woman’s eye view

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The following is a selection of comics released this week (7/21/10)* 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.


Notably missing this week is True Blood #1, co-written by IDW editor Mariah Huehner and which I am very anxious to check out but which was either sold out or missing at my shop.  Also missing was Welcome To Tranquility #1, and Tiny Titans #30.  Bummer all around, but hopefully I can pick them up next week. It certainly occurs to me that these inconsistencies in my comic shops (I went to two today) could be perhaps solved by digital solutions in which I am the only one in charge of what’s available to me or not…well, beyond what the companies make available of course.  It’s a powerful argument for digital to me.  Also, I have books that I definitely prefer to have in print, but there are many books I’m interested in reading but not terribly interested in “having forever”, so if digital was available to me easily and same day (and I had a reader of course) and for a cheaper price, I suspect I would try more stuff and only buy the stuff I know I love in print but purchase a significant amount digitally.  In some ways I prefer to have the collected trades for stuff I really love anyway, as that works better from a convenience standpoint of books sitting on book shelves as opposed to jammed in short boxes.  Digital v. Print is a tough thing for me though as I don’t like the feeling that’s often put out there of it being “either/or”, but I confess that digital seems appealing to me in the same way that individual songs instantly accessible on itunes are.  Time will tell.


BLACK WIDOW #4.  Marjoirie Liu (writer).  Daniel Acuna (art and cover).  Marvel.  32-pages. $2.99

This is a really good book…so good that I’m dreading the creative team switch after issue #5.  Acuna’s art is gorgeous and is a perfect fit for this suave noir-y spy story.  I love it.  Liu’s story is working well, definitely a bit mysterious and cryptic (Natasha IS trying to solve a puzzle of course) but she’s giving me enough story and reveals in each issue to keep the momentum.  As usual with Black Widow stuff I find it a bit cryptic for my tastes sometimes, but that’s my only complaint.  This is a great book.  Certainly the star of Marvel’s “year of women” push as far as I’m concerned.  BUY.


DV8 #4 (of 8).  Brian Wood (writer).  Rebekah Isaacs (art). Carrie Strachan (colors). Fiona Staples (cover).

We’re halfway through the series and it remains one of my favorite monthly books, if not THE favorite.  I confess this issue was my least favorite of the series thus far, but I think that’s likely to do with the fact that it focused heavily on Matthew/Threshold who has always been the least accessible DV8 character to me.  This issue does its best to help me (and others?) get inside his skin a bit, but it’s still tough for me with this character.  Additionally there was some slightly clunky storytelling in Gem narrating things she couldn’t possibly have seen or known…it didn’t bother me in previous issues, but here it stuck out a bit.  Still, easily the best comic I read this week, as usual.  BUY.

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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.

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The following is a selection of comics released this week (7/8/10)* 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 strong week everyone.  Lots of books…lots of good books.  And catching up on a few great collections that released recently.

*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.

BATWOMAN: ELEGY (Hardcover Deluxe Edition, collects Detective Comics #854 – 860).  Greg Rucka (writer).  J.H. Williams III (art).  Dave Stewart (colors).  DC.  192 pages.  $24.99

I can’t say it any clearer than I already did on She Has No Head! but this is the superhero comic that I have been waiting my whole life for.  It is nearly perfect.  I can’t recommend it highly enough.  If you already bought the issues, buy this beautiful edition too and keep it on your bookshelf and show it to every person you know that thinks they don’t “get” comics.  A beautiful and important work.  Here’s hoping that Williams can even come close on his new Batwoman series…which I am SO excited about.  BUY, BUY, and BUY some more.

BEASTS OF BURDEN (Hardcover edition, collects Beasts Of Burden #1 – 4).  Evan Dorkin (writer).  Jill Thompson (art).  Dark Horse.  184 pages.  $19.99.

Also, highly recommended.  I guess it’s technically not “heavily female focused” in that all the characters are dogs and cats, but there are female dogs and cats (as well as male dogs and cats) and all of them are freaking awesome.  I was shocked how much I loved this book.  But Dorkin’s great writing and Thompson’s stunning pencils make it easy to fall in love.  BUY.

ETA: Commenter Hutch mentioned (correctly) that there are extra stories and goodies that collect all of the “beasts of burden” characters – making this a great deal and a must have for any fan of these characters. 

WEDNESDAY COMICS (Hardcover edition, collects all 12 issues).  Various writers, various artsist. Mark Chiarello (editor). DC.  200 pages.  $49.99.

