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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Detective Comics #861 (DC)

Well. I'm not sure what to think. What does it mean when a comic-book is this good and still a let down?

Oh! Almost forgot the quote: "Perfectly executed, if I may say so myself--": some random would-be super villain about to be kicked in the head by Batwoman.

For those not in the know, the past few issues of Detective have starred that media darling Batwoman, while Batman Junior has been covorting around the other Bat-books. Batwoman gained the spotlight by being a lesbian in tight leather. Or at least the first lesbian in tight leather to star in a comic-book. You know......besides Catwoman for a while. Or Ghost, I think. Or Xena in some specials.

Media doesn't really pay attention to anything, does it?

But, I digress. Aside from being a useless stunt, Batwoman--Kate Kane to her friends--is actually quite an interesting character. Released from the military for telling when they asked, Kate decided she needed to be a soldier somehow, so she decided to become part of the "Bat-army" after being "saved" from a mugger by Bruce Wayne/Batman (she didn't really need his help.......).

In "Cutter (Part 1 of 3)", series author Greg Rucka is joined by Jock on art (replacing regular artist JH Williams III), and tells the story of Batwoman and Dick Grayson (;-9)/Batman racing time & each other to catch a serial killer.

Being the first of three parts, the story is only starting, but shows promise........really a given for any story by Rucka. There's not quite enough character development for me, but seeing Kate hold her own against Gray-Bats (again.....:-9) is good enough for the moment.

The artwork's by Jock, so of course it's good.......except it unfortunately fails to live up to Williams' work. But the dark and angular style is probably more suited to the gritty serial killer story anyway.

The colors by David Baron and letters by Todd Klein are great (it's hard to judge good color & letters, since the best are the ones that go unnoticed). And, just so I can gush over him some more, Williams does provide that glorious cover........even if it only hints at Kate's existence (but Gray-Bats is always welcome--;-9).

And one more thing......note that Bette Kane, namesake of the original Bat-Girl and cousin of Kate and re-introduced only a few issues ago, plays a big role in this issue......but might be short lived.

So quick review this week.........

RATING: 7.5 paparazzi cameras out of 10

But wait! Why so short?

Well, because Detective Comics has one of those "Second Features" that takes up half the issue, that's why! :-D

And that second feature is also a gay woman......but without the leather: Rene Montoya, the Question. With guest star, and leather wearer, the Huntress.

"Pipeline". Story by Rucka. Art by Cully Hamner. Color by Dave McCaig. Letters by Jared K. Fletcher.

You know I just realized: 1 book, 3 female leads.......not 1 female creator. Huh!

Anyway, I personally like the backup as much as the lead. But then I've always had a soft spot for the Huntress.......I like the dichotomy of a vigilante who's a mafia princess, a cross-wearing Catholic who's willing to kill the bad guys, a superhero(ine X-P) by night and school teacher by day.

This too is a multipart story, so not much happens in this issue, but the art's pretty and the ladies show off their brains while getting chastized by sidekick Aristotle ("Tot"). All in all, it doesn't hurt the main story, so rather than rate it separately, consider the 7.5 above to be for the book, not just the story.

And since I've been pretty DC heavy so far, I'll try to find something from Marvel I want to read next week (Models Inc. has pretty covers, but nothing's really interested me since Nextwave.......).

Friday, January 22, 2010

Power Girl #8 (DC)

"BY THE THRITY-FIVE [sic] GODS OF GALAFON'S RINGS!": Vartox of Valeron, Hyper-Man.


(In best Captain-Kirk-like-if-he-were-a-she-like-in-that-1-mind-transfer-episode,) Comic-book date: January 20, 2010. Kara's log: entry #3. Color me.......(dramatic pause).........disappointed.

I guess all good things must come to an end. Ew! That sounds dramatic! No, I just mean I've done 2 glowing reviews, and I was giddy to pick up one of my current favorite books this week. Power Girl has been consistently a joy since the first issue. Amanda Connor's artwork in particular is fun and light and expressive and bouncy and sexy without being racy (take notes, boys!). And this, imho, has been Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray's best gig as cowriters to date.

But this issue, "A Groovy Kind of Love"?


