Monday, 28 May 2012

Ame-Comi 1: Wonder Woman #1 review

A comic strip centred on DC heroines as interpreted for manga-style statues? Now there's an off the wall idea.

But here's a terrific digital first comic. Writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray reinterpret the classic tale of the Amazon Princess who wants to grow beyond the restrictions placed upon her by her mother, and gets her chance when war breaks out. In 1941, it was the Second World War, and Diana left Paradise Island to fight Nazis in Man's World. In this 2012 take, it's her own home she's defending as soldiers from 'the sovereign nation of Kasnia' parachute onto Themyscira.

But that's the end of this opening chapter. Before that we have Steve Trevor briefing the President on why he should be the man to make first contact with the legendary lost nation of the Amazons; Diana training with minotaurs; a warning from the Oracle; and the young princess being confined to her quarters.

The snappy script is brought to vibrant life by Amanda Conner, whose widescreen depiction of the Amazons is more in line with traditional Wonder Woman than the statue had me expecting. Her Diana's a firebrand, but not without humour and compassion. Hippolyta is the stern warrior queen, while Steve is as blond and dashing as you could wish. The minotaurs are magnificent, fearsome and sheepish by turns, as personality-filled as all the other animals Conner draws. The island itself is a Graeco-Roman wonderland, the fight choreography thrilling. And it's all sumptuously coloured by Paul Mounts (click on image to enlarge).
The Amazons talk a bloodier fight than I'd like, but that seems to be the DC line in any incarnation of Wonder Woman these days. I have a problem with Diana bashing Amazon guard Areto (Deeto?) so she can slip away to defend the island - I'm sure her friend would have been up for the fight. And, dash it, there are horses, there are deer, there are kitties - but no kangas!

Overall, though, I love this to bits. It's a glorious take on Wonder Woman's world by creators who understand that she was created to star in big, bright adventures, not to be a bit player in a grisly Olympian soap. Given the Gray/Palmiotti/Conner/Mount team's success in making Power Girl as likeable as she is powerful, I can't wait to see where they go with Diana.

We're also promised three-part weekly stories featuring Batgirl, Duela Dent, Power Girl and Supergirl, prior to an ongoing team-up series. Fingers crossed the quality will be as high as with this debut entry. And at just 99c a pop - 69p to me - for around 20 pages of original story and art, Ame-Comi is a bargain to be cherished and encouraged. 

22 comments:

  1. As much as I would like to read this, I'm more of a print kind of guy. The moment this gets released in issues or in a trade (please be there a trade collection of this!), I'm getting it without a doubt. I need for fun comics to balance out the serious, dark, deep ones I read. Catwoman and World's Finest can only do so much by their selves!

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    1. I love print, but so long as the print doesn't have extras such as lettercols, I'm OK with digital. And as this is digital only at the mo, I embraced the 'no alternative' non-option!

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  2. Awesome! I'm glad you reviewed this. I picked it up today too, and I think this is a great entry from DC in doing digital comics. The quality that we get and the quantity at 99 cents is easy to swallow and aside from 1 page layout that I didn't like (the Splash with the Minotaurs), I felt the wider page compositions felt more at home with my phone or even my computer screen. Glad you enjoyed it, since I know you weren't getting your WW fix on the print title.

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    1. More comics such as this would be great - anyone you'd like to see, Biggedy?

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    2. Hmm, my knee-jerk reaction is Superman, but I think something along the format of DC Comics Presents, or this upcoming National Comics title with rotating creative teams telling stories with lesser known characters (maybe even new characters! Gasp!). For 99 cents I wouldn't even bat an eye with trying something new! Honestly, as long as they're supplying good affordable stories and art, I'll be there!

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    3. Excellent idea, there are so many people I'd like to see.

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  3. I'm grateful you mentioned the widescreen aspect of this. It's about time someone started formatting online comics to conform to the proportions of the screen, and not to the printed page.

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    1. Definitely, Diana - I'm not keen on having to swipe or twirl the screen, just give me the best view, immediately!

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  4. Dang. That sounds awesome. Now I want an iPad even more. This is the kind of thing that I find appealling about the digital comics market - a chance to do stuff that would be ignored by the print market & quickly forgotten but here it'll be found & enjoyed due to the lower price & ease of access.

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    1. I hope you get that iPad soon, Mela. Any birthdays coming up? If you can stretch to it, i think the last of the iPad2s are going for a decent price.

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  5. The art quality is nothing short of astounding! and like Information Geek mentioned, I'm also a print guy. Looks to be a good grab though. If they keep this up I may venture into the digital world, but until then I will just keep tabs via reviews :)

    www.nuffsaidbub.blogspot.com

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    1. And speaking of reviews, I'm off to check out NuffSaidBob ...

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  6. Ive never heard of this, and as a long-time fan Im fuming[!] Where on Earth is this publication, am I correct in assuming its in digital format, not an actual comic? I have every WW statue in existence, including the Ame-Comi one but I had no idea there was an accompanying book.
    Can you tell me where/how I can get this? Sorry, not very technically minded[!] so please explain simply for those of us of a more innocent Silver Age pre-internet era[!].
    Id love to read this for myself, it seems rather childlike and geared towards the anime/girl reader market, a bit like that 90s Star Raiders princess thing with WW many years ago.

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    1. Calm sir, calm! The series was announced at the various comic websites and DC's Source blog. OK, something in the actual comics might have been useful. Anyway, here's a link:

      https://read.dccomics.com/comixology/#/issue/25634

      Hope you enjoy it!

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  7. Sounds great, Mart! I've been meaning to get this one -- I'll be sure to add it to my next Comixology purchase!

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  8. I'm not sure if I'm ready for digital comics, but great review Martin, you've certainly piqued my interest. Any plans to review the digitally released New Crusaders title by Archie (Red Circle)?

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    1. The New Crusaders ... let's see what I can do.

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  9. Wow Wow Wow - Wonder Woman is alive again. I had been slowly loosing interest in Wonder Woman sad to say and I had given up all hope when I stumbled on this version - How Cool it, this is how Wonder Woman should be, admittedly banging her best friend on the head with a shield seems drastic but it fits in with this younger head strong and impetuous Amazon Princess - Well done and I can't wait for more - Go Wonder Woman reborn. Artwork absolutely beautiful and the writers know Wonder Woman intimately.

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    1. Hi Blairterry, I'm chuffed that you're enjoying this too. I wonder if we could persuade DC to give us a digital Wednesday Comics sequel.

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  10. I echo your sentiments across the board. It's also interesting that they've upturned the origin story by making Diana unwilling to go to Man's World.

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    1. Indeedy!

      Now, must go download that Batman comic!

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