Archive for June, 2013

Speedster week! Warm up your tissue boxes!

It’s the last week of June! Well, I’ve personally had no money this month. Between my parent’s anniversary, my mother’s birthday, my grandmother’s birthday, going up to see Matt, saving for Florida Supercon next weekend, and various living expenses, I’ve been Spider-Man broke. That being said, we’ve only got two comics to look at today. Yes, that’s right, the thrilling two-part conclusion to Batman Incorporated has been pushed forward again! Apparently, they’re planning on double shipping the issue in July. Woo.

Speedsters abound! Aside from appearing in Flash, Kid Flash also shows up in that toilet paper periodical, Teen Titans, and Flash himself finishes up his guest spot in Justice League Dark. Man, if Trinity War weren’t on the horizon, I think I’d have to start reading that book again. Jeff Lemire is truly a phenomenal writer. Anyway, this issue marked the first meeting between the only speedster the DCU has left. Now, I’m clinging tight to this theory that Scott Lobdell occasionally has conversations with competent writers, as he most likely talked to Brian Azzarello before making his creation, Lennox, Cassie’s reboot father. That being said, Francis Manapul, why. You wrote Lobdell’s Kid Flash perfectly, as though Bart’s dialogue was coming from the man himself. I’m tempted to believe that that’s exactly what happened. Lobdell’s Kid Flash is a travesty. It’s not Bart. That…thing is not Bart Allen. He’s got the personality of an irate wombat and, I’m sorry, but I thought Bart didn’t remember anything prior to waking up in a group home. Uccch. At least the art was stunning, as always. The two-page spread of them running across various landscapes was amazing, and their ‘fight’ in the Louvre was very Bart in the actions. I had such high hopes for Bart here; actual prayer may have been done to try and ensure that he wasn’t awful. Good thing I’m not religious.

It’s a bad day to have superspeed. I mean, it’s always a bad day to be a character in a Kieron Gillen comic, but I digress. So, has anyone wondered where Tommy’s been all this time? Working a boring factory job and partying, apparently. As for David Alleyne? Yeah, same. Tommy works at Hero Staffing (note to self: that’s an excellent name for a male strip club with a superhero theme) in the assembly area, while David does tech support. They’re friends. Sort of. (“We had noodles once and coffee once.” “See? Friends!”) And when someone robs their workplace in the middle of the night while dressed as Patriot, well…Image

 

 

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The hills are alive with the sound of speedster fans everywhere realizing that to love a super-fast person is to be in constant pain and misery. I’ll admit it, at this point, I’m more than a little please-sir-may-I-have-another when it comes to Gillen’s particular flavor of pain but hey, we all have our kinks. Ans what happened to David, you ask? Nothing. He refuses to put on not-Eli’s glove, so not-Eli vanishes. Trippy, if slightly unsatisfying.

I’m sorry that there wasn’t more to be said, but for the most part, the comics I picked up this week weren’t noteworthy. They were good, but nothing spun my hat. 

Hey, South Floridians! Florida Supercon is next weekend, read up on it here!

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It takes a New God to hold off an Old One. Wait, no, wrong mythos.

Welcome, dear friends, to the first actual goddamn post I’ve done all month. I’m sorry, I really am. I’ve been so lazy, and it’s mainly because I’ve been generally disappointed with the cape comics scene. I’ve spent a lot of time and a bit more money than I really should have catching up on comics like Chew and Sweet Tooth, re-immersing myself in the closed-off worlds of done in one graphic novels, and just reading books again. DC has made me so frustrated with their lack of good superhero stories, that I’ve gone and sought outside sources. Heaven help me, I’m even reading a couple of X-titles again.
But today is a good day.
I’m always pleased to have my ladies week, and another favorite book is even on the roster, today!