This released in early June, but I neglected to mention it and wanted to rectify that.  A BRILLIANT collection of some of the best stories by some of the best writers and artists working today.  It’s a beautiful large edition, almost rivaling the beauty of the original oversized newsprint editions, and it’s a must for any comics fan and devoted collector.  Plenty of female positivity as well in creator Amanda Conner and characters Wonder Woman, Cat Woman, and Supergirl (just for starters). BUY.


AVENGERS: THE CHILDREN’S CRUSADE #1 (of 9).  Allan Heinberg (writer).  Jim Cheung (pencils). Mark Morales and Jim Cheung (inks).  Justin Ponsor (colors).  Marvel.  32-pages. $3.99.

This surprised the hell out of me by being quite good.  The art was strong, and the writing, which I was hesitant about because I’m not a big fan of Heinberg’s Wonder Woman run, was quite frankly, excellent.  The story has more diversity than we usually get (two female team members, a black team member, an android, a half hulk/half skrull, and an out gay male couple on the team) which while not perfect, feels like it’s getting there.  And as a result of that diversity I think it FELT younger and more “hip”.  Instead of trying super hard (the way I felt Young Allies did – more on that below) this just felt naturally young and edgy.  Additionally the costumes (including the ladies) are all pretty appropriate, as are the body types (considering these are teens) and there’s no crazy male gaze crap going on.  The story was quite interesting and a lot happens for a first issue and 22-pages, but really it was the writing that sold me.  Strong throughout.  An unexpected BUY. I love it when comics surprise me pleasantly.

DEMO VOLUME 2 #6 (of 6).  Brian Wood (writer).  Becky Cloonan (art).  Vertigo.  32-pages.  $2.99.

What a high note to end on.  This was EXCELLENT.  I think, with the exception of maybe issue #3 in which I felt Cloonan delivered the strongest art of her career thus far, this was by far my favorite of the series – which is saying a lot as the entire series was strong. If you didn’t buy Demo all along, it’s worth it to hunt them down.  There will also be a collected trade down the line, which I’m sure will be beautiful, but I expect the wait will be significant.  While you’re at it, pick up the first collection Demo Volume 1. It’s not necessary to read volume 1 to get and appreciate volume 2, but it’s just excellent reading.  For my money I actually prefer volume 2 as I think Cloonan’s art is consistently stronger, but both are excellent works…worthy of the uber talents that Wood and Cloonan have turned into.  BUY.

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It’s coming my little lambs…be patient.

Lots of books this week, and due to the holiday, they came a day late…post should be up late tonight, early tomorrow at latest.

The following is a selection of comics released this week (6/30/10)* 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.

First off…Last week I should have mentioned Neil Young’s Greendale, the graphic novel by Joshua Dysart, Cliff Chiang, and Dave Stewart, which is excellent and most certainly a BUY. You can read a more detailed post about it and a preview, here.

Also, I was unable to pick up The Last Unicorn #2 this week. I suspect, based on The Last Unicorn #1 (and that incredible cover), that I’ll be marking that one as a buy…but we’ll have to wait for next week.  My shop also didn’t have a copy of Ghost Projekt #3, which I’ve been enjoying and also suspect will be a buy…so expect that review and rating next week as well.

HERALDS #5 (of 5).  Kathryn Immonen (writer).  Tonci Zonjic and James Harren (art).  Nathan Fairbairn and Antonio Fabela (colors).  Jelena Djurdjevic (cover).  Marve.  32 pages.  $2.99

While I’m still a big fan of this mini-series, and it was some of the most fun I’ve had reading comics in a long while, I have to admit that the beginning was stronger than the ending.  The first issue has such great humor and fun, but as we delved deeper into Nova/Frankie Ray/Frances the story became a bit unclear…especially for those of us that weren’t completely familiar with the story of Nova/Frankie Ray to begin with.  Generally I feel a mini-series needs to be able to stand on its own, and I’m sure many readers would be left with a lot of questions here…and not the good ‘what happens next’ kind (although we do get to wonder that as well).  Additionally, this issue is the weakest from an art perspective.  Though Zonjic has more of the book and it’s excellent, some of Harren’s pages made it really hard to tell the ladies apart and made for some confusing reading.  Also, though I am loathe to admit this, because I LOVE the cast, I think there were just too many awesome people in this book and the end result was that while it was a lot of fun, I didn’t care that much about Frances and her fate, so the necessary punch at the end is really missing.  Too bad.  I still rate this as a BUY for fun value alone, and if you haven’t been picking it up, I’d recommend getting the trade when it’s released.  It’s not a perfect book, but it’s unlike almost anything on the shelves by the big two these days…and I support that and encourage it.

I stand by my desire to have an ongoing Heralds book helmed by Immonen and Zonjic. With either this cast, or a rotating cast of ladies…I don’t care.  I think Immonen and Zonjic could deliver a monthly book that I’d adore.  I certainly would buy (and blog) the hell out of it if this was a taste of what it could be.

