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The Non-Marvel Action Hour – 6/16/10

Two new Wonder Woman reviews and one and a half months of sales data.

Two new Wonder Woman reviews and one and a half months of sales data.

News

Direct Market Sales Watch

Numbers are taken from ICv2, estimated sales to comic shops in North America as reported by Diamond. March ’10. April ’10.

Blackest Night finished in March with seven of eight issues hitting #1, and with Brightest Day launching and no issue of Siege shipping in April, DC dominated the very top of the chart, taking the first four spots along with 8th, 11th and 13th. They continue to lag behind in overall market share, of course, as you could guess from their failure to capture any other spot in the top 30, while Marvel took 21. Full Blackest Night sales:

#1 – 202,737
#2 – 155,512
#3 – 143,949
#4 – 137,169
#5 – 151,292 (ring promotion; 50 copies needed for rings)
#6 – 135,985
#7 – 130,613
#8 – 135,061

Green Lantern

#42 – 84,131 (pre-BN)
#43 – 117,314
#44 – 109,599
#45 – 102,431
#46 – 103,666
#47 – 101,349
#48 – 100,371
#49 – 97,285
#50 – 106,444
#51 – 95,509
#52 – 97,369 (Final BN tie-in)
#53 – 100,356 (First BD tie-in)

Green Lantern Corps

#37 – 63,574 (pre-BN)
#38 – 82,415
#39 – 84,241
#40 – 83,112
#41 – 81,377
#42 – 80,391
#43 – 77,774
#44 – 76,458
#45 – 75,404
#46 – 76,720 (Final BN tie-in)
#47 – 72,163 (First BD tie-in; BN epilogue; final Tomasi/Gleason issue)

When I said GL sales would drop after the Event, I didn’t figure on it seguing directly into another quasi-crossover. That’s what I get for not paying better attention to the solicitations. Brightest Day doesn’t seem to be a series where you need to read all the tie-ins to understand it – maybe none of them – but then, they don’t really do those anymore. There are still people who believe Faces of Evil was a crossover – it’s labeled as such on Comic Vine – and DC won’t go out of their way to discredit this notion. If you don’t buy every part of the crossover, you won’t miss much. If you do, more money for the publisher.

The point is, the crossover bump remains in effect, though it won’t stop GLC‘s slide, only slow it. I could be wrong, but with a third GL ongoing launching, Peter Tomasi leaving to write that, and Tony Bedard taking over GLC, the #2 Lantern book figures to slip to #3, much as Batman did when Morrison’s Batman and Robin became the new Bat-Flagship. Regardless of quality, Bedard books tend to sell poorly. This will be a serious test of the brand’s strength and DC’s ability to tie the GL books together enough to give fans good reason to keep buying them all. If GLC or Emerald Warriors appears to be less important, fans will flee.

Now, two books that have and will continue to suffer without a crossover to latch onto.

Doom Patrol – Despite (or because of) the drop to $3, it can’t last much longer.

#1 – 28,267
#2 – 22,001
#3 – 20,036
#4 – 53,748 (Blackest Night)
#5 – 35,348 (Blackest Night)
#6 – 17,117
#7 – 15,689 (last issue with Metal Men)
#8 – 14,197
#9 – 13,126

R.E.B.E.L.S. – This sort of decline would be more acceptable if sales had started out two or three times higher. It seems to be hovering around the point where DC can keep publishing it if they like. It lives on the brink. That is its home.

#1 – 23,739
#2 – 16,122
#3 – 14,442
#4 – 13,468
#5 – 12,909
#6 – 12,349
#7 – 11,682
#8 – 11,347
#9 – 11,284
Annual: Starro the Conqueror – 10,773
#10 – 51,100
#11 – 31,489 (Blackest Night)
#12 – 12,428
#13 – 11,836
#14 – 11,362
#15 – 11,271

Bat-Family

Batman and Robin – Still firmly planted in the top five, with back-to-back #4 rankings. A $1 reprint of the first issue adds 11,761 sales.

