Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

I'm back! And reading! And maybe even blogging! No promises!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Random Thoughts Regarding Recent Comics (Spoiler-Lite)

- I have no complaints about the new Birds of Prey line up. NONE.
--I liked the line about not worrying about other team/organization memberships. I guess Oracle's decided she likes liaisons.
--- The Dinah monologue went a little too long, I think. I'm glad she's not vanished from the book, but I didn't really need that much retelling of her history. It's not like I learned anything new.
---- The bits with Dinah Sr. were pretty cute though.
- And I loved the montage at the beginning! Roses!

- checkmate felt shockingly incoherent today. I'm not sure I'm fond of the art style and I think it's missing something without Alan. Michael's great but he lacks Alan's particular momentum, I think.
-- I do want to see who he picks as Bishop though.

- GLC was awesome as always. I like when they go with the crazier concepts.
-- And also illustrated why I love Guy so. See. Hal will just defeat you. But Guy will defeat you in a way that's utterly embarrassing in the process. If only because you just got your ass kicked by Guy Gardner.
--- Poor Soranik. It was doomed to happen. But I really wish we could see a faction of scary neo-nazi-esque Sinestro would-be followers. They ought to exist somewhere and it would be interesting to see them interact with Soranik.
---- Iolande got a speaking role! Yay! More Corps women!
----- Isamot and Vath are still boring. Darnit.

- GL was...much as I expected and felt oddly disjointed to me. Maybe that's intentional though. It's only the first issue of the arc so I'll refrain judgement to the end. I'll be glad when the story is over though.

- Supergirl was a disappointment from last month. Not bad but...I think Kelly should stick with the dramatic aspects for now and lay off the action.
-- The Supergirl/Nightwing stuff was actually one of the few things I liked about Loeb's run but it didn't work as well for me here.
--- The stuff with Captain Boomerang was pretty cute though.

- Finally got to read the Snowfall hardcover. Very neat. Very mythic. Of course I loved the Snow and Bigby stories. Surprisingly my favorite was Ambrose's. Poor guy. I also liked seeing the Frau's ties to so many other Fables residents.

- I still like Batwoman. In a lot of ways I find her a lot less cliched than Isis...who I also love, don't get me wrong.
-- And I'm probably very much in the minority on this but the descriptive phrase "lesbian socialite" does not grate nearly as much as "silent, asian ninja girl with sewn up mouth", I didn't actually dislike Cassandra, mind you. But I tend to like my heroes a little less openly over the top. (See also: Impulse)
--- Speaking of. I am kind of amused about the bitching about Batwoman's costume when she first appeared. Sure high-heels are impractical. But considering the Batgirl costumes... Compared to a teenager in a fetish mask, I'll take the high-heels. (that costume, as cool/creepy as it was, was way too fetishy for an underage heroine. If they'd just declared her to be 19, I probably wouldn't complain at all. But she's not. Which makes the costume a little problematic)

- How long exactly did it take to resume the Eye of Ekron plot?
-- I think I've given up on making sense of the timeline of this thing.
--- Still fun though.
---- Never thought, when it started, I'd be the most interested in the Black Adam and Question plots. I've always liked the Question, but Black Adam always seemed overrated. I guess I really like Isis and Osiris.

- I still don't think the choice of a female traitor in Teen Titans is misogynistic. Sorry

- This is old but I still think the Dodge storyline in Robin was actually leading to a Steph resolution. Slowly. I mean, he's freaking out because of a gung-ho teenage hero with more enthusiasm than training, some natural ability but definitely not a planning type who gets horribly injured trying to bite off more than he can chew. Tim's particular reaction seemed to subtextually indicate a relationship to what happened to Steph, so maybe we'll *FINALLY* get to see him address it.

- I'm still very much behind on NaNoWriMo, but not as much as it looks like on Ragnell's site. I'm just refusing to update my counter until I've caught up enough that I won't be depressed by the gap that remains. At least now I can convince myself "Hey, the gap isn't THAT big. It's just that the counter is not caught up.
-- At least I have a few weeks to catch up.
--- And my protagonist stopped acting like Guy Gardner. Thank god.

