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Precinct1313 Recommends: Wonder Woman – Dead Earth

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Precinct1313 is a dilemma within a mystery, contained in an enigma… it has been over six years since this majestic and malefic mansion first welcomed us into it’s darkened ceaseless corridors, herculean hallways and cavernous crypts, yet even now, after all this time we are still discovering new chambers and secreted areas. Recently uncovered is a mysterious room aptly named ‘The Scrying Chamber’ within this portentous place stands a single stone table bathed in ethereal light upon which sits an ominous black crystal ball.

So, gaze deep dear readers, unto manifold destiny through Precinct1313’s mystical crystal ball of wonders towards an apocalyptic future where the Earth itself has been laid to waste, and only one solitary hero can ultimately save humanity from itself…

13wondyDC Comics’ notable recent imprint – Black Label is a line of limited series aimed at a distinctly mature audience that began with the bombastic – Batman: Damned. Building upon the success of that first series DC have regaled us with other classic characters within this more adult format, with this particular superlative series starring our hallowed Hellenic heroine, the Themysciran Titan herself – Wonder Woman!ww de3Wonder Woman: Dead Earth is a four part, forty eight page prestige format mini-series written and illustrated by Daniel Warren Johnson, that initially released in December 2019. 

Princess Diana originally left her home of Themyscira and her beloved Amazon sisters to save the world from mankind itself, yet, after waking from an unexpected centuries long sleep and discovering the Earth has been reduced to a nuclear wasteland, she knows she has ultimately failed in her divine mission. The Earth has been destroyed, and it’s former protectors, it’s pantheon of Superheroes have failed and are long gone. Trapped and alone, in a post apocalyptic dystopia, Diana is tasked with protecting the last human city on the planet from dire monsters that have overrun the Earth, whilst also uncovering the dark secret behind the planet’s demise… and how she may be responsible for it!ww de4Wonder Woman: Dead Earth is sublime and a must have for any fan of the wondrous one. This is my first encounter with writer/illustrator Daniel Warren Thompson’s work and I must say I am now a huge fan, initially the grim and gritty artwork put me off, but in hindsight after experiencing the post apocalyptic landscape that this superb tale resides, the visuals are a perfect match for the mood set by Johnson’s stupendously sombre script. ww de 5To be honest even if you aren’t a fan of Wonder Woman (say it isn’t so…) or comic books in general this still comes highly recommended as a perfect parable about where we, in the real world, are ultimately heading. Climate change, oppression, racism and tribe like mentality are all encompassed in this tremendous tome, with even Wondy herself struggling to stifle the causes of these worrisome traits. Grim, dark and gritty, but ultimately a tale of optimism and mutual respect for the planet that nurtures us and our fellow species. 

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Happy Wonder Woman Day!

On this day on October 21 1941 an inspiration was born, Diana, Princess of the Amazons made her dynamic debut courtesy of her celebrated creator William Moulton Marston. And so in celebration of Wonder Woman Day, I present to you, my astonishing Amazonian Affiliates, an extra special instalment of ‘Comic Cover Of The Week’ a hearken back to my first ever encounter with the Themysciran Titan, way back in that glorious decade known as the 1980s!

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Ah the eighties, it was an interesting and rather revolutionary time in the UK. It had just gotten over the phenomenon that was Punk Rock, a rebellious anti-establishment movement that, really, was more about freedom of speech and giving voice to the people than it was about the music itself. I was actually way too young to appreciate the campaign for acceptance and diversity that Punk represented, but looking back on that era now, have come to realise how much Superheroes fit into the same mould as the punk rockers of the day, working outside of Government control, for the benefit of the people themselves.

I grew up in the greatest decade in the history of human kind (at least it was to me) the 1980’s. Icons from my era included such luminaries as Siouxsie and the Banshees (my all time favourite band… yes I was a Goth!) ridiculously over the top action heroes like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, and Wesley Snipes, Cynthia Rothrock and Moon Lee (my favourite female action stars.) Video Games began to really evolve from their previous very simplistic and basic look and premise in the seventies, adding more complexity and depth in both the graphics and gameplay. But even with all these wonderful new distractions available to me, Comic-Books were still my first love, my go to for escapism and ultimate reverie.

