The following is a selection of comics released this week (7/14/10)* that focus heavily on women in comics – whether that be characters, creators, or even readers.
The books are rated as BUY, TRADEWAIT, or SKIP.
This was a really ho-hum week, I guess something had to compensate for last week’s awesomeness.
*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.
Revolver by Matt Kindt came out this week, and while I wasn’t able to purchase it it’s definitely worth a look. Great premise and the artwork looks fantastic.
Additionally I am STILL looking for copies of The Last Unicorn #2 and Ghost Projekt #3 so that I can review them here, but I expect both to be BUYS based on excellent previous issues.
THE AVENGERS ACADEMY #2. Christos Gage (writer). Mike McKone (artist and cover). Jeromy Cox (colors). Marvel. 32 pages. $2.99.
This kind of snuck up on me this week as I was so let down by issue #1 I wasn’t expecting much here, but this was solid all around. The writing was good, the art was nice (except for the cover, which is very weird looking – what is up with Quicksilver’s head/torso?), and the storyline is taking a nice interesting turn. The issue focused mostly on Finesse and I feel like we got some unexpected surprises in that. The book still has a lot of female leads (Finesse, Veil, and Hazmat) and all of them wear super appropriate superhero gear, which is refreshing as all get out. The sole “problem” is Tigra’s string bikini…which gets more ridiculous and absurdly out of place with each issue. Time for a makeover Tigra! BUY.
BATGIRL #12. Bryan Q. Miller (writer). Lee Garbett and Pere Perez (pencils). Walden Wong and Pere Perez (inks). Guy Major (colors). DC. 32-pages. $2.99.
Um. It’s okay. Yeah, I’m sorry guys I just can’t get on board with this. I don’t know why, maybe I’ll just never be able to get used to Stephanie as Batgirl – and in fairness I think Miller has been doing a really admirable job – but it just leaves me cold. Miller always gets in a few great lines and I think he’s got a good handle on Steph’s voice, maybe one that I could get behind if she was still Spoiler, but I just resent her in the uniform and every week it makes me mad and sad. All that said, if you can come to the book without baggage, it’s definitely female positive. The objectification in the art is little to none and Miller really is writing a solid title. If you’re not me, or a similar minded rabid “Cassandra Cain is my only Batgirl” person, then BUY it.
BIRDS OF PREY #3. Gail Simone (writer). Ed Benes and Adrian Melo (pencils). Ed Benes and Mariah Benes (inks). Nei Ruffino (colors). Cliff Chiang (cover). DC. 32-pages. $2.99.
I’m sorry, nobody wants to like this book more than I do, but I just can’t continue turning a blind eye to the fact that it’s both borderline offensive on a too regular basis and just not very good. The art, beyond the fact that three of our four “in the field” ladies each have at least one ridiculous costume element (though usually more than one) also manages to have tons of gratuitous ass shots and rampant male gaze throughout, and it’s just not very good.
Simone’s writing is always strong and she knows her characters, but these first three issues just feel very overwritten to me…and definitely guilty of trying to jam in WAY too much into too few pages. There is definitely too much action and far too many characters and plot elements. The action especially has started to feel just absurd and at some point almost becomes boring in its “well, what NOW?” aspect.
I don’t know how fans are going to feel this week about the Savant/Creote reveal, but I don’t think they’re going to be as relieved as Simone/DC hopes. Additionally I found the gratuitous “Penguin dream sequence” pretty unfunny and unnecessary…what was the point beyond just showing us two more offensive pages of “super sexy” drawings of superheroines? I generally find Simone’s writing very funny…I’m a fan, but it has felt off here, from this two page scene, clear back to the tasteless backseat cheerleader joke in issue #1. I want the book to be funny, and I get that with that you have to take risks, but something just feels off to me. I also don’t want the book to be unsexy, hell it has five super sexy female leads that couldn’t be unsexy if you dressed them up as eighty year-old nuns, but the gratuitous nature of these pages and the art is just wearing me down. I hate doing this, but this book, after three issues has been downgraded to a TRADEWAIT at best. I’m going to keep my eye on it and hope that Simone is able to turn it around and that it gets a new artist(s), but I’m not optimistic. Biggest comic book disappointment of 2010 for me…I can’t tell you how it bums me out.
GIRL COMICS #3 (0f 3). Various Writers. Various Artists. Joan Chen (c0ver). Jeanine Schaefer (editor). Marvel. 48 pages. $4.99.
Unfortunately this was my least favorite issue of the otherwise pretty strong series, but it’s still worth a buy to complete the collection and to check out some strong female writers and artists that you may not have been aware of. I think this issue suffered by not having any real strong standouts the way issue #1 had Lucy Knisley’s Doc Ock piece and issue #2 had Jill Thompson’s Inhumans piece AND Stephanie Buscema’s Dr. Doom Piece, AND Faith Erin Hill’s Elsa and Boom Boom story. However, Colleen Coover’s introduction piece that ran through all three issues ended nicely here and this issue had the only pin-up I liked from the series (an Amora The Enchantress piece by Stephanie Hans). The Carla Speed McNeil Kitty Pryde piece comes really close to being funny and wonderful but fell just a bit short for me…but others may fall in love…who knows!? So there’s plenty to keep you busy. On the whole the stories in this issue were longer, which may please some people, but I tend to like the shorter pieces that don’t try to do so much, so this was less of a fit for me. Still, it’s well worth the cover price if you like anthologies and have been following this series. BUY.
X-FORCE: SEX & VIOLENCE #1 (of 3). Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost (writers). Gabriele Dell’Otto (art and cover). Marvel. 32 pages. $3.99.
This was pretty good. I really liked the fully painted art (except for the shape and color of Domino’s eye patch which thanks to Ross I cannot unsee). It’s beautiful stuff…really tightly illustrated but somehow also loose. It’s a bit on the dark side, but that fits tonally with the issue so it didn’t really bother me. I’m not sure the writing is anything amazing, I guess I can say I didn’t notice it…it didn’t get in the way of enjoying the art and story…which is maybe a huge success I guess. I think they could be doing more with this…but if it’s just a vehicle to feature the beautiful art and some sexiness I can get behind that I think. Not that I would try to take a book called Sex & Violence to task for being sexy or violent…I’m all for truth in advertising…but I almost wonder if they didn’t push it far enough…sadly this doesn’t feel more violent or sexy (especially if we’re going to equate “sexy” with “nudity” which is what comics usually seems to think sexy means) than most my other comics. I’m not complaining…just saying. I do appreciate that Dell’Otto knows that it makes sense for Domino to unzip her costume when she’s trying to treat her wounds but that she keeps herself zipped up while in battle. I wish Dell’Otto could send a memo to all the other artists working with zippers. Overall it’s fun stuff…if you like Wolverine, or Domino, or better yet both (I freaking love Domino by the way) then BUY it.
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