Category: Comics


I’m late, it’s tomorrow already! Sorry everyone. Though I suppose it’s a good thing I’m reviewing the comic for a blast from the past. This is, again, a book that I received through NetGalley for review. Enjoy!

The Flintstones Vol 1 Cover

Meet the Flintstones, they’re the modern stone age family. You’re familiar with them. We all are. So let’s go back to Bedrock and see what a modern look at a stone age family looks like.

The Flintstones is something of a slice of life comic centering on, of course, the Flintstone family as well as the Rubbles and Bedrock itself. It’s anachronistic in a way that feels totally true to the old cartoon, while also turning a sharp eye on modern life, and also being a ton of fun. It also goes back to the cartoon’s sitcom roots, being aimed at an older audience. It feels weirdly subversive to see the concept for an old show turned to, more or less, current concerns. I like that quite a bit.

It’s also interesting to see what Mark Russell did with the characters. Fred and Wilma are more communicative, which is awesome in so many ways. The club Fred and Barney belonged to in the cartoon is a veterans’ society now, which ties into just how bedrock came about. Pebbles and Bam Bam are probably the most changed, being teenagers here rather than babies. They often provide a B-plot that reflects the main story in miniature. That’s more than kind of cool. I do sort of wish we’d seen more of Betty. Since she’s Wilma’s friend rather than Fred’s and most of Wilma’s screen time is with her husband, Betty gets pretty left out. I feel like I want the next book to focus more on Betty and Wilma, I want to see more of what’s going on with them especially after the response to Wilma’s art at the museum.

On to the art! Steve Pugh does a really cool job here. Characters from the original are, for the most part, immediately recognizable while also having dropped a lot of the cartoonyness from before. The random background characters have distinct looks. The coloring, done by Chris Chuckry, is vibrant and conveys mood well. My only issue with the art at all is that it does tend to combine massive beefy dudes with comparatively small women.  That honestly feels like it could be a throwback though given that the main characters are fairly set design wise and, as the comic goes, we get more body diversity in the background characters.

So, final thoughts. When I first saw that this was going to be a thing months ago I didn’t expect it to be much, mostly due to cherry picked panels and not really knowing what to expect beyond the old cartoon. I’m more than pleasantly surprised to be proven wrong. The writing is solid, the art is good, and while it can be serious there’s always a thread of humor. I like the anachronistic stuff, especially all the little background stuff like store names, it fits and it feels like The Flintstones. So that’s a five out of five from me.

I’m something approaching  early this week. I wanted to get this posted the day it came out instead of  waiting until tomorrow. I also wanted to do something to apologize for being so late last week, so I’m posting a review tomorrow as well. Bringing this to you thanks to NetGalley, here’s a review of DC Universe Rebirth: Batgirl volume 1: Beyond Burnside. Enjoy!

Batgirl vol 1 Beyond Burnside cover

Batgirl is on vacation, and Barbara Gordon is headed to Okinawa in hopes of interviewing Chiyo Yamashiro, the Fruit Bat, a vigilante from the 30’s. Even on vacation Barbara manages to find trouble in the form of her childhood friend Kai and the three “students” hunting him down. Can she figure out what Kai’s gotten himself into and how to save him or will Batgirl flunk out?

I feel very out of my depth reviewing this. It’s been since Gail Simone left the Book that I’ve read a Batgirl comic and I’ve missed a lot. That said, while there’s some thing’s I’m not a huge fan of, I find myself really liking this iteration of Barbara Gordon’s Batgirl. Hope Larson does a good job with the characters and a more than reasonably good job with the story.

Let’s actually start with that. What makes this Batgirl different than what I’m used to? She feels a lot younger for one, that’s one of those things I’m not real big on, but it also lends a lighter feel to the comic so it balances out. She’s apparently running her own company as well, a company that makes enough that she can travel around the world pretty easily, so that’s something I’m curious about. I’m also interested in what’s going on in Burnside, which seems to be Batgirl’s Bludhaven, her Gotham in a way. So a lot of that actually makes for a really good jumping on point. The character is familiar enough not to alienate a reader who’s either lapsed or someone who knows her from something else, but also fresh enough to feel new.