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It was the shadowy Masked ManhunterThe Batman, who initially introduced me into wonderful world of Superheroes. My first encounter with this iconic character was when I was six years of age, I was captivated by his world, so very different from my own (yet at times eerily similar.) Gotham was a terrible, seething place of corruption and murder, yet it had a redeemer, someone who swathed himself in darkness, and was scarier than even the worst denizens of this malevolent city… and yet, fought for good!btec

The character beguiled me, and it was through him that my love of not just comics, but also literature itself began. It wasn’t until I was nine that I experienced my first foray into the legendary world of the Amazons, I knew who Wonder Woman was of course, through the occasional crossover story in ‘Batman’ and ‘Detective Comics’ but had yet to branch out fully into other realms, feeling contented in my protracted residence in Gotham City.

Wonder Woman #271 was the first time I invested heavily in a character who didn’t have a cape, a cowl and a fatalistic outlook to the world around him. In fact the two characters are literally night and day, which is why I believe that I began to love the Themysciran Titan with the same amount of reverence as I did the Dark Knight, because they were so different. She offered hope, and an optimism that The Bat just didn’t have, a figure who inspired goodness in those around her, with the strength and fortitude to fight the evils of man, yet show compassion and kindness to those deserving (and those who also were not, thus is her leniency and benevolence.)

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I have always seen the two characters as my diametrically opposed halves, Batman represents my love of the darkness, gothicism (technically not a word, I know, but I like it) horror movies, the supernatural et al, and Wonder Woman has always constituted my hopes for the future, my work to forward animal rights, vegetarianism, and a general aspiration for betterment of myself and the world about me, and so…

Happy Wonder Woman Day!

Precinct1313 Recommends: Rorschach #1

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He’s Back! and I’m not necessarily talking about this series’ titular protagonist, but the brilliance that is writer Tom King, the Mister Miracle, Adam Strange and Batman scribe attunes his incredible skill towards Watchmen’s uncompromisingly violent masked vigilante, Rorschach, with this brand new 12 issue Black Label maxi-series.

rsch2Tom King and Jorge Furnes’ thematic transposition of Alan Moore’s sociopathic anti-hero Rorschach takes its cues from a myriad of other sources aside from the original groundbreaking 80’s Watchmen series. The recent (and really quite brilliant) HBO Watchmen series is a definite influence upon the narrative contained within this first issue, with many of the exemplary plot-lines and story beats from the television show appearing as canon to the unfurling saga of King’s take on Walter Kovacs’ unstable alter ego.

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The premier issue reads very much like a sociopolitical police procedural drama, this apparent new variant of Rorschach actually dies in the very first pages of the book, with his identity later assumed to be that of a reclusive comic-book creator, whom for years after his success as a writer of popular pirate comics, hid himself from public scrutiny. This is obviously a nod to the great Steve Ditko, the Spiderman creator who also ushered into existence the DC Comics character – The Question, who in turn was Alan Moore’s eventual inspiration for Rorschach… meta narrative is king here!

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A compelling and intriguing beginning for DC’s newest take on a classic character, the narrative certainly plays upon the growing political dissonance perpetuating in the media in the real world, the story itself is based during a presidential election in 2020. Tom King is an absolute master of weaving current political and media discourse into his comic-book chronicles, and Rorschach appears to be following that sublime template. Jorge Furnes’ art compliments King’s writing beautifully, characterful and expressive, his style absolutely fitting to the world that is Watchmen, yet still manages to retain its own individuality.

Rorschach #1 is a must buy if you’re in anyway shape or form a fan of Rorschach or Watchmen, another engrossing and profound tale from superstar scribe Tom King, with fantastic art by Jorge Furnes. The first issue is most definitely a slow burn, but sets up a complex and compelling plot exquisitely, but then I expect no less from the writer that recently gave us the superlative Mister Miracle series. Highly recommended.

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Six Years In The Precinct… An Anniversary Special

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Well hey there fellow agents of Precinct1313, it’s fantastic to see you, and we’re so glad that you could make your way over to the majestic mansion of mystery in time to partake in our sixth anniversary celebrations. In a few moments we will wind our way down through the Precinct’s interminable depths as we head towards the infamous  ‘Halls Of Quaffing’ to celebrate in style. 

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Unfortunately our usual anniversary tour guide, the Precinct’s carrion crow of woe – Eldritch won’t be available to usher you through this arcane abode, as he’s still in the dog-house (uhh, crow house?) for leading us astray through a preternatural portal that lead to Raven’s Reach Sanitarium and a padded cell! (For more on that tantalising tale, why not click right HERE

But fear not, oh fellow fans of fantastic fiction, as I am able to stand in as the (distinctly human) Corvidae conductor for this sixth anniversary commemoration. And so, without further ado, let our peregrinations begin…

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The mystical mansion of mystery known as Precinct1313 first materialised unto this dimension in 2014, this paranormal palazzo, oft thought to be a sister building to the sinister House Of Secrets has housed many scribes throughout the countless alternate realities it has dwelled, and in 2014, I discovered it’s many dimensional delights when it revealed itself in terrifying fashion (which you can read about right HERE) and have been trapped within it’s herculean hallways and reality shifting structure ever since. Which actually turns out to be a good thing as it has given me copious amounts of time to relay to you, dear agents, the wonderful world of comic-books, cult movies and general geekery!

