Misery loves company, and for women in comics, it seems that their magazine counterparts have got it just as bad. According to this article from Think Progress, America’s top magazines do just as horrendous a job of hiring ladies as the comic book industry does. There’s some nifty pie charts there as well, illustrating the female/male ratios per publication. Pretty ridiculous stuff we’re looking at here. Let’s see … 165 females to 459 males? Really, The New Yorker?
The article brings up thoughts that are only all-too-familiar:Because really, the only answer here is not that these publications can’t find women. It’s that they don’t really care if they do or not. These numbers, and the annual discussion of them, seem to have succeeded in making a lot of female journalists and readers angry and frustrated, but they don’t appear to have made editors feel ashamed, much less called to action. And I’m not quite sure what it would take to persuade them to shake off their lethargy and acceptance of the status quo, which really means accepting sexism.
I wonder where I’ve heard/felt/read/written this before.
And hey–did you know that the new Avengers movie trailer came out today? It’s completely awesome, of course. But then I look at it and inevitably start counting … one female Avenger.
It’s Wednesday afternoon, and through a girl’s eyes, the world in which I live appears particularly hostile today.
Haven’t picked up my comics in a couple of weeks, nor have I had the time to read what I have, so it’s going to be a review-less weekend. To satiate your appetite, head on over to Nerd Caliber for a little ditty I wrote up on Marvel’s 2012 event, Avengers vs. X-Men, and check out some of their other fun features as well.
Before I get into the reviews, let me just mention what is sure to be a fantastic new web comic, Lady Sabre & the Pirates of the Ineffable Aether by Greg Rucka and Rick Burchett. It’s just launched this week and so far I am pretty excited. Rucka is one of my favorite writers (and a totally cool person to boot), Burchett’s art looks lovely, and the site design is awesome. Worth checking out and supporting, so spread the word!
Avengers: Children’s Crusade #6 – Oh. Amazing. Just … completely wonderful. More comics should be this. MORE OF THIS, PLEASE, MARVEL.
Batman, Inc. #7 – I was ready to give up on the Batman, Inc. title after what I thought was a horrible arc in Argentina. Morrison lost me pretty hard with some of his writing techniques and the fact that I basically had no idea what was happening for like three issues. Then all this DC reboot stuff came up, and everyone’s all like “You have to read Batman, Inc. or the Bat books won’t make sense!” I guess I still don’t really understand how ANYTHING’S going to make sense as far as how we can keep the continuity in this title when characters are changing in so many other titles come September, but all right, whatever—I’ll bite. The book is ending soon, anyway—I’ll stay on for the ride and see what happens. So then I picked up this issue and was … absolutely glued to it. Wow. What? Where was THIS stuff hiding? I truly enjoyed this issue on so many levels. The story was meaningful, the artwork by Chris Burnham was a pleasure, the writing was clean and purposeful, and it didn’t teeter off the path or dillydally like it did in previous issues. The story is entirely self-contained in this one issue, and it’s friggin’ fantastic. I finished this and wondered why more Grant Morrison comics couldn’t be written in a similar manner. Morrison takes two characters I have never read or knew of before and creates something that feels so easy and humble. He rarely does that for me—so much of the time when I read his stories, they feel condescending or “holier-than-thou.” This one doesn’t, and it’s perfect. I enjoyed this issue a lot, and thus am now expectant of the remainder of the series to be the same. Read this. I don’t want to summarize the plot—just give it a read.
The Guild: Bladezz One-Shot – So, I’m kind of obsessed with The Guild. If you’re a gamer and have never watched this web show, do yourself a favor and check it out, because it’s awesome and hilarious. Watch it on the website. Watch it on YouTube. Netflix it. Get the DVDs off Amazon. Whatever—just do it. It’s become such a hit, in fact, that Dark Horse has taken to publishing one-shot Guild comics for each member of the Knights of Good. I’d recommend reading the short Guild miniseries that came out last year as well, as it serves as a prequel to the show and gives some more depth to the main character. It’s also super short, inexpensive, and collected in trade for your convenience. Anyway, tangent—Bladezz is the third one-shot to be produced, after Vork and Tinkerballa. It’s on par with its predecessors, if not slightly better. I have an affinity for Bladezz as a character, I think he’s pretty damn hilarious, and I found his one-shot light and funny. The artwork isn’t really my taste, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad, and it’s basically in line with the issues before it. So, bottom line—read Guild comics. They’ll give you +5 to Sexterity.
