Poll Retrospective: Here’s How You Voted

Over the past year, we’ve asked for your opinion on everything from Wonder Woman’s drawers to whether you gave a rat’s ass about the upcoming Green Lantern movie. The results were always entertaining, and frequently surprising. Without further ado, here are the results from polls past:

1. Which version of Diana’s knickers do you prefer?
Given a choice of Nicola Scott’s taut medium, Jim Lee’s warrior skirt, Ed Benes’ quasi G-string and Aaron Lopresti’s granny britches, the clear winner was … Continue reading “Poll Retrospective: Here’s How You Voted”

2010 Memorable Moment: Iron Owl

Moxie! Huntress has it.

I so intensely desired the relaunch of  Birds of Prey with Gail as the writer partly because I felt a need for the proper treatment of the character Sin. It is not news that I think Ollie and Dinah’s marriage is some Grade-A bullshit, and that stunt he pulled to hide Sin … yeah, that was the worst. I knew Gail would address that at some point. When Sin was mentioned in the first issue of Birds of Prey, it was clear that it would happen soon.

In Birds of Prey #6, not only did I get Sin, but I got Lady Shiva, too. GOOD GAWD, I love Shiva! The appearance of Shiva and Sin was, indeed, extremely satisfying. But, I was not prepared for just how moved I would be by Huntress.

Helena Bertinelli is the kind of girl you want as a best friend because she has got your back. Huntress decides to take Dinah’s place in a battle to the death against Lady Shiva, one of the deadliest people on the planet. THAT is one hell of a gesture. Not only did Helena hold Dinah down to the tenth power, but she stayed on her feet while taking that ass-kicking of a lifetime from Shiva.

Huntress has more moxie than any lady in the DCU. She is Iron Owl.

WTF? Wednesday: Sin-Less

We all know women (or men) who, despite showing excellent judgment in every other aspect of their lives, continue putting up with a loser significant other. It doesn’t matter now many times the loser SO confirms that s/he is a horse’s ass. The longsuffering partner will continue to forgive the offending party and, worse, take him or her back.

SIGH.

This familiar scenario was taken to the extreme in the fall of 2007, when our girl Dinah consented to marry off-on squeeze and very bad boy Oliver Queen/Green Arrow. Her acceptance monologue was an amazing feat of rationalization, especially under the circumstances in Black Canary #4. In an effort to save Dinah and her beloved adopted daughter Sin from the League of Assassins, Ollie orchestrated a plan that involved faking Sin’s death and having his son, Connor, escort her to a secluded monastery. He allowed Dinah to believe that Sin had been killed so that her grief would appear authentic to the League. She not only forgave Ollie for this act, but also spun some bullshit about how, after a lifetime of selfishness, he finally did something decent. Continue reading “WTF? Wednesday: Sin-Less”

Cosplay: Black Canary v. Aphrodite IV

Help V. decide which character to cosplay.

E. and I had such a spectacular experience at Dragon*Con, we have now made it our mission to go to as many cons as possible. We both have kids, jobs, and you know, just general responsibilities. So, there is some planning and reality involved. We’re Florida gals, and the word in Artist Alley is that MegaCon has a prominent comic book presence. Thus the next con we will attend is MegaCon in Orlando.

It is well known that one of the great joys of cons is the cosplay. I have decided that for MegaCon, I will be donning a costume. Black Canary has long been a favorite of mine. I’ve always said if I ever dress up, it would be as Gail Simone and Ed Benes’ Black Canary. But recently, I’ve sort of fallen in love with the design of Aphrodite IV that appeared in Artifacts #1. So now I am torn, and I need a little help deciding.

Haute Heroism

Because I love a Kate Spade purse as much as a Fables hardcover trade, I tend to have strong opinions about comic book fashion. V., a Gucci aficionado from way back, is no different, and we’ve had plenty of Project Runway elimination-style discussions about superhero garb.