#1 – 196,587
#2 – 129,086
#3 – 110,594
#4 – 106,925
#5 – 101,607
#6 – 95,690
#7 – 87,780
#8 – 87,302
#9 – 84,562
#10 – 85,292
#11 – 84,006

Batman – Sales have stabilized, so I’m only throwing it in because it continues to sell lower than it has since 2005. That’ll only last until issue 700, when Morrison takes over again.

#694 – 65,908
#695 – 63,467
#696 – 61,290
#697 – 61,157
#698 – 60,934

Detective Comics – Less affected by content than by its failure to tie into Morrison’s story.

#854 – 79,573 (1:10 variant cover)
#855 – 61,205
#856 – 58,859
#857 – 57,063
#858 – 58,599 (1:10 variant cover)
#859 – 54,392 (1:10 variant cover)
#860 – 52,295 (1:10 variant cover)
#861 – 45,937
#862 – 44,687
#863 – 43,119 (Final Batwoman issue)
#864 – 42,436

Red Robin, Streets of Gotham, Gotham City Sirens and Batgirl are all holding steady, helped along by a brief Red Robin/Batgirl crossover.

Azrael – Ever the odd man out. Now selling worse than R.E.B.E.L.S. after half a year. Cancellation is inevitable, though it appears set to run through issue 13 at least. They could always cut it short, call it a 12-issue maxiseries. Won’t look like as much of a failure.

#1 – 35,311
#2 – 21,392
#3 – 17,757
#4 – 14,703
#5 – 12,865
#6 – 11,825
#7 – 11,080

Justice Society of America – Steady decline continues.

#29 – 51,375 (First Willingham issue)
#30 – 49,416
#31 – 47,436
#32 – 44,885
#33 – 43,218
#34 – 41,734
#35 – 39,934
#36 – 39,060
Annual – 33,518 ($5)
#37 – 37,381
#38 – 36,648

JSA All-Stars – Likely to fold after two years, depending on how much DC want to have a second JSA title.

#1 – 42,493 (1:25 variant cover)
#2 – 32,601
#3 – 29,666
#4 – 28,526
#5 – 26,581

Magog – Cancelled with issue 12, it gives us an idea of how fast and low a mainstream DCU series has to fall before DC will kill it.

#1 – 26,352
#2 – 16,193
#3 – 12,915
#4 – 10,700
#5 – 9,215
#6 – 8,548
#7 – 8,119
#8 – 7,743

Kevin Smith’s Green Hornet, not to be confused with the umpteen other Green Hornet titles, had the best showing outside of the Big Two in March, ranking 20th with 54,122 orders. Issue two shipped the same month, dropping to 36,004, previewing April’s drop of #3 to 29,552. Green Hornet: Year One, also from Dynamite, but not written by Kevin Smith, started at 21,330 before falling to 16,355 with issue two.

Leading the indies in April, at 15th overall with 59,152 copies sold, was Image’s top title, a $1 reissue of Walking Dead #1. Granted, it’s the equivalent of under 20,000 copies at $3, but that’s far better than most $1 reissues do, from any publisher.

The new Stephen King series, American Vampire, launched at a modest 33,762 copies, with issue two falling to 26,770. Good for a Vertigo series, and it should do better in collected form.

Wonder Woman – Stabilized. Big bump coming with #600 and Straczynski.

#34 – 30,131
#35 – 29,657
#36 – 28,806
#37 – 26,972
#38 – 26,265
#39 – 26,152
#40 – 25,156
#41 – 25,354
#42 – 25,240
#43 – 25,369

Secret Six – As expected, all of the crossover groupies left immediately. There’s an ever so slight bump that will disappear with issue 21. It’s healthy enough that it should last for years yet, though I wish it had more than a cult following.

#7 – 24,365
#8 – 24,338
#9 – 27,116 (Battle for the Cowl)
#10 – 24,272
#11 – 24,357
#12 – 24,161
#13 – 23,919
#14 – 23,345
#15 – 23,190 (Ostrander guest issue)
#16 – 22,638
#16 1/2 (Suicide Squad #67) – 37,818
#17 – 38,515 (Blackest Night)
#18 – 37,876 (Blackest Night)
#19 – 23,181
#20 – 22,695

Locke & Key: Crown of Shadows – Turns out what looked like a 4k drop between issues two and three was a split order. Guess IDW couldn’t get the whole shipment out at once. Sales are decent for a small press book.