Wolverine/Black Cat: Claws 2 #1 – … Are you serious right now? Are you absolutely serious? Reading this, I could feel a part of my brain crack apart and die. I don’t even want to glorify it with a full review, suffice it to say Palmiotti’s writing is nothing more than fanservice and brings me to a hysterical fit of tears, and Linsner on art is eye-gouging. Don’t go near this thing. Just … don’t. It’s actually worse than the first one. If you can imagine that.
I wrote you all what I thought was a witty write-up on PAX East, but my computer apparently liked it so much that it ate it. I apologize that I don’t have the patience to re-create from memory what was quite a long post, so I offer you blurb reviews in its place. Not quite the same, I know, but we make do with what we have. Off we go!
I’ve never read the original Ruse title, or any other Crossgen series for that matter. But when I heard about this book coming back along with Sigil under Marvel’s takeover of Crossgen as an imprint, I figured there wouldn’t be a better time for me to jump in, and Ruse sounded pretty intriguing from the solicits. The first issue didn’t let me down, and I liked that it was easy to get into as a new reader without needing to look up years of back story. I like Mark Waid’s manner of storytelling, and the artwork creates a great tone for the book as we follow a grand detective and his “assistant” (small joke) solve a murder. Waid opens the book right in the thick of things, and it only gets better from there. I have to say, I was a little worried that the female character in this series was going to come off as some helpless, futile figure only along for the sake of “bettering” the male character. My fears aren’t entirely subsided from the first issue—but there’s reason for hope. I’m on board.
When I first saw the solicitation for this in Previews, my reaction was something along the lines of “OMG ANOTHER ONE WHAT THE HELL I HATE YOU MARVEL.” I really didn’t, and still don’t, see a reason for this issue to exist, other than to try to fill the absurd gap between current issues of Children’s Crusade, and even then, it’s pointless. Also, what’s with the title? That’s honestly the best they could come up with? You shock me, guys. Anyway, if you’re reading Children’s Crusade, you can pretty much skip over this entirely with no consequences whatsoever. The only thing we learn from this one-shot is that Kang the Conqueror (Iron Lad of the future) tricks his past/current self (Iron Lad of the present) to go back and try to stop the Young Avengers from rescuing the Scarlet Witch so that they don’t get killed by the real Avengers … or something like that. Yeah, I can’t even explain it, basically because it makes no sense and has no value to the story whatsoever. Cheap gimmicks all around. Also not a fan of Davis’ art. Avoid this like the plague, but pick up the next issue of Children’s Crusade (which I have yet to get to).
I’m still debating how I feel about this one. You know what? It really wasn’t bad. It wasn’t the BEST thing I’ve read lately, not by a long shot, but it was entertaining and kind of a breezy read. I like the duo of Black Widow and Agent 13, and I loved the comedic and witty interplay instituted by Deconnick. It’s a bit campy, a bit short, but overall a different flavor to the other books in the pile. Natasha and Sharon Carter walk into a trap in order to rescue a girl from … um … some other girls. Trained assassins. Hi-jinks ensue. Witty comebacks are delivered. And Steve Rogers is stuck at a desk doing paperwork while the ladies are out there rather swiftly kicking some ass. The art is a bit stylized and “sketchy” as opposed to “clean,” which worked for me. Hmm. I’ve decided I like this. It’s a one-shot, and that’s enough.
*High-pitched voice* AWESOMENEEESSSSSSSSSSS! I read this during my train commute in the ungodly hours of the morning, half groggy when I opened to the first page. It quickly woke me up. This story was not at all what I expected, particularly by the end. One look at that front cover and you’re kind of sick from all the hearts, right? But don’t judge a book—at least, THIS book—by its cover. This is a one-issue story, and in it, Gail Simone crafts yet another tale of action peppered with comedy, a little bit of tenderness, and some seriously solid badassery (sans Hawk and Dove, which was admittedly a nice breather). I’ll tell you what we have here: a jewel heist. A hostage. A tense romance. A full-grown man in a cat suit. And, come the final pages, one seriously pissed off Huntress. It shouldn’t need any more convincing than that. PICK THIS UP!
