Sunday, February 20, 2011

Barack's love child and other pressing issues

There are a few things effecting the country. For example, Barack Obama's love child to be and the people he has sent to address it who realize they can't ice the woman without ensuring the child is never born. Instead, the people sent to kill the mother are now dead and that's on Barack's head and Bomb Queen is one crazy clone who has confessed she's thought about strangling the child with its umbilical cord. If you're confused, Barack's also bragging about ending the Iraq War and people aren't questioning that lie -- Oh wait, we were trying to explain this was fantasy but on that last sentence we gave you a real detail -- one that just so happens to be included in "The #1 Villain Comic In America," Bomb Queen. The Image comic book is drawn and written by Jimmie Robinson and has quickly became one of the most talked about comics.

Bomb Queen

In her latest limited edition comic (for "MATURE READERS"), Bomb Queen's pregnant and it's most likely not Barack's child; however, she's telling everyone it is and he's sending various people into New Port City (a city composed of crooks) to take her out. It's a vulgar and ribald comic and, as we rushed through the comic store last night, it has incredibly devoted fans. When other comic book patrons learned we were focusing on comics with female leads, they insisted that we could not miss out on Bomb Queen.

Bomb Queen's is a limited edition (currently three of four of the latest edition has been published), Marvel Girl is a one shot. Marvel Comics gives Jean Grey a comic and it's a one shot? Of course it is, hasn't Jean Grey always had to battle the sexists at Marvel who've repeatedly been frightened by her leading them to kill her off or take away this power or that? In fact, has any other character been so repeatedly betrayed by the writers? Probably not. Jean's not Phoenix or Dark Phoenix here, she's Marvel Girl. We're back in the past, a few years after she's been taken to Professor Charles Xavier by her parents. In the issue, Jean's anger is considered to be out of control -- so, yeah, another male writer -- this one is Joshua Hale Fialkov. You short of picture the men who've written Jean over the years to be more modern equivalents of Woody Allen.

Marvel Girl, Batwoman

This is the month that Batwoman's comic was supposed to start. That's been pushed back to April But the teaser "ZERO ISSUE" remains available. Will it create interest in the forthcoming series? We thought that's what the last two years of her being the lead in Detective Comics was about. We've written about Batwoman before and back then Greg Rucka was in charge of the comic, a writer who actually likes female characters. J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman are in charge of writing now (and Williams draws the Batwoman sequences while Amy Reeder draws the ones where Kate Kane isn't wearing her costume) and the "ZERO ISSUE" raises a number of concerns. For example, the comic is called "BATWOMAN." SO why is the entire issue told by Batman? Why, in a comic about a woman written by two men do we also need a man's gaze (Batman) in order to 'understand' Batwoman? Maybe someone thought it would add interest to the title, like when Mary Richards showed up for Rhoda's wedding? If so, they might want to remember that when Mary Tyler Moore's guest shot was over, Rhoda had to find another way to hold onto the audience. Seems to us if you do a "ZERO ISSUE" to raise interest in Batwoman, you take readers inside the head of the character.

Birds of Prey, Batgirl

Batgirl has her own title again. She's a blond but one who otherwise looks remarkably like Yvonne Craig's portrayal of Batgirl on the Batman TV series of the sixties. In the latest issue of her self-titled comic (issue #17), Bruce Wayne's narration doesn't stand between her and her readers; however, not only does she have to basically babysit Robin, she has to share point of view with him. Which makes for a very erratic comic written by Bryan O. Miller. Pere Perez's artwork and Guy Major's colors are so much more than the writing and, near the end, when Batgirl and Robin on a police squad car sipping coffee, almost make up for the writing which plays out like an Electric Company version of Spiderman. The original Batgirl was raped (by Joker, no less) and ended up paralyzed. Yeah, a man was behind that story too. But what puts Barbara Gordon one up on Jean Grey is that she's Oracle and now a team leader. The team? Birds of Prey. The latest issue is "THE DEATH OF ORACLE! PART THREE OF FOUR THE SOUL AND THE SACRIFICE" written by Gail Simone and drawn by Inaki Miranda. Black Canary's battling internal demons due to evil Mortis while Dove, Huntress and Lady Blackhawk have been captured by Mortis' colleagues in an attempt to lure Oracle to the criminals. When Oracle (apparently) arrives in a helicopter, Current fries the helicopter and Oracle is dead.

