Chimera’s Champion Comics – Aquaman #25

 

Never could I have imagined reading or enjoying Aquaman. It’s not a knock to the character, but rather a testament to my fickle nature, especially when it comes to superheroes. I’ve spent most of my life as more of a ‘Marvel girl’, having grown up learning to read with X-Men comics, and aside from my high school years spent reading Batman and being ‘edgy’, many classic DC characters have remained outside of my radar until the past six years or so.

 

Right out of the gate, I’ll admit the only thing that drew me to this issue was the announcement that Stjepan Sejic (Sunstone, Ravine) would be producing art for a short run of the series (as well as an upcoming issue of Suicide Squad!). Being one of my favorite artists in comics right now, I tend to collect anything he creates just to see it and give it a try. Inevitably, I dove into Aquaman and was visually delighted.

But to my surprise, I was captured by the story as well, written by Dan Abnett (Resurrection Man, Legion, The New Deadwardians). This special-sized anniversary issue had a lot of ground to cover following the events of previous Aquaman issues, all while beginning a new story arc to follow, and it really stepped up to the plate. The underwater kingdom of Atlantis doesn’t just feel like a city with a big, blue backdrop. There’s real immersion of design to reflect that you are in the ocean, where every movement conjures bubbles and waves in your wake, where coral and shipwrecks are the foundation on which homes and businesses are built. It’s not a Disney mermaid-world, but a functioning landscape that just happens to be underwater. While this is represented visually with a stunning attention to detail per panel, it’s also inherent in how the characters are interacting and living through political turmoil.

 

Our new antagonist Corum Rath has the potential to be a real Kingpin of Atlantis with the way his schemes are playing out, and I hope he gets at least a nice five-issue saga to establish just how he and the Drift took over everything, why Aquaman would fear or hide in wait from them, and how Mera’s return and reunion with Arthur will make a difference in the end. There seems to be quite a few factors at play with the rebels of the Ninth Tride and new mutations of merfolk stirring things up!

 

In summary, this issue serves as a great way for new readers to get into Aquaman, a very nice build on top of the foundation of the existing series, and a gorgeous tale of other worlds to enjoy visually and verbally.

 

-Dani

Wonder Woman sequel to feature Cheetah?

6 Ways To Make the Wonder Woman Sequel Rock

Headed into the second weekend for DC’s smash hit Wonder Woman, everyone’s waiting to see if this movie has legs. Spoiler alert, early projections have Wonder Woman remaining number one in the box office and beating out The Mummy for the top spot (as of this writing). This kind of traction is probably due to the overwhelmingly positive reception. [UPDATE: Wonder Woman has indeed conquered the box office over The Mummy, number 1 for two weeks running now and approaching a half-billion dollars worldwide.)

Regardless of the outcome of the hero’s next great battle – that for box office supremacy – Warner Brothers has already green lit a Wonder Woman sequel. What will they have to do to make sure this franchise carries on, so this glorious first film isn’t just Zeus’ thunder in a bottle?

Here’s my personal wishlist/recommendation for a Wonder Woman sequel:

1. Bring Back Patty Jenkins

It’s probably a shock to you that Patty Jenkins hasn’t been officially brought on for the Wonder Woman sequel (as of this writing). While there are many talented filmmakers who could leave a unique stamp on the character, Jenkins’ vision so perfectly captured the tone, characterizations, and quality that an icon like Wonder Woman demands. This is first on my list because it’s a given that should already be accounted for by now. And I don’t care what it costs, frankly.

2. What Happened Over The Last 100 Years

The movie continuity goes something like this: Wonder Woman is active during the final days of World War I, then basically goes off grid until the events of Batman v. Superman: Dawn Of Justice. In the controversial team-up film, she tells Bruce Wayne that she turned her back on fighting during the last 100 years, the “Century of Horrors.” Yet at the end of Wonder Woman, her hope in the world is renewed by the actions of Steve Trevor and the defeat of Ares.

Wonder Woman sequel will need to explore the last 100 years

The obvious explanation is, World War II was a demoralizing setback for Wonder Woman, who’d thought she’d conquered all war. But while this should be spelled out, I also want to know, how did she spend the last 100 years? Has she been back to Paradise Island? Why or why not? 

