Sunday, August 17, 2014

Comic book round up

In our comic survey this week, the worst of the lot was Michael Allred's It Girl! And The Atomics issue 9.  No offense to The Slug, Carla and Bonnie but when you put It Girl on the cover, you kind of need It Girl in the issue.

The best of the lot?

Wonder Woman issue 33 which found the Amazonian princess imprisoned but, by the end of the issue, her Amazonian sisters were showing up to battle to free her.  Wonder Woman has become one of the most exciting titles of the last four or five years as she's explored the consequences of war.

Batwoman issue 33 is a strong one but at times the art still struggles.  For example, two panels of the Dr. Huss therapy scene find Kate Kane (Batwoman) looking like Laurie Metcalf.  There's also a panel that rips off/pays homage to the Batgirl that Yvonne Craig played on the TV show Batman. It's the first issue this year that's really worked -- including the mother issues and how that's impacting Kate's relationship.

The loss of J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman is still felt and DC really needs to rethink their stance (DC refused to allow Kate to marry Maggie which was why Williams and Blackman walked).  Batwoman, under Williams and Haden, was both DC's most promising title and the future for the often erratic publisher.

Wonder Woman may be able to lead a new path for DC but the title's been strong before and then petered out.  For example, in the late 70s and early 80s -- possibly due to Lynda Carter starring in the Wonder Woman TV show, Wonder Woman was in multiple comics.  Even if you leave out her membership as part of superhero teams -- the Justice League of America, the Super Friends, etc. -- there was still the Wonder Woman title and World's Finest.

World's Finest was a thick comic book that, at that time, generally featured three stories an issue with the final one being Wonder Woman.  Sometimes it was four during this period and Black Canary was also one of the featured main characters.

World Finest returned in 2012 with one story per issue and each story starring Earth 2's Power Girl (Superman's cousin Kara Zor-L) and the Huntress (daughter of Catwoman and Batman).  In issue 24, Paul Levitz and Scott McDaniel pull off a nice action sequence with the Huntress and get in a needed dig at Batman but, otherwise, the issue doesn't offer much nor does it pull together.

(The Batman dig?  Huntress tells Power Girl she can't tell if Power Girl is joking leading Power Girl to respond, "If you hadn't been brought up by the least funny man on the planet, it might be easier.")

Marvel has a promising new title.

Ms. Marvel was a seventies title that ended too soon.  It's back.  We loved Carol Danvers, the original Ms. Marvel.  So does Kamala Khan.


The new Ms. Marvel.   She's a teenager and a Pakistani-American and it does give the title a fresh take.  She's a fan of Carol Danvers and other super heroes.  Wolverine shows up in issue four and he's another of Kamala's heroes.

The characterization is there.  Kamala's involving.  But she needs stronger stories and to pitch a little higher than plot lines reminiscent of Spider-Man's Electric Company appearances.

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