Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Update

I;m still alive, but rather knackered and bruised. I had a great time at the stag weekend, despite passing out at around4 pm Saturday afternoon and not waking up till midnight. Apparently me + swimming + not much food + a few hours in the hot tub + beers doesn't mix very well. Who'd a thunk it?

After spending between 3 and 6 hours each day in either the hot tub or the swimming pool I have developed what I can only describe as a chlorine burn - my skin is sooo tender. I also have several bruises and scratches from the rapids and slides in the pool area, and riding a kid's plastic car down a (small) hill and falling off. The kids car was later modified to fix it's tendancy to lean to the right, and also filled with water to give it more weight. That worked pretty well and we went much farther.

We went for an evening swim on Sunday nigh and loaded up the stag with 200 glow sticks, in a necklace formations round his neck. Once he'd put a t-shirt on over it he looked like a Rob Liefeld drawing come to life. We then gave the glow sticks away to all the kids in the pool (and some adults). It made the kids day, they were so happy! Plus, as it got darker you had loads of little glowing areas all round the pool.

Traditional pranks were played, such as loading up a pizza slice with very hot pepper sauce and feeding it tot he stag. He took it alright, then the best man tried it and nearly died. A pint or so of milk and a few ice cubes later and still looked in insufferable pain. I hated to see it, but a mankini was brought out and worn by the stag, meaning we got to see his nuts and crack and everything. As for any other practical joke, well I missed them due to passing out for most of Saturday.

Tomorrow I'm off to Kent for my sister's wedding, getting a little stressed about it but i'm sure it'll be fine. Although I do miss free comic book day on Saturday :(

I also got some really good news - one of my friends has fallen pregnant! Her and her husband have been thinking about it for a while and I found out Sunday that she's 12 weeks gone! Mate, if you're reading, once more, congratulations!

I shall be back from next week. Happy Mayday everyone!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Check out the pretty!

http://theinevitablemediocrespinoff.blogspot.com/2009/04/here-have-some-wallpapers.html

The Supergirl one is now my desktop wallpaper. Batwoman might follow later. Pretty pretty pretty :-)

The Oracle one now looks completely unoffensive, as opposed to when I got the comic. I believe that is because it is not surrounded by other boobs. I admit that the colouring is very pretty on the cover of the Oracle books but I still don't think you need to show a female character's breasts to sell a comic. You'd be better off writing good stories.
One thing I forgot to mention- at least there was consistency between the cover and the inside of the book. She was wearing the same tight shirt inside.

That's probably the last post from me this weekend. I'm off on a stag do tomorrow, back on monday. Hopefully I'll get some internet access over the weekend, I am going with a bunch of techy nerds.

(Supergirl 40 was great! We know who Superwoman is!)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Bah, internet spoilers not good when you're dying for the outcome of something

I'm tlaking about Superwomans' identity. I want to go check out Supergirl Comic Box Commentary but can't because I haven't read the new issue yet. We don't get the books till tomorrow. *gnashes teeth* I guess I'll check the blog out after I've read the book. I am really quite excited by this issue.

On the plus side, I'm getting over my cold and due to go on a stag do Friday through to Monday. That will be good. And it's my sister's wedding next week, so after Mayday I'm free to pile on the pies.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

So, intentional disgrace or just mere ineptitude?

You decide! I am referring to this week’s batch of boobalicous comics, which I briefly highlighted in yesterday’s post. Now I am all lemsipped up feel I may be able to take a more considered and thoughtful approach to the subject, to ask DC, really, what the fuck were you thinking?

(In case I’ve put anyone off, or in case people think I’m being I’m being a bit melodramatic or dumb, I take the position that considered and thoughtful approaches can also involve coarse language. Having finished writing this post I now am not sure how considered it is. My lemsip may have worn off.)

This post was originally going to be a conventional review post, but after brooding on the issues in questions I have decided to focus around the women in each issue.

I bought 4 comics this week

Action Comics # 876
Oracle, the Cure # 2
Superman/Batman #58
Green Arrow/Black Canary #19
Included in each of these comics was DC Nation, with some promo art for JLA - Cry for Justice


Of these, all except for Superman/Batman #58 included Human/Kryptonian women. Superman/Batman #58 had the two heroes in the microverse, both encountering new civilisations. Whilst the folks Batman met may have included female people, they weren’t obviously coded as women and no mention was made of their sex. Although I enjoyed the issue I shall not discuss it here, because depictions of gender and sex differences were not apparent.

Let’s start with looking at the three remaining covers. In Oracle we are standing above Babs looking straight down her shirt. Her boobs are so pert and separate that I can see her torso. Her facial expression is one of emptiness, vapidity and shock. Bloggers had an issue with Kara’s Final Crisis cover. Although I quite liked that art and disagreed with the criticisms it has nothing on Bab’s positioning and facial expression.

Having read the issue, I can see now why Bab’s is shocked – she’s found the Calculator in the internet and he’s threatening to rip her apart. But if you compare the cover with the actual art in the issue, they are miles apart. In the issue we view the scene from the left and just behind the characters - there’s no breasts on view, in fact her chest is obscured by her arm. Her expression is of shock, horror and dismay.

The cover doesn’t really have the same effect. She looks full of wide eyed wonder, of innocence. While I have my doubts as to whether that is a true representation of Oracle’s character, that isn’t really the point. The point is that by giving her that expression and juxtaposing it next to that specific breast shot it becomes really exploitative. She looks like she has all the wordly guile of a child. To then also letch on her and choose that particular viewpoint would indicate that the artist (or editor, or whoever decided on the particular setup) is not able to think beyond his own knob. The colouring doesn’t help.

The birds eye view is also tied in to power relations, I think. If you’re standing over someone like that you have the upper hand. Now Babs in the comic would be able to defend herself, no problems (and in fact does). Babs on the cover looks like she couldn’t lift a finger. Because the point of view gives us such a sexual image, it could be read as another rape threat. You know, there’s just not enough of those in popular culture.

Next up, is Green Arrow/Black Canary # 19.
That cover is bad art. Bad bad bad art. I will forgive Cupid’s costume, she’s a new character, that’s her suit, she’s all about the obviousness. Dinah on the other hand…..her hip seems to be twice as long as you’d expect, her waist has shrunk to nothingness and her breasts are bigger than her head.

So, artists and editors. Couldn’t get past the breasts could you?

I have said previously how I loved the cover to GA/BC #17, and I stand by that. There’s a massive difference between the two covers. On #17 we see Cupid's expression. she's daring you to make something of her. Also, she’s in proportion, big breasted, sure, but in proportion. Whereas there is no in context explanation that will redeem the cover of #19.

What about inside the comic. Well, Cupid is bonkers and more than a little bimbo-etteish, she reminds me of ‘maths is hard’ Barbie. Dinah actually gets to do something, e.g. saving Ollie, and I enjoy the way she psyches out Cupid. But, Dinah can’t direct her sonic scream anymore? She doesn’t carry lock picks around? And she hits Ollie? I would rather this couple weren’t so much with the spousal abuse. That’s not a happy, healthy relationship. This needs to be picked up within the text and explicitly stated as being wrong.