#1 – 9,952
#2 – 7,707
#3 – 7,540
#4 – 7,010
#5 – 6,818

Cinderella: From Fabletown With Love – This spinoff miniseries sold respectably, better than ongoing title Jack of Fables. We’ll see if that holds true for the trade.

#1 – 20,337
#2 – 16,598
#3 – 15,827
#4 – 15,421
#5 – 15,285
#6 – 14,956

Fevre Dream – Vampires. George R. R. Martin. And Avatar Press means no restrictions on gore, nudity or cussing. It also means a $4 cover price and little publicity. Novel was good. Comic might be worth a look.

#1 – 5,986

Atomic Robo: Revenge of the Vampire Dimension
– Small but significant drop.

#1 – 4,372
#2 – 4,093

Graphic Novels

April ’10.

The first deluxe hardcover collection of Batman and Robin topped the non-Marvel volumes at #2 overall, with 6,442 sales at $25 each. DC also took the #3 spot with the Flash: Rebirth HC, 4,405 copies at $20. Fourth, seventh and ninth went to Dark Horse for paperback volumes of BPRD, Witchfinder: In the Service of Angels and Star Wars: Invasion, respectively. Only in comics could two Hellboy spinoffs outsell Star Wars merch. Avatar Press captured 6th with the first trade of Garth Ennis’ Crossed, another $25 book.

In a rare example of movie (and videogame and plushie and…) crossover sales, or perhaps an equally rare surge in interest among comic fans, Scott Pilgrim continues to rake in sales. For April alone:

Vol. 1 – 2,751
Vol. 2 – 1,784
Vol. 3 – 1,001
Vol. 4 – 1,274
Vol. 5 – 1,449

Note that all of these are several months old, if not years, yet their combined sales would top any book that called April 2010 its first month on the chart. This has been going on for some time, with varying numbers, so it’s hard to say how much influence an as yet unreleased movie has. What’s clear is that this is the Western equivalent of a smash hit manga. The only way to read Scott Pilgrim is in digest form, so all sales are trade sales. Everyone can get the story at once, and in meatier chunks. And all volumes stay in print, so there’s no hunt for missing issues. More demand? More supply. Good system.

The first trade for the new Power Girl series sold 2,494 copies, 50 more than the first Red Robin trade. Both run $18, though Power Girl collects six issues to Robin‘s five. Apparently, minor details like price and page count don’t matter, as Secret Six: Depths only sold 2,321 copies despite offering seven issues for $15. The good news is, that’s only nine fewer copies than the first trade sold in its first month. The second month saw an additional 478 sales, so hopefully this volume can add a few hundred in May to catch up. It’ll surely get some reorders, but the cutoff for the chart in April was 332. If it doesn’t appear, there’s no telling how close it got to the minimum. It could even tie and be left off on a technicality. The chart stops at #300, period. No exceptions. It’s a frustrating blind spot that widens the perceived gap between success and failure. Anyways, same as it ever was. Secret Six continues to enjoy modest success, staying alive without selling out grasping stardom.

Yotsuba&! – Vol. 8 sold 1,865 copies, up from Vol. 7’s 1,849. In a month without Naruto, this was the best-selling manga volume.

The Losers – Book One added 1,184 copies, bringing its total to 4,177. The third and fourth volumes from the first run of trades combined to add 776 copies to their total. Vol. 5 likely had around 300 sales, too, but missed the chart. Their selling power will evaporate when they’re all collected in Book Two, but for now they’re the easiest way to get the rest of the story.

Vertigo Cancellation Watch

Will Air and Unknown Soldier start a domino effect that wipes out the Vertigo imprint? Eh… not likely. But they won’t be the last cancelled titles, and it might not be long before the next. Let’s look back at the casualties and see who’s next on the chopping block. For TPB sales, I only went far as back as January ’07, so these numbers are incomplete. Fables, for example, has oodles more sales.

