The High Five Episode 8 – Quick Hit Intros To Wonder Woman

Happy Women’s Month everyone! To celebrate, I’m reflecting on one of my all-time favorite comic characters Wonder Woman! In this episode, I offer up a handful of quick hit Wonder Woman comics and graphic novels meant to usher any and all curious about the character into the wonderful world of comics!

I mentioned a few things I’ve written in the episode as well. If you’re curious, here’s the link for the Fandom Wonder Woman 1984 piece I worked on as well as the Colleen Doran CBR interview I did with her about A Distant Soil back in 2013. Oh and in the gallery above you can see the Mike Deodato Artemis sketch I mentioned!

Anyone Else Excited About DC’s First Wave Books?

I’m not sure what it is about this pulpy noir pocket universe that DC’s got brewing with First Wave, but I’m really looking forward to seeing what comes out of it. It started with the Brian Azzarello-written, Phil Noto-drawn Batman/Doc Savage Special 1-shot which was both beautiful and a ton of fun to read. I’m no fan of Doc Savage, not because I dislike the character, but because I haven’t been exposed to him. I tried reading Tom Strong who takes more than a few plays from the Savage playbook and never got into it, but I did really like the pulpy stories in the Lobster Johnson mini series from Dark Horse and the Orson Randall stories in Immortal Iron Fist which were also inspired Savage. The aspects of those two stories that I really dug were the heroes’ network of helpers and of course, that’s something Savage brought to the table and show up in the special.

See, the idea is to take badass, powerless characters like Batman, Doc, Black Canary, The Spirit, the Blackhawks, Justice Inc. and Rima The Jungle Girl and tossing them up against some crazy villains while keeping the books and characters securely rooted in the pulp/noir/crime playground. And don’t think of this as your regular Batman, this is some pure Golden Age Batman goodness with him packing heat and firing on anyone who messes with him. If the list of characters above left you scratching your head, check out this link which has scans of character sketches and descriptions from Batman/Doc Savage. After the 1-shot kicks things off, we’ll be getting into the First Wave miniseries in March which will be written by Azz and drawn by Rags Morales who hasn’t done much of interest or real quality lately, but the pages they’ve been posting over on DC’s The Source have looked pretty fantastic, just check out this page starring a giant robot. Then in March the empire expands with two ongoings: Doc Savage written by Paul Malmont with Howard Porter art and The Spirit by Jason Starr and Scott Hampton with Justice Inc. backup stories. Now, I don’t know anything about these writers other than the fact that they’re crime novelists, but I’m hoping they’re good at this whole comics thing. I’m sure some people don’t want another universe to keep track of, but at least this way it’ll be easy to ignore them if you don’t like the books or just don’t care. Frankly, I prefer this course of action to shoehorning outside characters into the established comic universe like DC did with the Red Circle and Milestone characters. I’m looking forward to seeing Azzarello doing what he’s really good at, telling complex, fast paced and absorbing stories with badass characters. 100 Bullets is one of my favorite comics of all time, but his other superhero stuff hasn’t been so great (except Doctor 13, which is amazing), so I’m hoping he’ll be able to play to his real strong suit with First Wave. After that? Who knows? I don’t know much about the characters, but something about this project has me really really intrigued and excited for some hopefully great comics.

Wanted: My Third Favorite Comic Movie of 2008

2008-12-16
3:41:04 am

Yup, I said it. Of course Dark Knight and Iron Man were the cat’s pajamas, but what movie holds the third spot in my heart for this year? Well, without thinking about it too much (and not doing any real research), Wanted, which I saw for the first time this weekend on DVD easily takes the bronze cake. I also saw Incredible Hulk, which I found to be generally boring and mostly uninspired, and Hellboy II, which Rickey just watched. I share his sentiments and you can check out my comments over there for a few specifics.

Even though I liked Wanted for all of it’s action movie craziness, I gotta say, I’m not a fan of the comic. I’m not a big fan of the idea of raping various women showing how much of a bad ass you are. We get it already, he’s not held by society’s rules. Plus, I found the end of the comic to be pretty dull, even though we were kind of influenced by it for the recent Secret Invasion TTT over in ToyFare.

Fun fact for those of you who might not know already, the screenwriters actually started writing the script after the first issue came out, but before the rest of the issues. They apparently came up with a lot of the same themes and plot points which I found very interesting. If you’re interested in hearing them talk about their experiences writing the script check out the interview done with them on the Creative Screenwriting Magazine podcast via iTunes (I’ve enjoyed a lot of the podcast interviews on there). Anyway, that explains the differences in the plot, which include them not being supervillains among other things.

So, what I liked about the movie is that they just kind of went crazy with it. I’m not sure how I feel about the whole “loom of fate” idea, but whatever, it’s just a goofy plot point that didn’t bother or intrigue me, it just kind of sat there. I’ve always been a fan of stories where it turns out that a normal dude is actually really special (and in this case a born assassin) and Jame McAvoy plays the roll very well, going from schlub to annoying new guy to total badass (how can you not love the scene where he tells off his boss?). But beyond that, I also really like just how good these assassins are at their craft. They’re not just good enough to shoot a dude from what looks like hundreds of city blocks away, but they can flip one car over another and shoot a dude through the sun roof. It’s just a lot of fun and I had fun watching it.

Of course, it’s not a perfect movie. It would have been cool to see them as villains, but hey that’s just my inner geek talking. There’s also a scene where James is chasing this dude who he thinks killed his dad and out of nowhere all of the other assassins that we know (Common, Angelina Jolie, a few others, but not Morgan Freeman) and things just go crazy. Why were they there? I really didn’t get that and I don’t think that it got explained even with the twist ending (which I was expecting, but Em even called it before the reveal). I also thought the twist got a little confusing. If he did what McAvoy says he did, then who’s to say he wasn’t lying about the other ones? That will make sense, if you’ve seen the movie and you’re thinking of the library scene towards the end of the movie. Oh, also, McAvoy’s assault at the end is freaking sweet even if I’m still not quite sure how he got them to explode.

I guess I should comment on the other stars. Morgan Freeman definitely elevates what’s probably not a very good role on paper (as you’d expect). Common’s pretty cool as the Gunsmith. I think this is the first movie I’ve seen him in. I wouldn’t mind seeing him as Green Lantern John Stewart, as he was potentially cast in the Justice League movie. And then of course there’s Angelina Jolie. She’s one of those actresses that I’m not a big fan of until I actually see her in something. I’ve got this kind of mental block about her (probably because I don’t like the person I see on TV and whatnot), but then I think about Hackers and Gone in 60 Seconds and I dig those movies, so I guess I like her.

So, in the end, congrats to Wanted for getting my coveted (heh, who am I kidding?) third place in my 2008 comic book movie list (I’m sure I’m missing something, but maybe not). But watch out, I still haven’t seen Punisher: War Zone, which I’m hoping will fill the same kind of niche (I love Dolph’s original and it looks like WZ follows in its footsteps pretty well, though without the Shakespeare-quoting drunk bum).