The flipside is that the arc that Beyond Burnside covers is very standard Batfamily stuff. The new old friend, Kai, just happens to be Barbara’s roommate at the first place she stays. He gets attacked while they’re out seeing a festival and meeting Fruit Bat, thus introducing our villain. Necessary coincidences happen as required. It’s a good building point, and I’m curious about some of the characters, but it does feel like a safe introduction kind of story. This being the first arc for the DC Universe Rebirth for Batgirl, that’s not a bad thing just very safe.

I’m not familiar with Rafael Albuquerque’s art. It’s not my favorite thing, and I do feel like it’s one of the weaker parts of the book. This is mostly due to the lack of backgrounds throughout the book. Having a single solid color backing the panel can be a great way to reinforce the emotion of a scene, if used sparingly. I feel like it’s overused here, which makes it lose its effectiveness and just feels a little off. Albuquerque’s faces can be fantastically emotive, though they can also slip into something just slightly off, something about the angling in some of the close-ups or just going a little too far with an expression.

I enjoyed this a good deal, it was fun, it did the job of introducing the world at large to keep my interest past this arc, and the one-shot story at the end was a good way to tie up loose ends and cool down from the arc. Batgirl Volume 1: Beyond Burnside gets a four out of five from me, it would have been a five if not for the few issues with the art.

Something About a Girl

So, yesterday’s new Overwatch comic, Reflections, revealed that the series mascot Tracer is in a relationship with another woman. This is huge for a number of reasons, mostly related to how big the game is and that she is one of the more popular characters in it, but also because of how it was presented. Spoilers?

I’m kind of stalling on things to say here because a ton has already been said about this, but the big thing is that the comic itself doesn’t make a huge deal of it’s reveal. Tracer gets home, talks to someone off screen, oh hey off screen person is a girl. Then there’s a minor misunderstanding that turns out for the best, because plot contrivance, and they kiss. It’s a small moment in the comic, a series of them actually, but it makes a pretty massive impact because of what it is. And I think that’s the big thing here, Tracer being gay isn’t treated as an out of nowhere thing that shocks everyone in world, it’s a small moment at home and then on to the rest of the comic. Plus, since Emily seems pretty comfortable around Winston, the series resident PHD. gorilla, we can assume that this isn’t a new thing to anyone. Which is good.

Blizard has been teasing LGBT characters since forever, which takes a little omph out of it, but it’s also really good to see them not only making good on that but doing it in such a big way. I’ve got to repeat, Tracer is the face of Overwatch, the mascot, she’s been around since the announcement trailer. She’s the last character I would have expected, while also being one of the ones I really hoped for.

I am really hoping they do more with Emily as a character, preferably either making her playable some time down the road or having her show up a bit more in the lore. It’s nice that she exists, but I’m a little worried about what happens once the initial rush of excitement fades. Which makes this one of those places where I’m trying to put my pop culture expectations aside and just be happy about the reveal. Because when one of my co-workers told me about it, I about floated through the rest of my shift.

So, as the pun goes. Cheers love, the Calvary’s queer!

Let’s Talk About Batwoman

So, I’ve been putting off doing my Edge of Tomorrow Book Vs. Movie post for awhile now, it’s still in the works I’m just not sure where I’m going with it and want to pull it together a bit more before posting.  So, instead of that, let’s talk about Batwoman.  More than that even, let’s talk about the fact that DC/Andreyko/Bat-editorial has decided that Kate Kane needs to break up with her fiance Maggie Sawyer.

