Archive for Batwoman

Friday Night Fights: Batwounding!

It’s another too short weekend after a too long week, so let’s not waste time — it’s time for… FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHTS!

Tonight’s battle comes to us from December 2011’s Batwoman #2 by Haden Blackman, James H. Williams III, and Dave Stewart, as Batwoman unleashes on some random thugs.


(click to embiggen)

Y’all don’t have nearly enough time, so everyone get out there and make the most of the weekend.

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The Last of Batwoman


Batwoman #24

We know the background of this, do we not? J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman became the latest in a very, very, very long line of comics creators who announced they were going to leave their current comic because of ongoing, insulting, useless, and relentlessly dorky interference from DC Comics brass. While they planned to stay on the book ’til Issue #26, DC decided to go the childish and spiteful route and throw them out the door at Issue #24. Which is where we are now.

So the D.E.O. has decided they want to know who Batman is, and they’re going to use Batwoman to find out his secret identity. First they unleash a bunch of Gotham City’s supervillains on the city. After the Bat-family clears the villains out, Batman goes after Director Bones, and Batwoman steps in to fight the Dark Knight. Meanwhile, Hawkfire is invading one of the D.E.O.’s safehouses so she can rescue Kate’s sister, the former (maybe current) supervillain Alice. And it pretty much ends there, with no real resolution.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Nah, I don’t blame Williams and Blackman for the fact that we may never learn how this was going to end. What we get here is good stuff. Lots of action and drama, suspense, two different fast-moving storylines, nice art from Trevor McCarthy, too. It’s a good comic, and I wish it’d been a good comic in the middle of the creators’ final storyarc, instead of an awkward ending. I don’t know if the storyline will be continued. If I were new writer Marc Andreyko, I think I might be tempted to just leave it unfinished, rather than screw with someone else’s story.

Anyway, this is the last week I’ll be buying DC’s mainstream comics. I’ve decided to keep reading Vertigo books — most of them are at least creator-owned — as well as “Batman: Li’l Gotham,” which has the benefit of being funny, cool, and starring characters from before the Reboot. But everything else, including some series I really enjoy, like “Batgirl” and “Batman ’66,” are being left behind. As I’ve said before, I’m tired of seeing creators, characters, and readers disrespected by this company, and I’d rather do what I can to reduce the monetary support that company gets from me.

Of course, I still picked up some other DC books this week, and I’m more than willing to review them while I still can…


Wonder Woman #24

Well, that’s certainly a nicely heavy metal cover, isn’t it?

Apollo has called the other gods together, and since Wonder Woman killed the God of War last issue, that makes her the new God of War now. There’s quite a lot of the kind of backstabbing intrigue we’ve come to expect from gods. The First Born is kinda pointlessly imprisoned right there in front of everyone, and Hera is all weepy over being mortal. There’s really not a whole lot that goes on.

Verdict: Ehh, it’s really not a bad comic at all. I enjoyed most of it just fine. It’s just — there really isn’t a lot that goes on, unless you really groove on gods playing mind games with each other.

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Drawing the Line


I think it’s very, very well-established at this point that DC Comics does a lot of extremely stupid things.

I was willing to forgive a lot. Honestly, I think I was much too forgiving. But running J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman off of “Batwoman” — the most astoundingly beautiful comic book on the stands today — and then spitefully cutting their run even shorter? That’s too stupid. That’s too malicious. And I’m not going to forgive it.

When Williams’ and Blackman’s final issue of “Batwoman” comes out, I’m dropping nearly all DC Comics off my pull list. That’s probably about a month or two away, so we’ll have plenty of DC books to review for the next few weeks.

There are some of their comics I’ll keep buying. I completely refuse to drop “Astro City,” which I’ve been reading long before it was published by Wildstorm or Vertigo and which I consider one of the best long-running superhero comics out there. I suspect I’ll keep reading “American Vampire,” but since it’s going to remain on hiatus ’til March 2014, that may not make a lot of difference.

But I’ll give up “Batgirl” and “Batman ’66” and “Batman: Li’l Gotham” and “Wonder Woman” and all the rest of them. It’ll suck, because I’ve been a DC fan since I was a little kid. I love a lot of those characters. I love a lot of these creators. It’ll suck, and I may be miserable about it.

I’ll give myself permission to buy DC books when I see them at the used bookstore, where I know DC won’t get my money. I give myself permission to buy DC’s “Showcase Presents” collections of old comics, as well as all-ages books like “Tiny Titans” or “Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade,” especially if I’m buying them as gifts. I’ll give myself permission to buy an occasional DC book — this isn’t a hard boycott, obviously. But I’m done feeding so much of my money and attention into that sick, bleeding, rabid beast.

