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4LN Movie Review: Wonder Woman

Since I was a kid, I have always loved the character of Wonder Woman and the story of Diana Prince, a beautiful princess who gives up all she knows to journey into man’s world and do her best to save man from himself. I remember being a little kid and my Aunt would babysit me and she would turn on the Linda Carter Wonder Woman show and we would eat ice cream and watch this show for what seemed like hours. This was my very first exposure to the character and my first taste of comic books. It wasn’t until Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins and the rest of the Dark Knight Trilogy until I truly fell in love with superheroes, but Wonder Woman leads the groundwork for that passion. I can proudly say I’ve read every Wonder Woman comic over the last 5 years and was even lucky enough to interview a creative team working on the Wonder Woman comic, Meredith and David Finch.

I have spent years waiting for an incredible DC movie, and even longer waiting for a Wonder Woman movie, and I am beyond excited to say that Wonder Woman is the movie I’ve been eagerly anticipating, and the one that DC desperately needed. Batman v Superman & Suicide Squad left a lot to be desired from most fans and had quite a large amount of controversy surrounding them. But, Wonder Woman offers a new slate that was desperately needed. I believe if this Wonder Woman film premiered before Batman/Superman, DC wouldn’t have had as many problems as they have been having.

Wonder Woman is the first major film for director Patty Jenkins, who previously has directed a few TV shows, and the 2003 film Monster with Charlize Theron, which she won an Acadamy Award for in 2004.  Along with an academy award, the film also grossed over 4 times its budget making it quite the success, and showing that Patty Jenkins knows what she is doing. After watching this movie, I seriously couldn’t think of better director for this film.

I’m going to do my best to keep this a spoiler-free review, but be warned that there may be spoilers following this section

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Official Synopsis from IMDb: “Before she was Wonder Woman she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained warrior. When a pilot crashes and tells of conflict in the outside world, she leaves home to fight a war to end all wars, discovering her full powers and true destiny.”

From the moment this film starts, it doesn’t feel like your typical superhero movie, it’s 100% an origin story, but it’s also so much more than that. It’s an action-packed World War I movie, it’s about the innocence that’s lost by war, and it’s a film about true heroism. We are used to murders in alleys, bites from radioactive insects, super serum experiments, and aliens coming to Earth. The only superhero film I can compare this to is Thor, considering he leaves/is kicked out of Asgard and ends up in a small New Mexico town. But, there is something inherently different about Diana leaving Themyscira to journey into man’s world. There’s more valor and honor to it.

Patty Jenkins, along with screenwriter Allan Heinberg and producers Zack Snyder and Geoff Johns, did a fantastic job representing the difference between Paradise Island and the war-torn Europe. From the minute that Steve Trevor’s plane crashes on the island and German’s follow him into Paradise, we see the tone shift and colors change from bright and vibrant to dark and gritty. One of the biggest problems with Batman/Superman was the over saturated, gritty look of the film. Wonder Woman uses that darkness but also brings it to life in a way that the Batman/Superman team was never capable of.

One of the most unique and beautiful things about Wonder Woman is how Diana Prince looks flawless and the iconic Wonder Woman suit is 100% the focus, especially during battle. The color isn’t washed out or faded. If anything, Wonder Woman sticks out like a sore thumb when the battle rages in No Man’s Land and this makes her even more of a badass. While everyone around her is depicted in shades of gray, she’s brightly colored with reds, blues, and golds; as Wonder Woman should be.

The battle scenes are truly wonderful in this film, and it feels more like a Great War movie instead of a superhero film. Over the past year or two, I’ve talked with my fellow 4LN writer Stephen about how I fear the comic book movie bubble will burst soon. He always points to movies like Winter Soldier and Ant-Man because they are essentially just comic characters inside of genre films instead of strictly superhero movies. I can completely understand that now.

Diana has an innocence about her that makes the character unique compared to other caped crusaders, and this movie does an incredible job showing that innocence and its eventual loss caused by the horrors of war. At one point before Diana, Steve, and the rest of the crew make it to the front lines they pass a group of wounded, bloodied soldiers and you see the expression on Diana’s face drastically change. Gal Gadot sold that scene with nothing more than her eyes, similar to Johnny Depp’s work in Edward Scissorhands. There are quite a few times in the movie where Diana wants to save people but she must sadly come to the realization that not everyone can or will be saved in a time of need.

Everyone that was cast in this movie was a phenomenal pick from Gadot as Diana, Robin Wright as Antiope, Connie Nielsen as Queen Hippolyta, Chris Pine as Steve Trevor, Danny Huston as General Lundendorff and finally Elena Anaya as Doctor Poison. It’s no secret that Marvel has perfectly cast several times and there are many actors from their films who completely embody their respective characters, but I am excited and proud to say that DC has that now in Gal Gadot. She IS Diana Prince. She stole the show in every scene she was in during Batman/Superman and she is equally as mesmerizing in her own solo film. Along with Gadot, Lilly Aspell plays the young Diana and does an absolutely incredible job with her deliveries of comedic lines and her bravery and mischief that you would imagine the daughter of a queen having. The chemistry between Chris Pine and Gal Gadot was absolutely fantastic and captured the dynamic of their relationship in a fantastic way. Watching their relationship unfold felt just like reading one of the origin stories from the comics.

