Thursday, July 2, 2015

Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman #40 Review

Written by: Adam Beechen
Art by: Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, Kevin Nowlan and Alex Sinclair
Cover Price: $0.99
Release Date: June 25, 2015

Collateral Damage

I really like Sensation Comics because it allows a slew of writers a chance to tell their own Wonder Woman stories.  Even before Dan Didio told fans that DC Comics would be a place where story trumps continuity, this was one of the places to see it in action.  The excitement of a book like this is grabbing it on a Thursday without any idea of where or when the story will take place.  World War II era France?  1960's swinging London?  Far Future Venus?  Why not!  Of course, the backbone is always having our favorite Amazonian Princess front and center and that is alright with me.  It's a celebration of everything Wonder Woman and everyone is invited.  Of course, sometime the writer decides to celebrate by looking at what inspires Wonder Woman and how she inspires the world around her.  This week, Adam Beechen does that...kind of.  Instead of showing the eternal struggle between hero and villain, he shows what happens afterwards in a real world way.  It's certainly different, but is it also a good read?  Let's find out...

The issue opens up with an awesome looking fight between Wonder Woman and Cheetah.  Still, it's the type of scene we've seen so many times in comics...Cheetah kicking Wonder Woman through a glass display in the National Air and Space Museum while debris rains down below.  The rub of it is, this scene is being told in a court of law and it's all about that raining of debris.  Wonder Woman is on the stand and while she is not being accused of anything, the fact that one hundred and thirty-eight people were injured during that fight is pretty crazy.  Just imagine how many people got hurt in the final battle of Man of Steel.  Man of this thing on?

So, if Wonder Woman isn't being blamed, why is she on the stand?  It has to do with Cheetah's (actually, Debbie Domaine) lawyer trying to get her transferred to a less secure mental hospital to get the help she needs.  I'll give Adam Beechen full credit here.  While reading this issue, I really thought we were heading towards force the issue avenue, but he does a good job of avoiding it.  Sure, he explores the issue of villains as misunderstood people with legitimate mental problems, but he doesn't shove it down the reader's throat.  What I did like a lot was that Beechen shows that even a villain like Cheetah has people that care for her and want her to get better.  That is an idea I haven't seen
much and really loved it.

Beechen doesn't stop there.  On the flip side, he shows that you don't have to fly or have a Lasso of Truth to be a hero.  The District Attorney in this story has as tragic an origin story as any hero and has used his loss to fuel his fight for truth, justice know the rest.  Beechen again shows this in a realistic way and I can't say I like the attorney, but I respect what he's doing.  The issue ends with everything coming to a head and the inevitable starting to happen.  At least that's what we are supposed to think, but you know how that works, right?

I read this issue a couple of times and I'll tell you, each time I read it, I liked it a little bit more.  The idea of showing the collateral damage caused by superheroes and villains isn't totally unique, but Beechen does a good job of making it believable and realistic.  He also throws in some humor (Wonder Woman figuring out how she would fight crime without powers was great) and touching scenes to make this issue well worth reading.

Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez's art is retro feeling and that is a huge compliment in my book.  It juxtaposes against the modern feeling story and somehow makes it all feel timeless.  Kind of like the fight between good and evil.  I hope this is a sign that DC is getting him back in the mix because his art just feels right in a book like this.

Bits and Pieces:

Adam Beechen uses a Wonder Woman comic to explore the ideas of mental illness, being a hero and the consequence of action and it never felt forced or cliched.  The art and story come together to give readers a unique look at being a hero no matter how you chose to go about it.  Of course, this is still a comic book and the cliffhanger hints at some hero/villain action in the very near future.  Let's just hope they take the fight to someplace safe.


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