I'm Not Always Happy When I'm Right

Sky Dolls #1 is something that everyone should pick up. I found it adorable, the art gorgeous and fun and the writing embracing and hilarious. The characters are instantly attractive and interesting, the plot heads along at a nice pace and I'm very much looking forward to the next issue. At least snag the trade, people, this is as entertaining as Outer Orbit was, while having a distinctly more interesting and complex plot.

For months and months I have been looking forward to the first issue of Burn, and last week (or this week, I can't remember) it hit the shelves. I really love Camilla d'Errico's work--I have way too many of her prints up on my walls and have no plans of stopping. She's a great talent (you can recognize her from Nightmares and Fairytales where she started as the artist on issue 19) and is extraordinarily interesting and nice to boot. Also very busy.

Anyhow, I really enjoyed the art. And the story concept. I also really enjoyed the execution of the art, but less the writing. It's a first issue and from what I know, it's Scott Sanders first venture into published writing, so I'll give it a little bit to even out. I hope it does, though, because it could play out to be a great little six-issue book. Sanders' writing isn't terrible, but it's definitely superfluous in parts and a little clunky. Camilla's art does an excellent job of explaining what's going on and how the reader should feel about it, so any dialogue or thought captions should be sparing and vital. Sanders is a terrifically nice guy who does have a definite love for the story and comics in general, so I really hope his writing evens out and he hits the groove that gets hinted at throughout the first issue.

If you like manga, though, I recommend this for a read. I rec it even if you don't, but the audience it'll appeal to is definitely manga-first.

Titans #2 is complete rubbish. I thought it couldn't get worse, because I am a fool, and Winick did an excellent job of proving me wrong. Don't bother with it. I'm not letting myself go any farther with that because of the next review, that turns into a commentary on writing in comics.

There's spoilers ahead. Rampant. Beware. If you haven't read Robin #174 and would like to remain in the dark, head off.

. . . so. First, I would like to refer everyone here. And if you're still falling for it, shame on you. I'm certain there are an insane amount of people ecstatically happy that friggin' Stephanie Brown isn't really dead and I'm just as certain I am not ever going to be one of them. I hate to break in on any sunshine-happy-days, people, but this just looks like another device. A badly executed one at that.

Welcome to my disbelief.

Would Batman really not mention anything to Tim as for his reasoning behind not having a memorial for Stephanie the Plot Device Wonder? Really? Are you sure?

Would Batman really just welcome Stephanie back with complete open arms after telling her she wasn't good enough?

Can someone please pretend that this is the goddamn Batman and remember that he would at least throw some crazy-assed psychotic trial-by-fire at her before taking her back?

Why are the backgrounds behind Stephanie are magically colored? If I see one more damn pink panel I'm throwing up.

Technically-speaking, the build-up for the reveal took too long. By the time I got there, any suspense was gone. The reception played flat. The conversations were stiff and uninteresting, Tim's thoughts were amazingly non-reactive and I can practically see all of their puppet strings. It was all so forced.

But hey, maybe she can join the Teen Titans and get into three-way bitch fights with Wonder Girl and Ravager. Note: If there could be more scenes of Tim getting handcuffed by Ravager, I'd be the happiest Friday ever.

I understand the great big temptation for bringing this character back--she got a raw damn deal the first time around, was treated like crap and was basically an accessory for Tim's Great Big Angst. Don't mistake me here, I love Tim's Great Big Angst. But here's what I would have really liked to see and would have written if ever given the chance: A new girl. Not Spoiler. A new Gotham vigilante with an interesting back story that isn't she was a) raped b)pregnant c) used/abused by a man/father d)daughter of a villain (I am beyond sick to shit of this plot background) e) a hooker. One or two of these options added in? Totally okay if it's done right. Just please don't saunter up to the Buffet Of Abuses and over-fill your plate, Male Writer.

Mistakes like Stephanie Brown need to be left in the past. Taking a perfectly decent female character and turning her into a device is bad enough, but taking that perfectly decent deceased female character and bring her back is even worse. This is compounding the problem in not only women written in comics, but how comics are written in general.

The dead should stay dead except in very rare and very moving and very shocking cases. The more "amazing" resurrections there are, the less believable deaths are. The less believable, the less impact will be had. The rest of the road should be pretty obvious. This isn't a new concept, nor a particularly brilliant one.

So why does it need to be pointed out again? Are comic book fans really so lacking in their palette that they need to have the same regurgitated tripe fed to them over and over until they finally swallow the worm? Has the idea well truly run dry? Is doing something truly new really so terrifying a thing?

If comic book fans are lacking in their palette this severely, I recommend doing a very ballsy thing: Screw 'em. Write what is good. It's an "If you build it, they will come" sort of situation. Comic book fans are addicts and while some may be lost in the transition, most will stay true-blue after their "ohmygodchange" panic attacks and new ones will quite likely stray over.

When writing, the more walls built, the less creative the writing. Dixon has certainly demonstrated this to us via Robin, but I am seeing it nearly everywhere, in nearly every comic book. There is a fear of stretching beyond the accepted norm, a fear of embracing new characters and truly giving them room to grow so that the readers may grow with them. And I mean truly, not panicking when the 'numbers' aren't there and canceling or sabotaging the book.

I believe for that every four old characters, there should be a new one. Or when one dies, a new one enters. Something to ensure that some fresh blood gets pumped into the universes we all adore so much.

If this doesn't start happening on a consistent, believable level, ten years from now the comic book industry will discover they have some serious problems.

As it is, they have some serious problems now and I think I'll return to what was supposed to be the point of this entry and table that discussion for another day.

Stephanie Brown! I can't over-emphasize how unbelievable I find this all to be and because of that, I am also finding it insulting. As a woman who voraciously enjoys comics, I don't actually need a reward cookie in the form of a resurrected plot device who I found to be really, really annoying to begin with.

I wish I was overreacting because of my emotional investment and knew that in a few months I'd calm down about this entire thing and not erupt like Vesuvius every time this was mentioned. I also wish that I liked Supergirl. Or that I could look forward to the upcoming return of a Batgirl book, who is undoubtedly one of my favorite newer characters. Or that Power Girl interested me at all. Or that . . . well, anything not Wonder Woman or Birds Of Prey goosed my Happy Feminist Zones (note to self: name a blog that one day). Even THEN, there's this whole Manazon thing that just has me nauseous.

Stephanie should've gotten a memorial, because it doesn't matter what some people think about it, she was part of the Bat Clan. Even if she 'married' into it and sort of pushed her way in, imo, in regards to how Batman ended up treating her. But missing a character or really, really, really loving a character doesn't and shouldn't give people free reign to bring them back willy-nilly.


This week I've discovered that I must have tea with Devin Grayson and discuss subtext and eroticism in length with her. New personal goal.

1 comment:

Dr. Zoltar said...

Linda Danvers Supergirl = Awesome. Return of Kara Supergirl = Crapfest. Really, what is going on at DC these days?