Tag Archives: Heralds

A whole new slew of comic reevus

9 Jun

Well, I didn’t get comics for a month or so… There was a lot waiting for me.

Unfortunately, I forgot to pick up Grizzly Shark and Sea Bear, Return of Bruce Wayne #2, and my LCS still hasn’t received Tales of the TMNT #69.

Overall, I was fairly pleased with my pulls, and I even went out on a limb and bought some Marvel which was, surprisingly, really good.

So, let’s start it off with the bad and move towards the awesome:

Green Lantern #54:

It’s really unfortunate that most of these scenes in this book were sort of seen in others (mostly Brightest Day), and I’m a little tired of Green Lantern.  Honestly, this book is testing my patience.  It looks pretty and Doug Mahnke does his best with trying to make the Star Sapphire costume look not so slutty, but I feel like Geoff Johns is just trying to outdo himself with the next big, cosmic event.  Therefore, character studies are shot down for a rather boring plot.  And Lobo, seriously?  I’m giving this comic three more tries.  If it fails twice in those three times, then it’s out.

The best part of this comic, though, was Dex-Star (the Red Lantern Cat) kicking some ass.

Batgirl #11:

I’ll begin this by mentioning that there isn’t anything inherently wrong with this issue.  I feel like Bryan Q. Miller is doing a knockout job developing a voice for Stephanie.  Sure, Lee Garbett & Pere Perez’s pencils sort of make Stephanie’s boobs fluctuate size on a nearly frame by frame basis, but the art’s overall good.  Everyone’s doing a good job.  My problem is that the comic is doing things that have been done before.  Sure, these are all sort of training exercises for Stephanie, but the stakes are obvious and I don’t feel like there’s any real big threat.  The Calculator is nice, but that’s more so Barbara’s villain.  Is Stephanie going to get any of her own.

As far as dream sequences go, this was one of the more interesting ones out of the thousands out there in comic land.

Girl Comics #2:

I feel like this comic should be longer than it is.  I feel like there should be more stories in it.  Hell, I’m being charged $5 goddamn dollars for it, I might as well get some more stories.  Plus, what’s up with the shipping delay?

Alright, refocus on what’s actually here in the comic.  Unfortunately, it was hit and miss.  I enjoyed the intro again even if it felt like I was rereading the intro from before (I really liked the variation of She-Hulk’s costume).  The Inhumans was kinda bleh.  However, I really liked the hairdressing story because it didn’t really feel like it was shoving the issue of “hey, girls like to get their hair done!” but more so a thing that they do that shows a different aspect of their lives.  I liked the art and coloring on the “Do You Ever?” story even if the script was a bit lacking.  The two page spread of MJ searching for another superhero boyfriend was delightfully taking stabs at the machismo behind many male superheroes which made me pretty giddy.  The Dr. Strange story was a major disappointment.  I just did not understand what was going on.

So, overall, okay, but nothing major.

Batman #700(!):

Alright, I had to dish out the $5 on this landmark issue.  I figured it would probably not be that great, but, strangely, I found it to be pretty gosh darn good.  Now, let me preface it with me walking home 3 and a half miles in the rain worrying about my comics getting wet.  Then, it began pouring – like Puget Sound every day in February pouring – and I sought refuge.  Enter coffee shop and a warm chai.

I opened it up, and found this time-spanning narrative not confusing but, despite being defined by time periods, timeless.  Grant Morrison hit the mark on portraying that, no matter what, there will always be a need for a Batman in comics/the comic world.  Naturally, Frank Quitely’s frenetic energy in his section made a major impression.  It was unfortunate that he couldn’t finish the whole “Today” section.  I feel like they could have simply put a “Tonight” label after the switch to slightly differentiate between the artists and acknowledge the change up.

Now, I’m not a fan of Damien becoming Batman in the future.  Particularly because I think the transition would be too easy for the character… and I don’t like his batsuit.  So, that part was kinda “hmm meh” for me.  However, 2-Face-2 was hilarious as was the final joke.

The “And Tomorrow” section was genius showing off all the different Batmen that have come, gone, or will pass.  I really like the Full masked, silver-emblazoned one.

