Pull List Review (1/12/11 Comics)

Batgirl #17: I may have mentioned this previously, but this is my new favorite comic. Bryan Q. Miller has the voice of Stephanie Brown down, man. This character makes me laugh frequently, and I love how in the moment she is. She’s not really Bat-family material, but she does the best she can and Oracle has her back, which I think is totally awesome in a baton-passing way. But about the issue. I can’t decide if I like the Robin/Batgirl relationship shown here or the Robin/Ravager one shown in Teen Titans. I lie. I like the Robin/Batgirl version better. I have to say, I think the Pere Perez version of Robin is the best I’ve seen in all the Bat books I’ve read, and his Batgirl is nothing to sneeze at either. :) Stephanie’s realization that Damian doesn’t know how to play was a good beat, and her way of addressing that at the end was super-cute. The dialog here is so much fun and witty (and reminds me a bit of Joss Whedon dialog, but more fun). Have I mentioned how fun this book is? :D

Batman & Robin #19: Hmm. So we get the end of the three-part Absence story. Good riddance. However, I did appreciate the fact that Batman and Robin actually did not escape the death trap, even though it actually wasn’t a death trap. However however, I’m getting tired of Dick’s Batman being shown as lesser, much lesser than Bruce. I know, Dick is not Bruce, but he is the next best thing to Bruce ever, and I don’t appreciate how much less of a Batman he’s being shown as, and not in just this Batbook. I pretty sure that if Bruce were in Dick’s shoes in this issue, Bruce would have known that the drill bits weren’t real, and he sure as hell wouldn’t have yelled out in surprise and panic when the fake drill bit hit his cowl. However³, Dick is not Bruce, so I do like that Dick isn’t being portrayed as a Bruce clone. I just wish Dick would get a little more respect as Batman.

Birds of Prey #8: In a bit of serendipity, I had just read the Batgirl issues where Oracle is shown pwning Calculator, and here the bad guy is again, wanting revenge on Oracle for what she did to him in Batgirl. Maybe it was how I read the issue initially, but it seemed really disjointed. Rereading it again, however, it didn’t seem as bad. Maybe it was the art that through me off. There’s certainly a difference in how heavy the inking is on the male characters as opposed to the female, especially in the faces.

I did like a few specific things in this issue. First was Hawk calling Penguin “Penguin” after Cobblepot goes off on a tirade about how his hired help should not call him by that bird name. Another was when Batman and Black Canary were fighting the bad guys together and Huntress just stops what she’s doing to watch. She says it’s beautiful to see, and I really liked that, even though the art doesn’t quite lend itself to the beauty of the fight. I’m curious how Dinah will escape the psychological trap she’s in.

Superman #707: What happens when the man who always knows what the right thing to do is suddenly questions his moral compass? Well, he’s more Man than Super. Superman may be great as a moral compass when it comes to the big things in superherodom, but when it comes to specific, human failings, he’s not so good, as demonstrated this issue. I don’t mind Superman questioning what is right in this story, what I object to is him ordering his wife not to file the story she wants to tell. In fact, he grabs her by the arm, pulling her toward him, and says, “I don’t think you heard me.” Now, we all know that Superman is under some kind of influence–there’s that mysterious woman that is stalking him and takes great pleasure when he stumbles–but I don’t care for that . . . (dare I say?) almost misogynistic depiction (although it may make for potentially interesting stories later). Speaking of Lois, why is she in some sort of Lara Croft get-up in the middle of flatland, USA?

This was the first issue only plotted by JMS with Chris Roberson doing the script. I’m curious how much of this story was Roberson and how much is JMS. Next month we get a story featuring the Superman Squad. Wasn’t that squad featured in Morrison’s All-Star Superman?

Unwritten #21: More Moby Dick goodness. Tom surrenders to his role in the book to a degree, after unsuccessfully confronting his father as Captain Ahab. Meanwhile, there’s a disturbing scene where Lizzie and Richie are under the spell of a witch/puppet master, who has them beating each other so that they’ll spill the beans about Tom’s dad’s plan (which, of course, they do not know). In the end, Tom, while trying to break out of Moby Dick, ends up stopping the story completely. What does that mean for Tom now?

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