Blazing Arrow


Hawkeye #9

I’m way, way late to the party on this comic, which has gotten justified raves from almost everyone. I caught up recently, thanks to the just-released trade paperback, which you should totally go read if you haven’t previously been reading this book.

Well, Hawkeye is in trouble again, and once again, it seems to revolve around the Russian gangs he tangled with in the previous issues of this series. There’s a woman from his past, Penny Wright, who’s gotten him in over his head, and the other women in his life, including the Black Widow, Mockingbird, Spider-Woman, and Kate Bishop, do their best to find out what’s going on and to keep the “bros” off his back.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Fun retro art style, great dialogue and humor, and nice action, too. I’m really sorry I wasn’t reading this book from the first issue.


Batgirl #19

Barbara’s psychotic brother, James Jr., is working to make his entire family’s lives as miserable as possible. Babs reveals a lot of the family secrets to her roommate Alysia, including the fact that her boyfriend is a psycho and that Babs was formerly paralyzed by the Joker, while Alysia reveals that she is transgender. James lures his mother, father, and Batgirl to the local amusement park and sets about trying to kill them — how successful is he going to be?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Excellent action and suspense. I expect we’ll be seeing a lot more of James Jr. in the future — he’s simply been too wonderful a villain to discard.

There’s only one element of this story that I have to thumbs down, and that’s the bit with Alysia revealing that she’s transgendered. I’m not disappointed that she’s transgender — as Gail Simone has said in the many articles focusing on this issue, it’s probably way past time that comics start looking at this issue with more clear eyes. No, the problem here is that this comes out of nowhere. There’s never been any hint that Alysia was transgender or had any kinds of secrets she was hiding. It pretty much comes across as Simone deciding someone needed to be transgender, so she just went with the closest character available. It was like Judd Winick took over the writing on that one page. It was just immensely clumsy and badly done, and it was irritating to read it, because Simone is a far better writer than that.

Anyway, we’ll have to hope Alysia gets to be better written in future issues, or we’ll end up revisiting this plenty of times.

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