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Comic Book Reviews September 29, Gotham City Sirens #16, Wonder Woman #603, Valkyrie #1 and Veronica #202

September 30, 2010

It’s new comic day, and you know what that means? It’s review time. Today a trap is laid for Catwoman in Gotham City Sirens #16, A woman must confront a sexual predator and reclaim her own destiny in Valkyrie #1, Wonder Woman enacts an essential part of any Greek Heroic Myth, traveling to the Underworld and returning alive in Wonder Woman #603, and the first gay Archie character appears in Veronica #202.

How do these comics stack up? Well read on to find out.

Gotham City Sirens #16


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Written by: Peter Calloway
Pencils: Andres Guinaldo
Inker: Bit
Colors: JD Smith
Letters: Travis Lanham
Assistant Edtior: Harvey Richards
Editor: Mike Marts
Cover: Guillem March

This comic is a mess… No two ways about it. The art is competent for the most part though the faces look weird and the proportions are off at parts, but the writing is all over the place. It’s like this comic has the attention span of a second grader: Batman and Robin show up for two pages to discuss a mystical happening in Gotham decide they need to call in help, Zatanna pops in on Selina Kyle in the bath and warns her to keep Ivy out of it, and away from her without telling us what she means by that, abjectly refusing to answer any of Catwoman’s questions, we then spend three pages while the Sirens debate if Catwoman is making this story up before oh my god there are trees on fire, Ivy to the rescue!

Then Talia Al Ghul pops up and asks Oracle where Catwoman is cause she’s walking into a trap, Zatana paralyzes Ivy and argues with the others girls for two pages, then they’re attacked by nondescript earth/fire creatures… two pages later Talia shows up and they fight, then Catwoman gets kidnapped… then Talia explains that was the whole point of the attack, and they realize the goal is to get Catwoman to reveal Bruce Wayne’s secret identity. And she’s under a psychic attack by her kidnappers… and then it ends.

Really this comic makes no sense at all. Why does Zatanna pop up and refuse to tell Catwoman what she wants to keep Ivy away from, why did they set a trap for Catwoman by burning down a park in Gotham? Why couldn’t Zatanna have talked to Ivy directly? Why can’t this comic take its time and explain things? So basically all I know is some crap happened and I have no idea what crap that is… And now all of Bruce’s love interests (oh yeah I think it was implied that Talia, Catwoman and Zatanna were all supposed to be icy towards each other cause they all want to jump Bruce Wayne but it was beyond confusing), are worried about him more so it seems then they are about Selina.

Calloway isn’t the regular writer on this book (at least I hope he hasn’t been put in charge), it’s mostly been Dini’s baby and Tony Bedard, who does a passable job despite needing to reinforce Ivy’s heterosexuality every chance he gets, when Dini can’t make it. I really hope Calloway isn’t in this for the long run, or I’ll drop this book.

Comic Quality Rank: 1/5 -too confusing
Out of the Fridge Rank: N/A – Again just too confusing, there’s a stupid bath scene with strategically placed bubbles… but I just can’t figure out the intent of anything on this issue.

Valkyrie #1


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Written by: Bryan J.L. Glass
Art: Phil Winslade
Colors:Veronica Gandini
Letters: Dave Lanphear
Assistant Edtior: Rachel Pinnelas
Editor: Bill Rosemann
Cover: Jay Anacleto

See my last post for a bit more of the art from this comic; at the time I wasn’t sure if I’d like this one or not, well I do. A young hotel stewardess named Valerie falls to her death after attempted rape. The EMTs manage to revive her, but the Valerie personae fades away and she realizes she is Brunhilde Valkyrie; she is in a state of confused disconnection, but decides she must discover who killed her. She goes to see Janet Van Dyne, the Wasp, and they talk about what she should do next, when Janet tells her to follow her heart… the following exchange ensues:

Janet: Your whole life has been like this one long tragic opera. but getting off that big revolving stage is going to be up to you. Follow your heart.
Valkyrie: Forgive my bluntness, Jan, but why do I not remember you as a positive example for following one’s heart.
Janet: I believed in Hank until I couldn’t believe in him any more. And that’s when I chose to get off that particular marry-go-round. I finally convinced my heart of what my head knew all along. I may be slow, Bru, but I’m not stupid… I’m honest. The best advice I can give you is to be honest with yourself

It’s really nice to see Janet’s domestic abuse issues being dealt with her in a comic that is about a woman taking power over her own life; and to see that Janet has finally moved on. Valkyrie continues her pursuit of her killer and discovers it’s old Thor villain Piledriver and that he’s after the EMT, who is the reincarnation of Brunhilde’s old love Sigfried, in an effort to find Valarie and tie up ‘loose ends’. A friend wondered why he’d feel the need to do this, but I think it’s because rape is about power and he didn’t want a blow to to his ego by having a woman escape and take back her own power… but Valkyrie does indeed get to take back her power. I’ve already told you more then I normally would but I’ll leave off with this epic exchange as Valkyrie puts him in his place.

Pile Driver: Here we go: a man who loves women… versus a woman who hates men!

Valkyrie: You know nothing of a woman’s passion or the desires of her heart…

Pile Driver: If you weren’t such a cold-hearted Norse Witch… Maybe I could’a shown ya what a real man is!