- JSA next month!!! Yay!



  • At November 16, 2006 10:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    - I have no complaints about the new Birds of Prey line up. NONE.

    Not even the fact that it continues to be an all White team -- except for one Asian who (as best as I can remember) had no speaking lines?

    Maybe there were just no Blacks who were free in Gotham that day? Or no Hispanic heroes who might have proven to be useful in a mission to Mexico?

    Actively fighting anti-Feminist stereotypes in no excuse, in my book, for perpetuating other ones.

  • At November 16, 2006 10:22 AM, Anonymous Mark Engblom said…

    Birds of Prey: I've been with the title for over a year now, but I think I'll be moving on. I see things kind of repeating themselves, and I can take only so many characers speaking in Gail Simone's voice. I love smart, ironic quipster female characters as much as the next guy....but is every woman a smart, ironic quipster? Gail's great, and Gail has a very natural, sophisticated comedic voice....but too much of anything can get distracting.

    The Canary story was diappointing, since I think she was letting the kid on a little too much information at such an early stage in their relationship. Revealing the identities of Green Arrow (and others, if I recall correctly) to a tiny assassin probably wasn't the smartest move.

    I also liked the bits with "Dinah Sr.", though I couldn't help but feel the influence of the mother/daughter Silk Spectre dynamic from Watchmen looming over the scenes (especially when Dinah Sr. was puffing away on a cig).

    How this storyline meshes with Brad Meltzer's JLA story is anybody's guess, since the Canary of JLA doesn't seem to be in the "mommy mode" of BOP's Canary. Oh well, I'd given up on across-the-line editorial discipline a long time ago.

    2. Green Lantern Corps: I'd been reading GLC since the mini-series last year, and generally enjoying it...but for whatever reason I just didn't buy it yesterday. Whether it was Dave Gibbons somewhat stiff looking art, or the growing suspicion that this is basically just "stealth" Guy Gardner solo wasn't making a Love Connection with me.

    3. Batwoman in 52: I don't know if this is reflective of an overall "52 burnout" effect (far too many storylines proceding at a glacial pace), but the Batwoman storyline does absolutely nothing for me. Granted, I'm not the world's biggest GLBT cheerleader, but beyond that, I just think the whole thing feels a little forced. Is it just me, or is Bruce Wayne's lifetime of training and preparation undercut when it seems just about anyone can strap on a costume, learn a few moves and then hit the streets as a Bat-themed crimefighter? It all just seems too easy.

    Re: JSA next month. I'll echo your "YAY!"

    I've really missed it.

  • At November 16, 2006 10:40 AM, Anonymous david brothers said…

    You know what's kind of funny? I had no idea that Batgirl's costume was a fetish costume until I started poking around comics-based sites on the internet. I thought it was just a sweet design and pretty scary, from a crook's point of view.

    The internet ruins innocence so, so often :(

    Robin was particularly good for this month, though that may be personal feelings intersecting with comics tastes. I don't know that the Dodge story is building to anything regarding Steph in particular, but I do think that it is working toward Robin becoming more mature and less guilt-ridden. I think it also serves to explain why we haven't seen Robin rending his clothes and wearing sackcloth over Steph and his parents. He dealt with that to some degree over the lost year by talking to Dick, his bat-older brother. It's an interesting use of the missing year, there, and I kind of like it.

    Teen Titans is missing with me kind of hard right now, but I'll stick around for the Titans East story. I'm curious as to how Johns will handle Match and Batgirl, who I don't think he's written before?

    If you'd like a little extra space in your wallet, you need to check out Dark Horse's The Escapists, by Brian Vaughan, with art by Steve Rolston and Shaun Alexander. Five of six issues are out now and it is hands-down my favorite series of the year. It blends comics production, commentary on corporation vs creator, a love of comics, and stumbling nerd-romance into one heck of a package. It's probably the best thing to have come out of the Escapist idea/universe/series ever, though I have yet to read Chabon's original novel.

    But, yeah, great series.

