REVIEW: WONDER WOMAN #25 – Fatality Or Mortality?

Review copied in its entirety from DCComicsNews – be sure to check them out!

Wonder Woman #25, written by series scribe Brian Azzarello and featuring artwork by Goran Sudzuka, continues the series with another issue heavy on characterization and development. But action fans need not worry, as there are some very fun match ups present as well.

So how does the issue stack up to Azzarello’s usual high quality?



Brian Azzarello has been the sole writer of Wonder Woman (with the exception of the very excellent Wonder Woman #23.1: Cheetah by John Ostrander) for the past 25 issues. Since the beginning of the New 52, he has been crafting a tale both epic and fiercely personal. Diana’s struggles aren’t with villainous outside forces, they are with her own family. Yet even with such a large cast of characters, Azzarello manages to continually develop his characters and their conflicts, issue #25 being no exception. Special attention is given here to Cassandra, who, with the First Born out of the way, is quickly becoming a very real and dangerous adversary. Though her plans are still unknown, Azzarello drops just enough hints to entice the reader to press on.


The same goes for his characterization of Strife. What exactly is she up to? Whatever it is, surely it can’t be good. This issue is heavy on mystery, with only a hint of resolution. But as has been the case for the majority of his run, Azzarello’s Wonder Woman isn’t so much about the destination as it is about the journey.


Wonder Woman #25 does not shirk on the quieter moments and it is here that the book really shines. We gain a little more insight into Hera’s feelings on her recent mortality. There are also some very pleasantly comedic panels between Zola and Hera, who seem to have become fast friends. Considering that the series began with Hera trying to kill Zola and her unborn child, it is a pleasure to see the characters grow, change, and develop over time.

Another major cast member, Orion, returns, though he doesn’t seem to have changed much. His “hit first, ask questions later” attitude feels a bit like back pedaling, especially considering his heroic actions just a few issues prior. However, it is good that Azzarello has not forgotten about him.

Artist Goran Sudzuka does a wonderful job emulating Cliff Chiang’s pencils in this issue. His line work is fashionable, crisp, and expressive. His work on one scene involving the torture of the First Born is particularly gruesome. The choice to present Strife in a shroud is especially well done, though I can’t help but wonder why Diana is always seen wearing her uniform, even in noncombat situations.



Azzarello excels at the “slow burn” form of storytelling presented here. While it never feels like filler, it can make this title feel a bit slow when compared to other titles in the DCU. Wonder Woman is essentially fighting the same conflicts she has the entirety of the series and that may be off-putting to some readers.

The artwork here is definitely well done, but Cliff Chiang’s absence is felt more keenly with every issue. True, his last work was done back in issue #23, but due to Villain’s Month, we have no seen interiors from Chiang since August. With such gorgeous covers, it is quite a shame that Mr. Chiang cannot produce a monthly book with more frequency.


Final Verdict:


Brian Azzarello and Goran Sudzuka deliver another exciting issue with Wonder Woman #25. The title continues to be one of the best DCU books out today, with interesting characters, a deep and labyrinthine plot, and the occasional epic showdown. If only Cliff Chiang could stick around for more than issue at a time!


REVIEW: WONDER WOMAN #24 – Goddess of War

Review copied in its entirety from DCComicsNews – be sure to check them out!

Welcome back! After a month-long Villains Month break, it’s back to our regularly scheduled Wonder Woman programming, courtesy of Brian Azzarello and Goran Sudzuka. There will be spoilers from this point forward.

Picking up after last issue, in which Diana killed War and bested First Born (taken by Moon in #23.2), Wonder Woman #24 offers a nice breather after the action packed finale of last month. So how does it fare? Check out below!

The Good


Brian Azzarello ramps up the intrigue with this quieter, character-driven issue. We see more of Moon’s machinations as he wields the power of the throne. With the First Born chained by his side like a dog (check out 23.2: First Born for that info), he calls forth a meeting of the Gods. Only one chair is missing: War.

