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The Rest of the Stack: Rise of the simultaneous dual format release


November 3, 2009

Based on this week’s shipping list, the Rise of the Olympian arc from Wonder Woman is being released tomorrow in collected-volume format. While this in and of itself is NOT odd…what’s odd is the fact that it is being released SIMULTANEOUSLY in both Hardcover AND Softcover.

JUL090244 WONDER WOMAN RISE OF THE OLYMPIAN HC $24.99
JUL090245 WONDER WOMAN RISE OF THE OLYMPIAN TP $14.99

Now, I’m curious as to why such a difference in price. Seems that lately, the price difference between a hardcover and softcover is only $5-6. A $20 hardcover becomes a $15 paperback. The $25 or $30 hardcover becomes $20 or $25, respectively. Here it’s a whopping $10.

If I recall correctly, the original arc was 8 issues, at $2.99/issue…which puts the hardcover at a mere $1 above cover price of those single issues. And the softcover is priced such that you’re getting the contents of each single issue for about $1.88, $1.11 cheaper per-issue than the singles which had ads breaking up the story and with a month’s wait between chapters.

While this is frustrating–particularly for having given the title a chance with that arc, and then not being engaged ENOUGH to stick around for the single issues (in part for seeing both collected volumes solicited several months back). Had I simply waited, I’d get a nice, huge story at an EXTREMELY reasonable price! (I suspect some of my feelings might have more merit if one places Spider-Man: Noir vol. 1 TPB on the shelf next to Rise of the Olympian TPB, both at the same retail price).

Despite the frustration mentioned, and having zero real clue about the reasoning of the price points and both versions being put out together (and not having noticed ANYthing like this in books thus far solicited down the road)…the prices are how I’d like to see more collected volumes.

1. I’d rather have stuff in paperback, so it all goes together on the shelf; the old and new material. Not waiting during an extra long gap to buy a paperback because of the hardback having to have its turn on the shelf first.

2. Either way, the paperback should be significantly cheaper. Especially on the bigger books (I’m thinking of Planet Hulk and the Marvel: Noir books in particular), if I’m going to actually buy the book, I’d gladly pay the “mere” $5 to “upgrade” to the hardcover. If I’m already going to spend $30, $35 isn’t all that bad for a book so much larger physically. Same goes for the digest-size Noir paperbacks compared to the full-size hardcover counterparts.

But this Wonder Woman book…for the $10 difference, and the paperback being like getting almost 3 issues’ content “free” compared to the single issues’ cover price…I’d absolutely be all over buying the paperback just to get the story!

If books were REGULARLY released this way, it would allow for more choice in “collecting format.” Buy the singles as that’s the traditional format. Buy the collected (hardcover) for about the same price, perhaps slightly more, to have a nice hardcover for the bookshelf. Or go the cheapest route, and get a likely lower-quality of paper, but get to read the story without constant ads interrupting the flow, and getting the contents of comics for effectively the price of comics a decade ago. (Yeah, this doesn’t consider the stuff from the publisher side or the actual production costs and all that stuff.)

Despite all this…I’m a sucker. That $15 for the expected size of this book is rather appealing, especially for the ability to read everything in one volume. And add Wonder Woman to the shelf, s I’ve somehow never wound up with a Wonder Woman collected volume despite my 20+ years as a comics reader.

Wonder Woman #34 [Review]

Birds of Paradise part one: A Malignant Isolation

Writer: Gail Simone
Penciller: Aaron Lopresti
Inker: Matt Ryan
Colorist: Brad Anderson
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Associate Editor: Sean Ryan
Editor: Elisabeth Gehrlein
Cover: Aaron Lopresti & Hi-Fi
Publisher: DC Comics

After following this title for the Rise of the Olympian arc, I found myself still interested (actually, more interested) in the character of Diana/Wonder Woman. Though I don’t feel I “know” the character all that much, I’ve found that the last eight-some issues have been quite enjoyable and shown me that good, solid stories can be told with the character.

This issue opens in the aftermath of last issue, with Wonder Woman now alone, having turned her back on the Amazons and her gods. Simone provides a touching moment as Morrow informs Diana that Genocide is not dead, and begs her to destroy it. In order to begin tracking down Genocide’s whereabouts, Diana turns to Black Canary for an assist, despite their recent differences. Dinah takes the lead as the two concoct costumes to hide their identities as they seek to infiltrate an underground arena fighting group. The results the two find in going undercover raises some question, as well as introducing us to someone likely to cause both of our heroines plenty of trouble next issue.

The art here continues to be very well done, and I have no real complaint with it. The stor itself for this issue does a good job of following the previous major arc, while setting things up for the current arc. We get forward movement and character development in light of what’s already happened and in what’s coming. Simone continues to demonstrate an excellent understanding of the characters she writes–specifically, in Wonder Woman–portraying her as a strong, realistic person…all the more in Diana’s willingness to seek help when she’s in over her head or otherwise knows someone better-suited for accomplishing a particular task.

