It’s rare when Ray and I rave about a book for multiple issues, and for the same reasons. When that happens, it usually means we’re reading something extraordinary. That’s the case with The Legend of Wonder Woman #3, our book of the week, and those superlatives apply to the series. The series is so good, and so what Wonder Woman has needed that I basically teared up reading that.
Sounds silly, right? But Wonder Woman means a lot to many people. There’s a reason everyone smiles at me when I wear my Wonder Woman shirts or hoodies or shoes: people love her. It’s about time she has received a story deserving of that love.
Overall, it was good week for DC issues, too, including one of my favorite issues of Batman & Robin Eternal for a long time, Constantine musing on how awful fairies are, Superman getting to be Superman again in Action Comics #50, and some good stuff from Gotham Academy, Starfire, and Batman/Superman. Plus, the crossover between Batman and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles continues to work, even showing some character depth.
When the team behind Li’l Gotham is back for a unique take on DC’s Big Three in a book for kids, it’s almost a no-brainer for any Batman, Superman, or Wonder Woman fan to pick it up. You know, for the kids. (If you want to share it, I mean.)
There will be no candlelit vigils outside theatres. No tribute performances in memory. No posthumous award with a standing ovation at a gala event—that would be too ironic for both of them.
Perhaps instead we could consider a single image—a mockingbird, lying dead on the doorstop of a local bookstore. It died of a broken heart in a world no longer moved by the symbolic gestures of strength and virtue.
Comics Club-4-Kids is a monthly club exploring comic books for a variety of age ranges. Since some families have multiple age ranges, Comics Club-4-Kidz helps parents by finding similar themes across varying content so that families can have conversations together. Our intent is to approach literary analysis and information literacy through the use of comics. Character, narrative structure, problem solving/plot development, and visual text were chosen as the focus discussion points to help mirror what our kids are learning in school. Our goal is to help kids in schools or kids homeschooling find new ways to approach literacy.
This month’s theme: gender.
This month’s comics: Power UP, Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur, and Superman/Wonder Woman.
It is the bane of fandom in general. Don’t be fooled. This isn’t a “teenage girl” thing. It’s everywhere.
DC Comics used shipping to promote their Superman/Wonder Woman comic book. Look here everyone! The ultimate “power couple” has their own book.
Any time anybody dismisses shippers as a sideshow? Talk to me. I have stories from way back when to Usenet days and even before to the old letter columns in my Bronze age comic books. Letters from people arguing over who belongs with whom.
Welcome to our weekly DC Comics reviews. Ray Goldfied is the prototypical DC fan, while I’m looking for books I can recommend to non-DC or even non-comics readers.
This week features all the Robins of nearly every iteration except, hey, Stephanie Brown who is absent this week from Batman and Robin Eternal. However, another seemingly forgotten Bat character is back instead!
Beyond the Robin War, there’s also Gotham Academy, Prez, Gotham by Midnight and then a whole host of DC books that are only middling to fair and on their last issue or two.
First, let’s check in the the Bat-kids:
Batman and Robin Eternal #9 – James Tynion IV and Scott Snyder, story, Jackson Lanzing & Collin Kelly, script, Roge Antonio, artist
Corrina: Buy It.
Ray: A pretty big change of pace this issue, as this excellent series switches gears and brings in a pair of creators new to the DCU. That would be Lanzing and Kelly, the writers behind Hacktivist, on script duty for this arc.
The main plots we’ve been following until now mostly take a backseat this issue, with Cass Cain still absent after her traumatic flashback last issue, and Harper Row and Dick Grayson only appearing in a short segment where they discuss Harper’s absence and battle it out over Harper’s recklessness and anger. There’s also a flashback segment where Bruce infiltrates Mother’s lair as a customer – only for her to reveal she already knows he’s Batman and hint that she expects him to come back for a custom Robin at one point. It’s a creepy segment that continues to deepen the mystery of Mother, but the flashbacks are definitely a slow burn.
The meat of the issue, however, is in the main story involving Jason and Tim infiltrating Santa Prisca and quickly coming face-to-face with its most famous resident, Bane. Bane’s kicked the Venom, which probably explains why the boys are able to hold him off for so long. I’ve got to say, this is the best-written Bane since Gail Simone’s Secret Six, bringing him back to the complex but ruthless warrior who holds a fierce loyalty to the army he leads. His country’s been taken over by the Church of St. Dumas and his former loyalists recruited into their number, which leads Tim and Jason to reluctantly agree to a temporary team-up against their common enemy.
The Church has an interesting mix of a creepy sci-fi vibe with hints of genuine healing magic at work, but before Tim and Jason can fully explore, they’re exposed as intruders and find themselves up against the Church’s secret guardian – the religious fanatic Azrael! So Cass isn’t the only long-lost Bat-character returning, and I’m impressed with both Azrael’s design and just how well the writers call back to his…less lucid periods early in his run. In general, it’s extremely impressive just how well Lanzing and Kelly slip right into writing these characters despite never writing a DC book before. The consistency on this title is incredible, and despite the absence of the character I’m mainly here for, this was one of the best issues of the run.
Corrina: I wouldn’t say one of the best issues, simply because I’ve no idea who Tim Drake is supposed to be anymore, with the last three reboots and his somewhat inconsistent characterization in this series, but I suppose he and Jason Todd make enough of an odd couple to be interesting and the addition of the anti-hero Bane (instead of villain-style Bane) is a nice touch. Continue reading Robins, Robins, Everywhere! Plus ‘Prez’ & More in DC This Week
There are only a handful of themes which truly stand the test of time. The kind of things shared between generations; dancing across language barriers; appreciated by any child, anywhere, anytime. Lego is definitely one. DC characters are absolutely there. Art is certainly there.
And then whoa! You have someone like Nathan Sawaya combining all three?!? Welcome to the Art of the Brick: DC Comics. Prepare to be joyfully stunned.
Also below is our giveaway but one big caveat: it’s for Australia residents only.
Hi, Friends. I am so sorry for the delay in this week’s Supergirl post. Sometimes even Superheroes get sick. So without further ado, let’s dive into Fight or Flight.
This week, we pick up right where we left off, with Cat, car and all, on a roof and Supergirl ready for her close up. Well not quite close up. She flies around Cat while they talk, presumably to avoid being identified. Although I have to say, it seemed to me that the producers were just looking for a reason to have her fly or float as the case may be.
To kick off the interview Cat asks, “Who are you?” In response, Kara begins to tell her origin story, which bores Cat who has heard it before. “This is my story!” Kara asserts. Cat begins to pose deeper questions that are just dripping with disdain as if she’s bored and annoyed by Supergirl.
This incarnation of Cat Grant has been set up to be a role model for Kara/Supergirl and frankly her portrayal is far from that of a role model.
She does not have Supergirl’s best interests at heart, as any good role model should. She is only interested in Supergirl as a story that can enhance her career. Supergirl’s failure will serve Cat better, far better, than any of her successes. In fact, Cat seems to be rooting for Supergirl’s failure, as it will clearly provide a more enthralling story. Continue reading Supergirl 1.3 Flight of Fight – Cat Grant & How Not to Portray Feminism
There’s something a little bit magical about turning a piece of paper into a crane, bear, or dragon through the practice of origami. But turning a piece of paper into Batman? That’s being a flat-out origami superhero. Thanks to John Montroll, origami master and author of DC Super Heroes Origami, you and your kids will be making super origami versions of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and more in no time.
Welcome to our recap of this week’s DC Comics releases. Ray is the seasoned DC fan, I’m the more cycnical and lapsed DC reader.
We usually focus first on our favorite issue of the week, and work our way down from there but we’re making an exception today. There was one comic with such a problematic plot element, a rape by deception, that we have to start there.
Sorry, Batman Annual #4, our book of the week, and Grayson Annual #2 with your team-up with Superman. We’ll get to you after.
Welcome to our weekly recap of DC Comics releases. This week, I’ll be joining Ray and add my own impressions of the books. We mostly agree, especially on Batgirl, have a bit of a disagreement over the latest Superman installment, and are definitely of the same mind with the stories featuring the villains.
League: Gods and Monsters-Superman #1, story by J.M. DeMatteis and Bruce Timm, script by J.M. DeMatteis, art and colors by Moritat
Corrina: Buy It: Yes.
Ray: Probably more so than any other hero, Superman lends himself to alternate universes. For want of a nail, he could have landed anywhere and become a different kind of hero—or a villain. So it’s no surprise that the Superman chapter of the Gods and Monsters alternative universe by DeMatteis, Timm, and Moritat is easily the best yet. This isn’t quite the Superman we know—although it’s never stated in the book, this isn’t Kal-El, but rather Lor-Zod, the son of General Zod, who we’ve previously known as Chris Kent.
He’s rocketed to Earth in place of Kal-El, but he lands with a poor immigrant family in Southern California, where they work as day laborers. Hernan Guerra, as he’s named grows up to see his family struggle and fall victim to abuse from their employers and locals. His parents, worried what will happen if he’s discovered, urge him to keep his powers secret, but as he grows older Hernan bristles under their rules and begins using his powers to subvert the forces keeping his family down. He also starts displaying an odd sociopathic streak, which leads to an accident that puts his sister in a wheelchair and furthers his growing estrangement from humanity. After a violent incident with some locals, he goes on the run, becoming a transient and learning about humanity—until a brazen kidnapping by an evil cartel boss pulls him out of hiding, leading him to make his debut as a brutal vigilante who serves as judge, jury, and executioner.
Overall, it’s a fascinating look at a Superman who grew up with all the power but a jaundiced view of humanity. He seems like inherently a good person, unlike some of the dark villainous supermen we’ve seen, but one whose cynicism makes him more likely to rule the world rather than protect it. If the goal of this series of one-shots is to make me want to watch the movie, it’s succeeding.
Corrina: What if a Kryptonian baby was found by Mexican immigrants in America who worked in the fields? He would receive a look at the American dream from the lowest rung, be immediately confronted with racial and prejudice, and become an angry man with the powers of a God. The fascinating element about this story is that it’s not clear if this elseworlds Superman naturally trends to the dark side or if he would have turned out differently if he’d not faced such hardship, because even as a boy, his powers fueled his arrogance.
The Gods and Monsters series of stories is based on an upcoming direct-to-video movie that was released on DVD Tuesday but with this story and last week’s Batman, comic readers are also getting fantastic elseworlds tales.
Batgirl #42, Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher, writers, Babs Tarr, artist.
Ray: 9.5/10 (Book of the Week)
Corrina: Buy It? Yes.
Ray: Batgirl under the new creative team of Stewart, Fletcher, and Tarr has been controversial from the start, mainly due to its radically different tone from Gail Simone’s run. While I am a bit sad to see the last vestiges of the more mature Barbara Gordon who was Oracle fade away, I feel like this is an excellent run that probably would have been received a lot better if it kicked off a full reboot with no ties to the original.
This book’s Barbara is very much in the model of quirky, smart, sarcastic girl heroes like Buffy and Veronica Mars, and it works, as does the extensive new supporting cast. The writers find interesting things for every supporting character to do, such as Frankie getting deeper into her new role as Babs’ behind the scenes support, Qadir getting a new job working for Batwing Luke Fox, and even Alysia Yeoh making a return at the end of the issue and dropping a bombshell that probably won’t be all that surprising to those of us who have read Batgirl: Futures End.
The main plot of the issue has Batgirl trying to round up Livewire before she hurts anyone, but this cartoon transplant villain is more of a plot device for the real conflict—Barbara facing off with her father, the new Batman. This could easily have been a cliche in lesser hands, with Jim Gordon being portrayed as a by-the-book lawman looking to arrest a vigilante, but Stewart and Fletcher put a lot more balance in his role. He’s a man struggling with a new role and trying to balance his responsibilities with orders he knows are wrong. He and Batgirl are still on opposite sides—he makes clear he has to take her in and he can’t protect her forever if she doesn’t take his advice and hang up the costume—but it’s a much more subtle and well-written version than we usually see when heroes are pitted against each other. And this is done without Gordon knowing who’s under Batgirl’s mask.
If I had one complaint, it’s that Barbara’s dialogue is a bit too playful and light given the circumstances. It’s well-written, but she almost seems like Spider-man at points. Overall, though, this title has been promising from the start, but I don’t think any Bat-family title has benefited from the new Gotham status quo more than this one.
Corrina: Livewire, from the Superman: The Animated Series, invades Gotham, forcing the new robot Batman (Jim Gordon) and Batgirl (Barbara Gordon) to team-up. The dad and daughter confrontation from last issue is quickly resolved as Batman tells Batgirl he’s letting her escape because he disagrees with the directive to arrest unsanctioned vigilantes. Does Jim know that his daughter is Batgirl?
Unlike Ray, my guess is “yes” because he instantly trusts Batgirl, even to letting her devise the plan that takes down Livewire that also requires Jim to climb out of the suit and simply fight in Batman costume. It’s always fun to see Jim/Barbara interaction and this issue is no different.
Batgirl Annual #3, Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher, writers. Art by: Bengal, David LaFuente, Ming Doyle, Mingjue Helen Chen, Gabriel Eltaeb, and Van Plascencia.
Corrina: Buy It? Yes.
Ray: A packed issue that weaves four short stories into one overarching narrative, this annual has the regular writing team on Batgirl paired with a quartet of guest artists, each teaming Batgirl with another member of the Bat-family. The first and longest story is by Bengal, as it sets up a mystery involving missing diplomats and a mysterious machine named the Negahedron. When Barbara goes to investigate, she’s confronted by Director, A.K.A. Helena Bertinelli—and that means that Dick Grayson, who is presumed dead, is also on site.
