Tag Archives: Batgirl

Post-Flashpoint Renumbering

31 May

Okay, for you comic book fans that have been reading DC for awhile and are not in the loop check out this article.

Is it just me or does Batman have bigger muscles than Superman?

So, in September every single DC Book is going to be renumbered to number one.  This includes the long-running Detective Comics or the recently reaching 900 Action comics and so forth.  Sure, they may return to the legacy numbering on some issues (like the soon approaching 900 in Detective), but it seems like this stuff is going to stick.

Flashpoint will basically become our modern Crisis on Infinite Earths where we start over again.  Continuity will be wiped out (for the most part, I assume) and everything will begin fresh and anew.

There are a couple problems with this:

  • With so many #1s in September I frankly have no idea what I’m going to buy.
  • I am deathly afraid that they are going to ruin my understanding of some of the characters (i.e. Batman).
  • For the next year or so it seems like most of the stories will be origins.
  • Will the new characters introduced reflect a greater diversity?
  • And, of course, some of my favorite characters (my beloved Tim Drake) will more than likely cease to exist.

Nevertheless, the more I think about it, I believe that this is probably a good idea.  It’s world building and allows for creators to come up with fresh and innovative stories without relying to heavy on the past.  Sure, Batman Inc. will most likely be wiped out and so far it has been genius (I really like Dick and Bruce in the Batman role), but it may be for the best.  Indeed, I was volunteering last Thursday and talking to my co-volunteer which was a guy in his late 40s who was genuinely interested in comics.  I realized that explaining who had been Batgirl and how many Robins there have been was probably very confusing to him.  So, to get new readers in, this may be a wise idea.

Nevertheless, I’m worried.  I feel like starting afresh is a great idea, but what may be so potential downfalls?  If we’re starting the universe over, then I want more female, transgender, gay (the new Batwoman series will launch this fall), African American, and people of all sorts of different cultural backgrounds to take the lead.  However, from what we know of the new Justice League, it seems like they are reinstating the masculine and white paradigm.  So please DC, I agree that – despite my love for some of these characters – it’s probably a good idea to hit reset, but take advantage of the opportunity at hand and DO NOT go back to the same heteronormative stuff that you’ve been shelling out.  Including some of those characters that provide diversity to the line up will gain you many positive approvals from outside the typical male, white, heterosexual audience.  This will perhaps draw in new readers rather than just pissing off old ones.  So, take advantage.

This is actually making me care a little about Flashpoint.  So, good job.

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Batgirl #21: Review!

12 May

You know, it’s surprising to think that I’ve followed this series for nearly two years.  For that long, it has been going strongly.  And this issue keeps up the pace.

Now, the series has never been phenomenal, but it’s never been really bad either.  It coasts at a nice even pace that is light-hearted and fun.  There is a bright spot in the Batman universe and that is Stephanie Brown.

In this issue, Bryan Q. Miller puts Batgirl up against another college student member of The Scythe.  The endgame is rather unclear on what The Scythe will do, but we know that they are not out to kill Batgirl.  Instead, they are pursuing their own means for some sort of benefactor.  I find this rather interesting because the goal isn’t necessarily to kill the hero or even hurt them, it’s instead to go about their business and hope for no further interruptions.  But, interruptions they get in the plentiful as Stephanie kicks some ass.

There is also the side plot of Wendy Harris and she makes a decision that will take her out of the immediate picture (I’m sure the side quest will be shown in further issues) which effectively leads Stephanie out on her own.  Overall, there is tight plotting.

However, I can’t help but to think that this series will work so much better as a trade.  I tend to forget exactly what is going on from month to month and it leads me a little confused right at the beginning.  So, this will definitely lead to more re-reads.The inker also has some fun on a couple of panels making things a little muddier and impressionistic.

Overall, interesting story that’s compelling but doesn’t necessarily wow.

Batman: The Return – Review

19 Nov

This comic started out really neat.  I mean, you get to see bats fighting! Bats!  That’s right, bats in a Batman comic!  Hurrah!  This lovely lead-in to the main feature balanced pretty well.  And then, onto the main feature, we get Bruce Wayne back at his old tricks BUT BIGGER.

Now, this section seemed a bit rushed especially since I figured Bruce’s briefing of the Bat Family would last a bit longer with Red Robin at least getting a few good lines.  Nevertheless, this was about Bruce.  Except, then it went to Bruce and Damian in ridiculous robot costumes.  I couldn’t tell if they were inside the robot or outside or whatever until a decent amount into the scene.  A nearly forgettable character is introduced along with the criminal organization that will face off against Batman Inc.  I’m intrigued but not overly excited.

