Indie Comics Spotlight (12/16/16)

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by Jonathan Pilley (@omnicomic)
 
Wonder Woman ’77 Meets The Bionic Woman #1
 
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“I see I’m not the only one with strength!”
 
Wonder Woman is an icon of DC Comics and–heavy metal riff aside–garners tremendous respect from other characters within that universe. Bionic Woman is a character created with some of the same abilities and the same penchant for wanting to help those who need it. Wonder Woman ’77 Meets The Bionic Woman #1 from Dynamite and DC Comics is a mash-up of two great characters in a very era-appropriate setting. The issue is written by Andy Mangels, illustrated by Judit Tondora, colored by Michael Bartolo and Stuart Chaifetz and lettered by Tom Orzechowski and Lois Buhalis.
 
Party like it’s 1977 in this cross-over event fans have wanted for decades – but never thought possible! Now, Diana Prince meets Jaime Sommers… or should we say, Wonder Woman meets The Bionic Woman? In this action-packed mini-series, the two television titans team up to fight a rogue cabal bent on wreaking havoc and stealing deadly weapons. Can CASTRA be stopped before their real targets are revealed and lives are lost? With super powers, bionic enhancements, surprise villains, and an invisible plane, just about anything is possible!
 
Mangels starts the issue extremely effectively, introducing the reader to the 1977 version of both Wonder Woman and Bionic Woman as personified by Linda Carter and Lindsay Wagner respectively. From there, Mangels moves the two on a parallel track that’s completely believable (relatively speaking) and taps into the core of why both characters are so similar. That core is a sense of duty to protect those who need protecting and root out evil–two traits that many superheroes demonstrate on a daily basis. Added into the mix is the tone of the 1970s that Mangels parlays into a tale of more modern themes that emphasize worldly espionage and terrorism. Mangels does an excellent job of pacing the issue in a way that gives the reader time to meet the lead characters and watch as they evoke trust in one another.
 
Because the two main characters are so iconic (and are leaning to on-screen representations) Tondora doesn’t get a whole lot of wiggle room in their appearance; thankfully though, she captures the look of Carter and Wagner well. Both Wonder Woman and Bionic Woman look readily recognizable to the reader, as Tondora emphasizes their features with bold lines. There are some instances where characters are viewed from a distance and Tondora goes light on the detail, offering the characters as somewhat amorphous beings interacting with one another. The action sequences in particular though feature fully-realized backdrops for the two heroes to fight their way through while the panels are a dizzying array of insets and overlays that mimic the combat prowess of Wonder Woman and Bionic Woman. Colors by Bartolo and Chaifetz are pretty basic, but there’s a bright richness to them that make everything pop.
 
Wonder Woman ’77 Meets The Bionic Woman #1 is a pretty unique crossover in that it pairs together two characters, one of whom is clearly inspired by the creation of the other. Wonder Woman and Bionic Woman are teaming up though on a mission that will test the mettle and abilities of both. Mangels’ script is pretty lighthearted yet efficient, getting to the core of their talents as they team up. The artwork by Tondora is pretty solid as it showcases both characters in all their easily-recognizable glory. Wonder Woman ’77 Meets The Bionic Woman #1 is a lot of fun and should be an entertaining series as it progresses.
 
Wonder Woman ’77 Meets The Bionic Woman #1 is available now.
 
Dauntless #1
 
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“The first hit always gets the cobwebs out. Now I’m warmed up.”
 
People will fight for any cause they believe in. There are times when that fight involves words, other times it involves passive resistance. There are some times when fighting for a cause requires actual fighting as the case in Dauntless #1 from Tres Calaveras Studios. The issue is written by Emilio Rodriguez, illustrated and lettered by Juan Martinez Alarcon and colored by David de Alonso.
 
A story about what truly makes a hero and doing the right thing when the world tells you not to.
 