Overall, this is a pretty good story for a Batman fan with a little bit for everyone.  Sometimes, it didn’t hit the mark.  When it did, though, it was lovely.

Heralds #s 1 & 2:

After reading Kelly Thompson’s review of Her-alds, I decided to give it a try.  And, honestly, I am so glad I did.

Some Superheroes who just all happen to be women get together through an interesting means, and then, all of a sudden, a clones (of scientists and historical figures creating some funny moments with Einstein and later Hitler), Dinosaur, chaotic thing happens.  They bond together over fighting and then come together in the second issue over Frankie Raye and how she plays in the overall importance of recent events.

The art on these issues is amazing.  Some commentators (anonymous comments on other people’s reviews) have said that the art style is too indie or doesn’t differentiate between the women.  I would have to counter this by stating that I am not familiar in any depth with the majority of these characters, and I could tell them apart through facial differences.  Plus, I really like the slim, short-haired She-Hulk.  I mean, she’s lean but with lots of muscle.  Who’s to say the Gamma radiation has to make her bulky just to give her immense strength?

At times, the plot can be a little overwhelming and the dialogue quick, but another read through brings along more enjoyment.  Trust me, the first read is still just as good as you’re briskly trying to read what’s next.  This got me to chuckle aloud, which, as said numerous times before, is a hard thing to do.  Check out the Thompson review to see some pages from the actual book to see the interior art.

Red Robin #13:

Tim Drake-Wayne.  Marriage fake.  Identity.  New duds.  Checklists.  Hard Decisions.  Worth it?

I know that this comic is worth it.  You barely have to be knowledgeable about Tim Drake or this series to still really enjoy it, and the twist is wonderful.  God, I love this comic (and the writer switch – Fabian Nicieza who’s written Tim Drake before – hardly altered anything; a nice transition).

Invincible #72:

Within the Invincible Universe, I feel like Kirkman is at his best with writing violence.  I believe this also probably gives Ryan Ottley much more to play around with.  Anyone noticed the similar attacks Conquest utilizes?  Come on, the frames are nearly the same.

This issue completely surprised me in a good way.  The melodrama’s out of the way, and now it’s just super hard hitting and awesome.  I never knew breathing could be so great!

The Walking Dead #72:

God, does Kirkman know how to nail that final page for every issue.  I mean, it also works really fluidly during the trades, too.  Still, I just love it.

This issue focuses pretty heavy on the adjustment process with emphasis on Michonne, Andrea, and Glenn.  Um, yeah… mostly my favorite characters.  It’s nice to not see any zombies for a bit; although, I’m sure that will change next issue.  This is just such a consistently great comic.

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What DC is doing Right: Batwoman

14 Apr

Williams, a Modern Master

Batwoman started out as just a character reintroduced into the DC mythos post-Crisis on Infinite Earths to basically make the DCU more diverse.  I believe the conversation went something along the lines of:

“Hmmm, you know, we really don’t have any high profile gay characters…”

“Yeah, some people are probably angry about that.”

“Who could we make come out?”

“Nah, Nah, man, let’s just make a new character… but not a guy that’s too obvious.”

“Oh my gosh! You’re so right.  How about a lesbian?”

“YEAH! A really hot lesbian with… with…”

“Red hair! That’s totally punk like lesbians!”

“Well what character, then?”

“Let’s push some buttons.”

“Batwoman.”

“Oh fuck yeah, Batwoman.”

Hence the reason why Batwoman/Kate Kane’s first modern appearances in 52 were that of the lipstick lesbian variety.

Now, DC was wrong, but I believe they have corrected their mistake, and now even furthering the comic industry as a place of equal opportunity based upon skill, not to fulfill quotas.

Bringing Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams III along was the most ingenious move ever.  Rucka makes a career out of crafting strong, memorable, and remarkably all different, all unique female characters.  Him and Williams morphed Kate Kane from the Lipstick Lesbian variety into the badass she is today where her sexuality isn’t the focus on her but an integral part of who she is like it should be to everyone.  Williams commands so much respect for Batwoman and all of the other characters (male and female, etc.) showing them in realistic, fantastic, and positive portrayals.  Hell, even the “bad” characters still have respect to them and aren’t demeaned.

