Wonder Woman, Vol. 3: Iron ~ Brain Azzarello

  • Title: Wonder Woman, Vol. 3: Iron
  • Author: Brian Azzarello
  • Artists:  Cliff Chiang, Tony Atkins, Dan Green, Amilcar Pinna
  • Series: Wonder Woman Vol. IV #3
  • Genre: Graphic novel
  • Format: Digital
  • Source: Review Copy
  • Reviewed by: Valerie
  • Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Description:  In these stories from issues #0 and #13-18, a terrible betrayal forces Wonder Woman to make a deal with the gods who want her dead, and her “family” grows larger than she could have imagined. Will the mysterious Orion help Wonder Woman rescue Zola’s baby from the clutches of Hermes, or does he have darker intentions?

Review:  When I was but a young girl, I absolutely loved the Wonder Woman television series. I wanted to be Diana, Amazon Princess, a.k.a Wonder Woman. At the very least, I wanted my parents to change my name to Diana. Of course, they refused and as a result people fail to recognize my greatness, but that is a story for another day.

Fast forward to present day dorkorific DarthVal (ok, I added the Darth, but you must admit that it has a certain ring to it). In the past few months I have discovered that I enjoy graphic novels, further solidifying my place in dorkdom.

I was disappointed in my first female super hero experience (World’s Finest featuring Huntress and Powergirl), so I approached Wonder Woman with trepidation. After all, I did not want to tarnish those childhood memories. Plus, as an adult, I was not sure how I would feel about the portrayal of a super-hot chick running about fighting bad guys in her Underoos. I received an ARC for Wonder Woman Vol. 3, took a breath, and decided to just jump in and see what happened.

It is official. I STILL want to be Diana, last Princess of the Amazons. Wonder Woman is kick ass enough to flaunt what she’s got and still chastise anyone who dares to objectify her. She is sexy and intelligent, fierce yet fair and her compassion offsets her strength. Kudos to author, Brian Azzarello, for creating such rich characters. Beyond his vibrant heroine, the other characters were wonderfully crafted. In particular, I loved Orion. He was such a jerk, but at times, quite the charming jerk. I also found Hera to be a delightfully shallow she-bitch.

The story itself is told well. I particularly like how the graphic novel started with its back story introduction of young Diana, complete with retro looking artwork. As for the current thread, who knew Wonder Woman had such a messed up family??? (Probably everyone who is not newbie like me.) Jerry Springer’s guests have nothing on this bunch.

Finally, the artwork was FANTASTIC! Both the modern story and the flash back introduction were striking, providing the perfect visual experience to compliment a wonderfully written narrative.

So, I am now seated on the bus, on my way to take up my place in camp Wonder Woman. I just need to make a couple stops along the way pick up volumes one and two.

*Disclaimer: A free copy of this book was provided to me for review by the publisher through the Net Galley program.


Batman Vol. 2: The City of Owls ~ Scott Snyder

  • Title: Batman, Vol. 2: The City of Owls
  • Author: Scott Snyder
  • Artists:  Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion, Rafael Albuquerque, Jason Fabok, Becky Cloonan, Andy Clarke, Sandu Florea, & James Tynion IV
  • Series: Batman Vol. II #2
  • Genre: Graphic novel
  • Format: Hardback
  • Source: Review copy from DC Comics
  • Reviewed by: Valerie
  • Rating: 4 out of 5

Description:  “Night of the Owls” continues here!

Batman must stop the Talons that have breeched the Batcave in order to save an innocent life … and Gotham City!

In the backup story, learn more about the Pennyworth family and the secrets they’ve kept from the Wayne family!

Collects Batman #8-12 and Batman Annual #1.

Review:  Batman, Vol. 2: The City of Owls picks up the delicious darkness right where Vol. 1: The Court of Owls left off. While I am still a newbie to the world of adventure comics, I am once again shocked, yet pleased, at the depth of the writing Scott Snyder is able to achieve within this graphic novel.

The stories compiled in this graphic novel did not follow as linear of a plot arc as Vol. 1. At first, this threw me a little, seeming a little disjointed. Upon further consideration of the comic book format, I realize that these episodes play a useful role in the telling of the overall Batman story. Specifically, the First Snow episode both fills in the back story of Mr. Freeze and explains the cryogenic technology used in the primary plot surrounding the Owls. The Ghost in the Machine Episode seems to take a left turn, but I realize it it’s purpose must serve to introduce a subplot and a couple of very interesting character, Harper Row.

The primary plot line of Batman versus the Talons did not skimp on the action and adventure. The urgency that nSyder built during Attack on Wayne manor was awesome. The story also does a good job of shifting between relevant flashbacks to the past and the tension and drama unfolding in the present. And then there is the small detail of a potential bombshell . . . What? You certainly don’t think I’m going to give it away do you?