Air

#1 – 11,094
#2 – 8,777
#3 – 10,061
#4 – 8,913
#5 – 8,412
#6 – 7,607
#7 – 10,290 ($1 issue)
#8 – 7,216
#9 – 7,115
#10 – 6,954
#11 – 6,793
#12 – 6,589
#13 – 6,476
#14 – 6,156
#15 – 5,921
#16 – 5,733
#17 – 5,573
#18 – 5,352
#19 – 5,268
#20 – 5,184

TPB Vol. 1 – 4,813 ($10)
TPB Vol. 2 – 2,816 ($13)

Unknown Soldier

#1 – 16,038 (1:10 variant cover)
#2 – 10,553
#3 – 9,926
#4 – 8,711
#5 – 8,348
#6 – 8,177
#7 – 8,631 (billed as a “jumping-on point”)
#8 – 7,705
#9 – 7,586
#10 – 7,265
#11 – 7,070
#12 – 6,865
#13 – 6,636
#14 – 6,359
#15 – 6,134
#16 – 5,848
#17 – 5,701
#18 – 5,611
#19 – 5,542

TPB Vol. 1 – 3,684 ($10)
TPB Vol. 2 – 2,379 ($18)

Falling below 8k might be OK, maybe 7k, but 6k is the Rubicon. Trade sales are harder to gauge, as book stores are a major factor there and we don’t have access to those numbers. A 2k drop, over 40%, is certainly bad. That indicates comic shops overordered due to Vertigo’s lower price on first trades and, finding they couldn’t move the book, didn’t bother stocking the next volume.

Fables – Vertigo’s flagship. What it lacks in single issue sales it more than makes up with trades.

#92 – 20,180
#93 – 20,003
#94 – 19,965

TPB Vol. 1 – 39,276 ($10)
TPB Vol. 2 – 15,733 ($13)
TPB Vol. 3 – 10,797 ($15)
TPB Vol. 4 – 9,097 ($18)
TPB Vol. 5 – 7,341 ($15)
TPB Vol. 6 – 5,830 ($15)
TPB Vol. 7 – 4,905 ($15)
TPB Vol. 8 – 6,360 ($18)
TPB Vol. 9 – 18,081 ($18)
TPB Vol. 10 – 21,110 ($18)
TPB Vol. 11 – 23,053 ($18)
TPB Vol. 12 – 19,110 ($18)
TPB Vol. 13 – 14,285 ($18)
HC 1001 Nights – 1,421 ($20)
TPB 1001 Nights – 6,597 ($15)
HC Fables covers – 4,166 ($40)
HC Deluxe Vol. 1 – 3,343 ($30)

Unwritten – A hit by Vertigo standards.

#1 – 31,081 ($1)
#2 – 16,290
#3 – 17,028
#4 – 16,336
#5 – 16,011
#6 – 15,314
#7 – 14,763
#8 – 14,257
#9 – 13,792
#10 – 13,644
#11 – 13,630
#12 – 13,507

TPB Vol. 1 – 8,454 ($10)

Jack of Fables – The first of several spin-offs. Will likely end voluntarily, some years from now.

#42 – 11,996
#43 – 11,878
#44 – 11,472
#45 – 11,324

TPB Vol. 1 – 6,652 ($15)
TPB Vol. 2 – 5,521 ($15)
TPB Vol. 3 – 5,941 ($15)
TPB Vol. 4 – 6,121 ($15)
TPB Vol. 5 – 5,341 ($15)
TPB Vol. 6 – 5,268 ($15)

Hellblazer – The oldest living Vertigo book. Safe enough.