I think there’s a time to say things have gone too far, that things have gotten too bad, that comics fans should stop supporting a company that doesn’t respect readers, creators, characters, or stories.

Get rid of Dan DiDio, Geoff Johns, Jim Lee, and Bob Harras, and you’ve got a good chance of getting me back. Otherwise, I’ll buy books from Marvel, Image, Dark Horse, Boom, Red 5, Archaia, First Second, and just about anyone else.

I’ve got no illusions about this. I’m one guy, and the money I spend on comics is insignificant, even within the far-from-profitable comics industry. I’m one guy with a blog that has fewer than 20 readers a day. I’m one guy, and this will have absolutely no effect on DC.

But I’ll do it anyway. I’ve had enough. The line, at least for me, must be drawn here. This far, no further.

And I’ll remind y’all — and any Time-Warner execs who just happen to blunder onto this blog — that I know how to fix DC Comics, and when the global megacorp finally gets tired of watching their highly profitable and marketable trademarks getting devalued, I’m available to help get the ship righted.

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A Study in Scarlet


Batwoman #23

Desperate to earn Maggie’s trust back, Kate Kane injects herself with the Scarecrow fear serum that she’d previously administered to Maggie. So while Kate undergoes a variety of nightmarish visions, her father, his team of mercenaries, and Bette Kane capture a D.E.O. employee to try to learn where Kate’s corrupted twin sister Beth is being held. Torture doesn’t get him to reveal any info, so Bette has to hope that talking will work better.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Most of the action is focused on Bette and Joseph Kane and the attempt to squeeze information out of Agent Asaf, but there’s a lot of good stuff in Kate’s hallucinations, spotlighting all the things she’s afraid of — particularly whether her sister can be trusted or redeemed. And the discussion between Kate and Maggie at the end is especially nice.


The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys #3

While the would-be rebels in the desert parctice their shooting and try on lipstick, former scarecrow Korse is stuck on android collection duty. And pleasure droid Blue is willing to start a gunfight to get new batteries for her partner Red. But if that isn’t possible, will they both commit robot suicide so they can be together forever?

Verdict: Thumbs up. I gotta admit, I just don’t care about these jerks in the desert. But I can’t get enough of Korse, and I really can’t get enough of Blue and Red. Their stories feel more immediate and powerful, and I’d love to read a lot more about them, and a lot less about the dorks in the desert.

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Simply Red


Red Sonja #1

It has been an awfully long time since I read a comic from Dynamite. Honestly, I mostly think of them as just a shade above Blue Water Comics — mostly there to publish comics in hopes that they’ll become collectibles, always with lots and lots of variant covers. But hey, they got a comic written by Gail Simone? Sure, I’ll give it a shot.

So we got Red Sonja, She-Devil with a Sword, who we’re first introduced to as a just-released prisoner of the brutal Zamorans. A group of 80 prisoners were kept in the dungeons and forced to fight to the death — only Sonja and a woman named Annisia survived when they were rescued by an invading army. Years later, Sonja is called back to civilization by her rescuer, King Dimath — his kingdom is wracked by plague, his soldiers are dead, and the Zamorans have built up a mighty army of psychos and monsters. And Sonja is asked to train the remaining citizens to fight in a war. Can Sonja accomplish the impossible?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Excellent writing — well, of course, it is Simone, and she tends to bring her A-game for almost everything. Good action and dialogue. Very nice cliffhanger. All in all, I approve. Nice work, Dynamite — always better to go with quality above variant covers…


Day Men #1

It was a pretty good week for new comics. This is a nice one, written by Matt Gagnon and Michael Alan Nelson, with art by the great Brian Stelfreeze. We’re focused on a guy named David Reid, a guy who works for the Virgos, a major crime family. Specifically, the crime they specialize in is drinking blood. Reid’s job is to take care of chores the vampires need done during the day, when they’re all stuffed in their coffins. His duties involve everything from running off suspicious mortals to cleaning up bloody crime scenes to paying off cops and informants. The serious trouble for David starts when he has to pick up Nybor, a family member who’s been on a drunken bender for a few days. Turns out he’s passed out in a room with the dismembered body of one of the Ramses family, a rival vampire clan. Can David get Nybor to a safehouse before the Ramses find out and start a vampire war? Probably not…

Verdict: Thumbs up. Great art, fun story. We’ve got a nicely realized background, with the underground vampire gangsters coming out as a combination of brutal Mafia stereotypes and twisted vampire stereotypes. David Reid and his coworkers are nicely drawn, though I expect we’ll learn more complexities in their characters as the series goes on.