  • At November 16, 2006 10:54 AM, Anonymous Matthew said…

    Ragtime: There's a rotating JLU-like cast. Meaning Dr. Light III will probably show up. That and near as I can tell, there are very few female hispanic and black superheroes in the DCU (Tarantula, Natasha Irons, and Thunder are the only ones that pop up at the top of my head, the first I think should die, the second is in 52, and the third...well). Besides, actively fighting sterotypes and perpetuating others...are you comparing Gail to Judd Winick?

  • At November 16, 2006 10:57 AM, Blogger Steve Pheley said…

    Yeah, I'm kinda with David, I had just read Cassandra's mask as kind of patchworky...for some reason the offensive aspects never occurred to me until I read people talking about it online. Whoops.

    I am curious whether Simone always planned to have Dinah leave now, or if it was editorially mandated for the JLA book...and if it's the latter, then why is it she can't be in two measly books when Batman and Superman manage to be in, what, four or five each?

  • At November 16, 2006 11:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    That and near as I can tell, there are very few female hispanic and black superheroes in the DCU

    And it seems to me that an ensemble-cast comic book is the perfect place to find new ones. You could have made the same argument had Thunder not been in the Outsiders. And yet . . .there she was.

    Besides, actively fighting sterotypes and perpetuating others...are you comparing Gail to Judd Winick?

    Sure, if the comparison is "One does it a little bit and should stop, while the other does it a lot and should stop," I don't see what wrong with that.

  • At November 16, 2006 11:19 AM, Anonymous Mark Engblom said…

    "I am curious whether Simone always planned to have Dinah leave now, or if it was editorially mandated for the JLA book...and if it's the latter, then why is it she can't be in two measly books when Batman and Superman manage to be in, what, four or five each?"

    My beef with Canary in the JLA book has more to do with the incoherence of a motherhood-oriented Canary in BOP (pretty much saying she's giving up, or dramatically curtailing, the superhero life), versus a business-as-usual Canary in Meltzer's JLA.

    I don't mind Canary showing up in mulitple books...but at the very least DC should be working harder to present reasonably coherent continuity regarding Dinah and her life choices. To neglect that diminishes her role in both books.

  • At November 16, 2006 11:55 AM, Blogger The Dane said…

    Snowfall was indeed rad. I love the added development to Snow's character (both in the overarching narrative and in her opening tale). Glimpsing Bigby's origin was neat too. And you're right - I felt horrible after reading Ambrose's tale. The devastation wrought by the Adversary's armies is truly atrocious - and the sheer helplessness of Ambrose in it's face was heartbreaking.

  • At November 16, 2006 11:55 AM, Blogger SallyP said…

    I finally broke down and bought BoC, and I frankly enjoyed it quite a bit. LOVED Barda.

    52 was ok, but I missed Ralph.

    GLC was a hoot. Did you notice Salakk wandering around holding a flower and talking about how relaxed he was? Finally got some Kilowog too.

  • At November 16, 2006 1:06 PM, Anonymous Dan Coyle said…

    So, for those of us who read BoP in trade, what's the new lineup?

    My main issue with Dinah in the JLA? Brad Meltzer.

  • At November 16, 2006 1:41 PM, Anonymous Kane Fogg said…

    "Actively fighting anti-Feminist stereotypes in no excuse, in my book, for perpetuating other ones."

    Ah, but in the world of those who talk loudly about comics on the internet, feminism trumps anti-racism. That's why Reg Hudlin can be the only black comics writer on a mainstream DC or Marvel book, writing the most prominent black superhero currently to have their own book, and still get torn apart purely on the basis of how he writes Storm.

  • At November 16, 2006 1:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    So, for those of us who read BoP in trade, what's the new lineup?

    For the moment:

    Oldcomers: Oracle, Zinda, Huntress.

    Newcomers: Kate Spencer (Manhunter out of costume), Barda, Judomaster.

  • At November 16, 2006 5:25 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    ragtime: to be perfectly honest? No. I don't actually mind that the team is all white any more than I mind it being all female.

    Would I like to see more ethnic representation in the DCU in general, sure. Would I like to see some more varied characters in Birds of Prey, sure. But I like this cast of characters. I like the way they interact, and I'll make no bones about it.