It seems like DC doesn’t know what to do with Animal Man these days. It’s almost like…they don’t want the book to succeed. Between moving the release date of the issue from the first week of the month to the third and the fact that they’re in the habit of not soliciting the title on their website until the week of release. Seriously. It’s quite frustrating. Then there’s the stuff that’s actually happening within the title itself. Cliff dying, Ellen taking Maxine and leaving, the Red ejecting Buddy while allowing him to keep his powers, Maxine stepping into the role of Animal Girl…it’s been a busy few months since the end of Rotworld. And it’s not looking to slow down anytime soon! This issue has Buddy suiting up again to look for the abducted pets of local residents, with disturbing results. Meanwhile, Maxine agrees to begin her training within the Red, so long as she’s allowed to look for her brother’s essence as she works. But the most interesting thing, to me at least, is the random insertions of the points of view of regular citizens via DC’s version of Twitter. Hardcore Animal Man fans, media gossips, haters, and normal folks posting their #animalman sightings, all chiming in on the current events in our hero’s life. Not since the early days of Booster Gold and the New Teen Titans have we seen the media be so omnipresent in the life of a superhero. Could random paparazzi attacks be more hazardous than fighting actual supervillains? Only time will tell.

It’s a little disheartening to see just how easily tricked Kara is. I mean, I understand why she’s so easy to fool, but it’s still upsetting. She’s a girl alone, adrift in a universe full of strangers, her only relation a baby cousin that’s outgrown her and treats her like a child. She’s fresh-off-the-boat in the most cosmic sense, and until recently, she wasn’t even able to speak the common tongue of her newly chosen homeland. So yeah, anyone who offers to give her back even the tiniest piece of Krypton is going to be accepted with open arms. Wide open, incredibly naive arms. This time around, it’s a robotic planet called I’noxia. When given the right amount of information, this planet and its inhabitants can become any planet and people they choose. And to a girl dying of Kryptonite poisoning, the idea of spending her final days among her people must seem pretty sweet…even if the planet itself is controlled by a robotic version of her cousin. A Cyborg Superman, if you will. Also in this issue is the always-interesting Siobhan, whose main nemesis these days seems to be a rogue toilet clogged by a rude neighbor. You give him hell, honey. As always, Supergirl makes for an enjoyable read, and now is as good a time as any to jump on, what with this being the first issue of a new story.

You know you’ve got a good comic when it can make you laugh out loud one moment, piss you right the hell off the next, and end on a note that about makes you pee with excitement. Oh, hello Wonder Woman. Were your ears burning? So, right then. We’ve got a godly dog pile on our hands, and the bottom pup is named Firstborn. Woof. Diana, Lennox, and even Orion can’t put a dent in this guy. Then again, he’s a god. He’s the firstborn child of Zeus and Hera, the rightful heir to the throne of heaven. And he wants to destroy the world. Worse, he has the power to actually do it…so long as he’s got his bouncing baby prophecy-fulfilling brother on his side. Gonna be honest, I’m glad the months and months of barely-there plot concerning this guy finally came to a head and kicked off an actual storyline. And now to the bad news. A moment of silence, friends, for my favorite New 52 character, Lennox. It’s highly unlikely that he’s dead, but on the off chance that tumbling through a Boom Tube to kick the Firstborn right in his grizzled and scarred (yet somehow still conventionally attractive) mug didn’t off him, well, I don’t foresee him spending much longer among the living. Not if Cassandra, yet another sibling with a revengerection pointed directly at him, has anything to say about it. Oh! Actually! Speaking of! Blonde woman, with the metal throat? That’s Cassandra. He actually raised her from the time she was young, after she accidentally killed her mother. He was the one that ripped her throat out, after it became apparent that she wasn’t the type of person who should have the power to command obedience from anyone who hears her voice. So, he raised her, and then he abandoned her, this blonde woman named Cassandra. HM, I DO WONDER. Oh right, and then the Wonder crew ends up on New Genesis. I’ll give you three guesses on who I hope to see next issue, and the first two don’t count.

(it’s Big Barda and Mister Miracle, that’s who I want to see)

You know, it usually annoys me when a title sets up a big cliffhanger on which they plan to begin a new storyline…and then takes a break for an issue to focus on something else entirely. But not today, and not with Batwoman. Why? Because how often do we really get stories focusing on Killer Croc where he doesn’t come out of it looking like a punch line? This issue…I’m reminded of the Killer Croc issue from the second Joker’s Asylum mini. In both, his motivation for action is the love of a woman. In both, he comes off as human, rather than the monster he’s usually shown to be. Underneath the skin condition, Waylon Jones is still a human being, though since his brush with Medusa, he’s so much more. With Abbot dead, Waylon is chosen to be the next leader of the Church of Crime’s animal men, so long as he avenges their fallen by killing Batwoman. He doesn’t succeed, of course, but still manages to get away and assert his dominance as their new leader, anyway. His first act? Get the hell out of dodge and settle down someplace that will be safe for all of the remaining animal men. Good job, Waylon. That’s sure using your noodle.