This is really important because part of what made Wonder Woman so intriguSome of this could be explored in flashbacks that supplement a primary narrative, which brings me to…

3. Consequences of Wonder Woman’s Actions (or Lack Thereof)

One cool way to bring the story into the present and explain the last 100 years without sluggish exposition slowing down the narrative is to have the central conflict be the result of Wonder Woman’s actions – or lack thereof. Did she fail to save someone she should have? Did her incredible powers inspire someone for good…or for ill?

4. Turn This Into A Political Thriller ala Captain America

Wonder Woman by necessity bore a lot of similarities to Captain America: The First Avenger, because both characters are out-of-time and represent pure, noble values in times of great violence. For that reason I think DC should follow Marvel’s cue with the almost universally loved Captain America: Winter Soldier. This movie helped highlight Cap’s values by putting him at odds with the modern political, military-industrial complex and timely addressed issues of mass surveillance.

Wonder Woman sequel will need to explore classic villains

Wonder Woman too is a political figure in the comics, and one who isn’t tethered to one country the way Cap is. Now that she’s rejoined the world, how will she handle genocides? Stateless terrorism? National sovereignty? I for one want to see a meaningful political thriller. But to work, it will also need…

5. A Diverse And Well-Rounded Supporting Cast

Wonder Woman’s supporting cast is, and I think this is only lightly a spoiler. a minimum of 120 years old by the time the sequel would start, given when the first movie is set. Safe to say, all pretty dead. And I really liked the cast of this movie – from Robin Wright as Antiope is a standout, along with Etta Candy, Apache Chief (seriously, too freaking cool), and Steve Trevor. But who is Wonder Woman’s supporting cast in her modern-day comics? And are any of them household names like Jimmy Olson or Alfred?

Wonder Woman's sequel will need a great supporting cast

The best super-hero movies have always had an excellent supporting cast. The aforementioned Winter Soldier teamed Cap up with Black Widow, Nick Fury, Maria Hill, and the Falcon. Diverse, bad-ass, and compelling in their own right. The Christopher Nolan Batman films had a stellar supporting cast, with such classic characters like Commissioner Gordon and Lucius Fox portrayed by grade-A actors like Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman, respectively. In fact, most modern super-hero have gotten the hint here.

Wonder Woman is no exception, but because of the lack of instantly identifiable secondary characters, there’s a chance here to create a supporting cast. One as diverse and well-rounded as her fans. The comics can and should certainly be mined for inspiration, but this film shouldn’t be afraid of teaming her with mostly original (or very changed) characters. Even if it ends up being other superheroes ala Winter Soldier – wouldn’t it be great to see her fight alongside Vixen, or perhaps in a strained partnership with Amanda Waller. Which brings me to the final suggestion:

6. Bring on some classic villains

I’m pretty biased, and generally think most of DC’s silver-age super-villains are pretty corny. Most of Batman’s beloved rogues, for instance, are only loved in their current state reimagined by the 90’s Bruce Timm animated series with simplified, character-driven origins and motives. And that’s what Wonder Woman needs: a streamlined, grounded reimagining of some of her classic rogues.

Wonder Woman sequel to feature Cheetah?

My Personal Wishlist For A Wonder Woman Sequel

Personally, if I could take a crack at a draft for a Wonder Woman sequel, I want to see the Cheetah, and a slightly more modern antagonist, Maxwell Lord. If Lord is the sort of master mind, they’ll be able to incorporate the political drama I mentioned above – perhaps he’s trying to harness magical artifacts for evil? Maybe he’s being investigated by Amanda Waller, who conscripts Wonder Woman into helping? Cheetah is like Maxwell’s prototype, and his muscle? And in the end, when Waller inevitably double-crosses Wonder Woman to take Maxwell’s MacGuffin/weapon for her own use, Wonder Woman puts her foot down and destroys it, maintaining her autonomy from the American military machine?

Chimera’s Champion Comics – The Flintstones #12

 

Chimera’s Comics presents a series of recent, or upcoming titles that showcase the excellence of graphic storytelling and the comic book industry! The following article is written and presented by Dani of the LaGrange staff:

 

The Flintstones comic has come to its final issue, a bittersweet conclusion to a critically acclaimed series of outstanding wit and endless charm. Many were skeptical at issue one, especially with the title being solicited by DC for teens and adults, as opposed to the expected kids classic. They’ve been doing a lot of that lately, first with their release of four Hanna-Barbera/DC crossover titles, continued next week with six Looney Tunes/DC crossovers. So how do you take these characters, each from wildly different worlds and backgrounds, and make that work?

