What I’m Reading Today: 11/12/2015

Hi everyone. It’s been awhile for me. Sorry about that. I was sick, my dog was sick, I’m overworked and underappreciated in my day job. Usual. 😉 But I’m back! I have a lot to chat about today, so I’m going to get right to it.

DC Comics

Catwoman #46
Writer: Genevieve Valentine
Artists: David Messina (pencils), Gaetano Carlucci (inks), Lee Loughridge (colors), Travis Lanham (letters), Kevin Wada (cover)

Well, it’s with a heavy heart that I write about this one. The comic is going to continue, with a new creative team and, I assume, a new direction. But this is the end of a really superlative era of Catwoman, one that grounded her in the exact kind of story she’s belonged in this whole time. I’ve written several times about how Valentine’s a perfect writer for this story, she portrays the gravitas that Selina’s always held, which has been sort of hidden behind her thievery and relationship with Batman for awhile. Selina as the head of a crime family was a Selina who had to think about what she was doing, and how it affected the people she cared about. And it was a joy to read a book that was mostly about women in tough places, learning how to be the right kind of tough to survive without losing themselves. And, yes, Selina being bisexual was also a welcome development. So we had a book with a few queer women, one of whom is a queer woman of color, and isn’t that a great thing? But the story moved away from that. As I said on twitter, I understood absolutely everything that happened in the plot, it made total sense in the story, but I hated every minute of it. I hope we don’t revert to a Selina whose life revolves around Bruce Wayne. That would be a shame.

Anyway, the actual plot of this book involves Eiko’s power play, Steph re-aligning herself away from the crime families (GIVE HER A BOOK), and Selina hitting the road and leaving her family in what she thinks are good hands. I assume they are. I assume we won’t see much of this side of Gotham anymore, which is a shame and a half. I’ll give the new creative team a shot, but I don’t have the highest of hopes. At least Valentine is writing some of Batman & Robin Eternal in the coming weeks (I’ve enjoyed that book as a whole, but thought it needed more women actually doing something… hopefully her run accounts for that). This has been one of the finest runs on any Big Two comic I’ve read. It was something different, in tone and structure and focus, and it was great to read.

Favorite panel:

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 9.30.48 AM

Superman: American Alien #1 (of 7)
Writer: Max Landis
Artists: Nick Dragotta, Alex Guimãraes (color), John Workman (letters), Ryan Sook (cover)

Speaking of the weird choices DC Comics makes, boy was this comic marketed poorly! We’ve been treated to month after month of a surly, sneering Clark Kent mug shot, telling us this isn’t our classic Superman story. I’m all for updating the stories we tell, but a surly, sneering Clark Kent just seemed like the wrong path to walk. That said, I love Superman stories of all sorts, so I thought I’d give it a try anyway. And let me tell you, what a delight this comic was. This issue is the story of a young Clark, maybe around 10 or 11, whose ability to fly has just manifested. It’s a story about fear and love and family, and it’s wonderful. This is a very classic Superman story, in almost every way, from the bright colors to the family dynamics. I have no idea why DC Comics wouldn’t play that up. Dragotta’s artwork is so lively it’s practically animated, and the story of Clark dealing with his powers, and where that puts him in the world, made me tear up a little. I wish more women were involved with this project (Joelle Jones is doing the art on one issue, but that’s it as far as I know), but I say that about almost everything in comics. I don’t know how the rest of the issues are going to go, but this one is a must read for any fan of Superman or heroes in general.

Favorite panel:

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 9.45.27 AM

Marvel Comics

Web Warriors #1
Writer: Mike Costa
Artists: David Baldeon (pencils), Scott Hanna (inks), Jason Keith (colors), VC’s Joe Caramanga (letters), Julian Totino Tedesco (cover)

Backup Feature: Steampunk’d
Writer: Robbie Thompson
Artists: Denis Medri, Andrew Crossley (colors), Travis Lanham (letters)

About fifteen years ago, there was an X-Men book called Exiles, which was about a bunch of mutants from different dimensions hopping around the Marvel multiverse and Solving Problems/Fighting Crime/And Such. I loved that book.Web Warriors is that same book, but with the Spider-people of different universe. I love multiverse stories in general, because it’s always great to see the different tweaks on the universes we know and love. So needless to say, I was intrigued. Throw in the fact that it’s the only current book to feature Anya Corazon, aka Spider-Girl of the main universe, who has been conspicuously (to me) absent since Spider-Gwen hit the scene (seriously, go back and check out Kelly Sue’s run on Avengers Assemble and tell me they weren’t setting Anya up for her own stuff), I was sold. And… um. I don’t know, it’s fine. Anya had exactly one line, less lines than some of the villains, including the cartoonish villains from the cartoon world that the team visits in the first scene (which was cute). Also her one line is defending Professor Xavier, which. What? And we’re told she’s a “true believer” in Ben Braddock’s Spider-Team-Up plan, which he formulated after the Inheritors killed a bunch of Spiders (Spider Verse) and his world was destroyed (Secret Wars).

So anyway, there’s a lot of baggage going into this, most of which barely comes through at all. A lot of the book is taken up by Gwen and Mayday chatting, which is fine. Gwen actually chats more with women in this book than she has done in basically all of her own title, so that’s a bonus. And I like the idea of a Spider-Man UK so intent on creating a family for himself with this new team that he’s borderline obsessed. But I don’t like Anya feeding into that, nor do I like her as what is essentially set dressing. And I know it’s probably not fair to evaluate a team book based on one character, especially in the first issue, but man. Between that and Spider-Man India being drawn as a white man (he is completely impossible to tell apart from a 616 version of Peter Parker) this book just doesn’t leave a great taste in my mouth.There’s a back up that’s a steampunk Spider-Woman that’s actually more interesting than some of the stuff happening in the main book, because it’s something new. I think I’ll stick around a few more issues, but at $4.99 a pop, I’m hoping it impresses me soon.

Favorite panel:

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 10.50.06 AM

Ultimates #1
Writer: Al Ewing
Artists: Kenneth Rocafort, Dan Brown (colors), VC’s Joe Sabino (letters), Rocafort w/Edgar Delgado (cover)

Wow! This book left me with the exact opposite feeling of Web Warriors: excitement! I’ve been out of the Marvel universe since Secret Wars, but I’ve had my eye on some of the All-New All-Different books. This was one of them, since it teams up three of my favorite characters: Carol Danvers, Monica Rambeau, and America Chavez. In fact, this is a team up book with only one white person, and that white person is Carol. Definitely All-New and All-Different. The Ultimates are a team that’s been brought together to “problem solve” on an intergalactic level and, besides the women, inclides Black Panther and Blue Marvel. The first issue is a nice little introduction to the team and what they do. I really like Rocafort’s art. I was a fan of his run on some of the Super books a few years ago, and misstep with the Teen Titans (mostly Cassie’s chest) aside, I like his style. It fits this book well, giving it a feel that combines the mystical with the science fiction-y. Carol going Binary is a great page, and I really like how all of the characters look.

Favorite panels:

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 11.09.32 AM

Also on my radar: Batman & Robin Eternal #6, Batman Beyond #6, Robyn Hood #16, Starfire #6, All-New Hawkeye #1

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