Thursday, July 19, 2007

Fast Thoughts - The Week of 7/18/07

AMAZONS ATTACK #4: Am I the only one disturbed by the fact that a series that is supposed to center around strong female characters is doing everything in it's power to make the foremost female heroes of DC Comics look incompetent?

* Superman airlifts Wonder Woman out of battle in the first scene.

*Wonder Woman tells Batman how much they need him running the show and how he can't go running off to Gotham because of problems there when a nation is at stake.

* Black Canary - the alleged JLA Team Leader - is seen standing in the background as Diana, Clark and Bruce argue about what to do but doesn't have any lines, though Black Lightning does.

* Supergirl and Wonder Girl need Superman to save them from a group of soldiers protecting the President.

You know it's a bad story when the only female character who appears semi-competent is frigging Grace from Outsiders...

On the bright side, someone finally asked why the normally peaceful Amazons are acting like this and they confirmed BOTH of the leading theories. Namely, that some of the troubles are related to the militant Bana-Mighdall Amazons who never rejoined their sisters on Themyscira and some of them are related to a Not Dead Yet Circe.

Which would be fine if Circe weren't already responsible for...oh... every bloody thing in Wonder Woman since the reboot...

Only three months until Gail Simone goodness takes over.

BIRDS OF PREY #108: And speaking of Gail Simone goodness...

How to sum up this issue?

Oracle kicks some ass.

Dinah kicks ass without kicking any ass.

And we get the best damn four-and-one-half page fold-out splash ever... and not just because they actually printed it on 5 pages instead of on an actual cumbersome fold-out sheet.

BLACK CANARY #2: The biggest qualm I had about this series last time? Gone. And what is more, not only has Tony Bedard explained away my main nitpick from the last issue, he has gone on to explain away some of the more troubling pieces of continuity regarding The League of Assassins in recent years.

My problem last time was that the main baddy of this piece, Merlyn The Archer, was apparently only interested in Dinah and Sin as a means of getting back at Green Arrow. This issue explained that while Merlyn IS interested in sticking it to Ollie ABD Dinah (who both had a hand in his first failed mission), he is working with a group of highly-ranked League of Assassin members who are trying to unify the group after a wake of splintering following Ra's Al Ghul's death, using Sin (the next Lady Shiva in training) as a rallying banner.

See, that makes sense. Not just that the organization would fall apart to internal conflict after their leader for hundreds of years snuffs it - but that it goes on to explain why Talia Al Ghul, Cassandra Cain and Lady Shiva have all been "leading" The League of Assassins in various titles over the last few years.

Does that mean all is forgiven? Oh, not quite. For while I applaud anyone who tries to keep DC Comics continuity in working order... I still have to question Dinah's place in this, her own mini-series.

There is amazingly little Dinah in this issue and none of what few scenes she has it has depict Dinah in a moment of action, apart from a flashback where Ollie tells Mia about when he first got a hint that Dinah was starting to like him. Apart from this scene, Dinah's presence in the comic is limited to a scene where she is dropping Sin off for her first day at school and then later as she, Ollie, Mia and Sin are having dinner together. All the rest of the book is Merlyn plotting Sin's abduction and the actual League of Assassins assault on Sin's school.

What bothers me even more than Dinah's absence is that she is being set up to look the fool. She chides Ollie for being jealous and suspicious of her ex-husband showing up and having connections to a good school despite his loser past. But we, as the reader, know that Ollie is right to be suspicious since we know Dinah's ex is working with Merlyn to get Sin out from Canary's nose for a few hours a day. And while Ollie has always been a worrywart when it comes to "his lady" and has always taken to checking up on her whenever he was worried... this time, as in Longbow Hunters, his worries are justified.

Which I wouldn't object to, it having been so long since I've seen Ollie depicted as being competent and a good bullshit detector... but not at Dinah's expense.

BRAVE AND THE BOLD #5: I'm not usually one of the school of thought that Batman could beat anyone in an on-the-fly battle. With time to plan, yes. Against someone he had fought before (or fought with), yes. But not against a large number of unknown quantities in unfamilar ground...

... and yet...

... somehow, this entire story, which is basically Batman vs. The New Legion of Superheroes (i.e. the one written by Mark Waid, not the one in the recent JLA/JSA Lightning Saga), in which Batman is a fugitive in an unfamilar future fleeing the Legion works.

