Ian: Well there’s been a lot of hoo-haw when it comes to women in the comics industry these days. A lot of folks think there aren’t enough female creators, especially in the DC relaunch (which is true). And a lot of people don’t like the way women are often portrayed in comics (which is kinda true in the case of books like Catwoman and Red Hood and the Outlaws). But you know what? There are a lot of male AND female writers and artist working on some extraordinary women-centered books right now. And the best thing about these books is that they’re all very early in their runs. So if you’re interested in checking them out, most comic shops will still have the back issues you need to catch up quick. Let’s check out a handful of books that have come out lately!
Ian: Well Babs has been back on her feet for a few months now and I gotta say this comic is getting better all the time. We still don’t know how she got out of her wheelchair but at least the teasers they’ve been dropping aren’t annoying. Who am I to tell Gail Simone what time it is? Her story itself is a good mix of superhero action and personal relationships, so I can definitely see why the character appeals to a wider audience than some of the other bat-books. Ardian Syaf and Vincente Cifuentes have been doing a great job of handling some pretty tricky action sequences and I really think Syaf’s pencil work gets stronger with every issue. What’s really appealing for me though are the colours. Ulises Arreola makes great use of (and really pulls off) his purples and pinks and that’s not something you see in other DC titles. All-in-all, this is definitely a book worth picking up. Oh, and did I mention Adam Hughes is absolutely KILLING IT on the covers?
Ian: There have been some seriously questionable mini-series (and television shows) to come out of the Birds of Prey camp since their inception. This year’s six-issue Huntress series, thankfully, is one of the good ones. I’ve really gotta hand it to Paul Levitz on this book. His Helena-in-Italy story is a lot of fun and even though it’s dealing with a serious issue (human trafficking) the book itself isn’t miserable or preachy. The real reason to pick this book up, though, is Marcus To’s art. He’s a talented character artist and he’s great at facial expressions. He tends to choose clever angles to tell a great visual story, and his backgrounds are fully realized. John Dell’s inks are a great mix of big bold blacks for the dark scenes and minimalist, super-tight line work for the daytime scenes and Andrew Dalhouse’s colours are near-perfect. I honestly think that with a team like this DC could put out an ongoing Huntress book and find a decent readership. Think about it!
Nuv: BAM! Surprise article-invasion, WHAT?!
Birds of Prey #3
Nuv: Man, the title of this post is totally misleading! I thought I was finally going to get to see Venus slap the shit out of you. Anyway, who’da thunk that Simone, Barbara “Batgirl” Gordon and Huntress all flying the coop would result in Birds of Prey KICKING ASS?! I’d never been a fan of this title until now. Duane Swierczynski is absolutely killing it on the writing tip. It’s thanks to him the absence of the character most associated with the franchise (Barbara) doesn’t even matter! Duane made the newest Bird the flyest! A tattooed, tough-as-nails, smart-as-a-whip chick named Starling steals every scene she’s in.
Oh, and HOLY SHIT is artist Jesus Saiz living up to his first name! Lesser illustrators should pray to his pages. A beautiful, fun, adrenaline-filled ride, Birds of Prey accomplishes exactly what every bra-burning blog claims comics don’t do, and provides us with a rock-solid title starring strong female leads. Dowhutchyalike. Me? I’ll be picking up these lovely ladies every fourth Wednesday, ‘kay?
Ian: I took a reader poll, and nobody cares what you think.
Nuv: Word on the street is you’ve taken MANY poles.
Justice League #3
Ian: This week saw the triumphant return of Wonder Woman to the Justice League. Well, I guess it’s not so much of a “return” as it is “addition” seeing as though they’re still putting the team together “for the first time”. I know people have been more wary / critical of this book than any other title in the DC New 52 (and with good reason) but as a reader with almost no history with the JL, I’ve been having a really good time so far. And this issue, as far as I’m concerned, is the best one yet because of Wonder Woman. She’s cute and naïve and brave and violent and while she skirts the edge of bimbo-ism, I don’t think that’s the direction Geoff Johns is going to go with the character. This issue has great big fight scenes and Diana leads the charge. Good times!
Nuv: I concur. Justice League rules. It reads like a perfect blueprint for a JL movie. So, I guess if you don’t want a year-round summer blockbuster starring all of the A-List characters DC has to offer, forged by two A-List creators at the top of their game, then this title isn’t for you. ‘Cause fuck fun, you know?
Ian: Kara Zor-El (aka Supergirl!) has been having a pretty crappy time since she landed on Earth. She got the goofiest set of boots in the entire relaunch, her cousin keeps telling her what to do, and now some jackass named Simon Tycho is working on becoming her own personal Lex Luthor. On the upside, Michael Green and Mike Johnson are writing a GREAT story that has just the right amount of story and exposition without being a boring chore to read (see: Perez’s Superman). Also, I can’t believe that Mahmud A. Asrar has been able to keep up the quality of work he has. We’ve praised this book over and over in this column, and we’ll probably continue praising it because it’s hands-down one of the best books being published by ANY comic book publisher right now.
Wonder Woman #3
Ian: The history of the Greek gods has always been like an episode of Maury, and Azzarello’s run on Wonder Woman has been no different. Didja hear what happened?! As it turns out Diana wasn’t made from clay at all! (Crowd: Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh HELL naw!) Instead it turns out she’s the illegitimate product of Queen Hippolyta knockin’ the boots with Zeus himself! (crowd: Booooooooooo! Whore! Censor BEEEEP!) Now add the fact that the Amazons got duped into fighting and killing each other in the last issue, well, let’s just say that Paradise Island is a bit of a misnomer these days. Cliff Chiang is doing a great job of drawing all this crazy biz, and it’s gonna be a sad state of affairs when he leaves after issue four. But you know what? I bet the book is still gonna rock nuts when Tony Akins begins his run next year. Hooray!
Nuv: As you can see, DC actually has no shortage of female-driven titles. Sure, they’re of varying quality, but that’s true of the books starring dudes too. So, where do the rest of them stand? Well, Voodoo (the killer alien stripper!) is nice to look at, thanks to Sami Basri. The much-reviled Catwoman’s actually getting better by the issue. Batwoman’s been the cream of the crop from jump. I don’t count Hawk & Dove, because Liefeld characters do not remotely resemble humans, never mind gender. Which leaves…
Nuv: I actually dropped this shitpiece after the first issue, but I heard about this scene and thought I should point it out. Basically, Harley Quinn (Joker’s bitch) gets boned by Deadshot. And compares her vajeej to a clown car. Check the sleaze:
Because, you know, so many things go in and out of clown cars. Loose, not just in morals, apparently. Basically, one way to look at it is that DC seems to be trying to negate all of the strides they’re making with female portrayals in their other titles. Maybe we’re just not looking at the big picture though. Part of the mandate was to diversify, and the way I see it, sluts need heroes (and villains) to call their own too, right? Presto! Between this and Red Hood’s brain dead portrayal of Starfire, mission accomplished! One of each! Jeez! Don’t be so prejudice guys! Doughboy said it best back in Boyz N The Hood: “hoes gotta eat too!”
Ian: And, perfect segue for Nuv to go have dinner! That’s it for now! I’m sure we’ll be revisiting this topic in upcoming articles because, like I said, there’s a boatload of great creators working on great super-heroine titles right now. Sure there can always be more and I’m sure the popularity of these titles will make that happen, but in the meantime there really are a pile of books worth checking out, so go check ‘em out already!
Until next week! Put two in the air…
– The Big Two