Saturday, June 9, 2007

Fast Thoughts - The Week of 6/6/07

My apologies for the lateness. A Wednesday morning visit from my mother and my recent adventures playing at being a college professor delayed my comic shop visit to this morning.

BIRDS OF PREY #107 - They didn't kill Ice?



Somebody please tell me there's a reunion with Guy Gardner planned soon. Please?

COUNTDOWN #47 - You know, I'm not feeling it like I did on 52. And I don't know why.

Sure, 52 had a lot of plotlines I didn't really care about but at least I felt there was some kind of unifying event between everything. Here, everything is random. And most of what is happening doesn't seem to have any relation to any books that have come before or since.

Case in point: Not two months ago, they made a real big deal in 52 and World War III that Black Adam had the magic word that triggered his powers changed. Now, according to this issue, that wasn't true and Black Adam's angsting seems even more nonsensical. If he's had access to his powers all this time, why not continue the rampage he started?

At this point, I'm only reading it for the scenes with Trickster. I don't much care about Mary Marvel gothing it up. I don't care about Jimmy Olsen getting superpowers. I don't care to see the lost DVD extra scenes from Meltzer's Justice League. And I REALLY don't care to see Jason Todd turned into a sympathetic character.

DETECTIVE COMICS #833 - Ah. The one Paul Dini book that I know for sure is ALL him and have yet to find disappointing. This one is a Dini special. Zatanna guest stars and while Dini does personal fan service with a flashback that shows Bruce and Zatanna meeting as children even before Bruce sought her father out to teach him the escape artist craft, he doesn't neglect the recent history between the two characters that he didn't write. Identity Crisis and how Zatanna used her powers to erase Bruce's mind are referenced, adding a higher level of tension to this than your typical Dini story. But it works.

Please do not reveal the surprise guest villian.

JACK OF FABLES #11 - The best anti-hero book in the last ten years, bar none. You know you love it.

SUPERGIRL #18 - You know, I'm really going to miss Joe Kelly writing this title.

Yes, I know I shouldn't feel that way with Tony Bedard's comments this past week about his own plans for the book and the promise of less angst, more clothes and a comic that can be given to young girls without fear.

But in this issue, Joe Kelly gives a subtextual rebuttal to everyone who has criticized his efforts to create a more realistic, modern Kara Zor-El. And the story works both on this level and on the written level of the modern Supergirl fighting an idealized version of herself (seemingly modeled on the Supergirl of the 60s), telling her how utterly worthless she is as a hero.

The key moment of this issue as a tableau of real-life girls in tough situations. One girl cries herself to sleep for an unknown reason. Another tries to ignore her parents fighting as she eats her cereal. A third girl, over-weight and dumpy, walks home alone. The Perfect, Silver-Age Supergirl says girls like that need someone "just like Superman" to look up to and aspire to imitate. The perfect Supergirl then asks if girls like that... girls with real problems... really want to see a heroine who has the same problems they do.

Well, my answer to that - as a librarian who works with a majority of teenage girls with his Teen Library Club - is a resounding YES! Yes, they do want a hero who has to deal with the same issues they do. Not a picture-perfect Barbie doll who never makes mistakes.

Comments? You know how to reach me.


  1. I'm sorry man, but I have to disagree with you on EVERY level about the last Supergirl. It felt like sloppy strawman style writing, where Joe Kelly just wanted to "prove" all his critics wrong. I've checked the book out a few times during his run and its always failed to impress...

  2. Honestly, I can't say that any of it impressed me, apart from his secret identity issue (#10) and that was mostly because the last time I had tried reading the book was during Rucka's brief run. A club sandwich looks like steak when you're starving to death.
    But I did think that Kelly was doing a good job considering what little he had to work with.
    And I don't think the story didn't so much attack ALL his critics (The Linda Danvers/PAD purists remain unscathed, to name one vocal minority) so much as it is everyone who insists that Supergirl needs to be sweetness and light and unicorns and rainbows ALL THE TIME.
    I believe there's a reason why Barbara Gordon was able to make the transition to a new role after COIE and Supergirl aka Matrix PRE-PAD was always regulated to cameo appearances or bit parts in team books when it was decided they really DID need a Supergirl.
    Namely, Barbara Gordon was given a chance to grow and mature in the Batman books. She was elected to Congress and was shown to have a real job and a real career outside of the hero gig.
    Kara? She was in high-school then college, eternally ageless until they decided she need to grow up and she became a counselor at her old college. And her stories never really showed her having much of a life outside of her heroism and the whole Linda Danvers identity was pretty much just a cover.
    Granting that was par for the course back in the Silver Age (all the people with powers really ARE the hero - the Secret Identity is just for appearances) it still limited Kara's growth as a character. Heck, her "character update" in the 80s basically consisted of her getting an MTV costume makeover with big hair and a headband. She was still Patty Duke underneath the Bangles look.