Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Review: Sensation Comics #3

For those who come here, they will know I loved the Superman related digital-first titles: Smallville and Adventures of Superman. Adventures of Superman was a classic anthology, different teams, tenor, art styles. The best stories in that book seemed to revolve around Superman being an inspiration. It was like reading about the big picture of who Superman is in theory. I loved it.

So far, Sensation Comics has read much more like a true anthology series. There are wildly different feels to the stories I have read here so far. And that has made this an interesting book for me. Some stories are inspirational. Some are humorous. Some are straightforward action.

One story, which ran partly in Sensation Comics #3 and finished in Sensation Comics #4 is worth reviewing here because it is very Silver Age, with classic Silver Age villains and a Silver Age Supergirl. It also is done by comic legend Gilbert Hernandez.

'No Chains Can Hold Her!' is written and drawn by Hernandez and his style of art. I do wonder how Diana fans reacted to this story because Wonder Woman is more a victim in this story. Indeed, Supergirl could be considered the hero of the tale.

But I love just how big and powerful Hernandez portrays Wonder Woman. She is huge and muscular! No big surprise that no chains can hold her! The style is simplistic. But it oddly beautiful.

The plot is relatively simple to start. Wonder Woman investigates a spaceship that has landed. Initially she is chained by robots. Hernandez refutes the old lie that being chained by a male depowers Diana.

Robots aren't men. But regardless, it doesn't work.

And nothing like 'lasers and bracelets'.

It turns out that Sayyar, the lizard emperor of planet Llaarr is working with his enemy Kanjar Ro to take over the galaxy.

Somehow, Kanjar Ro has a hypnosis ray which will only work on Earth born. He wants Diana to be his zombie slave and warrior.

Now Sayyar calls Diana an invincible warrior, a symbol of courage and strength. And his flattery distracts her so much that she is captured in that hypno-ray, rendering her powerless and enslaved.

That seems weird, for Diana to be so taken by the words to lose focus. And to have the hero defeated in her own book??

But look who is watching! Supergirl. A red-skirted Supergirl!

So she should really be a blue-skirted Supergirl because she is pure Silver Age here. Luckily, that color error is fixed in Sensation #4.

But read that word balloon. Superman not wanting her to investigate things, wanting her to stay hidden. That is pure 'stay in the orphanage until you know how to control your powers' is pure early Action.

I do love how Hernandez has her defy him, knowing the right thing to do.

Those crossed legs, almost shy and coy, evokes that feeling too.

At last we have the ship land and meet old JLA villain Kanjar Ro who is in complete control of Diana. An 'easy Earth girl'?

Luckily Supergirl is there and ready to rescue Wonder Woman.

Does that make this a Supergirl story?

Anyways, I find it charming, even if Diana is almost a non-entity in her own book. The art is odd but hypnotic. It is classic Kara. And it has some DC cosmic to it. I liked this first part ...

What about you? Any Wonder Woman fans want to comment??

Overall grade: B+


Elias said...

I think the Red Skirt is a subtle shout out to the early days of the Supergirl Feature in Action Comics where the colorists would get the color wrong....and when it was pointed out in the letter column (mistakes being a huge part of the DC-fanbase dialogue in those days) Mort Weisinger would claim said super-skirt was reversible.


Martin Gray said...

I was also going to cite those early Actions, though I reckon this is as much a mistake as those examples - why homage when you have just one shot?

I'm fine with Diana taking a backseat here as a) it was fun and reminded me of the classic-for-all-the-wrong-reasons Silver Age Diana/Kara team-up in Brave and the Bold; b) the balance was redressed in the conclusion.

Just pure joy.

Anonymous said...

Good stuff. Pre-crisis supergirl is fun, inspirational, and a role model, the way she should be.