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And so, fellow fans of fantastic fiction, thanks to this mythical edifice’s psychokinetic power, we are able to transport you back in time (it doesn’t hurt too much, honest!) to visit our most popular posts of yore…

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As you are more than likely aware if you’ve been an agent of the Precinct for awhile, our absolute favourite comic-book creation of all time is the Themysciran Titan herself the glorious Wonder Woman, I first discovered the dynamic delight that is Diana, Princess of the Amazons when I was a mere nine years of age, and have been a super fan ever since. A myriad of reviews, overviews and gushing posts have ensued from the Precinct since its inception, and looking at the ol’ stats the most popular of these is… Wonder Woman #600

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Another mesmerising mainstay of the Precinct over the years (and my absolute favourite posts to write) has been the – World’s Finest: Interview – series, where each episode we invite one of our most treasured Superheroes, SuperVillains, Costumed Crimefighters, Dimension Dwelling Demons and Super-Pets to answer a quotient of quintessentially quirky questions about life, the universe and cake (’cause everyone loves cake) Such classic characters as Harley Quinn, Circe, and Cheetah, have darkened the Precinct’s media studio and have harassed, bludgeoned, nibbled, and vexed our poor hapless interviewer (why, at one point he was even turned into a worm! an actual worm!!) Checking that ol’ stats page again turns up that the most popular of these was… World’s Finest: An Exclusive Interview With V

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Another character that has helped form the foundings of the Precinct alongside Wondy has been Gotham’s grim guardian, the big bad bat! I have been a fan since the age of six, he was instrumental in ushering in my love of the comic-book medium and my fave company, DC Comics. And just like the Amazon Princess, I have written a multitudinous amount of material on his dark crusade to clean up Gotham and absolve himself of the guilt of his parents death by dressing up as a giant bat and beating seven shades out of crazy costumed villains. And, heading on back to that trusty ol’ stats screen, the most read of all those is… Comic Cover Of The Week: Batman Rebirth #22

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Phew! thanks so much fellow agents for joining us on that timely tour of the Precinct’s past, and as we near the Halls Of Quaffing for many a beer and celebration, may I just say a massive thank you to all of my fellow bloggers, followers and readers for making this blogging odyssey such a fantabulous experience, it is YOU that have made this journey worthwhile… now, beer!!

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Happy Batman Day!

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Who would have thought that eight decades after he punched his first ever villain squarely on the jaw that we’d still be celebrating this dark, surly, emotionally lost and solitary individual whom, upon watching his parents gunned down before his innocent young eyes, thought that the best course of action for that loathsome act would be to dress up as a giant bat and ruthlessly hunt down and mercilessly beat up a plethora of crazily costumed criminals, yet here we are… thankfully!

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Batman made his first astonishing appearance in the 1939 issue of Detective Comics #27 courtesy of his compelling creators Bill Finger and Bob Kane. Batsy has been punching and kicking his way through the DC Universe ever since, and yet, over eight decades later the character still feels as fresh and exciting as he did all those decades ago. I have personally been a fan of the big bad bat since I was six years old, initially courtesy of my Mum, who bought me my first ever Superhero comic-book – Detective Comics #466, where the caped crusader tangled with the one of his lesser known rogues -Signalman!

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From the printed page through television series, cinematic excursions, toys, video-game adaptations, collectables and more Gotham’s grim guardian has withstood the test of time and has become, arguably, the most widely recognised Superhero of all time (yeah, in your face Superman!) So here’s to another eight exquisite decades of his violent yet virtuous presence! Long Live The Bat!

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Happy Batman Day!

Batman is copyright – DC Comics.

Precinct1313’s Comic Book Classics – Batwoman: Hydrology

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Following hot on the heels of the 2010 epic ‘Batwoman: Elegy’ comes another majestic masterpiece in modern comic-book storytelling by talented artist/writer JH Williams III, through his fabulous follow up ‘Hydrology’. Williams was almost single-handedly responsible for plucking the long forlorned female Superhero Batwoman out of an imposed limbo with his successful run on her modern reintegration back into the DC Universe.

