Saturday, January 16, 2010

Review: Black Widow: Deadly Origin #3

I’m going to start off by saying that I don’t exactly know a lot about Black Widow. Well, the Natasha Romanoff version. While I did read a lot of Avengers stuff growing up, it was far more for Wasp and Ms. Marvel than it was for Black Widow or Scarlet Witch. I’ve sampled a few of her series here and there, though I found myself drawn more to the Yelena Belova incarnation of Black Widow than I did Natasha. Maybe it’s because of all of baggage that Natasha comes that I’m as yet unfamiliar with, or maybe it’s because I just preferred Yelena’s character journey. Who knows?

In any case, I’m finding Black Widow: Deadly Origin to be an interesting story. I’m still not pulled into Natasha’s world, nor do I find myself caring all that much for her, but the position she’s in – the predicament that she faces – well, it’s certainly an interesting one, and one that I’m interested to see play out. The writing is definitely solid and the arts good as well – the switching back and forth between the past and now is incredibly well done, which is saying a lot for me because I’m generally not a fan of Tom Raney’s art. He’s done a nice, clean, crisp job here though.

I know that this mini has gotten me interested enough in checking out the Black Widow ongoing that starts this April.

Overall, I’d say that I give this issue a **1/2 out of five.

Review: (Blackest Night) Catwoman #83

This was probably one of the books that I was really looking forward to this week. I’ve been a huge Catwoman fan since Julie Newmar pranced about in Lurex back in the sixties (though I didn’t discover her until the 80’s, when I was a wee child.) That the Catwoman series was cancelled in favor for Gotham City Sirens is a sad, sad thing because Catwoman was a pretty good title in its own right – though it admittedly was becoming lacklustre – and GCS still needs to prove itself as a decent series, despite being written by Paul Dini, whose issues of Detective Comics were second only to Greg Rucka’s run on the title with Batwoman this past decade.

First off, this wasn’t so much an issue of Catwoman as it was an issue of Blackest Night Gotham City Sirens, but it was an interesting enough issue. I’m not sure why there were four artists assigned to the issue, but there were moments where it was obvious that the artists had changed. Still, it was a definite solid effort.

While it’s interesting to see Catwoman refer to Ivy and Harley as her sisters, no matter how ironically or sarcastically, I couldn’t help but wonder what happened to Holly Robinson, who had close ties not only to Selina but to Harley as well, and who was as involved with the surprise character in this.

The plot was fast-paced and fast, a little predictable, but sometimes, in a one-shot like this, the plot has to be. It was well-written and solid, but this is Tony Bedard we’re talking about. He’s far, far from being a bad writer. I’m not such a fan of the twist ending, but I am intrigued enough to actually want to pick up an issue of GCS to see how it plays out.

A definite *** out of five.

Review: Batgirl #6

I’m going to preface this by saying that I’ve always been a fan of any young woman who’s worn the bat emblem across her chest – or belt, in the case of the original Bat-Girl, Betty Kane. There’s always been something about the frak you attitude about the Batgirl name because, more often than not, it’s been a girl who’s slipped on the costume to fight crime while giving the Gotham boy’s club a huge middle finger.

So far, Stephanie Brown’s been much of the same, finding mentorship in the classic Batgirl, Barbara Gordon. It’s a match made in heaven, and a partnership that, in many ways, feels so much more right than the former one between Cassandra Cain and Babs.

This was another well written issue, and I have to say, I’m completely loving Bryan Q. Miller and Lee Garbett’s take on the Batgirl mythos here. Stephanie has a long way to go and a lot to learn, but so far, every issue, she’s showing growth in that area. She’s just had her second near-death experience, but she still manages to keep her wits about her, slip into costume, and get some nice detective work in.

If there’s one thing I wanted to complain about, it was the inclusion of Robin, but I understand why he’s important to the story, and frankly, under Miller’s able hand, he’s a good bit less annoying and a nice throwback to the Babs-Dick rivalry from way back when. I just hope that this continues on as a surrogate brother-sister relationship, nothing more. Having said that though…while I’ve always championed the Steph-Tim romance, I’d like to see her branch out a little and find someone new in her life. A lot of the times, Tim’s acted as a total douchetard towards Steph, and she doesn’t deserve it at all.

The bits between Barbara and Dick are nice and it makes one want to see them patch things up and eventually get on together. There really isn’t a more perfect couple in Gotham City, I don’t think.

As for the villains…I love Roxy Rocket, and it was a real pleasure seeing her appear in this issue. While I didn’t expect the twist at the end with the surprise villain…well, it was a welcome twist, and it’ll be interesting to see how Babs, Steph, and Damien deal with the odds stacked against them.

Not a great issue, but a really good, solid one.

A definite ***1/2 out of five.

The Brave and the Bold (And in this case; the Beautiful!)

I’m excited. Why? Well, partially because I now have the time (and the computer, thank you) to devote time to this blog which I have wanted to get back to ever since my computer died a grisly death back in November, but also because there’s been a lot of great things happening in the world of comics – specifically pertaining superheroines. Batwoman is going to be launched into her own book. Black Widow is getting her own on-going. The Birds of Prey have returned! (See, I knew I was sacrificing those lamb chops for something!) It’s really just great stuff all around, and I’m so glad it’s happening at a time where I’m all comics involved.

I think the big happy that I’m feeling right now is mostly thanks to the preview for DC Comics’ 2010 April stuff – most specifically Brave and the Bold #33 - written by JMS (who’s work in Spidey and Thor rocked, I think) and with art by Cliff Chiang (who, along with Aaron Lopresti, I want to see get more work at DC. Can you imagine Lopresti on Dini’s Zatanna book? Wow. If only that would happen.)

Anyway, before I get ahead of myself, herein is the solicit and cover image:

On sale APRIL 21 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US
Oh yes, it’s ladies’ night! Batgirl, Wonder Woman and Zatanna enjoy a nice, peaceful evening on the town that absolutely won’t be interrupted by any kind of superheroic hijinks whatsoever... and if you believe that, there’s a giant bronze globe in Metropolis we’d like to sell you!




Zatanna. Wonder Woman. Batgirl. They are three of my favorite DC heroines, and the fact that JMS is going back in time to tell a Silver Age-y tale of the three of them having an adventure? Classic. Many, many flavours of classic. These are three heroines who we haven’t gotten to see interact with each other all that much, though they were powerful, popular heroines in their own right back in the Silver Age – much as they are now. Wonder Woman is having her own renaissance of sorts under Gail Simone’s amazing hand in her own title, Zatanna will finally have an ongoing written by none other than Paul Dini; and Barbara Gordon’s getting some great treatment at the hands of Bryan Q. Miller and (soon!) Gail Simone in the pages of Batgirl and Birds of Prey respectively.

I know I can’t wait to see how this issue turns out, and April seems impossibly far away for me to wait. While this issue obviously doesn’t fall under the Brightest Day banner that DC will have going on around that time, I know my day’s been brightened considerably only by looking at that cover and solicit.