DC has always been asking the question of, “What if Superheroes existed in our world?” They’ve not done the most compelling job of exploring that idea up until now. With Wonder Woman, what they do instead is move outside of the box a little and use their characters to ask, “What if the Greek gods existed in our world?” and that is truly what makes Wonder Woman a unique superhero movie. Trevor and his crew completely understand that Wonder Woman is “not of this Earth,” but does that mean that gods such as Zeus, Aries, and Hera could also exist still? Or maybe they always have existed… With such a simple question DC will be able to easily continue and turn Wonder Woman into a franchise. Frankly, It’d be a crime if they didn’t, seeing as to how they’ve already laid solid groundwork for it here.

I don’t have to tell you that seeing a Wonder Woman is a must. Even if you’re unreasonably skeptical, deep down you know that it is as good as everyone says, and then some. The biggest concern for a lot of people was whether or not Wonder Woman would be a mess like the few DCCU films before it. The greatest failure therein would be to see such an empowering female character flop on the big screen. You can rest assured that worry dissipates within the first 10 minutes of the film. So, you have no more excuses. Get your ass to the theater right now and watch the best damn comic movie this year.

4LN Comic Review: Trinity #1

Series: Trinity
Writer: Francis Manapul
Artist: Francis Manapul
Inker: Francis Manapul

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Summary from Comixology: “BETTER TOGETHER” part 1! Together again for the first time! Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. The core of the World’s Greatest Heroes…but with a new Man of Steel, the bonds these three share will be tested and redefined by super-star writer/artist Francis Manapul. In this premiere issue, see the trio travel from Metropolis to Gotham City and beyond to learn what forces launched their heroic careers. But how will this journey of discovery lead them to a new threat?”

This is the series that I have been most excited for regarding the DC Rebirth comics. I was instantly sold on this book just by finding out that Francis Manapul was doing the art for the book. If you aren’t familiar with his work, then you need to pick this book up just for the art alone. For $2.99 you won’t pick up another book as beautiful as this one. For those of you not familiar with Manapul he’s known for his work on other DC books such as New 52 Flash, Justice League, and my personal favorite Batman Detective (Icarus). If you are a fan of bright colors and crisp sharp line work, then Francis Manapul is the comic book artist you’ve been looking for!

The story of Trinity could be a bit confusing for those of us not following the Superman comic at the moment. The gist of what’s going on with Superman is: He’s from a different timeline. When he ended up in this universe, he decided that he wanted to stay on the down-low. New Clark and Lois Lane have a farm in Califonia where they are raising their son who is beginning to learn that his father is Superman, and he has superhuman abilities. After knowing this, it will make reading Trinity all that much easier to understand.

I think my absolute favorite part of this book were the three full page spreads that each of our heroes received. Wonder Woman arriving on the field with a boar and her invisible jet was one of my absolute favorite scenes in this comic. I’ve always loved Cliff Chiang’s and Frank Cho’s take on Diana Prince, but after reading this issue… Francis Manapul might draw my favorite Wonder Woman. It’s just so beautiful, The Batman and Superman splashes are equally as beautiful but I think you’ll greatly appreciate seeing it for yourself instead of having me describe for to you. (See our Review of Superman #7)

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Besides the art, Manapul does a fantastic job with telling the story. This series starts with Bruce and Diana coming to the farm to talk to and get to know, Clark and Lois along with their son. Batman isn’t very trusting but Diana wants to accept them for who they are and believes in time they will become as close of allies as they were with the original Superman. Manapul also does a fantastic job writing some comedy into this book so that it’s not so rigid and series. Bruce makes a comment about Clark’s son sleeping and looking so innocent. I couldn’t help but laugh and imagine Bruce watching Damien sleep and thinking/wishing he was innocent and a typical 10-year-old. Also, Bruce Wayne in plaid is a pretty hilarious image. Along with comedy, Manapul also makes references to much older DC Comics events, and some of the very interesting style choices that Batman made in the 60’s.

Overall, if you are a fan of DC’s Superhero trinity, this is the book for you. Manapul leaves many questions when you come to the conclusion of the issue, and you are going to be coming back to find out what the answers to those questions are. And, you’ll be itching for more beautiful Francis Manapul art come next month. So, head down to your local comic shop and pick this up before you live to regret it!

Music Pairing:
One of my favorite bands in an instrumental post-rock band called Balmorhea from Austin Texas. Their album All Is Wild, All Is Silent is absolutely beautiful and matches the art in the book perfect. So, spin the opening track from that album while reading this book. It’ll be a perfect fit.