#263 – 10,179
#264 – 10,025
#265 – 10,295 (Simon Bisley art)
#266 – 10,256 (Simon Bisley art)

TPB Original Sins – 352 ($20; first trade, originally published in 1992)
TPB Reasons to be Cheerful – 3,422 ($15)
TPB Devil You Know – 3,461 ($20)
TPB Red Right Hand – 3,443 ($15)
TPB The Gift – 3,299 ($15)
TPB Bloodlines – 3,403 ($20)
TPB Joy Ride – 3,008 ($15)
TPB Fear Machine – 3,435 ($20)
TPB Laughing Magician – 3,224 ($15)
TPB Family Man – 3,295 ($20)
TPB Roots of Coincidence – 2,778 ($15)
TPB Scab – 2,805 ($15)
HC Pandemonium – 4,124 ($25)

House of Mystery – One of the better sellers, it recently dipped below five digits. Years away from ending.

#20 – 10,175
#21 – 9,888
#22 – 9,401
#23 – 9,350
#24 – 9,168

TPB Vol. 1 – 4,943 ($10)
TPB Vol. 2 – 3,314 ($15)
TPB Vol. 3 – 2,922 ($15)

Sweet Tooth – Scary numbers to start, but it’s since leveled off. Could last a few years.

#1 – 18,567 ($1)
#2 – 11,315
#3 – 10,363
#4 – 9,817
#5 – 9,787
#6 – 9,740
#7 – 9,718
#8 – 9,612

Madame Xanadu – DC have done all they can, short of shoving the book down our throats, but sales aren’t good enough to support an extended run. More than 40 issues would be a surprise. I’m guessing the jump from 10 to 11 is due to the first ten issues being collected in the first trade, making 11 a good quasi-jumping on point. No idea on 13, unless it’s connected.

#1 – 22,073 (1:10 variant cover)
#2 – 16,665 (1:10 variant cover)
#3 – 13,052
#4 – 12,329
#5 – 11,392
#6 – 12,340 (Frank Quitely variant cover)
#7 – 10,272
#8 – 9,932
#9 – 9,798
#10 – 9,664
#11 – 10,179 (New story arc)
#12 – 9,949
#13 – 10,009
#14 – 9,873
#15 – 9,733
#16 – 9,283
#17 – 8,856
#18 – 8,686
#19 – 8,439
#20 – 8,285
#21 – 8,191
#22 – 8,158

TPB Vol. 1 – 4,074 ($13, ten issues)
TPB Vol. 2 – 2,962 ($13, five issues)

NorthlandersXanadu‘s soulmate? These two could wind up in a cancellation pact like Air and Unknown Soldier. Then again, their trade sales are not close.

#22 – 8,136
#23 – 8,069
#24 – 7,938
#25 – 7,807
#26 – 7,824
#27 – 7,683

TPB Vol. 1 – 11,677 ($10)
TPB Vol. 2 – 5,569 ($15)
TPB Vol. 3 – 4,289 ($15)

DMZ – Long-running and slow to drop, it should survive a while longer. The trades move too well to consider dumping it yet.

#41 – 8,061
#42 – 7,927
#43 – 7,806
#44 – 7,654
#45 – 7,589
#46 – 7,399
#47 – 7,187
#48 – 6,977
#49 – 6,872
#50 – 7,262 ($4 deluxe issue)
#51 – 6,840
#52 – 6,826

TPB Vol. 1 – 9,679 ($10)
TPB Vol. 2 – 5,742 ($13)
TPB Vol. 3 – 6,098 ($13)
TPB Vol. 4 – 5,392 ($13)
TPB Vol. 5 – 6,506 ($13)
TPB Vol. 6 – 5,875 ($13)
TPB Vol. 7 – 5,478 ($15)

Scalped – All the brutality of the average best-seller, with better writing and art than nearly all of them. Not my thing, but the only reason I can see for it not selling better is the absence of spandex.

#18 – 7,020
#19 – 7,221
#20 – 7,034
#21 – 7,029
#22 – 6,964
#23 – 6,910
#24 – 6,777
#25 – 6,887
#26 – 6,866
#27 – 6,950
#28 – 6,860
#29 – 7,078
#30 – 7,059
#31 – 6,916
#32 – 6,905
#33 – 6,752
#34 – 6,731
#35 – 6,443
#36 – 6,648
#37 – 6,584

TPB Vol. 1 – 8,841 ($10)
TPB Vol. 2 – 3,022 ($15)
TPB Vol. 3 – 3,524 ($18)
TPB Vol. 4 – 3,940 ($15)
TPB Vol. 5 – 4,123 ($15)

Greek Street – Dead in the water. Air and Unknown Soldier were both ahead of it after ten issues and one trade. Falling too fast.