Or is she? Hawkman and Batman may have been on that helicopter if Oracle was. All three are dead? (The cover features Dove inspecting Oracle's wheelchair badly mangled while Huntress, Black Canary, Lady Blackhawk and Hawkman look on -- no such panel exists in the issue whose story ends with reactions to the explosion of the helicopter but no scenes of its wreckage.)

Wonder Woman

And you can't talk comics based around female characters without noting America's longest running lead super heroine, Wonder Woman. Issue 607, finds Princess Diana up against two goddesses of war who wants her to operate out of hate the way they do. Barring that, they'll kill her. While Diana attempts to rescue a child from a minotaur in the Morrigan's temple, many of her Amazonian sisters are slaughtered by the newly risen Cheetah, Artemis and Tisiphone in the ongoing saga.

Scanning the racks at any comic store will demonstrate that there's an eagerness to bring back super heroines who used to have their own titles. Along with the already noted Batgirl, there's also Wonder Girl and Supergirl. But what of titles starring newly created super heroines? One of the few new super heroines to show up in recent years and actually have a considerable following is Terry Moore's Echo. Published since 2008, each issue adds new levels to the story. Julie has gone through a great deal since the comic started and she was pelted with liquid metal which adhered to her body leading her to go on the run from whomever was chasing her -- Ivy among others. Now Julie knows that the government is behind it all and Ivy and she are no longer at cross purposes but they do have other problems: Ivy's growing younger and Julie's growing taller. And in the midst of this, as the government kills one man unable to bring Julie in, Ivy tells Dillon -- Julie's boyfriend -- about their sleeping together -- "Actually, it doesn't have to be sex. Just intimate. You know, the kind where your hearts beat in sync. I held her breasts, that's how I did it. We slept like that, and, when I woke up, I was ten years younger . . . and, yes . . . they're real." You never know what twist that comic will take next.

Echo, Frenemey of the State, Scarlet
One emerging title that's generating a lot of talk is Scarlet, a bi-monthly from Icon Comics written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by Alex Maleev. When you write about Scarlet, you're supposed to talk about how the characters 'break the fourth wall!' and talk to the audience. Detective Angela Going does that in the latest issue (issue four) but if you didn't know that's what she was doing, you'd probably just assumed she was talking to herself while walking down stairs. The unique thing about the comic is the look which looks almost rotoscope. That and the storyline. Scarlet's not a superhero. She's a teenager who's shot and killed, by her count, four police officers. The comic is set in Portland and Scarlet's determined to bring the corrupt cops down. The issue ends with her showing up at a huge flash mob rally with the police surrounding the mob.

Another emerging title is Frenemy Of The State from Oni Press which is written by Rashida Jones, Christina Weir and Nunzio DeFilippis and illustrate by Jeff Wamester. Yes, the same Rashida Jones who co-stars in Parks and Recreation. Ari Von Holmberg is a socialite (a very young one, just out of deb status) who is working for the CIA. In many panels, she looks a great deal like Rashida Jones. In issue four (the one we picked up), she has an argument with her parents and leaves on a plane with frenemy Haven Douglas for a party where she'll be tagging a nuke.

If you haven't picked up a comic book in a while or if you've never picked up one, now might be a good time to start. And remember, May 7th is Free Comic Book Day. That doesn't mean you can just walk into 7-11 and grab a comic. But there are stores across the country who do participate in it and now's a good time for you to look into determining if there's one in your area. May 7th will be here before you know it.
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