However, Rucka announced last week that he was leaving DC.  I was heart-broken thinking that now my Batwoman series was dead in the water.  I rethought about the tail-end of the panel at ECCC for DC Nation where questions about a Batwoman series kept on being deflected by Ian Sattler because there was some tension there.  Nevertheless, I’m glad that Rucka is making a choice that will please him as he continues to make astounding pieces of work (Stumptown is only two issues in and I love every one of them, my heart seriously pounds harder knowing when the next one comes out).

Transitions, color, elegance, mystique, Batwoman.

So, what to do now?  That was the big question across the internet: is there any possibility for this amazing thing that has received such positive critical attention to continue in some form that will treat the character with just as much respect?  And truly, I believe that if DC didn’t feel like they could put a series of equal or greater value on the market, they wouldn’t do it.  However, I believe their announcements this morning proved that there is a team that can match the powerhouse that was Rucka/Williams.

Earlier this morning DC announced here about Williams staying with a Batwoman series as both writer and artist.  He plans to continue to write the series while switching between arcs on art duties because, quite frankly, his immaculate style truly takes probably twice as long to produce as other comic artists.  Along with Williams, Haden Blackman of Star Wars universe fame will co-write the book.

Now, not only is keeping one of the pioneer workers on for the ride for the headlining series an incredible accomplishment, the other artist who will switch off with Williams between arcs was also announced.  Amy Reeder, known for her work on Vertigo’s Madame Xanadu, will take art duties for the book off and on to give Williams a break.  In my opinion, this is a tremendous accomplishment on DC’s part.  First of all, like any artist, Reeder has proven themselves on – what many might consider but I would beg to differ – a lesser title from a more independent (in terms of stories not financially since Vertigo is DC’s baby) publication company.

Detailed frame composition, articulate facial expressions, and a refreshing style.

I believe that Reeder’s slightly manga influenced style counters Williams just enough to make it identifiable and separated in its own right, but it’s also very apparent how similar their styles of frame composition work.

I’m reveling in this announcement because, in similarity to the comment before, this shows that DC is not just trying to fill a quota of women in the industry.  They’re not bumping up Reeder because she ascribes to the female gender.  No, they’re giving her this project because she’s so goddamn good and deserves the opportunity.

Unlike Marvel’s similar summer (mini)series such as Her-alds or Girl Comics to celebrate She-Hulk’s whatever whatever anniversary, this position isn’t to fulfill some lack of women in the comic industry and a stab to right wrongs and showcase women who just happen to like, write, and illustrate comics.  This is not a showcase for a woman who can do comics, but this is a job given to a professional who has earned it.  It doesn’t matter whether or not Reeder is female or male or transgender or whatever; what matters is that she’s so talented and she will continue to portray Batwoman with the respect, fairness, and unique sensibility that Rucka and Williams so delicately constructed.

I was scared at Rucka’s departure, but I can honestly say that DC is doing something that Marvel isn’t, and that’s considering artists (writers, illustrators, pencillers, inkers, colorists) for their talent and not their gender.

Thank god one of the big two is finally getting it.

As a note to any counter-arguments:

– Yes, I understand that DC is still at fault for many ill portrayals of women and for often appearing to fulfill quotas either through their characters or employees.  Nevertheless, I believe that they are, at least for Batwoman, taking a gigantic step in the right direction.

– Greg Rucka has a giant fan-base, and I’m sad to see him leave DC.  Nevertheless, I believe that with this line-up of talent, the Batwoman series will be just as good as before, if not better.  Also, consider this interview that CBR did today with J.H. Williams III and his plans for the series.  You can really tell that he respects Rucka’s work incredibly and will not purposely go around stomping on Rucka’s plans.

– I understand that at least Marvel is doing something.  To me, it feels a little exploitative and a way to give them an out if sales flounder for continuing to depict women unfairly.  Nevertheless, doing anything (even if it seems like some sort of affirmative action) is important.