Of course, everyone had something to say about Wonder Woman’s new costume, much of it hilarious. My favorite observation came from Tom and Lorenzo, the duo behind the brilliant Project Rungay blog: “She kind of looks like she’s on her way to yoga class. In Vanilla Ice’s old jacket. That sound you hear is the wail of drag queens the world over, all of whom wouldn’t be caught dead in this thing.” Continue reading “Haute Heroism”

Birds of Prey #2: White Witch, Crazy Bitch

The million dollar question: Who is White Canary!? Well, we still don’t know. It’s okay though, this issue was excellent.

The million dollar question: Who is White Canary!? Well, we still don’t know. It’s okay though, this issue was excellent.

Jumping right back into the action from issue #1, Black Canary and Huntress face off with White Canary who is serving the Birds some serious whoop ass. Black Canary manages to get a few licks in. Maybe a few licks too many as she responds emotionally to what seems to be some major hater vibes coming off of this new enemy. Continue reading “Birds of Prey #2: White Witch, Crazy Bitch”

Birds of Prey #1: Fishnets, Fisticuffs and Fabulousness

For fans of Gail Simone’s Birds of Prey run, reading issue #1 of the revived series is like that great reunion with an old friend. Simone stepped away from the book three years ago, and it was canceled in 2009. However, she and original collaborator Ed Benes have wasted no time in returning the Birds to classic, crime-busting form — and we missed them terribly. (Spoilers await.)

The four-part “Endgame” story opens in Iceland, where Black Canary has arrived to rescue a diplomat’s 5-year-old daughter from a terrorist/kidnapper. The beauty of this sequence is that it firmly re-establishes Dinah Lance as one of the world’s most skilled combatants, obliterating the sad-sack wife nonsense other writers saddled her with. Let’s just say there’s a lot of blood on the snow in Reykjavik, and it’s not Dinah’s. Or the 5-year-old’s.

“Where my girls at?”

Shortly, Oracle begins reassembling the team to deal with an anonymous mofo who has a frightening amount of information about the Birds and all their friends/associates. Zinda is dispatched to recruit Hawk and Dove, one of whom has some serious anger management issues. (I wouldn’t have held it against Hawk if he’d tossed that silly, bank-robbing cheerleader off the roof, but that’s just me.) The addition of these newbies to a well-established group is potentially rich with drama, and I’m looking forward to seeing how everyone adjusts, or doesn’t.

This is the REAL DC Trinity

Simone’s affection for these characters comes through on every page, especially in the funny, familiar banter that flies between Canary, Zinda, Huntress and Oracle. The Birds also look fabulous, thanks to Benes’ gourmet cheesecake illustrations and colorist Nei Ruffino’s glowing, moody palette, which really suits poured-on leather under moonlight. Those panels of Huntress cracking skulls while talking to Oracle via cell phone could launch 1,000 gym memberships alone.

As if that weren’t enough, the Big Villain Reveal on the final page is a total surprise, and still a bit of a mystery. I figured it would be Lady Shiva, or even a tween Sin, but the ending suggests that our heroines are in for even bigger trouble. It is totally on — and I couldn’t be happier.

G3 Review: Justice League – The Rise of Arsenal #1

Cover art by Greg Horn

Justice League: The Rise of Arsenal #1
Writers: J.T. Krul
Pencils: Geraldo Borges
Colors: Hi-Fi
DC Comics
March 24, 2010

Spoilers ahead!

In spite of the Un-awesomeness of JL: Cry For Justice, I still wanted to read JL: Rise of Arsenal. I don’t know much about Roy Harper, but I’m all for reading stories about unfamiliar characters. It can be more interesting with an unbiased brain.

Issue one opens with a playback of the events that took place on the JLA satellite in the last issue of Cry For Justice. We see Roy having his last conversation with his daughter, an adorable and realistic debate about ice cream vs. cookies for dessert. This sweet moment is followed abruptly by an intense, bloody face-off with Prometheus. From the heart-tugging conversation with his soon-to-be-dead child to the splash page of Roy’s graphic dismemberment, JT Krul set one hell of a stage.