Having stopped getting my pull list for various reasons I’m obviously a little behind on this.  The back story, for those of you who don’t follow the comic, involves Maggie’s ex-husband suing for full custody of their daughter.  Despite knowing that Maggie is a lesbian, that being the reason he has primary custody in the first place, he’s found out that she’s dating and that Jamie has met Kate and that just isn’t OK with him.  So Maggie’s off fighting that while Kate is back in Gotham being the title character and feeling like Maggie would be better off without her or doesn’t want her, because Maggie is busy trying to keep her ability to see her daughter and doesn’t realize that her fiance’s relationship fears run this deep.  Kate cuts a deal with the homophobic ex-husband, he drops the suit and she’ll stay away from Maggie and the kid.  She doesn’t talk to Maggie about this or have the decency to break up with her to her face, no, she leaves a note and moves her stuff out.  The issue ends with vampire sex because reasons?

This is one of those things where I’m honestly not surprised that the fandom doesn’t seem to be saying much.  It isn’t that is doesn’t absolutely suck on a number of levels, it’s that it’s kind of expected.  There is no shock here.  For Future’s End, DC already said, “Hey Batwoman was turned into a vampire by her ex, Nocturna”, so unless they were going to have her ex from West Point be the villain, she was going to wind up breaking up with Maggie or they were going to kill Maggie off. 

It’s also a really poor way of going about the break up and really does nothing to serve either of the characters.  Maggie’s set back to square one as far as custody is concerned, which in this case is almost a good thing, but she no longer has her apparently loving fiance to offer emotional support.  Kate went from doing just about everything she could to help to making a shitty deal, without talking to Maggie about it at all, and then leaving her seemingly out of nowhere.  This isn’t a solution.  It just tells Maggie’s ex that he can pull this again when she starts dating someone else.  It makes Kate look terribly childish and somewhat stupid, seriously, she can’t think that this is a permanent fix.  I’m now imagining Batwoman scaring off all of Maggie’s future dates, for her own good you see.

This is also where I admit, I’m finding myself not at all a fan of Andreyko’s writing.  I don’t know how much of this is editorial mandates and how much of it is him, and I’d heard good things about his previous work, but this is just bad.  I get that DC is going for dark and serious but this is just ridiculous and, as with before with fans already knowing this was coming, I think that there hasn’t been as much of an out cry on this one because people just don’t care any more.  They’ve taken a character with tons of potential and, like a lot of their other characters, just buried her in grimness and everything constantly getting worse and I think that people have become numb to that.  There isn’t a ray of hope or a safe home for Batwoman, so what does anything matter?

I’ll probably post more on this later, ways that I think they could have handled it better.  But I’m tired.

DC Rambling

I’ve been thinking since I posted the thing about DC nixing the Kate Kane/Maggie Sawyer wedding, but one of the things I really want to see more of is the two of them dealing with their relationship problems. Like, Maggie obviously had a thing about Kate having lied to her for their entire relationship by hiding that she is Batwoman. We’ve seen all of two scenes dealing with that and while both ended up with Kate sort of cowed, I don’t know that they’ve really dealt with stuff. I want to see an actual talk about this stuff rather than the “hey, as long as you don’t hurt my daughter or cheat on me” thing that we got before the second proposal. I want to see them deal with relationship stuff, be there for each other and react to not being able to be there for each other, both knowing that the other is doing seriously dangerous stuff.

Seeing them take a break from their relationship, not break up exactly but take a pause to sort things out apart, could be great especially with the “somehow Kate and Bruce fought and neither is dead or permanently injured” thing from Williams and Blackman’s arc going unfinished. I want to see the fall out if Toby or Renee show back up, or if Jamie doesn’t like Kate at all.

Plus, I honestly think that Kate Kane has serious amounts of growing up to do relationship wise. It’s like, they could work and they could work well, but Maggie seems like she’s the one making all the compromises for it to happen. Kate needs to meet her in the middle more. Less stunty “I did this to you, so I have to experience it myself so I understand just how bad it was” stuff, because another blogger was right, that could get taken to scary extremes really easily, and more “I know I did this and I can’t understand how it effected you, but what can I do to start making it better?” , more talking about problems.