Williams managed magnificently to breathe new life into a character who had rarely been seen since the 1960’s, captivating the dedicated comic book fan with a newly resurrected member of the Bat-family, who, even though she shares many similar traits with her male counterpart, does indeed still feel a unique and fresh character, this is all thanks to Williams’ almost incomparable talent.

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Hydrology collects together issues #0-5 of Kate’s ‘New 52’ run. JH Williams once again stuns us into near silence with his breathtaking artwork, the panel layouts are, as always, astounding, Williams loves to experiment with visually impressive splash pages, these stylistic image choices immerse the reader even further into the tale, with Batwoman effortlessly leaping from the panels themselves, with the beautifully rendered colours also assisting to achieve this overall impressive visual effect.

This tantalising tale finds our curious crimefighter investigating a disturbing case involving the mass disappearance of children across Gotham, which ultimately leads her to the supernatural entity known as La Llarona (The Weeping Woman). Throughout this harrowing investigation, Kate also finds time to re-train her cousin Bette in crime-fighting techniques, with the notion that the one time Superhero (Bette was once known as Flamebird, member of Teen Titans West) could eventually become a valuable aid in her unwavering war on crime.

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The poignant parable also finds Kate dealing with dramatic social matters outside of her red and black clad vigilante persona. Her ongoing tangled love life with Detective Sawyer, recent estrangement from her father and unremitting feelings of loss from the tragic events surrounding her twin sister (read Batwoman: Elegy for the full story, fact fans). And just to make life even more complicated for our fiery haired heroine, she is the subject of an intense investigation by Agent Chase of the Department Of Extranormal Investigations, who has vowed to unmask her.

Williams constructs a striking, emotionally compelling and haunting tale that contrasts beautifully between a hardened and capable crimefighter and an emotionally confused young woman, with the visual style juxtaposing between a beautifully bold and effervescent painterly style when Kate becomes the Batwoman, and a simpler rather less embellished (yet no less gorgeous) technique when she is merely Kate Kane. This artistic approach speaks volumes about Kate’s feeling of worth in and out of the Bat suit, the vivid and bright colours during the Batwoman sequences really does emphasise her love of the freedom and anonymity that her alter ego allows her to have, giving her a sense of merit and standing in the world, plus helping to masque and cast aside her real life trauma.

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JH Williams III once again shows why he is one of the most sought after artist/writers in the comic book medium. His visual style is almost unmatched, his writing is in equal measures intelligent, haunting and enthralling, realising characters that are both credible yet also otherworldly in their existence. Hypnotic, lavish and addictive, a must buy for fans and newcomers alike.

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The Week In Geek… With Precinct1313

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Welcome fellow agents of Precinct1313 to another exciting episode of  The Week In Geek, where we love to share our favourite Comic Book, Video-Game and Cult Movie news for your perusal and pleasure. And so once more unto the geek dear agents, once more…

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Wonder Woman 84 Trailer Brings Our First Look At Cheetah In All Her Feral Glory!

It’s an absolutely tremendous time to be a DC Comics fanatic! within the past 24 hours courtesy of DC’s online comic-con – DC Fandome we have been regaled with some utterly stunning teasers and trailers for their forthcoming epic escapades, including such delicious delights as James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad, Matt Reeves highly anticipated Batman movie, and, of course Patty Jenkins’ long awaited Wonder Woman sequel. The new trailer delves further into the villains of the piece, and gives us our first tantalising look at Kristen Wiig in full feral form, enjoy…

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The Batman Trailer Looks Utterly Bat-Tastic!!

Well, what can we say but… WOW! This looks absolutely Bat-tacular, Matt Reeves and Robert Pattison bring us an exclusive new look at next year’s standalone Batman movie, and we love it! Indulge your Bat urges below…

This Suicide Squad Teaser Just Blew My Mind!

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Well, what an eclectic, idiosyncratic and utterly marvellous collection of classic DC villains are showcased in this terrific teaser for James Gunn’s sequel to Suicide Squad! I mean… Ratcatcher, King Shark and Polka Dot Man!? sheer and utter lunacy, and we’re here for it…

Phew! mind blowing stuff huh, and this isn’t even taking into account Zack Snyder’s glorious trailer for his (superior) version of Justice League and the video-game reveal for Rocksteady’s Suicide Squad Game… more on those soon, so why not join us again next time for more Week In Geek. 