While there’s a lot of spy action in this story, the bulk of the story is devoted to Dick doing everything under his power to keep from being seen by Barbara—and the way he’s nearly exposed in the final page is one of the funniest scenes in any comic this week. From there, it’s off to a short segment by David Lafuente as Barbara’s stakeout is interrupted by a hyperactive Spoiler, looking to test her combat skills. Spoiler acts a lot more peppy than she normally does here, but it’s fun and sets up a cool dynamic between these two “generations” of Batgirls. From there, Ming Doyle tells the story of Barbara and Batwoman battling an assassin to rescue a friend of Batwoman’s who has the information they need. This is the weakest segment, as Batwoman—outside of Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams III, at least—tends to be written as stoic and bland. This segment is sorely missing the fun dynamic that the first two had, and which comes back in spades in the fourth as Barbara heads to Gotham Academy to decipher a filmstrip she found and is greeted by the Academy’s teen detectives, Maps and Olive. Helen Chen does a great job aping Kerschl’s style on this segment, and Fletcher co-writes both books, so he’s clearly at home.
Overall, this issue’s main plot is kind of a generic excuse to set up these meetings, but by and large it’s a fun read.
Corrina: This should be called “Batgirl teams up with everybody” because, aside from the “reunion” with Dick Grayson, there’s the Spoiler, Stephanie Brown (herself a former Batgirl but that was two reboots ago), Kate (Batwoman) Kane, and the kids from Gotham Academy. The issue is more of a lighthearted romp and the tone fits best with the Batgirl/Spoiler team-up, while Helene Bertinelli from Grayson seems more than a bit out of character. But it’s great to see Kate Kane making her first appearance in Gotham since the Convergence series, especially since her segment (which I enjoyed, unlike Ray) and it’s drawn by Ming Doyle
Note: Since Ray won’t tell you, I will: Grayson’s identity is nearly given away by his scrumptious butt.
Gotham by Midnight Annual #1, Ray Fawkes, writers, Christian Duce, art.
Corrina: Buy It? Yes.
Ray: Gotham by Midnight has been pretty steeped in mythology since the start, so it’s nice to see them dial it back a bit and do a creepy done-in-one story that reintroduces a classic DCU rogue. That villain is the Gentleman Ghost, the famous Golden Age villain who has never been creepier than he is in this issue. Ray Fawkes is joined on this annual by Christian Duce, whose art is a lot more subtle than the regular artists’ but is nonetheless nicely creepy when it needs to be. The story opens with Jim Craddock, a handsome suitor, seducing a young heiress only for her to mysteriously collapse when the GCPD arrives and he absconds with a necklace of hers. He leads them on a twisty hunt through the mansion as he reveals himself to have ghostly powers that allow him to disappear and manipulate matter. There’s a hilarious segment where Officer Drake tries to arrest a ghost and it goes about as well as you’d expect.
The police cast is limited to Drake and Corrigan this issue, and you know what that means—the Spectre is coming out at some point. Fawkes seems to be channeling the vibe of a classic romantic ghost story this issue, revealing Craddock’s tragic backstory while still making him far scarier than any previous version of the character—his final form once he’s caught on a getaway train is fantastic. I did think how Craddock meets his fate in the end was a bit anti-climatic, but I suppose few fights with the Spectre last very long. This title seems to be finding its footing nicely, and this was easily my favorite of the five annuals this week.
Corrina: The Gentleman Ghost is one of those Batman villains suited to either lighthearted fun as he appears and disappears through Gotham or something darker and sinister. Since this is Gotham’s horror comic, the Ghost in this one is someone who can literally steal breath away as he tries to obtain a necklace that meant something to his human self. It’s gothic, creepy, and, as Ray said, more than a bit romantic. A great story to try out this series, if you haven’t yet.
Ray: I’ve never been a big fan of Cullen Bunn’s Lobo series, mainly because I feel like it’s a return to the bland ultra violence that has pretty much characterized every Lobo solo series since the beginning of time. But what he does here is pretty inventive, and sets up what could be the most interesting story for the character in ages. Lobo is embarking on his biggest bounty hunt ever—targeting Sinestro, now the most powerful Lantern in the galaxy after the disappearance of the GLC. He’s been assassinating ring bearers, trying to draw Sinestro out, but with no success. The story sags a bit whenever Lobo is dealing with his own space crime connections, but it picks up in a big way when Lobo ups the stakes, capturing some Korugan prisoners that Sinestro hasn’t rescued yet and threatening their lives. Sure enough, that draws out the Sinestro Corps, and Lobo allows himself to be “killed” by them, following them back to their headquarters as soon as his body knits itself back together. There he finally gets his confrontation with Sinestro, overwhelming him and beating him—at which point Sinestro cancels the contract he put on himself.
This entire elaborate sting was a way for Sinestro to test Lobo against a ring-wielder so he could hire him for his own purposes. I still find Lobo a rather boring character—but fortunately, midway through this issue it turns into a very good issue of Sinestro.
Corrina: DC’s galactic cynical, arrogant, and murderous bounty hunter with immortality is hired to kill Sinestro of the yellow power ring corps. A decent story with an excellent (if gory) demonstration of Lobo’s ability to regenerate at will, but I’m utterly uninterested in the main character and while Ray enjoys Sinestro, I have no interest. However, Sinestro fans may well want this issue.
Deathstroke Annual #1, written by Tony Daniel and James Bonny, art by Tyler Kirkham.
Corrina: Buy It? No.
Ray: This issue continues directly from the main series with Tony Daniel and James Bonny co-writing and Tyler Kirkham on art. Unfortunately, that means the story is just as forgettable as it was in the main book. Deathstroke was tricked into releasing the evil Titan Lapetus, and now he and Wonder Woman are teaming up to kill the villain before he can overrun the world with monsters. Lapetus is pretty much your generic fantasy villain, talking a lot about how he hates humanity and vengeance will be his, but not much beyond that. After some generic battles, Slade and Diana are swept up into a portal and wind up in Tartarus, where they battle monsters made up of thousands of smaller monsters and are confronted with specters of their worst nightmare. Diana is confronted with a post-apocalyptic world where she’s caused the end of the world as God of War. Slade is confronted with younger versions of his children in mortal danger. There’s some cool visuals, especially involving Tartarus, but the story here is thin and really lacks any likable characters to latch on to. Deathstroke is so out of place in this fantasy story that there’s almost a disconnect. Nothing is really resolved, either, as Slade and Diana escape and wind up back where they started, ready to face Lapetus. It’s not DC’s worst series, but it’s one of its most forgettable.
Corrina: Like Lobo, Slade Wilson is a cynical mercenary and given that the only interesting element about him, his backstory, has been mostly wiped away, I’m as interested in him as I am in Lobo, which is not at all.
The attraction here is Wonder Woman. Their team-up leads both of them through traumatic moments of their past. (Slade’s two kids make an appearance. I guess Grant is forgotten.) Like everywhere else, Wonder Woman is mostly out of character, flippantly threatening to kill Slade because that’s how Princess McStabby Sword operates now. There are hints of her compassion later in the issue but it’s not enough. However, the fights this issue are mostly filler until the big battle with the Titan.
Aside: Slade’s eyepatch and goatee have gone to the same place as Jim Gordon’s glasses and mustache. Is it a crime to look older in DC comics now? (The only exception seems to be Dick Grayson who basically adopts Slade’s old look to fool Batgirl over in her annual.)
Superman #42, Gene Yang, writer, John Romita Jr., penciller, Klaus Janson, inks.
Corrina: Buy It? No.
Ray: While Greg Pak and Aaron Kuder have been handling the “Truth” storyline very well in their two titles, it’s up to newbie Superman writer Gene Yang to show how we got there. Two issues in, he seems to be setting up the pieces effectively, but there’s still a few major logical hiccups in the story that are causing me some trouble. First up, credit where credit’s due—Yang has created one of my favorite new Superman villains in years with the evil information collective HORDR. While a Supervillain take on Anonymous may at first seem like a better fit for a hip title like Batgirl, it makes perfect sense given how journalism and secrets are so key to Superman’s character. HORDR’s M.O. is to find secrets on powerful people, and blackmail them until they control the power brokers in every area of the world—and now they’re trying to lay claim to Superman.
The former HORDR member Condesa fills them in, but not before the group finds them and tries to kill them via engineered shadow ninjas. Clark fights them off, but this gives Lois the last bit of evidence she needs, and this forces Clark to admit to her that he’s Superman. We’ve seen this sort of scene a few times before, and I’ve got to say her anger and sense of betrayal sort of feels off to me here. Not only is she usually more understanding, but she and Clark didn’t have the same level of relationship that they did in other versions. Fortunately, the focus soon shifts to the group infiltrating HORDR’s base with the help of Condesa and some tech from Hiro the Toyman. Condesa and Jimmy seem to have a fun rapport that might indicate a future relationship, and the mystery villain behind HORDR is an intriguing figure. The loss of Superman’s powers is a bit of a deus ex machina—he’s using a solar flare when some mysterious figure shows up and zaps him, then disappears. There’s still a lot of questions to be answered here, but Yang is doing a good job with a story that would be a challenge for anyone to write.
I’m not entirely sold yet, but I’m intrigued.
Corrina: This is how much I hate this flashback story supposedly leading to the reason why Lois Lane outed Superman to the world: Lois reveals that through her investigative work, she knows Clark is Superman. It should be an iconic moment and a turning point in their relationship but my reaction is a shrug. It doesn’t help that Lois’ characterization this issue is so one-note angry rather than more nuanced. She literally rips his shirt off.
As Ray said, The plot revolves around a superpowered version of 4Chan (Ray said Anonymous but this group seems to be more wide-ranging than that), with an anonymous mastermind, Hordr_Root pulling the strings. (If you read that as Hodor, you’re not the only one.) The banter between Condesa, a former member of the group, and Jimmy works but I thought the dialogue a bit off for Condesa, giving her a little too much slang. Props to the art team. The issue looks great (though Lois is drawn a big young).
I’m so not sold on this premise or Lois’ characterization or even Superman’s characterization.
Ray: Some annuals directly continue the main story, while others take the opportunity to do a key side story without actually interrupting the flow of the main series. This is the latter, as Van Jensen and Bong Dazo introduce us to Eobard Thawne’s acolytes who will be testing the Flash shortly. Each of them has been hit by lightning at some point, giving them powers, but the interesting thing is that they’re all from different decades or centuries, indicating that Thawne has been around far longer than anyone knew.
Unfortunately, by and large these characters don’t make that much of an impression. The story starts in 16th century Central America, as a Native woman is pursued as a witch by Spanish conquerers, due to her ability to age and de-age things around her. In 19th century Africa, where the Africans are forced to mine for diamonds by the Dutch colonists, a man with the ability to turn his body to shadow and fold into the walls steals the diamonds and returns them to the mine, hoping to drive the occupiers off. In early 20th century Australia, a Maori strongwoman is pushed too far by a local racist. And in 1980s America, a young boy can summon tornadoes. Each has their life destroyed by their powers, only to be recruited into Thawne’s army and trained for a coming war with the Flash. Then, in a series of brief segments, it’s revealed that Thawne was the one who set each of them up to have their lives ruined. These characters could develop into something interesting, but overall their origins tend to be a bit repetitive and we don’t know enough about Thawne yet for this to have the impact it should.
Corrina: It’s a villains issue as the Reverse Flash, Eobard Thawne, travels through time to recruit acolytes who believe he’s a hero and that Barry Allen is a villain. Eobard, of course, has set up the circumstances that cause this new band of villains to trust him in the first place. I supposed it’s all okay if you’re a Flash diehard but I’m not inspired.
Ray Goldfield is a writer/editor for Grayhaven Comics, as well as the author of two novels currently in editing. He’s a comic fan for over 20 years, particularly of DC and Superman, Batman, and the Teen Titans in particular. Now that Cassandra Cain is coming back, he will not rest until DC greenlights a Young Justice: Season Three comic.
Welcome to a new feature on GeekMom, a look at DC Comics’ weekly output in a nutshell by columnist Ray Goldfield.
Ray is a writer/editor for Grayhaven Comics, as well as the author of two novels currently in editing. He’s a comic fan for over 20 years, particularly of DC and Superman, Batman, and the Teen Titans in particular. Now that Cassandra Cain is coming back, he will not rest until DC greenlights a Young Justice: Season Three comic.
Ray’s been reviewing DC comics published each week for years, informally, and we’re happy to give him a formal platform.
Cyborg #1 – 9.5/10 (Book of the Week)
DC has been trying to make a go of turning Cyborg into an A-lister for a while, complete with a permanent slot on the Justice League and a movie in development, but this is his first try at a solo series. They’ve said they were waiting for the right pitch, and it looks like it paid off. David F. Walker, an experienced indie filmmaker and writer, knows what makes Cyborg unique, and that’s his connection to the world of technology. Walker is partnered with superstar artist Ivan Reis, a clear show of faith in this book, and they waste no time throwing us into the action via an intergalactic battle between two alien forces. The Technosapiens, menacing beings of organic technology, are in pitched battle against the technology-hating Tekbreakers. Back on Earth, STAR Labs is being besieged by protesters angry that their tech isn’t being given out to normal amputees, but Dr. Stone has more pressing concerns. His son has shown up, sporting a new, more advanced look that he evolved after being killed off in the Convergence preview story.
If I had one complaint about this issue, it’s that it’s very dependent on you having read that short story in some places. It’s all recapped much more smoothly than Omega Men or Lost Army were, though. Walker does a great job digging into Victor’s complex relationship with his father, as well as his interaction with childhood friend Sarah and how he feels about his unique link to the technology that rebuilt him. Reis does a great job of capturing Cyborg’s new powers, and Walker works in just the right amount of humor in the script. To no surprise, the cliffhanger makes clear that the Technosapiens are coming for his technology, and it’s a great hook. I find that the best DC runs in recent years have taken a hero’s concept and used it as an intro into a much bigger world. One of the best first issues to come out of DC’s new wave.