4LN Movie Review – Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

There’s a term in law practice, “Tainting the jury pool”, that first came to my mind when I saw the BvS reviews from film critics. They’re pretty much all negative, and what happens when people see that is: half of the audience (the fanboys) gets defensive, and the other half goes into the movie with low expectations and looking for flaws. The critics taint the jury pool by shitting all over a movie that 99% of people haven’t seen yet. But… does that mean they’re wrong? I mean, after all, the overwhelming majority of them do not seem to think that it’s a quality movie, and “where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” Right? Well, it’s not really as simple as that when it comes to movies (or the entertainment industry as a whole, really, but that’s a lengthy conversation for another day). It’s extremely common nowadays for critics to hate a film, but for audiences to still flock to it. For example, The 2014 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. On Rotten Tomatoes, that movie has a critic score of 21%, which isn’t good. However, it made almost $500 million at the box office on a budget of about $125 million, which was enough of a showing to earn it sequel that drops this year. I’ve never liked film critics, ironically, and I’ve never believed that “film critic” should be an actual occupation. It seems like as time goes on, the masses more and more disregard the “advice” of critics and choose to find out for themselves, which is exactly how it should be. However… that doesn’t necessarily mean the critics are always wrong.

OK, first off, the cruelty that the critics have been spewing is an overreaction. Things like, “Batman v Superman will make you hate Batman, Superman, and the Justice League”, that it’s a “total train wreck” and a “crime against comic fans”. That’s a bit much, fellas. Did I think it was a great movie? Honestly, no, I didn’t. But I think it’s a decent movie. It didn’t make me hate any if the characters and I didn’t feel like my fandom was betrayed. I do understand where the critics hostility comes from though. If these weren’t characters with established legacy and were just some made up heroes for a movie, we’d all notice the flaws more clearly. Being fans makes it hard for us to recognize the messiness of the plot and how jumbled the story is. Things do happen in a bit of a confusing timeline, but it’s really not enough to make you mad I don’t think. Besides, it’s Batman and Superman coming to blows. How cool is that? I can overlook some plot holes and character inconsistencies for that.

Focusing on the positive, Affleck really is great as Bruce Wayne/Batman. He’s older and more hardened than we’ve ever seen him on screen and it works. Affleck very sincerely captures the torment and callousness of Bruce, and how that affects all aspects of his life. He’s been clinging to his righteous indignation for Superman, at how he was a part of the destruction of Metropolis but is heralded as a hero, a savior, and even a god. Batman wants to see Superman answer for his role in all of it, but the only justice he knows how to exact is vigilante justice. One of the things that director Zack Snyder has been defending is Batman’s apparent killing of bad guys in the movie. Yes, he does seem to kill, but I personally don’t care about that because Batman has been indirectly, and directly, responsible for many deaths in comics and movies, and I think in some instances he should kill so… that’s where I stand on that.

The real gem of the movie, as some have fairly pointed out, is Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman; She’s simply Diana Prince for the first two-thirds of the movie. We first meet her at a party where her path crosses with Bruce’s and then we see her a few more times until the end when she suits up and unleashes. She was one of things I was most looking forward to and she did not disappoint. When she showed up alongside Batman & Superman and just jumped right in to the action at the end I got so excited. Unlike the two of them, she’s a trained, proven and battle-worn soldier. She doesn’t just throw punches and hope for the best. She’s a strategist and she thinks very quickly on her feet. Yes, I know Batman is very strong and practically a ninja. Thanks for pointing that out. However, Batman isn’t faced-off-against-entire-armies-with-nothing-but-a-sword-and-a-rope strong (sorry, LASSO) so go back to your basement nerds.

The other character I was most looking forward to was Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor. I knew it was going to be an unconventional take on the character, and I’m not really a purist when it comes to stuff like that so I’ve been eager to see what he did with it. The critics response seems to be that he was “over-the-top” and “bad”. Wow guys. Really digging deep in the thesaurus for those adjectives huh. His performance was “over-the-top”, but it was supposed to be. He’s playing a maniacal and emotionally unstable genius billionaire with a bit of a god-complex; As opposed to just a smart billionaire with a lot of a god-complex. Gene Hackman was a great Lex Luthor, and Kevin Spacey even did a solid turn, but their performances weren’t really that close to how Lex has always been written in the comics either so let’s drop the bullshit about the characters not resembling their comic book counterparts.

There’s a scene where he’s talking to Holly Hunter’s Senator Finch, and then there’s a scene later where they’re in a senate committee hearing and those two scenes compliment one another in a way that has you kind of chuckling at first but then by the end of the second scene you fully understand the lengths that Lex is willing to go to in order to get what he wants and it’s kind of terrifying.

The film’s visuals and cinematography are phenomenal. If there’s one thing Zack Snyder knows, it’s how to make a movie that at least looks amazing. There are some very captivating action sequences and exhilarating shots that few directors have the vision to capture. The final battle between Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman against Doomsday (it’s not a spoiler, that was in the trailers so don’t act like you didn’t know) is very exciting. The dream sequence with Batman in the desert up against an army of Superman soldiers is pretty fantastic also.