Precinct1313’s Comic-Book Classics: Batwoman – Elegy

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After an extended hiatus from the world of costumed crimefighters, Batwoman triumphantly returned like the proverbial phoenix in 2006 through the pages of DC’s weekly crossover epic – 52. Batwoman was created by Bob Kane and Sheldon Moldoff in 1956 and made her debut in Detective Comics #233. There have been two notable variants of the character over the decades beginning with Kane and Moldoff’s original take, Kathy Kane, the silver age version. Kathy was originally created to be part of the burgeoning Bat-Family, and a possible love interest for Bruce Wayne, but in 1964 following on from a radical restructure of the Batman universe, Kathy was removed wholesale from Bat-lore by new editor Julius Schwartz.

Aside from a couple of anniversary issues of Detective ComicsBatwoman wasn’t seen again until her revamped reappearance in 2006, re-introduced as Kate Kane. Apart from sharing the same moniker, the two versions of the character couldn’t possibly be more diverse. Whereas Kathy was a fun loving socialite with the hots for the Caped Crusader, Kate is tough, no nonsense, ex-military and independent of Batman and his cohorts. Also of note is her sexual orientation, Kate is a lesbian, much was made of this revelation at the time with mostly good but also, unfortunately, some bad press from various media, though ultimately it proved a popular move on DC’s part with many LGBT groups worldwide heralding the character. Kate was a hit and fast became one of DC’s most popular female heroes.

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Batwoman: Elegy was a story arc that ran through the pages of Detective Comics #854 – #860, after the comics star Batman had been killed at the hands of DC’s biggest villain Darkseid. Kate filled the void left by his absence and cemented her return to comics and Gotham itself. Written by Greg Rucka and drawn by the phenomenally talented JH Williams III, with the latter going on to become the biggest influence on Kate’s future and success. JH is an extremely talented artist/writer with a visual style almost unsurpassed by his peers, his use of splash pages and the weaving of his art into these carefully constructed panels is stunning. This is arguably JH’s most impressive work, though he went on to replicate this prescient style when he started writing and drawing the ongoing Batwoman comic series in 2010.

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Plot Synopsis: Whilst investigating the 13 Religion of Crime covens in Gotham City, Batwoman learns that the coven’s overseer is coming to Gotham. Alice is the name of their new leader, basing herself on Lewis Caroll’s inimitable creation, Batwoman immediately sets out on the trail of Alice but it seems that the coven is also hunting Batwoman for their own nefarious and sinister purposes.

Batwoman: Elegy is a stunning re-introduction of a much loved character into the Batman mythos and is without a shadow of a doubt one of the most beautifully illustrated comic books ever released. Greg Rucka’s story draws you into the eerie supernatural side of Gotham City and JH Williams’ superbly realised drawing style leaves you breathless. Available as both a softcover and (hard to find) deluxe hardcover, this is highly recommended to all fans of great comics and stunning art.

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Comic Cover Of The Week: Wonder Woman #759

Suffering Sappho! This month’s Wonder Woman cover surely must be a celestial gift from the old gods of Olympus, as artist David Marquez’s captivating celebration of the Themysciran Titan has become one of my fave recent renditions of the warrior princess, and the interior story and art by marvellous Mariko Tamaki and majestic Mikel Janin most certainly live up to the covers powerful promise!

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The celebrated creative team up of Tamaki and Janin once again hits all kinds of highs as they bring their visionary mastery to Diana’s ongoing odyssey. Writer Mariko Tamaki is the 2020 Eisner award winning author of the much lauded DC Comics’ YA novel – Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass. Interior artist Mikel Janin also provides the glorious goods with his stunning illustrations, riding off the back of his sterling work on Trinity War and Justice League Dark, Janin once again proves to be one of the very best artists currently working in the formidable field of comic-books.

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It’s a fresh start for Wondy, as Diana begins to pick up the pieces of her life after her apocalyptic clash against the Four Horsewomen and her run in with the Phantom Stranger. It seems everyone has a view on who Wonder Woman should be – some who look on her heroics as admirable, and others who lie in wait, seeking revenge. A familiar threat is seemingly watching Diana’s every move, and now seems the perfect time to strike… 

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Wonder Woman #759 is a bold new start for Diana, and is a fantastic starting point for new readers of Zeus’ favoured daughter. Plenty of over the top superheroics are involved, of course, but also the mundane every day tasks that us mere mortals must travel through, with Diana perusing furniture at her local IKEA!! It’s these more grounded moments that I love the most, with Diana’s quirky fish out of water personality shining through, masterfully woven by the titanically talented Tamaki, with gorgeously rendered art by Mikel Janin who showcases some absolutely stunning splash-pages. Highly Recommended.

