Wonder Woman No. 14
Plot and script by Gail Simone. Pencils by Terry Dodson. Inks by Rachel Dodson.
The Deal: Wonder Woman No. 14 marks the first issue penned by former Birds of Prey writer Gail Simone. And fans seem really excited about passing the reins to Simone, who writes female characters better than almost anyone in the industry.
The Good: Honestly, I really didn't think Allan Heinberg's much-loathed run on the first six issues of this book was so bad. It was late as hell, but it wasn't a disaster. That being said, Simone definitely has a great handle on the often-enigmatic personality of Wonder Woman. Simone has properly cast Diana as "the world's greatest warrior" and shows her being an incredible badass; at the same time, the character's peaceful demeanor and even her humor are on display. Simone, thankfully, hasn't thrown out the entire supporting cast created during Heinberg's run. Instead, she's built on those ideas and thrown in a few surprise extras. The art is ... well ... four words: Terry and Rachel Dodson. 'Nuff said.
The Bad: Honestly, I was one of those fans who couldn't wait to see how Simone would inject new life into the character. Picking up this issue, however, I was slightly disappointed to see that she didn't do more to wipe the slate clean and make a new start. I mean, if you're one of the many readers who thinks that Wonder Woman is a lame character, I'm not sure that this issue would do much to change that opinion. I was expecting "shock and awe," but this issue we only get "damn good."
The Verdict: I'm liking the direction and Gail's version of Wonder Woman. No question: I'm sticking with this book for a long while.
She-Hulk No. 23
Published by Marvel Comics. Plot and script by Peter David. Pencils by Shawn Moll. Inks by Victor Olazaba.
The Deal: Marvel has been struggling to make a successful solo comic book about She-Hulk since she was created back in the 1970s. Recently, writer Dan Slott helmed a critically acclaimed -- and pretty damn funny -- version of She-Hulk. But sales of the book sucked, and it struggled to stay alive. Two months ago, however, writer Peter David -- who wrote the comic starring She-Hulk's cousin (The Incredible Hulk) for 10 years -- took over writing duties on She-Hulk. David revamped the book slightly, wiped away some of the slapstick, gave her a new job and introduced new supporting characters.
The Good: Peter David is a comic writer who's so good at what he does, he makes crafting stories seem easy. With some writers, readers have to groan their way through poorly written pages. But David has a breezy style that makes reading enjoyable. His dialogue is always tinged with a conversational tone and necessary amounts of humor. The art in this book, by Shawn Moll, features a few "wow" moments. His storytelling is frantically paced and his action shots are powerful and kinetic. On top of all that, unlike a lot of artists these days, he's not afraid to draw detailed backgrounds.
The Bad: David's revamp of the character is not exactly what I'd call mind-blowing. Compared to Slott's rich mythology and huge cast of characters, David's version of the comic seems extremely pared down. I support the idea of a more serious She-Hulk comic, but I'm not looking for a boring comic. Granted, this is only David's second issue; maybe he has more up his sleeves. Regarding the art, Moll's work is attractive, but it's a tad over-rendered. I guess the inker's probably to blame for this one. Anyway, somebody needs to slack up on using all those heavy lines.
The Verdict: She-Hulk No. 23 was entertaining, but the storyline seemed a little too pared down. I'll stick around for a few more issues to see what develops.
Reviewed materials furnished by Heroes Aren't Hard To Find: www.heroesonline.com.