#1 – 20,422 ($1)
#2 – 11,996
#3 – 10,628
#4 – 9,246
#5 – 8,618
#6 – 7,802
#7 – 7,335
#8 – 6,872
#9 – 6,603
#10 – 6,324

TPB Vol. 1 – 3,430 ($10)

Reviews

New-Type Books

Wonder Woman 43

[DC] Wonder Woman Vol. 3 #43
Writer: Gail Simone
Pencilers: Nicola Scott, Fernando Dagnino

This is a first. I feel a bit of buyer’s remorse. Very rare with an ongoing series where the writer hasn’t been sacked yet. Part of it’s the art. Knowing why it’s rushed, I try not to dwell on it. It’s fine at first, aside from a curious and unwelcome amount of hatching, possibly from one of the four inkers. Then it blurs, and when the picture clears, we’re staring into the gaping maws of Dagnino.

But it’s OK, overall. Rough Nicola Scott art is better than most pencilers at their best, and she only sacrifices a few pages to Dagnino this time. The real problem is the story. Namely, the fact that I don’t care a whit about it. King Hiss’ distant cousins, the Snakewomen, attack Washington D.C. Snake herders. Snakherds. Snake Armor She-Ra. A bunch of humanoid women who use carnivorous snakes to scour planets clean of life for no apparent reason. They’re evil. Boo them. One is Diana’s Aunt, an obscure character who doesn’t appear to have existed in the Post-Crisis DCU before this. As far as I can tell, this isn’t a brand new character, just a new spin on her. Either way, she was better left buried. Adding long lost relatives to an established character is rarely a good idea. It’s rarely an idea at all. This has a villain-of-the-week feel to it, like it was thrown together at the last minute to kill time before Straczynski takes over.

counter-offer
The offer is a beating, and you are advised to take it.

Achilles has a nice moment. Five pages are devoted to him, Etta Candy and the Battle Gorillas to remind us of all the interesting supporting cast we never get to spend enough time with. Three pages are wasted on an ill-advised attempt to retcon Wonder Woman’s costume as being inspired by the stars and the moon. I can’t imagine why this was attempted. Editorial decree? No one will accept it. It’s like saying Batman’s costume was inspired by the shadows cast by an overcoat on a hatrack. No, a bat flew through his window. Bat motif. Wonder Woman’s costume is canonically based on the colors and symbols of the United States of America. This connection is intrinsic to the design. I can buy the bit about not giving her armor because she’s meant to be on a mission of peace, but in context that comes across as a flimsy justification for the oft-criticised swimsuit look. The rest is indefensible.

With that leading off the issue, I kinda slipped into autopilot for the remainder. Looking back over it, the art’s better than I initially thought, but I wouldn’t have bought this if I’d read it first. It’s not interesting.

Wonder Woman 44

[DC] Wonder Woman Vol. 3 #44
Writer: Gail Simone
Pencilers: Nicola Scott, Travis Moore

Fight scene. If you were under the mistaken impression that Wonder Woman is light on action, this issue will dispell that notion. It’s near non-stop fighting, most of it Diana vs. a punching bag shaped like a woman.

There’s potential here. The Amazons have a redemptive moment, and there’s a fond farewell to cap Simone’s final issue. I’ve seen worse endings. Still, it’s hard to reach the good parts through the thick cloud of apathy generated by the Snakewomen. There’s nothing to them. Astarte, Theana, Zusen – ciphers all. We’re meant to see them as a threat, but I already read Wonder Woman vs. Bizarro Wonder Woman, like, three times from Simone alone. I can’t pretend to think it’ll turn out different this time. We’re meant to feel sympathy, too. Maybe it’s just me, but nope. Whether Diana had obliterated the armada or won everyone over with delicious baked goods, I’d have only cared how that affected Diana herself. And it doesn’t. There’s no reason she should ever remember this fight.

