Power and Wonder

Power Girl #12

Power Girl is visiting Terra’s underground home in Strata. They visit the local spa, which has the side effect of completely dropping all emotional barriers — something Kara isn’t sure she’s all that wild about, since she’s used to keeping her emotions more under control. After meeting Terra’s family and eating dinner with them, she heads back home. Back on the surface, Satanna does the nasty with Dr. Sivanna (Um, yuck?) in an attempt to get him to help her kill Power Girl, but Sivanna don’t care — he got his jollies, and he has her thrown out. Power Girl gets back to her apartment, gives her horrible, horrible cat a proper name, settles her debt with Fisher, beats up an offended alien, throws ’70s-style sleazeball Vartox off the planet, and gets some good news about her company.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Just tons of awesomeness going on here. This is pretty much Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray, and Amanda Conner saying farewell to all these characters, so the good guys get good endings, and the bad guys get bad ones. We get cheesecake, we get action, we get humor — all of this title’s strongest points. We get lots of Amanda Conner’s brilliantly expressive artwork and all those really cool details that you might miss on first glance — the stuff Kara almost eats in Strata, the laser pointer she uses to play with her cat — and all those wonderful facial expressions and body language. Only thing I had my doubts about was the sequence with that Strata spa — looked like they’re trying to set up some future lesbian subplot for the benefit of Judd Winick.

Officially, this title is going to continue, but I’m considering this the last issue. Palmiotti, Gray, and Conner are moving on to other projects, but colossally hacky writer Judd Winick is taking over the comic with the next issue. It’s depressing that DC considers him someone they want futzing around with their intellectual properties. Aside from his deficiencies as a writer, the biggest problem with Winick may be his shallow grasp of drama — the only items in his bag o’ tricks are killing characters, throwing in new subplots about homosexuality, and afflicting them with HIV. Ain’t nothing wrong with those in moderation, but Winick’s got no grasp of moderation — just ham-handed, clumsy overkill on his obsessions.

The “Power Girl” comic is probably going to go through a severe personality change and a steep drop in quality — and I’m not going to be there to watch the disaster. Let’s let this last issue be the character’s coda — at least until Palmiotti, Gray, and Conner make it back.

Wonder Woman #44

Astarte, the sister of Wonder Woman’s mother, Hippolyta, is now the captain of an alien ship that survives by raiding planets, killing their entire populations, and mulching them down into a biological gruel for everyone to eat. And she’s raised Theana, her daughter — Wonder Woman’s cousin — to be a cruel and merciless killing machine. Back on Earth, Achilles, Steve Trevor, Etta Candy, and everyone else try to fight off the invaders, but it may all be for nothing if Wondy can’t figure out a way to beat her cousin and defang her aunt’s treachery.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Excellent action and characterization, lots of subplots getting wrapped up, and lots of old favorite characters making one more appearance. Nicola Scott’s artwork is, as always, fantastic. Writer Gail Simone has occasionally stumbled on this comic, but she knocks this one completely out of the park. And next issue is going to be her last one here, which is a big disappointment. I don’t have a lot of confidence in the upcoming writer’s abilities, but for now, it’s great to see Simone working near the top of her game.

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1 Comment

  1. WizarDru Said,

    May 28, 2010 @ 7:38 am

    Yeah, Power Girl definitely felt like a wrap-up issue…and bless their hearts for doing it. Nothing floating in the air here, except the regrets at what this great team might have done but didn’t.

    It’s bad enough this team is leaving, but hearing Judd Winick is taking over is like salt in an open wound. I envision the same disastrous change that Ryan Choi’s Atom experienced, which was so bad that I actually have a post-it note in the trade to remind myself or anyone I lend it to: “STOP READING HERE”.