WONDER WOMAN: Godwatch is the best of Greg Rucka’s Rebirth Wonder Woman run (with various artists in this TPB) because it breaks new ground rather than retconning out the New 52. This story shows Rucka’s run from the viewpoint of villain Veronica Cale and her desperate attempts to save her daughter from Ares’ sons Phobos and Deimos. It’s still a disappointing run, but this volume was way more enjoyable.
MONSTRESS: Awakening and MONSTRESS: The Blood by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda are fantasy graphic novels set in a world of mages, mortals and anthropomorphic animals pulling itself together after a cataclysmic war. Maika Halfwolf, the protagonist, becomes the target of everyone because of her legendary mother’s heroism and the magic that has placed some sort of monster inside her. The first volume was beautiful to look at, but it didn’t hook me, simply because I couldn’t tell the various factions (Dawn Court, Cumaea, Arcanics) apart even though the creators provide a score card. Vol. 2, though, held my attention much better as it has a simpler plot, involving Maika’s quest aboard a pirate ship for information about her curse. I look forward to Vol. 3.
SUPERGIRL: Escape From the Phantom Zone by Steve Orlando and Brian Ching was a big improvement on the previous volume, if only because it’s not so obviously tied to the TV show. With Batgirl’s help, Supergirl breaks into the Phantom Zone to rescue one of the prisoners, but of course things don’t go smoothly … While the A plot was readable, I don’t see the point in using a new version of the Legion of Super-Heroes’ arch foes, the Fatal Five, as Supergirl’s adversary — or does that mean the Legion will show up just as they’ve done in the CW Supergirl this season?
CAPTAIN BRITAIN: The Siege of Camelot by multiple artists and writers goes in the opposite direction, dropping in quality from the stories in Birth of a Legend. The last installments of Cap’s original strip are written by Stan Lee’s less talented brother Larry Lieber and only occasionally get good. Then Chris Claremont scripts a fun crossover with Spider-Man, then the book switches to the Black Knight’s backup strip in the UK Hulk Weekly. This introduced Captain Britain as a supporting character, but never rises much above stock sword-and-sorcery B-list stuff. Too bad the book cuts off before Alan Moore took over Britain’s adventures.
BLACK PANTHER: A Nation Under Our Feet, Book Three by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Brian Steelfreeze wraps up Coates arc as T’Challa finally brings piece to the war-ravaged Wakanda. Coates writes politics and political debate better than a lot of comics writers, but the big dramatic ending of Wakanda becoming a constitutional monarchy (I think) lacks punch — it’s not like overthrowing Dr. Doom, after all. Better than a lot of non-comics guest writers manage but not a winner.
THE ANYTHING BOX by Zenna Henderson is one of her two collections build primarily around the premise “what if the world was as irrational and impossible as children think?” A TK boy picks the wrong time to grow up. A teacher steals a child’s fantasy (“I have almost forgotten my glimpse of what your heart’s desire looks like when it’s built on someone else’s heartbreak.”). A five-year-old locks up a force of darkness in a rabbit’s burrow. Darker than I remember Henderson (which isn’t bad) but quite enthralling. Cover by Hector Garrido, all rights remain with current holder.