Jump to Roy waking up in the hospital, surrounded by his concerned friends and teammates. He’s still in serious physical pain, but that is quickly overshadowed by the realization that Lian died during Star City’s destruction. Krul manages to convey the shock, awe and pure devastation of what it’s like for someone to lose not just a limb, but their own child. Where James Robinson dropped the ball with contrived writing and unearned moments in Cry For Justice, Krul delivers an authentic punch in the gut. I got a little teary-eyed when Roy went to the morgue to see Lian’s body. What else would a grieving parent do but imagine their dead child’s final moments? Geraldo Borges’ image of Roy hugging Lian’s lifeless body is one of the most powerful that I’ve seen. Understandably, Roy starts to go a little crazy, but not before kicking an ass or two with one arm. I had no idea he was such a skilled hand-to-hand combatant. The nod to Roy’s past as a drug addict — and the temptation to start using again — added depth to the issue.

Kudos to Krul for bringing this story back to life, making me care and turning an unbelievably shitastic story arc into “pretty damn good.” With Cheshire on the horizon for issue #2, good is going to get better.

P.S. Thanks for not making Black Canary suck at life in this issue.

Canary Cry For Justice

By now you’ve probably heard all about the outcome of Justice League: Cry for Justice. DC’s resident douchebag, Oliver Queen, killed Prometheus with an arrow to the head. In my opinion, Prometheus deserved to die. He annoyed me anyway, and anyone who can make Lady Shiva run away from a fight (channeling my best British accent) BOTHERS me. I won’t miss him one bit.

Prometheus’ death was the only shining moment in Cry for Justice, which is one of the most sucktastic stories I’ve ever read, rivaled only by Chuck Dixon’s Birds of Prey run (and, OK, Trinity). There were times when I was so irritated that I just wanted to throw the book at the wall. Continue reading “Canary Cry For Justice”

G3 Review: First Wave #1

Cover art by J.G. Jones

First Wave #1
Script: Brian Azzarello
Art: Rags Morales
Colors: Nei Ruffino
DC Comics
March 3, 2010

As a fledgling fangirl, I mostly read what others loaned me. In time, I learned what I liked and didn’t. Much of what I enjoy is of the Spandex persuasion and has a strong female presence. Thus, First Wave is not a typical read for me.  Had it not been for Rags Morales’ involvement, I wouldn’t have picked up the book at all. I’m such a fan of Rags’ art that I figured the comic would be worth it even if the story turned out to be a bore. I also approached First Wave knowing nothing about Doc Savage, his entourage, or The Spirit. So here’s my “Tabula Rasa” take on issue #1.

The art is the shining star of this issue. I always enjoy a JG Jones cover. The smooth lines and the sort of chalky, muted tones are nice touches that complement Jones’ take on the characters. It reminds me of Chris Van Allsburg, whose work I enjoyed so much as a kid. Rags’ interior art is amazing. During a quite amusing conversation between The Spirit and crooked cop Dolan, there’s this up-close panel of Dolan’s smirky face that I just stared at: The smoke coming off the just-used match, the shadow cast from the brim of his hat and pipe, and the distinct look of the character. It said so much more than the dialogue could — and that’s just one panel!

If you think of the art for a character-driven book in terms of movie casting, Rags is the best casting director in the studio. He manages to define all of the characters so that you got a feel for who they might turn out to be in this story. He has a real gift for drawing eyes, giving them depth and an almost photo-realistic intensity. I generally liked Ruffino’s colors, but at times, some of Rags’ detail work seemed lost to the coloring. But since the palette and contrasts were aesthetically pleasing as a package, perhaps that’s a fair trade-off.