Drex as a lead character is a symbol of maintaining a dedication to a cause–a cause that Rodriguez uses as occasion for an almost endless barrage of physical combat. The issue parlays that action into a means of presenting Drex’s backstory as both an individual and as part of a larger cause. That cause is a little muddied throughout the issue as Rodriguez seems more content to thoroughly introduce the players in Dauntless #1 first and foremost. The dialogue is pretty slick in this way, in that it subtly gives the reader enough information about the characters in a pretty natural way. It’s almost as if Drex is narrating without being aware he’s doing so.
 
Alarcon’s artwork utilizes pretty basic linework throughout. All of the characters sport superhero physiques that make their battles seem more believable when pitting them against one another. Alarcon gives the characters more life in their facial expressions, especially giving Drex a look that’s reflective of a constant pummeling at the hands of his “friends.” Rage is probably the best-captured emotion as Drex uses that to reinforce the ongoing battles (both internal and external) that Drex is fighting. Alonso’s colors are relatively harmless in that they’re mostly primary blues, reds and greens.
 
Dauntless #1 is a story about persevering and the narrative is framed through that lens. Drex believes his cause to be just and is fighting to prove that, even if it comes at a great physical toll exacted upon him. The script by Rodriguez is pretty interesting and effective in giving the reader enough to have an idea of what’s going on. The artwork by Alarcon doesn’t really get bogged down in detail as he takes a fairly relaxed approach for characters and settings. Dauntless #1 is a book that thrives on combat and seeks to instill deeper meaning in conflict.
 
Dauntless #1 is available now.
 
Jim Henson’s The Storyteller Giants #1
 
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“My word! You weren’t joking, these peaches are giant!”
 
Giants are a thing of legends. There are some people who are really tall, but the notion that a being towers over us as humans is left mainly in fairy tales and fantasy stories. You would hope that such a character would be kind and gentle like the giant in Jim Henson’s The Storyteller Giants #1 from BOOM! Studios if it was real though. The issue is written and illustrated by Conor Nolan and lettered by Warren Montgomery.
 
Jim Henson’s The Storyteller Giants #1 reimagines the”The Peach’s Son,” a Japanese tale of a giant who was raised by humans but never accepted by them. When a nearby village is overrun with evil beings, the giant will take a chance to be a hero and prove himself to be part of the community he calls home.
 
Nolan infuses Jim Henson’s The Storyteller Giants #1 with a prevailing sentiment of generosity and care, courtesy of a marvelously written main character. An older couple is given a blessing in the form of a baby giant and Nolan ensures that through their humble approach to life that the baby grows to be a very caring giant. There’s an underlying theme in Jim Henson’s The Storyteller Giants #1 about finding one’s place in the world and it’s a theme that Nolan really hits home with through the other characters that the giant befriends. The dialogue is a great example of this, as the giant chooses words that are very simple yet reflect a relatively complex longview that emphasizes kindness. The issue is paced very effectively as well, ensuring that the plot is happily resolved by the issue’s end in a way that’s satisfactory to both the characters involved and the reader.
 
Nolan’s artwork is just as peaceful as the story’s overall message is. The giant is drawn with a simplicity that’s reflective of his generally positive and caring nature as Nolan imbues him with a genteel demeanor that’s befitting of a character with his personality. And while only a small portion of the issue focuses on the giant growing, there’s a very beautiful page showing him as he’s growing as he walks down the same path. It’s a great method by Nolan to showcase the giant’s stagger size (especially when compared to the villagers) and how he interacts with the village around him. Nolan’s colors are also rich and bold, giving the world a sense of life and purpose.
 
Jim Henson’s The Storyteller Giants #1 is a beautiful and elegant tale about a giant trying to fit in. The giant knows that he’s feared because of his physical appearance, but he more than makes up for that with his personality that emphasizes being nice. Nolan’s tale is full of warmth and has a lot of heart as the giant enlists a motley crew of traveling companions to reclaim what was taken from the villagers. Nolan’s artwork is vivid and renders the giant’s world in a beautiful manner. Jim Henson’s The Storyteller Giants #1 is a great book that will appeal to all ages and has a very endearing message.
 
Jim Henson’s The Storyteller Giants #1 is available now.


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