Let’s start with the writing. Somehow everyone in this issue has their own moment to shine. We see Hera, former Queen of the Gods, still struggling to come to terms with being mortal. We see Hermes, trying to mend bridges burned between him and Diana and Zola.

And finally, we see Diana, struggling to come to terms with, and ultimately rejecting, her new role as God of War. Will she eventually submit and take her seat? Or will she be pitted against the gods?


If next month’s preview is any indication, Strife certainly isn’t happy about her friends very recent demise.

The character work presented here is all very good. Characters are fleshed out and 3-dimensional, which is par the course for this title thus far, with a myriad of goals and feelings, and this resonates with the reader. Personally, I couldn’t help but feel a little sorry for Hermes and Strife here, even though they’ve done terrible things to our heroes. After a month off, Azzarello plays it smart here by giving the reader some breathing room before the inevitable next big confrontation. Issues like this are treats in an era of big event books, gems that reward the reader with good character development.

Goran Sudzuka is on the art this issue and though Cliff Chiang’s pencils are certainly missed, Sudzuka has definitely stepped up his game since starting on the title. The lines are clean and he does a splendid job at showcasing various emotions in the quieter scenes. I still do wish that Mr. Chiang could be the regular full time artist on this book, but Sudzuka proves here that he is more than capable at filling in when needed.

The Bad


While no fault of the writer’s, the extended wait in between issues due to Villain’s Month (two months!) hurts this issue a little by robbing it of momentum. Fortunately, this is a good place to take a break and doesn’t impact the story’s flow too harshly, but it is felt. My only other complain is a stylistic issue that I’ve had with the book for a while now. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of the ellipses that Azzarello uses far too often. More than once I had to turn back a page to reread the beginning of a character’s dialogue to literally connect the dots. Again, it’s not a bad thing when used sparingly, but it’s used to a bit excess here for my personal tastes.

Final Verdict:


Brian Azzarello and Goran Sudzuka deliver another excellent entry with Wonder Woman #24. Diana is clearly the star here, and the writer clearly understands the character well, but Azzarello does not skimp on further developing the rather extensive cast of secondary characters. Here’s hoping he remains on the title for a long time to come.

What did you guys think of the issue? Comment down below and don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow our Twitter @DCComicsNews!

ww23 copy


Review copied in its entirety from DCComicsNews – be sure to check them out!

This is it – the epic battle that’s been teased all year: Wonder Woman versus First Born – a battle to the death. But whose? Find out below and be warned, these waters are about to get SPOILERY. Enter at your own peril.

The Good: 


Brian Azzarello, you devil, even after 22 issues of constant quality you still manage to surprise. After Ares sudden and surprise siding with our heroes at the end of issue #22, who could have guessed the full extent of the powers he would bring to bear?

War is definitely the standout character in this issue – and Azzarello appears to know that, as he relishes giving him the spotlight. From summoning up an undead army of warriors centuries old, to the characters brutal, yet fitting, final stand, it is clear how much respect the writer has for his characters

Though War does get the king’s share of badassery in this issue, he certainly isn’t the only one. The book isn’t titled “Ares: God of War” after all. The Princess of Paradise Island kicks some serious butt here, even going so far as to shed her gauntlets and embrace her Gods-given powers again. In the end, she learns a valuable lesson about power and corruption – but not before being pushed to the absolute limit.


And the end of the issue will leave fans clamoring to know what will happen next. There has been a lot of talk lately about how differently Diana is being portrayed in various DC titles but her actions in this book, though extreme, are completely in keeping with the story Brian Azzarello has been telling since issue #1.

Comic books these days love to claim how much they’ve “changed the status quo” but this issue delivers. The character of Wonder Woman will not be the same after the events of this battle.

