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New Comics Spotlight: Wonder Woman Rebirth #1

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DC Comics’ recent relaunch of their Superhero comic books through ‘Rebirth‘ returned the DC Universe to a time prior to the ‘Flashpoint’ storyline, but still incorporated the continuity and consequences of much of the prior ‘New 52’ reboot. The main architect of Rebirth, superstar writer Geoff Johns, described the relaunch as “Re-laying the groundwork for DC’s future whilst also celebrating its past and present. It’s not about throwing anything away, in fact it’s quite the opposite.”

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Each of DC’s major heroes are receiving a one shot comic that precedes the relaunch of their monthly titles (in most cases now twice monthly) back to issue issue #1 (the only deviation from this are Action Comics and Detective Comics which will return to their original numbering that were prior to the New 52 reboot.)

Of course, of all the one shot titles available the one that I was most looking forward to was Wonder Woman Rebirth, and thankfully the one off special did not disappoint, in fact it was everything I had hoped for, and more.

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The Minotaur is no match for the mighty Amazon

Comic book scribe extraordinaire Greg Rucka returns once more to bring his inimitable writing style to the amazing Amazon’s amphitheatrical adventures. Rucka’s previous run on Wonder Woman ended in 2006 and was the recipient of an Eisner Award for best writer. Hailed as one of the foremost authors of the Themysciran Princess, Rucka was a fan favourite choice to pen her ongoing escapades.

WW Rebirth finds Diana in a dilemma in that she is no longer able to distinguish reality and falsehood when it pertains to her past. Is she the daughter of Zeus, or was she created from clay by her mother Queen Hippolyta and then given life by a pantheon of Greek Gods. These questions and more will be asked by the Amazon herald as she explores her history, searching for the true reason behind her existence.

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Emblematic of Diana’s move away from the New 52 storylines are reflected in the differing art styles encompassed in the comic, with the first two thirds of the issue illustrated by Matthew Clark whose style reflects the earlier incarnations, but when Diana takes a major turn in the book, Liam Sharp takes over the artistic duties with a complete departure to Clark’s art, his technique reflects the metaphorical change in the story beautifully as Diana also sheds her New 52 costume for an outfit that resembles rather closely Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman costume from the recent Batman v Superman movie.

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Liam Sharp’s visuals are tremendous throughout

Greg Rucka, Liam Sharp and Matthew Clark create a bold new direction for the continuing exploits of Wonder Woman, fantastic writing, sublime artwork from Sharp and an intriguing new start to the chronicles of the world’s most beloved Superheroine.

Precinct1313 Rating: 5 Golden Girdles Of Gaea Out Of 5.

New Comics Spotlight: Swamp Thing #1

Copyright: DC Comics

Copyright: DC Comics

Legendary comic book writer Len Wein has once more taken up the reins of a character he first introduced to the world (alongside Bernie Wrightson) in 1971, the plant elemental known as Swamp Thing. ‘Swampy’ made his first appearance in House Of Secrets #92 (July ’71) in a single issue story that took place in the early part of the 20th century. The character next appeared in his own solo series in 1972, set in the contemporary world and was integrated into mainstream DC universe continuity.

Swampy was originally introduced as Alex Holland, a scientist caught in a deliberate explosion set by his co-worker Damian Ridge. Olsen, physically transformed by the various chemicals strewn across his lab, turned into the humanoid vegetative mass known as Swamp Thing.

After the success of the standalone issue, the creators were approached to write the ongoing series,  Swampy’s backstory was altered slightly and the series itself brought forward to a modern setting.

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British comic writing luminary Alan Moore took control of the character from Volume 2 (August ’85) and altered Swampy to an elemental entity that was created upon the untimely death of Alec Holland, absorbing the personality and memories of the scientist into itself, Moore described it as “A plant that thought it was Alec Holland, a plant that at its level best was trying to be Alec Holland.” Alan Moore pushed the character into even greater popularity, and his run has ultimately stood the test of time, and like all his previous works (Watchmen, V For Vendetta) has cemented itself into legendary status amongst fans.

This month, Len Wein returns to his beloved character with the first part of a six issue mini-series, that is taking, very much, an old style approach to Swampy, with horror overtones comparable with titles such as DC’s House Of Mystery, and EC’s Tales From The Crypt.

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This fantastic first issue is a definitive return to Wein’s original version of the character, very different to the New 52 run by Scott Snyder, whilst still retaining all the elements that make Swamp Thing the character we know and love. Artistic talent falls to Kelley Jones, whose distinctive style is perfect for this character, lending a tense and claustrophobic feel to the proceedings with a heavily shaded ‘chunky’ approach.

Swamp Thing #1 is a perfect read for both old and new fans alike, with no prior knowledge of the character’s background needed, making this the ideal starting point for newcomers wishing to get to know one of the most unusual and well written comic book characters ever created. Highly recommended and available for purchase at your local comic-book emporium right now.