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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.

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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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The following is a selection of comics released this week (6/9/10)* 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.


AVENGERS ACADEMY #1.  Christos Gage (writer).  Mike McKone (art).  Jeromy Cox (colors).  Marvel.  40 pages.  $3.99.  22-pages of story, a very weak 6-page character bio section, and a 2-page Marvel/Gage interview.

Unfortunately this was a bit of a let down to me and didn’t live up to the preview pages (which I was really excited about).  The character work – and I know it’s a lot of new characters to introduce and so that’s challenging – but it’s not very strong except for with Veil/Maddy and in that same vein I just think Gage tried to do too much in to short a time with the story.  McKone’s art is lovely, but the storytelling/pacing/expressions are pretty weak.  Again, I thought the storytelling was really solid in the first 6-ish pages but it falls of considerably as the issue progresses.  Also…I talk about “swimsuit” costumes for female superheroes a lot here and on She Has No Head!, but nobody has Tigra beat in the “swimsuit category”…is this really necessary?  A string bikini is really her costume?  Seems ridiculous and dated and…did I say ridiculous?  It’s nice to see all three new female leads appropriately dressed, but it sucks that their teacher looks like she’s headed to a beach.  Anyway, I was much less excited about this today than I was last week.  Bummer.  I’m still going to give it a few more issues to improve, but for now I can’t rank it any higher than a TRADEWAIT.

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The following is a selection of comics released this week (6/3/10)* 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.

Thanks to Memorial Day we’re a day late on comics here in the US, but no fear, here’s what you should buy this week on the female positive tip…there weren’t a ton of female focused books, but what was out, was pretty great…

DEMO #5 (of 6).  Brian Wood (writer).  Becky Cloonan (artist).  Vertigo. 32 Pages. $2.99.  Includes 22 page story, notes and sketches by Wood and Cloonan, and a two-page preview of Demo #6.

The quality of this book continues to be no surprise.  I think this was one of my favorite issues yet.  Like the rest of the series the story feels both realistic and grounded yet with supernatural or unusual elements that twist the story in interesting directions.  As always however, it’s Wood and Cloonan’s ability to capture characters and tell moving stories that surprise that sells it.  Demo Volume 2 has been a home run as far as I’m concerned and this is no exception. BUY.

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The following is a selection of comics released this week (5/26/10)* that focus heavily on women in comics – whether that be characters, creators, or even readers.

The books are rated as BUY, TRADEWAIT, or SKIP.

Tradewaiting, for the uninitiated, is the act of not buying individual issues of a comic as it releases, but rather waiting for them to be collected in a trade paperback form (aka TPB).

*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.  I will do my best to include independent and graphic novel selections as they are released as well – but if I’ve missed something excellent feel free to let me know in the comments.

Here we go…

Dazzler (one-shot). Track 1:  Jim McCann (writer).  Kalman Andrasotszky and Ramon Perez (pencils).  Rick Ketchem (inks).  Jim Charalampidis (colors).  Track 2: Jim McCann (writer).  Francesca Ciregia (art).  Cris Peter (colors).  Marvel.  40 pages.  $3.99.

I will admit upfront my bias against and dislike for Dazzler, which makes any story starring her an uphill battle.  That said, I’m always looking for positive books featuring women, so despite my dislike of Dazzler I still hoped for the best.  This is not the best.  A frustrating and pointless story that really goes nowhere and ends quite unsatisfactorily.  The art was not bad overall nor was the actual writing, but the plot was horribly weak.  I much preferred the art in “track 2” by Ciregia, but it wasn’t enough to save a still weak story. Also bad in this tale is the objectification.  Dazzler is falling out of her top from the cover all the way through the first story (which is the bulk of the book) the T&A lightens up considerably in Ciregia’s story, but it was too little, too late. SKIP.


Detective Comics #865 (Question Co-Feature).  Greg Rucka (writer).  Cully Hamner (art).  Dave McCraig (colors).  DC.  40 pages.   $3.99.

Though Detective Comics no longer stars the excellent Batwoman, and is no longer written by the excellent Greg Rucka, the co-feature finishing out (I think this is the last installment?) remains excellent.  The rest of the issue is not bad either, but I’m only going to talk about the 10 page co-feature here.  Rucka writes Renee Montoya as The Question wonderfully (as he should, he “made” her) and this issue is no exception.  He’s also been doing a great job with The Huntress for the last handful of issues and it’s nice (and sadly refreshing) to see such a great female friendship playing out sans bitchy drama.  Cully Hamner and Dave McCraig continue to do an exceptional job with the art.  BUY.

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