We Are Robin #2 – 9/10
A lot of new titles, especially team books, spend a lot of time getting the team together and setting up characters. It’s often the first full arc before the team is fully together. Not We Are Robin. In fact, most of the team is fully formed before the series even starts, and the only piece left is to recruit POV character Duke Thomas. When we last left off, Duke had infiltrated the lair of a new villain—reminds me a lot of the Ratcatcher, although he hasn’t been identified—who has been hypnotizing survivors of the Joker gas, possibly including Duke’s parents. When the villain turned the crowd on him, Duke found himself bailed out by the mysterious team of Robins.
What I like about Lee Bermejo’s script is that he makes clear that even the more experienced team members are still amateurs, getting overwhelmed at times and making close escapes. This feels very much like a group of amateurs deciding to play hero, as opposed to the way the “official” Robins function. Duke’s narration to his parents grounds things nicely, giving a human face to a pretty big ensemble. Midway, Duke gets left behind and finds himself in the custody of a mysterious “recruiter” who gives him the hard sell on joining up without ever revealing who he is or who he works for. After escaping, he meets back up with the team and they make plans to stop the villain’s bombing scheme. There’s a couple of intriguing mysteries in this issue, both the identity of their benefactor and the being pulling the strings of the villain. It doesn’t quite have the same thrilling energy of the first issue, but this book is very quickly establishing itself as one of the elites in the new wave of Gotham books.
Grayson #10 – 8.5/10
This is one of the DC titles that’s taken the biggest jumps in quality since the Convergence break, and it did it without a single creative change. The original run of the title relied too much on convoluted conspiracy theories about Spyral, as well as bizarre plots involving super-organs. Now, it seems to have been retooled into a straight-forward spy thriller that allows Mikel Janin to show off his art. A mysterious serial killer is hunting Spyral agents who have worked with Dick, and he’s on the run after sucker-punching and framing his partner, Agent 1, for the theft they just pulled off. New director Helena Bertinelli, who Dick had grown close to, struggles with keeping Dick’s cover intact while Agent One wants to hunt him down.
The highlight of this issue, easily, is Dicks’ secret rendezvous with a top-tier Spyral client, Lex Luthor, who is trying to sell the agency some advanced cloaking tech in exchange for Kryptonite. Seeley and King’s Luthor is perfectly oily, the right mix of brilliant businessman with scheming criminal, and it’s great to see these two play off each other again after their memorable encounter in Forever Evil. There’s still some weird continuity hiccups with Batman’s status after Eternal, but it’s a minor issue. Next issue promises a major confrontation between Dick and Agent 1 in the catacombs of Rome. It took a while to get here, but this is a title that I’m pretty sure most Dick Grayson fans are going to dig.
Sinestro #13 – 8/10
Cullen Bunn, probably the most prolific writer in comics with books at DC, Marvel, Dark Horse, Oni, Boom, and Dynamite, had made a name for himself as the king of anti-heroes. While it doesn’t quite reach the near-masterpiece that is his Magneto run, he’s writing probably the best GL-verse book right now in Sinestro. Last issue, we saw him forcibly remove his daughter’s GL ring and turn her into a Sinestro Corps supposedly to punish her for her rebellion—but this issue makes clear that thanks to Lyssa Drak’s prophecies, he knew about the disappearance of the GLC, and did it to spare her that fate. As well, of course, as forcing her to join his side and have her under his thumb, because Sinestro never does anything without an agenda. Despite the Sinestro Corps’ new member, they still have the pressing problem of New Korugar about to explode due to the treachery of a mole within the Corps. Sinestro, partnering with new member Bekka of the New Gods, travels to the core of the planet and uses his connection to Parallax to seal the core, but it requires him to let go of his hold on the fear entity, and Bekka is the only one who knows he’s lost that power.
The final scene reveals that Sinestro has known all along that Lyssa Drak was the mole, attempting to remove the distraction of the Korugans, but Sinestro still has use for her. So in a fantastically ruthless move, he executes a trio of foot soldiers to give the impression that justice has been done and cover his ally’s crimes. I’m hoping Bunn stays on this title for a while, because no one besides Geoff Johns has been able to do Sinestro stories this compelling.
Batman ’66 #25 – 8/10
There are two stories this month in this retro digital-first title, and I think it’s one of the best combos they’ve had in a while. Both stories perfectly capture the offbeat nature of the original series, and use concepts we’ve seen less often in this world. The first story, by regular series writer Jeff Parker and Lukas Ketner, features the return of this world’s Harley Quinn. Originally a nurse whose sanity was destroyed by the Joker’s mind machine, she breaks out of Arkham and sets out to establish herself on the Gotham criminal scene.
While I maybe would have liked a longer story featuring this character, the fast-paced tone is perfect for Harley and the way Batman and Robin get the drop on her is clever. I was partial to the second story, by guest team Gabe Soria and Ty Templeton. Barbara Gordon gets a day in the spotlight, as her new temp job at an ad agency is hijacked by the villains of Gotham seeking to rebrand themselves. With the agency taking hostage and Babs without her Bat-gear, it’s up to Barbara to play them against each other long enough for Batman and Robin to show up and take them down. This title is always fun, and I think this was one of their best issues in a while.
Gotham After Midnight #7 – 8/10
This is another title where I feel like the fresh start after Convergence has given it a shot in the arm. Juan Ferreyra, while not quite as distinct as Ben Templesmith, has a really strong, creepy style that suits this horror book well. The addition of Kate Spencer as a district attorney trying to warn the unit that they’re being investigated adds a new threat as well as a new fan-favorite character who had been missing until now. She hasn’t been given quite enough to do in this series yet, but I’m hoping that Ray Fawkes will expand on her character soon. This issue expands on the backstory of Sam Weaver and how he wound up on the Midnight Unit, as well as presenting a new supernatural threat for the team in the form of a parasitic demonic plant that kills people through sheer apathy. When it infects them, it simply causes them to give up on life and lie down until they die from lack of food and water.
The scene where the unit confronts this evil force is tense and well-drawn, but I wonder—is this book falling back on the Spectre a bit too often? Either way, it’s good to have an old-school horror book in the Gotham stable, and I’m hoping the book continues to balance the case of the month with the overarching story effectively.
Justice League: Gods and Monsters – Batman #1 – 7.5/10
Speaking of horror, this new digital-first title spins out of the upcoming DTV movie, and J.M. DeMatteis and Matthew Dow Smith do a good job of introducing us to a very different Batman. In a world where Kirk Langstrom attempted to cure his Man-Bat infection with an experimental procedure that turned him into a vampire-like creature, he attempts to slake his thirst on the blood of the guilty while protecting the innocent. I’ve liked the recent new takes on Batman that are very different from the iconic one, starting with Jim Gordon and now this book. This is a Batman that reminds me much more of the Hulk than anything, in that he’s a true loner with a monster always just shy of the surface.
After confrontations with his parents and some old friends from his hometown, the story really kicks into high gear when he massacres the Gotham crime lords, led by Lew Moxon. Despite how evil his targets were, he’s haunted by his actions and attempts to befriend Moxon’s seemingly innocent son. The story develops into a series of lies and betrayals leading to a tragic conclusion. This is only a setup for the main story, but it’s an intriguing alternate version of Batman that I’d like to see more of.
Aquaman #42 – 7.5/10
Cullen Bunn’s run on Aquaman is certainly ambitious, switching back and forth between two timelines as we see how Aquaman went from King of Atlantis to a hunted fugitive. Now accompanied by an ancient Atlantean sorcerer, Aquaman has become a protector of a secret race of ancient Atlanteans that are trapped in the strange artifacts that are bursting to the surface around the world. It’s a bit too talky at points, with Aquaman frequently expressing his doubts to his new ally. Things come to the surface towards the end, as a town in Alaska comes under attack by supernatural forces, and Aquaman and his team shows up to fend off the threat—only to come under assault by an Atlantean strike team of assassins led by Tempest and including King Shark and classic Aquaman villain Charybdis, as well as a pair of originals.
As this team of Atlantean radicals attempt to destroy their former king, a massive stone golem rises out of the Pacific and bears down on the town. Even if this comic is a bit of a slow burn as it reveals what caused the rift between Aquaman and Mera, the visuals are fantastic.
The Flash #42 – 7.5/10
This is another title that’s improved a lot since it came back from break. The interminable evil future Flash story is gone, Patty Spivot seems to have been written out for now to allow a bigger role for Iris, and an intriguing new mystery has been set up. When we last left off, Barry’s father suddenly broke out of prison along with a trio of super villains, going on the run after getting reason to worry about his son’s safety. Barry is being kept at a distance on the case by Singh and Frye, forcing him to do his detecting as the Flash. Meanwhile, Professor Zoom is stalking them both, manipulating things using his control of time, such as tricking Henry Allen into killing an innocent security guard.
The highlight of the issue comes when Barry confronts Girder at his grandmother’s home, attempting to get the information out of the villain while also dealing with one very devoted and persistent old lady. Barry is able to find the source of the escape—the guard at Iron Heights, who Henry bribed into looking the other way by promising to help his cancer-stricken wife. The issue ends with Zoom showing up to taunt Barry and lead him to the house where his mother died. This title has ditched a lot of the things that weren’t working and is bringing itself a lot more in line with the TV series. Definitely a good move.
Harley Quinn/Power Girl #2 – 7/10
These two have one of the most amusing buddy-team dynamics in the DCnU, as their adventure through deep space continues. Unfortunately, for the first half of the issue, they’re mostly separated on different adventures on the planet. Harley Quinn gets the better of the two stories, as she and one of Vartox’s allies wind up on the run from a sadistic robot with an obsession with sewing up orifices—that is, until Harley uses the planet’s strange art resources to reshape the robot into a giant bunny rabbit. Power Girl, meanwhile, mainly beats up alien spaceships and tries to close up a portal until she’s bailed out by a mysterious group of female alien warriors (and one male one), who are revealed to be an alliance of Vartox’s exes.
The one guy really doesn’t like that they keep saying “ex-girlfriends.” Harley, naturally, makes her typical excellent first impression by assuming they’re villains and assaulting them. And in the villain’s headquarters, Vartox is being brainwashed into a mindless slave. It’s a pretty light read, but fun, even if it drags a bit in the beginning. I suppose the lesson here is that if you have two characters with a great dynamic together, keep them together as much as possible.
The second anthology comic DC releases this week, this one is 30 pages and two stories—one full-length and one half-length. As often happens with anthologies, there’s a pretty big gulf in quality between the two stories. Fortunately, the strong one takes up the majority of the issue. Derek Fridolfs and Tom Fowler team Wonder Woman with Poison Ivy in a story that takes Diana back to her fantasy roots. Themyscira is under assault by monsters, and Ivy’s arrival on the island is taken as an attack, but it soon becomes clear that she followed Gaia’s call to the island to help in the fight. The villain, Typhon, the father of Monsters, unleashes a monstrous invasion of the island and the Amazons battle his forces while Diana and Ivy descend to the depths of Tartarus. This story portrays a fairly light take on Ivy, but it’s effective and Fridolfs is obviously experienced at handling her. I always like seeing WW kill some monsters.
The second story, by Matthew Manning and Georges Jeanty, is a quick read where Wonder Woman, dealing with the fall-out from a gruesome case, decides to take Batman’s advice and take a vacation to a small village where she fights Solomon Grundy. It’s not bad, but it’s too brief to really make much of an impression.
Wonder Woman #42 – 6/10
The second main arc in this run is a definite improvement over the first, but that’s still not saying all that much, given that the first arc turned Donna Troy into a genocidal monster. The issue opens with Diana and her friend Hessia out on the town, where Diana beats up a sexual harasser and is about to give a homeless man a meal when she’s nearly hit by a magic arrow. She pursues her attacker into the sky, and it’s the same young warrior obsessed with killing her so he can steal the power of Ares. The thing that makes this guy work pretty well is… well, he’s a terrible villain. And this series makes this clear. He’s an arrogant, pouty teenage jackass who believes that he’s entitled to the power of the Gods because he’s a descendant of Poseidon. While he’s fairly incompetent as a threat, he’s more entertaining than most WW villains because of this.
I’m less interested in Donna’s unearned redemption arc, as she’s now wracked with guilt and seeking a way to end her life. Strife covertly releases her from prison and sets her on a quest to find the Fates, who can cut her thread and kill her. I’m assuming this book is planning to eventually turn her into a hero given the solicits for Titans Hunt, but if that was their intention, they probably shouldn’t have introduced her by having her kill a bunch of innocent civilians.
Prez #2 – 5/10
In a strong candidate for quickest cancellation ever, this offbeat relaunch of one of DC’s most obscure properties was cut back from 12 issues to six after only one issue was released. Honestly, it’s not hard to see why. This title doesn’t seem to be very clear on what it wants to be. On one hand, it seems to want to be the story of Beth Ross, aka Corn Dog Girl, aka the President. However, it also seems to revert her to a supporting character in her own comic. Aside from a rather forced scene where her father dies after giving her a motivational speech, most of the comic is actually a very broad political satire about influence trading.
As the presidential race is tied and in Congress, the candidates offer more and more elaborate favors to the various representatives, winding up playing them against each other until more and more wind up voting for protest candidate Beth. When Beth is elected, she’s met by Prez Rickard, a mysterious former teen politician who wants to be her vice president—warning her that she’ll need someone even more controversial than her to protect her from assassination. I salute this book for trying something original, but the total picture isn’t working. It’s way too broad and doesn’t have the compelling characters needed to really work as a satire.