Suddenly this looks like a pretty sexist issue all round. Hell, the creation of the Cupid character and the premise of two women fighting over their man could be argued to be a sexist one. I won’t go down that path, because I think there’s room for many different characters in the DCU, and so long as you’ve got good women characters than we can also have some crazy obsessional ones. Or indeed alien princesses with no nudity taboo.

My third beef of the week is the DC Nation column. How I’ve been waiting and longing for this series. I only wish it were an ongoing and not a mini. So on first reading I was all hurrah for the new book, wonderful art, great characters, yaaay! Then the positioning of the art struck me.

Now I’m going to be charitable and say that maybe DC wanted the S logo to be central to the page. Maybe this indicates Kara will have a big role in the new team. Now how were they going to make the S logo central? Well zoom up on her chest of course, isn’t that what they do with Superman? Well, yes it is, but zooming up on a woman’s chest has ve-ry different connotations to zooming up on a man’s chest.

The image disembodies her. By not using her face we see no personality, she becomes a passive object. She has no agency and no input into the scene. We’ve seen images like this before. see Supergirl \1 by Peter David for instance, but they haven’t been so offensive. In that particular image the symbol itself is the focal point of the piece, you can see at least part of their faces and there is no one else in the scene.

In the DC Nation column you have 4 other characters, all men, and no other women. The men are all shown standing and we can see their whole bodies, none of which are sexualised. If you get a kick out of them then that’s you projecting onto the image, not the image saying sex sex sex sex sex see my bits sex sex sex.

If you want the S logo to be central to the image then you could have had Kara floating above the other characters with a similar expression on her face. Or put her in the middle of the group – but that option seems unlikely as Green Lantern needs to be central, being the team leader and all. Still, there are plenty of ways to make the S shield central.

If you don’t want to be charitable, then DC produced this image deliberately in the same way that the Oracle and GA/BC covers were done deliberately.

There has been a lot of discussion of this column going on over at Supergirl Comic Box Commentary. I would recommend reading the comments. Some bloggers think it is a crap and exploitative piece, others disagree and believe that it was DC’s way of highlighting the symbol.

Jeff Caporizza makes a fair point when he questions what Supergirl written by a woman would be like. To quote:

“What I'm saying is that for Kara to be what she could and should be, it only starts with making sure her breasts and belly are accompanied by her head and legs, it ends with some real effort made to capture what a 17 year old demi-god would really sound and act like against a landscape filled with fantasy and wonder. Until then she may as well just show that skin, because who needs to read the word bubbles anyway?”

Landry Walker (writer of Supergirl Cosmic Adventures) then steps in and there is an interesting discussion about who is qualified to write what.

So overall, those two issues and the DC Nation column seem to say:
‘Women, you may be intelligent and capable and well respected, but what’s really important is your breasts! Your other achievements pale into comparison beside those breasts! Who cares what you’re actually like, you’ve got breasts! And because 'I' like breasts I‘m going to focus on just those, forever and ever and ever.’

And this is important because it doesn’t occur in a vacuum. This is not a one off example, and it’s tied in so deeply with women’s position in society in the real, non fictional world, that it’s worth pointing out, again and again and again, that judging women by their bodies is wrong. To judge women does a disservice to both men and women.

I know that DC can do it right, because I have read this week's Actions Comics. Action had none of the above problems. None at all. No objectification and no gratitutous breasts, despite the skin tight and ripped costumes. We are getting three dimensional characters. Oddly enough, the story was pretty good too.

The thing about bad art is that it detracts from the story, it pulls you out, or throws you out if you will, and suddenly you're an observer, not engaging with it. That is a problem in storytelling. It means the finished product isn't very good. It needs to be fixed.

Fix this problem, DC will get a bunch more readers. And I doubt will lose any.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Brain hurt

After reading the latest WFA post I really want to comment on the atrociousness of DC's releases this week. I mean, look at the Oracle cover, DC Nation boobs picture, and the GA/BC cover..





Way to objectify the women there. Fuck off DC. Oracle and GA/BC were obviously deliberate. i can see how the Kara shot *may* be accidental. Put them all in conjunction, all released in the same week, and this is fucking insulting.

I do intend to write about all of these more fully, but I think I'm coming down with something (not rage, although that would be quite appropriate), and I'm in no state to write considered reviews of anything. I don't even think I can watch Smallville now. I should go to bed.
In a state of rage.

Easter comics DC edition - Supergirl Cosmic Adventures/Supes New Krypton/Booster Gold

(Fuck, I'm so behind. This post was written Monday I think....)

Due to busyness at work and Good Friday being a bank holiday I didn’t get my comics until Saturday and didn’t get a chance to read them until Sunday, after my sister had left for the weekend. Turned out there as a lot of spoilers to avoid on the internet so it’s a good thing I was too busy entertaining to be online. Onwards..

Booster Gold #19
As mentioned in an earlier post this has a very suggestive cover. Check out the eyes. It reminds me of the Buffy episode with 2 Xanders when Anya suggests keeping them both around for a threesome. Booster Gold: Now with 100% more innuendo.
I enjoyed the juxtaposition of younger Booster with older Booster. I also liked Rip Hunter’s blackboard with comments re current DC events (Vigilante, Oracle, Batman and Robin). Those are fun.

I am not enjoying Michelle’s breakdown. She hasn’t been brought back to life from the dead, she was plucked out from the time stream just before she died. She didn’t die. Why is she going a bit insane? I appreciate it could be a headfuck but I thought she’d got the hang of time travel by this point?

Genuine question: Have I missed something to explain her freakouts? Did she, in her own personal timeline, actually die? Also, to show my ignoramity, how long has she had magnetism powers for and where did they come from?

This issue had another Power Girl #1 preview. I really hope these previews get the series lots of readers. Now if they’d done a similar push for Manhunter, or even something like a smaller scale version of the Flash: Rebirth splashes then maybe Manhunter would have had more readers. Having said that, the back ups have probably been in the bag quite a while which would explain why they let the series die a death.

Superman: World of New Krypton #2
Of 15? FIFTEEN? Where was I when the observance skills were handed out? I thought this was a 12 issue run.
Kal is looking rather fetching in this series, it’s the new black and grey suit. Nice, very nice. The Guardians of Oa discuss the new planet, thereby sowing the seeds for Hal and Kal’s face off, and reminding me that they don’t all look the same. Until I bought the GL Corps book the other week I was convinced the little blue dudes were identikit, like multiple triplets or something.

Kal meets his army squad people, (or Red Sharp tactical Response Unit if you want to be accurate) including his second in command, Asha Del-Nar. I like her. We’d better get to know her as there’s something incredibly…resonant? captivating? there. Anyway, upon Kal meeting his squad they are performing an initiation ceremony on Non, involving some kind of porcupine/lion cross. Non looks quite frankly terrified. I’d always thought of Non as evil, this issue leads me to believe he’s not, just mentally retarded (apologies if that’s the wrong term). Kal calms the cat animal down and bollocks his squad.