And that’s this week in comics! Also out this week is Vibe, which I managed to miss yet again because I’m too fucking nice and gave the last copy, that I was literally holding in my hand, to an older gentleman who only gets out to the shops every few months. Sigh. Also of note, the latest issue of Green Lantern: New Guardians is out, and with it comes an Indigo ring, for those planning on collecting the new ring line. It’s fairly late now, and the rain is making me sleepy. I’ll see y’all back here next week for Flash, Young Avengers, and Batman Inc!

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Gone to Jersey!

Yesterday was my mother’s 60th birthday. In about 12 hours, I’m leaving for a five-day trip to New Jersey to see my boyfriend. Between the party and frantically packing, I’ve only had the time to look at my comics now.

And sadly, I really don’t have the energy to review them.

Good buys this week:

American Vampire: The Long Road to Hell

Wolverine and the X-Men

Li’l Gotham

A reminder that the first of the new plastic color corps rings are available in participating comic shops now; the Green ring came with Green Lantern #21, and the Blue ring with Green Lantern Corps #21. 

A real review may or may not come on the plane tomorrow, but for now, I am simply exhausted. Goodnight, and good luck, fight fans.

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Death and the Comic Fan (SPOILER ALERT)

In a sudden twist of events, I’ve decided that I’m not really into The Movement. I just can’t get over how it sounds like using the bathroom. Also, it’s…really not very good. I hurt myself saying that just now, folks. I really did.

So instead, let’s talk about death and the comic book industry.

Gail Simone herself coined the concept of ‘fridging’, in relation to female characters: Killing off a female character in order to bring strife into a male character’s life. It’s a time honored tradition in virtually any form of entertainment, from comics to movies to, hell, even music. Remember that song Last Kiss? But I’m not here to add my comments to a topic that’s been, pardon the expression, discussed to death. I’d like to take a few minutes to discuss death in comics in the modern age.

In general terms when relating specifically to DC, the Golden Age of comics began with the first issue of Action Comics and ended sometime in the 1950s. The Silver Age officially started with Showcase #4, which introduced the first ever rebooted superhero, Barry Allen’s Flash, and ended with the death of that character in 1985’s Crisis on Infinite Earths. The Bronze Age started in 1986, at the end of CoIE’s run, and ended in 2005, with Infinite Crisis. The Modern Age started in 2004, with Identity Crisis. Confused? Welcome to the world of the Modern Age.

Shock value. These are the two defining words of the Modern Age of comics. In 2004, a little series called Identity Crisis began to make waves at DC. It started by killing off beloved wife Sue Dibny, and by the seventh issue, had been the cause of death of another two characters; Jack Drake, the father of the then-current Robin, and Digger Harkness, the first Captain Boomerang. Digger’s recently-discovered son, Owen, also premiered in this series.

Our next big death would come three months later, in Countdown to Infinite Crisis. After spending 79 pages having the rest of the world fall in love with Ted Kord all over again, the final page has his former friend and boss Max Lord graphically shooting him in the head. And then there was Infinite Crisis, also known as Everyone Dies 2: Electric Boogaloo. Where am I going with this?

Death in comic books is comparable to a rotating door. People go in, people come out, and some are stuck waiting at the turnstile. After Superman’s death and return in the early 90s, all bets were off. If you died in a comic, the likelihood of resurrection depended on how popular you were. Deaths like those of Hal Jordan (1996), Wonder Woman (1997), and even Bruce Wayne (2009) were overturned in times ranging from almost a decade to a matter of months. Then there’s the Marvel side of things, where a person can come back from the dead multiple times. Death in comic books simply does not matter.

Which is why it’s used as a plot device so often.