One thing I do want to address is the Justice League cameos. Yes, there are 3 other JLers who briefly appear but what kind of frustrated me was how they made Jason Momoa’s Aquaman such a big deal in the marketing, even giving him his own action figures, and he’s only in the movie for like 30 seconds. Really, one of the others has a more significant cameo scene than he does and I’d heard nothing about it. It was just irritating to expect a bigger role from him and have it be so inconsequential.

Parents: This movie is very dark and gritty and LONG, so just keep that in mind when deciding whether or not to take your kids. My 8yo handled it fine, and even ended up liking it when he he was initially disinterested, but there was a little boy in front of us who’s grandpa brought him and he was probably about 5. He did not do so well. I’d suggest 7 or 8 is probably your target age for just old enough to handle what they’re watching and not get bored.

Look, I don’t have to convince you to see Batman v Superman. You’re going to. I know it, you know it, and WB and DC know it. It’s not an abomination. It’s no Dark Knight, which Batman films will be trying to live up to forever, but it’s worth watching. Hell, I’ll even watch it again just for Wonder Woman. (She really was fantastic you guys.) Besides, what else are you gonna do this weekend. Wait, have you finished season 2 of Daredevil? Ok, do that first and then go see Batman v Superman (#priorities).

Breaking News: DC Announces “DC Super Hero Girls:” Toys, Comics, Merchandise Marketed To Young Girls

We have seen a lot of internet outrage lately about Marvel leaving out female characters in their line of toys and other merchandise. In Marvel’s defense, my fellow 4LNer Stephen Andrew pointed out the fact that the companies have little involvement when it comes to what products the toy and apparel companies create when they purchase the licensing rights, and that Marvel didn’t have total control over the fact that Black Widow and Scarlet Witch got left out of a lot of the Avengers: AoU film merchandise.

Anyway, it looks like DC Comics saw the concern & demand and they are picking up the slack, and running with it. Announced yesterday, DC Comics, Warner Brothers and Warner Brothers Entertainment will be publishing a new line of stories catering to a new audience, girls between the ages of 6-12.

The characters being introduced in DC Superhero Girls will be Wonder Woman, Supergirl (one of my favorite superheroes), Batgirl, Harley Quinn, Bumble Bee, Poison Ivy, Katana and many more characters. Each character will have a story line about teen life AND being a superhero. The series will launch in fall of 2015 and from their press release “original digital content and digital publishing—providing opportunities for girls to interact with characters, learn about the story lines, and engage in customizable play. TV specials, made-for-videos, toys, apparel, books and other product categories will begin to rollout in 2016.”

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How excited are you to see this news from DC? I am personally really excited for this, and I can’t wait for the amount of young girls who will be introduced to female characters, and fall in love with characters that I have known and loved for years. It’ll be cool walking down a toy asile in the near future and seeing tons of girl related superhero products.

 

Source(s): ComicBookResources
The Mary Sue

You can read the entire press release below:

WARNER BROS. AND DC ENTERTAINMENT

IN PARTNERSHIP WITH MATTEL LAUNCH DC SUPER HERO GIRLS,

A NEW SUPER HERO UNIVERSE DESIGNED JUST FOR GIRLS, SLATED FOR FALL 2015

Mattel to Launch Company’s First Action Figures for Girls

Unprecedented Initiative to Include Digital Content, TV Specials, Made-For-Videos,

Publishing, Toys, Apparel and Other Products

Random House Children’s Books to be Master Publishing Partner

The LEGO Group to be Exclusive Construction Partner

Burbank, Calif. – April 22, 2015 – Beginning in Fall 2015, DC Entertainment, Warner Bros. Animation, Warner Bros. Consumer Products and Mattel join forces to launch DC Super Hero Girls, an exciting new universe of Super Heroic storytelling that helps build character and confidence, and empowers girls to discover their true potential. Featuring DC Comics’ most powerful and diverse line-up of female characters as relatable teens, DC Super Hero Girls will play out across multiple entertainment content platforms and product categories to create an immersive world.

Developed for girls aged 6-12, DC Super Hero Girls centers on the female Super Heroes and Super-Villains of the DC Comics universe during their formative years—prior to discovering their full super power potential. Featuring a completely new artistic style and aesthetic, DC Comics’ icons such as Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Batgirl, Harley Quinn, Bumble Bee, Poison Ivy, Katana and many more make their unprecedented teenaged introduction. Each character has her own storyline that explores what teen life is like as a Super Hero, including discovering her unique abilities, nurturing her remarkable powers and mastering the fundamentals of being a hero.

“DC Entertainment is home to the most iconic and well-known Super Heroes including Wonder Woman, Supergirl and Batgirl,” said Diane Nelson, President of DC Entertainment. “DC Super Hero Girls represents the embodiment of our long-term strategy to harness the power of our diverse female characters. I am so pleased that we are able to offer relatable and strong role models in a unique way, just for girls.”