Valkyrie (Narration): Those who fear me– fear my strength, my independence… they are the ones who judge me in order to shield their own weakness. A true man brought me back from the pit this pig consigned me to… and across the centuries I have allowed each and every one of them to dictate who I am – – no more! I am not cold and aloof; nor am I hater of men… I am a woman of deep loyalty.. far beyond that which most mortals of this realm could ever hope to understand. But I’ll not soil Dragonfang’s blade with the blood of this wretch and never again will I allow another to use my passion, or hold it against me.

Comic Quality Rank 4.5/5 -There are some improbable coincidences, but this is mostly an emotional piece and on that level it works amazingly well. Also I can chock up the rest of it to fate and the cycle she was in which she’s finally broken.

Out of the Fridge Rank 5/5 Oh yeah, the woman rocks… the rapist gets pwnzed, Janet vocalizes her acceptance of Hanks’ nature… awesomeness all around.

(The All New) Wonder Woman #603


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Written by:J Micheal Stracynzki
Pencils: Don Kramer, Eduardo Panisca & Allan Goldman
Inker: Jay Leisten & Scott Koblish
Colors: Alex Sinclair
Letters: Travis Lanham
Assoc. Edtior: Sean Ryan
Editor: Brian Cunningham
Cover: Guillem March
Wonder Woman created by: William Moulton Marston

Wonder Woman leads her people through the desert to reach a waiting boat at the shore, along the way it is discovered that the mercenaries the Amazons hired to escort them back at the halfway point have been killed. Wonder Woman realizes there’s two possibilities if they were killed before the attack on the temple there’s a chance that the way to the boat is still open if they were attacked after then the route will be guarded for sure.

Wonder Woman sees Keres, mythological harpy like creatures that feed upon the dead and drag them down to Tartarus (At least according to this comic and wikipedia; I had mythology class today and my professor says that must be some real later additions, because it wasn’t the case in Virgil’s writings and certainly not Homer’s), they attack Diana and drag her down. Where we realize Hades has been missing for 10 years and Charon refuses to take the dead over the river Styx. Diana has to face the Keres and Cerberus one more time before she can escape, though Cerberus mysteriously lets her pass without argument.

When Diana returns to the surface she finds her people surrounded, by their assailants they offer to let the other Amazons go if Diana stays behind, which she does. The comic ends with her confronting a shadowed man weilding her mother’s lasso who promises that only one of them will leave alive, and it won’t be her.

I have to admit this book is great, I’m really enjoying it JMS is as good as ever. I’m still mad about the whole reboot bit though, if this was an Elseworld I would be enjoying it much more immensely, as it is the fact that Gail Simone’s continuity is cooling behind us and the fact that I know this story will eventually be undone sours the greatness of the story itself.

The art is also great, everything is well proportioned, Tartarus is freaky, especially seeing all the shades that have not gone on to their fates, the Keres and Cerberus are imposing, Charon is enigmatic and at the same time run down and wise and the Amazons are all very expressive. I look forward to next month.

Comic Quality Rating 4/5: (would probably be 4.5 if it wasn’t for the doomed reboot thing)
Out of the Fridge Rating 4.5/5 (Nowhere Near the Fridge, Remarkably Positive): (Great characterization all around all the Amazons, except Diana, are fully dressed to keep out the desert sun… this young Diana is just a fun character.)

Veronica #202


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Script & Pencils: Dan Parent
Inker: Rich Koslowski
Letters: Jack Morelli
Colors: Digikore Studios
Managing Edtior: Mike Pellerito
Editor/Editor-in-Chief: Victor Gorelick

This is it the hyped “Gay” issue of Archie comics… there’s a new boy in Riverdale and Veronica has the hots for him. When we first meet Kevin he’s engaged in an eating competition with Jughead, which Jughead looses, ‘Ronnie declares herself the prize, and goes on a date with him, she also tells Jughead that he’s “Fail” for loosing at the only thing he’s good at. But Jughead spots his chance for revenge when Kevin tells him that he’s gay; Jughead urges Kevin not to tell Ronnie but let her down slowly and sits back to watch her throw her heart against a wall repeatedly.

Veronica seeing Betty and Kevin together of course get’s jealous; Betty tells her that she doesn’t think Kevin is right for her and she wants Archie, so Veronica tells her if she butts out, Archie is all hers. Betty has some moral qualms about this but tells her shoulder angel that she always listens to her and it’s time for a change.

Veronica keeps trying win Kevin over by wearing sexy clothes and sending him chocolates, eventually she learns the truth and after a comic moment where she thinks that Jughead and Kevin are a couple (I wonder if this might end up happening for real down the road), and being unable to loose a boy to Jughead, bad enough when it’s Cheryl or Betty, She and Kevin become fast friends, going to the mall together and everything.

The art is good, it’s just classic Archie artwork, enough said. I liked that Kevin wasn’t stereotypically gay, he’s a normal guy who loves comics, food, and guys. The only stereotypical bit is that he loves shopping malls, but that’s common enough. Anyway great comic.

Comic Quality 4/5 Adding a gay character is one of many ways Archie has tried to prove itself relevant in this past year and by far the best idea out of the three.

Out of the Fridge Ranking 4/5 *Nowhere near the Fridge Remarkably positive* Kevin isn’t just a token gay character, he’s a real person and they use his orientation in humorous way that isn’t dehumanizing, Betty shows she’s a real fallible individual (sometimes we forget she is)… the only downside is Veronica feeling the need to resort to showing cleavage to attract a boy she’s spent a great deal of time with, but then that’s Veronica for you… I adore her but if I want woman’s lib positive stuff I usually have to look to Betty.

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