Injustice: Gods Among Us Year Four #6 – 5/10
This title has always been incredibly dark, but for the first two volumes, it was a rather fascinating study of the slow deconstruction of the DCU under Tom Taylor. We saw some of DC’s brightest heroes turn into monsters, and some of the rest sell their souls to protect the world from Superman’s invasion. It seemed like anything could happen and usually did. But since Brian Buccellato took over, it seems like this title has been spinning its wheels a bit. Each season seems to be focused on Batman recruiting a new powerhouse force into the battle against Superman, and then failing.
Last season was magic, this season is the Gods of Olympus. There’s an interesting subplot involving Luthor creating a new Superman clone to oppose him, but most of the issue is devoted to Superman in a fairly pointless battle with Hercules that resolves nothing. We know the main players have to survive to the game’s timeline, so there’s really little more to cover here.
Deathstroke #8 – 4.5/10
With last issue, I was starting to think this title might be finding its footing a bit by putting Slade in a different genre. However, things soon take a turn for the less-than-promising. Last issue, Slade shattered an ancient statue that contained the essence of the evil Titan Lapetus on Themyscira. Wonder Woman is less than happy with this, as you might imagine. This results in most of the issue being an extended battle between Slade and Wonder Woman, which goes about as well for Slade as can be expected. After he is sentenced to banishment for violating Themysciran soil, he and Wonder Woman reluctantly agree to work together to fight Lapetus.
One thing I really disliked about this issue was Wonder Woman’s bizarre defeatist attitude, constantly yelling that they’re doomed. It just doesn’t seem in character. The art is strong, and Lapetus shows up at the end of the issue and looks impressive enough. Hoping things pick up a bit next issue, but story is not this book’s strong suit.
Justice League 3001 #2 – 4/10
Slightly less of an embarrassment than last issue, which mainly seemed to be about how much this team hates each other and Superman not understanding gender issues, this book still thinks we’re way too interested in 31st century slavery law than we really are. While the League battles thousands of Starro slaves and Ariel Masters—who is actually evil Lois Lane—attempts to keep up the facade in the media, the team gets yet another new arrival as Supergirl’s spaceship crashes a millennium off schedule. She’s able to team up with the new Flash to find the prime Starro and stop the attack, but it’s then revealed that Ariel/Lois was working with the Starros all along.
It’s so weird that this is the only title Supergirl is currently starring in, given how big she’s about to get as a character in a few months. She deserves much better. The issue ends with a pair of strange “FAQ” pages featuring Ariel and Max Lord breaking the fourth wall with abandon, and it just makes me miss JLI.
Teen Titans #10 – 1/10
I’ve got a lot to say about how far Teen Titans has fallen as a franchise, but I think this issue nicely encapsulates most of them. The Teen Titans, which have been essentially a second family in most of their iconic versions, are at each other’s throats in this book, divided between the main team and the Wonder Girl-led “Elite,” bankrolled by Manchester Black. They’re out to apprehend Superboy, who’s accused of murder, except that the Elite contain Bar Tor, a known 30th century war criminal responsible for thousands of murders! He yells at Red Robin for leaving him behind on Takron-Galtos—after he was fairly convicted of mass murder!
There’s a lot of characters in this comic, such as an Indigo Lantern on the Elite, who are essentially blank slates. The main Titans spend most of the issue brutalizing each other, such as Superboy bringing Wonder Girl within an inch of drowning. Tim and Raven try to confront Black directly and force the information they need out of him, but Raven gets a vision of a secret prison that shuts her down, and Tim winds up alone against the Elite. This book is repetitive, ugly, and completely devoid of anything that should make a Teen Titans book. I don’t know who enjoys their TT like this, but it’s certainly not me.
Each week, I check the new releases from DC Comics, so you won’t have to guess which to grab at the shop or on Comixology on Wednesday.
This week sees the return of Justice League United under a new creative team, a moody and heartfelt Gotham Academy, the appearance of a Kryptonian God, fun from Starfire, and an unexpected appearance from the Spoiler in Catwoman.
Oh, and that’s a heck of a last panel in Batman.
Batman #42, Scott Snyder, writer, Greg Capullo, pencils, Danny Miki, inks
“Superheavy, Part Two,” continues the tale of Jim Gordon inside the robot/armored Batman suit and it’s been a rocky start. Well, for Jim, at least. For the reader, it’s been a great deal of fun to see Jim find his way into the role. He’s a Batman with a dark sense of humor and uncertain that he’s the hero Gotham needs. The one panel where he makes use of the Bat truck deserves a round of applause for the art team, and Snyder’s dialogue, particularly in scenes between Jim and new police commissioner Maggie Sawyer, had my eldest son saying “hey, I should start reading this.” For long time readers, the last page cliffhanger answers an age-old question.
Justice League United #11, writer, Jeff Parker, artist Travel Foreman
This series started with a splash, as a Canadian-based team that reintroduced Adam Strange to the DC universe and gave his lady love Alanna her own story and her own set of powers. Now that the original creators have left, the book has been shifted from a space-faring, time-lost team to something more metaphysical. Alanna and Equinox are in charge of gathering temporary strike team members to fight “deadly anomalies that fracture physics itself.” The team includes Equinox, Animal Man, Stargirl, Mera of Atlantis, Swamp Thing, Poison Ivy and the Demon Etrigan. It’s a odd book narrated by a disembodied Adam Strange but it’s also fascinating and well worth reading.
Constantine the Hellblazer #2, Ming Doyle & James Tynion IV, writers, Riley Rossmo, artist
The cynical, chain-smoking, mistake-prone Constantine is back and trying to solve the problem of someone destroying the ghosts that surround him in his usual way, which unfortunately has bad consequences for him and for one of his ghost buddies. There’s a terrific sequence as John walks into the “Thin Places,” where the borders between supernatural and the real world overlap. The art sells this part, with the ghosts, evil memories, and demons all lurking just at the edge of the senses. If you’re missing the television show, this book will help soothe the cancellation pain.
Justice League of America #2, by Bryan Hitch, inks by Daniel Henriqus, Andrew Currie and Bryan Hitch.
The first issue was intriguing and the second part of this reads like something from the Grant Morrison-era JLA. In other words, it’s epic and unusual. The team members wonder what to do when a god shows up. Superman seems to support him unequivocally. Meantime, Batman tries to find the mastermind behind the JLA’s ambush, and he prepares, if necessary, to fight a god. “There’s always an angle, always an agenda. Just need to know what it is.” We know this won’t turn out that well for Rao, given the previous warnings, but he makes an intriguing villain and a nice change from the usual suspects.
Starfire #2, Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti, writers, Emanuela Lupacchino, pencils, Ray McCarthy, inks.
If you read all of Starfire’s dialogue with the voice of the animated Starfire from Teen Titans in your head, this issue is even more fun. Koriand’r fights a hurricane, rescues a bird, several sailors, and has to handle someone who thinks she’s a spice rather than a superhero. This is now my favorite of the Conner/Palmiotti titles, though Harley Quinn and Harley Quinn & Power Girl are also good. But Starfire has less darkness and more puns.
Gotham Academy #8, Becky Cloonan and Brenden Fletcher, writers, Karl Kerschl, art
After last month’s guest appearance by Damian Wayne, the focus shifts back to Olive Silverlock, who’s mourning her mother, avoiding the love of her life, and trying to help a friend who’s worried he’s becoming a monster. Olive is too, as the family curse that killed her mother might be her legacy. The art is moody when needed, in the halls of the academy and in the cemetery, and poignant when needed, as Olive finally confesses her fears to Kyle. As I’ve said, this is the series to give tweens to hook them on the Batman universe.
Catwoman #42, Genevieve Valentine, writer, David Messina, artist
Selina Kyle wants to clean up Gotham from inside the mob but this issue seems to hint that it’s all about to fall apart, as her quest to find out if Bruce Wayne is really, most sincerely dead conflicts with her need to control the crime families. She’s left it up to lieutenants but this can’t go on much longer. Selina takes out her frustrations on Spoiler/Stephanie Brown, who’s after the same information about Batman. Poor Steph can’t catch a break or so it seems until Catwoman #2 shows up and offers to act as mentor. Sometimes this plotline seems to be going slowly but the climax should be worth it.
Batman/Superman #22, by Greg Pak and Ardian Syaf
Yes, this concerns the “Truth” saga running through the Superman titles, in which he’s been outed (though we don’t know why) by Lois Lane, a storyline I hate. However, there’s no denying the creative talent on some of the titles, including this one, where the low-powered Superman encounters the new protector of Gotham, Jim Gordon/Robot Batman. Things predictably don’t go well, as Gordon is law-and-order and Superman is used to doing, well, what he wants. They both want to protect an artificial sun created accidentally in Gotham (oops!) from outworlder who blames Superman for the death of his world’s previous power source.
There are some nice Superman moments, as he tries to talk to his opponent, and it appears Gordon messes that up because Gordon has learned not to be too trusting of villains out for revenge. I’m not sure who’s right on this one. It’s an intriguing match-up but can we please have this storyline end? I prefer the Superman in the Justice League of America.
Disclaimer: GeekMom received these items for review purposes.
There have been a number of fantastic DC Comics books for kids published recently—if you know where to find them! After enjoying Batman Science so much, I wanted to look at some of Capstone’s other new offerings featuring our favorite DC super heroes. How to Draw Batman, Superman, and Other DC Super Heroes and Villains is a step-by-step art book with characters drawn in Bruce Timm’s wonderful style of the animated series. This isn’t a how-to-draw book for young kids or beginners, but the facts included about each superhero and villain make it worthy of being added to a young comic fans’ collection.
As you might expect from a book with this title, How to Draw Batman, Superman, and Other DC Super Heroes and Villains focuses mostly on poses of the first two heroes in the list. Batman and Superman are given the how-tos for their civilian clothes, head and shoulders, fighting in various poses, and even their vehicles and lairs. Having never taken a drawing class and possessing no talent, I was grateful for the head shots, as those simpler drawings are just about the best I could manage.
Wonder Woman is featured on the cover of the book, even if she’s not named in the title, but I was disappointed there was only one full-body action pose included in the book. I would have loved to see the up-close head and shoulders how-to for both Wonder Woman and Batgirl. With the focus on Batman and Superman, it is still nice to see them at least included in the book, along with other heroines like Black Canary, Supergirl, and Lois Lane.
The descriptions and backgrounds of each character, item, and locale make fun reading themselves. This is one of those books that you’ll see your kid curled up with under the covers when they’re supposed to be asleep, memorizing every little fact about the heroes and villains within. With over 50 characters inside, there’s a lot to look through again and again.
How to Draw Batman, Superman, and Other DC Super Heroes and Villainsmay be best suited for kids age 10 and up who won’t get frustrated when their drawings don’t look exactly like Batman: The Animated Series. But even if your child has never taken an art class, it’s fun to try to draw a favorite character. My 6-year-old and I had a blast drawing a wobbly Wonder Woman and a blobby Batgirl. The drawings may not have been perfect, but we loved laughing and trying together.
GeekMom received a promotional copy for review purposes.
This week Corrina looks at two Superman offerings from DC Comics and an underrated horror title set in Batman’s Gotham.
Gotham by Midnight #3 by Ray Fawkes and Ben Templesmith
I hate the kind of horror that focuses on gore and death. But the kind of horror that’s all about atmosphere and impending doom and insane nightmares? That’s my kind of horror, and this surprising new series from DC is one of the scariest comics out there, even on a part with Wytches (though not as graphic). Midnight reads like an independent comic, especially with the art by Templesmith. Nuns are infected by demons, little girls are infected by hands coming out of shadows, and our detectives/exorcists/magic users just try to keep the horror contained.
Age recommendation: 13+ at least.
Superman #38 by Geoff Johns, John Romita Jr., Klaus Janson, and Laura Martin.
This is part seven of the powerhouse team’s “The Men of Tomorrow,” which introduced Ulysses, an Earth native who was raised in the fourth dimension to be that world’s greatest hero. Unfortunately, to save his world, Ulysses has to murder thousands of Earthmen. Superman has to stop him, and this issue is the fallout from that decision. This run has been my favorite Superman story since DC rebooted several years ago. Johns seems to be channeling an older-style Superman, one who’s about hope and inspiration rather than angst and worry. The final fight with Ulysses is a feast for the eyes and it’s clear it took the talents of Romita Jr., Janson, and Martin to bring it fully to life. There’s a surprise guest-appearance and a game-changing conversation (as much as there can be) between Jimmy Olson and Clark Kent.
Age recommendation: All ages, and I’m happy to say that about a Superman comic.
Short version of this review: I liked this origin story better when it was called Superman: Birthright by Mark Waid and Leinil Francis Yu.
Long version: This is the third volume of a retelling of Superman’s legend for the modern age, featuring young Clark Kent in Metropolis, learning how to be a reporter, encountering a potential girlfriend, and figuring out what to do with his powers. As a comic reader, I’m suffering from Superman origin overload, between Birthright, Grant Morrison’s run on the new Action Comics two years ago, and this book.
I’d hoped that this version, not tied to any other, might offer something truly new. But other than an updated Lex Luthor origin with a motivation at the end that I don’t buy because it’s a trope that needs to die (My love fought to save you and was killed by the villain, therefore I hate you, hero!) and yet another new woman added to the Superman mythos, there is nothing new, especially not if you’ve seen Man of Steel. I’m not even sure Clark’s new girlfriend serves as more than the creators not wanting to use Lois Lane in the role because it’s basically the same role she serves in Birthright. If you have someone who hasn’t read a Superman origin and wants one, this isn’t a horrible choice. It’s just not a particularly creative one, despite the excellent Zod/Superman fight scenes by the art team.