The story started last issue, of the journey of sexmachine Vartox the Hyper-Man (♂) to woo our girl Kara Zor-L/Karen Starr (♀) to repopulate his planet, continues and concludes in this issue. The story started sort of cliche and keeps it up with cheesy puns like the "Pregno-Ray" (XP) & "Fertilizor" (lol-not!).

The story's not BAD, just.........meh.

The art's technically as good as ever, but since the story doesn't really go anywhere, we don't get to see the divine Ms. Connor let loose like she can (see: "Supergirl" in Wednesday's Comics ♥♥♥♥♥!). The color (Paul Mounts) & letters (John J. Hill) are perfectly acceptable. Even the cover's not up to the fantastic work from the past 7 issues. Unfortunately, this issue's like the typo in the quote at the start: it seems like a mistake, but I can't be sure!

In honor of Power Girl's most famous assets.......

RATING: 6 "unmentionables" out of 10

One more thing! How do you like my new background? Thanks to "The Velvet Cyclone" (you can shower praise to him on Twitter @VelvetCyclone......but only if you want too! He's got a swelled head as it is! ;) ). xoxoxo

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Buffy the Vampire Slayer #31 (Dark Horse)

"You went--THROUGH GAY--to me!": Xander Harris ( ;-9 ), 1982~present.

So it's the "Comic Book Week" of January 13, 2010, and time for (drumroll) KARA'S SECOND REVIEW!!

This week, Kara (that's me! ☺), presents the latest episode in the greatest television show ever made: Buffy the Vampire Slayer #31. For anybody out there who doesn't know what I'm talking about, then you clearly aren't a Buffy fan. But that's fine.....because you should be! After years without the divine Ms. Summers, about 2 ½ years ago SMGsª BFFªª, Joss Whedon, decided to keep the story of the slayer going and start season eight in comic book form-.....and BTVSªªª fans rejoiced!

Now, to get you all up to speed, when season seven reached it's end, Buff and the Scoobies had hit the road after their hometown of Sunnydale was destroyed, and hundreds, maybe thousands, of young girls had been "activated" to gain slayer powers (all short-formy!).

Fast forward over the summer, slayer-time, & Buff's the general of a slayer army at war with Twilight.....and a supervillain also named Twilight ☺). "Turbulence", by m'lud Joss & his buddy Georges Jeanty, is the next episode of the current war, bridging the gap from the bad guys' attack last issue, and the "climatic"ªªªª reveal of Twilight's identity in the upcoming storyline. As such, the storyline doesn't advance much, making it a quiet issue, except that IT BLEW MY MIND!!

See, Buffy's got superpowers. No. Not her usual slayer, vampire-stabby powers. Like, omg, "Look.....up in the sky!" superpowers (which considering the blond-hair-blue-eye-young-girlishness is probably a little too close to a certain Krypytonian in a red/blue skirt)! This is fun. But what's more fun is the character development, with a reunion with an old boyfriend, a new romantic entanglement, and a touching death scene. And it all ends with a Willow joke. Perfect!

Many Buffy Fans feel that while the current season started strong (the second arc starring Bizarro-Buffy Faith was the climax for me), it has been limping a bit for a little while. In this issue, however, Papa Joss reminds us why we loved the Scoobies in the first place. And Georges Jeanty provides the best likenesses of the series in this issue, aided by Andy Owens on inks, Michelle Madsen on colors, and Jimmy Betancourt's letters.

And I ♥ the cover!

All in all, when I started reading this issue, I expected to like it. Then, 2 separate scenes nearly broke my heart, and I fell for Buffy all over again. For this......

RATING: 9 bloody broken hearts out of 10

One more item worth mentioning......BOP IS BACK BABY!! ♥♥♥♥♥
*Gail Simone* returns to the ladies of *Birds of Prey*! i.m.happy!☺ (Some *Nicola Scott* art would be bonus, but that Ed Benes guy's okay too!)