We next see Kal with Alura, who’s looking far more serene, albeit with a weird head ornament. Lovely white dress and black/gold cloak though. She is definitely not mad or vicious this issue, thankfully. Kara also arrives, sporting a new way of wearing her cape. Instead of tucking it in around the neckline of her top, she’s brought each edge in to meet in the centre of her collarbones. It looks good. Kara also seems less stressed this issue and is reveling in the family being together again.

Next there is an issue with escaped crazed animals which Kal solves bloodlessly, and then a hostage situation involving the Labour Guild and privileged folks, which looks like it could be solved with the very bloody deaths of 30 people.

It strikes me that this issue was very good at bringing new readers in and building up the personalities of the main characters. Kal’s method of resolving the bullying of Non and the crazed animals shows his fair and compassionate side. Zod’s handling of the new Kryptonian weapon and his reaction to the animal incident and the hostage situation shows his malevolence. I’ve already said how Non’s depiction surprised me. This pleases me, and as someone who has loved Superman all her life but has only started reading the books recently I think it has been done really well.

There wasn’t much of Kara or Alura in this issue, but we did see a bit of their positions on the new planet. Alura’s portrayal changes issue to issue, dependent on who’s book you are reading. But, maybe this will get resolved later on. Or maybe she’s that insane/depressed and always shifting into different personality types.

It struck me whilst writing this that the Super titles feature a hell of a lot of women at the moment, and not just on the sidelines. Each woman is central to each book. Supergirl – Kara, Alura, Cat Grant and Lana. Superman – Ma Kent, Lois. Action Comics – Thara Ak-Var and Ursa. Superman: World of New Krypton, Alura, Kara and now Asha. That’s pretty well rounded. I like.

Supergirl; Cosmic Adventures in the 8th grade # 5
Penultimate issue. Booo. Want more please DC.
Belinda Zee is on this week’s cover, looking pretty snappy, and titled Evil in a skirt! Great byline. She takes on a Bizzarro type of role in this issue, complete with a #1 pendent round her neck and everything.
We first see Kara talking to her mum via the communicator, that’s nice to see. I’d forgotten about that. Then the plot starts going mad…

Past Kara turns up after having spent time in the future. She has a new legion belt and cape buckling action. Lena remembers she knows Supergirl’s identity (See DC, mindwipes never equal kittens and joy), except…Streaky returns a bit later and gets turned into a kitten, but I’m racing ahead.

Lena gets her memories back. Belinda Zee is given a #1 medallion by the head teacher. Comet turns up. Past Kara introduces herself as Supragirl. Supergirl loses her powers, due to 2 of them being in the same place, same time. Belinda Zee is turning the schoolkids into Bizzarro minions.

She jokes about Supergirl lording it round the sky on a flying horse..and sees Supergirl (not) lording it round the sky on a flying horse..Streaky turns up and gets turned into savage giant sabre tooth cat, Lena starts subjugating the entire student body to do her will, Supragirl flies off on giant Streaky, Lena turns up in battle armour, along with the subjugated students (where did all the armour come from??), Streaky gets turned into the cutest kitten, Lena rescues Lex from prison and zaps Superman into collapsing, Mr Mxy climbs out of the headteachers mouth, Belinda steal the communicator and talks to Kara’s mum (heartbreaking), Supergirl goes after battle armour Lena, Supragirl goes after Superman (bound in kryptonite and hanging from Lex’s ship) and Belinda Zee disappears in a flash of blue light while we see Mr Mxy cackling with 3 other imp type creatures.

And I haven’t even included all the references to silver age adventures, that I discovered through the Supergirl Comic Box Commentary post.

Whew. This issue was nuts. It was great. Dense but easy to follow.

I've still got a few trades to review - Hawkman and a couple of Batman ones, plus last week's purchases and some manga that I've been meaning to comment on. All this and a stag weekend and a wedding (not mine) to prepare for. Help.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Waiting for Godot

So, I saw Waiting for Godot on Good Friday. It was surprisingly enjoyable. I mean I knew that I’d adore Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan but I also ended up enjoyed the play for the play. I was quite surprised when it wasn’t just the two of them in it – Simon Callow was playing a character named Pozzo and a guy named Ronald Pickup was playing Lucky, plus a local kid with just a few lines. I found the sections with Pozzo and Lucky the dullest parts but that may been in contrast to the other two’s performance. Now please forgive me readers, I don’t feel I have the tools or the knowledge to properly review the show. I’m not a thespian and it’s not a world I’m particularly comfortable in. But here goes.

Stewart and McKellen had such warmth to them – I felt it as soon as they walked on stage, and I was pretty far back, in the circle (and unable to focus on their faces properly, but that’s mostly because I’m a short sighted mole). It was obvious that they’ve both worked together several times before, they had such chemistry and it really helped their particular portrayal of the two old tramps, Gogo and Didi. I really felt that I was watching to old mates on stage, as in, it felt very real and not like I was watching a performance.

The last thing I saw at the theatre was Osage County back in January – that felt very constructed, like I was watching people act. My sister informed me that that is a specific type of acting, and involves a particular style of directing. If so, it’s not something I get on with. Waiting for Godot involved acknowledgement of the audience, but felt very natural.

It was a very funny, loose performance. There was dancing and singing and hat raising. It was good. I believe they are now off to London after having toured the UK and I bet they’ll go down a storm there too.

I still have a big crush on Patrick Stewart. I didn’t hang around and stalk either of them after the show.

Anyone else seen it? Thoughts?

I've been a bit delayed with blog posts recently, I have a few written up but am slow to post. Over the next few days I intend to post reviews of last weeks comics, some manga recommendations and I've still got a huge pile of JLA stuff to write up about. I think I'd liked to be cloned now please. But probably not in a dirty Booster kind of way.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

My contribution to out of context week

I thought of posting silver age silliness, but looking through scans of silver age stuff makes my head hurt. I thought of posting a panel from the story of the Joker's boner for Batman but decided that was too obvious. Same thing for the Captain America wank sound effect.

So I've gone for something recent. Namely the cover to Booster Gold no. 19.

If you can see, I ask you to check out his eyes. And the ripped suit. That's a very suggestive Michael Carter. I like it.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Arrgh flail frustration

Trying to write a job application. Not sure how much I care about it hence the difficulty and the escaping to the interwubs for ten minutes. Wherein I read about how Amazon are being dicks.
Have a kitty picture to make y'all feel better:

Friday, April 10, 2009

Calling UK Feminists

UK FEMINISTS ONLY!!

Cross posted from the F Word:

"What issues concern today’s feminists? What do they think about the feminist movement today? How old are they? Who inspires them, what actions do they take part in, and how did they end up calling themselves feminists in the first place? What about their level of education, views on religion, or location in the UK?