Wonder Woman is *the* iconic female superhero. She’s the Amazon princess trained in war, but with an endless well of compassion. She’s not there for cheesecake, she’s not Princess McStabby Sword rushing into a fight, she’s not disdainful of humans, and, most of all, she is kind. And as I said last week, kindness in itself is a type of superpower.
Yet, neither issue out today from DC, Wonder Woman #36 or Superman/Wonder Woman #13, seemed to remember that very well.
First, in Wonder Woman #36:
It begins with a shower sequence.
It includes Wonder Woman rushing into a fight and yelling all sorts of unsubstantiated accusations.
The scene between two Amazons, one who agrees with their Princess about helping their Amazon brothers and one who seems to be a parody of a man-hating “feminist,” is tone deaf.
“In my culture, this fragility would be your downfall. Here, it’s practically a virtue. I’ve been doing my best to help some of you since my arrival, but how will you ever grow stronger if you need us every waking moment.”—Wonder Woman, on helping rescue civilian casualties of a Parademon invasion.
“Why does this take so long? Do you need to learn more words? And why are you using this ancient relic of your laptop?”—Diana to Clark, complaining that he’s writing about victims of the latest Earth invasion.
“That’s the fourth taxi you’ve given to someone else.”—Diana to Clark, after he gives away their ride to an elderly couple because it’s raining.
Now, granted, I didn’t expect a ton from inexperienced writer Meredith Finch on her first issue of Wonder Woman. Finch’s story is at least aware that this isn’t Diana’s normal behavior, so it does contain some mitigating factors. But the art by David Finch? No.
First, we have to start with a shower sequence. Given, Cliff Chiang started his run on Wonder Woman with Diana half-naked jumping out of bed, but at least that was because someone was invading her home. And Chiang’s Wonder Woman, naked or clothed, never looked less than powerful and in control. But in #36, we have the cliched “thinking about my life in the shower” scene. Not the best way to start a run that women are watching closely. Plus, David Finch’s Wonder Woman looks about 16. In fairness on that complaint, so do other members of the Justice League, and he does draw a nice Swamp Thing.
I put down Wonder Woman #36 and picked up Superman/Wonder Woman #13, wondering if it would feature a better Diana. And, to my frustration, it was worse.
The woman dating Clark Kent/Superman in this issue is entirely loathsome.
The first quote is from a flashback to when she first entered human society, five years ago in DC time, and, even so, it’s still not appropriate. It’s unkind and mean; two things Diana never was and never, ever should be.
If anything, that line belongs to Hawkgirl of the DC Animated Universe. She comes from a completely warlike society and is used to fighting for everything she has. She had to learn compassion for those who may have strengths other than being a warrior.
The writing quote? That’s part of a sequence where Diana just flat out bitches to Clark for two pages. Eww…why would he be with this woman? She’s just nasty. What happened to the Diana who could quietly observe Clark, wondering exactly why he’s so driven to write down his thoughts and fascinated by his need to do so, especially using a typewriter, which she’d immediately tag as far more tactile?
Everyone knows it’s impossible to get a taxi in the rain. Wouldn’t it have been more fun for Clark and Diana in their civilian guises to have a competition to stop the most taxis for those who clearly needed them? Then we could see them interact, watch what they have in common, and get some astonished stares from the taxi drivers.
This is the most unpleasant I’ve seen Wonder Woman ever read. Too bad, because I could like the Clark in this story. Perhaps DC should give Tomasi a Superman book instead.
I’m not sure what to make of Mahnke’s art. Clearly, there’s talent in the way he draws Diana’s various annoyed facial expressions and extra points to him for remembering that she’s at least as tall as Clark. But some of the full-page compositions look weird and off-kilter in a bad way. I expected better from Mahnke too, as he drew the Joe Kelly-penned run of the Justice League, which I enjoyed.
What is the problem with the monthly titles, DC? The stories in the Wonder Woman digital-first title, Sensation Comics, have been sensational. Why do these pale so badly in comparison?
DC should stop trying to make fetch happen and ditch the Superman/Wonder Woman relationship right now. Move Tomasi to that Superman title. For Wonder Woman, go get an artist like Phil Jimenez to properly draw the Amazon, and maybe then we can truly see if Meredith Finch has the writing talent to eventually handle Wonder Woman. Because the current art is doing her no favors. (Though likely, she would disagree.)
GeekMom received these comics for review purposes.
My children, two and five, believe that mealtimes are an unnecessary interruption to their busy lives. My youngest will happily chow down on a handful of Cheerios as he’s bouncing off the walls, but sit him down for a meal and we have a battle ahead of us. My eldest doesn’t even want the Cheerios! Occasionally he will eat a dinosaur tree (broccoli), but most of the time he will even refuse a big plate of spaghetti if it stands between him and his toys.
Whilst they have decided that their intake is not an important part of daily life, their output has not decreased. They have just as much energy, just as much get up and go, as they did while eating seconds and thirds at every meal. I must therefore hypothesize that my boys derive their energy not from food, but from some alternative energy source. I have narrowed it down as follows:
1. They have Kryptonian blood coursing through their veins and derive strength from the yellow Sun.
2. The plastic ring that was given to my eldest by a nice lady at the grocery store actually contains a piece of Starheart and has him encased in a life-supporting force field.
3. They are not merely my sons, but are the avatars of some long forgotten god such as Khonshu.
4. They have a genetic mutation, a la Hank McCoy, that will only fully appear upon reaching puberty. Heaven help me!
5. They were caught in a nuclear explosion while at daycare, and now have the ability to create identical duplicates. What I am seeing is not one active little boy, but several more sedate ones.
6. They are able to convert impact energy into raw strength. Therefore the more active they are, the more things they crash into, the stronger they become.
7. Their energy is linked to their environment, and somehow increases as parental energy levels decrease.
Living in Florida, you can bet that my summer (and the rest of the year) involves hanging out by the pool or lounging on the beach. I’m never at a loss of what to wear while soaking up the rays, because SuperHeroStuff.com has me and my family covered (literally). This year, I decided to pair each member of my family up with a geeky swimsuit, as well as recommended reading material.
When it comes to quality, it’s hard to beat SuperHeroStuff.com. I’ve had some of my shirts for five years, all without any issues when washing them. I recommend you get any items that are 100-percent cotton a size up, just in case they shrink the first time you wash them. And ladies, if you like the bathing suits and are well endowed like me, you will want to look over the bathing suit sizing very carefully. Bathing suits are not returnable, so if you mess up your size, you are out of luck.
Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. This week, Kelly introduces us to Red Lantern Supergirl and Corrina looks over Geoff Johns and John Romita Jr.’s Superman #32. Me? I’m excited to check out an awesome new all-ages comic book with a strong female lead, Princess Ugg.
Kelly Knox — Supergirl #32 written by Tony Bedard and drawn by Ray McCarthy and Emanuela Lupacchino
DC Comics’ New 52 is not a happy place at the moment. Superman is not himself lately, Wonder Woman has her hands full on Themyscira, and Batman… well, Batman is never happy, so that doesn’t really count. Meanwhile, Supergirl is now a Red Lantern, the embodiment of rage. I haven’t kept up with her series at all since the New 52, but the premise sounded interesting, so I picked up Supergirl #32 on a whim last week.
Kara Zor-El is mad at anybody and everybody, but this week she’s particularly upset with Guy Gardner (sporting a much better haircut lately), who wants her red ring of rage removed. On her way back to Earth, she encounters a foe called the Worldkiller, who is hiding a secret that just might be Supergirl’s undoing.
Supergirl is formidable as she is, but adding a Red Lantern ring turns her into an almost unstoppable force. A force powered by teen rage, so look out, universe. I had been planning on waiting until this “Red Daughter of Krypton” story line was collected into a graphic novel to read the entire story, but I’m so intrigued that I might not be able to wait that long.
Dakster Sullivan — Princess Ugg #2 written and drawn by Ted Naifeh
This week, I had a really fun time reading the newest series by Oni Press, Princess Ugg. This is a book with a very strong, relatable young woman, who is trying to find her way in her crazy world. In her path to discovery, she has major obstacles in the form of other princesses in her school that see her as nothing more than an animal.
Issue #1 introduces us to Princess Ugg and her kingdom. We see she has a strong mother, as well as a strong sense of who she is in her own kingdom. This doesn’t last long as she leaves her kingdom to fufill a promise to her mother by attending The Princess Academy.
The Princess Academy is where the young royals from the five kingdoms attend to get their education. Princess Ugg of Grimmeria shows up armed for battle, but unfortunately for her, she isn’t armed for the right kind of battle. Her real battle will be in the classroom, the halls, and her bedroom, which she shares with Lady Jennifer. The girls at the school remind me of the stuck-up popular kids of my alma mater. Just reading their characters makes me want to reach into their world and strangle them with their sashes.
Issue #2 shows us a bit more of what Ugg has to deal with in terms of classmates and coursework. There are areas you will feel bad for her and times when you will laugh at how she handles the task at hand.
What I’m enjoying about this series is Princess Ugg and how she handles herself around school. She’s strong, but beneath that is a young girl, who isn’t sure who she really is or why she is even at the school. She reminds me a lot of who I was at her age. It secretly hurts her when she hears the other students’ comments. I know how she feels, having been in that position myself more than once.
My only problem with this title is the shower scenes. I think these young women are drawn a bit too “accurately” and not shadowed enough when it comes to these particular scenes. They don’t leave much to the imagination and I would rather they put up some stall walls to avoid drawing their bodies all together when in the bathroom.
The cliffhanger at the end of Issue #2 left me dying for more. How does Princess Ugg find her way at the school and what trials await her as she makes her way through her classes? Most of all, I’m curious to see what will everyone else will learn from her.
Princess Ugg is a true all-ages comic and I highly recommend it for anyone who wants a powerful story without superheroes and capes. Issue #2 arrives in stores today and on ComiXology.
Disclaimer: GeekMom received this item for review purposes.
Wynonna Earp written by Beau Smith
A quick television note about one of my favorite female lawmen: Wynonna has been optioned for television. She’s a descendent of the legendary Wyatt Earp and tackles supernatural cases. The last time I read her stories, she was busy taking on the Yeti. I’m hopeful that a show is made because this could be awesome—even if it means she’ll make it to television before Wonder Woman.
Infinity Man and the Forever People written by Dan Didio, Keith Giffen, and Scott Koblish
The Forever People were part of Jack (King) Kirby’s creation of the New Gods and the Fourth World when he moved to DC Comics in the early 1970s. Darkseid is the most famous of the New Gods, but Orion, Big Barda, and Mister Miracle have also made television appearances and the Forever People also appeared in the Young Justice series. At the time of their creation, they were Kirby’s riff on the hippies of the era.
I was skeptical about them getting a new series when even Kirby couldn’t make the original last more than 11 issues. But the art by Giffen promised to be excellent and even though I disagree with about 99 percent of decisions Didio has made as co-publisher of DC Comics, his writing on Omac showed talent and a touch for fun. But none of that is evident in this first issue, where the people are introduced via yelling and sniping at each other. It was so unpleasant to read that I didn’t want to even finish the review copy I received. This makes me sad.
Superman #32 written by Geoff Johns, John Romita Jr., and Klaus Janson
As Kelly notes above, the relaunch of Superman in the New 52 has been a bit of a mess, save for Grant Morrison’s short run on Action Comics. The new villains have been less than memorable (and the fewer people that remember H’el, the better) and Clark’s supporting cast has been somewhat adrift with his marriage to Lois Lane vanished by editorial fiat and his leaving The Daily Planet. The superstar team of Johns, Romita, and Janson is here to save the day for the Man of Steel’s self-titled series. Or try.
Romita Jr.’s art, inked by Janson, is a complete triumph; he draws the best Superman and cast I’ve seen in ages. (Love the front and back cover with Clark changing to Superman.) The story? It’s promising, but reminds me of other stories by Johns, particularly those involving doppelgangers, like in his recent Forever Evil mini-series. But at least this is a different take on that, as Superman encounters a young man from another dimension who thought he was the last of the human race. I look forward to Romita Jr.’s art as Superman inevitably enters that dimension.
The Flash #32 written by Robert Venditti, Van Jensen, Brett Booth, and Norm Rapmund
“Who Will He Kill Next?” is the big question on the cover of this issue and that question could apply to the entire New 52 reboot. There’s a future Flash running around killing people to atone (?) for his mistakes, and a current Barry playing uncle to the new Wally West and having fights with his girlfriend. I guess that maybe DC is laying the seeds for yet another possible reboot, since the Barry Allen Flash was at the center of Crisis on Infinite Earths and the more recent Flashpoint. One could argue that the current state of the joyless DC universe is Barry’s fault, though I tend to lay some credit/blame to the editors. This is not a comic that anyone but a hardcore DC fan needs.
Disclaimer: Corrina received some of these items for review purposes.
