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The Weeks Comics 
13th-Nov-2009 12:45 pm
I'm not being stubbornly stupid here, am I? Ethernet is not a wireless connection and wireless isn't ethernet? So when setting the laptops up on to the flats brand new router, and finding two ethernet connections on I's Ubuntu computer but no 'wireless', I was at least semi justified in being confused and whiney?


Eh, who cares, it's working now.

And I'm in the flat getting the final things redy so I can work on my thesis in Boston - which today means scanning diagrams of my bones or figures. Then I'm going to spend a final evening with the sister and niece shaped people. Then a weekend of work. Then I'm actually going to pack, or something.

ANYWAY. Today is Friday, which means yesterday was Thursday, which means it's time for me to go on about comics.

Batgirl is unchallenging, character driven fun. It's been described as 'for the girls' and while I would usually resent the implication that I couldn't enjoy 'boy' superhero comics, I'm almost tempted to agree - if you want complex, driven, detective stories and threats to the Earth, this isn't your title. If, however, you care about characters and their lives and watching people build a life for themselves after shit happens, than you could do worse. Certainly, if you're one of those people looking to introduce a Batman-cartoon loving young teenager to DC mainstream comics, #I'd recommend this.

I really like seing Stephanie come into her own and build up the confidence in her abilities she had back before War Games. Plus it's nice to see the effect she's having on Babs - and I can only hope that it's an attempt to undo all the scrunchy people have written into Oracle since the big break up with Black Canary. (I swear, the things that have happened to these characters and between them since Dinah's wedding only make sense if you read it with a femmeslash eye).

"You didn't happen to drop an iPod jack into this thing yet, did you?" she asks regarding her new super high tech suit, and Barbara is stern and stoic for an entire panel before suggesting Steph would 'just have to hum'.

Stern and stoic, right Babs. We see how your hair comes down and you start smiling as soon as Steph is on the road and you're doing what you love best once again. Stern and stoic is Barbara Gordon trying not to laugh.

She's certainly a lot lighter and clearly enjoying herself once Steph's out there, and we get to see the Birds of Prey dynamic again - even Steph's new costume is reminiscent of the one Babs once deiggned for Dinah, and Steph's impulse approach to crimefighting is Black Canary-esque. It's rather a shame that I'm looking to Stephanie as a Black Canary surrogate because there's nothing recognisable in the blonde woman currently appearing in Black Canary's own title.

Green Arrow Black Canary really does get worse with every issue. I'm not buying it - no way am I giving DC money for this dross - but I am engaging in piracy just for the sheer carcrash quality of it. The 'Green Arrow section, which this issue is a disconnected unexplained dream sequence, lists Mike Norton as 'layouts' and Bill Sienkiewicz as 'finishes' but there's no credit to explain who was incharge of this horriblly scratchy, ugly, hard to follow art that might, if you squint, look like it wants to be Jock when it grows up (the fact that the weird unexplained dream sequence takes place in Green Arrow: Year One helps there). Considering that Norton has produced some very good art on this title so far, I'm tempted to blame the other, perhaps unfairly.

Meanwhile Jose Wilson-Magalhaes in the co-feature produces something that seems even worse, considering that this feature has the cleaner, blockier art I usually prefer, if his faces weren't so ugly, his body work awkward and Dinah's costume consistently undone to the waist so she's sporting a Nightwing collar and who knows how her breasts are staying covered. It's admittedly a petty complaint, given how horrible the art is in general.

As for the writing? I don't even know anymore. What's going on, what Kreisburg is trying to say, or if he's even read anything with these characters in them before. It's just bad.

Batman and Robin just about almost manages to live up to the hype. Philip Tan is no Frank Quitely, but that would be OK if he wasn't aping the parts of Frank Quitely's art I didn't actually like - the scratchy overuse of line shading and random wrinkles on faces that seems to give the 10 year old Damien Wayne a constant five o'clock shadow. Still, Grant Morrison is better for me as a reader when he's telling a straightforward honest story whichI can follow, but is still peppered with little references that appeal to my continuity geek.

For instance, I love the fact that Jason is now red-haired, having had to dye his hair as Robin. He says it was 'to make him look like Dick' - Bruce's eldest, perfect son, but you can easily see it in Bruce's clinical, mission-centric mind as being just to hide the existence of a new Robin, with no thought as to how it would appear to the boy. Sadly, this still doesn't rate Bruce among the worst fathers in the DCU (See: Deathstroke, David Cain, Ragdoll I and Green Arrow).

I'm worried, I'll admit, by Morrison's decision to have Damien shot in the spine and be paralysed, especially as he's then been entrusted to 'his mother's paramedics', coupled with Jason's taunting regarding Bruce's death and the prevalence of Lazurus pits. The reasoning should be obvious:

Dick's best friend, sometime girlfriend, arguably his One True Love, was shot in the spine and has lived out of a wheelchair for the last mumblemumble years. It has been repeated over and over again that she longs to walk again and the only reason she hasn't used a Lazerus Pit was to give the usage over to her dying best friend. If Dick has access to these healing sources on the occasion his ward is injured or he decides to try and resurrect his father, but hasn't made them available to Barbara - well, then he's as much as a wanker as that Nightwing who waited until after sleeping with Babs to tell her he was engaged.

In other words: That's not my Grayson.
13th-Nov-2009 02:10 pm (UTC)
Billy the Sink is one of the great comics artists when he actually gives a toss, but 'horribly scratchy' sounds very much like what he tends to produce when he's collaborating on something he doesn't give a toss about.

And Oracle's disability...well, when you consider that Bruce already recovered from a similar condition back in the Knightfall days, and that lots of her friends have recovered not only from disability but from *death*, it's just one of those things in comics that has to be handwaved away, like why the Flashes don't stop all the crimes in all the cities at hyperspeed so everyone else can quit.

13th-Nov-2009 02:29 pm (UTC)
Yeeeeah, but accepting pockets of narrative causality in the DC verse if how you deal with it - it's harder to handwave when it's her boyfriend reviving random people in the same city in the next book along from her own, y'know?

Personally, if I were working on GA/BC with those scripts, I wouldn't give a toss either. Until the feature split, the book was consistently one of those with crappy scripts but decent art, with Chiang and then Norton, but now it's perfectly unreadable.

13th-Nov-2009 02:33 pm (UTC)
Yeah, even as someone who gets Jeph Loeb comics out of the library just to see if they're as bad as I've heard, whenever I see the GA/BC collections I think '...no'.
13th-Nov-2009 04:05 pm (UTC)
Batgirl is one of the two comics that make me really excited to go to the comic store right now (the other is Nomad). I'm really glad you recommended it.
18th-Nov-2009 04:09 am (UTC)
Been trying out Batgirl...and so far I am liking it. Better then Red Robin anyways. Much better then Daniel's Batman...

So my mighty stack is Detective, Secret Six, B&R....and Batgirl. :)
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