I also want to see the inner personal fallout from the unfinished arc, because that really would have changed everything.

So, sign off if you’re out there and tell me what you think.

No Wedding for the Wicked

Having just found out about J.H. Williams iii and W. Haden Blackman leaving the Batwoman comic over last minute editorial mandates being placed on story lines that were planned out well in advanced, the deal breaker apparently being DC disallowing Kate’s marriage to Gotham detective Maggie Sawyer, I figured I’d throw my two cents into the internet’s collective cap.  I’m also going to go ahead and post here that, while discussion is always a good thing, due to the apparent amount of political and religious vitriol I’ve seen on many other posts regarding this, I’ll be disemvoweling any posts that are hugely off topic in either of those directions.

For the moment, let’s just take it at face value that DC’s decision didn’t have anything to do with Kate and Maggie both being women.  Assume that it would have happened no matter what that DC would nix the marriage.

My big problem here as a reader, a writer, a reviewer, a consumer of media, whatever is that DC editorial doesn’t seem to have stopped Williams or Blackman from having Kate propose or any of the lead up mutual feelings scenes that humanized both characters.  Essentially, they gave all the build up to something that would have been really big for both characters and that would have effected how the interacted with not only each other and their families, but also the villains and just general people of Gotham.  They cancelled on what was, or felt like it should have been, a natural progression for the characters and an opening for really interesting possibilities for future side story bits, the kind of stuff that happens between the super villains.  It feels disingenuous on the parts of the editorial guys who have apparently decided that marriage makes for boring characters, to have let the lead up happen and then cancel on it at the last minute.  I will admit as sort of an aside here, I think a little more time could have been taken on the engagement and building up Batwoman’s rogue’s gallary and her support team, her family and her non-romantic relationships, more.  That would have been good for the character I think.

As a larger thing, the way DC has mishandled public relations on this is just breathtaking.  While I can understand that a company wide ban on marriages would include Batwoman, the fact remains that this wasn’t something that was just randomly sprung on anyone.  Williams has said from the beginning that Batwoman has been planned out several arcs ahead so that everything would go smoothly, it was even sited as part of the reason that the Batwoman on going comic kept getting pushed back.  This was something that should have been nipped in the bud early, before any proposals or even Kate and Maggie dating, just as part of writing in the New 52 if there was going to be a ban on married superheroes.

Now, remember that bit I mentioned up near the top about taking DC at face value on this?  That ties into both the mishandled PR and the overall ban on marriage.  Whether DC intended to make it a matter of the characters’ genders or not, they did.  I talk a lot to my friends about how awesome Batwoman is because she’s essentially Batman as a woman rather than the original Kathy Kane who was in it because she had a thing for the big bad Bat, but it isn’t entirely even.  If DC ever decided that they wanted to marry off Bruce Wayne to Selina Kyle or some other chick, that’s only a big deal because it’s Batman.  Given how much of a big deal gay marriage is, and likely will remain until everyone has equal rights under the law.  It’s down right boneheaded that readers heard from one of the writers, who was leaving the book, that he didn’t think this was about the characters’ sexuality.  That should have been one of the first things DC made a point of saying if only to help head off accusations of homophobia.  They didn’t though and, while I could easily be missing information here, the only things I’ve seen from anyone at DC other than Williams have been from Dan Didio.

I’m honestly not sure how to feel about that last bit.  On the one hand, it does feel like a natural flow for the narrative has been cut because DC editorial thinks that mariage makes characters boring.  On the other hand, I admit that this does feel a bit sensationalistic, Batwoman hasn’t really been treated as a character who happens to be gay rather than a gay character.  The little intro at the beginning of each issue makes sure to remind us that this is a lesbian character we’re reading about rather than letting us gather that from the comic itself.  When the writers leaving the title first became news, posts about it were overwhelmingly about the missing lesbian wedding rather than repeated last minute editorial changes.  Heck, even my post her focuses mostly on the wedding and it’s impact on things rather than on DC making poor choices with how they treat their talent.  It’s the big deal that DC didn’t want it to be and they don’t really seem to be doing anything about it.