Batwoman #22

Batwoman and Hawkfire are working to track down clues to Batman’s real identity — which involves beating up Bane and then interviewing a bunch of supervillains, including Black Mask, Professor Pyg, the Mortician, and Fright. Meanwhile, Joseph Kane is continuing his training of Bette — while he and his wife worry that she’s not ready, the mercenaries he’s using to provide her fight training feel like she’s doing a great job kicking their butts.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Fantastic action all the way through. Man alive, so much ass-whuppery. And it’s great to see Bette turn into a great fighter. Really, this was an incredibly fun comic all the way through.

Today’s Cool Links:

  • Here’s a really cool Wonder Woman fan movie. Why do people keep saying a Wonder Woman movie would suck? Are they paying no attention at all?
  • Hey, cool — I went to high school here. Loved watching the Eagles play hoops. This is why I still can’t believe more teams don’t run a full-court press during the whole game.
  • This is all the information you ever needed to know about the sea pig.

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Crock and Roll


Batwoman #21

This might be the first issue of this series that includes less-than-beautiful artwork — but it’s still absolutely perfect for the story being told.

Our focal character is Killer Croc, most recently seen transmogrified into the Hydra by Medusa’s magic. After the defeat of the Medusa, he was taken in by the were-creatures of the Church of Crime, slowly recovered, and took a lover, a snake woman named Claire. After the death of Abbot, the Church wants a new leader, and they’ve decided the Croc can be their king if he kills Batwoman. Is the most brutish of Batman’s foes smart enough to kill Kate Kane?

Verdict: Thumbs up. I really loved the focus on Croc, and the characterization that has him mostly as a bruiser, but with unexpected depths of emotion and intelligence. The art by Francesco Francavilla is rougher than we’ve come to expect from this series — but Killer Croc is also a great deal rougher than our usual protagonists. It works out very well.


Captain Marvel #13

Well, this is going to end up getting awkward. This series is crossing over with “Avengers Assemble” as Carol Danvers tries to figure out who’s behind the attacks on her and what’s causing her strange brain disease. So we’re only getting half the story, unfortunately.

One of Carol’s old enemies, a Kree villain called Yon-Rogg is back, but Carol doesn’t know it. In an attempt to kill her, he’s activated a bunch of robotic Kree Sentries all over the planet. While she, her friends, and some of the Avengers, including Spider-Woman and Bruce Banner, try to brainstorm solutions to the various problems, the Sentries start roaming around and tearing stuff up, while the rest of the Avengers try to keep everything under control.

Verdict: Thumbs down. I just hate these crossovers. They never seem to make a lick of sense. And artwise, this series is still in trouble. The artwork has definitely improved with Scott Hepburn and Gerardo Sandoval working the pencils — but it’s still way, way below the quality that this series deserves. Once again, is Marvel trying to kill off this series with sub-par artwork?

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Everyone’s After the Baby


Wonder Woman #20

Apollo sends Artemis out to kill Zola’s baby — she gives Wonder Woman a good fight, but the Amazon comes out on top. But while that’s going on, Lennox, Zola, and Hera are about to walk right into the hands of the immensely powerful First Born of the gods.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Oh, I know, a short summary, because there’s not a whole lot else of the story to tell. That doesn’t mean it’s not good, ’cause it is a lot of fun. Really excellent action, for one thing, along with lots of politicking and intrigue among the godly types. I’m getting a mite nervous about Lennox’s fate, though, ’cause the First Born doesn’t strike me as someone you can really beat…


Batwoman #20

The D.E.O. wants Batwoman to find out Batman’s secret identity, and they’ve got a heck of a bargaining chip — Kate Kane’s twin sister, Beth, formerly the villainous Alice. Cameron Chase recounts the tale of the botched operation that nevertheless allowed the D.E.O. to obtain Beth’s comatose body. Once Kate agrees to their terms — Batman’s real name in exchange for her sister and clearing her father’s name — she returns home to find that her father, her stepmother, her cousin, Bette Kane, and her fiancee, Maggie Sawyer, all know what just happened — Bette planted a bug on her, and they listened in on everything that happened. And they all want to help her — but will she be able to accept any assistance?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Just a dadgum awesome issue. Beautiful artwork — but that’s a given at this point, isn’t it? — and a really strong story, with metric tons of great characterization. This was a pleasure to read from the first page to the last.