ª "Sarah Michelle Gellar's", natch!
ªª "Best Friend Forever", oc!
ªªª "Buffy the Vampire Slayer".......shame on you!
ªªªª google it......the surprise has been spoiled.......or has it? \:-S

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Cinderella: From Fabletown with Love #3 (DC/Vertigo)

My pick for book of the week for January 6, 2010, and . . . taa-daa! . . . KARA'S FIRST REVIEW!! . . . is Cinderella: From Fabletown with Love #3, from DC/Vertigo, written by Chris Roberson, drawn by Shawn McManus, and with cover by Chrissie Zullo.

If you're like me, you've obviously been reading the excellent Fables by Bill Willingham from the very beginning (also from DC/Vertigo), in which we find out that all the stories that we've ever read or heard are true. Like the Three Little Pigs, Hansel & Gretel, and Little Red Riding Hood. All of the characters from those stories lived in a place called ``The Homelands``. And at sometime in the past an evil dictator, ``The Adversary``, conquered the world, and many of the story characters, called ``Fables``, escaped to our ``Mundy`` world (``Mundy`` being short for mundane, of course.

I won`t give away any details from Fables for those who haven`t read it--shame on you--but to tie things together, what you need to know is that one of the characters to cross over into our world was Cinderella, her of the glass slippers. Having long since divorced her cheating husband Prince Charming, she is now a secret agent, ala James Bond. Trained by the Big Bad Wolf and working for the Beast--you know, the guy married to Beauty?--who is the sheriff of ``Fabletown``, where the ``Fables`` live. In her new capacity, ``Cindy`` travels the world righting wrongs with her license to kill.

So, that brings us to the New Adventures of Cinderella! To begin, I`ve sort of exaggerated. Fables is a good title, that used to be a GREAT title. It started to coast a little over the last little while, starting right around that time when it was split into the main title and the first spin-off, Jack of Fables (which actually became the better of the two titles). Fables has been on an upswing since a ``crossover event`` between it, the ``Jack`` title, and a new Literals spin-off miniseries. But even so, it appeared that Cindy was just going to further water down the original concept. I didn`t have extremely high hopes picking up Cinderella #1.

Was I sadly mistaken!

Cindy reads like a combination of James Bond and Austin Powers, with the action, sex appeal, and intrigue of the first; the humor of the second before it jumped the shark; and a far better wardrobe. It is difficult to review Issue #3 as a single issue, since it is 3 of a 6 issue series that tells a fairly tight story, but, suffice to say, Cindy has been assigned a task to find an arms dealer, and has to track that dealer around the world with the Fables typical . . . unique . . . methods. In the attempt, we see Cindy`s cover identity as a shoe store owner (☺), along with the store manager, Crispin, and Cindy`s Arabian counterpart Aladdin (you know, the guy with the lamp?).

Issue #3 is where many of the plotlines seem to start coming together, perhaps a little more quickly than one would expect . . . of course, this probably just means that there is another twist coming. Gladly, Chris Roberson`s Cindy is one of the strongest female characters in comics, without question. Her handling of both her task & the ``cadish`` Aladdin is both humorous & true, even if the latter is a little over the top.

The Crispin subplot doesn`t carry the same weight as the main storyline, but with this issue it seems to be coming together. It really just seems to be included for no other reason than to give us intermittent breaks, which is fine, if somewhat tedious.

The Shawn McManus artwork, while not initially my cup of tea, has been growing on me with each passing issue. The storytelling is undeniable, but the style took some adjustment. However, I think that I may love it by the time that all is said and done. It suits the ``fable`` style perfectly, with just a modern hint to it.

The coloring and lettering (by Lee Loughridge and Todd Klein, respectively) are a welcome addition, and I wouldn`t trade them for any alternatives.

And this review could not be complete without mention of Chrissie Zullo`s covers: an absolute treat in the vein of the Fables` James Jean covers, the hidden ``shoe`` (☺) logo on each one has made them more fun than a ``Where`s Waldo`` book!

All in all Cindy has been a fun ride that I intend to see through to the end, and hope to continue past the end of the mini . . . in honor of the book`s heroine . . .

RATING: 8.5 mary-janes out of 10

I would also like to point out this week`s honorable mention, Wonder Woman Blackest Night #2 (DC): the splash page near the end is easily worth the price of admission, and may be the one lasting impact of the Blackest Night series (and, no, I don`t mean Diana`s new costume!).