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A Public Service Announcement Brought To You By Precinct1313…

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I mean, you’re not more evil than a SuperVillain, right?  Wearing a mask protects yourself, your loved ones and everyone else… Be a Superhero, wear a mask!

 

Faora, Bane, Deadshot and Deathstroke are copyright: DC Comics.

 

Precinct1313 Recommends: Wonder Woman – Tempest Tossed

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Great Hera! the glorious gods of Olympus once more shine their light on the Themysciran Titan – Wonder Woman, as their halcyon hall of heroes bestows yet another fascinating fable from DC’s Young Adult range of graphic novels. This titanic tome is akin to a previous tale in the younger readers comic-book category, the fantastic “Diana: Princess Of The Amazons” and whilst that particular odyssey was most assuredly stunning and a must read for all ages, Tempest Tossed is on a whole other level of sublime.

Celebrated author Laurie Halse Anderson and illustrator Leila Del Luca provide us with a fresh new take on Diana’s early upbringing as the only child on the paradise island of Themyscira, and it’s ended up being one of my absolute favourite takes on the wondrous one. Beginning with a retake on Diana’s birth, we witness the Five Mothers – Athena, Aphrodite, Demeter, Artemis and Hestia as they weave their old magic to create the immortal female race known as the Amazons, a race of peace loving warriors, sworn to protect the planet. Hidden away from the world on their isle of tranquillity and tasked to one day save humanity when a great evil once more rears its head.

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Yet, all is not contentment, revered Amazon queen, Hippolyta yearns for a child and upon hearing her cries of anguish the gods grant her wish, forming an infant from clay, Hippolyta’s dream becomes reality as the five mothers breathe life unto the lifeless form, giving birth to Diana, esteemed Princess, Amazon ambassador, emancipator and superhero, but these are titles yet to be won, as the Diana we follow in this monumental manuscript has just celebrated her sixteenth birthday, a unique concept on Themyscira known as Born Day, amongst a race of immortal adult females the abstraction of atypical birth is mystifying. 

Her Amazon sisters have begun referring to Diana as “changeling” watching perplexed as her body goes through the normal changes of all adolescents as they hit puberty, once again a concept not familiar to the sheltered island residents of Themyscira. Mood swings, sudden growth spurts and occasional clumsiness mark her as different to her beloved sisters, Diana wrestles with her feelings of being an outsider, yearning to spread her wings and pondering upon what lies beyond her celestial homeland. All of this she will finally experience on her born day, as refugees wash up on the isle’s illustrious shores having passed through a break in Themyscira’s magical barrier.

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The books opening chapter is comparable to how Diana originally saved Steve Trevor, with her diving fearlessly into a tempestuous and tormented ocean to save the refugees and bring them to safety, yet instead gets swept out to sea passing beyond the mystical shield and seemingly unable to find her way back. Joining the refugees she ends up alongside them in Greece, once there she is detained and placed in a refugee camp. This is her first taste of humanity beyond the shores of her cherished island, and it doesn’t leave a good impression as she witnesses in incredulity the depths of mistreatment, abuse and neglect the refugees suffer on a daily basis.

Railing back at the internment guards and treatment of refugees, Diana comes to the notice of two UN officials, Steve Chang and his husband Trevor (yep, Steve Trevor) as they pluck her from the camp and introduce her to a new life in America, with the promise that Diana can do more to help the downtrodden by securing a formal education and thus later returning to save the refugees, Diana reluctantly agrees. It’s here that we are introduced to the two most influential people in Diana’s new life, Henke, a Polish grandmother and her capricious grand-daughter, Raissa.

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Tempest Tossed is a superlative piece of art from Anderson and Del Luca, showcasing their wonderful talents for empathy and enlightenment. Dealing with Diana’s integration into a strange new world, there is a lot of joy, from taking part in a Polka dance off, through discovering a secret parkour group run by Raissa, of which, of course, Diana excels in. The book also delves into the problematic areas of poor neighbourhoods and poverty, with Diana becoming increasingly alarmed at how badly people are treated by their peers and vowing to cease and educate on such practices. Throw in a crooked property developer and the increasing and upsetting dilemma of missing children, it seems adolescent Diana certainly has her work cut out for her. 

Wonder Woman: Tempest Tossed is an absolute must read, from the moment I got home from my local comic-book emporium clutching my hallowed copy I was engrossed, a superlative coming of age drama that’s not afraid to delve into the darker sides of humanity but is ultimately a book of family, friends, love and emancipation. One of the very best Wonder Woman tales I have ever read. Highly, highly recommended.