I suppose my biggest complaint was all of the unnecessary extra content.  It basically goes “oooh… here’s the original pencils!  Now, here are the inked pencils!  Oh, new designs!  Golly gee this is fantastic!  Let’s throw in some of the finalized scripts!  Yipee!”  Now, I’m not going to complain and be like “hey, you should have offered me more pages of art!”  But, at the very least, they could have offered some of the bonus material on their The Source website, cut it out of the comic, and raised the price down a dollar.  That would have made me much more pleased.

Nevertheless, the comic itself was decent, and it functions as a good kickoff to the new era of Batman.

Super HeroiHOT #25: Cassandra Cain

17 Nov

So, last week I covered Miss Cassandra Cain’s mother Lady Shiva.  Well, that got me so energized as to do Cassandra Cain because, sure, you know, I do a lot of Batman related characters.  Nevertheless, she’s quite the worthy character to pit it out against everyone else.

APPEARANCE:

Cassandra’s Batgirl costume has become nearly as iconic as a Batman costume (there are dozens, of course).  It is so slick and simple yet incredibly effective.  When the only things that are not black on the costume is a silhouetted bat symbol and a utility belt (which she hardly ever uses), then you’ve got something very intimidating.

The most noticeable thing on the costume is the face mask.  This has literally been sewn on by Cassandra to cover up her nose and mouth.  Plus, there are special lenses over the eyes to make the face seem completely shrouded.  This fits the entire get up of Cassandra.  She is a deadly fighter that is all about stealth and efficiency.  There are no items on her outfit that are unplanned for or unusable.

Out of costume, Cassandra is the daughter of the Asian Lady Shiva and the Caucasian David Cain.  So, she is mixed race but comes off looking more Asian than anything else.  Most Asian characters are often shown as back up characters, but not too frequently in leading roles.

However, Cassie is no longer Batgirl.  And, as of this month, she was finally shown post-Batgirl in the pages of Red Robin #17.  And, as I said in the interview, I’m really digging this new look.  The majority of it seems completely practical.  The only thing that stands out to me as possibly a problem is the scarf, but that sort of makes up for her no longer having a cape.  Nevertheless, this new look really works and works damn well.  So, I really hope that they keep this good thing going on her few appearances that will probably make the rounds over the next year or so.

Plus, I have to give it to artists: in most cases, Cassie’s body was never really exploited.  Sure, there were some questionable scenes when she was out of costume, but, compared to most other superheroines, there was not a plentiful abundance of dehumanizing images.  With a track record of killer costumes and the refusal to exploit her body, I’ll make the unprecedented move of:

Appearance: 11/10

 

PERSONALITY:

Cassandra is a very determined being.  As shown from above, she keeps fighting even after she’s down or harmed or whatever.  It’s really quite impressive.  Her determination defines her.

So determined she goes after cars… while being dragged behind them with a tension line… and being shot at.

Now, to some, she may be very short answered and curt, but, to those people, I reply with: She was raised for 8 years without a single word ever being uttered to her.  That’s right, to those who do not know, David Cain raised his daughter to understand the language of the body rather than any verbal language.  So, even after a couple of years as being Batgirl, she has yet to learn how to read or write.  She can, however, communicate fairly well talking.

As seen above with Spoiler, Cassandra can be very forward.  Sure, she is trying to protect Stephanie, but she does it by applying a pressure point disabling method.

She can also have a good laugh about the finer points in life.

Nevertheless, you have to give her the benefit of the doubt with all of her occasional problems with communicating.

Personality: 9/10

 

SUPERPOWERS:

Just in case you’re unsure, Cassie’s in black and Lady Shiva’s in orange.

So, all of that being raised by David Cain until she was 8 with absolutely no communication verbally did something quite spectacular for her.  She learned the language of body movement.  Although, she did psychically lose it and had to be retrained by Lady Shiva.  Nevertheless, Cassandra shows the extraordinary ability to know what someone’s about to do whether that’s dodging bullets at close range or disabling someone.  Cassandra always seems to have the upperhand and it is rare to see someone overpower her for long.  Hell, SHE BEAT LADY SHIVA everyone… oh, and this didn’t happen just once, it happened twice – possibly a third depending on who’s counting.

Do you know what this means?  She can go toe to toe with Batman – Bruce Wayne is arguably the most skilled fighter in the DC Universe – and nearly win!  That’s crazy!

On top of this, she’s been trained as an assassin… which, as a child, you know, she actually killed someone.  Ignoring that, she can, as the above picture shows, move without being seen or heard even in broad daylight.  She is essentially a shadow with no owner.

That’s just plain badass.

Superpowers: 10/10

 

SECRET IDENTITY:

There was, at one point, a time when Cassandra actually attempted to have a Secret Identity.  This was when she was living in Bludhaven… then, you know, a big Crisis of the Infinite variety came around and BLUDHAVEN WAS BOMBED… the whole city wiped out.  Way to go Chemo, way to go.