IMG_1904Even with all these developments, Azzarello does not skimp on secondary character development, devoting some much appreciated time to Zola, Zeke, and especially Hera – who is still dealing with her newfound mortality. She shares some truly heartfelt scenes with Zola and baby Zeke that really highlight the character’s growth. Keep in mind while reading this issue that she began this series as vengeful, spurned Queen of the Gods. Azzarello’s writing in this issue is top notch and is not to be missed.


On the art side of things, Cliff Chiang puts in a stellar workload here. With so many characters and so much action mixed with dialogue, it is a wonder that the book doesn’t feel more dense. Yet it moves at a deft pace, never once boring or wordy. Chiang’s panels are clear, concise, and exciting and he is to be commended for consistently turning in such fine work.

The Bad:

None. Except that you’ll have to wait until next month to find out what happens next. Or maybe even two months, thanks to the upcoming Villains Month. Oh man.

Final Verdict: 


This is long form fiction done right. Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang deliver a stellar climax here that is both satisfying and at the same time leaves the reader salivating for more.


CBGB – Official Trailer (2013)

Ok, so. Here we are. The first trailer for the Randall Miller helmed film “CBGB”.

The film is based on the club CBGB in the Bowery and is infamous for its filthy, disgusting bathroom – oh, and also as the place where the Ramones, Talking Heads, The Dead Boys, Blondie, Patti Smith, Television, Joan Jett, and a slew of others got their starts. Opened in 1973 by Hilly Kristal (whom Mr. Rickman portrays here) the club would remain open and popular for another 33 years, until finally closing in October of 2006. Hilly would pass the following year due to complications with lung cancer at age 75.

cbgbnowSince then it has been purchased by high-end mens fashion designer John Varvatos.

Now it is a designer shoe store.

Fate, it would seem, is not without a sense of irony.

As for the film itself, well, it was filmed in Savannah, Georgia, not NYC. Which is fine, but damn. With all the films that are made every day in New York City, I feel like this one  most certainly should have been. Also Rupert Grint (yes, Ron Weasley from Harry Potter) plays Cheetah Chrome, the guitarist of The Dead Boys. Malin Ackerman, most well known for her role as The Silk Spectre in Zach Snyder’s Watchmen adaptation, will be playing Debbie Harry.

Sigh. Ok?

I’m going to reserve my judgement until seeing the final film but I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a few comments about this trailer. It’s not super promising. Silly and unnecessary FX abound – the like of which I hope will not be in the final film. Now, plenty of amazingly excellent films have had crap trailers (go look up the first teaser for Star Wars and you’ll see what I’m talking about. What, you want a link? Fine, you lazy so-and-so, here). A few things the movie does have working in its favor: Alan Fucking Rickman and the director of Bottle Shock. And that 1995 movie Houseguest with Sinbad and Phil Hartman.

The featured image was done by Danny Hellman – check out his work here!

So what do you guys think? Yay? Nay? Comment below and let me know!

Paul Natkin Archive

Lovely Punk Ladies of Eras Gone By

I was debating posting these, trying to wait until I had something more meaningful worth saying. But you know what? Screw it. Enjoy the beauties of a bygone era.


Joan Jett


Debbie Harry (“Blondie”)


Debbie Harry (“Blondie”)


Debbie Harry, Fab 5 Freddy, Grandmaster Flash, Chris Stein, and Tracy Wormworth (1981)


Joey Ramone and Debbie Harry


Joan Jett and Debbie Harry

Hope you enjoyed this random assemblage of photos. I really don’t think they make them like they used to.


REVIEW: Collider #1: First Iteration

Review copied in its entirety from DCComicsNews – be sure to check them out!

Well then. That was exciting.


I apologize in advance for this image…

Simon Oliver’s mind-bending, physics-loving new series Collider is clearly prepping to blow your mind in an entertaining, intelligent, and exciting way. This reviewer can’t proclaim to being anything close to resembling a physicist, short of a deep-seeded love for Neil deGrasse Tyson, funny articles about the Large Hadron Collider, and thinking with Portals. But one doesn’t need to know how to operate a particle accelerator or Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle to get into this book.