Wouldn’t it be fascinating to find out?

Well, that’s what myself and Dr Kristin Aune are trying to do, with our survey of UK feminists - including you, dear readers of The F Word.

We’ve been promoting our survey round some of the conferences and events this year and last year, as well as approaching various groups and organisations directly. So, you may have come across us already. If you have, and taken the time to complete the survey, THANK YOU so much.

For those who haven’t come across it yet, the research is being conducted by myself, Catherine Redfern (hi!) and Dr. Kristin Aune, a lecturer in sociology at the University of Derby. We plan to report the results in a book we are co-writing (to be published by the wonderful Zed Books in 2010) as well as other popular and academic formats.

Through this research, we want to learn more about feminists today: who they are, what they think, what issues are important to them and what activities they’re involved in. We believe this is the first major survey of contemporary UK feminists and are keen for as many people to contribute as possible.

It will take a while for the results to be finished, but we hope that this will be of interest to the feminist community and we hope to be able to share the results with you as much as we can.

We have many hundreds of responses so far and I can’t thank you all strongly enough. Having seen some of the results so far, it’s absolutely fascinating reading.

So, if you’re interested in taking part, please click here to go to the survey.

Thank you!"

It's not my survey, and it is for UK based feminists only, so if that is the case and you are interested in completing please visit the web link. Thanks.

And please don't be an arse and fill it in if you don't live in the UK.

Thanks.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Part 2 of this latest book list, fangirly raving and other news type stuff

Firstly... I'm going to see Waiting for Godot tomorrow. I know jack about the play, other than that it's by Brecht (am I right?) [EDIT: Feminist Avatar informs me it's by Samuel Beckett, not Brecht. oops. he's probably still a master at what he does though] who is apparently a master at his stuff and well loved by theatre luvvies. I'm not really a theatre buff, apart from a Midsummer Night's Dream, which I love and have seen many many times. The reason I am seeing this play is for the actors. dum dum dum...wait for it.....
.
.
.
.
.
Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan.


That's it. Just the two of them, on stage in front of me for about 3 hours. And I don't even have to travel to London to see them. They are in a theatre half an hours walk from my house. This shit never happens in Norfolk. I was stunned when it was announced. Tomorrow night is gonna be awesome. I am going with my sister who is visiting for the weekend, on Saturday we get to go shopping for shoes for me to wear at her wedding. Yawn. She studied drama at Uni so will be able to appreciate the play. Me, I'm planning on appreciating Patrick Stewart.

On other cool news I was rather pleased to see this art for the Justice League mini coming out later. Bee-yoo-ti-ful.

Back to the book list, part 2. (Found here by the way)
Joe Haldeman: The Forever War (1974) Pretty good actually. In the end I decided it wasn't homophobic, rather, it was mocking our currently held views. A point which seems to have been lost on the dickhead reviewer:
"It's not perfect - it's hard to take seriously a future in which hetereosexuality is a perversion"
Screw you asshole.
M John Harrison: Light (2002) Not interested.
Robert A Heinlein: Stranger in a Strange Land (1961) Rubbish. And offensive. I got halfway through the book then gave up. Maybe it improved later, but I was sick of male world view by that point.
Frank Herbert: Dune (1965) This is on my bookshelf waiting to be read. It has had a long wait. Comics, Ursula Le Guin, George R R Martin and Sheri S Tepper have seemed far more appealing.
Hermann Hesse: The Glass Bead Game (1943) Sounds like it would drive me mad with frustration.
Russell Hoban: Riddley Walker (1980) Not read this one, but I have read 3 other Hoban books and they are wonderful, and showcase a specific type of Englishness, which doesn't come across as forced. he paints a very natural picture of English life and he is to be commended for that. Very much recommended.
James Hogg: The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner (1824) Hmm. Is about Christian religion, but somehow it's not grabbing me.
Michel Houellebecq: Atomised (1998) I always thought I'd want to read this, now I've read the review I'm not so sure.. :/
Aldous Huxley: Brave New World (1932) Oh god this book is amazing. For my GCSE English coursework I wrote a comparative essay on Brave New World, 1984 and The Time Machine. About the only time I ever got the coursework done on time. Anyway, BNW is easily one of my most favourite books ever and everyone should read it.
Kazuo Ishiguro: The Unconsoled (1995) Not interested in anyone who's been compared to Phillip K Dick.
Shirley Jackson: The Haunting of Hill House (1959) A laaay-dy. Could be good.
Henry James: The Turn of the Screw (1898) Too old for me to be interested in.
PD James: The Children of Men (1992) A dystopia eh? Apparently made into a movie. Still never heard of it.
Richard Jefferies: After London; Or, Wild England (1885) This may be Victorian, but ti sounds gooood.
Gwyneth Jones: Bold as Love (2001) Blah. I hate books about music and musicians.
Franz Kafka: The Trial (1925) I know I should read Kafka but I am that contrary I refuse to read stuff foisted or pushed onto me.
Daniel Keyes: Flowers for Algernon (1966) Awesome. Thought provoking, intelligent. Recommended.
Stephen King: The Shining (1977) I have read this, but I didn't think too much of it. The Dark Half is a much better King novel.
Marghanita Laski: The Victorian Chaise-longue (1953) This looks good. I shall seek it out.
Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu: Uncle Silas (1864) Great name for an author. Oh look, Victorian again. Not interested.
Stanislaw Lem: Solaris (1961) The American film was shit. I have the Russian one downstairs, not yet watched. I am hesitant to read translations of Russian books because so often the translation is awful. If you want to read a Russian book about the supernatural may I recommend The Night Watch.
Doris Lessing: Memoirs of a Survivor (1974) This looks really good.
David Lindsay: A Voyage to Arcturus (1920) Tried reading this, was very very bored. gave up about a third of the way in.
Ken MacLeod: The Night Sessions (2008) Sounds good - it has religious themes. Could be one to pick up.
Hilary Mantel: Beyond Black (2005) I really don't need to bear witness to a "shocking, upsetting, often painful read". Think I'll give this one a miss.
Michael Marshall Smith: Only Forward (1994) Hmm. It's a possibility. It has cats.
Richard Matheson: I Am Legend (1954) LOVE this. One of the first stories I read/watched that tried to look at vampirism from a scientific perspective. Thereafter I wanted all vampires to be treated scientifically, hence why I liked Blade. I haven't seen the Will Smith film, but from reviews and plot synopsis it seemed to move away from the central themes of loneliness and madness.
Charles Maturin: Melmoth the Wanderer (1820) Good book title.
Patrick McCabe: The Butcher Boy (1992) Read this as a teenager. Good, but odd. I think I was too distracted to really appreciate this at the time of reading.
Cormac McCarthy: The Road (2006) Ummm..no.
Jed Mercurio: Ascent (2007) It's got Soviets in it. That's enough to get me interested.
China MiƩville: The Scar (2002) I think I confuse the writer with the band, China Drum. This is steampunk and sounds fantastic. Definitely one to pick up.
Andrew Miller: Ingenious Pain (1997) Sounds desperately dull.
Walter M Miller Jr: A Canticle for Leibowitz (1960) Cold War books can be horribly bigoted and stereotyping, so I think I'll leave this one.
David Mitchell: Cloud Atlas (2004) Read this. Wasn't impressed and can't remember any details.
Michael Moorcock: Mother London (1988) Moorcock is a great writer. I haven't read this one but every one of his I have found is a keeper.
William Morris: News From Nowhere (1890) Read as part of my Utopias and Dystopias module at Uni. Didn't like the style.
Toni Morrison: Beloved (1987) Meh. About slavery. Could be promising.
Haruki Murakami: The Wind-up Bird Chronicle (1995) A friend of mine loves Murakami, but as explained before, I resent people trying to foist their book choices onto me. So I won't read it.
Vladimir Nabokov: Ada or Ardor (1969) I've read Lolita - a lot more complex than most would have you believe. I reckon this one would be good.
Audrey Niffenegger: The Time Traveler's Wife (2003) Despite the title, not actually about the wife.
Larry Niven: Ringworld (1970) The SF Masterworks cover for this puts me off. That and the fact he's called Larry. I think it will be classic male sci-fi, too focused on the faux science explanations and not enough on the stories and themes.
Jeff Noon: Vurt (1993) "it's been described as the spawn of Alice in Wonderland and A Clockwork Orange" Way to make me not care.
Flann O'Brien: The Third Policeman (1967) "inspiration for the TV show Lost - is indeed fantastic in every sense. Set in a rural Ireland that is also a vision of hell, it features policemen turning into bicycles; that SF standby, the universal energy source; and any number of scientific and literary in-jokes. It's also gleefully dark and properly creepy" OK, now I'm interested.
Ben Okri: The Famished Road (1991) I like the sounds of this - "According to Yoruba tradition, a spirit child is one who has made a pact with his fellows in their other, more beautiful world, to rejoin them as soon as possible. Azaro breaks the pact, choosing to remain in this place of suffering and poverty, but the African shanty town where he lives with his parents teems with phantoms, spirits and dreams."

