Well hey there fellow agents of Precinct1313, and welcome once again to our annual Geekstravaganza! Our celebratory destination is, as ever, the Precincts famous ‘Halls of Quaffing’ where we shall ultimately gather to rid ourselves of what, lets be honest, was an interminably intense and excruciating year. But, let’s forget about that for now and make our way down through this majestic mansion of mystery’s convoluted and ever changing corridors and chambers and stop by the colossal Comic Crypts to celebrate the year of glorious geekdom!
Our Favourite Comic-Book Series: Wonder Woman – Dead Earth
DC Comics’ Black Label series has been a fantastic phenomenon, a line of limited series aimed at the more mature market that began with the bombastic Batman: Damned, and then continued to build upon that success by regaling us with even more classic characters in this distinctly adult line, with this particular stunning series focusing on our absolutely favourite hallowed Hellenic herald, Wonder Woman.
Wonder Woman: Dead Earth is a four issue mini-series written and illustrated by Daniel Warren Johnson, and is my first ever encounter with the writer/artist, and I must say after this seminal series, I am now a huge fan. This comic is the perfect parable for the world we reside in today, encompassing climate change, oppression, racism and tribe like mentality, 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. Highly recommended!
(Fave comic-book runners up – Wonder Woman: Tempest Tossed, Zatanna and the House of Secrets)
Favourite Comic-Book Movie: Birds Of Prey
That’s right fellow fans of fantastic fiction, the hellacious Harley Quinn teamed up with the bad-ass Birds of Prey for Cathy Yan’s glorious take on one of DC’s most beloved franchises. Margot Robbie was born to play the role of the clown princess of crime and once again gives a remarkable and laugh out loud turn as the long suffering sociopath, ably supported by Mary Elizabeth Winstead as The Huntress, and a perfect performance by Jurnee Smollet-Bell as Black Canary, plus, if that wasn’t enough of a geek overload, narcissistic psychopathic crime-lord Black Mask was expertly brought to vivid life by brilliant British thesp, Ewan McGregor. A deliriously fun and fourth wall breaking delight, Birds of Prey is an absolute must watch! (May I just say, at time of writing this, I haven’t yet seen Wonder Woman 84, due to pandemics and closed cinemas, but will hopefully reverse this in early 2021)
Favourite Statue/Toy I Personally Purchased: Bombshells Death Statue
You know what, I have way too many statues, action figures and toys, so many in fact that some are still retained in their boxes through lack of space. It’s a shame I know to keep such gloriously geeky works of art in their packaging, but I have literally zero willpower, and whenever I encounter another cool collectable, all reasoning and monetary value goes out the window as my inner child takes over, and I buy yet another awesome addition to add to my overwhelming pile of geek. That said, the Death statue was whipped out of her protective polystyrene tout suite, because it is quite possibly one of the most beautiful pieces I have yet laid eyes upon. Based upon the Endless version of the Grim Reaper, Death is a favoured character of mine, so she now resides upon the fabled Superlative Shelf of Superhero Statues alongside the other spectacularly sublime sculpts. And just how much geeky toy goodness have I managed to stuff the Precinct with, see below for just a small glimpse into my fevered collecting brain…
And there you have it fellow agents of Precinct1313, a few of the things that have helped me personally cope with this torrid year. What has brought you personal joy throughout 2020? why not sound off in the comments below. May I just say a huge thank you to everyone who has visited, commented and followed the Precinct over the past twelve months, it’s really, really appreciated. And so… Happy New Year!
Oh, And As Ever… Make Mine DC!
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.
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.
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.
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.