Even though Batman fights the entire Legion to a stand-still, it works. Just because of one simple fact.

Batman carries a pea-shooter in his utility belt!

Because you never know when you might need to take down a heavily armed shrinking person.

CONAN #42: This second chapter of Tim Truman's adaptation of Robert E. Howard's Rogues In The House brings about the union of the titular Rogues - Conan (thief, warrior and most recently assassin), Nabonidus (priest and blackmailer) and Murilo (spy and traitor). And it is, as usual, a masterful adaptation with amazing visuals.

I may stop reviewing this book. You can only say "This is a great book and a worthy tribute to Robert E. Howard's legacy" so many times.

COUNTDOWN #41: This is, for me at least, The Final Countdown.

I've overlooked the sudden change in characterization of Jason Todd because I honestly like this new Jason better.

I've ignored that suddenly Donan Troy and Jason Todd are fast friends and that everyone - including Batman - seems to be okay with Jason Todd being a vicious killer.

I've even ignored the fact that Jimmy Olsen gaining super powers is somehow... DULL.

But this I can't ignore. A disparity in story and artwork so great one has to wonder if the artist is even reading the script all the way through. For while the opening scene in which Trickster and Piper fall to their deaths as Trickster roots through a bag looking for something to save them finding his Air-Walking Shoes just in time is high drama...


I'm done.

DARK XENA #3: You either hate Xena, are indifferent to it or you love it.

My girlfriend loves it and she's the only reason I picked up this book.

Me? I'm indifferent. I thought Xena was ammusing the few times I caught it and I did make a point of trying to catch all the episodes with Bruce Campbell as the King of Thieves. But I've never really been what you could honestly call "a fan".

I mention this because if you're a fan of the show, you'll love this book. If you're not, you either won't care or will find this book to be more of the same combination of over-the-top action and over-the-top comedy that kept you away from the show.

Still - you have to appreciate the quality of story flow in any story that starts with Gabrielle bargaining with the Elder Gods to bring Xena back from the dead, merges into a Faustian tale as Gabrielle realizes that she has screwed the world over with Xena being brought back as her bad-self BEFORE she reformed and continues, in this issue, into one long sight-gag about just how many Xena stories involved an evil twin.


From the heart of every Speedball fan in existence, thank you for having found a way, in continuity no less, to bring back our favorite hero someday.

Thank you for pointing out just how utterly, utterly silly the "serious" Marvel Universe is when Iron Man can kill people on TV while drunk and later become Leader of SHIELD and yet Speedball is despised by all for an accident that could never have been his fault.

And thank you once again for a very good, very funny comic.

JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #11: Dear sweet merciful mother of all that is good and plenty!

Can it be possible?

Yes... yes, I think it is. It is an SINGLE-ISSUE STORY!

You know, I'm so overjoyed by the fact that in this era of decompressed storytelling someone has written a comic that is not part of a series, not "Part 4 of A Bunch!" or part of a never ending and increasingly tiresome crossover (I'm looking at you Amazons Attack!) that I can't even bring myself to savage this book for being yet another piece of Brad Meltzer fan-wank for Roy Harper.


  1. Hey! Co-written by Slott! Give some love to poor Fabian who had the team he spent years on torn to pieces because DiDio doesn't like them. I do give props to Slott for almost, ALMOST making Avengers: The Initiative readable. If only for the hope of one day seeing Rage pop Gauntlet's head off after he makes one too many cracks about the Warriors...

  2. Mea culpa. I didn't look at the credits page to see that Fabian did indded co-write this one.

  3. Well I think that's perhaps a damn awesome Dinah quote.. and Nooo Vi got taken out by a pea shooter *cry*

  4. It's better than what Bruce did to Triplicate Girl.

  5. um
    countdown 41: aren't the flying ones BOOTS and the ones he's wearing only shoes?

  6. Re: um
    His costume from the 90s, yes. He had boots.
    But his original costume? The one he is wearing now? He had flying pixie boots. Observe this scan of his first appearance.

    Thank you, by the way, anonymous person. You just inspired me to check something that will let me bury this once and for all.

  7. Re: um
    That's not the current costume. The story said my flying "boots" which implies his regular SHOES don't fly. You've lost me. Even if it's been different in the past, it's right there in the dialouge.