Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Yet another Sensational review!

Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman #8, 9, 10 (I’m going to quit citing print versions because I’m confused.) Jan. 2015 Cover: Adam Hughes, Editor: Kristy Quinn

“Ghosts and Gods”
Writer: Neil Kleid, Art: Dean Haspiel

Haspiel gives us a very cartoony but consistent Wonder version here, employing much more body language and true anatomy than such efforts usually give us. Nice!

Though the story then has a Golden Age feel, especially since Etta Candy is in WWII-hairdo, we find Ra’s al Ghul has stolen a Purple Ray device. He wants his army as well as himself to be immortal.

When he grabs Etta and then disarms Diana (he propositions her to be his bride, which of course she refuses), Boston (Deadman) Brand, the ghost who can temporarily possess humans, enters and takes over Etta. We get a running joke of Diana not believing this, and thinking that Etta has gone a little more wacko than normal. Diana needs to get the Purple Ray if not for anything else than to cure Etta.

Boston gets in some great lines, as when he refers to Rama Kushna as “Hindu goddess of pain-in-my-keister.” He refers to Ra’s as “Dracula of Arabia.” Eventually he gets Diana to believe him, and fills in the reader on his origin story: he was a circus aerialist (the DCU is full of ‘em!) who was shot. Rama Kushna grabbed his soul and “charged me to stay on Earth and bring my murderer to justice… [and] solve crimes and maintain balance in the universe.”

Boston accuses Diana of not believing in ghosts, and she tells him that she does indeed, but ghosts stay tucked away in the underworld. She doesn’t bring up such Greek myth/legendary figures as Patroclus, whose ghost haunted his beloved comrade, Achilles, to beg for funeral rites (book XXIII of The Illiad). Both heroes reportedly wandered the island of Leuke post-mortem, sometimes accompanied by other famous ghosts.

Boston starts naming the many ghosts of the DCU, including the Hawks, whom I thought in most of their versions were reincarnations and not ghosts. Oh well, I’m not a Hawks expert. (And note that many ancient Greeks like Pythagoras were firm believers in reincarnation or transmigration of souls. The Orphic religion, which is supposed to have influenced Christianity, is based upon the cycles of transmigration.)

Maybe Diana is speaking of the Amazons' beliefs, and not those of ancient Hellenes.

Anywayz. They come upon Ra’s in his lab, and Ra’s throws his stolen Magic Lasso over Diana. “We have an understanding, my lasso and I,” she says. I have no idea what that means, but since Ra’s never gave her an order, I can see how she operates so easily under her own will while still tied in it.

Boston can’t take over Ra’s because “His soul’s corrupted… He’s come back too many times!”

Ra’s touches Diana’s shoulder and she cries out in pain. ?? But she recovers and chases after him as he and his thugs escape. He locks Diana and Etta/Boston in the self-destructing lab, but the good guys escape hale and hearty from (I guess) the way they came.

Diana apologizes to Boston as she aims the Purple Ray at Etta, because she needs her back at 100 percent. The ray forces Boston out of Etta’s body.

“If I want to be an ambasador to the world, I must be open-minded to the world’s diverse beliefs,” Diana says, and Boston heads off to a “date with a giant head.”

A nice, action-filled story with people from various corners and eras of the DCU. A bit preachy—WW stories are that all too often, which I think is a big reason why some people can’t get into her—but funny as well.

“Morning Coffee”
Writer: Ollie Masters Artist: Amy Mebberson

Another cartoony story, this one in a very different, more modern style. (And it’s darling!) (Except for that star over Wondie’s belly button, that is. :-D )

Catwoman arrives at the British Museum in London to release a smoke bomb for diversion and then duck to underground vaults, where she deliberately sets off an alarm before pilfering something she stuffs in her duffle.

The police call Wonder Woman, who is yawning from lack of sleep. (She was up all night dealing with Cheetah.) Diana lassos Catwoman (this is the last we’ll see of the lasso in this story), and Selena mutters that everything’s going to plan.

The police aren’t equipped to handle Catwoman (she doesn’t have super powers, so ??), so Diana takes her into custody. They stop off at a coffee shop and Diana orders a hazelnut latte with five extra shots of espresso. !!!

“You drink away, DOUBLE DOUBYA,” the handcuffed Catwoman tells her as she glances at the sky. “Don’t mind me.”

Diana opens the duffle, only to discover the Golden Fleece in there. My gosh, did the British abscond with EVERY antiquity they came across? But from up and behind comes the Colchian dragon, guardian of the Golden Fleece and breathing flame. He is ANGRY.

Di grabs a street sign and wallops the poor dragon with it. Catwoman uses the diversion as an excuse to grab the Fleece and take off. But she in turn is grabbed by Diana, dragged back to the coffee shop, and ordered to buy coffee. Ba-dum-dum!

Funny, lovely little tale! Ahh.

“Attack of the 500 Foot Wonder Woman”
Writer: Rob Williams Artist: Tom Lyle

The art in this story is okay, I guess, though it fluctuates in quality. The truly consistent part of it is the awful hair. Suggestion to the artist: study Nick Cardy. Please. Sound effects typography could use some work. ONCE AGAIN we get a sermon as the basis for a WW story. Everyone, please turn in your hymnals to...

Years ago young Diana had seen only strength and warriors when she looked at the statuary honoring gods and honored Amazons.

Present day: Gateway City, CA. The Atom sits on Diana’s shoulder talking about a “growth field,” which apparently has made her several stories tall.

“I think I stepped on an old Buick,” she groans as she tries to adjust to her new state.

“We can buy the owner a new Buick,” Atom replies.

Hawkman and Hawkwoman fly by to attack Byth, a shape-changing Thanagarian who is now in the form of a winged lizard the size of Godzilla. Byth tosses the Hawks into the ocean, and Atom takes off to rescue them so Wondie can act. The growth field will only work for a short time.

She and Byth battle hand-to-claw through the city, winding up in the bay. Diana grabs cabling that Byth has snapped from the Gateway Bridge, and it begins to glow gold in her hands. “I don’t need to be on Themyscira to feel the powers of my mothers,” Diana claims. “I carry my home with me wherever I travel. Wherever I choose!”

I guess this is the conceit of how she’s turned the cables into the Magic Lasso. ??? (And what is it with "mothers" plural?) She binds Byth in it, and gets him to tell her the truth of why he is there. He confesses that he just wants to have a solitary home where he could be at peace. He shrinks to normal size. (The cables don’t glow any more.)

This entire cable bit could have been tweaked so that the real Magic Lasso (which Diana does not carry in this story, but she should have) could have “powered it up.” Ah, backseat editor is rearing her head again.

After she has him clean up the mess he’s made, Diana takes Byth to an island off Themyscira. Along the way, she notes that when she was a child she saw only the statues of warriors on her island, but now she sees the statues of the wise and the scholars beside them. “THAT is what my home was built on.”

She says that he may live on this solitary island and be whatever he wants to be there. Though this story seems to be set long after men were allowed on Paradise Island—and besides, this isn’t PI anyway—Byth notes, “I thought only females could stand on Paradise Island.”

“Yes,” Diana replies. “…And I thought you were a changeling?”

The story had some good bits, nice guest stars, so-so art.

But all in all, a very good issue!

So… What did you think of it?

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