In Review: Wonder Woman/Conan #2

Plenty of action and wonderful visuals make this a fan's dream come true.

The covers: Two different covers to tame for your collection for this issue. The Regular cover is by Darick Robertson with Tony Aviña and it’s great, but it spoils this issue’s cliffhanger. Conan and Wonder Woman are in the water and a giant shark races at them, its mouth wide open to devour the pair. I don’t like how the characters are turned away from the reader to look at the threat. Robertson cheats as much as possible with the characters, but they look awkward. I’m not a fan of covers that spoil the final page of a book, either. The Variant cover by interior artist Aaron Lopresti is much more to my liking. Conan and Diana are chained at the wrists but have to battle each other. Conan stands his ground, while Wonder Woman leaps with her blade poised to take a chunk out of him. Behind the pair is a massive crow whose eye contains a skull. All of this is on a blood red background. Outstanding! Overall grades: Regular C+ and Variant A

The story: The first four pages of this issue written by Gail Simone are a flashback to Conan and Yanna walking together while the tribal elders converse. Conan uncomfortably asks how Yanna’s tribe can flourish if there are no men. He’s not prepared for her response. “Still,” he answers, “to be alone without protection.” Yanna shows the young Cimmerian that she, and her people, can protect themselves quite well. This takes Conan aback. “I am learning that my world is smaller than I thought, and that is a footrace I appear to be losing.” The pair go high into the hills so that she can show him something, but what they encounter puts them in peril that will be addressed in a future issue. Simone then moves her tale to the present where Conan and Wonder Woman are forced to battle one another. Kian watches the fight, unhappily, feeling he is to blame for the barbarian’s circumstances. The crowd contains not just familiar face Kian, but two women who had a disturbing part to play in the previous issue. These women make their presence known, with a rich man feeling one of the women’s wrath. When the fight concludes the pair are in a new location encountering different problems. There’s lots of action and fun dialogue, with each character acting as one would want them. Simone has got a solid lock on how these characters should behave and sound. Overall grade: A

The art: I mentioned this in the previous issue’s review, but it bears repeating: look at the wonderful frames put around the flashback pages: Page 1 has wonderful vine work that includes flowers, 2 has most of the foliage disappearing as the threat becomes known, 3 has swords added to imagery, implying something foreboding, and 4 has both crows present with bones now composing the framework. This is such a cool detail to make the flashback stand out and to separate this story from that of the present. These opening pages show the leads as children, with each demonstrating traits that they have as adults, such as Conan’s slow processing and Diana’s assuredness. When this duo is seen in the present they look great, big, buff, and strong. When the pair have to fight each other it’s a double-paged spread on 7 and 8. This is exactly what readers want to see in a fight: the pair chained together at the wrist, wielding swords, in a classical gladiator pit, with a cheering throng watching. It’s perfect. Their opening swings are shown in diagonal panels that emphasize the chaotic nature of the fight. Conventional panel shapes return when watchers in the stands speak. The change that comes upon a character on Page 11 is fantastic; it was unexpected and I’ve never seen a character look like that or do that action. The conclusion of the fight is great, with one of the characters hurled into the reader’s lap. The next setting is confining, but is wonderfully illustrated. It comes across as very real, as do the others joining Diana and Conan on their journey. The skirmish that precedes the final page is brief, but great. A full-paged splash ends the book and it looks awesome. Aaron Loprestri is such an outstanding artist and Matt Ryan and outstanding inker. Overall grade: A

The colors: Wendy Broome starts this book well, but making the field that the children are walking through faded, which allows a predator to get closer to them. However, look at the great colors she does to the frame, with the flowers and vines brightly colored. The sounds on the second page have some bright coloring to make them stand out in this pale environment. The colors and shading done on the bones on the fourth page look great as well. When the story moves to the present, look at how well Broome creates light in the dungeon, with the shades well done. The battle pages are washed out, as if they are occurring under a sweltering sun — nice! The book’s final location is at night and Broome smartly uses a dark blue-gray to create the evening. If she had used black, it would have rendered much of the visuals too dark. Narration is also set apart from other text with dialogue balloons that are on an aged yellow that simulates ancient parchment. Even underwater, the colors look cool. Overall grade: A

The letters: Saida Temofonte is responsible for narration, dialogue, sound, yells, chants, a whisper, the story’s title, the book’s credits, and the tease for next issue. The narration font continues to be a strong visual element of the book, instantly telling the reader that they aren’t looking at dialogue and it’s designed in a way to resemble ancient text. Really nice. The credits are on the final page and that’s a shame because they look fantastic, with the story’s title outstanding. Overall grade: A

The final line: This is the battle that fans wanted to see and it delivers. Simone has a perfect understanding of how each character should act, while Lopresti and Ryan know how each should look. Plenty of action and wonderful visuals make this a fan’s dream come true. Overall grade: A

To order a digital copy go to https://www.comixology.com/Wonder-Woman-Conan-2017-2/digital-comic/559585?ref=c2VhcmNoL2luZGV4L2Rlc2t0b3Avc2xpZGVyTGlzdC90b3BSZXN1bHRzU2xpZGVy

To see the covers visit my Instagram account: patrickhayesscifipulse

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” and he’s reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.

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