    So no complaints. Hopes for further improvement yes but I'm not complaining.

    mark: Yeah. Some of the story definitely seemed to quick to tell a stranger, even if she is a child.

    GLC actually seems to split a lot of panel time between the characters for me. But I really enjoyed Guy's solo book too. So I'm not the best judge.

    david: I don't actually have a problem with the design itself. It's just...well. Skin tight black doesn't look quite the same on the male characters than it does on her. And the sewn up mask is awesome and creepy...

    But it is fetishy in a way. And while I like the scary effect. I don't like it on a teenager. (Of course, I don't see why Cass couldn't have been 19-20 when she appeared anyway.)

    And the internet ruins lots of innocence...:(

    I'll have to check that out.

    matthew: I think the argument does stand. But really I'd rather not see Tarantula in the Birds. Natasha annoys me and Thunder is busy.

    I'd love to see some new original female characters in BoP though. I'd prefer that to shoehorning characters in that plainly don't fit.

    steve: I don't get it either. Besides, Manhunter's technically still in DEO anyway. And Oracle herself doesn't care about other group affiliances...

    mark: I'm hoping they'll clear that up. Otherwise it's sloppy on both sides.

    the dane: *nod* It definitely changes the view of Ambrose as a character.

    (the family flashbacks were great though. Daddy's a frog again!)

    sally: Salakk needs a break more often. :-P

    Dan: Someone beat me to answering.

    Kane: In the same respect though anti-racism shouldn't trump feminism.

    I'm not going to flinch from critiquing Hudlin's Storm just because he is black, just like I won't flinch from critiquing Devin Grayson's Dick just because she's a woman.

    When you're writing an established character, you should be writing that character. Not a flimsy facsimile and race, gender or sexual orientation doesn't excuse poor quality.

    Besides, most complaints I've heard of Hudlin aside from general "his Storm sucks" statements were that he compares negatively with Christopher Priest's Black Panther. I don't think race really applies in the case of that comparison.

  • At November 16, 2006 8:59 PM, Anonymous Matthew said…

    "That's why Reg Hudlin can be the only black comics writer on a mainstream DC or Marvel book"


    Firestorm is another book you should...erm, have read since the Moore/Igle run will end next issue, but man, it was a great ride. I'm hoping McDuffie does a good job on his three issue stint...but hey, it's DWAYNE MCDUFFIE!

    Ahem. Sorry. Off a tangent.

    BOP rocks.

  • At November 16, 2006 9:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    ragtime: to be perfectly honest? No. I don't actually mind that the team is all white any more than I mind it being all female.

    I respectfully don't think it's comparable. There are so few prominent women in the DCU that an all-female team is appropriate.

    There is no shortage of all-White comics that require BoP to fill in the gap.

    If anyone looked at an all male version of the Justice League, we would be right to criticize. The fact that we like every man on the team doesn't mean that there isn't something missing there that is worth complaining about.

  • At November 16, 2006 10:00 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    matthew: :-)

    ragtime: I suppose it's an amount of degree for me. I would LOVE to see more characters of color in Birds of Prey. However, I don't think that many of the existing women would fit.

    I want to see more original women, but I think this issue was pretty much set for creating the team of established heroes. Now ideally, we'll start seeing original characters primed to fit soon enough. :-)

    (I admit, ideally, I'd like to see Renee Montoya eventually on the Birds...depending on how 52 ends up, of course. I think she'd be a neat cop-liaison sort. But it would be a while before she's freed up to join.)

  • At November 16, 2006 10:24 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    On the other hand, I'd love to see Dr. Light settle in to the BoP. :-)

    And have them hunt down the god-awful one. :-) It'd make me happy. Quest to get Kimiyo's name back

  • At November 17, 2006 12:54 AM, Anonymous Dan Coyle said…

    McDuffie's also taking over Fantastic Four.

  • At November 17, 2006 8:20 AM, Anonymous Loren said…

    I had several thoughts about the diversity issue of the Birds of Prey, so I thought I'd write my response at my blog.


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