I’ll probably come back later and chew this a bit more, focus on some of the plot stuff they could have done with married Kate and Maggie that wouldn’t make them boring.  I might talk about the whole “sacrifices” thing that Didio mentioned at some point as why superheroes can’t get hitched.  That’s all later though.

Yeah, I’m back on this again and ignoring that review that I’ll be posting probably either later tonight or sometime tomorrow.  Here’s the thing, I’ve been a fan of Barbara Gordon since back in the nineties with Batman the Animated Series when I had no clue that the comics were any different.   Back then, I had no idea that The Killing Joke had happened or that there was a second Batgirl.  This was the character that I wanted to grow up to be.  She was like Velma but with more attitude and she got to work with Batman.

Fast forward to sometime during high school and I’ve heard of The Killing Joke but not read it.  I’ve heard that there was a second Batgirl and that she was rather poorly delt with for a chunk of her run in the cape.  But I hadn’t really started reading comics yet.  The Sandman, sure but that was because the school library had it in trade paperbacks and I had free time while being a library aide.  It was around this time that I started to get more interested in comics as a whole, so I’d started reading up on DC’s super heroes to see who I wanted to focus on.

Fast forward again to around February.  Holy cow there’s going to be a Batwoman monthly comic!  Issue #0 is coming out and The Question is going to be in Birds of Prey!  I was practically dancing in my seat with this one.  Plus I was trying to keep up with the Odyssy of Wonder Woman arc of Wonder Woman because I wanted to see how they changed the character.  And follow it through to Flashpoint and my various rants on that, it’s really one of the things that sticks out at me as a forced money grab even now.  But I’ve finally got that Batwoman ongoing as part of my draw list, and Birds of Prey is still pretty cool even without Lady Blackhawk or Huntress.

It’s kind of itchy though, reading Batgirl and seeing Barbara go from tough leadery Oracle to a Batgirl so full of self doubt that I almost expect that the villain is going to wind up doing himself in rather than her winning.This is where I get to the meat of my ramble, don’t worry the rest was just back story.  Now, not all of the sources agree, but apparently Babs was Oracle sometime during those three years post-Flashpoint.  Why isn’t she still?  I’m basing this mostly on the character I was reading back in Birds of Prey but it’s hard to see her giving up the autonomy of being a hero on her own to step back under the Batmantle.  Out of the chair she’s still the same character, or at least she should be.  Post-Flashpoint Batgirl seems to assume a Barbara who never quit being Batgirl prior to The Killing Joke, one who would go back to that after having been Oracle.

This is a character who questioned her reasons for crime fighting right up through the eighties when she quit and was then shot in the spine for being related to Batman’s supporting cast.  Except it isn’t anymore, maybe.  What was DCnU Barbara Gordon like before the Joker shot her?  Was she Silver Age Batgirl with her Batpurse and day job as a librarian?  Was she BtAS Batgirl the plucky not quite side kick?  Heck, was she Stephanie Brown with red hair and no history as Spoiler?  I’m growing tired of DCnU Batgirl’s near constant self questioning.  I understand that she’s not at a hundred percent yet and I understand that Gail Simone is laying the basis for the rest of the comic, but the more I read the less I like Babs and the more I want to just quietly go back to finding Oracle’s appearances in trade paperbacks.

This is one of those situations where I want to see what other people have to say about this.  I’m going to keep reading for at least the next arc to see how DCnU Babs develops, but I’m thinking that this may not be something that stays on my draw list much longer. What do you think internets?  Does the current incarnation make more sense to you that it does me?  Where do you think Simone is going to go with Batgirl from here?