Currently listening to: Suede - Coming Up. Fun fact - I am in the audience for the Film Star video. It was fun.

Part three coming next week.
Have a fun Easter everyone! Tis the season of renewal and life, and daffodils :-)

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Book news! Part 1

Town names streets after the Discworld. Wincanot in Somerset is not only twinned with the Discworld city of Ankh Morpork but has also named two streets after Ankh Morpok streets - Treacle Mine Road and Peach Pie Street.
That, is brilliant. I want to move there.

On a book related matter, The Guardian has done a list called 1000 books you must read before you die. They have a sci fi section, so i got interested. Here's the list and my thoughts on the books:

Douglas Adams: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1979). Some of the later books were better.

Brian W Aldiss: Non-Stop (1958) Don't know it. Mutated rats sound interesting though.
Isaac Asimov: Foundation (1951) After I tried to read the book with the crazy computer named Hal in I decided I hated Asimov.
Margaret Atwood: The Blind Assassin (2000) Really not keen on The Handmaid's tale, I do not like her writing style. Therefore have been put off reading anything else.
Paul Auster: In the Country of Last Things (1987) Haven't read but it sounds really good. And has a female protagonist. Rock on.

Iain Banks: The Wasp Factory (1984) Read when I was 16 (or thereabouts) and loved it. Skipped to the end early cos I was desperate to find out the plot twist and have never done that again. Would love to re-read.
Iain M Banks: Consider Phlebas (1987) Not interested in his SF stuff, but the boyfriend loves it.
Clive Barker: Weaveworld (1987) Isn't he a horror director?
Nicola Barker: Darkmans (2007) Set in Kent, near where I grew up. Could be worth a go.
Stephen Baxter: The Time Ships (1995) Ugh, sequel to the Time Machine. I hope he writes better than Wells.
Greg Bear: Darwin's Radio (1999) Again, boyfriend loves Bear, I haven't found any interest in him myself though.

Alfred Bester: The Stars My Destination (1956) This an SF masterworks book I think. is on my list of books to read.
Poppy Z Brite: Lost Souls (1992) Vampires and rock and roll. Sounds awful.
Algis Budrys: Rogue Moon (1960) Sounds blah.
Mikhail Bulgakov: The Master and Margarita (1966) I've read this one. The second half was much much more enjoyable than the first story. If you try it, keep at it, don't lose heart too quickly.
Edward Bulwer-Lytton: The Coming Race (1871) Apparently the city of Vril-ya inspired Bovril. Not interested, written too long ago.
Anthony Burgess: A Clockwork Orange (1960) Last time I tried to watch this I was meant to be high but just ended up depressed (not because of the film). I don't think I should bother.
Anthony Burgess: The End of the World News (1982) Not interested, see A Clockwork Orange.
Edgar Rice Burroughs: A Princess of Mars (1912) Burroughs has always tempted me.
William Burroughs: Naked Lunch (1959) Tried to read this. Failed.
Octavia Butler: Kindred (1979) This sounds awesome:
Butler's fourth novel throws African American Dana Franklin back in time to the early 1800s, where she is pitched into the reality of slavery and the individual struggle to survive its horrors. Butler single-handedly brought to the SF genre the concerns of gender politics, racial conflict and slavery.
Samuel Butler: Erewhon (1872) I should have read this at Uni, doing my Utopias and Dystopias module. Victorian, so i reckoned I wouldn't like the style and I picked up Ursula Le Guin instead.
Italo Calvino: The Baron in the Trees (1957) This sounds great. Fantasy about a boy living in a tree and the French Revolution. Great!
Ramsey Campbell: The Influence (1988) Horror. I don't need to read horror, or I shouldn't read it anyway....
Lewis Carroll: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865) Read as a child of course. Wouldn't like it now.
Lewis Carroll: Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There (1871) As above, except I don't think I ever read it.
Angela Carter: Nights at the Circus (1984) Now Carter is good. I should read this.
Michael Chabon: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay (2000) About comics maybe? Is it worth reading?
Arthur C Clarke: Childhood's End (1953) Maybe I meant Clarke when I commented on Asimov earlier?
GK Chesterton: The Man Who Was Thursday (1908) Hmm. Could be OK, but probably written too long ago for me.
Susanna Clarke: Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell (2004) Nowhere near as good as it was hyped to be. I found the experience rather frustrating.
Michael G Coney: Hello Summer, Goodbye (1975) Long summers, long winters, i'd like this. :)
Douglas Coupland: Girlfriend in a Coma (1998) Umm...no. This would be too close to the bone I reckon.
Mark Danielewski: House of Leaves (2000) Started reading, gave up. Not captured at all.
Marie Darrieussecq: Pig Tales (1996) Could be good. Could be explicitly feminist hamemring you over the head with it's ideologies. I've had enough of books like those (hello, 50% of the output of the women's press)
Samuel R Delaney: The Einstein Intersection (1967) Never heard of it.
Philip K Dick: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968) This sucks.
Philip K Dick: The Man in the High Castle (1962) I like alternate universe stuff. This could be good, but Dick is every hit and miss.
Umberto Eco: Foucault's Pendulum (1988) I studied Foucault at Uni. Bloody difficult theory and the poor translation didn't help. I doubt I will pick this up.
Michel Faber: Under the Skin (2000) "can also be read as an allegory of animal rights" That interests me.
John Fowles: The Magus (1966) Never heard of the book or the author.
Neil Gaiman: American Gods (2001) Ahh yes! Awesome, made of win, recommended, you have to buy, etc etc.a His best book.
Alan Garner: Red Shift (1973) I think I've read this. I've read a lot of his other stuff and it is excellent. Recommended.
William Gibson: Neuromancer (1984) Too hyped for me to accept.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman: Herland (1915) Love love love. Everyone should read. Its so..leafy.
William Golding: Lord of the Flies (1954) spit hack spit. Hate this. Hate it with a passion. Studied it at school. Fucking rubbish. I remember thinking that I had no interest in it because there was no way I was going to identify with the boys in the book. No way at all.