 

I’ll admit, it’s hit or miss.

 

The Flintstones, however, has been a consistent hit, and their final issue is no different, a perfect tribute to end the title and pay tribute to the original cartoon, as well as the social climate of humanity in modern times. It’s lovingly wrapped in stone-age comedy, but it reveals quite a bit of truth about people and the timeless need to question, to believe, to persevere, and to cooperate with one another. Mark Russell (writer of the rebooted Prez) shows a talent for endearing readers to a message, and not just for the reason of cliche’s originating from somewhere. He presents, alongside the fabulous art of Steve Pugh (Hellblazer, Animal Man), a portrait from another time just as much as a mirror of the reader, I’m sure.

 

 

The flair of the series has been its wonderful re-imagining that resonates with the adults and teens who grew up watching the cartoons, which itself shared some pretty smart humor with its viewers (often through the woes of the animal workers). This comic is just an extension, a story of many stories that seems to always have been in our hearts and minds, but just never came to fruition.

 

I know, that’s really sappy, but honestly, just read this last issue, and you’ll know what I’m talking about. There’s a reason this series has received so many positive reviews (though it honestly astounds me that it didn’t receive any nominations for the Eisner Awards this year). Issue twelve is a great send-off to the Flintstones, but also serves as a stand-alone story about a classic cartoon family, and really, a story about us all.

 

Stop by Chimera’s Comics LaGrange and Oak Lawn to grab yourself a copy, or pre-order the collected Flintstones Volume 2, available October 2017!

Wonder Woman Film Review – Spoiler Free

I have a 9-year-old niece named Gabriella, who came to see Wonder Woman with us on Thursday for our private screening at Hollywood Blvd. And when the movie ended, she was practically shaking with excitement. I imagined what it must have been like for her, a young girl, to see this incredibly powerful, larger than life woman on screen in all her magnificence. I got chills when I realized that this will be the moment Gabriella looks back on as the moment she became a lifelong fan.

Patty Jenkins’ film is a masterpiece, standing head and shoulder above every other movie in the DC Cinematic Universe and really above most super-hero movies. This was the other-worldliness of Thor meets the period-piece intrigue of Captain America, all with the veneer and class of the Christopher Reeve Superman films. Here’s my quick, spoiler-free analysis:

The Tone Was Just Right

Notably, all of the DC movies so far have suffered from a serious lack of fun. That, and sunshine. Wonder Woman delivers both, and plenty of it. On Paradise Island, the movie practically glows. The Amazons shine quite literally like a beacon of hope and light and love, all while remaining some of the fiercest warriors you’ll ever see.

Things take a dark turn, though, when Wonder Women heads off to the front of the Great War (aka World War I), but unlike in Man of Steel or Batman v Superman, this tonal shift services the story. This whole film revolves around Diana’s culture clash, as she comes face to face with the darkness in the world, and ultimately becomes a source of light. Her naivety provides some light-heartedness without being silly. Best of all, the movie never falls completely into despair, while still delivering some moments so emotional I’m getting goosebumps reflecting on them.

The Action Was Incredible

Diana Prince kicks ass. Period. The dramatic use of strategic slow-motion to highlight her athleticism, the fast-paced battles, and the World War I backdrop make this a very memorable action film. She’s unleashed in all her glory, as powerful as she ever was and more powerful every second the movie goes on. Several times I literally exclaimed “WOW!” out loud. They don’t waste time showing her kick a man between the legs – something I find patronizing. No, instead she’s deflecting missiles and lifting tanks. Like she’s supposed to.

The Story – Comic Accurate, And Character True

Wonder Woman seamlessly tied in years of her continuity and multiple origins into a fast-paced origin story the doesn’t feel hamstrung by pointless exposition. Her adolescence and training comes quick, and it isn’t long before we see her in the present day.

But more importantly than reconciling her various origins and throwing in little nods to the George Perez-era comics, the movie remembers what she’s all about. Yes, she’s a warrior, but she’s a warrior for the sake of love and peace, not violence in and of itself.

Final Verdict

This is one of the most important films because for too long superheroes and comics books have been a boys club. But there have never been more women creators, fans, and characters. This movie will go a long way to better representing our diverse fans and helping them feel as included in this fandom as they always should have been in the first place!

Honestly, by now you should have stopped reading and gone to see the movie. Don’t wait, go now!

Help us celebrate all the women who make comics wonderful during our Wonder Women Weekend!