Hey Friends! It’s time for another Best In Trade Review, where we take a look at a comic trade from the long or recent past. This week, we look at The Astonishing Art of Amanda Conner released in hardcover earlier this month from DC Comics!
Mixing a keen sense of humour with an ability to pull at your heartstrings, Amanda Conner’s art stands out! For years, she’s dazzled us with her renderings of the likes of Supergirl, Harley Quinn, Silk Spectre, Kamandi and more. Her use of expression is top notch and her classic pacing presents a breakneck style akin to The Marx Brothers. She knows how to slow things down, however, and let the reader feel the power of an emotional moment. This collections serves as a companion piece to the 2012 release DC Comics: The Sequential Art of Amanda Conner with stories from 2009 to 2019. It picks up right where the last collection leaves off.
Included in the collection are her Wednesday Comics Supergirl story, The complete Before Watchmen: Silk Spectre miniseries, Batman #68 (Solitude), and various Harley Quinn stories and excerpts. It’s a well balanced diet of her recent work. Also included in the set is The Kamandi Challenge #3 (written by Jimmy Palmiotti). The story perfectly presents a dramatic look at confusion and trauma in a digestible piece of entertainment. Conner’s range as an artist is truly on display. You can’t help but feel for the characters. She brings emotion to the forefront without bringing down the mood.
Over the years, Conner has had some fantastic collaborations. Her work with husband Jimmy Palmiotti is well documented. The two took Harley Quinn from a popular Batman Villain and made her one of the biggest stars at DC. The spectrum of tales they’ve told is on display with some choice excerpts. Her team up with Wonder Woman in Harley’s Little Black Book #1 captures Harley’s mad capped antics. The Be Careful What You Wish For Special Edition shows both Harley’s sense of adventure as well as her compassion. Her excerpt from the Harley Quinn Invades San Diego Comic-Con Special is a playful look into Quinn’s psyche.
Her work with Darwyn Cooke and Tom King in this collection is not be overlooked. Both the Silk Spectre mini and her issue of Batman show moments of sincerity wrapped in smart character choices. Laurie’s journey is a heartfelt coming-of-age tale. The juxtaposition of Catwoman and Lois Lane’s friendship to that of Clark and Bruce smartly captures the characters. Amanda shows her affection for these heroes and villains with a knowing playfulness. She never betrays the characters. She evokes sympathy and comfort in the reader then takes them down a path less travelled. Her art is daring but familiar. The reader trusts her to always lead them through a great story. This allows her to take us down some crazy paths that are always satisfying to follow.
My only real complaint with this collection is that I wanted to read even more Conner comics….which isn’t bad at all. Always leave them wanting more, right? It’s the perfect jumping off point for readers to check out more of Conner’s work in Harley Quinn and beyond. A superb sampler of Amanda’s range of tales.
If you’re looking for escapism in times like these, you can’t go wrong with The Astonishing Art Of Amanda Conner. It’s Fun! It’s Funny! The characters feel tried and true but the stories are a roaring rampage of adventure! It’s a fun ride to be sure. The cover art is also dynamic and fun. It truly captures the excitement of Amanda’s artwork. Pick up this collection today and enjoy some great DC Comics stories.
Thanks to Penguin Random House Canada for providing a copy of The Astonishing Art of Amanda Conner for this review.
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