The initial launch of DC Super Hero Girls in Fall 2015 will include an immersive digital experience, original digital content and digital publishing—providing opportunities for girls to interact with characters, learn about the storylines, and engage in customizable play. TV specials, made-for-videos, toys, apparel, books and other product categories will begin to rollout in 2016.

“Developing a Super Hero franchise exclusively for girls that includes all of the key components of a comprehensive entertainment experience—from content to consumer products—is something we are excited to be doing in conjunction with our great partners,” said Brad Globe, President of Warner Bros. Consumer Products. “It’s really an honor to be part of this cultural moment and to be delivering a concept so rooted in a relatable and empowered theme that the characters of DC Comics are uniquely able to present.”

As master toy licensee, Mattel is collaborating with DC Entertainment, Warner Bros. Animation and Warner Bros. Consumer Products on DC Super Hero Girls’ narrative creation, interactive digital activations and ultimately a toy line launching in 2016. Mattel category-leading firsts include a line of characters for the action figure category, an area of the industry that has been primarily developed with boys in mind, and fashion dolls featuring strong, athletic bodies that stand on their own in heroic poses.

“Partnering with the best and being the best partner is of paramount importance,” said Richard Dickson, President, Chief Operating Officer, Mattel. “Together with Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment, the DC Super Hero Girls franchise will further expand our already powerful girls portfolio. We know Super Hero is a culturally relevant theme and the DC Super Hero Girls franchise will engage and inspire girls, providing cues to explore heroic acts through play and into real life.”

The Random House Books for Young Readers imprint of Random House Children’s Books has been appointed the master publishing partner for the franchise and will be creating a portfolio of books that will bring the DC Super Hero Girls world to life, beginning in Spring 2016. Random House’s publishing program will be complemented by a series of original graphic novels from DC Entertainment. The LEGO Group will also be key to building the DC Super Hero Girls franchise, leveraging their experience and success engaging girls in creative construction play to bolster this universe through an array of LEGO® building sets designed to inspire girls’ imaginations. Additionally, consumer products partners around the world will be engaged in creating a merchandise line dedicated to DC Super Hero Girls across all key categories

4LN Interview: Wonder Woman Creative Team – Meredith & David Finch

I have been a big fan of Wonder Woman for several years now. I love reading about a character that is surrounded in mythology. It only makes sense with Thor and Aquaman being my other favorite characters. Since the new 52 relaunch, Wonder Woman has been one of only a few books that I haven’t thought about dropping at one point or another. Brian Azzerllo and Cliff Chaing’s run came to an end recently, and the new creative team has been on fire as of late. And something really interesting about this creative team is… they are married. David and Meredith Finch have been working on this book since issue #36, and it has been a great read seeing Wonder Woman deal with the struggles of being both The God of War and struggling with the responsibility of leading Hippolyta. Besides struggling with these two responsibilities, the fan favorite Donna Troy has returned to make things even more difficult for Wonder Woman with the people of Hippolyta choosing Donna over Diana for their new queen.

Below, you’ll find our conversation with Meredith and David, so please enjoy!

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What benefits and difficulties do you each find come along with being a comic book creative team and also a married couple?
DF​:​ There’s a level of honesty that makes us more willing to criticize and I think that’s healthy, but that can also lead to sleeping on the couch from time to time.

MF: David and I have had a synergy almost right from the very first time we met.  We balance each other very well.  He’s strong in the areas where I struggle and visa versa.  Working together on Wonder Woman has really played into that.  He’s my sounding board when I need to talk about story and he asks the questions that ensure that I’m being thoughtful about everything I’m doing and he tells me when something isn’t working.

Fan-favorite Donna Troy makes her triumphant return to the Wonder Woman Universe, can you give us any hints at what struggles will face Donna and Diana in the coming issues?
 
MF: We will see the epic battle that I know fans have been waiting for in upcoming issues and the animosity between these two characters will continue to grow as we learn more about what Donna’s role and mission will be.  It’s been a lot of fun recreating Donna as someone with the power to stand against a god.
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David, you have previously worked on titles such as Batman: The Dark Knight, Forever Evil and now Wonder Woman. These series include characters that are inherently different, so, do you allow your artwork to fit the nature of the character or do you use your specific style to reinvent that character?

DF: It’s a mixture of both, I think.  I don’t so much use my specific style to reinvent a character, but that happens, certainly.  As I get familiar with characters, things evolve.  Sometimes that’s subtle, and sometimes not so much.  I’m always wrestling with change, growth, and fear of change.  It can make for some sleepless nights (especially on the couch).

David, the cover for WW #38 was absolutely brutal and, in my opinion, one of the best covers from The New 52 (one of my close friends actually picked up the series based on this cover alone). Can we expect to see any more covers like this one?

DF: Each cover is kind of it’s own thing, but I’m really focused on drawing covers that react to the emotional core of each issue, as opposed to illustrating a scene from the book. That’s pretty pretentious, I know, but it is what I’m trying for.  Except for when I illustrate a scene from the book.  Sometimes that works too.