Though there’ll be a certain deeper appreciation for things talked about in this issue if one’s already read Rise of the Olympian, this seems to be a decent jumping-on point for readers curious about the ongoing Wonder Woman series. There’s plenty to draw one in, and enough detail to give a general idea of who characters are, what their status quo is now, and a lot of potential in what is to come.

Highly recommended.

Story: 8.5/10
Art: 9/10
Whole: 8.5/10

Wonder Woman #33 [Review]

Rise of the Olympian part 8 (Finale): Monarch of the Dead

Writer: Gail Simone
Artist: Aaron Lopresti
Inker: Brad Anderson
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Associate Editor: Sean Ryan
Editor: Elisabeth Gehrlein
Cover: Aaron Lopresti & Hi-Fi (variant by Bernard Chang)
Publisher: DC Comics

In a time where the standard story arc wraps in six issues, this arc has taken eight issues. As such, it’s seemed a little long…but at the same time, it’s made up the entirety of my Wonder Woman purchasing of the last few years. It’s also–at 8 issues–made up probably the single longest stretch of my buying a Wonder Woman title, ever. All that being credit to Simone’s writing and grasp of the character, presenting both character and goings-on in an interesting light sufficient to keep me coming back month after month.

This issue opens with the Amazons finding the broken/battered body of their champion and then entering battle with Zeus’ male warriors. Wonder Woman–Diana–enters the fray, and takes on Ares–the god of war–who has long plagued her and her sisters. By her actions, the status quo for Diana as well as her mother and sisters is changed, as we clearly see what gave this arc its title.

The story in this issue is quite good–though some parts seemed a bit forced, and I didn’t enjoy it in and of itself as much as I would have hoped. Nothing seems to come out of nowhere, everything having basis in what’s been established in earlier issues. I do feel almost like I missed an issue, and nearly didn’t even READ this issue, thinking that I really HAD missed an issue. The visuals continue to hold up very well, and I have no complaint on that aspect of the book.

If you’ve not followed this story in single issues, I would definitely recommend the collected volume, as this seems likely be one of THE Wonder Woman stories…and certainly is poised to be integral to the character moving forward in the near future.

Story: 8/10
Art: 8.5/10
Whole: 8/10

May not be bait ‘n switch…but what gives?

Newsarama on Cap RebornNewsarama interview with Brevoort

Well…don’t *I* feel like a sucker.  I mean…that’s it?  Another point in the “bleh” column, methinks.


Just spotted this in the new DC solicitations.  The HC I fully expected.  But…what’s up with the simultaneous release of the paperback?

As an ISOLATED thing, I’m perplexed.

Now, if DC (and Marvel) were to start doing this with ALL their collected volumes…I’d be quite the happy camper, I think. I’d much rather have a CHOICE as to which edition to get…withOUT having to wait extra months or (a) year(s) for a paperback if I’m not interested in the hardback.

WONDER WOMAN: RISE OF THE OLYMPIAN HC AND TP
Written by Gail Simone
Art by Aaron Lopresti, Bernard Chang and Matt Ryan
Cover by Aaron Lopresti
When the gods change their plans for man’s world, it’s up to Wonder Woman to protect humanity against an invading army of male warriors and a new adversary called Genocide.
An army of Olympians has risen for an all-out assault on war across the globe and only Wonder Woman can stop them in this new title collecting issues #20-27! One particular attack could spell the end of the Department of Metahuman Affairs and end WW’s secret identity of Diana Prince. And Wonder Woman’s life is changed forever when she faces a monster named Genocide who goes toe-to-toe with her . . . and wins.
Retailer note: This title is scheduled to arrive in stores on November 4 in both hardcover and trade paperback editions.
Advance-solicited; on sale November 4 • 208 pg, FC
HC: $24.99 US; TP: $14.99 US

Wonder Woman #32 [Review]

Rise of the Olympian part 7: Compound Fracture

Writer: Gail Simone
Artist: Aaron Lopresti
Inker: Matt Ryan
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Associate Editor: Sean Ryan
Editor: Elisabeth Gehrlein
Cover: Aaron Lopresti & Hi-Fi (variant by Francis Manapul & Jeremy Roberts)
Publisher: DC Comics

THere’s a lot going on in this issue, even though much if it is essentially just an extended fight sequence. With six prior issues of build, with fights showing both sides discovering the other’s limits, it comes down to this do-or-die battle as Wonder Woman must overcome Genocide or lose all she holds dear. We also see as other elements come together that will cause plenty of trouble down the road, beyond Genocide.

What initially interested me in this story–the thing that prompted me to see it out from the start–was that Genocide was compared to Doomsday, in terms of the role it would play for Diana. And I must say that the comparison’s a fair one, though obviously with much different characters and story beats and all that.

Simone has a great handle on the character–I’m actually interested in this incarnation of Diana/Wonder Woman; I’m interested in the supporting cast (even though I can’t even remember their names yet), and I’m interested in the Bigger Picture–what’s going on with Zeus and his Olympian(s), and in general find that while Genocide brought me to the table, it’s the writing–the story itself–that has me quite willing to stick around.