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Precinct1313’s Comic-Book Classics: Odyssey Of The Amazons

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In 2017 Author, Kevin Grevioux brought over his love for strong female characters to a new mini-series for DC Comics with “Odyssey Of The Amazons”. Grevioux is probably best known as the co-creator of the smash hit “Underworld” series of movies, the Kate Beckinsale led film franchise that dealt with the ongoing, millennia spanning conflict between Vampire and Lycan (werewolf) clans

This collected volume encompasses the original six issue mini-series and is set many years before the birth of Princess Diana, and follows a host of Amazons as they set out on an expedition to re-discover their bygone Amazon sisters, along the way they encounter mythical beasts and legendary creatures, though their campaign soon graduates into a rescue mission as two of their sisters are captured by Norse Storm Giants.

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Odyssey kicks off a previously untold chapter in Amazon lore as we follow the group of Amazon warriors and their indomitable leader Hessia, as they scour the world outside of Themyscira on a quest for more of their kind. Feeling very much in the mould of an epic tale of Greek antiquity such as Jason and the Argonauts, Grevioux’s mythical fable is fantastically well rendered and is an enthralling and welcome addition to Amazon mythos.

The series is in essence an Amazon origin story, exploring their existence and beginnings. Though the Amazons themselves are primarily a race derived from ancient Greece, they are also a diverse group comprising many ethnicities, and Odyssey aims to explain their eventual formation as the immortal female race of warriors, artisans, and scholars we all know and love.

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Our first encounter with the Amazon emissaries is in battle, as they face off against an invading troop of O’Kungians in the fictional African country Zhu’Kara. It’s here that we first meet the group’s stalwart leader Hessia, a strong confident character revered by her Amazon peers, tasked by Queen Hippolyta with gathering Amazons from different cultures and nations, and returning with them to Themyscira. The visuals by Ryan Benjamin are gorgeous, beautifully detailed, they especially shine during the hectic battle sequences, where his kinetic art flows wonderfully.

Odyssey Of The Amazons is an engaging and exhilarating  take on Amazon history by Grievoux, strong characterisation, an awesome central character in Hessia and sublime artwork by Benjamin. Highly recommended.

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Comic-Book Legend, Denny O’Neil Passes Away At Age 81

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It is with a heavy heart that I confirm the passing of legendary comic-book writer, Dennis O’Neil who died of natural causes at his home on June 11.

Denny was best known for his iconic runs on DC Comics’ Batman, Green Arrow and Green Lantern, and was also the editor for DC’s entire range of Batman comics from 1986 to 2000. Though Denny gave us many wonderful tales of heroism over his formidable career, he is most fondly remembered as the author (alongside his mainstay artist, the fantastic Neil Adams) who ushered in Batman’s return to the dark side in the early seventies, following on from over a decade of camp silliness.

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Throughout his triumphant tenure on Batman, Denny also created some of the Dark Knight’s most memorable nemeses including such icons as Ra’s Al Ghul and his daughter Talia, and avenging angel – Azrael.

He was also responsible for revitalising DC’s foremost emerald dynamic duo (again alongside the great Neil Adams)  Green Lantern and Green Arrow of whom he teamed up to become one of comic’s first ever social justice warriors as they roamed the planet fighting inequality and societal ignorance.

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Denny also taught at the Manhattan School of Visual Arts, and wrote the didactic tome – The DC Guide To Writing Comics plus many, many other achievements too numerous to mention. In 2019, the city of Phoenix named May 25 “Denny O’Neil Day” in acknowledgement of his influence on the comic-book industry and his contribution to furthering the fight against unjust causes. Denny was a legend on and off the page, and we mourn his passing. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends at this time.

Wonder Women – Nubia

Wonder Woman has always been an icon for change, since her inception by her genius creator William Moulton Marston in 1941. Marston was a psychologist, author and a staunch supporter of the women’s rights suffragist movement of the 1930’s and 40’s, and specifically created Wonder Woman to counter the dominant male oriented comic-book market of the time. Diana easily matches her male counterparts in both strength and skill but is also filled with love and compassion for her friends, and enemies, her heritage has always been tied to her ability to empathise and forgive, traits that are not necessarily intrinsic to a large swathe of Superheroes who tend to rely on the fist.

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Diana’s mantra of inclusion goes further than the emancipation of women though, she has also fought the causes of all societal ills that tend to plague “man’s world” she has been a shining bastion of hope and change for almost eight decades, and so have the other Amazons that have also borne the mantle of Wonder Woman, none more notable than her Amazon twin sister – Nubia.

