Comics Reviews (12/10/14)


Worst to best, everything good enough to buy. Second Thursday post coming later in the day, btw - had hoped to have it ready by the usual 5am EST, but ended up having a more eventful Wednesday than I'd budgeted for.

Batgirl #37

Other than the kind of nasty transphobic streak, this is a marvelous issue. Pity about the kind of nasty transphobic streak, then. It's thoroughly sickening, and serves as an unpleasant reminder that underneath the hood, this is still a New 52-era DC comic, with all the thudding "comics for boys" that this implies. Strictly on storytelling, this would be higher on the list, but I just can't.

Guardians of the Galaxy Annual #1

Had this come out before Original Sin, it would have been a perfectly nice, fun, lightweight story, albeit one that in no way needed thirty-three pages to tell. (Frank Cho's a fine and dynamic artist, but the book is saturated with big panels to the point where they stop having any impact.) Unfortunately, it came out after Original Sin, and so is instead a painfully predictable lightweight story that in no way needed thirty-three pages to tell.

Uncanny X-Men Annual #1

Part one of a two-part story filling in an old mystery of how Eva Bell, a character I only vaguely have a handle on who is, aged several years in a time travel accident. Some predictable beats, though the "seven years later" jump is clever. But one does rather suspect, if only because it's how Bendis tends to work, that the second half of this is going to be the issue that carries the weight.

Avengers #39

A fine comic, although there's something very strange about Reed Richards giving advice on "making plans and the proper execution thereof" to someone who is currently being fostered by Doctor Doom.

Thor #3

I feel like Aaron's Thor run suffers occasionally from being unable or unwilling to quite make up its mind whether it wants to be epic or a bit wryly funny and personal. At its best, it's... wryly funny and personal, and the thought bubbles approach to the new Thor is marvelous - I absolutely adore her character. Still, I want answers and flesh, not mystery. Still, glad we're doing the inevitable Thor vs Thor next issue, if only so we can move on to the less inevitable stuff.

The Amazing Spider-Man #11

After a rough second installment, Spider-Verse gets back on track here. The relationship to the spin-offs is still a bit rough - I don't think I've ever read a crossover that feels quite this insistent on spending time selling me the auxiliary books. But there are moments of real charm and wit here, and three issues in the mythos of the crossover is starting to actually stick for me.

Supreme Blue Rose #5

I remain happy to be along for the ride on this deliciously strange bit of Warren Ellis comic. I'd wonder if it's any good, but it seems beside the point. It's unabashedly a particular aesthetic take on some stock ideas from both superhero comics and Warren Ellis - a comic that's content to be interesting. It is, and I love it.

Sex Criminals #9

Massively strong issue on its own merits, plus it has an absolutely beautifully gratuitous Wicked and the Divine porn parody in it. Amaterassu. Dear god. Seriously, though, yet another stunning issue here, with some great character work. This book's mixture of humor and honest looks at fucking and fucking up is truly wonderful.

Bitch Planet #1

It's going to be described as Orange is the New Black in space, and fine. That's a good hook. This is a better book - an unabashedly feminist, progressive comic that emphatically picks at scabs and starts fights. There's a lovely twist here, and some great tone-setting, and a book that's going to be worth watching. Get in on the ground floor. If nothing else, it's called Bitch Planet, and that's justification enough for buying it.


Carey 6 years, 1 month ago

To be fair to Batgirl, I think the transphobia is accidental and not deliberate: in a story about appropriation of images (especially appropriate with the story of Russ Heath and Lichtenstein: ) it is understandable that the artist is revealed as a fraud. Unfortunately, the decision to make the unmasking a shock by changing gender has unfortunate repercussions, and really they should have unmasked the artist as a female. I know this doesn't excuse the nasty taste left in the mouth but does at least put it in context: a misstep from a neophyte writing team.

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C. 6 years, 1 month ago

Has there ever been anything in comics like Fraction and De Connick right now: a married pair of writers, both at the top of their game, & basically trying to top each other with each new project? It's wonderful. .

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Daibhid C 6 years, 1 month ago

The creative team of Batgirl have issued an apology. Unlike the usual "We're sorry of people found that offensive" garbage, this one actually says "Yeah, we screwed that up and we're genuinely sorry about it".

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Carey 6 years, 1 month ago

More on the story can be found at Bleeding Cool:

The full text reads:
We have heard the complaints about this issue and are listening carefully to the reactions with grave concern.

We could go on all day about our intentions for the issue and the character of Dagger Type, and what our goals were and weren’t. But, our intentions do not invalidate the legitimate reactions that some have had to this story. Those reactions are honest and heartfelt, and exist regardless of our creative intentions, and we don’t wish to dismiss them.

Instead, we want to acknowledge the hurt and offense that we’ve caused, and express our sincerest apologies. We’re all deeply troubled by the reaction to this issue and have made it a point of serious discussion amongst ourselves. While we expected a degree of controversy in regard to the issues of identity and the artistic process that this story was meant to evoke, we do now realize that our presentation of this character was flaw., for any elements whatsoever of the story to have reminded readers of the sordid and misguided tropes that associate both drag and gender expression with duplicity.

We deeply regret upsetting readers who placed their trust in us. But were indebted to those who stand up to speak out about their perspective on stories like this their commentary leads to universally better storytelling, from both ourselves and others, and we hope to live up to that standard in the future.


Cameron Stewart Brenden Fletcher Babs Tarr

As Daibhid C says above, respect due for such an out and out apology, which seems to reinforce my original post that the story was one by a couple of relatively new writers who failed to see the wood for the trees when it comes to transgender issues.

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