Wow. First of all, this was gorgeous. Absolutely beautiful to look at—eye candy in a pure sense, rather than the usual cheesecake sense. Do you ever read a comic where you’re stuck looking at the same page—same panel—for minutes on end, just to make sure you’ve caught all the details and intricacies? That’s what this book was like. I’d read a lot of hype online about this miniseries, and I was hooked on the “MMO” angle it sounded like it was going to take. It’s actually so much more than that, though. The story is set a world apart from the one we know, and it’s clear by the first issue that the gaming setting is going to be secondary to what’s really happening here. The notion that this is Nate Simpson’s first comic work is surprising—his simple, direct writing and his artistic layouts are spectacular and echo the experience of someone who you’d think has been in the industry for a while. Hopeful that the rest of the series continues this level of excellence. The book is already on a second printing; definitely check this one out if you can get your hands on it.
And that means it’s time for a PULL LIST!
Age of X Alpha #1 – I’m so excited about Mike Carey’s Age of X storyline and can’t wait to read the kickoff here. It continues in X-Men Legacy as well as New Mutants, I believe—normally I’d be shouting “NO CROSSOVERS!” but I’m actually looking forward to this. I don’t mind if it spans two or three books—if it means more Carey, I’m for it.
Amazing Spider-Man #650 – I have to get this 2nd printing version because I somehow missed the first one when it came out a few weeks back, so I haven’t been able to read the two issues that followed. Therefore I don’t know what’s going on with the suit. No spoilers, please.
Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #152 – Admittedly only reading this for the return of Black Cat. I don’t really care about the upcoming “Death of Spider-Man” hoo-hah Bendis has got coming up. The first issue of this arc was pretty decent.
Secret Avengers #9 – I feel like this title is floundering a bit with the last issue or two; I’m not sure why. Maybe because it all centers around Shang-Chi and I’m finding him kind of boring at the moment. Sticking with this to get to the next arc, which I’m hoping will pick things up. Also, apparently someone needs to re-teach Mike Deodato how to draw a face.
New Avengers #8 – I don’t read Bendis’ Avengers on a regular basis; I pick it up here and there when I think it looks interesting. I tend to be more drawn to “character-driven” issues full of dialogue and interaction, as opposed to “action” issues that are just page after page of explosions. Not that I don’t like a good explosion, but … you know. I like to get into what makes characters tick, and this looks like it may be a good one. I suppose the preview pages of Luke and Jessica out for dinner could be misleading; maybe there will be an explosion at the end of the issue. Then I can’t complain.
Uncanny X-Force #4 – Love, love, love this book.
Uncanny X-Men #532 – I’m about five issues behind on this title. Greg Land … *gouges out eyeballs*
X-Men #7 – Wow, is this up to #7 already? I think I left off on #3. Has anyone been reading this?
Cursed Pirate Girl TP – I totally missed this story when it came out in single issues; I basically didn’t know it existed until last week and now I’m hearing about it everywhere. I like pirates and I like pretty art, so it’s a near certainty I’ll like this book. I hear the story’s amazing.
Other Stuff, Maybes, Borrows, Shelf-Reads:
X-23 #5 – I love the art on this book. I could take or leave Gambit, though. Marjorie Liu doesn’t let me down often.
Green Arrow #8 – I don’t know why I’m still reading this, honestly. I keep waiting for something … anything to happen that will actually make the plot MOVE somewhere. I may give it another one or two issues before I drop it.
Wonder Woman #606 – <Insert sound of car crash here>
Detective Comics #873 – Feels like five issues of this have come out since the last issue of Batman, Inc. Where’s Batman, Inc. #3? Did I blindly miss it somewhere?
Teen Titans #91 – Just ‘cause I like Damian.
Fantastic Four #587 – I’m actually not reading this; I don’t read FF, and the news has already spoiled which member is biting the dust. But for those of you who are planning to pick it up, I hear there have been some surprise packaged issues popping up with Jonathan Hickman’s original signature on the cover, so maybe you’ll get lucky.
That’s all, kids. What are YOU picking up?
Since I fear my constant bellowing over female-driven titles is giving you guys a skewed perspective as far as what is actually in my reading pile, I thought I’d do a quick “What I’m Reading” rundown post. I am a couple of weeks behind on my comics, what with the holiday rush coming up and the exhaustion of 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. work days, but I’ve been trying to keep up during my commutes. Please feel free to chime in with your own reading lists!
