Posts tagged “Oracle

Blurb Reviews

Only three today; I did very little reading over the holiday break aside from working through some Fables trades, and I’m woefully behind on all the new stuff that’s come out in recent weeks.  Bear with me as I try to fill some holes in my collection and get somewhat up-to-date.  I hope everyone had a safe, warm, and lovely holiday.

Birds of Prey #7Birds of Prey #7 – Aww, this issue broke my heart a little.  This title has been consistently excellent (I usually avoid reviewing it because I would just be going “YAY THIS IS AMAZING I LOVE BIRDS OF PREY HOORAY GAIL SIMONE” every month), and #7 is no kink in the chain.  The usual mix of action, humor, drama, and intrigue, this issue finds Bruce Wayne Batman (so funny that we have to distinguish which Batman we’re talking about these days) checking in on Oracle, who proceeds to take him on a tour of her new headquarters.  There’s also some fuel to the “DC is killing off Oracle” rumors, but it’s not exactly what you think, and I’m interested to see if it goes where I predicted it would in Barbara simply taking on a different mantle.  Best scene in the issue involves the Birds on a night out—any time Zinda’s got a beer in her hands, you can guarantee hilarity.  My only peeve with this book right now is the fact that every single issue has to introduce all the characters over and over and over again:  “Black Canary.  Dinah Lance.  Devastating sonic scream.  Blah blah blah.”  All right, editorial, we get it.  Can we leave the new-reader-friendly intros to just the first issue of each new arc and leave them there?  Thanks.
Birds of Prey #8 is due out this Wednesday; I’ll be doing my happy dance.

Avengers: Children's Crusade #4Young Avengers Children’s Crusade #4 (of 9) – I really, really, really want to hate this book.  I want to hate it because it’s absurdly late, and I feel neglected as a consumer.  I feel like Heinberg and Marvel are going to take their sweet time, regardless of promises.  I want to hate them for that, and I want to not buy this book.  But … oh, it’s just so good.  I just love it.  Issue four finds Wiccan up against Doctor Doom; an amnesiac Scarlet Witch without her powers and about to be wed; a ticked-off Wolverine seconds away from killing her once and for all, and the surprise re-emergence of a character I did not see coming at all.  This mini is apparently worth the agonizing amount of time it’s taking to publish, because it’s clever and FUN and entertaining and … it’s FUN!  It’s a lot of what most comics are missing these days.  There’s a real PLOT that is actually FOLLOWED.  There’s exposition and dialogue that come together to–*gasp*–give CHARACTER.  And have I mentioned that it’s fun?  Quite frankly, I need more Young Avengers in my life.  This book is awesome.  Go buy it right now.


Wonder Woman #605Wonder Woman #whatever because I don’t care about this book to keep track anymore – It’s sad, really.  To go from such a high in the preceding review to … this.  Sweet Jesus, I don’t know why I’m still reading.  WHY am I still reading?!  I just can’t stop.  Just when I think it couldn’t POSSIBLY get any worse—just when I thought Phil Hester was bound to clean things up, I am proven so utterly, completely, hideously wrong with this issue.  What plunging depths of horribleness will we reach, I wonder?  Better yet, how is this even happening?  In this issue, Wonder Woman:

– Threatens to beat up/gets in a fight with a store clerk
– Steals a significant amount of money
– Listens to heavy metal?  (While there’s nothing wrong with this music, it’s just not an image I associate with Wonder Woman.)
– Consistently encourages violence and revenge.  Whhaaaa?

Why, I ask, are the words “Wonder Woman” still being displayed across the title page of this book?  I understand she’s basically a “different character” with a different back story and continuity here (thanks again, JMS), but … whhaaaa?  Why, in her CORE AND ONLY BOOK, are we delving even further and further away from what makes Diana different from other superheroes, as opposed to a carbon copy of every other angsty teenager DC already has in their arsenal?  Why are we delving further away from who she is?  Couldn’t DC have done an “Ultimate” version of Wonder Woman—call it “All-Star” or whatever other line you want to give it, and leave the Wonder Woman we all know and love alone in her main title for those of us who appreciate her?  I might have been able to tolerate this version if I knew she wasn’t the only version currently available to me.  I feel like I keep asking the same questions over and over.  Why is Diana still the only one of the Big Three who doesn’t have more than one title?  Wasn’t this the perfect chance for that?  How do DC expect to encourage love for a character by completely changing every aspect of her personality?  Have we learned nothing from the disaster that was mod squad Wonder Woman?  I’m not even going to touch on my myriad other complaints.  My only shred of hope here is the fact that the plot alluded to a very slight possibility of things eventually returning to normal, and I am beside myself with the desire for that to happen.  I just don’t think I can hold my breath long enough.

