Nerd Goggles podcast host MJ joins me to discuss (among other things) her podcast, comic book origin story, the pitfalls of social media, and the role of criticism in Art.
Then (at the 41:51 mark) we begin our discussion of Birds of Prey: Of Like Minds, issues 56 and 57, by Gail Simone, Ed Benes. Alex Lei, Rob Lea, Hi-Fi, John E. Workman, Jared Fletcher, and Lysa Hawkins. Please join us next episode for our discussion on issues 58-61.
Here’s a comic chosen at random from my collection.
Birds of Prey (2010) #4 by Gail Simone (w), Ed Benes & Adriana Melo (p), Ed Benes & J. P. Mayer (i), Nei Ruffino (c), Swands (l), & Alina Urusov (cover)
My friend Travis often spoke very highly of the Birds of Prey series that preceded this one, so when DC announced that they were relaunching the series post-Brightest Day AND that Dove was going to be in the book, well, I had to buy it. This issue is the last part of four (not really–the characters and set up from #1 continue on in the next issue) featuring a new character that has Black Canary running a little bit scared: the White Canary. The “B” story has Barbara in a precarious situation, but Ms. Simone deftly turns the premise on its ear, and instead of Babs who looks as if she will be pushed in her wheelchair from a very high point becomes the one who saves the person we thought was going to kill her. And Dove punches out the Penguin.
The Ed Benes art (with assistance) is lovely to look at, even if his work is highly cheescaked. There was a particular panel that I loved giving us a flashback to Dinah’s childhood where she’s flying around in Starman’s arm, next to Alan Scott/Green Lantern. I always hoped we see more of these remembrances in future issues, but alas, the New 52 relaunch would arrive soon enough and change everything.
Now for week 3 of my quickie December 2011 comic reviews.
Batman #4: Usually I don’t care for adding new stuff to an established character’s origin as if it’s been there all along, but I did enjoy the addition of Bruce Wayne, Lil’ Detective. The Greg Capulo art is getting better (or better with me at least, save for how all of his dark-haired characters look the same sans masks) and that last page incorporating the credits into the maze was neat.
Batman, Inc.: Leviathan Strikes! #1: Does anyone know why DC delayed the release of these two Batman, Inc. issues (what would have been #9 & 10)? Was it just the New 52 launch? Regardless, I got to see Stephanie Brown as Batgirl one last time and was by far the better story of the two in this $7 collection, though, speaking of the second story, was it really a surprise just who Leviathan was revealed to be? I was actually a little disappointed. Despite that, I will be getting this series when it returns later this year.
Daredevil #7: Love love love that cover–it’s so elegant in it’s simplicity. This issue is a nice change of pace from the story that’s been developing, but it was the Nelson & Murdock office party that was the best part of this. 1) Matt comes into the party wearing a “I am not Daredevil” shirt along with devil horns on his head. 2) When Kirsten McDuffie says hello, Matt offers to get her wine but “accidentally” knocks the bottle over so that when they both catch it, they end up touching hands (I bet Matt does this bit all of the time–he’s such a player!). The A story is fine, but really is just a respite before the next big plot.
Fantastic Four #601: Ok, bone picking time. This is how Marvel keeps down cost? A flimsy cover stock? As for the issue, there are some nice moments in it: Spidey’s reaction to seeing Johnny back, Sue’s tears of joy at the same, Ben shedding a tear as well, and Reed (of course) being able to tell Johnny exactly how long he had been presumed dead (2757 hours). By the way, just how much more can Earth-616 take? After the events of Fear Itself, and now this (and who knows what other apocalyptic events that have happened in other Marvel books), the poor populace has taken quite a beating.
Justice League #4: More lovely bits! Cyborg makes a full-on appearance, as does Aquaman, who quips to the assembled almost Leaguers, “I don’t see a leader.” To which Batman replies, “Then you’re not looking at me.” Later, when dick Hal accidentally (or is he copping a feel?) touches Wonder Woman’s Lasso of Truth and reveals he’s really just trying to impress people, Batman laughs (though not on panel). Oh, yeah, and Darkseid arrives. The art this issue seemed less clean, or maybe it’s just because there are a lot of explosions.
Nightwing #4: Just when I was enjoying the thought of Raya sticking around long-term, the first few pages spell it out: she tells Dick that their fling is just that, nothing more (and that sentiment is reinforced at the end as well). But to complicate matters for the former Boy Wonder, Batgirl shows up, but she does apologize for the way she treated Dick in Batgirl #3, so I liked that bit of continuity. And can we have a moratorium on using the body double trope? That is so hackneyed.
Wonder Woman #4: Cliff Chiang’s Diana is gorgeous! I love his rendition of the Amazon Princess more and more each issue. And Brian Azzarello’s take on the Olympians has grown on me to the point that I love them all so far. How refreshing to see War portrayed not as a megalomaniac bent on utter destruction? At the end though–did Hera do that to the Amazons? Based on how she was treating Hippolyta earlier, it doesn’t make sense, but then, Hera is known for her mood swings.
I also read Birds of Prey #4 (still liking this book, and the ending to this issue has me intrigued), Blue Beetle #4 (yawn), Catwoman #4 (why does Selina like wearing the red wig so much? And holy cow that last page!), DC Universe Presents #4 (we really have one more issue of this thing?), Lady Mechanika #3 (I love the look of this book, but the jokes are really lame), LSH #4 (yawn), Supergirl #4 (yawn), Thunder Agents #2 (I liked the Frazer Irving cover. The story is so-so.).