Holiday Comic Reading, Part Two

I forgot to put my opinions of these up last week. Sorry about that, I’m sure you were all absolutely dying to read my thoughts! Will write about the books I read when I’m less tired.

Birds of Prey (Vol 1)

It’s interesting and often forgotten (or feels like it anyway) that Dixon started Birds of Prey and it was awesome. I’ve seen a lot of talk about how well Rucka and Ellis write women, yet nothing about Dixon. Sure, he has his faults, particularly in his later stuff, but at the same time there’s a lot of good stuff in his 90s and early 00’s Batwork, especially the ladies of Gotham City. His work on Birds of Prey is excellent, and it seems he understands how to make a book about women actually about the starring women and telling their stories. Unlike certain later writers of BoP who it seemed couldn’t understand how having Superman rock up and tell the Birds off like they were nothing but naughty schoolgirls might be perpetuating misogyny as well as making a pretty terrible story, without some obvious subversion happening. Not that I’m bitter!

Dixon focused more on having BoP be about a dynamic duo rather than a full-on group team-up, but he makes that work and tells an interesting and empowering story that follows well from that concept. What I’m trying to get at here is that I think Dixon’s work gets a little overshadowed sometimes by Simone’s team outfit, which is awesome as well, but the two have entirely different themes, tones and styles, and can’t really be compared fairly.

Having said all that, this particular GN also includes Catwoman and Huntress in the stories (though Oracle is clearly trying to only work with Black Canary). It’s a very good novel and I’m  glad I’ve managed to find and buy Dixon’s BoP in trade, even though my copy is falling apart. It’s a shame that these, and the earlier Nightwing GNs, seem to be out of print.

Batwoman: Elegy

I’m not going to shock anyone by loving this, though perhaps I might shock people by admitting it took me this long to get around to reading it. I found the artwork amazing (no surprises there).The genuine shock though came by how strong and clever the storyline was, don’t get me wrong,  I knew Rucka was writing, and I know about his amazing writing ability, particularly when it comes to women. However, in all the comments about how breathtaking this GN and story were, noone had really mentioned how this was Rucka writing at his best. The way the story and the artwork in this piece combine seamlessly to reflect some amazing teamwork and talent cannot be emphasised enough.

I’d say this would have to be close to the best work of Rucka’s that I’ve read.  The major problem is that now, having read this book, the  lack of his touch in the DCnU Batwoman series, which I should add is as beautiful as the work on Elegy, is really bloody obvious.  DC really did fuck up badly letting this series be delayed to the point where they lost one of their best writers.

House of Mystery: Room and Boredom (Vol 1)

This is a strange one. I picked it up cheap on a whim ages ago, and finally got chance to read it. It’s intriguing, essentially various sets of short stories, tied into a larger narrative of an interdimensional pub where stories are currency. The mix of artists and changing styles of the artwork add to the story too, giving quite a strange feel to the book as a whole.  It’s the first in a series – I can’t say I’m rushing to get the next, but by the same token, I’m not against the idea.

Not really sure how I feel about it, but it’s a cute concept, with cute ideas. Perhaps a little too creepy for me? I’m surprised though, as it’s certainly one of the more interesting books I’ve seen come out of Vertigo in awhile, yet it doesn’t seem to be getting nearly as much attention as interesting Vertigo books normally do.

Irredeemable (Vol 1)

I don’t remember buying this! I’ve been assured that I did though, and seen my debit card details on the receipt, so obviously at some point I decided it was what I wanted.

It’s a nice solid look at what happens when Superman goes bad. Its not particularly genre-defying, it isn’t nearly as sickening as some of the more graphic versions of this kind of story (hi, The Boys, I’m looking at you) and it certainly isn’t particularly naive or stupid. But it feels like it isn’t particularly anything. Something about it doesn’t sit quite right, but there’s nothing about it sitting wrong if you know what I mean.

I really liked Waid’s work on Impulse and The Flash, but (probably due to the subject matter) the sense of fun he manages to mix into his comics is completely missing. This doesn’t make it a bad comic per se, but it means it lacks a certain something that would make it stand out more – which is probably an unfair thing to judge a comic by, given the level of quality (or at the very least interestingness) of the other books I read on this holiday.

I’m tempted to rate this as average, but if this was the usual benchmark for an ‘average’ superhero GN, the comics industry would be in a lot less trouble than it currently is. I’ll definitely get around to reading further on with this series, I’m just not left with a sense of urgency.

Gen 13: The Best of a Bad Lot (v. 4 vol 1)

This was a lot of fun. Teenagers being snarky at varying levels of capability and drama while figuring themselves out AND fighting for their lives. Evil being evil but in such a human way (that Simone manages at her best) that you find yourself feeling genuinely sorry, or at least confused about how you should be feeling.  I haven’t read much of Simone’s stuff outside of the DCU, so I was pleased to see that her writing is, if anything, stronger when handed a more flexible playground to work in.

This book was awesome, and clearly the building block for a fantastic series (it’s the first GN). I’ve been very annoyed not being able to find the rest of it.

I thought I’d leave you all with a picture of Lulu, the puppy that decided that what was mine was hers, and therefore served as a bookrest for most of my stay with my sister.  I’m regretting not taking a photo with a stack of GNs on top of her – she was that good natured if it meant a cuddle and as much of the spare mattress as possible.

My sister's incredibly affectionate dog.

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4 thoughts on “Holiday Comic Reading, Part Two

    • <3

      Dude you really need to. It's right up your alley. Just be prepared for it not to be nearly as awesome once Simone leaves it (the first time).

  1. If you are interested in getting further into Irredeemable i have the next 6 volumes. I also have the first 4 volumes of Incorruptible which is the counter story, where the worst supervillan in the world goes good, (As a result of seeing the Plutonian turn evil, it is set in the same universe) but he hasn’t really worked out how to be good beyond doing the opposite of what he was doing.

    If you are looking for a more fun tone, then Incorruptible will probably be the story set in that world you will enjoy more. Unfortunately the artwork is pretty naff.

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