Parts 2 and 3 to come. I have flicked through them and ma very surprised to see there are no Discworld books in there. And no George R R Martin. I would also add in Sheri S Tepper - the margarets, or Beauty too.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Green Arrow/Black Canary Wedding Special (lots of spoilers)

Comprising the Wedding Special and issues 1 to 5 of the GA/BC monthly.

I had bought/read all these issues before but thought it was high time I bought the trade. Family members were kind enough to give me some cash for my birthday so I decided to purchase this in hardcover.

I am very very pleased I did. The actual book itself is lovely – the front cover illustration on the dust jacket is gorgeous and the back cover depicts the villains of the DCU taking aim at a snogging Ollie and Dinah. The inside blurb takes the form of a wedding invite. When you remove the dust jacket you see that the cover of the book is in cream, wedding photo album style, and has blood splattered over.

Basically, I haven’t even looked at the story and this book is already a visual treat and will be given pride of place on my shelf, taken very good care of, and never under any circumstances loaned to anyone.

The book showcases all the covers for the Wedding Special, one by Amanda Connor and one by Ryan Sook, and the covers for the first 5 issues of the monthly, by Cliff Chiang. All these covers are great. Amanda Connor’s cover is playful and fun, and I think captures the couple pretty well. I know at the time of release some people were complaining about it, saying it was degrading to Dinah, but I don’t see that. This is a couple who are constantly shagging and probably use a lot of props to spice up their sex life. The cover works. I, for one, love Dinah’s wedding outfit.

Ms Connor also does the inside art for the Wedding Special. Of course I love it, I think 99% of her work is great. We are treated to a flashback summary of Dinah and Ollie’s life together, followed by a current scene of the two arguing – Dinah apparently didn’t follow the arrow then sonic scream fight protocol. Ollie comments, rudely (the entire US navy? That’s a little unfair Mr!), on the quantity of Dinah’s romantic liaisons when he was dead, she slaps him, then they nearly have sex (stopping because Dinah wants it be special on their wedding night).

This scene is a thousand miles away from the recent Dinah beating on Ollie scene of JLA 31. Of course, slapping your partner is not acceptable, but this didn’t feel like an abusive situation. In JLA 31 Dinah's punch was premeditated, she specifically called Ollie and Hal to meet with her so that she could shout them down and punch her husband in the face. Presumably she wanted Hal to witness this. In the Wedding Special it is not planned, it is an instant reaction to a slur on Dinah's actions.

Ollie is very funny when trying to get laid. I like the glimpse of his socks too, they seem very appropriate and sturdy for a man of his profession, and very him.
The other heroes reactions to getting the invites made for a great page. One of the cutest panels in this issue was Diana and Kal discussing it, and Kal’s pure optimism and joy over the event. Ms Connor gives him such youthfulness and innocence.

The hen and stag nights are also worth mentioning – Ollie not wanting strippers and Hal’s sudden u-turn made me giggle. Dinah’s hen do took place at a venue called The Meat Locker – a male strip club basically. Zatanna urging the strippers to ‘ekat ti ffo ybab!!’ doesn’t bother me. I think I am drawing a line between fantasy and reality here, and for once am not gonna get on my high horse about wrongs and irresponsibility in a comic. This is a fun issue, I am going to take it as such.

At the wedding it’s nice to see that Barda is actually big – taller than Diana, who herself is as broad as Kal. Hawkman is looking wistfully at Hawkwoman and Peej and Mia have lovely flowers in their hair. The fight scenes are of course great, and I am fully in support of Dinah being pissed that Deathstroke nicked her ring. Batman is his usual dour self – ‘I came for the fight (not the wedding)’.

As for the wedding night scene, again there was a lot of online furore about the method Dinah used to dispatch Ollie. My theory is that yes, she is a master martial artist, she’s kickass and she could have stopped him in any one of a vast number of ways. Re-reading the issue though, and paying close attention to the panels, she is first racked with disbelief and shock that Ollie is trying to kill her, then she looks in his eyes and says ‘no’ – she knows it’s not really him, so she now has to stop the guy impersonating her lover, on their wedding night, and she loses it and stabs him with an arrow.

The cry afterwards of ‘Ollie’ comes from her confusion and emotions at the whole event.
Ergo, this scene doesn’t do a disservice to Dinah.

Onto the first issue in their monthly book.
Each issue is introduced with a chapter heading –
And they said it wouldn’t last: the wedding of Green Arrow and Black Canary
Dead again part one: Here comes the bride
Dead again part two: The naked and the not quite so dead
Dead again part three: Hit and Run, Run Run!
Dead again conclusion: Please play where Daddy can see you
Child Support

The monthly issues are written by Judd Winick with art by Cliff Chiang. I like Judd Winick, I thought his Green Arrow run was great and I liked the GA/BC books. The only thing of his I haven’t liked was Titans and that was mostly due to the horrible horrible porny art. No problems in this book though – Cliff Chiang is wonderful. Simple lines, very clean, very clear and expressive. Trish Mulvihill does the colours – she complements Chiang’s pencils really well. This is a feast for the eyes, all the way through.

Back to the plot – a month has passed since the wedding and Dinah is wracked with grief and taking it out on the criminals. A little too much, if truth be told. No one else believes her that it isn’t Ollie’s body lying in the glass case, but she knows it’s not her beloved. Her and Hal have a fight about this on top of a roof and you can feel the anger exploding off the page. Batman turns up and agrees with Dinah – it isn’t Ollie lying dead. Bruce and Dr Midnite perform an autopsy on ‘Ollie’ and discover that the body is in fact Everyman’s. Cue some thinking on Dinah’s part and she deduces this whole mess is the fault of the Amazons. Cut to Themyscria and Ollie is sitting in a cage telling his guards that Dinah is gonna beat the crap out of them when she arrives.