That was basically the only time in which Cassie had a secret identity.  But, we can’t really blame her, she was trained as a deadly assassin from birth and fighting really was the only thing she knew.  So, she never really had much of an opportunity to develop a secret identity.  And, in some cases, she was more devoted to Batman’s cause than he was… at least time wise.

Secret Identity: 9/10

 

Additional Items:

Sometimes, Cassie’s violence and fighting just seemed a little too excessive.  Such as, you know, cracking your mom’s neck to disable her and then hanging her on a hook above a Lazarus pit…  Or, perhaps taking a sword and slicing a main artery in Ravager’s neck that would only give her ten minutes to live.  She’s a hero but she has no real worries about casualties.  If she’s not the one killing or those immediately around her, then it’s okay.  Such would be the case when those really fucking annoying gun-toting twins (totally forget their names) were shooting at her and Robin, and she got them to shoot and kill each other.  That’s a little much.

-2

There was that whole thing with her being drugged, taking over the League of Assassins, being Deathstroke’s plaything, trying to kill the Titans thing… yeah, you know, the one that got fans shitting in their pants with upsetness.  It was a terrible move on DC’s part and did not fit with the character, but that does not mean it didn’t happen.  And, for that:

-2

I don’t have an exact image for it, but I can still tell you how awesome it was: Cassie survived a LAZARUS PIT WITHOUT GOING CRAZY.  Let’s just give the little ol’ example of Jason Todd.  Hey, the guy’s kind of brain dead, let’s revive him in the pit: CRAZY.  Oh, Ra’s Al Ghul seems like a nice gentlemen, oh, he wants eternal life, well here’s a Lazarus Pit: CRAZY.  Yet, Cassandra is revived by Shiva in the Lazarus Pit and Cassie, by her own will, meditates the crazy off and survives not crazy.  No one has never been revived by the Pit without going at least a little bit crazy except for Cassie…. yeah, that’s badass.

+3

TOTAL SCORE:

38/40 or 95%

Cassie lines them up and knocks them down.  Pure badass.

Batgirl #15: Review

13 Nov

Okay, the intro to this comic with Dustin Nguyen’s little mini, chibi, cute whatevers is adorable.  However, I found it a little off putting that Stephanie and Oracle would be so open to letting Proxy in on the Bat-Family’s secrets.

Nevertheless, after the beginning I was hooked.  Plus, I was just really pumped for Dustin Nguyen taking over art duties.

…But, something happened…

The comic wasn’t actually all that good.

Sure, we had Stephanie’s idiosyncratic quips that are usually cute and chuckle-worthy… yet they just didn’t seem as good this time around.  And, the overall plot just wasn’t that creative.  It was the typical “OMG THE HERO’S BEEN SET UP AS A VILLAIN!!!” that we’ve seen dozens of times before.

On top of that, the art wasn’t that great.  Sure, it had Dustin’s charismatic expression, but it just didn’t do that much for me.

Overall, I walked away from this comic a little disappointed that it was mediocre.  Sure, I’ll keep on coming back to this issue because when it works, it really works.  But, the last couple of issues just haven’t seemed as great as before.  I think it’s about time Stephanie got a serious batch of Rogues Gallery-abled villains… that don’t do the typical bait and switch.

Red Robin #17: Review

13 Nov

Man, Red Robin is so good.  I love me some Tim Drake.  First off, let me go into an explanation of my day picking up this comic.

I got my comic books on Thursday particularly because I don’t get out of class until 5:30 on Wednesdays, and then I hardly feel the impetus to go and get comics after a tiring day.  So, instead I went and got them on Thursday.  Originally, I planned to go see The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest before hand.  However, it was sold out.  I later realized that that was because it was Veteran’s day.  As proven by traffic BEING FUCKING CRAZY.  On top of that, some of my mental health issues were acting up.  So, it goes without saying that I was not in a particularly great mood.

Nevertheless, walking into Atomic Comics and talking to Shane and Ashley for awhile made me cheer up a bit.  Then I got Scott Pilgrim and a couple other movies.

So, I came home in an alright mood.  Planted my ass down, and then read me some Red Robin.

Spoilers Ahead.

Basically, this comic took place in two locations: China and Gotham.  IN CHINA WE FIND OUT WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO CASSANDRA CAIN.  As in, fuck yes, my home girl is back.

And boy, does her redesign by Marcus To look badass.  She is definitely ninja assassin-ing it out.

So, the beginning of the comic was awesome, and then it sort of went mehmehmehOHMYGOSHAWESOME.  The whole plot with Lynx is great even though it constantly mentions “I don’t want her to become my Catwoman” as he proceeds to make her his personal Catwoman.  Then, Bruce calls him out for it.  And you find out that Tim is Bruce’s Right Hand Man for Batman Inc.

It was also nice to check in on some supporting characters from the previous Robin series.

