The following is a selection of comics released this week (6/16/10)* 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.
BIRDS OF PREY #2. Gail Simone (writer). Ed Benes and Adriana Melo (pencils). Ed Benes and Mariah Benes (inks). Nei Ruffino (colors). Ed Benes and Nei Ruffino (cover). DC. 32 Pages. $2.99
Ugh. What to say? I have to be honest. I don’t love this. I thought this issue was hands and feet above the last issue…which I really disliked. So that gives me hope that we’re at least headed in the right direction…but I’m very frustrated by this as it’s a book I WANT to love. Despite the fact that I worship at the altar of Gail Simone regularly, I had a lot of problems with her writing (and story/plotting) in the first issue…I feel like she’s back on her feet here though…a lot of strong character voices and some funny dialogue that really fits her style and the BoP style that she helped create, and while the issue is still action packed to say the least, she’s doing less than she tried to do in the first issue, which I think is good.
The problem with this issue is the art. I’m not a Benes fan to begin with, he’s very heavy with the male gaze and T&A, but I try to mentally prepare myself for that when I come into this book. But T&A aside, this just looked really rough to me…perhaps because there were two pencilers and two inkers…which makes it uneven at best to read. In addition it was overly dark and not well paced…the storytelling was often hard to follow and impossible to get invested in. I caught myself many times wondering how drastically different/better this book would be with a more consistent cleaner artist on it – preferably one that treads lightly on T&A – because when of your three main characters you have fishnets, a mini-skirt, hot pants, and a bare midriff between them you don’t need EXTRA T&A. I mean…CLIFF CHIANG. Imagine if Cliff Chiang was drawing this book…it would be like a whole new book! All that said, I am loathe to list this as a tradewait, because that’s how books get canceled and I’ve waited SO LONG FOR BOP TO COME BACK!!! So I can’t do it…I’m listing it as a BUY, but with heavy reservations. Support the book, hope that we get a new artist, that’s all I can say.
ETA: I should also mention that there is a lot of controversy over this issue because of the apparent death of a character…I know very little about that character and didn’t understand all the ramifications until now. I’m still a bit on the outside here, so am not going to make any judgments at this time, but I thought it should be noted that big percentage of readers are finding the issue very offensive.
BLACK WIDOW #3. Marjorie Liu (writer). Daniel Acuna (art). Marvel. 32 pages. $2.99.
This book, after a rough start out of the gate (mostly in the form of one really sexist cover and one slightly less sexist cover) is turning out FANTASTIC. I’ve been enjoying the story all along and both writing and interior art have been solid, but this issue really sold me. The art especially was stunning…completely gorgeous while also being paced well and good with action (and you need to be good with action when you’re having Black Widow and Elektra battle it out). Personally the colors are a bit dark for my tastes, but I can admit that the darkness fits both the character and tone of the story and it was still freaking beautiful. This is so far above and beyond the two Black Widow mini-series we got this past winter (one of which was far better than the other, but neither of which were impressive) that I was actually really sorry to learn this week that we have only two issues left with Liu and Acuna before we get a creative team switch. I don’t know why the change is happening but it strikes me as a bad idea…this is one of the best new books I’m reading…which is freaking hard to do in this market, especially with a female lead character. If you haven’t been reading this book, we’re still not that far in, so get on board. BUY.
DV8 #3 (of 8). Brian Wood (writer). Rebekah Isaacs (art). Carrie Strachan (colors). Fiona Staples (cover). Wildstorm. 32 pages. $2.99
Another excellent entry into Wood’s DV8 re-imagining. This issue focuses on Powerhaus (as pictured) and as such isn’t AS female focused as other issues have been (which is fine of course). The art by Issacs and Strachan remains top notch and Wood’s writing is strong and his pacing feels right on target to drive this story home with real satisfaction in the time we have left. I catch myself every month wishing this was an ongoing. Any chance of that Mr. Wood? BUY.
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