Next issue. Ollie is running naked through the forest. This trade is a good bet if you are an Ollie fan. He doesn’t manage to escape his Amazon guards and again reiterates that there will be hell to pay when Dinah catches up with them.

Next scene – Dinah and Mia arrive at the island. They cross from boat to land on a bridge held up by women. I like this image – it shows respect and deference from the Amazons to an honoured visitor. On an island full of women oppression by men is not an issue, so using women as a bridge doesn’t have the same connotations it would on Man’s World.

Athena’s assistant is a snobby cow so Mia gives her a verbal smackdown, then Dinah gives her a physical smackdown. Dinah is awesome. She’s articulate, intelligent, strong, fast and an amazing warrior. Ever her costume doesn’t look cheesecakey in this. When combined with her poise and her actions it looks like a very good choice of uniform for a fighter.

Athena later explains why they have asked Dinah to the island – she wants her to train their soldiers. So that Connor has to time to spring Ollie from his prison Dinah accepts the position.

Meanwhile Connor is busy shooting poison darts at Ollie’s guards. Ollie is freed, borrows Connors pants (and looks very fine in them too) and is brought up to speed on what has been happening and how everyone felt about his death. There’s real love between him and Dinah. An honest to goodness connection. Then Connor and Ollie get caught. Oh dear.

Next issue. I can’t help but smile at this cover. In other circumstances Ollie being chased by a load of women would be a source of pride and joy for him.

Dinah is told by Athena she has to undertake the Display of Fortitude before she can take up the position as teacher of the Amazons. Obviously, she whips all her opponents’ asses.

Mia wonders what is taking Connor so long, asks for a pass to go to the ladies toilets and is provided with a chamber pot. She decides to sit it out.

Ollie and Connor escape the angry Amazon horde by throwing themselves off a cliff – still not quite sure how they survived that. They reach the boat and let off the signal - a green explosion. Mia yells for Dinah, Dinah holds a sword to Athena’s throat in order to force an explanation out of her.

It’s complicated and involves the Amazons wanting Dinah as a teacher, and therefore seeking to engineer a situation where she would be happy to come live on the island. E.g. getting rid of Ollie. They hire Everyman, via Deathstroke and Sivana, to impersonate Ollie, except that Everyman panics on the wedding night as he’s impotent and Dinah would have smelled a rat if ‘Ollie’ didn’t want to perform. He tries to kill her, she kills him instead.

Dinah leaves, Athena turns into Granny Goodness and Desaad turns up. They mutter something about not being finished with the arrow family. Aaand that’s all the explanation we get from them. Hmmm. That would look very odd to a new reader not familiar with the New Gods or Apokolips.

Dinah and Mia jump to the boat, from a cliff, and Dinah and Ollie’s reunion is the sweetest thing ever. Then Ollie shows off his new uniform, everyone gets all mushy about being back together. Then Connor gets shot, from the sky. This breaks Oliver.

Next issue. He panics, scream for Dinah and Mia to do something and finally whispers then yells for Clark. Clark hears, comes swooping down and grabs Connor, simply saying ‘I got him’. No chit chat, no questions, he just does what he does best as fast as he can. Ollie whispers thank you. Re-reading these two pages again and I’m nearly in tears, again. Life and death, honesty, openness, rawness, gets me every time. Cliff Chiang is a wonderful artist.

Next scene. We are at the hospital. Ollie is screaming for Hal to come fix Connor with his ring, Hal arrives and copes pretty well with Ollie being near hysterical. Batman is lurking in the hospital stairwells making sure the perimeter is secured and no one overhears anyone else’s secret identities.

Ollie suffers massive guilt about how he denied Connor all those years, how he didn’t get to know him, how he used Roy as a replacement for him. Hal announces that although Connor is stable, he is brain dead. Ollie runs to his son's side.

Last issue. Connor is out of hospital and living in the Arrow home. Dr Midnite is visting every week to check on signs on brain activity. Ollie remembers Connor’s mother and his lack of responsibility taking at the start of his son’s life. We see how he enlists Batman’s help to track Connor down a few years later. We see how Connor gets kicked out of school and moves to the Ashram. We see how Ollie and Connor met much later on and how Ollie denied any familial relation.

The issue ends with Ollie and Dinah getting married, for real this time, in a small wedding, Diana presides, Roy, Mia Babs and a second man. Superman takes watch in the sky, Batman takes watch on the hills. The end.

I love this book. Yes the Amazon involvement is daft, it’s contrived, it’s a bit silly. I don’t care – it’s told well, it takes a fluffy premise and turns it into a story full of emotion and passion. It draws you in and pulls you along every step of the way. There’s humour and tragedy. It’s great.

And you know what else makes this story great? Dinah’s involvement. This is Dinah at her finest. She is in the thick of the action, driving the story forward. She’s an integral part even when Green Arrow has screen time. Compare this to later issues where it felt like Dinah was a supporting character. That wouldn’t have been a problem if the book was titled Green Arrow, but it wasn’t, it was titled Green Arrow/Black Canary but it felt like she didn’t do much and wasn’t given equal billing. It felt like she was relegated to the background whilst Ollie got all the action and made all the decisions.

DC are now rectifying this by giving Dinah a back up story in the book. They are also renaming it to be Green Arrow – this makes a lot more sense. It should give Dinah more screen time and we will hopefully get to see more interacation between her and other DCU characters (Babs? Spoiler? The other birds?). She’ll be important and given authority and please let it prove she can carry an ongoing series by herself.

I am hopeful that this really long post will have convinced some of you readers to purchase this book. Please do so. It’s gorgeous. It wants your love and appreciation. You want to give it your love and appreciation. It's a love in. Do it.

Comics reviews the week of 01/04/09

Featuring spoilers for Flash Rebirth 1, Guy Gardner 4, Teen Titans 69 + Annual, Superman/Batman 57, Buffy 24, JLA Annual 10, Power Girl 1 preview
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Flash Rebirth #1
I have never really read any Barry Allen Flash and am only familiar with him via time travel appearances in other issues, or flashbacks (pun not intended) in the Wally West Flash books. I don’t think it will surprise any regular readers to know that my motivation for buying this is for Bart. Sure enough, he was in this briefly, hanging out with Cassie and Tim and Titans Tower (Tim in his Robin outfit, does this mean he won’t be the new Batman?). Bart is adamant that Wally is the Flash, not Barry, and explains that he came back from the future so that everything could be the same. And with Barry back it’s not. Then we get to the crux of the problem, which is that Bart misses Max Mercury and wants him to escape the speed force too. So do I. Bart is also showing speed force flashing out of his eyes, is this lightening linked to his emotional state? I think so.

Otherwise, there is a lot going on in this issue. It looks to be pretty densely packed and full on so I hope the mini it will be good. Barry is experiencing existential doubt and is very serious. All the time. I assume this is because he’s back from the dead and that he wasn’t this po faced when he was alive. Wally’s scenes with his kids were great.

