Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Comics review for the week of 18/02/2014

This will cover Ms Marvel #1, She-Hulk #1, Batwoman #13 - 17, JLA's Vibe, Batman L'il Gotham #9-24, DC's Young Romance (2013), X-Men #11, Harley Quinn #3, Wonder Woman #28, Supergirl #28.  Clearly these will only be short reviews as I've read a lot.  Spoilers after the break.

Ms Marvel #1
This is a really strong opening issue for the new series.  Kamala is a muslim teenage girl living in New York (I believe) who is fascinated with superheroes.  She's knows some quite bitchy people who subtly mock her religion and home life.  Her family are pretty standard parents - her dad is strict, her brother is very devout, her mother doesn't really have much of a presence.  She's just there, cooking food, minding the rest of her family.  I don't mean to take away from the uniqueness of having a superhero comic book about a muslim family, or to impose my experience onto muslim life, but Kamala and her home life is pretty normal.  It's not too different to how I and many other people I knew grew up - reconciling your home values with the outside world's values and kicking back against your parents' rules.

I feel like there's a danger that I'll downplay the specialness of this book by saying that, and I'm really not trying to do that.  In terms of diversity, it's an amazing thing.  I certainly don't think it should be accepted by white, christian/non religious people in terms of it being perceived as non-threatening.  There are letters pages at the back from people who are ecstatic at seeing characters like them in a mainstream comic.  But I don't think it's the case that this is a comic only for muslims, and I wouldn't want anyone to think that.  I don't want it to be pigeonholed as a minority comic, because it is really damn good.

I don't expect anyone to buy comics just because they represent some diversity - I expect them to buy it because ithe comic is good.  And this is good, really good.

The last few pages are really odd as Kamala has snuck out of her house to go to a party and then is felled by some weird mist.  Then the Avengers, or simulacrums of them show up, and Captain Marvel starts chatting to Kamala about what she really wants.  Kamala says she wants to be 'beautiful and awesome and and butt-kicking and less complicated.  I want to be you. Except I would wear the classic, politically incorrect costume and kick butt in giant wedge heels'.

As an aside, I love that last sentence :)  So much time is spent on discussing the sexism of women's costumes, I think we can forget that often they are really cool.  Having said that, I hate Carol's swimsuit costume, but this isn't a comic about me!

On the last page we see that Kamala has become Captain Marvel - a tall, skinny, blonde, white, classic costumed Captain Marvel.  This will be interesting.  I wonder if anyone is dssapproving of this move, saying that it would be better to have Kamala be the Cap'n as Kamala.  I hope not.  If you do that then you risk making the comic purely about symbols and losing the storytelling aspects.  And this is the problem I have with focusing on comics as symbols - I can forget to enjoy the story.  Le sigh.

Anyway, this is really good fun. Buy it.

She-Hulk #1
This was great and rather like Dan Slott's/Peter David's Shulkie run.  Jennifer Walters is back working as an attorney and the issue focuses on her working life, not her superhero life (although she does run into villains and heroes).  I love comics like these.

Batwoman #13 - 17
I finally bought this.  I should have read it when it came out 2012/2013.  if you are considerign buying ti I would suggest buying the trade rather than reading it on comixology, because J.H.Williams' art is much better read as a whole page, rather than in a piece by piece format that you tend to use when reading digital comics.  It's beautiful.  This arc has Wonder Woman teaming up with Batwoman to fight Medusa and her followers.  It fits really well with the new 52 Wonder Woman and is a wondrous thing to read.

JLA's Vibe #10
This was a good end to the series, but I really should have read it at the same time as reading issues 1-9, rather than a month later.  This series was a really good, fun look at a smaller aspect of DC's New 52 universe.  Sterling Gates writes and he is, as ever, great. 

Batman L'il Gotham #9-24
This is just really cute.  Perfect for kids.   I wish it was continuing.

DC's Young Romance (2013)
It's worth buying for the Aquaman/Mera story which is a proper romance.  The Batgirl one was also very enjoyable.  Catwoman/Batman was bizzare - Bats seemed out of character. I don't care for Apollo/Midnighter.  The Nightwing one was really quite sad and seemed at odds with the rest of the stories. The Superman/Wonder Woman one was just dull really. 

X-Men #11
I feel like the last one was out just 2 weeks ago.  I think that with Marvel's straneg shipping schedule that is always possible.
I would have liked more Storm in this one.   I don't remember much of the details and I did feel less enthusiastic about it than previous issues. 

Harley Quinn #3
The Valentine's issue!

From this point on I'm finishing these reviews in a cold induced fugue and really can't remember the details or have the desire to go pick up the comics to prod my memory.  I enjoyed it.  The art is cute, it's a decent valentine's issue.  This is a fun holiday themed issue.

Wonder Woman #28
The First Born continues his fight for Olympus and gives Apollo a right royal thwacking.  Diana seems to be getting more like the pre 52 Diana I'm a fan of.  She shows compassion and a belief in people.  Previously she has seemed toughh as nails without much connection to or appreication of other people.  She seemed all duty and little amicability.  It's good to see this character progression. 

Supergirl #28
In this one we learn how Kara becomes a Red Lantern.  As an issue by itself her progression to Red Lamtern made perfect sense.  In fact I quite enjoyed the issue.  When I consider it in terms of the precious issues I still don't quite believe how angry she got and how quickly.  Perhaps it will read better, more believeably, on a second reading.

Still on my pile to read are Forever Evil: Argus, Smallville minis, some odd Flash and Impulse comics, Order of Dagonet and Secret Invasion.

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