The art’s pretty, too–visually, this looks like a comic book, but there’s a quality to the thing that is beyond any “generic” art. One definitely gets a sense from the visuals just how brutal this battle is, and how much of a beating Diana’s already taken. A page toward the end of the battle is particularly gruesome, though due at least in part to not being overly graphic and leaving it to the individual to fill in the extra details.

This both feels like a story ending and yet doesn’t. Elements that have been seen throughout the arc are continuing and probably about to come to far more prominence than we’ve had with ’em so far. But the meat of the story–the battle with Genocide–has a definite ending, while keeping the door open to future stories that’ll certainly reference this.

Though I stuck around for a handful of Rucka’s issues a few years ago and enjoyed them at the time–this current arc is the most I’ve been interested in Wonder Woman and the most I’ve really enjoyed the story overall. If you didn’t follow this arc, I’d recommend considering it in collected volume format, and giving the series a chance with the next issue, whatever story officially kicks off.

Story: 9/10
Art: 8.5/10
Whole: 8.5/10

Wonder Woman #28 [Review]

Rise of the Olympian part three: Blood of the Stag

Writer: Gail Simone
Penciller: Aaron Lopresti
Inker: Matt Ryan
Colorist: Brad Anderson
Letterer: Steve Wands
Associate Editor: Sean Ryan
Editor: Matt Idelson
Cover: Aaron Lopresti & Hi-Fi (variant by Cary Nord & Hi-Fi)
Publisher: DC Comics

Having been badly hurt in combat with Genocide, Wonder Woman–Diana–has to face Tom in her weakened state, armored up for a battle she feels she must face as her own responsibility. As the JLA doesn’t fare well against Genocide, Wonder Woman, Donna Troy, and Wonder Girl (re)join the battle. Meanwhile, Zeus & co. set their own plans into motion.

I’m still not all that familiar with Wonder Woman, having gotten in only at the very end of the last series, and not really jumping into this series until a month ago. However, I’m finding the basic story easy to follow, and the depiction of the characters to be quite well-done for what little I know of them–and at the least, they’re interesting and I’m still hooked, wanting to know more. Simone seems to be breathing life into a character that often has not seemed all that important nor complex…showing that she really is important and does have complexity.

The art is good, and I have no complaints with it, really. It has a classic sorta look to it, somehow reminding me just a bit of the late 1980s series, while maintaining its feel as a current, contemporary style.

This is only my third issue of this round of following the character, but I’m following along just fine. If you can locate the first couple chapters of this story, it’s well worth jumping on-board for! If you’ve read those issues, this issue gives no reason to stop. My only real complaint with the issue is a quibble at most–Cheetah doesn’t play a large role nor is she the focal point of the issue despite the Faces of Evil focus.

Very much recommended.

Story: 8/10
Art: 8.5/10
Whole: 8.5/10

Wonder Woman #27 [Review]

Rise of the Olympian part 2: A Sense of Loss

Writer: Gail Simone
Penciller: Aron Lopresti
Inker: Matt Ryan
Colorist: Brad Anderson
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Associate Editor: Sean Ryan
Editor: Matt Idelson
Cover: Aaron Lopresti & Hi-Fi (variant by Frank Quiety [sic])
Publisher: DC Comics

This issue opens on Donna Troy communicating with Wonder Girl about what she’s likely to find as she heads toward the scene of destruction Wonder Woman was last seen at. Warning Cassie about the need to mourn AFTER what needs done is done, we see the girl’s reaction as Donna continues toward her destination…where Wonder Woman is alive, but horribly beaten, anxious as her lasso’s been taken from her. We see others’ reaction to events, even as the creature that did this to Wonder Woman returns to the Secret Society [of Supervillains?] HQ. The creature is known as Genocide, and insists the lasso be made a part of it. Meanwhile, Zeus calls some of his people “home,” while Genocide faces the Justice League.

All told, I have no real problem with any of the art in this issue. In fact, it’s really quite good on the whole. There’s a slight bit of “shiny-ness” to certain parts that seem to me would probably work better without coming across that way–but then, I’m not the artist, and I assume there’s supposed to be something there that would reflect light that way. The characters are distinct and recognizeable, and you could do so much worse!

The story here is what surprises me. I can’t really put my finger on what it is exactly, only its effect: I’m actually interested in a Wonder Woman story. I was interested in the concept of a new character that was to be “Wonder Woman’s ‘Doomsday,'” and when I discovered I’d actually missed the first chapter, made a point of snagging issue 26 along with this one. For the first time in several years–moreso than merely enjoying an issue, I’m interested/engaged enough that I wish the next issue would be due out this coming week! Simone seems to have a good handle on this character and her supporting cast (and I’ll admit I think it’s cool that a woman is writing the character).

I’m unsure as to who the Olympian in the story’s title is–Diana? Genocide? Someone else?–but to be honest, that doesn’t bother me at all. If you’re not already picking this book up, and you can locate the first issue of the arc, this is a decent point to jump in.

Recommended–at least consider the collected volume if you’re not interested in the singles.

Story: 8.5/10
Art: 7/10
Whole: 8/10

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