Looking for something else, readers? Check out this week’s listed books:
Adventures Of Superman #14
All-Star Western #32
Batman ’66 #12 Batman Beyond Universe #11 GeekMom Recommended / Kid Friendly
Batman Detective Comics Vol. 3 Emperor Penguin TP
Batman Detective Comics Vol. 4 The Wrath HC
Batman Eternal #12
Before Watchmen Ozymandias Crimson Corsair TP
Dead Boy Detectives Vol. 1 Schoolboy Terrors TP
Harley Quinn #0 (Director’s Cut) Harley Quinn #7 GM Recommended He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe #14 GeekMom Recommended
Injustice Gods Among Us Vol. 1 TP
Injustice Gods Among Us Vol. 2 HC
Injustice Gods Among Us Year Two #6
Justice League #31
Justice League Dark #32
Larfleeze #12 (Final Issue) New 52 Futures End #8 Weekly Series
Red Lanterns #32
Secret Origins #3
Superman Doomed #1 (One Shot)
Superman Wonder Woman #8
Tom Strong And The Planet Of Peril TP
All-New Doop #3 (Of 5) All-New Ghost Rider #4 New Series All-New Ultimates #4 New Series Amazing Spider-Man #3 GeekMom Recommended / New Series
Avengers A.I. Vol. 2 12000 A.D. TP
Avengers Undercover #6
Deadpool Vs Carnage #4 (Of 4) Dexter Down Under #5 (Of 5) Final Issue
Fantastic Four #6 Guardians Of The Galaxy #16 GeekMom Recommended
Marvel Masterworks The Human Torch Vol. 1 TP
Marvel Previews #131 (July 2014 For Products On-Sale September 2014)
Marvel Universe Ultimate Spider-Man #27 Ms. Marvel #5 GeekMom Recommended
New Avengers #20
New Avengers Annual #1
New Avengers Vol. 3 Other Worlds HC
New Warriors #6
Original Sin #3.1 Original Sins #2 (Of 5) New Miniseries Event Savage Hulk #1 New Series Spider-Man Spectacular #1 New Series
Superior Spider-Man Team-Up Vol. 2 Superior Six TP
Uncanny Avengers #21
United States Of Murder Inc #1
What If Age Of Ultron TP
X-Men The Road To Onslaught Vol. 2 TP
24 #3 New Series 7th Sword #3 New Series Cartoon Network Super Secret Crisis War #1 (Of 6) Kid Friendly
G.I. JOE Special Missions Vol. 3 TP
Godzilla Rulers Of Earth #13
Godzilla Rulers Of Earth Vol. 3 TP
Illegitimates #6 (Of 6)
Libretto Vol. 1 Vampirism TP
Locke And Key Special Edition Vol. 3 Crown Of Shadows HC
Mars Attacks First Born #2 (Of 4) My Little Pony Friends Forever Vol. 1 TP Kid Friendly My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic #20 Kid Friendly Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles New Animated Adventures #12 Kid Friendly
Transformers More Than Meets The Eye #30
Transformers Spotlight Drift (Director’s Cut)
Transformers Windblade #3 (Of 4)
V-Wars #1 X-Files Season 10 #13
Captain Midnight #12 Conan The Avenger #3 New Series Dream Thief Escape #1 (Of 4) New Mini-Series
Emily And The Strangers Breaking The Record #1 (Of 3)
Frank Miller’s Big Damn Sin City HC
Goon One For The Road (One Shot)
Halo Escalation #7
King Conan The Conqueror #5 (Of 6)
Mass Effect Foundation #12
Massive Vol. 3 Longship TP
Mind MGMT #23
Occultist Vol. 2 At Death’s Door TP
Pariah # 5 (Of 8) Serenity Leaves On The Wind #6 (Of 6) Final Issue
Sin City A Dame To Kill For HC
Star Wars Legacy II #16
Star Wars Rebel Heist #3 (Of 4)
Tarzan Burne Hogarth’s Lord Of The Jungle HC
Tomb Raider #5
Vandroid #5 (Of 5)
Acronym Key: VC = Variant Cover / HC = Hard Cover / TP = Trade Paperback
After two years, the double-Eisner Award-winning series, Tiny Titans, returns this Wednesday with a six-issue miniseries. In the meantime, creators Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani have been busy with the equally charming Superman Family Adventures, and so this issue begins with the super-team looking for their friends, the Titans.
The fun of both comics is that they’re completely kid-friendly and adorable but full of superhero in-jokes for adults. The full issue comes out on June 4th.
First of all, I can’t tell you how happy I am that Warner Bros. has released a family friendly Justice League movie. I’ve seen their more recent films such as Justice League: War and Justice League: Flashpoint Paradox, and to say they are not family friendly would be an understatement.
JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time follows Lex Luthor and the Legion of Doom as their attempt to take over the world by melting the polar ice caps backfires and gets Lex “killed” in the process. Of course, Lex doesn’t really die. After he’s had time to thaw out, he uses a mysterious villain known as Time Trapper to return to his own time with a plan to wipe Superman and the rest of the Justice League from the history books.
The movie give us our favorite heroes including: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Cyborg, The Flash, and Aquaman. We are also introduced to two new heroes: Karate Kid and Dawnstar.
Karate Kid (voiced by Dante Basco) comes off as an arrogant punk who wants his glory now. Dawnstar (voiced by Laura Bailey ) is more patient and wise, but lacks the courage to do what she must when the battle starts. Over the course of the movie, we get to see them grow into the true heroes they are meant to be, as they are forced to step it up to save the Justice League and the timeline.
With the movie lasting less than an hour, it felt more like a TV show pilot than a movie. When I read the synopsis of the movie, I was excited to see The Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg would play a larger role in the heroics. I was disappointed though when their “larger” role was limited to one slapstick fight scene. Don’t get me wrong, that one scene was funny and important, but it wasn’t quite the heroics in saving the time line I had imagined.
After the movie was over, my husband and I both agreed we felt the story was rushed and the ending needed some work (or at least a sequel). My son, on the other hand, declared that he loved it and had no problems with it. I’m not surprised seeing as he’s only 8-years-old and doesn’t critique the voice actors or the way the characters are portrayed. To him, he sees his favorite characters facing-off against villains he’s familiar with.
So, if you are looking for a family friendly Justice League movie, this one meets the criteria. I can’t say I’m 100% happy with the story, but the fact that my son enjoyed it and it’s something we can all watch together is enough for me.
Oh, this is great. My son is an intern at the Dudley Observatory this year. They recently put up a YouTube channel showing archival films found in their vaults. This is a 1957 Trip to the Moon. The filmmakers use all the information they had at the time to imagine what it might be like.
Star Wars with Winnie the Pooh. Lauren Landa and Jim Cummings do a reading from the script of Star Wars using different voices. Of course, Winnie the Pooh as Darth Vader is…indescribably awesome.
Alternate version of Gravity. Heh. Heh.
I found this while searching “tea geek,” cause I’m always looking for comrades. It’s not really about tea, but information about a group, STEM women socializing, which sounds great! Looking for one in my world…
And this month from my son: LUKE’S PICKS
How Frozen Should Have Ended
Star Wars: “The Rescue” retold by preschoolers and acted out by grown men…
This year at Megacon, I had the opportunity to check out some great items from SuperHeroStuff.com. My favorite item was a Batman shirt. Even though it was in a men’s cut, it fit me great and could pass for a ladies’ shirt.
I’ve had some time to wear each piece and wash them a few times. As usual, the quality holds up great. The shirts do shrink a little, so I would buy one size up to make sure it still fits when you take it out of the dryer.
Since Mother’s Day is right around the corner, I decided to head to SuperHeroStuff.com and with the help of Polyvore, put together some outfits for mom that I’m sure she will love (I know I love them).
First Up is Batman!
Batman is by far one of my favorite superheroes. I don’t know if it’s all of his “wonderful toys,” his great one-liners when talking to Superman, or the fact that he has one of the best animated series of all time.
Batman: Earth One by Geoff Johns is one of my favorite Dark Knight origin stories and will give mom a chance to read about Batman taking out the Gotham City trash while you do the same in the kitchen (hint…hint…). While you’re at it, how about you play Alfred for the day and wait on her hand and foot?
Next Up is the Man of Steel Himself: Superman!
The costume backpack is my favorite part of this outfit, because it has a lot of fun features like a costume belt and cape, so you can show everyone how super mom really is. The main compartment is large enough to fit my new HP Envy Touchsmart laptop with room to spare.
The Superman iPhone case is also a wallet and has a special place for cash and credit cards (also known as that plastic thing mom uses to buy you stuff).
My comic book pick for this outfit is Superman: Birthright by Mark Waid. This is one of my favorite Superman origin stories ($15.99 on Amazon). While mom is reading about the Man of Steel, why don’t you show her what a superhero you are and pick up after her for a change?
Time for a Little Hulk SMASH!
She-Hulk just debuted in her own solo series, and what better way to celebrate than with a smashing outfit to read it in. Of all the She-Hulk shirts ($24) on SuperHeroStuff.com, I like this one the best because of the colors and the style.
G.I Joe isn’t just for the guys, though the clothing selection might make it seem otherwise. To be honest, I had a hard time finding something that would work, but I found it in the Cobra Commander shirt ($20). This shirt is a men’s cut, but if you get the right size, it will fit mom just fine.
Make sure you pick up G.I Joe: Origins Vol. 1 ($16) to stick in mom’s bag! It’s a nice intro to the characters and will give her a break from the running around that she does for you all day. To make this an extra special gift, while she’s reading, pick up a broom (the thing with a handle and big bristles at the bottom) and do a little cleaning. When she’s done reading, she will really appreciate your help.
Last but Not Least, the Flash!
Any mom that’s a fan of the scarlet speedster will love this one, complete with matching belt ($15) and black bag with swag buttons ($6). The hat ($28) comes in different sizes and there’s also a ladies’ cut shirt ($24) . The black Ogio bag that I paired with the G.I. Joe outfit above would also go great with this outfit.
My Flash comic book pick is The Flash New 52: Vol. 1 ($9.99 on Amazon). To make this gift extra special, take a turn at the laundry and let mom use the time she would be folding your jeans to read a good book.
If you’re interested in checking out SuperHeroStuff.com in person, they will be at these upcoming conventions:
C2E2 – 4/25/14
Phoenix Comicon – 6/5/14
Denver Comic Con – 6/13/14
Wizard World Philly – 6/19/14
Wizard World Chicago – 8/21/14
Salt Lake Comic Con – 9/4/14
New York Comic Con – 10/9/14
Stan Lee’s Comikaze – 11/1/14
If you stop by, tell Brian that Dakster says hi!
GeekMom received a few of these items for review purposes.
Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. This week I take a look at the new all ages comic book, StarMage, and Corrina jumps into the world of Batman with Batman: Eternal, Batman/Superman, and Secret Origins.
Dakster Sullivan — StarMage #1 by J.C De La Torre and Ray Dillon
The first issue is pretty simple with a mix of current events mixed with flashbacks to our lead Darien Connor’s life. Darien is typical high school teenager with girl and bully problems to boot.
One day, he gets sucked up into an adventure and learns that he might not be as ordinary as he thought.
The writing and art went together seamlessly. I enjoyed the choice of colors for each scene and how the artist captured the emotion that really tugged at the heart strings.
The only thing I didn’t like about the story were the random flashbacks. I wasn’t 100% sure what was going on each time it switched, but after reading the issue a second time, I picked up on what happened.
I’m hoping the next issue has a few less confusing flashbacks and an easy to understand explanation of where Darien is from and how he is going to handle the fight that is coming towards him.
StarMage is a new series published by IDW for ages 10 and up.
Disclaimer: I was given a review copy of this title.
Corrina — Batman Eternal #3 by Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Ray Fawkes, John Layman, Tim Seeley, Jason Fabok
She’s baaaack! Stephanie Brown, the crimefighting daughter of a C-list supervillain, returns to DC Comics after more than two years in limbo, a miraculous return after being erased from existence and after DC editorial deemed pitches concerning the character were “toxic.”
Steph makes her re-appearance in this new weekly series featuring the entire cast of Batman’s Gotham. For a weekly book, the pace of the first three issues has been very quick, with Jim Gordon being removed form his place as commissioner to allow the criminals a free hand in Gotham, and Batman and Catwoman quickly on the trail of the man who seems behind it all, crime boss Carmine Falcone. Stephanie returns to Gotham much as she began—over-hearing the crimes being planned by her super-villain father and wanting to stop them. But first, she has to escape him.
For the first time in a long time, a Bat-book from DC has my full attention.
Secret Origins: Superman, Robin, Supergirl, various creators
Two years after the universe has been rebooted, DC is starting to once again redo the origins of some of the most iconic heroes. Superman, his cousin Kara aka Supergirl, and Robin (Dick Grayson) are featured in this first issue. Greg Pak, Lee Weeks, & Sandra Hope tackle Superman with a nice retelling of his famous origin. I was worried they’d make him darker and more grim but, no, this is the classic tale of the baby rescued from a field who’s as much the son of the Kents as the son of Krypton.
Supergirl, Kara Zor-el, is the one who gets the angry origin. Once Superman’s older cousin, Kara eventually finds her way to Earth long after her cousin has grown up. He’s as much a stranger as the rest of the world. She misses Krypton, her friends, and her family and wonders if she’ll ever fit in. The best part of the story by Tony Bedard and Paulo Siqueira are the first seven pages set on Krypton which gives us a sense of the world Kara has lost.
No angst for Dick Grayson who remains one of the most optimistic characters left in the DC universe. This retelling of his early days by Kyle Higgins and Doug Mahnke has one of the sweetest scenes I’ve read in a long time between Dick and his parents. I was wondering when the tale would descend into darkness but instead it ends on a nice note with Dick honoring his dead parents with joy, rather than sadness. My only quibble is that I don’t like that Grayson has been aged up so he’s more of a little brother to Bruce Wayne than his foster son.
That’s the best way to describe the story devised by Pak and Lee that features at least two sets of Batmen and Supermen, along with the Earth-2 versions of Catwoman and Lois Lane. Lee’s stylish art creates a dream-like atmosphere as the two younger versions of Batman and Superman are manipulated by a demon from Apokolips.