There have been instances throughout Diana’s formidable reign as Wonder Woman that she has had to step back or hand over the reins to another worthy Amazon to forge their own path through inequality, Artemis, Donna Troy and even her own mother Queen Hippolyta have bore the responsibility of this, and yet unlike these other worthy warriors of cause, Nubia was never handed down that title, since her inception in 1973 she has always been Wonder Woman.

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Nubia’s creation by Robert Kanigher and Don Heck in the 1973 issue of Wonder Woman #204 was a response by DC Comics to the civil rights movement of the sixties, she is historically DC’s first black female Superhero. As is the norm with comic-book heroes, Nubia’s origins over the years have been many – taken from her island home of Themyscira at a young age by Ares, and forcibly made to train in the ways of war to use as his weapon against her Amazon sisters. Post DC’s groundbreaking Crisis On Infinite Earths series an alternate version of the character was introduced – Nu’bia, whom upon meeting Diana for the first time divulged that she was the first Themysciran to win the ‘Grace and Wonder’ tournament, thus cementing her as Themyscira’s first ambassador to man’s world, the original Wonder Woman.

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Now, social commentary isn’t something I tend to write about, I am lucky in as far as I was born with a certain amount of privilege, I am a white male living in a rather lovely part of the UK, and while I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs, nothing in my life compares with the atrocities that I see taking place across the pond to our American cousins. People are people, skin colour matters for naught, and Precinct1313 stands with the Black Lives Matter cause. Nubia and Diana would not only be proud of the protests against racism and inequality, but would be actively campaigning alongside these outstanding individuals. Hate is destructive, love is encompassing, so lets try that instead shall we…

Precinct1313’s Comic-Book Classics: Wonder Woman/Conan

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The pairing of two of fictions most legendary and popular warriors seems like a fantastic idea, throw into the mix superstar writer Gail Simone and equally talented artist Aaron Lopresti and you most certainly have a match made in Olympus, or in the case of this tantalisingly titanic tale – Hyboria.

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A decade before our favourite Themysciran Princess first debuted unto the World stage, a Cimmerian, black haired and sullen eyed, sword in hand and ready to tread the jewelled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet first appeared, his name was Conan – thief, warrior, reaver and slayer. Robert E. Howard’s cult character became a huge hit and has spawned myriad novels, comics and movie adaptations since his first appearance in December 1932. This virtually superhuman barbarian has crushed all who have stood before his powerful presence, man and beast has befallen his blade, but has he finally met his match in the form of Zeus’ favoured champion – Wonder Woman?

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Gail Simone And Aaron Lopresti’s Run On Wonder Woman Is As Legendary As The Character Herself!

And since we’re talking legendary pairings, how about the venerable pairing of acclaimed scribe Gail Simone and prestigious penciller Aaron Lopresti, coming together once more to bestow upon us, humble comic fans, another glorious interpretation of the Themysciran Titan. Their previous collaboration on Wonder Woman a few years back was literally one of the greatest runs in comic-book history, and lo, once more their particular brand of magic artistry brings forth yet another astonishingly epic saga.

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Now, at first glance the idea of teaming up Wonder Woman – the poster child of female liberation and emancipation, a shining emblem for feminism with a character in whose reality treated women often in the tired damsel in distress trope may seem like an odd pairing, but it’s for these exact reasons that this comic works so well, like popular heroine Red Sonja before her, Diana is able to turn the tables on the barbaric Cimmerian to prove that, not only can she match him in strength and fortitude, but ably surpass him.

Simone’s deliberate slow build up in the story allows us to richly immerse ourselves in Conan’s world, she is the Queen of immersion and deftly drags the readers into his cold and savagely tempestuous reality. Alongside Gail’s impressive writing talents stands Aaron’s always astonishing artwork, these two creators compliment each others work like no other, and Aaron’s pencilling is some of the best I’ve seen in comics for years.

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“What makes one a legend? How do legends carve their name into history when countless others are forgotten? Wonder Woman and Conan the Barbarian are destined by the fates to be legendary, but when their stories collide, will both emerge victorious or will the fickle Gods cut their lives short?

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The collected version of Wondy/Conan is available in both soft and hardcover variants from your local comic-book emporium. And now is an excellent time to support your local comic-book shop, as most offer a home delivery service and I can’t think of a better way to spend quarantine than indulging in the wonderful world of high fantasy! Take care and stay safe fellow fans of fantastic fiction.