FABLES #67 - This book becomes more and more difficult to review with every passing issue. The English language allows me only so many words to describe the exact greatness of Willingham and Buckingham's Magnum Opus. If Fables has a flaw, it is that it is so complex and so epic that it is impossible to begin reading in the middle of an arc.
It has been particularly difficult to review The Good Prince - the storyline which has taken up the book for the last half-year - for this reason. Unless one has been reading the book since the very first issue, one cannot really appreciate the story and the grand transformation that has made the comic Flycatcher (aka Ambrose, The Frog Prince) into an epic hero, great leader and all around bad-ass.
If you've been reading Fables, this issue is a perfect 10. If you haven't, I fear it will be too easy to be lost and confused as to who is fighting who and why reading this issue, though the heroes and villains are made plain. Still, there is quite a bit of good action here and Buckingham's art does not disappoint, as per usual. So if you haven't been reading Fables - and I can't imagine why you wouldn't be - do yourself a favor and pick up the first few trades before catching up on the recent issues. I promise you'll be glad you did.
SPIDER-MAN/RED SONJA #4 - You either hate this book or you love it. Me? I love it.
Yes, I know that the covers by Michael Turner are - even by the lax standards of Michael Turner covers – abysmal. By Crom, Sonja appears to be a ballerina stretching on a pole rather than a warrior maiden wielding a sword!
Yes, this book is based on an unmitigated silly concept. It’s centers around the concept that an evil wizard is awakened, transforms New York City into a Hyborian metropolis, everybody but Peter Parker is changed along with it and Mary Jane is possessed by the spirit of Red Sonja.
Yes, I know that the fact that it is an unmitigated silly concept that has its' roots in a story that was created by Chris Claremont and John Byrne back when they were both at the top of their game excuses nothing.
Yes, I know the fact that this book is being overseen by Mel Rubi and Michael Avon Oeming – the team who brought Red Sonja back to greatness in her only monthly book – also excuses nothing.
And yes, even I admit that Kulan Gath being possessed by the Venom Symbiote is probably one of the stupidest things I’ve seen in comics all year.
And yet, I don’t care.
Because all is shattered by the sheer unadulterated awesome that is Joeseph, Son of Robert; Rebel Leader!
Seriously. You do not get better comics than the Joseph “Robbie” Robertson speaking faux-Shakespeare wielding a sword and getting ready to put the smack down on a group of trolls without help. And if you can’t appreciate that, then you really can’t appreciate this book.
Yes, this book is a bit silly. But it is unashamedly silly, like a child with a towel tied around their neck insisting in all seriousness while smiling widely that they are in fact Superman. More than a lot of comics today, this book is fun. And that can allow me to forgive a lot these days when so few comics – even the ones I enjoy – are truly fun.
WONDER WOMAN #14 - Gail Simone takes over the title with this issue and not a moment too soon! Of course, it goes without saying that this issue is at least 1000% better than anything done with Wonder Woman since the beginning of One Year Later. But if I don't say it, this will be a very short review.
In all seriousness, this is a stellar premiere issue. Given the problems this title had over the last year, coming into this mess and trying to do anything - much less build upon the generally loathed status quo - would be a daunting task for any writer, even one as experienced and capable as Simone. After Amazons Attack and the farce that was the Jodi Picoult run, I think most comic fans would be happy to have a Wonder Woman book that is readable much less wonderful.
Rest assured though; the first issue IS wonderful. What Simone has done here is captured the essence of everything Wonder Woman is and should be. She is tough. She is smart. She is clever. She has a dry sense of humor. She is more than capable of handling herself in a fight but is always looking for ways to avoid fighting when possible. She is compassionate. She is understanding. She is, in short, every bit the wonder her name implies.
All of this is accomplished through one heck of a fight-scene with the forces of Gorilla Grodd. But apart from giving us talking ape assassins– something which automatically bumps up any comic a full letter grade in my book - Simone has crafted a perfect entry-level story. If you've never read an issue of Wonder Woman before (and given the last year, who can blame you?), you can safely pick this one up and rest assured that the status quo will be made clear. Indeed, Simone manages to give us all the back-story we need and then some without it seemingly like we are being exposited to.
Simone even manages the neat trick of bringing back what appears to be a new Etta Candy, who appears to be a slightly over-weight hardass like her Golden Age predecessor. And yes, even Hippolyta – unseen and forgotten in the months since Amazons Attack – even she is seen to be doing something in the background that will no doubt have major repercussions in the months to come
Coupled with the excellent artwork of The Dodsons, I’d say that Wonder Woman is in good hands. Of course it’s still a bit early to say that Simone can completely undo all the damage that has been done to the mythos of Comics’ First Lady. But I have every confidence that she will. Diana Prince isn’t the only Wonder Woman in comics, after all.