Recently, DC killed off Damian Wayne in a gruesome fashion. Even more recently, they did the same to Catwoman. Of course, Damian’s was meant to be a permanent death (even though the kid is related to the one man who has returned from the grave more than Jean Grey), whereas it is being speculated that Selina’s death was a fake-out. But, DC wouldn’t do that…would they?

The year is 2010. The series is Justice League: Generation Lost. The character is Blue Beetle. No, the third one. He gets shot in the head by (who else) Maxwell Lord. He’s okay, though! The suit took the brunt of the damage! Didn’t stop DC from making fakeout covers, fake reactions, and constant parallels to how his previous incarnation died.

Death is meaningless. That’s the point I’m trying to convey. There have been entire events based around death, from the Death of Captain America to Blackest Night. Entire series’, such as Suicide Squad and, more recently, Avengers Arena.

So, why am I making a post about death now?

Because.

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Kate Kane: An awesome character for awesome people

It’s come to my attention recently (by which I mean, I’ve kind of always known in the back of my mind, but am only now saying something because I’m sick of not addressing it personally) that Kate Kane is a controversial character. For reasons, even! In any case,

HERE IS AN ARGUMENT AGAINST EVERY REASON TO HATE KATE KANE, AS PRESENTED BY ME:

  • Fetishizes lesbians for male readers

Well, there’s some bullshit right there. First off, there was a ton of controversy around introducing a new Batwoman in the first place, even before DC got around to her sexuality (which was made to be a Big Deal by execs, though not as big a deal as they made about Alan Scott’s new sexuality), but that’s what 52 was about. It was a year without the Trinity, but not a year without heroes. If Isis was going to be the new character that served as the ersatz Wonder Woman, and Supernova was our ersatz Superman, they couldn’t simply leave Batman out of the ersatz trifecta, and we got Kate.

No, literally, we got Kate. Kate Kane was introduced before her alter-ego was, and to anyone who didn’t read forums, the revelation that Kate was Batwoman came for them around the same time it came for Renee. If we hadn’t met Kate first, if we didn’t know that she was Renee’s ex, Batwoman would just be another woman in a cape with a Bat-symbol. Her sexuality wouldn’t be an issue, because she would just be treated as every superheroine is treated, by male readers: like a sex object. She wears a tight, sexy costume! She’s got long, flowing, sexy red hair! Yes, she was introduced as a lesbian first, but she wasn’t a lesbian that evolved into a character. Even in her first scene, you can tell she’s got brains and knows how to use them. That she’s willing to kick ass. And really, you’d think that would be more important than her fucking women.

Actually, wait, that’s pretty important, too. Because who was the highest-profile lesbian at DC before Kate? Renee, in terms of longevity, but Scandal Savage was certainly catching up in popularity. Who was the highest-profile gay man? Through a technicality, Hartley Rathaway, because he was pretty much the only one that was still being used in things. If the Authority was in the DCU proper back then, the title would have gone to Midnighter, because I think at that point, he had his own series. Point being, there weren’t any lesbians that kicked ass and took names like Kate, before Kate. Renee and Maggie were police so while they were badass, they weren’t vigilante-level badass. Scandal and Knockout are technically criminals. So while little girls have always had Wonder Woman to look up to as a hero, little girls who liked other girls didn’t. Kate changed that.

  • “forcing diversity”/replacing Cass

Can I get another bullshit! Cancelling Cass’ series, a very popular and high-selling series, even, was the first nail in her coffin. Having her show up in Robin and Teen Titans OYL running the League of Assassins and working for Deathstroke were another whole mess of nails. Kate? Wasn’t the final one. In fact, there isn’t a final one, not yet. Every time DC tries to nail her in, the fans keep prying the lid open. Good. Because here’s something that DC, and those who hate Kate, need to learn:

You can have a white lesbian and a straight Asian woman in the same hero family and not have either replacing the other.