I find myself wondering just how they’re going to handle it when Maggie Sawyer eventually figures out that Kate is the Batwoman.  Is Kate going to tell her because she ultimately needs someone to rely on and having a Commissioner Gordon of her own would be a great help?  Will Maggie figure it out and confront her about it?  Will the confrontation be as a cop or as her girlfriend?  I’m almost expecting them to use Maggie eventually figuring Kate out as an excuse to bring Renee back in for some good old fashioned Batangst that ends with all three characters single and pissed at each other.  Maybe have Renee try to talk Kate in to telling Maggie because of the communication issues their relationship has been characterized by.

The blurb for issue three mentioned something about Kate’s “nocturnal activities” messing with her relationship with Maggie, so maybe we’re already going to see some suspicion on the good detective’s part?  I mean it’s not like her pale as death red headed new girlfriend and that pale as death red headed vigilante could have anything to do with each other.  Nothing at all.

I don’t know, what do you guys think?

Batgirl Issue #1

This was going to go up sometime last night, but then my internet decided to derp and I lost the original post.  Not that that matters much though, because I finally got to read the new Batgirl!  Much as I’d expected, I walked away from reading it not really sure if I liked it or not.  This Babs went through the events of The Killing Joke, yes, but she was to all appearances still Batgirl at the time.  Why didn’t any of the bad guys put two and two together and figure out that the commissioner’s daughter and Batgirl were the same person when this happened?  Did someone step in with a red wig while she was out?  Did they start a rumor that she and the big Bat had a falling out and she quit after this?  The good news is that issue 1 does show Babs dealing with being out of her wheel chair and other characters reacting to it.  The bad news, to my mind anyway, is that this Babs never seems to have been Oracle.  I’m going to go on a bit of a tangent here, but Oracle!Babs is the only one I’ve read until now and I tend to associate Bat!Babs with the Batman Animated Series and her more carefree pre- Killing Joke incarnation, thus part of the lack of Oracle thing.

I’m of two minds here.  On one hand, it’s Barbara Gordon as Batgirl again and the writing is covering her reactions to things through the lens of a post- Killing Joke Babs. On the other hand, it’s Barbara Gordon as Batgirl again and I haven’t heard anything about what they’re going to do with the other two Batgirls, also back to the lack of Oracle.  Part of me is really happy because this is like a piece of my childhood coming back with the potential to be really awesome.  Another,somewhat larger part would have loved to see an Oracle who could (and would) step in when someone or something threatened her Birds but who was still more or less that Oracle.  Both parts found it rather hilarious when Babs corrected the people referring to her as Batwoman.

It’s probably obvious by now, but I’m going to give this at least a couple more months because it’s still Barbara Gordon as written by Gail Simone.  What about you guys?  Any thoughts on the DCnU now that stuff is actually happening?

Birds of Prey Issues 14 and15

I’ve probably mentioned that I was a bit disapointed when Gail Simone’s being moved off of BoP to work on DCnU stuff cut short the arc featuring the Question.  Yes, I’m still on that.  I’m also fairly sure that I’ve mentioned Lady Blackhawk punching Nazis on issue 14 being rather awesome.  It’s awesome to see Zinda interacting with people who knew her back before she got tossed forward in time.  It’s kind of interesting to see psychic clone Nazis versus the Birds of Prey and the flash backs to the mission back in World War 2.    But it still feels like filler.  This didn’t do anything to further the story.  It introduced a bit of history, yes, but this was stand alone in the worst way I can think of.   I know this was just holding time until September’s issue, but more could have been done with either story.

Away from complaining, Zinda referring to herself as a senior citizen was hilarious as was the utter lack of change between 1940’s Zinda and 2011 Zinda.  The end boss could have been a terrifying threat if he’d had a couple more issues to show the terror of an over muscled psychic on the warpath.  Also the clones were creepy as anything I can think of off the top off my head.

This more or less adds up to my wondering, I’ve read the last issues for Batgirl and BoP and Wonder Woman,  how many of the August DC comics were filler and how many actually wrapped up the comic they belong to?