While the writing is this backbone that breathes life into Batman, no graphic novel can tell its story without the artwork. I found it interesting that there were different artists for different episodes within this graphic novels. I enjoyed all of the artwork, but my favorite was that of Greg Capullo. I think I may be developing a bit of a geek crush on that one.

Here is a list of my top images from Batman, Vol. 2: The City of Owls:

Favorite Splash Page: Capullo’s Night of the Owls – the red-tinted reflection of the talons shown within the visor of the outlined armored Batsuit is combined with blood drenched silhouette of Wane Manor captures the sinister nature of the battle unfolding

Favorite Frames:

  • The full-page panel of Bruce sillhetted in a night window, contemplating his diorama of Gotham City from the Attack on Wayne Manor episode
  •  The close crop of Batman’s fiercely determined, stubbled face in Night of Owls framed against a night sky dotted with bats
  • The almost full-page borderless panel in First Snow where Batman has just crashed into the lab and is poised for battle with his left hand smoldering
  • The close-crop of Lincoln Marches glowing owls eyes at the bottom of page 2 in My Brother’s Keeper

Looking forward to Batman Vol. 3: Death of the Family.

Batman Vol. 1: The Court of Owls ~ Scott Snyder

  • Title: Batman, Vol. 1: The Court of Owls
  • Author: Scott Snyder
  • Artists:  Greg Capullo & Jonathan Glapion
  • Series: Batman Vol. II #1
  • Genre: Graphic novel
  • Format: Paperback
  • Source: Own Copy
  • Reviewed by: Valerie
  • Rating: 5 out of 5

Description:  Following his ground-breaking, critically acclaimed run on Detective Comics, writer Scott Snyder (American Vampire) alongside artist Greg Capullo (Spawn) begins a new era of The Dark Knight as with the relaunch of Batman, as a part of DC Comics—The New 52!

After a series of brutal murders rocks Gotham City, Batman begins to realize that perhaps these crimes go far deeper than appearances suggest. As the Caped Crusader begins to unravel this deadly mystery, he discovers a conspiracy going back to his youth and beyond to the origins of the city he’s sworn to protect. Could the Court of Owls, once thought to be nothing more than an urban legend, be behind the crime and corruption? Or is Bruce Wayne losing his grip on sanity and falling prey to the pressures of his war on crime?

Collects issues #1-7 of Batman.

Review:  Until recently, my only experience with graphic novels came as a young girl. I remember an uncle who had quite the collection. When we would visit I would make my through some of his collection gravitating toward those titles that would appeal to a very young girl – think cartoon rather than action/adventure. Even though I clearly have a strong preference for movies based on comic books, it never occurred to me to acquire an interest in graphic novels. That all changed when I noticed that some of my favorite urban fantasy series started publishing graphic novel companions, which now has me browsing and purchasing from that section of the book store and growing ever more interested . . . as if I was not already geeky enough.

Skip forward to a couple of weeks ago when I won a Good Reads first reads copy Batman Vol. 2: The City of Owls from the New 52 of DC Comics. Batman has long been one of my favorite super hero characters. His darkness speaks to my darkness, what can I say. I was so excited when I got the notice that it was in the mail that I gave a big girl squeal and then rushed right out and purchased Batman Vol 1: The Court of Owls. (Well, I could hardly start at Volume 2, could I?).

My understanding of The New 52 is that DC Comics basically scrapped their entire line of comics, then picked 52 titles to move forward and reboot. This is part of a big effort to make them more appealing to younger, newer readers. I may not fit into the younger category, but score 1 new reader for DC Comics – strategy successful!

I tried my best to savor Court of Owls, my first Batman graphic novel, but I just could not hold myself back. The story was very well-written, entertaining and deliciously dark. I was actually surprised at the depth of the story for a graphic novel. Perhaps I was able to perceive this depth due to my history with the Batman lore through the cinema?

Knowing what I do about the New 52, I was kind of impressed at how they made this transition with the Batman series. The opening features a montage of the classic characters and villains to kind of establish that they are there. I admit to not being able to identify all of them, but hey, I have Google, right? And the Robin/Nightwing transition? I need to figure that one out, as well. I am hoping some details are filled in my the story in future volumes. Once past these basics, the new storyline began to unfold, telling a tale of conspiracy that ties the present to the past (how very Batman!)

The artwork was completely awesome. I am sure that some hard core Bataficionado might critique it in comparison with past version, but I have no such hang-ups. Clean-slate, here. I especially loved the chapter cover images (Is that what they are), in particular the one for chapter 3. Simply awesome.

Will I be at loyal Batfan from here on out? That remains to be seen. Will I be stalking the shelves for Volume 3 as soon as I finish my newly arrived Volume 2? You betcha!