There are some fun moments and some meta-commentary on how angry the new 52 Superman seems to be in comparison to his older Earth-2 counterpart but, mostly, it’s a tense affair as four heroes race to save a couple of worlds. Yet the end makes it clear that the worse is yet to come. It’s a fine story, though not my favorite because of the dark tone, but Lee’s art is so atmospheric that any reader will be drawn in this story world.
Looking for something else, readers? Check out this week’s listed books:
All-Star Western #30
Batman Eternal #3
Batman Superman #9
Books Of Magic TP
Dead Boy Detectives #5
Deadman Vol. 5 TP
Green Lantern Vol. 3 The End TP
Green Lantern Vol. 4 Dark Days HC
Justice League Dark #30
Justice League United #0
MAD Magazine #527
Red Lanterns #30
Secret Origins #1
Superman #30 Teen Titans #30 (Final Issue)
Teen Titans Go #3
All-New Invaders #4
Avengers Undercover #3
Brilliant Vol. 1 HC (Premiere Edition)
Captain Marvel #1 Daredevil #2 New Series
Dexter Down Under #3 (Of 5) Elektra #1 New Series
Fantastic Four #3
George Romero’s Empire Of The Dead Act One #4 (Of 5) Guardians Of The Galaxy #14 GeekMom Recommended Iron Patriot #2 New Series
Marvel Masterworks The Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 16 HC
Marvel Universe Ultimate Spider-Man #25 Origin II #1 (Of 5) New Mini Series Original Sin #0 New Event
Powers Bureau #9
Savage Wolverine #17
Savage Wolverine Vol. 1 Kill Island TP
Secret Avengers Vol. 3 How To MA.I.M. A Mockingbird TP
Superior Spider-Man Team-Up #12
Thor By Walter Simonson Vol. 5 TP
Uncanny Avengers #19
What If Age Of Ultron #4 (Of 5)
X-Men Legacy Vol. 4 For We Are Many TP
X-Men An Origin Story HC
24 #1 New Series 7th Sword #1 New Series
City The Mind In The Machine #3 Danger Girl May Day #1 (Of 4) New Mini Series
Dungeons And Dragons Forgotten Realms Classics Omnibus Vol. 1 TP
G.I. JOE A Real American Hero #201
Godzilla Rulers Of Earth #11
Magic The Gathering Vol. 4 Theros TP
Popeye Classics #21
Princess Of Mars Illustrated Prose HC
Rocketeer The Spirit Pulp Friction HC
Rogue Trooper #3 Samurai Jack Classics Vol. 2 TP Kid Friendly
Star Slammers Re-Mastered #2
Star Trek #32
T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #7
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #33
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures Vol. 7 TP Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles New Animated Adventures #10 Kid Friendly
Transformers Robots In Disguise #28 X-Files Season 10 Vol. 2 HC GeekMom Recommended
Bride Of The Water God Vol. 15 TP
Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 10 #2
Conan The Avenger #1
EC Archives Weird Fantasy Vol. 1 HC
Eltingville Club #1 (Of 2)
Gantz Vol. 31 TP
Halo Escalation #5
Mass Effect Foundation #10
Mind MGMT #21
Someplace Strange HC
Star Wars Legacy II #14
Star Wars Omnibus Knights Of The Old Republic Vol. 3 TP Tomb Raider #3
Witcher #2 (Of 5)
Welcome to this week’s adventures in climbing the Cliffs of Insanity. This week, I focus on a couple of feminist issues in the superhero world, one in comics, one in television. The comic? Superman/Wonder Woman. The show? Arrow.
I have received review copies of the first three issues of the Superman/Wonder Woman series, otherwise I’d never read a comic whose premise drives me nuts, namely that Wonder Woman and Superman’s romantic relationship could be at all interesting. There’s just no spark there.
But as I was reading the third issue, I noticed something that bothered me far more than a story problem.
Wonder Woman, the symbol of female power, is co-starring in a story where her only conversation with a woman in issue #3 is about a guy, namely Superman.
Why is this a problem?
First, a disclaimer: The Bechdel Test isn’t always an indicator of quality. It asks three simple questions: Is there more than one woman in the story? Do they have a conversation? Is that conversation about something other than a man?
These questions developed as a “test” basically to find out if a particular movie was at all interested in presenting a female character as other than a romantic interest—i.e., the girlfriend. It also can show just how few female characters exist in some movies. Failing the Bechdel doesn’t necessarily make a movie terrible or against women. Gravity, starring Sandra Bullock, doesn’t pass the Bechdel Test because Bullock and George Clooney’s characters are stranded in space. It’s still a great movie.
What the Bechdel test can show is that a specific story isn’t interested at all in telling anything from the female point of view and it can showcase a more overall trend with the lack of female stories in mainstream entertainment. It seems a ridiculously easy bar but even hugely popular movies, like The Avengers, barely pass.
However, even in shows or movies that focus on women, it’s easy for them to pass a reverse Bechdel test where the questions are about men. Take Orange is the New Black, a great show, full of awesome and diverse roles for women. Yet still, there are four important male characters and that have significant storylines. Men aren’t left out because, well, they are part of the world.
Yet women are often forgotten, not even rising to the level of supporting characters. Even in this comic where the most prominent fictional feminist icon is featured.
There is one other woman in the story and Wonder Woman talks to her friend about, yes, a guy. (Superman.) Superman has a similar talk about the relationship with his buddy, Batman. (This is a great scene though I’m not sure Batman is the guy I’d go to for relationship advice.) But then Zod somehow falls to Earth, Superman, Wonder Woman, and other heroes are called to deal with his hostile response to arriving on Earth, and there are no other women in the story save Wonder Woman.
There was the Justice League of America, all men, confronting Zod, another man. Wonder Woman tied up Zod so Superman could decide what to do with him. This speaks less about the quality of the writer of the series, Charles Soule, and much more about the inherent problems right now in DC’s Universe, especially with Wonder Woman.
Once upon a time, Wonder Woman’s books featured her sister, Donna Troy; her protege, Wonder Girl; her female friend, Etta Candy; and, of course, an entire cast of Amazons, including her mother, Queen Hippolyta. The inter-generational connection is one of the most fascinating elements of WW’s mythos. Or was.
Donna Troy doesn’t exist in the current DC Universe. Wonder Girl is unconnected now and stuck in the story hell that is currently Teen Titans. Etta Candy is Steve Trevor’s assistant rather than WW’s friend, and the Amazons? Well, they’ve been revealed as murderers and child slavers, and Queen Hippolyta the worst of the lot. (I think they’re currently all turned to stone as well.)
Basically, all of Wonder Woman’s relationships and friendships now primarily revolve around men, including daddy issues with her father, Zeus (a retcon).
It’s sad that comics from over 30 years ago pass the Bechdel test with flying colors, including two that were smash hits in the early 1980s: Marv Wolfman and George Perez’ Teen Titans, and Chris Claremont and John Byrne’s Uncanny X-Men.
Again, I ask: Why the heck are we going backward?
Arrow Misses the Mark
There are a great many things I love about Arrow. I love the redemption story of Oliver Queen. I love how his character arc over one and a half seasons has been so well done. I love Felicity Smoak and Diggle, his team, and his mother, Moira Queen, a terrific, flawed, intense, multi-layered woman. The writer in me loves how well the flashbacks are woven into the stories of the present. I liked the nerdy Barry Allen featured in the last two episodes.
Bottom line: I enjoy the show.
The problem is I’m developing a squick when it comes to the female characters. Now, it’s Oliver’s show, so plot elements should always revolve somewhat around him. But lately the vibe is “Oliver and his women” and it’s getting ridiculous. Oliver has slept with four current supporting characters: Sara, Shado, Laurel, and Isabel Rochev. His mother has been mainly off-screen, for plot reasons, and his sister, Thea, has been reduced basically to worrying about her boyfriend, who is the driving force of their storyline.
The final straw for me was when the writers decided Felicity also has a thing for Oliver, a change from the first season, where she liked him but didn’t see him as relationship material. There was more chemistry in season 1 between Felicity and Diggle.
Then, to make matters worse, in this week’s episode, Oliver is given a Sophie’s choice between his two lovers/girlfriends, Sara and Shado, as the two women are reduced to props for Ollie’s angst. And, at the end of the mid-season finale, it’s shown that whatever happened to the women Oliver didn’t save is the driving motivation between the behind-the-scene villain.
It’s all about the pain of the men.
And that’s frustrating. Sara’s re-appearance as Black Canary was very good and I loved the fight scenes featuring her and Oliver but mostly, I loved that her story was about her. I was hoping for sub-plots like that for the other female characters or something to show they’re not simply satellites in Ollie’s orbit. Alas, there’s only a lame plotline of pill addiction for Laurel and now it appears she’s gotten involved with a villain. ::sigh::
Welcome to this week’s installment of my adventures climbing the cliffs of insanity.
For today’s column, I intended to focus solely this week on Lois Lane: A Celebration of 75 Years, which is due out on November 26. Unfortunately, recent events and discussions regarding sexual harassment of female creators, as outlined by Ms. Marvel writer G. Willow Wilson, and how prevalent it is, as detailed by Rachel Edidan, former editor at Dark Horse comics, sent me pondering whether we’d come very far at all in the 75 years of Lois’s existence.
Lois is somewhat of a bellweather for the comic industry’s attitudes toward women. When there was a great movement to more independent women, Lois was smart, strong, funny, tough, and worthy of admiration. When there was a backlash after World War II, she morphed into something less admirable. Later, she regained some of her original intelligence and focus on journalism. But recently, not so much.
As society moves forward, the comic industry seems to be going backward.
I cannot help thinking the stories I hear constantly about numerous, well-known comic pros basically running their own version of “casting couches” at conventions, about those employed by the big two companies who create a hostile environment for female characters and creators, and about the ever-present dismissive attitude by a very vocal group of male comic fans who are hostile to women even reading superhero comics, has something to do with Lois Lane’s devaluation of the last few years.
Lois was created at a time when women were starting to have careers. In every telling of Superman’s origin, Lois is there, not necessarily as a love interest, but always as a tough, professional woman who’s better at her job than Clark Kent.
I first encountered Lois watching reruns of the George Reeves Superman television show. Superman was cool and all—and no one rocked a fedora better than Reeves’ Clark Kent—but it was Lois I loved. Because she had a job, and she was good at it, and people respected those skills. Sure, it would be nice to be a superhero but even as a young child, I knew that wasn’t possible.
But I could be Lois Lane. (And I did grow up to be a professional journalist.)
Yet Lois’s history is loaded with stories that are somewhat cringe-worthy.
Obviously, there’s the damsel in distress thing. Then there was the whole period in the 1950s-1960s where all she was concerned about was either getting Superman to fall in love with her or exposing his secret identity.
I was hoping this 75th celebration book would include all the great stories about Lois Lane, and it does have some terrific tales. But it also includes far too many of those cringe-worthy/semi-crazy stories, such as Lois becomes fat or Lois forces Superman to marry her when they’re both toddlers, and even the odd, dated story of “I Am Curious (Black)” from 1970s where she becomes black for a day to see how it feels and relate to the experience. This story, published in 1970, is obviously well-intended and was meant to be a positive statement about the civil rights struggle but… well, just no.
Instead of a celebration, the book is a tracing of the history of the attitudes of Western society about women.
First, Lois is smart-assed and competent, and impresses Superman right away. See the car Superman is lifting on the cover of Action #1? That’s on Lois’s behalf. A gangster had gotten fresh with her during a dance, Lois slapped him, and the gangster later came back to kidnap her and teach her a lesson. Superman comes to the rescue but only because Lois is someone who stands up for herself.
Other stories in the volume include some classic “Lois Lane, Girl Reporter” tales in which Lois is usually assigned a dumb story but then uncovers something bigger and better and gets out of a jam herself.
Then Lois went backwards, mirroring what happened in society after World War II, as women stepped or were pushed out of the workplace and back to the kitchen. Instead of the intrepid Lois of the “Girl Reporter” stories, we’re stuck with ridiculous, cloying, or plain mean Lois.
I’m not sure why DC felt the need to include so many of these stories in a celebration. I would have devoted more time and pages to her appearances on television and in movies instead, especially contrasting the Superman show version of Lois with her comic counterparts during the same time period.
But onto the good stuff.
We see Lois evolve, and Superman’s origin retold a couple of times. And each time, it’s Lois who gives Superman his name, and it’s fun to see that play out in stories over different decades. The marriage of Earth-2 Lois and Superman is in here, as well as Phil Jimenez’s terrific Wonder Woman #170 where Lois follows Wonder Woman around for a day.
I loved the inclusion of Greg Rucka’s story of Lois as war correspondent in Adventures of Superman #631, and the special “Girl Frenzy” issue—remember when DC liked spotlighting female characters?—issue where Lois takes on some scientists genetically altering polar bears. Great sense of humor from Barbara Kesel’s script, and great art from Amanda Conner.
I wish Grant Morrison’s Lois Lane as Superwoman issue from All-Star Superman could have been swapped out for a Superman: Birthright story from Mark Waid, as Morrison’s tale shows Lois doing very little with her temporary powers but watching Superman and a god fight over her. And something fun from the all-ages Superman Family Adventures could also have been included.
I closed the book thinking that while I enjoyed the stories, only three approach being definitive Lois tales: Kesel/Conner’s solo tale; Rucka’s war correspondent Lois; and one from way back in 1944: “Lois Lane, Girl Reporter, The Bakery Counterfeiters.”
And that makes me sad because there must be some more out there. The companion volume, Superman: A Celebration of 75 Years is full of such gems and reminded me of why I love Superman.
But Lois’s book reminded me of my frustrations as a female comic reader.
Amy Adams’s Lois Lane was one the best part of Man of Steel, at least until the romance became too forced, and DC has promised a Lois Lane one-shot coming in February. So maybe things will change.