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Cover for Wonder Woman #38

Meredith, being that this is your first major, mainstream comic book title, can you share with us your initial feelings of taking on the responsibility of writing such an iconic character? 
 
MF: Taking over such an iconic character in the wake of the success of Brian and Cliff was very intimidating.  From the very beginning I spent a lot of time figuring out who she was as a character and as a person and what was/is most important to her.  I constantly go back to those notes to make sure I am being true to my vision.  With each issue I love Diana more and more and I look forward to the journey we are taking together.
 
Meredith, you have incorporated most of the Justice League members into this book, can we expect other DC characters to be involved or will the title become self-contained in the near future?

MF: I have always said that I will use other characters in the DCU only in as much as I feel like they add to my story line.  I can’t rule out other characters appearing, but this has always and will always be a Wonder Woman book.

 

Lightning Round, please answer with the first thing that comes to each of your minds.  

What’s your favorite movie by director David Fincher?  Gone Girl, Fight Club, or The Social Network?
DF: Seven
(That wasn’t one of the options David… but I’ll let it slide because it’s a REALLY good one.)
MF: Definitely Gone Girl

What was the last concert you attended?
DF: [Chris] Daughtry
MF: Chris Daughtry, this past summer

Are you more of a House of Cards household, or an Orange is the New Black household? 
DF: House of Cards
MF: Are those on the Cartoon Network?

What non comic book do you believe everyone should read? 
DF: Don’t Look Back by Gregg Hurwitz
MF: Anything by Dr. Seuss  – hands down my all time favorite author/illustrator.

In a post-apocalyptic world, who would win in a fight in The Thunderdome between the two of you against the Harley Quinn married creative team of Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti?
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DF: We’re so taking this one!  Bring it on, Jimmy!  I’m calling you out!!  (We’re sure they won’t see this, right?….)
MF: I’m totally betting on Amanda and Jimmy.  If they are even half as crazy as their Harley Quinn, we don’t stand a chance.

4LN Comic Review: Wonder Woman #38

Series: Wonder Woman
Writer: Meredith Finch
Artist: David Finch
Inks: Batt, Danny Miki and Sonia Oback

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Summary from Comixology: “With her people against her, Wonder Woman has left Paradise Island more uncertain of her intentions than ever before! And with only the mantle of God of War to turn to, she’s challenged to give that up!”

Overview:
This book was absolutely brutal at times. It started brutal and it ended brutal. The entire issue was a great read. There wasn’t a single moment when I was bored or wanting the issue to hurry up and come to a conclusion. I actually wanted the book to last longer, and that doesn’t happen often. Seeing Wonder Woman dealing with the challenge of becoming Ares really added something extra to the book. Will Wonder Woman keep her humanity while being the God of War? Only time will tell…

Highs:
As I mentioned in the overview, the book was really brutal, and I loved that. Just by looking at the cover, I couldn’t wait to get home and jump into the issue. Seeing the Amazons fighting the three headed beast was absolutely amazing. This is the kind of book that David Finch can really shine on. It’s a good mix between fantasy and reality and I think his work complements that perfectly. I also love the direction that Meredith Finch is taking the story,we get to see Wonder Woman juggling three very difficult roles: 1) Being the Queen of Themyscira, 2) Being in the Justice League, and 3) Being Ares, God of War. Meredith does a wonderful job showing the three very different, and very important, sides of Diana. (Also, this cover is my favorite cover of the month of January.) ww2

 

Lows:
I’m going to do something that I don’t personally do very often. There wasn’t anything wrong with this book. And adding Donna Troy to the story would eliminate any thing I found wrong with the book anyway.

The Final Say:
Go buy this book now! If you didn’t pick it up yesterday, go get it today after/before work. You will not regret jumping on this book. This is the third issue from the new creative team so head out and get issues #36, 37 and 38 ASAP. This book is a 5 out of 5 and you will not regret picking it up. Meredith and David Finch are making sure that Wonder Woman stays in good hands, and the story is building to be as epic as the previous run.

Music Paring:
Just from the cover alone, I had to put on Death Is Only Mortal by The Acacia Strain. The first track, Doomblade (A Magic; The Gathering reference) starts with a woman calling the police and admitting to murdering 3 people. And it’s extremely creepy but fits almost perfectly with the first 8 pages of the book. And then in traditional Acacia Strain style it gets extremely heavy, extremely fast. The book is a good fit for one of the heaviest and negative Deathcore.

4LN Comic Review – Wonder Woman #36

Series: Wonder Woman
Writer: Meredith Finch
Artist: David Finch
Inker: Richard Friend
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Summary from Comixology: “The fate of the Amazons is about to be revealed, major new characters will be introduced, and a new villain will arrive with enough power to defeat the combined might of Wonder Woman and her Justice League teammates!”