Since I am not familiar with the characters in First Wave, I had to read the issue a couple times to absorb what was going on. It’s mostly a lot of seed planting, but no real forward motion. We see Dr. Littlejohn somewhere in the South American jungle fleeing from a killer robot. Doc Savage comes home from solitude to his father’s gravesite, only to find some serious shenanigans surrounding his “death.” A Russian guy, who I guess is the big baddie, reads a news report about Doc’s goings-on and has some opinions about the scene taking place in the jungle. The Spirit provides kooky commentary while following a lead on some criminal activity, only to find a fight and a few things unexpected.

I’m curious to see where the story goes, and I’m excited about some of the characters. We get a brief glimpse at Rima the Jungle Girl in this first issue. Based on a preview from Rag’s character notebook that I saw a while back, I love Rima’s look, and I’m looking forward to seeing what Azzarello does with her. She doesn’t have a great deal of established continuity, but in the hands of an able writer, that can be a great thing. There is a Black Canary yet to be revealed, which I have high hopes for. The Spirit was wildly entertaining, as he’s a special kind of crazy. I’ve always had an affinity for eccentric characters. Plus, I’m really digging Doc Savage, who’s all smart and bronzy. Yum.

Verdict: The first issue doesn’t offer a great deal of exposition, and I imagine it’ll take another issue or two before we get any. You might get more out of it if you are familiar with Doc and Spirit. The story was certainly not a bore. Azzarello managed to pique my interest, but Rags Morales is what made First Wave worth my $3.99.

Coupling in the DC Universe: Highs and Lows

Valentine’s Day got us thinking about love in comics, and how the romantic chemistry between characters can really enhance or diminish a story. Since we’re primarily DC gals, we’re presenting a sampling of DCU couples we love — and those that leave us cold. In no particular order: Continue reading “Coupling in the DC Universe: Highs and Lows”

The Birds are Back in Town

I’ve enjoyed comic books and the characters since I was young, but for a long time, it was more from a distance. I’d admire them in a bookstore, peruse a boyfriend’s long box or, on occasion, borrow a trade. But I didn’t collect and follow comics myself — that is, until I met the Birds: Babs, Dinah, Helena and Zinda, as written by Gail Simone and drawn by Ed Benes, hold a sacred place in my heart.

I had just started a new job a few years ago when the topic of comic books somehow came up with the IT guy who was setting up my computer. He asked if I was into them, and I was all, “Sure. Kinda.”  I told him I was really into Wonder Woman and chicks who kick ass. He said he had something for me, and the next day, there was a stack of Birds of Prey trade paperbacks on my desk.

I opened the first one that following Saturday morning, and I couldn’t put them down. I was so enthralled that I read until my eyes couldn’t focus, and I developed a monumental headache. I kept on reading.

It is because of those very books that I go to my LCS every Wednesday; spend countless hours reading comics; search the Internet for comic book news and art; display a Black Canary Ame Comi figurine on my office shelf; spend lunches with other comic book fiends, talking for hours on our favorite stories; and now have a blog to talk about it all. Birds of Prey was the catalyst.

Honestly, no other book or set of characters has done for me what BoP did. I’d liken it to the first hit from a crack pipe. Gail’s writing and Ed’s art made me itch. From then on, I was hooked, searching desperately for that same high that I got from the Birds. Some series have come close: Identity Crisis, Secret Six, Rucka’s run on Wonder Woman, Fables, and Detective Comics with my darling Kate. While they all gave me a great fangirl buzz, they didn’t satisfy me quite as much as Dinah kicking ass in her fishnets, Babs taking down a group of men from her wheelchair, Lady Shiva struggling with morality as Jade Canary, and Lady Blackhawk punctuating the action with her hilarious one-liners.

When Gail moved on to other projects, I was terribly disappointed. Especially when DC married off Dinah to Ollie, and essentially ruined what Gail had done with her character. (And can someone please tell me what happened to Sin? Anyone?) In new hands, the book floundered, then got canned. Many, many times I’ve wished for DC to bring the Birds back, with Gail driving. It seems my wish has been granted: The dream team of Simone/Benes is back! And I am so fucking happy I want to cry.