New Comics Spotlight: DC Bombshells #1

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(Copyright: DC Comics)

DC Comics’ fantastic 1940’s stylised Bombshells series became available digitally this week, with the first issue beginning in the style of a classic WW2 newsreel. Depicting Batwoman, who has been a hit (literally) on the baseball field and around the streets of Gotham where she reins in crime as the resident masked vigilante, in a time before the Batman existed. In fact, the Batman may actually never exist in this alternate timeline as Batwoman is shown taking out Joe Chill just as he is about to gun down the Wayne family in crime alley, thus negating young Bruce Wayne’s need for his vengeance motivated alter ego.

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Batwoman foils gunman Joe Chill and Bruce Wayne’s need for a Batman

An entertaining first issue, with the art by Marguerite Sauvage evoking the style and mood of comics from the 1940’s, I especially love the redesigned Batwoman costume worn by Kate Kane, a red and black baseball style outfit replete with mask to hide her anonymity on and off the field. This first issue mostly follows Batwoman’s career as masked crimefighter and Gotham’s star baseball player, though there is a brilliant cliffhanger ending that introduces another major DC character to the fold. The quirky writing of Marguerite Bennett genuinely elicits a feel of the era, and makes for a fun, enjoyable first issue. Currently available in digital format, with the physical copy on sale from August 12.

Precinct1313 Rating: 4 Battling Batwomen Out Of 5

New Comics Spotlight: Wonder Woman #41

(DC Comics-2015)

(DC Comics-2015)

This week’s spotlight falls upon Wonder Woman #41, and of course the debut of Diana’s new costume. Gone is her original ‘bathing suit’ style threads, which even though it has changed slightly design wise over the years, still retained much of the original look from the 1940’s. In its place is a more traditional Superhero style outfit, thigh length boots and some armour adornment makes for a more practical costume than her previous one.

Designed by Meredith and David Finch, the current creative team on Wonder Woman’s monthly adventures, Meredith Finch mentioned in an interview with Newsarama recently, that she was “approached by DC to design a new costume for Diana, and absolutely jumped on the idea”, going on to say “I wanted a costume that was new and fresh, that’s appropriate to who she is in the 21st century.”

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Plot Synopsis: As a new villain arrives to challenge Wonder Woman, she must also deal with Donna Troy who moves up a gear in her bitter quest to destroy Diana, whilst the games of the Gods bring dark portents for the ultimate Amazon!

There is an amazing variant cover also available by classic British artist Brian Bolland (Killing Joke, Judge Dredd.) Brian was the cover artist for Wonder Woman throughout much of the 90’s, working alongside writer/artist William Messner-Loeb. His covers to this day (for me) are unsurpassed, Brian is a huge fan of the character, and actively campaigned DC to allow him to draw her, so seeing him back once more is a joy!

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“Ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?”

Wonder Woman #41 is available at your local comic book emporium right now. Written by: Meredith Finch. Cover and interior art by: David Finch and Jonathan Glapion.Variant cover by: Brian Bolland.

New Comics Spotlight: Constantine The Hellblazer #1

(Copyright-DC Comics)

(Copyright-DC Comics)

Occult detective and full time cynic John Constantine may have had his (extremely enjoyable) TV series cancelled recently, but he is still alive and kicking in the DC Universe with a new series following everyone’s favourite British demon hunter beginning this week. This new ongoing monthly returns John to his roots, feeling a lot more like his classic run of stories from his days as a mainstay of DC’s Vertigo imprint, than more recent interpretations of the character in series such as Justice League Dark (which is still a great series, and comes nevertheless recommended.)

With a varied and complex history, Constantine is one of those characters that if you haven’t been following his mystical adventures on a regular basis over the years, you may find it difficult to click with the character and his odd nuances and quirky character traits. But this new first issue by writer Ming Doyle helps bridge that barrier, giving first time readers all the information they need, and presenting you with a feel for who he is and what he represents, without the need for a complicated explanation of back story.

The story itself is absorbing, and very adult, with a nod towards John’s previously hinted at bisexuality. John’s dark and cynical side is brilliantly offset here with a flirty and jovial nature that really draws you into into his crazy psyche. The art is, unique, seemingly at first rather basic, as you read the comic though you begin to appreciate it more, with a real sense of characterisation of both the players and the world itself. My first impression of Riley Rossmo’s style was unfavourable, but it definitely has grown on me now. 

Constantine The Hellblazer #1 can be found at your local comic book emporium right now. Written by: Ming Doyle. Interior and cover art by: Riley Rossmo.

Precinct1313 Rating: Awesome, Unusual, Zany, Dark, Adult, but most definitely Constantine… Buy It!

New Comics Spotlight: Green Lantern #40 – Movie Variant Cover

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(DC Comics, 2015)

Welcome friends to another new comics wednesday, and the spotlight this week falls on: Green Lantern #40 – movie variant cover. Now I’ll be completely honest and say that I haven’t had the chance to read the issue as of yet, but was I was so impressed with its alternate cover, that even without experiencing its interstellar tales of the Green Lantern Corps, as of yet… the cover alone qualifies it for the spotlight.

