Posted by: Brian Hibbs on September 23, 2011
I’m sure you’ve already read Laura Hudson’s piece, because I’m hardly the first person to link to it, but just in case…. go read it.
BIRDS OF PREY #1: Hrm. Well, it didn’t totally suck, to be certain, but I also didn’t feel it at all. There’s a lot of talking about stuff, but little of it made a ton of sense to me. Canary’s wanted for murder? Who is this Starling girl? Why is Poison Ivy on the cover of this comic? Isn’t BC still a JLer? Or not? Was she ever even seeing Ollie Queen, ever? If not, then what was her original motivation for joining BoP, then? Why did Barbara hand BC a photo of Katana? No, seriously, why didn’t she email it? For that matter, why isn’t she over the moon interested in joining BC’s team?
This was like stepping into a theater 20 minutes after a movie began, then having to leave 40 minutes before it ended. And I don’t think I care enough to figure it all out. EH.
CATWOMAN #1: Hrm.
OK, well, let’s deal with the sex thing first: I don’t care if Bruce and Selina have sex… and I generally expect that they do quite often. I don’t really need to see it, though, and if I do, I really don’t need to see it in all of it’s stroky, frotagey, half-costumed glory.
My functional problem with this is that not only are ratings CLEARLY being applied inconsistently cross-line, but they are in no way clearly labeled on the outside of the book, either. You look at the cover of Catwoman #1 and can you immediately discern that, maybe, 8-point type “+” symbol? Now pretend you haven’t read a comic book in years, would you even know to look for it?
But here you go: would DC editorial EVER let the reverse of that scene happen in a comic book featuring Batman’s name on the cover? Especially in the first issue of a major repositioning? And since that answer is almost certainly “no”, this automatically becomes an inappropriate scene.
Honestly, these characters are children’s characters, and the fact that we, as mature adults can find enjoyable things about them, it really kind of bugs me how much we making adults-only things that should be accessible to children. More of that a bit later, me thinketh.
Now, having said all of THAT, otherwise I kind of LOVED this comic book — because I thought the places where it was being sexy (instead of sexual) were just terrific. Recasting Selina as almost a James Bond scenario worked very well, and Guillem March’s artwork? Damn, it’s nice. Sleek, sensual, dynamic, wow, brother can draw. If it wasn’t for nearly the descent into FanFic right there on the last few pages, I’d probably be saying this comic was GOOD. Possibly even VERY GOOD. But FanFic it became there at the end, and that’s just not right for Batman of all characters, and it makes me say instead the whole thing became AWFUL.
RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS #1: So, take all of that dialogue read by Starfire in this, and picture it coming from the mouth of this:
TINY TITANS comes out the same week as RED HOOD, ironically.
Starfire is not, I don’t think, so robust a character as to be able to hang on to two such disparate versions at the same time.
More generally, the rebooting done for Kori here is kind of insane — she doesn’t remember her time on the titans at all? WTF? This Roy Harper is not the robot-armed dead-cat swinger with a mass-murdering terrorist for a babymama? I’m assuming he can’t be Ollie Queen’s ward any longer, since Ollie appears to be dramatically re-aged. This Red Hood? Who is he? I mean, yes “Jason Todd”, but not one we know, since he seems to have all of these connections to some mysterious society of some kind? This is why you need to have origin stories, damn it!
I think that what the JSA was to DC after CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS (“Well, we have one world now, but that makes these guys WAY TOO OLD to fight crime now, plus Superman and Batman and Wonder Woman [among many others touched by JSA] can’t have ever been involved in the past, oh my god none of our continuity can make sense any more!”) is what the Teen Titans are to post-FLASHPOINT DC continuity. You simply can’t have multiple groups of kid sidekick teams if you’re trying to de-age everyone… but those characters are also fairly popular, so they’re trying to keep the viable somehow… it’s a real knot of a problem, and it’s really on display here.
I loathed the continuity changes on display here, and don’t find them in service of creating more appealing characters or more interesting situations. The “hey my head looks like a penis” jokes were amusing, I guess, but other than that, nothing here that I’d want to read. Sadly AWFUL.
SUPERGIRL #1: This one is an origin, at least, but frustratingly decompressed, so that really “she lands and beats on some guys in robot suits” is really the sum of your $3 purchase. Not poorly done, but less than I wanted for my ducats. EH.
WONDER WOMAN #1: Right, so I have a fellow member of Ben’s school PTA who got sucked into the DC relaunch, probably because he’s on the PTA with me, y’know? Long-ago lapsed reader (like from when he was a teenager), and today he’s a tech geek with disposable income, kind of the perfect demographic they’re aiming at. Anyway, he’s been excited for weeks for Wonder Woman #1, because he was really really looking forward to sharing it with his eight year old daughter.
So, it really kind of killed me when I had to inform him that, in no way, could WW even slightly be considered appropriate for his daughter. Not with graphic on-camera beheading of a horse, where a new creature claws it’s way out of the horse’s fountaining neck.
Just what girls like!
The thing is? That scene, IMO, could have happened exactly as written, yet been drawn in such a way that it didn’t immediately make itself inaccessible to the nation’s 8 year olds.
You may certainly call me an old grandmother, but I firmly am of the opinion that monthly ongoing comics featuring Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, the Flash, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman should be freely no-hesitation accessible by imagery for eight year olds and younger. That doesn’t mean the stories have to be WRITTEN FOR an eight year old — few of the comics *I* was reading in 1975 were — but a kid should be able to LOOK at them without having nightmares (well…), or offending their parents.
Having said that, I really loved WW #1 — great strong script from Brian Azzarello, loverly art by Cliff Chiang, and what appears to be an interesting contemporary direction. As a comic for ME? An easy VERY GOOD.
But I’d like my PTA cohort’s daughter, and, hell, everyone’s daughter, also be able to look at the comic too. That isn’t too much to ask, is it?
As always, what do YOU think?