The following is a selection of comics released this week (6/23/10)* that focus heavily on women in comics – whether that be characters, creators, or even readers.
The books are rated as BUY, TRADEWAIT, or SKIP.
*It should be noted that this list will focus on North American/English releases as that’s mostly what I have access to. Additionally, as I am in general unfamiliar with Manga, I will not be including Manga titles in my lists. For some great reviews and discussion of Manga titles I urge you to check out Danielle Leigh on CSBG.
Maybe it’s just the heat, but I found the comics pretty depressing this week…
AMERICAN VAMPIRE #4 Scott Snyder and Stephen King (writers). Rafael Albuquerque (art). Dave McCraig (colors). Vertigo. 40-pages. $3.99
This is still a good little book, but it’s the weakest of the story thus far. Pearl is still a solid female lead and though she’s a bit overly sexy in this issue, it’s mostly with purpose. I’m still going to list this as a BUY, but I hope the writing on the Snyder story gets back to business as usual as it felt a bit off/forced/cliche this time around. Tentative BUY, if only because the first three issues have been so strong.
HERALDS #4 (of 5). Kathryn Immonen (writer). Tonci Zonjic, Emma Rios, and James Harren (art). Nathan Fairbairn and Ronda Pattison (colors). Jelena Djurdjevic (cover). Marvel. 32-pages. $2.99
I guess we’re finding out why comics come out monthly and not weekly. Issue number one had one artist, issues two and three had two artists, and now issue four has three artists…I get it, drawing an entire book (and inking it) is time consuming…but it seems like they (Marvel) could have thought ahead a bit here so that we didn’t have to have SO MANY artists. Fortunately, Rios is quite good, so her addition here is not unwelcome…but it doesn’t help the overall cohesiveness of the book to have so many changing art styles running around unchecked. The artists all do their best…and it’s good work, but it IS a bit disjointed. The story is still working well enough for me, but it’s definitely a frustrating read to a degree if you don’t know much about Nova/Frankie Ray (which I don’t). The premise assumes a certain amount of knowledge of the character that I’m not sure is fair for a mini-series…I thought we’d get more details for those out of the loop as we moved along, but we’re almost done and those details seem unlikely to come. That said, it’s still the most fun reading I had this week, and it’s full of badass ladies that I almost never get to read about, doing their thing (although they do seem to need to get saved by Reed Richards in this issue…hrm.). BUY anyway.
NAMORA 1 (one-shot). Jeff Parker (writer). Sara Pichelli (art). Rachelle Rosenberg (colors). Marvel. 32-pages. $3.99.
I was pleasantly surprised by this, despite the somewhat ridiculous inflatable boobs cover. Parker’s writing is solid, and his story is a fairly effective done in one tale that is satisfying on its own in such a limited number of pages – always a challenge. I always like Pichelli’s art and this book is no exception, but the massive boobage I had to look at on nearly every page, keeps me from being able to really call this female friendly. Namora’s swimsuit changes partway through the book, making it less ridiculous and revealing…but it’s too little too late. If this was a series I would likely list it as a tradewait as Parker’s story and writing seems worth it and Pichelli’s art is good and might get less boobalicious – but since it’s a one-shot and the story is thus totally inconsequential in the broader scheme and even worse, the price is four dollars for a mere 32-pages, it’s just not worth the money. SKIP.
POWER GIRL #13. Judd Winick (writer). Sami Basri (art and cover). Sunny Gho (colors). DC. 32-pages. $2.99.
Wow. I disliked everything about this. I was never 100% a fan of the old Conner/Palmiotti/Gray Power Girl because as beautiful and funny and light and refreshing as it was (and it was) I continued to have some problems with the content and the boob window (why couldn’t we move past the visual gags – and verbal ones about PG’s bod?)…but I didn’t realize until now how lucky we were to have that book. I’ve been dreading this change…but I didn’t know how bad it would be. Powergirl #13, though well-intentioned, undoes every single interesting, funny, unique thing about the book we had for the first 12 issues. It buries us in guest stars, as if afraid to let PG stand on her own in her own book and drags us into the mess of PG’s screwed history/continuity and the larger screwed up DC continuity in general…something the previous team managed to avoid with grace and apparent ease. The art, though it’s clearly trying hard, is inconsistent at best – why does PG’s hair change color from a bleachy yellowy greenish blonde color to golden blonde? Why does Basri seem unsure about PG’s boob…or waist size? Why does PG sometimes look 15 and sometimes look 35? It’s just all over the map. Why do I have to have a shower scene…already…it’s your first issue! Jeez. This has none of the charm, beauty, or fun of the first twelve issues…and I now wish I’d appreciated them a little more despite their flaws. SKIP, huge disappointing, though not surprising SKIP.
POWERS #5. Brian Michael Bendis (writer). Michael Avon Oeming (art). Nick Falardi (colors). Icon. 40-pages. $3.95.
A solid issue in the Powers series. Detective Enki continues to be an interesting character and we got to see a whole new side to her in this issue, and it looks like Deena is back…Whoo! A solid BUY.
SUPERGIRL #53. Sterling Gates (writer). Jamal Igle (pencils). Jon Sibal (inks). Nei Ruffino (colors). Jamal Igle and David Baron (cover). DC. 32-pages. $2.99
I don’t really love Supergirl, the character, or the book. That said, Gates and Igle have been doing solid work on the Supergirl series for a while now (hell, the advent of the bike shorts alone is enough to gain them my undying approval), and it’s certainly more female friendly (writing and art) than most comics out there. It’s also all-ages appropriate…which is pretty rare. So if you’re looking for something female friendly with superheroes, I can’t say there’s anything wrong with this book, except maybe like any Superman character, the continuity and history can really bog one down. It’s not for me, but there’s nothing “wrong” with it from a female friendly perspective…if this is the kind of thing you’re into, there’s no reason not to BUY.
ZATANNA #2. Paul Dini (writer). Stephane Roux (pencils). Stephane Roux and Karl Story (inks). John Kalisz (colors). DC. 32-pages. $2.99
This took a dive for me in this second issue. From an art perspective there seemed to be more sexy exploitative stuff beyond just the somewhat silly costume, and Zatanna’s posing often seemed sexily contrived and forced at best. In addition to her crazy fishnets and high-heeled thigh high boots she also wears a mostly see-through nightgown, has magical mostly see-through sheets, and sexily disappears her “working clothes” at least once. Lame. The story isn’t bad and neither is the art, but the overly sexy for no real reason stuff got in the way a bit for me, and the story wasn’t strong enough to save it. I’m downgrading this to TRADEWAIT.