The last couple of pages show Barry touching Savitar, who has mysteriously burst out of his chest, and then Savitar aging and crumbling to death. Finally, we see a confused Barry and Wally West, his kids, Bart, Jay and Jesse Quick all being surrounded by painful speed force lightning. In Bart’s case, it’s coming out of his eyes and mouth. To compare, the other speedsters appear to be (prettily painfully) bathed in the lightning.

Regarding the art, I could quite easily leave it, except for a few pretty depictions of Wally. Mostly though it does nothing for me.

Guy Gardner 4
While selecting comics to be stored in my newly bought comic box I discovered I had a copy of Guy Gardner # 4. How timely thought I! So I sat down and re-read it.
This is Guy with a malfunctioning yellow ring at quite an angry phase in his life. It takes place shortly after the Death of Superman story so many heroes are still wearing armbands, Ice included, and Guy is still sore that Ice crushed on Superman, leading him to act like a cruel dickhead. He is arrogant, vindictive, spiteful and horrible. Ice puts up with a lot from him. On the plus side, I like the art and I really want Guy’s cowboy boots.

Teen Titans 69 + Annual
The new team is announced. M’Gann and Eddie have a lovely reunion and Terra has a brand new costume (helloo editors, please do your job). Cassie inadvertently offends the ex Dark Sider clubbers, Zatarra has an assistant named Bunny (where was she in Terror Titans?? What does she do??), the Face is disgusting and gets kicked in the nuts by Aquagirl.
Rose is somehow listening in on the tower despite being a couple of miles away and decides not to join again. But at least she gets her own back up story!
Bombshell gets ignored or slated by everyone else and there’s a somewhat cheesy moment at the end when Cassie cries Titans Together and only Static, Eddie and Jaime join in.
The new line up is Aquagirl, Static, Red Devil (please find a way to give this guy back his powers, please!), Blue Beetle, Wonder Girl, Miss Martian, Bombshell and Kid Eternity.

The annual was a lead in to the Deathtrap crossover. I won’t be buying not TT issues. It was ok but not vital.

Superman/Batman 57
In which Batman shows just how much he cares for his friends and how arrogant he is. Superman has been shrunk down to nanoscopic levels and will DIE of old age if he isn’t rescued soon. So Batman goes in to save him. Bruce, you are an unsociable melodramatic git. Lighten up.
We also learn that Batarangs aren’t toys. Oookay..touchy much?

The nanoscopic world is beautiful though. I particularly liked the giant bubble and Kal lasering a daily diary into a stone wall like structure.

Buffy 24
Solid issue. All Faith and Giles in this one, plus a very annoying slayerette - I’m not convinced she’s got any thoughts in her head.
Idiot boy who used to head the Watchers council gets eaten, hurrah! It’s always nice to see how the rest of the world reacts to the slayers, and the myths and stories that spring up around them – in this issue there is talk of a slayers retreat. I am also finding it interesting to see how everyday people view the vampires and slayers – it’s odd for it all to be common knowledge suddenly.

What was interesting was Faith’s regret – out of everything she mostly wishes she had killed that third vamp? She really doesn’t regret anything else? Like posing as Buffy? Seducing Riley and Angel? Her part in the events of Graduation season 3? I guess she’s come to terms with all that.

JLA Annual 10
Worth mentioning because it shows Booster as a leader of the Justice League. A mad, bad leader of an evil League yes, but a leader nonetheless. Good for him.

Power Girl 1 preview
A preview was put in the back of a couple of issues this week.
The people love her! She’s got support! She’s getting her own series! Amanda Connor is doing the art! !!!! Everyone buy it!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Last weeks comics - JLA,, Oracle and Supes

Late reviews of last weeks comics. Spoilers for:
JLA 31, Superman 686, Oracle - The Cure 1
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JLA 31
I bought this because of other people's reviews, and was still surprised by the rubbishness of certain aspects of it. Dinah punching Ollie? Not cool. (For more on this check out WFA) And somewhat out of character. Dinah has morals, she's a superhero for god's sake. She knows what abuse is. So, the beating when combined with Dinah's other odd, very needy, erratic behaviour has led me to the conclusion that she's having a breakdown.
The cover to it is gorgeous (and even though you can see half of Diana's ass, it's not exploitative, because of the muscles and the pose, she looks like a warrior), but I wonder where Dinah has been on past covers? Given that she's the Chair of the league on all, she seems conspicuously absent (unlike this cover), in a way that I imagine the big 3 aren't.

Speaking of Dinah, she's going to get a back up slot in the Green Arrow comic, hurrah! I've said many times before that she seems to be second tier in her own book, so this should sort that out. I also pick up the first GA/BC trade tomorrow :-)

Oracle - The Cure 1
Contrary to how I may come across I really don't want all my favourite characters to be symbols of something. Usually, I just want them to be well rounded creations. When I rail against the sexism etc inherent in any book, I'm actually just angry at the creators for having shitty attitudes.
Having said that, I don't want Oracle's paralysis to be cured. I think there is an assumption out there that all disabled people want to be cured, that they should be fixed, that there's something inherently wrong with them. Now, not all disabled (differently abled? I'm having a semantics issue here) people want to be made 'normal'. Many are happy and content and are vehemently opposed to anyone 'fixing' them.
I think that if the writers do 'fix' Babs and make her walk again, that it would tie into the ideas that folks in wheelchair are wrong and not good enough. That makes me sad.

Or, it could be used as a way for Babs to explore her identity, if it's dealt with maturely and in depth. But you'd need a skilled writer on the case from the get go, and I think having one skilled writer in charge is unlikely to happen.

Or it could be that The Cure relates to the destruction of the anti life equation and has nothing to do with Babs in a wheelchair. The joke would be on us then eh?

Away from the politics and back to the geekishness, Babs is just damn well fine in a wheelchair. She tough, she can take anyone on, she's not helpless. She's brains first then brawn, and very down to earth with it. She's a refreshing change from your cookie cutter mould hero. I love her.

Last criticism, to the artists (or editors) - women of Babs' age (mid twenties?) don't have boobs that round and fleshy. They drop a bit, they change shape. yes, you have given her very beautiful breasts and it's a pleasure to look at them, but try not to make everything about the boobage ok?

I get the feeling this mini will be a middle of the road jobby.

Superman 686
Oh my lord this was perfect. The art was phenomenal, the layout was spot on, the handover from Kal to Mon was executed wonderfully. If you haven't already got this issue I urge you to go purchase it. It is fantastic.

Green Lantern Corps - Ring Quest

So after yesterday's post I buckled and bought this trade. I have since learnt three things:
  • Patrick Gleason draws a very pretty Guy
  • I really need to buy Guy/Tora books - they are wonderful together
  • 'Corps' is not pronounced 'corpse'

I'm feeling better now and am off to watch some anime. Possibly Gunbuster 2.