Overall, the writing wavered a bit, but it remained really strong.  And, Marcus To proved once again that he’s becoming one of the most consistent, woman-friendly, respectful, creative, and reliable artists in the business.  Plus, give a hand to the inking on the issue.

Though, I found it a little strange how short Tim is in comparison to Bruce.  When, on the cover, Lynx is really small to Tim.  So, is Lynx like 5’3″ or something?  Sometimes Tim comes off as looking really old or really young for his 18 (17?) years.

Super HeroiHOT #24: Lady Shiva

12 Nov

Lady Shiva is perhaps the most skilled and deadly fighter in the DC Universe.  Hands down, everyone tries to fight her, and she fights them all off – usually to the death.  She’s one hell of a foe.

APPEARANCE:

Recently, Lady Shiva has been seen in a black trench coat with a Chinese red top.  Previously, she was seen primarily in black or in some sort of red garb.  The all black look was pretty badass with the short hair and chip-on-her-shoulder demeanor.  But, nowadays, I think her look is very slick.  As slick as a slip-n-slide made of velvet.  Yeah, that’s right, VELVET. Everything is streamlined and it shows off how tough of an opponent she is.  She is unafraid of wearing some loud colors to announce “hey, I’ve come to kick your ass.”  Sure, the long trench coat thing doesn’t seem very conducive to fighting, but it works visually.  …Now, let’s just excuse that whole Jade Canary switchy business…

She used to have pretty short hair, but I like the longer hair look now better.  Even though it seems much less practical than before.

She hasn’t had any real terrible costumes through the years.  I mean, there was that one period in the 90s where she showed off a fair amount of stomach, but it still worked.  It hasn’t been Rogue bad.

Appearance: 9/10

 

PERSONALITY:

Now, Shiva can come off as really cold.  But, there’s some honor in there.  She has trained multiple people because she has seen the potential in them.  Sure, she may have just trained them so they can be future worthy opponents but still.

I suppose that being cold comes with the territory.  I mean, she has been a contract killer for A REALLY LONG TIME.  She’s spent years in meditation and perfecting her art.  So, she’s pretty introverted.  Nevertheless, she does come through with the whole honor thing, for the most part.

Personality: 5/10

 

SUPERPOWERS:

Here comes the fun part!  SHIVA IS A BADASS.  Like, there is no doubt of her badassedness.  It just exudes from her in plentiful drops used to create a tea that brings immortality.  That’s how crazy good she is.  REALLY!

First off, she’s deadly fast.  She has the ability to read her opponents even slightest movements to know where they’re going to strike next.  It’s crazy how easily she can evade someone.

Overall, she’s a deadly fighter.  Hell, she trained Bruce Wayne to get him back into shape both mentally and physically after Bane broke his back.  That’s right, BRUCE FUCKIN’ WAYNE came to HER.

So, yeah, she doesn’t have any superpowers.  She’s just a huge fucking badass.

Superpowers: 10/10

 

SECRET IDENTITY:

So, Shiva doesn’t have a secret identity.  Her life is filled with kicking ass, training, and meditation.  Though, she does have a thing for chocolate (which Tim Drake used to poison her in his final fight with her).  So, it’s nice to know she’s so committed to her job.  Plus, it probably boosts your ego when a group of worshipers come together thinking that you’re the reincarnation of the god Shiva.  Yeah, that probably makes you feel pretty damn good.

Secret Identity: 8/10

 

ADDITIONAL ITEMS:

Because Shiva rivals Batman in terms of martial arts ability, she has a lot of rivals.  This also probably stems from her never really choosing sides.  She works for herself.  Nevertheless, she’s sort of a training ground for numerous people to see how good they are.  Therefore, when most people can’t land a hit on her, other people do.  For instance, Cassandra Cain (her daughter!) managed to beat the shit out of her a couple of times, Black Canary did a pretty good job against her, Connor Hawke (Green Arrow II) stood up fairly well against her, Tim Drake Robin managed to defeat her (poisoned her and still got some ribs broken), and, oh yeah, Batman totally kicked her ass.

– 5

Nevertheless, Shiva has stood up to Bruce Wayne Batman and given him a run for his money multiple times.  Sure, he’s figured out some pretty good strategies against her, but that doesn’t make her any easier as an opponent.

+ 2

Did I mention she kills?  In the DC view of things: KILLING IS BAD.  But, I enjoy how she blurs the line between good and bad leaving that little slice of the middle road there.  There are very few characters in the DC Universe that can pull that off.  So, congrats to her.

+1

GRAND TOTAL:

30/40 or 75%

I think this is a fair score.  She does some positive things for the portrayal of women by showing that they can just as easily be strong badasses and be equal to or greater than men.  Nevertheless, there’s something menacing about her in the DC Universe, and, perhaps, it’s this uncomfortableness that keeps her interesting.