Green Lantern/2001 A Space Odyssey comparison.

Green Lantern/2001 A Space Odyssey comparison.

As I mentioned earlier this week, DC comics is celebrating 100 years of Warner Brothers Film, with special movie variant covers across 22 of it’s monthly titles, depicting a classic WB film poster redone using DC’s biggest characters. Green Lantern’s take on Stanley Kubrick’s breathtaking classic, 2001 A Space Odyssey is a gorgeous recreation, pencilled by Tony Harris.

Plot Synopsis:

Green Lantern, Hal Jordan strangely betrays the Corps, turning on the Templar Guardians and his actions will have consequences that will carry throughout all of the Green Lantern titles. 

Green Lantern is available at your local comic-book emporium right now. Cover Art: Mark Irwin, Billy Tan. Movie Variant: Tony Harris. Written by: Robert Venditti.

New Comics Spotlight: Harley Quinn Variant Month

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(DC Comics, 2015)

In case you didn’t realise, this month has been officially declared ‘Harley Quinn month’ by DC Comics. That’s right comic fans, everyone’s favourite mistress of mischief will be starring on 22 special variant covers across DC’s range of kick-ass monthly comics including, Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Superman, Justice League and many more.

Also available from today in your local comic book emporium is the Harley Quinn Valentine’s Day Special, a 48 page one-shot following Harley’s attempt to win a date with the world’s most eligible bachelor, Bruce Wayne, by outbidding the local adoring female populace at a New York charity auction. 

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The Harley Quinn Valentine’s Day Special is available right now with interior art by John Timms, Cover and variant cover art by Amanda Conner, and written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner.

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Harley’s cover usurping will continue throughout this month brought to you by various artists including, Amanda Conner, Francis Manapul, and Cliff Chiang. So don’t miss out on the Mistress of Mayhem’s special month and bag yourself a couple of Harley covers, you know you want to!

New Comics Spotlight: Wonder Woman #38

WW #38

Welcome comic fans to another new comics Wednesday and a special issue of the amazing Amazon’s monthly adventures as a classic and much loved character returns to the DC universe and the world of the Amazons … Donna Troy. Donna’s return was set up in issue #37 when in the final few panels she was seem emerging from an enchanted cauldron, invoked by a sorceress with the words “Rise Donna Troy, take your rightful place amongst the Amazons”

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The triumphant return of Donna Troy

Donna Troy was originally created by Bob Haney in 1965, and added to Wonder Woman lore as Wonder Girl, though not an Amazon by birth, she was an orphan rescued by Diana from a fiery demise when the apartment she lived in burnt to the ground. Taken to Themyscira Island and adopted by Queen Hippolyta, she was given the powers of the Amazons and became Wonder Girl, later joining the Teen Titans as one of their most loved and longest running members. Though her origin story has changed a few times over the years since her introduction, she has stayed fundamentally the same character in each variant version.

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This is another stand out issue from the new husband and wife creative team of Meredith and David Finch, again showing they really have what it takes to make the series their own after taking over from the extremely popular run by Cliff Chiang and Brian Azzarello, and the return of Donna Troy really is the proverbial icing on the cake a character I have missed greatly, though she is being set up as a rival to Diana as opposed to an ally. With the same powers and fighting skills, Wonder Woman may be in for a rough time at the hands of her former sibling.

Synopsis: With the Amazons turned against her, Wonder Woman has left Themyscira Island more uncertain of  her intentions than ever, with the mantle of the God of War weighing her down, where does she go from here?

Fantastic art by the ever impressive David Finch with the cover itself being a stand out, he really seems to be settling in to the world of Greek myths and Amazonian warriors. A variant cover by Rachel Dodson is also available. Wonder Woman #38 is available right now at your local comic-book emporium and as always is highly recommended.

New Comics Spotlight: Harley Quinn Holiday Special

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Why not spend the holiday season this year in the company of Mr J’s sociopathic  girlfriend, the clown princess of crime Harley Quinn, in her very own holiday special. Written by the always amazing Amanda Conner (who also drew the issue’s cover) and drawn by various guest artists including Darwyn Cooke, join Harley in three separate festive tales.

Beginning with: Bad Toy, where Harley has to find  homes for a legion of puppies and kittens, with much mirth and mayhem ensuing as only Harley can deliver. Next up is: Get Yer Cheer Outta My Ear! Harley finds that a Humbug has taken up residence in her ear, this little fella hums constantly to festive tunes, driving Harley insane and has her reaching out to an unlikely ally to rid herself of this unwelcome resident.

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Our favourite of the bunch has to be Killin’ Time where the mistress of mischief shockingly discovers her first grey hair, upset by this, Harley sets out to get revenge on the person she feels is responsible  for the offending strand – Father Time! Fantastic humour throughout with some genuinely laugh out loud moments as Harley attempts to get through the festive season intact. The Harley Quinn Holiday Special is available right now from your local comic book emporium.

Precinct1313 Rating: Happy Harley-days!