Story: Barbara Randall Kesel
Art: Irene Koh
What They Say:
“Besties” part 1 of 3! Jody, Nanc and Alicia thought they were alone on the beach – until Wonder Woman joined in their footrace! And when Superwoman shows up, the day gets even more complicated.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
With a new three-part series kicking off here, I was delighted from the get go with the fact that I get to read Barbara Randall Kesel’s work again. I’d read quite a lot of her works over the years a long time ago but haven’t seen much lately. With her work being pretty strong when it comes to female characters, getting her hands on Wonder woman for a bit is definitely welcome, and having her work with artist Irene Koh is exactly the kind of non-standard approach I love about Sensation Comics when it hits right. The opening installment to this arc may not fire on all cylinders in a sense, but it does get the narrative moving in the right way.
The essence of it is that we get three friends racing on the beach, where you have Nanc and Alicia complaining to their friend Jody that it’s not fair to compete against her since she’s a state champion and excels at it. Of course, having Diana suddenly show up to race her is a great moment for her, being an admirer, but Diana comes across as somewhat smug and overconfident in how she presents herself. Or is she, really? Is it a case of where if it was a male character saying what she says that we’d have no issue with it? Nanc and Alicia give her grief over the way she kind of puts down Jody, though Jody’s just soaking it all up, and we even get some barbs about her costume and the fact that she’s not the best at racing – even if she claims that the Flash cheats and Superman lets her win. It’s an odd dynamic of discussions that takes place, but again, if it had been said by a male character you can almost imagine some of it coming across as snarky charm. It’s a strong challenge to the reader to readjust their perceptions.
This back and forth, along with some playful selfie moments with Wonder Woman and a little attempt at some inside details about Superman, takes up most of the book. It’s got an interesting balance to it and it plays well, especially with Koh’s artwork. The latter couple of pages provides a look at where the book will go for at least the next issue as Superwoman shows up, a character I can’t remember the last time I saw. With her being basically the evil mirror version of Wonder Woman, there’s obviously a challenge there. Making her the fifty-foot tall woman as well? That means quite the fight is ahead, one that Superwoman is about to enter with glee.
Sensation Comics returns to form here with the start of this new three-part arc and it does two very, very good things for me. First, it brings me back into reading Barbara Randall Kesel again, which makes me want to raid my longboxes for works I grew up reading to savor again. The second is that it’s introduced me to Irene Koh, someone whose work I desperately want to see more of quickly. The pairing is ideal here with this story, its overall presentation and the look and flow of it all. Having just finished watching Ex Machina again and the way it challenges the viewer about their perceptions of gender and character, it was completely in my mind as I read this book and took a look at how I was perceiving actions and interactions just as the characters are. It’s an interesting work to be sure from this perspective but there’s also a lot of good fun to be had here as well, both in dialogue and great artwork.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: DC Comics via ComiXology
Release Date: July 30th, 2015