DC, for one reason or another, has been trying to get rid of Cass for years. The most common theory, racism, is usually the most accepted one. And the fact that Cass has been conveniently left out of the New 52 while Kate has her own series, probably has Cass-loving Kate-haters grinding their molars to the gum. But they’re forgetting something! Or should I say, someone. Stephanie Brown was left out of the New 52 as well. Along with Donna Troy, Jesse Chambers, Charlotte Gage-Radcliffe, Helena Bertinelli, Dinah Laurel Lance, Jenny-Lynn Hayden, Linda Park, Irey West, Lashawn Baez, and many, many, many other ladies we’ve come to adore. Which really, proves one thing to me:

DC doesn’t hate Cass, specifically, they just hate powerful, inspirational women in general. I mean, have you seen the shit they’ve been trying to talk about Lois Lane?!

  • only being defined by her love interests

Renee and Kate broke up. They broke up because of reasons (most likely related to Renee’s obsession with the Religion of Crime). Kate moved on. Kate’s relationship with Maggie, while an important part of her series, as it shows her in a more vulnerable place than when she’s Batwoman (Kate is afraid of the people she loves leaving her because…well, her mother and sister did, what’s to stop her girlfriend?), is not the central focus. In fact, even in 52, Kate’s central plot had very little to do with her rekindled relationship with Renee, and everything to do with the fact that she, the twice-named daughter of Kane, was destined to have her heart carved out by the Religion of Crime. You’ve stumped me, oh haters of Kate, because I can’t quite figure out where this reason came from. Because…she dared to have a relationship, two, even, with already established lesbians within the DCU? Does that mean that, since Superman is dating Wonder Woman now, she’s defined entirely by him existing? After all, he did come first, in the superhero timeline. Lend me some logic, here.

  • being a ‘bitch’

Hey, you know who else is a bitch? Wonder Woman. Oh, and Power Girl, Supergirl, Huntress, and pretty much every female hero ever, especially that Stephanie Brown chick. Because being a bitch, I’ve noticed, seems to mean that a woman is unwilling to just sit around and take the shit she’s handed, by men or society, take your pick. Kate Kate is determined to make a difference in her city, in the world, and because of that, she’s a bitch. Good for her, I don’t want her any other way.

  • not being a ‘real’ member of the Bat-family

That’s all on Bruce, guys. That’s entirely on Bruce. His Bat-family is as follows: Alfred, Dick, Tim, Damian, Babs. Cass isn’t a ‘real’ member. Steph isn’t, either. Jason, Helena, Dinah, all the folks in Batman Incorporated? Nope.

BUT GUESS WHAT?!

That’s not entirely on Bruce! There have been some extraordinarily shitty writers on the various Bat-books over the years, and a lot of them tend to forget that there is a lot of vagina in the Bat-family. She’s got a bat on her chest. She works in Gotham. Like it or not, Kate is part of the Bat-family. And in the reboot, where it became really obvious that the D.E.O. wasn’t going to let her get away with being a part of the Bat-family? She made her own. She Jaime Reyes’d that shit up, pulling in her fiancee, her cousin, her dad, and her step-mom to be her support network. Damn, girl.

  • she’s not Kathy

Well, duh. Did we really need another? Kathy Kane was actually a super cool character, despite being created for the sole purpose of deflecting all those pesky “Batman and Robin are gay” rumors that were destroying the moral fiber of the nation. She kicked ass, everyone’s ass. She had a fly motorcycle. Yeah, she was in love with Batman, and he fell for her too, but when he told her to quit it with the crimefighting and get in the kitchen, she basically told him to fuck off. Once she got tired of being a vigilante, she went back to run her circus, only coming out of retirement when Ra’s al Ghul forced her hand by sending the League of Assassins after her. She was killed, but her legacy lived on.

Kate Kane will never be Kathy Kane.

Personally, I like her better. I’ve only read a few pre-Crisis Kathy stories, and if anyone should be hated for being defined by a love interest, ding ding ding. But she’s not. In fact, now that she’s been replaced, Kathy is being looked at as some sort of reverent figure. Why? Well, probably because she’s a straight woman than male fans can project their fantasies onto. In fact, by being a love interest of Batman, male fans can double their fantasy by treating Kathy like a sex object and pretending to be Batman.

In conclusion, sorry Kate-haters. I really am. I’m sorry that you’re unable to look past your…hatred of lesbians, I’m going to assume, to see what an amazing character DC has actually let us keep.

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