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Good Art and Bad Art


Batwoman #19

Most of this issue is basically a lead-up to the next major storyarc, all revolving around a strong theme of family strife and secrets. DEO agent Cameron Chase clashes with her sister about their superhero-wannabe father. Jacob Kane and his wife argue about his training Kate and Bette as crimefighters. Bette and Kate argue about Batwoman working for the DEO. And Director Bones tries to insist that Batwoman investigate Batman.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Great artwork from beginning to end. How many times do I have to say it? This comic has the best art of any book on the stands. We also get some really enjoyable interpersonal characterization in here. I am really looking forward to seeing how the next few issues progress, ’cause it looks like there are some serious fireworks ahead.


Captain Marvel #12

Carol Danvers spends the whole issue trying to beat up Deathbird without flying, while her doctors discuss her case, the weird lesion in her brain, and her connection to Helen Cobb.

Verdict: Thumbs down. Really, the story is basically fine. But again, the art by Filipe Andrade is shockingly, embarrassingly bad. When you’ve got a comic with really good writing and a lead character who seems to be growing more popular with every appearance, when you’ve got outstanding cover art on every issue, why on earth would you stick it with art this horrific on the inside?

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Mystery Machine


Mystery Society Special 2013

The Mystery Society is back?! HOT DAMN! I had no clue this was even coming out, so it was an absolutely wonderful treat when I found it on the New Releases shelf last week.

The full membership of the group — Nick and Anastasia Hammond, twin super-psychics Nina and Sally, undead adventurer Secret Skull, and Jules Verne (or at least his brain in a steampunk robot body) — are on hand for another caper, first sending Verne and the Skull deep undersea to trade the skull of Edgar Allan Poe with a collector of unusual items. But of course, he welshes on the deal, intending to add Verne and the Skull to his collection. Nina and Sally teleport Nick and Anastasia down to help, later tagging along themselves when they get bored. Who are the prisoners who the Mystery Society intend to free? Only a few legends of myth and literature… who may be a bit too terrifying to be trusted…

Verdict: Thumbs up. Wow, I’d forgotten how much I loved this series, and this issue serves as a great reminder of how much fun it was. My lone complaint is that, though Steve Niles is back on writing duties, Fiona Staples didn’t return to do the art. Andrew Ritchie is quite good, but he’s more closely associated with horror comics — and while this book has quite a few monsters in it, Ritchie’s art style seems an odd match for the Mystery Society’s pulp-adventure thrills. Still, that’s a fairly minor nitpick. The whole comic is just plain awesome, and y’all should go get this, and you should also go hunt down the trade paperback of the “Mystery Society” trade paperback.


Batwoman #18

Batwoman and Hawkfire (Kate Kane’s cousin Bette in a new costumed persona) battle Mr. Freeze, each in secret communication with their technological benefactors — Cameron Chase of the DEO in Kate’s case, and Col. Jake Kane in Bette’s. They manage to take Freeze down, but run into more trouble when Batman shows up. He wants the villain’s freeze-gun, but the DEO wants it, too. Batwoman “solves” the problem by demolishing the weapon, which just convinces the DEO that she’s too much of a loose cannon, so they start planning on bringing out their new ace agent. All that, plus Maggie Sawyer starts house-hunting for a house for her and Kate once they get married…

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s a good issue — but it must be said, it’s also not as good as many of the previous issues of this series — the art and writing are not quite up to the high standards we’ve come to expect from this series. Still probably better than almost anything else out there, though…

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Medusa’s Finale


Batwoman #17

It’s the great final battle against Medusa, her monstrous minions, and Ceto, the mother of all monsters. We get some triumphs — Bette Kane reveals her new superhero codename as Hawkfire and she clobbers the stuffin’s out of the Hook — and some tragedies — Abbot, Batwoman’s occasional werewolf ally, is destroyed by the Medusa. But can all the heroes stop the Medusa? Can they stop Ceto? And what other cliffhangers will we be left with?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Oh, so very many thumbs up. First of all, as we’ve noted so very many times, this is the most beautifully illustrated comic on the stands, and that alone should make it worthy of your purchase. Second, it really is an excellent story, with drama, suspense, loss, and tons of great moments. Like I said, we’ve got a couple of cliffhangers, which I won’t spoil too much, at least not yet. The second one is way excellent, as we get the return of a character I’d very greatly missed. The first one is probably even more excellent, and it’s extremely weird that after the horrible PR of hiring crazy Orson Scott Card to write comics, DC didn’t push this very positive development a bit more enthusiastically.


Daredevil #23

Foggy Nelson is looking at some serious medical issues, and his pal Matt Murdock takes him on an outing over New York’s streets as Daredevil. But Matt gets called out on a real emergency — a bunch of people with his extreme sensory powers are running loose in the city, and Daredevil has to stop them. Who’s behind the attack, and what kind of news is Foggy going to receive?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Well, listen, the action is great, the mystery is fine, but what really makes this a glorious piece of storytelling is the last two pages.

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