Batman, Inc. – Post on this coming soon!
Batman: The Return – Loved this one-shot. Very intrigued. Lots of questions. Want more.
Avengers: Children’s Crusade – So torn! Every issue of this mini has been spectacular so far, but its chronic lateness is killing me and kind of makes me not want to support it.
T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents – Enjoyed the first issue a lot, having never read the original book. Very much on board for now. That Frank Quitely cover is lovely and a great homage.
Halcyon – Haven’t actually read it yet … hoping to make it to this one on the train ride home later.
Amazing Spider-Man – I gotta be honest, I rarely read this book. But I hear Dan Slott’s got a ton of awesome stuff lined up for his run that kicked off with the last issue, so it kind of piqued my interest. Also, the Black Cat cameo made me happy—I want to see Black Cat on the Avengers alongside Cap and Spidey, I would geek out pretty hardcore for that.
She-Hulks – No idea what’s going on here. Thought this was the launch of a new ongoing, but apparently it got busted back down to a four-issue mini-series. No idea who Lyra is or anything—haven’t read any Shulkie since her last Dan Slott/Peter David series got canned (which made me sad).
Scarlet – Ehhh … kind of like it, kind of don’t … still reading.
Daken: Dark Wolverine – Marjorie Liu and Daniel Way = Win. Also really liking the art on this book. Haven’t gotten to the latest issue yet.
X-23 – An issue behind. Enjoying it so far.
Uncanny X-Force – Second issue comes out today and I can’t wait to pick it up!
So, there’s my short list of just a few things from recent weeks. Any suggestions? What recent releases SHOULD I be reading that I’m not? Opinions, comments, questions welcome.
This book just isn’t doing anything for me right now. Like, at all. And I’m not sure if that’s because of the writing (which isn’t necessarily HORRIBLE, given some of the truly terrible stuff out there), or because the first story arc as a whole, which I like to call “Super Blasty Magic Battle,” didn’t interest me at all. I honestly just don’t care enough about the Sorcerer Supreme or any of that stuff to be able to get into this—which is why I’m going to give it another go with the next arc before I ultimately dub it shelf fodder.
Ergo, I want to say that the problem so far lies with me and not the story … but then again, isn’t it the mark of a good or great writer that he or she can MAKE you care about something you didn’t before? I have something of a pastime of ragging on Brian Michael Bendis, and I’m honestly not trying to—it’s just that my feelings toward him are currently lukewarm, and … well … what’s he done for me lately? Outside of maybe Scarlet, the answer is: not much. I’m sure this has been addressed elsewhere in comicdom on the interweb, but the fact of the matter is—and this is a real turn off for me—that the Avengers mostly all sound the same. I really can’t decipher The Thing from Spider-Man from Jessica Jones from Ms. Marvel … because they ALL sound like Spider-Man (who is essentially useless here, by the way). I didn’t know Ms. Marvel could quip like that.
Stuart Immonen, I want to say, does some pretty cool stuff, but the most recent issue that wrapped up the first story arc was kind of a “miss” as far as the big battle scene went. Half the time I couldn’t tell what in the world was going on, and the other half of the time, I didn’t care. He didn’t make me care. He didn’t really hit me with anything at all aside from a few dramatic facial expressions and a panel of Dr. Strange with a lone tear in the corner of his eye (which comes across as cliché rather than emotional). That’s all kind of pathetic, given that a character dies in this issue. And who are we kidding with that? Look at the cover and I promise you, you’ll know who it is. Maybe my dissatisfaction toward this issue in particular had something to do with the fact that I was reading it on the commuter rail far too early in the a.m., but come on—the death scene at least SHOULD have hit me. It should have been epic, but instead it floundered.
I do want to say, despite whatever I felt was “off” about the last issue, there is a definite light-hearted quality to this book overall, which I think is what keeps readers coming back to it. It’s not heavy. Despite fighting a universe-threatening power, the team still manages to make you laugh. Victoria Hand still manages to walk around toting a fraking huge gun and cracking me up. One can argue that, whatever the book’s faults, it’s still good, clean Avengers, so to speak. And maybe in the end, given all of the other Avengers titles to choose from—that’s all this one has to be.
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Illustrated by Stuart Immonen
X-posted @ Nerd Caliber