Along those lines, you can be forgiven for not remembering Michael D’Alessio. He’s referred to by name in this issue, over the course of the two panels he appears in. I often criticize Simone for throwing in characters without bothering to tell readers who they are. However, it’s only grating when they have time to do something, when they display a personality or have a moment and I want to know who they are. Here, it’s not important. Name him, don’t name him. Whatever works. Except, you know, naming him reminds me who he is. Then I have to choose between being annoyed that he’s here or that he soon isn’t.

D’Alessio was introduced back in issue 26 as a member of Diana’s DMA scramble team. Since then, he and the rest of the team, with the exception of Etta Candy and Tom Tresser, have done approximately nothing. Diana quietly slinked away from her DMA double identity when she should have stomped away, sloughing off the useless bits and retaining Candy as a prominent supporting character. She did keep Candy – if anyone can be called a regular character in this run, it’s her – but the baggage remained.

This is it for me and Wonder Woman, for the time being. Through Simone’s hit-and-miss run, the one thing I could always count on was the title not sinking into darkness. It was hardly light and fluffy time, but Wondy kept her head above water. Simone wasn’t out to depress people or drown them in gratuitous shocking twists. I don’t think I can count on that with Straczynski – he seems to be heading down a darker path, if not relentlessly bleak – and this is a good place to stop. Three issues ago would’ve been better, mind you. One more reason not to give Straczynski a chance is that it softens the blow to my wallet from lackluster issues. Maybe I’ll read the trades and decide his run is worth owning. We’ll see.

Since this is the last issue for me and the last full issue from Simone, there’s no better time to review her run in full.

The good: Wonder Woman was competent, strong, kind and above all, heroic. Adventures were had, new friends were made, and many a butt was handed to its owner. The Circle was an interesting retcon. Ends of the Earth was a squee-inducing team-up with DC’s Conan-type heroes, probably the story with the widest appeal. The Khund were cute and, aside from the Queen of Fables, the Wonder Movie story was nice enough. Issues 34-36 were my favorite, highly recommended. Team-ups with Black Canary and Giganta, foxy boxing, girl talk. The Power Girl issues were fun, too.

The bad: Rise of the Olympian, Warkiller, this story. Too much mind control; it’s no fun waiting for people to regain their senses so they can go back to being people. Too much faux gravitas; again and again we were threatened with unwelcome changes. In some cases, it spiced up the story. In others, it felt like empty hype. Wonder Woman didn’t grow darker from her run-ins with D’Grth or Genocide. The potentially interesting no-longer-an-Amazon direction was quickly discarded, like a teenager who “hates” her mom until they’ve both calmed down enough to cut through the BS. Maybe it’s better that it was a feint, but that’s part of the problem. Simone’s run was full of traps. Some Diana fell into, so she could climb out again. Some existed only in captions. Some were left behind by other writers for Simone to clean up. Too much time was spent on things that are no longer relevant.

Too many characters, too few regulars. It’s fine for Wonder Woman to be the star in her own book, and she most certainly was, but you needn’t push everyone off the stage to keep her in the spotlight. The DMA, the Battle Gorillas, the Amazons, the Amazons, the Amazons! (not to mention the Manazons) Wonder Girls, Khund fangirls, gods, motherloving snakes, damned children… Why take out so many toys just to leave them scattered around the room? Diana could’ve stood a small supporting cast, and her cast needed consistency. She seems lonely, disconnected from the world. She should be surrounded by friends, but at times it’s like she only has acquaintances. Everyone likes her and she likes everyone, but… you know.

Up, down. Up, down. My feelings are mxyzptlk. Mixed pot luck. Not a bad run, not great. Pick and choose. I’d take what I like and leave the rest, but it’s not that simple. Recurring themes permeate everything, tainting enjoyment. Why is Wonder Woman shooting lightning? I dunno. Maybe you dreamt it. Let’s never speak of it again.

Truncation

Wonder Woman #43 – Bat motif.
Wonder Woman #44 – Art’s much better, but it can’t save a dull story.

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