Sigh.  I need something cool to wash away the bad taste left in my mouth after that last review.  So here’s this:

 Dinosaur Comics

From Dinosaur Comics, with thanks to my friend Jon for pointing it out.

Batgirl #15 / Cassandra Cain WHO?

Holy cow, is this book awesome.  There has not been a single issue of this title that’s come out yet where I haven’t laughed out loud during at least one scene, and this issue was no exception.  But before I get into what’s going on in the title, I need to make a statement:  Stephanie Brown is no Cassandra Cain.

That’s precisely why this book is so great.

Whenever I bring up Batgirl in a conversation at the comic shop, read about Batgirl online, what-have-you, someone always inevitably conjures the opinion that “Stephanie Brown sucks, Cassandra Cain was a way better Batgirl, waah wah waaah.”

Er, okay.  I don’t have anything against Cassandra Cain, but that’s comparing apples and oranges.

I’ve said it before, and it bears repeating:  Stephanie Brown is a totally different type of Batgirl.  She’s not a hard-trained, hyper-violent, kick-Batman’s-ass-in-a-fight type of Batgirl, like Cassandra.  Stephanie is a clumsy, self-deprecating, save-the-day-while-narrowly-avoiding-destroying-Gotham-a-second-time type of Batgirl.  She’s not the daughter of Lady Shiva–she’s a college kid.  That makes her relatable.  It’s also what makes her absolutely adorable and hilarious.  And in a comics world full of darkness and angst (despite how “Bright” the Day), Stephanie is happy-go-lucky in the face of whatever’s thrown her way.  It’s kind of a nice breather.

If you’ve given this book a chance and it still hasn’t whet your appetite, then fair enough—although I do want to argue that with the bureaucracy of its first year done and gone, the book can certainly only get even better as it has less boundaries and more freedom to play around.  You might want to consider giving it another round, particularly with this issue.  If you’re reading Supergirl, Red Robin, Teen Titans, etc.—you should be reading Batgirl.  If only for this:

(Click to enlarge.)

There, in a few quick pages, you have the essence of what makes this title such an entertaining read.  I was originally somewhat worried about Dustin Nguyen taking over art duties on this book, but after those few recap pages, any fear I had flew rather swiftly out the window.  As much as I will miss Lee Garbett’s awesome stuff, I can rest easy that Batgirl is in very capable hands.

There’s not much more to add.  Bryan Q. Miller is a gem writing Stephanie—one that I would hate to see go away due to low readership.  To address the script in specific terms would take away something, I think.  I don’t want to give you a plot summary of this book/issue, suffice it to say that anything can and often does happen.  We’ve seen everything so far from heartfelt stories to general hilarity; Barbara saving Batgirl’s skin and vice versa; teamups with Dick, Damien, and Kara, and quite possibly my favorite moment in Stephanie’s short history as Batgirl where she accidentally slaps Bruce in the face.  What more can you really ask for?

A number of interesting questions are up in the air right now as far as the Batgirl mythos, and it involves all three ladies who’ve donned the Batgirl name.  Last week’s Batman: The Return one-shot saw Stephanie questioning and loudly disapproving her new assignment under Bruce to apparently relocate to an English boarding school.  The original Batgirl herself, Barbara Gordon, is surprised when Bruce introduces her to “Internet 3.0” (whatever that is), instructs her to customize her “avatar” as she sees fit, and the accompanying image shows Barbara in her own Batgirl uniform.  Cassandra Cain, meanwhile, made a brief reappearance in the last issue of Red Robin, wherein Tim Drake offers her her former uniform and invites her back into the Bat family—which Cassandra is seen to consider before fleeing.  Is there room for three Batgirls?  Given the shift toward “Batmen” around the globe, I have to wonder what’s next for these ladies, and for Stephanie in particular.  But until the day that we see Steph, Cass, and Barbara fighting side-by-side in uniform, I will continue to cheer on the current Batgirl as Cassandra Cain’s successor.

Publisher:  DC Comics
Written by Bryan Q. Miller
Art by Dustin Nguyen, Derek Fridolfs
Colors by Guy Major
Letters by Sal Cipriano
Price:  $2.99