Overview:
I was really excited for this book, but I had some second thoughts on if I was going to be a fan of the new direction that the book will be heading in. One of my top 5 New 52 books was Wonder Woman by Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang. I loved how much greek mythology was used, it was pretty much DC’s version of Thor, and the fact that the book was so self contained was a huge plus for me. Now, correct me in the comments if I’m wrong, but I believe in 35 issues, not once did you have to read another title to understand the epicness of the last creative team. This was a great first issue for a new creative team, but it does leave me with a few concerns…

The Highs:
I personally really enjoyed Meredith Finch’s story telling in this issue. It really built a lot of story in as little as 21 pages. I really enjoyed that the book also stayed at a solid $2.99 even with a new creative team jumping on. I also really, REALLY, enjoyed two characters that make an appearance in this issue. They are both two of my favorite DC characters so it was interesting seeing them show up in this issue, and hopefully they will stick around, or make another appearance. David Finch’s art was also really impressive and extremely detailed.

The Lows: 
As I said in my overview, this book left me with a few concerns. So many key DC characters made an appearance in this book that I am worried this will lead to Wonder Woman showing up in other books and needing to read those titles as well as Wonder Woman to obtain the entire story. (If you can’t tell I’m not a fan of crossover events.) I am also worried about the book being released on a regular schedule. David Finch isn’t the most reliable artist in the industry when it comes to deadlines *cough* Forever Evil *cough*, but that also was not completely his fault.

The Final Say:
This was a great read and has high hopes to remain one of my favorite DC books. Change is not always easy, but sometimes it takes some time getting used to and I hope after a few issues I will have the same love for this book as I did with the last creative team. With all this being said, I think the book deserves a solid rating of 4 out of 5. Pick this book up when you go get your new books. It’s an awesome jumping on point and I do not believe you’ll regret giving this a read.

 

Be The Nerd You Want To See In The World: Thoughts on Gender Issues in the Nerd Community

A few weeks ago I was playing with my kids outside and my little girl starting crying for me to pick her up. As I bent down to get her my iPhone fell out of my pocket and hit the cold, hard concrete. I’ve dropped it before, but this particular time I had taken it out of it’s case because…. well, because I’m a glutton for punishment apparently. As soon as it hit, I didn’t even see the screen, but I heard the crack. It all but shattered (some of that may have also been the sound of my heart breaking). Here’s the kicker, I lost my wallet a while back and when I cancelled my debit card, that stopped the payment on my cell phone insurance. I forgot to call them and give them the new card number. So there I am, a broken iPhone screen and I can’t get the phone replaced, and I can’t quite afford to get the screen replaced either. What do I do? Well, it just so happened that my wife had a cell phone case/wallet, which she’d stopped using, that has a clear cover so that you can still use the touch screen while it’s in there. I figured, “Hey, I can use this and not risk cutting my fingers up on the broken screen!” It was a perfect plan! I should also mention… It has a POP-brand Wonder Woman on it.

 

After carrying that case around for a few days I started to think about something. I thought about how many guys would be so wrecked if they had to do the same. I’d be willing to bet that the majority of dudes would rather risk cutting their fingers up than carry around a cell phone case with a female comic book character on it. I mean, men are clearly superior to women in every way so I guess I can understand the thought process. Men are smarter, tougher, and stronger. It’s completely flawless logic…

Tell her to her face that she’s weaker than a man. I DARE YOU.

 

I’ve gotten a few strange looks, and a couple of people have asked me about it. I just explain the story; broke my phone, didn’t want to cut my fingertips. Most people get it.

The weekend after I started carrying the Wonder Woman case, I was carting my daughter (you know, the one I unfairly blame for my broken phone) around with me on some errands. I had put her in a little Spider-Man shirt that used to belong to her brothers. Everywhere we went people thought she was so adorable and cute (at least people got one thing right) in her little comic book t-shirt. Suddenly, another realization hit me… Had this been one of my boys, and they’d been wearing a Wonder Woman or My Little Pony shirt, people would have responded VERY differently.

There have been dozens of stories, over the last few months, regarding boys who love My Little Pony being bullied (I even wrote about the situation here). A friend of mine, Melody, showed me an article that I highly recommend, written from the perspective of a father scared that his son would be bullied for liking it…

“My Son Loves My Little Pony. At 7, he already knows that’s not OK.”

Also, Melody and her husband Nick wrote an awesome blog entry about their stance on gender issues, which you can read here:

“Me, My Man-Shaped-Person, and Our Non-Genderist Stance On Barbie vs Lammily”

There are about a thousand good reasons for you to read their article, but I’d like to reference one thing in particular that serves my point…

They mention something that happened, where a little boy in their daughter’s school told her that she couldn’t like super heroes because she’s a girl. That’s bulls–t.

My 3 year old runs around the house in a Batman costume with his little sisters toy tiara on his head, calling himself “Princess Batman.” My little girl has no concept of “boy toys” and “girl toys.” She’s equally as happy playing with a Hawkman toy as she is playing with her little tea set. I would be pissed if someone told them that they can’t play with something just because it doesn’t match their gender. I don’t want any of my kids thinking that women are weaker than men. I don’t want my boys treating women that way, and I sure as hell don’t want my little girl going through life with the outlook that she “needs” a man because she’s weak and fragile.

