In a relatively quiet week of new comic book debuts, Dark Horse Comics and DC put their two best warriors together. Image Comics brings you Spanish gasoline, and Valiant does yet another Bloodshot title while Dynamite brings readers all the fun of working in a library. This week, we’re looking at the most violent man/woman team up since Bonnie & Clyde.

As always check out the DC Roundup for the rest of this week’s DC Comics and if you’re Marvel-centric, The Beat has one for you too.

Wonder Woman/Conan #1

 

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Story: Gail Simone

Art: Arron Lopresti

Inks: Matt Ryan

Colors: Wendy Broome

Letters: Saida Temofonte

Published by: DC Comics/Dark Horse

 

 

 

 

In recent memory, DC Comics has teamed their characters with strange and unusual bedfellows. Planet of The Apes, Star Trek, even the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers have befriended some of comics’ most popular DC characters. In the latest intercompany book; the Amazon warrior Wonder Woman teams up with Conan the barbarian.

Issue one sets a bloody and introspective tone for Conan. Readers who may not be all that familiar with him outside of an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie cover are given glimpses of his childhood, even the possibility of a lost love. In the present, this wandering barbarian serendipitously rescues a worthless gambler that leads him to a gladiator arena where warriors are pitted against one another in mortal combat for the amusement of a slave owner. It’s here that Conan will come across DC’s most iconic warrior.

It’s also here where we encounter the twist of the tale as Wonder Woman is given no solid explanation for how she got there or why she simply doesn’t pound everyone into dust and flee. Her lack of memory may play into dealing with a piece of Conan’s childhood. These little odds and ends sprinkled by writer Gail Simone are what make this story palatable. She could have simply brought out some trans-dimensional mumbo jumbo conjured up by Ares in a by the numbers plot. Having Conan, a character not known for depth, carry the emotional weight of the story is a risk that does pay well. His conflict over saving a shyster and the linger of a lost love are solid beginnings for building this tale. On the opposite side, using Wonder Woman as a violent force of nature in the opening provides a challenge for Simone. One she more than nails. No doubt Simone will need to get Wonder Woman back to being the heroine we know, but at this point how that will happen is up in the air and that’s exciting.

A story with two characters who dominate any page they appear in is no easy task to illustrate in a way that gives both characters a presence. Aaron Lopresti, as underrated an artist as you’ll find, amplifies the pages to achieve such equilibrium between these marquee names. Conan is not a character known for intimate conversation moments, yet Lopresti makes the rare moments in the book where no one gets their head cut off or face bashed, interesting as the action with well-articulated face gestures. But of course, a book that contains a barbarian and an Amazon should have large scale moments. In a book that manages to have more than its share of splash pages, they don’t feel overdone here. It’s an important trait in illustrating an action comic, most can overuse large one-page images to the point where it becomes a crux. Blood, brutality and hook are all where they should be in this opening issue.

I also have to applaud Saida Temofonte’s lettering work in this book. The use of scrolls and tattered parchment narration boxes could have been jumbled and off-putting to the eye. Despite how similar one is to the other, neither use ever gets confusing and in fact, gives the book a distinct taste among Conan comics.

[WON] Wonder Woman/Conan #1 may not reverse the gender roles of these characters, but it does let them take storytelling chances out of their respective comfort zones in a gamble that gives readers an interesting payoff setting up readers for an enjoyable mini-series.

Here’s the rest of this week’s #1’s:

  • BATMAN THE RED DEATH #1 (DC Comics)
  • GI JOE FIRST STRIKE #1 (IDW)
  • SAMURAI JACK QUANTUM JACK #1 (IDW)
  • ANGELIC #1 (Image)
  • GASOLINA #1 (Image)
  • GENERATIONS MS MARVEL & MS MARVEL #1 (Marvel)
  • BLOODSHOT SALVATION #1 (Valiant)
  • DARK ARK #1 (Aftershock)
  • KILLER INSTINCT #1 (Dynamite)
  • LIBRARIANS #1 (Dynamite)