In Review: Wonder Woman/Conan #3

Survival on the ocean is interrupted by two supernatural villains.

The covers: This series again has two covers for the hard core collector to seek out. The Regular cover is by Darick Robertson and Tony Avina. The title characters look to begin an intimate moment in sleeping quarters. Their faces near one another as Conan appears to be lying back in a bed. Nice cover with this fevered fan dream moment, though I don’t think it would ever happen, even in this series. The colors are dark, implying the couple is alone, but the illustration is still easily seen. The Variant cover is by interior artist Aaron Lopresti and is much more to my liking. Lying on some debris from their doomed ship, Conan and Wonder Woman try to whether out the heat on the ocean, while two familiar black birds circle above them. I like the composition of this piece and the colors are great, with the eye drawn to the figures on the literal sea of blue. Overall grades: Regular B+ and Variant A

The story: Writer Gail Simone begins this issue as she began the previous two, with young Conan and Yanna meeting. I’m really enjoying these flashbacks that reveal the characters’ backstory and shows how each is growing while apart. This time the pair “are on the cusp of adulthood.” Yanna is very serious, but that changes into a race to a destination where one does something serious, changing their relationship. As one of them begins to experience a horrible emotion the story transitions to the present with the pirate ship the heroes were aboard breaking upon some rocks. The leads were surrounded by sharks last issue and that’s where they are when encountered on Page 5. The two evade becoming food for the beasts and find respite as survivors of a shipwreck often do. This provides Simone ample opportunity to have these characters do something together that hasn’t happened enough: talk. If Simone wanted to have this pair just talk for the remainder of the issue, I would have been more than entertained, but that’s not to be with both being action heroes. A pair of characters make themselves known, talk to the pair and reveal how it is the two iconic characters came into contact. It’s a believable reason and, naturally, the heroes don’t want to do the pair’s bidding. This results in a new direction for the twosome, while the final two pages return to the youngsters who decide to take a new direction in their lives as well. I came to this series for the action, but I’m staying for the characters. Overall grade: A 

The art: Aaron Lopresti is cemented in my mind for his terrific work on the Amethyst tales in Sword of Sorcery and he continues to create fantastic fantasy visions in this series, assisted by ace inker Matt Ryan. I’m continuing to be blown away by the incredible work on the borders around the flashback sequences. If one is paying attention, when the teens are feeling happy the border has flowers and greens, but when things go dark the foliage gives way to thorny vines. When one character is feeling especially despondent, the border breaks violently. Such a neat touch. Often artists have difficulties in drawing children or preteens, but young Conan and Yanna look their ages and emote wonderfully, such as on Page 3. The next page is a full-paged splash of the ship wrecking and it’s an explosive entrance into the present. The pages involving the heroes and the sharks are great, with the monstrous predators looking extremely well. The scenes on the ocean with the characters talking are visually interesting, with both characters giving silent emotions that readers can easily identify. The full-paged splash on 12 is as dramatic transition as 4 was to 3. I was impressed with all the rainfall on these pages, because such weather can overwhelm the art or be so light as to be dismissible, but not here — it’s perfect. The reveal of the villains on 13 is great with them being beautiful but absolutely dangerous, even if one hasn’t seen them in the previous two installments. The army that the pair summon to fight the heroes are a nice combination of the the heroes and the villains’ forms. Page 19 has the best illustration of the issue with the third panel containing a combination of three panels that foreshadow doom for a specific place. Lopresti and Ryan are an outstanding team. Overall grade: A

The colors: Putting the perfect emotional punch into the visuals are the colors by Wendy Broome. The first page contains narration that’s aged wonderfully on tan parchment-like narration boxes, while the colors of the flowers around the borders solidify for the reader the beauty of these characters together. The flowers are especially bright at the top of 3, which compliments the story and art perfectly. The darkness on Page 4 is in complete contrast to the previous pages, while the story title and credits are in a bright red, highlighting the violence. The passage of time atop the driftwood is shown through the coloring, with the sunlit panels given a pallid color to show the characters’ peril. Note how the day becomes brighter when the two speak to each other. The scenes in the villains’ realm are dark, but not so much that the art cannot be made out. Big kudos to Broome for doing this and doing a solid job on this issue. Overall grade: A

The letters: Saida Temofonte is this issue’s letterer and creates narration, yells, dialogue, the story’s title, the book’s credits, a sound, and the tease for next issue. Her narration is beautiful and always comes across as separate from the dialogue. The yells are also done well, never over the top. The sole sound of the issue is on Page 7 and every time I read it I feel it! The tease for next issue is also extremely well done, looking like the action it describes. Overall grade: A

The final line: Survival on the ocean is interrupted by two supernatural villains. The story is great, with the conversations between the heroes being particular highlights, and the visuals awesome. This is a great series. Overall grade: A

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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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