In the meantime, this book will have to do.
Disclaimer: GeekMom received this book for review purposes.
Want to know what was cut out of the original version of Man of Steel? Worried about Ben Affleck’s take on Batman? Wondering how Superman gets his cape so clean?
Some of those questions could actually be answered this weekend.
In honor of the DVD and Blu-ray release of Man of Steel, Warner Bros. is planning an online fan event for this weekend. Just log onto Yahoo Movies this Saturday, November 9 at 9:00 a.m. (PT) and 12:00 p.m. (ET).
Hosted by Superman super-fan Kevin Smith, the event will have director Zack Snyder and stars Henry Cavill and Amy Adams on hand to answer some of those burning questions. Viewers will also be privy to a featurette with Snyder and Michael Shannon talking about the movie.
The event is really to promote the DVD and Blu-ray release, so the trio probably won’t divulge too much about Superman’s upcoming adventures. There’s no harm in asking, though!
To celebrate the 75th anniversary of Superman and its Canadian connection, the Royal Canadian Mint has partnered with DC Entertainment to release an exclusive line of Superman coins.
There are seven coins in this collection, ranging in cost for as low as $29.75 CAD to as high as $750.00 CAD. The face value of the coins range from 50¢ CAD to $75.00 CAD. The reverse side of most of the coins are engraved with, “75 years of Superman,” in Kryptonian. Each coin comes in a unique box featuring some of the most memorable signs associated with this iconic superhero. Also, some of the coins come with a commemorative stamp.
However, it wouldn’t be a proper Superman tribute without art. Each coin features some of the most iconic art from the past 75 years, including a really cool “Then and Now” coin which makes use of lenticular image technology. When you tilt the coin, the image shifts from Joe Shuster’s original image to a Jim Lee’s modern intrepation of the same pose. There is also a Superman hologram coin!
Welcome to another installment climbing the cliffs of insanity. I had an abundance of topics to choose from this week, as there were many misinformed or just stupid things said about women and comics over the last few weeks of the summer, mostly (not surprisingly) from men. Though, hey, not all of them worked for DC Comics or Warner Bros., so there’s that.
In a previous column, “But He’s Black!“, I covered some well-known comic creators who seemed to think women didn’t like superhero comics.
Marketing fail is part of the reason women aren’t reading more superhero comics, as the largely male creators seem to have a very odd idea of what their geek female readers want. Another part is that violence against women is being used for entertainment value.
Rape should never be just an everyday plot device, though given the past actions of DC comics and the statements of Kick-Ass creator Mark Millar, that should be okay.
Does DC Comics Realize Twilight is About a Superhuman and a Normal Girl?
First, the marketing fail.
The world at large is now finding out about the upcoming Superman/Wonder Woman series from DC Comics or, as DCWomenKickingAss put it, DC’s attempt to push this couple’s romance and make fetch happen. The Hollywood Reporter had a story, based on a report from The Mary Sue website, on series artist Tony Daniels’ comments about the book going after girls who like Twilight.
There’s not a facepalm big enough for my reaction to that.
It’s true, I hate this pairing with the passion of a thousand suns. It’s boring, it’s uninteresting, it put Wonder Woman in a second place. This series is done to make Superman look cooler.
This does not mean I hate romance. I say that as a published romance writer. I feel the need to keep saying that because I get annoyed with marketing departments like DC that keep giving romance a bad name.
STOP! We don’t need your, um, help.
Romance is a terrific genre with tons of wonderful writers and subgenres ranging from science fiction to erotica to historicals to contemporary stories. But when marketing people keep saying “well, girls don’t read out comics because they want romancy stuff, so we’ll give them Twilight because girls like that stuff,” I want to toss my favorite romance books across the Internet and bonk you on the head with them.
I’m pretty sure a ton of geek girls and women want to do the same thing.
Yo, Daniels & DC Marketing—every time you say “well, we need to attract women by giving them romance,” a ton of women twitch and think “ick, they’re trying to tell me all I want is romance.” Add in Twilight, which is controversial even among people who like romance, and there goes the neighborhood.
From a personal standpoint, that makes it hard for me to go to that same crowd and say, “Yes, I write romance but, honest, it’s the kind of romance you’ll like. It’s not what you think or what male marketers keep trying to push on you.”
But from a reader of comics and romance, I have news for you, DC Comics: What women want is well-written stories with three-dimensional characters of both genders.
I know this is a radical concept. Bear with me.
What women want is not for the sole representative of their gender in a superhero comic to be viewed through the lust of the male gaze. Instead, woman want female characters to be written and drawn like the male characters—who are people first, sex objects second. And while you’re at it, how about women of all shapes and sizes, too. Harvey Bullock, large frame and all, is still around. Amanda Waller, though, was shrunk and sexified because, hey, no sense having an overweight woman around to ugly up things for the men.
In other words, it’s pretty much the same as what men want in their stories: well-written, three-dimensional characters in compelling stories.
I doubt you’re going to see a mass exodus of men from a title simply because there isn’t enough tits and ass.
Hawkeye seems to be doing quite well with the well-written, great but not overly sexualized art approach. Ditto Young Avengers. At DC, Batwoman has been one of the most successful launches of a DC character. Birds of Prey had over a 100-issue run where the attraction was the female friendships and the cool characters, though we did get some awful cheesecake art now and then. But no romance. (Unless you’re a Dinah/Babs shipper.)
It’s really not hard to appeal to female reader. Stop making us runaway from your comics and we might give them a chance.
Superman/Wonder Woman—with the talk of how it will be all sexy and attract girls with romance and maybe develop a triangle because Lois Lane is around—strikes me as a very male idea of what women want. And, no, I don’t believe Daniel’s comments were taken out of context in his FanExpo appearance. He had said very similar things during the DC panel at Boston Comic Con earlier this summer.
However, if you as a comic book company believe geek girls will read romance and want to appeal to the romantic in us, there is one romance that DC female readers have been invested in for a long, long time. A romance that shares one thing in common with Twilight, in that a superpowered man is fascinated by a human woman. It features a female character beloved enough to have trended on Twitter on her 75th anniversary.
A female character that was just played by an Oscar-nominated actress in a major motion picture.
Ya’ll want to give us a Superman/Lois Lane courtship and romance? Shut up and take my money.
Wonder Woman? I want to see her stand on her own, not be an adjunct to your alpha male to make him look, well, alpha.
And onto a yet another misunderstanding of the female audience.
Speaking of Running Away, Screaming. No, Rape is Just Not Another Evil Violent Thing.
That would seem self-evident a statement, but apparently not if your name is Mark Millar. I have warm fuzzies for Millar for helping uncover a troll who was sexually harassing and sending violent threats to a number of prominent female comic bloggers last year.
But even good guys can say uniformed things and this month, Millar did. In an interview with the New Republic, Millar said:
“’The ultimate [act] that would be the taboo, to show how bad some villain is, was to have somebody being raped, you know?’ he told me. ‘I don’t really think it matters. It’s the same as, like, a decapitation. It’s just a horrible act to show that somebody’s a bad guy.’”
Let’s take this one by one:
1. Rape is just like any other violent, horrible thing.
Well, no. It’s not. For one, one-third of your potential female audience might have personally experienced it. I doubt 30 percent of the current male reading audience has personally experienced some of the over-the-top violence in Millar’s stories, especially decapitation.
I’m fairly sure most men don’t incorporate the concern that a first date could end in decapitation or being beat down when making dinner plans.
2. It’s not the worst thing that can happen to your hero.
It seems to be conventional wisdom among male comic writers that the worst thing that can happen to a hero is that his girlfriend is raped. Identity Crisis was of this mindset when it put a rape at the core of the entire DC superhero universe. Wait, no, it put the male reaction to a rape at the core of the DC superhero universe. (Which is just wrong on so many levels. More of this below.) Hence the “women in refrigerators” trope, an expression based on Green Lantern #54 in which the hero finds his girlfriend dead in the refrigerator and the story is all about him. Marvel has had its share of “women in refrigerators” incidents as well, starting with Carol Danvers giving birth to her rapist’s child back in the day.
Newsflash: The worst thing that can happen is for the hero to be raped.
Don’t think so? Picture Superman being raped by Lex Luthor. Did that disgust you? Good, it should. Or, and be honest with your reaction, it might make it harder to see him as a hero.
Imagine that over 50 percent of the male heroes in your superhero comics are rape victims. You might start thinking these comic writers have a thing against men. But you’d definitely think they’re lacking in imagination for not finding a different trope.
Now imagine your favorite superhero universe is basically based on a male rape and the reactions to it by the women in the story. The guy is just a prop. Well, he’s dead too. (I’m speaking of DC’s Identity Crisis, and, yes, I think Joss Whedon should not have written the introduction to the collected edition.) And then you hear these women writing the comics screamed with glee when the pages where Superman is raped came into the office. “The rape pages are in!” (Such was the report of a former DC editor about Sue Dibny’s rape.)
Then you might come close to seeing it from the female perspective of reading mainstream comics.
Over on Gail Simone’s forum, we talked about the worst thing that can happen to a guy. I went a bit too far with suggesting it was having their penis cut off. That’s probably not so equivalent to rape, as it permanently, physically, prevents future sex acts. But it’s close and I bet most men would wince if this happened to men in mainstream comics on a semi-regular basis.
But wait, you say. We’re talking about Mark Millar and his independent comic, not superhero comics. Surely, a story featuring Superman and the rest of the DC pantheon can’t have a rape scene as bad as in Kick-Ass?
Umm…you be the judge.
The entire DC comic universe was based for several years on this rape and the fall-out events. Not on the fallout of Sue dealing with what happened to her and taking some agency. No, the fallout because the men were all upset and fought about how to handle it.
Just this year, we’ve been treated to a graphic panel of Catwoman shot in the head, yet she still managed to look sexy. (It was a fake-out. She’s not dead, of course, but somehow it was important to show her dead with blood oozing and yet still sexy.) And the panel I have at the beginning of this column—which is, admittedly, from an alternate universe in which everyone becomes evil—is proof of a pattern more than an exception, given Lois’ treatment in the main universe. We saw Lois Lane recently tossed out a window but it didn’t diminish her sexiness either, though she lapsed into a coma. Sexy times with the violence victims. Yay!
Comics shouldn’t be free of violence, of course. But I shouldn’t have to guard myself against possible graphic gore, destruction, or rape every time I open up a mainstream Superman comic. I expect it from Game of Thrones or Spartacus. Those aren’t superhero stories.
It’s sad enough when a mainstream superhero comic and Spartacus, an X-rated series on a cable network, have close to the same amount of gore.
It’s even sadder when the victims of the violence have more agency and are allowed to be more heroic in the x-rated cable series than in a mainstream superhero comic.
I’m a huge fan of SuperHeroStuff.com for a few reasons. First, economically they are a good fit for my wallet. Second, they have something for every member of my family. Last, but most importantly, I’ve never had any issues with the quality of the products or their longevity after washing, drying, and otherwise putting them through everyday life. It’s for those reasons I feel confident doing my son’s back to school shopping with them.
In honor of school starting ::and a thousand parents screamed in anticipation:: I’ve come up with a few outfit ideas to help you send your student back to school in superhero style. Since we are still on the heels of The Man of Steel release, I felt inspired to use the Man of Steel himself for some of the outfits I’ve chosen to share with you.
First up is Superman for Geek Chicks. The Man of Steel shirt ($24.99) is 100% cotton and I found it to be a little form-fitting. If you like your shirts to fit a little loose, I would suggest ordering one size up. The only thing in this outfit that you can’t purchase from SuperHeroStuff.com is the black fedora (aka Clark Kent-like hat). I found that on Amazon for a real steal. Complete the outfit with Superman earrings ($10.99), speaker wallet ($28.99), backpack, and seatbelt key chain ($14.99).
The guys have their own Superman variation to fit their style. My favorite part of this outfit is the underwear because of the cape on the back. It’s one of those “no one will ever know” details that is really neat. To achieve this look, you will need the Man of Steel Shirt ($21.99) , Man of Steel hat ($21.99), the awesome caped boxers ($17.99), and the Superman wallet ($17.99).
The big kids aren’t the only ones who get to go back to school in style. Pick up a few of these items for your younger fan to show off his or her Superman pride. In my opinion, girls could easily wear the boys’ shirts, but I understand that some girls have a fascination with pink. The shirts are 100% cotton and after washing my son’s shirt, I didn’t see that much of a difference in the way it fit him. The shirt sizes are pretty universal for kids, but to make sure they can grow into it a little, I’d get one size up. To achieve the look below, you will need the Superman T-shirt ($14.99), seatbelt belt ($14.99), Superman hat ($11.99), backpack ($47.99), and lunch box ($15.99).
Of course, not everyone is a fan of Superman, so if your student is more Transformers than superheroes, check out the selection of Transformers apparel available. I created this outfit with the college student in mind, but of course, it can be for the non-student as well. Keep in mind the juniors shirts are a little form-fitting, so if you like it to fit a little loose, order one size up. The guys’ sizes, like the kids’ sizes, are pretty universal so you can feel confident in ordering them in your usual size. To achieve the look below you will need one of the Transformers shirts (shirts start as low as $19.99) and the pajama pants ($24.99), wrist bands ($7.99), wallet ($19.99), and backpack ($39.99 ).
If school doesn’t start for a few more weeks in your area, how about a superhero family water day? Pick up a new swimsuit for everyone in the family and head to the water-park, beach, or your front lawn for some water fun.
SuperHeroStuff.com offers items for every member of the family in a wide range of geeky patterns. Make sure you check out their website for more options so that you can help your kids hit the books in high style this academic year!