Again I challenge, YOU tell Katana and her GIANT MACHETE that she’s weaker than a man… What’s that? You’re scared and you peed in your pants and you want to leave? Thought so.

 

So, after weeks a weeks of periodically working on this piece, I came across another article that I really connected with (I like to make you people read a lot, as you may have noticed…)

Why I read Ms. Marvel to my 5-year-old daughter

This was written by a father who explains why it’s been very beneficial for his little girl for them to read the new Ms. Marvel book together. He talks about how even at a young age, she can comprehend certain aspects of the character that she relates to, and how Kamala is a very good role model for her. After reading this I thought, since male and female characters are equal, maybe my 6 year old could learn something from the book. I mean, I love it. It’s one of my favorite new titles. If I love it this much, surely he would too right?

She can shape-shift! What’s not to love?!

 

He has to read every night for homework so we typically let him read some comics for it. That’s how I pitched this to him. “Read these two issues, and they’ll count toward your homework reading.” He sat down on the couch and quietly, intently read both books. I was so excited to talk to him afterwards about this character that I love so much, sure that he now loved her too! After he finished the second book, we sat down at the kitchen table and I asked, “So what did you think?!” His response, “It was OK.” It was OK? It was just OK?! I asked what he thought about her powers. “I didn’t really like them.” Wait… what? Her ability to alter her shape and size is very similar to Mr. Fantastic and I know that he loves him. The more I pressed, the more upset he got. He just didn’t like the books and he didn’t wanna talk about it.

As I talked about it with my wife, how I was bummed that he didn’t respond to the character the way I’d hoped he would, I began to understand that I’ve had a somewhat flawed outlook on comic book equality myself. I’ve always looked at the issue as, men and women are equal so anyone should be able to draw influence and inspiration from any character, without gender being an issue. I had completely failed to consider how important it is, as a young reader, that you *relate* to the character you’re reading. My 6 year old son doesn’t relate to Kamala Khan. Her story just doesn’t speak to him as a reader. He doesn’t think there’s anything “weak” about her, but her story is not something he understands. He’s just more interested in Tiny Titans or Scribblenauts because the characters meet him at his level more. As an adult, I appreciate what Kamala stands for: gender, religious, social, and cultural equality. As a child, those things are not issues for him. He already doesn’t discriminate against people, and he isn’t faced with it on a daily basis. It isn’t a part of his everyday world. I’m thankful for that.

Last one, I promise… I triple-dog-dare you to walk up to Valkyrie and tell her to make you a sandwich because women belong in the kitchen. Go ahead, I’ll just sit here with this popcorn and soda and enjoy the show…

 

Maybe one day someone will make a joke about him wearing a t-shirt with Jean Grey on it, or give him a hard time about carrying around a Wonder Woman cell phone case, but maybe, just maybe, they won’t. Maybe all the “you’re a girl, you have to like girl things” and “you’re a boy, you have to like boy things” is on it’s way out. Maybe our kids will finally be the generation that collectively says “who f–king cares”, instead of feeling pressured into being something that “society” dictates.

As a nerd community, we are in a prime spot to be a beacon of hope and change. We have an influence over culture these days that we’ve never really had before. We’re not just outsiders anymore. We are a huge, thriving part of society, and we have a responsibility to do whatever we can to have a positive influence on the future generations, nerd and otherwise. So get out there nerds, be proud of who you are, and train up your little nerdlings in the way that they should go, so that when they’re old they’ll want to change the world too.

Wonder Woman Will Get Her Own Film

Attention all Wonder Woman fans (I can’t be the only one, right?)!  Gal Gadot has signed on to play Wonder Woman for three films.  When it was originally announced on Wednesday the only confirmed film was Batman vs. Superman, which led to rampant speculation across the World Wide Web that Wonder Woman would finally be getting her own film as well as star in Justice League.

That speculation was confirmed today by Variety who announced that Gadot would appear as Wonder Woman in Batman vs. Superman, Justice League, and a standalone Wonder Woman film.  A lot of people are worried about how Wonder Woman will do in her own film given her origin story’s focus on Greek myth, but I think it will be fine.  I am excited to see how Gadot will do.  Personally I think she is going to nail the role, but I also argued in favor of Affleck as Batman.

“But she’s too skinny!”  or  “She’s not Linda Carter!”

This is a Wonder Woman for the modern age.  She isn’t going to be the buxom bombshell from the comics, AND THAT IS OKAY.  And just like Bale to Affleck, we have to move on.  It will be okay, I promise.  Also, she has ample time to train and prepare for her role.  Remember, Christian Bale went from the Machinist (he played an anorexic guy) to Batman Begins (he was huge) in a few months.  So I am not worried about that at all.  I think she will look great.

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I might be going against the flow here, but I am super excited about Gadot and Affleck, as well as the direction they are going in general.