So is Schrödinger’s cat alive or dead? Or both? Find out below!

The Good:

Set in the pseudo-present, the story follows Adam Hardy, a blue collar worker for the Federal Bureau of Physics. His job is to find localized gravity anomalies and fix them, along with a rag tag team that includes Jay Kelly, an old timer with a shady background, and Cicero Deluca, a former child prodigy and newest member of the team.

collider_promo_color_100-thumb-550x700-88975 Writer Simon Oliver explores a very interesting premise: ”You wake up in the morning and you have the weather report, the traffic report and then you have the physics report on the radio while you’re eating your cereal. There’s a wormhole on the freeway or loss of gravity in a supermarket parking lot,” Oliver says, in an interview with USA Today. Such heavy ideas are kept grounded by the “everyman” approach that Oliver takes to his characters.

The main protagonist, Adam, is a regular disillusioned blue collar joe. Some years ago his father disappeared chasing “quantum storms” and now Adam finds himself a member of the old guard of the formerly elite FDP. He feels like he’s being pushed out by newer “book smart” guys like Cicero Deluca. He’s not particularly enamored with his job these days. These storytelling choices all help ground the character and the world surrounding him. Keeping the characters relatable allows the reader to accept the strange and bizarre occurrences they face everyday on the job.

Oliver very clearly has a mystery to unravel, and it looks like it’ll be a fun and unexpected ride. Clearly something is wrecking havoc on the very laws that govern the universe itself and while such ideas can seem weighty or aloof, they’re presented here in a very clear and easy to understand manner, without talking down to the reader. Concepts such as “parallel universes” and the “time-space membrane” are exciting without seeming intimidating. Technobabble and physics jargon are kept at a minimum without sacrificing the stories intelligence.

Robbi Rodriguez’s artwork is clean and colorful. His depictions of people in zero gravity are wondrous and fun. collider1previewpage4His sketchy line work gives the characters a weightlessness and playfulness while Rico Renzi’s color palette (you may have noticed an abundance of hot pinks and purples) are eye-catching and other-worldly. Much like Oliver’s writing, Rodriguez’s artwork and Renzi’s coloring never strain under the weight of the “heavy” ideas the story is based on.

The Bad:

As a first issue, it easily grabs your attention with its striking visuals and easy storytelling approach. However, being dropped in media res may be disconcerting for some readers who would like more information on how such physics anomalies have become so common place. The trippy art style and color palette may not be for everyone.

The only other “bad” thing about this issue is related to the printed copy. There are three or four very loud one page ads for DC’s Vertigo line – and while it’s understandable that the publisher is trying to promote its newly retooled line – it comes close to distracting the reader from the story. Having an ad for the very book you are currently reading within the issue seems a bit incessant.

Final Verdict:  

Rating5 (5/5)

Collider takes an interesting premise of a world where physics can and will go mental and runs with it very well. Writer Simon Oliver’s working-class heroes and relatable and interesting and artist Robbi Rodriguez’s artwork is fun and exciting. Definitely a Vertigo title to be on the look out for.


REVIEW: Wonder Woman #22: Welcome To New Genesis

Review copied in its entirety from DCComicsNews – be sure to check them out!

After last issue’s harrowing escape from the dreaded First Born, Wonder Woman and company arrive at Orion’s home planet of New Genesis! But will Highfather roll out the welcome mat or greet our heroes with guns drawn? Check out the review below to find out!

The Good:

The moment fans have been waiting for: the New 52 appearance of Jack Kirby’s classic charactersthe “New Gods” and their homeworld New Genesis. New Gods 1Back in the 1970s,Jack Kirby, famous creator of Marvel’s Captain AmericaFantastic Four,and The Avengers, envisioned a more alternate series of comics, ones that were finite and could be collected into what are today known as “graphic novels” or “trade paperbacks.” Unhappy with Marvel at the time, Kirby went to DC and created what would collectively become known as “The Fourth World” – introducing such popular characters as Darkseid, Highfather, Mister Miracle, and Orion. These fantastical characters were embraced by comic book fans and were eventually fully incorporated into the main DC Universe, even playing pivotal roles in big DC events such as Grant Morrison’s JLA and Final Crisis. 

