for the compI was going to write reviews of the first three volumes of this series, but I decided to save my creative juices (and they are so little) for the compendium. So here we go...
First off, a general overview: The story concerns a local cop, Rick, who wakes in the hospital to discover the world has gone to hell. All the people have been turned into the walking dead. (I know, overtones of 28 Days Later, but go with it.) We then follow him as he struggles to find out what has happened, where all the zombies came from, and if his wife and child are still alive. In later chapters (volumes), Rick gathers a rag-tag group of fellow survivors and we are further drawn into their story of how to survive in a world gone mad. As Simon Pegg pointed out in his afterward to Volume One, reading Robert Kirkman's tale makes you start to question yourself: Would I be able to survive a zombie apocalypse? Would I be willing to do whatever it takes, even if it reduces me to a savage, to protect those I love? Heady stuff.
Now we come to the most controversial aspect of the series, the artwork. In Chapter (Volume) One, all the art and grey tones were done by Tony Moore. His artwork gave life to the series, giving us clear and beautiful images, done in a simple yet at the same time intricate style. Every character was unique; the zombies were disgusting in their realism; light and shadow had the starkness of a well-made black-and-white horror film. In short, Moore set the bar high, a bar which the next illustrator, Charlie Adlard, fell quite short of. I still don't know why Moore left the project, but I truly wish he hadn't. Once Adlard steps in, the drawings go to hell. Everything's rougher, without the grace of lines Moore had; characters are so poorly drawn that it's hard to tell them apart, which goes for both male and female characters. The shading is the worst, though; it's so heavy-handed that it almost feels claustrophobic and while I can appreciate that one might want a claustrophobic feeling for a horror comic, you want that feeling to come from actions and situations, not from a lack of detail in your scene. At times, panels were so dark it was hard to tell what the action of the character was. I'm used to seeing excessively dark lighting in movies, in fact I've come to expect it in horror movies, the kind of lighting where you can see some movement, but have no clue what's really going on. I don't expect it in graphic novels and, in fact, if you'd asked me, I wouldn't have known that excessive darkness was even possible in the realm of drawing. Well, other than taking a panel and coloring it in with a black marker. However, despite my poor opinion of Adlard's drawings, I have to be fair and say that they do get a bit better in later volumes, as he gets more sure of his characters and the storyline.
The storytelling helped come to grips with the post-Moore artwork. To be brutally honest, if this were not a graphic novel, I'd have to wonder how Kirkman managed to get published. Taken alone, the story is rather poor, especially the dialog, which can in turns be idiotic, banal, cliched, overwrought, nonsensical, and occasionally just plain painful to read. However, this isn't as bad as it sounds. First off, the graphics add depth to the ordinary writing, propelling it along when it might've stuttered out if it were merely a print novel. And secondly, the bad writing has actually captured the reality of the situation. After all, people say stupid things; they stutter, they get emotional, they put their foot in their mouth; they're inelegant in their conversations. In a zombie apocalypse, who has access to a speech writer, someone to whom they can turn to coherently and eloquently express their every thought? No one. Hell, only the slick bastards up in Washington have speech writers and they still manage to generate sound bites of them saying something moronic. Having awkward and not-well-written dialog gives The Walking Dead a depth and sense of reality not encountered in many other graphic novels, which, despite the later artwork, earns the Compendium 5-stars in my book.
Many people are put off by the Compendium, complaining about its lack of portability. Weighing in at nearly five pounds, they are right, it's not a book you can read on the commuter train into work. However, it's not put me off buying Volume 2 when it comes out. Not only will a matched set help me work out my biceps, when the zombie apocalypse does come, their heft will make them ideal weapons. I'm sure they'll be able to take off a rotting zombie skull or two, making them not only informative but useful as well....more
Awesome!!! But it's too short! I want something that's more like 100, 200, 300, etc. pages long... mainly because I never want the Firefly/Serenity stAwesome!!! But it's too short! I want something that's more like 100, 200, 300, etc. pages long... mainly because I never want the Firefly/Serenity story to end. Oh well.
The artistry is done quite well done, with lots of action and violence and gore, and interspersed with other artists' portraits of the main characters. And of course you can't go wrong with Joss Whedon's storytelling. Brett Matthews, too, I guess, although I can't say what exactly he added to the story. The introduction, written by Nathan Fillion, is the perfect amuse bouche, a great way to start off the novel. As I said, I just wish that story was longer....more