Having teased us with Orion’s appearance since Wonder Woman #12, Azzarello finally delivers and we get to see the world of New Genesis in all its splendor. And what splendor it is!QEOa8B6

Artist Cliff Chiang and Colorist Matthew Wilson really deliver here, from the lush greens of the ruined planet surface, to the warm reds of Supertown floating high above the ruins, to the cold blues of Highfather’s electronic-filled chambers. Everything in this book really pops beautifully. Cliff Chiang knocks another one out of the park, though regular readers of Wonder Woman should expect no less at this point.

Brian Azzarello weaves an interesting dichotomy here, finally delving into Orion’s character by letting us a glimpse into what his “home life” must be like. Highfather is a hard ass in every sense of the word. Constantly deriding his son, it is fairly easy to see how Orion has turned out the way he has. This insight into the character is very much welcomed and should help ease any fan’s lingering doubts about his boisterous behavior towards Diana.

WW-22-4-cce21Even though he seems a bit insufferable, it is hard not to like Highfather, especially in his interactions with Queen Hera and Diana. He clearly holds great respect for a system of matriarchy: he refers to Hera by her rightful title of “Queen” and compliments Diana on her “great mind.” Still, he has a kingdom to protect and the Source has told him that Zola’s baby Zeke will bring about destruction, so when he moves to apprehend the child, one can hardly be surprised. And yet, the book ends with a touch of ambiguity on Highfather’s relationship with Orion. Perhaps all is not as black and white as it would seem. Hopefully Azzarello will expand on this relationship more in future issues.

After leaving New Genesis, our rag tag gang return to a London in ruins, thanks to the evil machinations of the First Born. A big battle looms, with an unexpected ally making a stand with Wonder Woman and gang. Azzarello has been great at building tension in this series and keeping the story moving, while at the same time not sapping the tale of forward momentum. Rarely does the title, this issue included, feel like it is treading water, and Azzarello’s writing is commendable for such a feat.

The Bad:


It is hard not to feel like an opportunity was missed not introducing more “Fourth World” characters here. That being said, the character work that Azzarello does have, Orion’s interactions with Highfather, Highfather’s interactions with Diana, Diana’s interactions with Orion, is very well done. And with a cast as large as Wonder Woman’s it might be a bit much to introduce the entirety of the “New Gods” so soon. The time on New Genesis is short, but there is a battle back on Earth to fight.

The next topic has very little to do with this issue specifically and more to do with DC Comic’s handling of the character of Wonder Woman. As some of you may now, the Trinity War has been raging in other parts of the DCU, continuing in this weeks release of Justice League of America #6 (review coming soon courtesy of Jay Mattson!). Without going into too much detail, it is safe to say that the character that Geoff Johns is writing and the character that Brian Azzarello is writing seem at times to be almost two different people. See the below examples:


Wonder Woman #22 by Brian Azzarello

Justice League of America #6 by Geoff Johns

Justice League of America #6 by Geoff Johns

This would hardly be a topic of discussion were both of these books not released on the same day, featuring characters crossing over from one title to the next. Granted both Johns and Azzarello are telling very different stories and every writer is open to their own interpretation of a character and their motivations, but the difference is so incongruous that it feels almost entirely out of character. Even when greeted with betrayal in the very issue released today, Diana does not treat the betrayer as unkind as she treats Hephaestus in the above image. And though Wonder Woman has certainly lost her temper at times, Brian Azzarello seems to understand that wanton violence against her own family is an absolute last resort of the character. One can only hope in the future that the two depictions of the character are more in line.

Final Verdict: Rating4 (4/5)

With the introduction of New Genesis, Brian Azzarello crafts another amazing entry into the Wonder Woman mythos with the promise of future greatness to come.