New 52: Week 3 Batch 2

The second half of this week's DC releases, being titles that are perhaps a little less in the current public eye than yesterday's.

Birds of Prey #1
Like Justice League, Birds of Prey features an entire team on its cover, but only two members in the story itself, and therein lies the problem. I liked what Duane Swierczynski did on Immortal Iron Fist, but like this issue, his plots are paced a little slowly. The issue itself moves at a good clip thanks to well-choreographed action scenes by Jesus Saiz, but that's just incident. The PLOT is moving at a crawl. How long before we get a full team up and running? Black Canary is assembling that new team, which Batgirl won't join. Katana rates a mention. The only partner she's found to date is Starling, a new character who's something of a wild girl. Not unpleasant, though details are sparse. We're a far cry from the heroine showcase the book had grown into since its origins as a Black Canary/Oracle book. As with many New52 books, the book lacks strong villains, pitting its heroines against henchmen in camo-armor that make them nearly invisible. The who and the why remains nebulous. Don't get me wrong, I liked it well enough, but as an introduction to these characters, it left me wanting more.
Don't call it a reboot: Ambiguous, but it looks like there have never been Birds of Prey before, and Barbara Gordon may never have been Oracle at all (makes sense since she got her start working for the Suicide Squad, which has been rebooted).
Upgrade? I wasn't reading Birds of Prey regularly, but I didn't get the feeling it needed to go back to square one. So it's a downgrade as far as I'm concerned, but not a drastic one.
Will read? I like Swierczynski and Saiz enough to follow them through the first arc, and hopefully the story'll pick up.
Recommended? New readers can get in on the ground floor, and it's definitely one of the more solid heroine books DC's putting out (as opposed to, say, Supergirl and Catwoman). Slow to start, waiting for the trade (as with Justice League) may be indicated.

Blue Beetle #1
Another franchise that hardly needed to be rebooted completely, I feel like Tony Bedard' re-origin of the Blue Beetle will retread already exhausted ground. BB's former series was all about a teenager finding a way to juggle life and superheroics. Having him start over means it has to happen all over again. Not to say, Bedard doesn't write a compelling superhero story here. The alien scarab that turns its bonded wearer into a weapon gets a prologue that ties it to the rest of the DCU via an appearance by a Green Lantern, and we catch a glimpse of its former wearer. He's kept Jaime's supporting cast around, and it was one of the former series' strengths. And for once, a writer uses recognizable DCU supervillains (the Brotherhood of Evil) as a plot element. I sometimes feel like Jim Lee and co. spent all their time redesigning the heroes, they completely forgot about the villains. All that, and Ig Guara's art, make this a solid superhero effort. But couldn't the very same story be told a little later in Jaime's life, introducing his origin in flashback and allowing him to have grown somewhat in the role? Even the Brave and the Bold cartoon - ostensibly the impetus for giving him a series again - made him an ESTABLISHED rookie. I'm just afraid the book'll come off as redundant.
Don't call it a reboot: It is, even if there wasn't all that much to reboot.
Upgrade? It looks pretty much the same, except they've erased all his stories and made him start over. Small step down, then.
Will read? Bedard proved himself on "cosmic" comics like Green Lantern Corps and REBELS, though he had a tendency to drag out story lines. Will he bring in Blue Beetles from space? Could be an interesting angle. I'll support this book for now, but I've got an exit strategy.
Recommended? If you've never read a Blue Beetle comic, then it's new to you, and it's not bad at all.

Captain Atom #1
J.T. Krul probably did the right thing by not only rebooting Captain Atom entirely, but also bringing him closer to his derived cousin Dr. Manhattan. Perhaps it can attract Watchman fans, and besides, the character had been abused so much, he was just starting to get usable again. I fear some redundancy because Captain Atom's been given matter-manipulation powers and that's Firestorm's bag. It also brings the character very close to Jim Shooter's Solar, though that shouldn't matter to potential new readers. I'm not a fan of J.T. Krul, but I do like his reinvention of the character. Dr. Megala is involved (no General Eiling as yet) and the Captain's powers are still a new and undefined force (even to us, because they're clearly not as they were). The fluid, moody art by Freddie Williams II strikes me as halfway between Frank Miller's and Michael T. Gilbert's, giving the book a distinct and stylish look. The style almost positions the title in the DC Dark sub-line. I still don't know what to make of the mysterious happenings on both sides of the United States, but I figure Captain Atom's existence is causing reality to break down at the quantum level. Again, that's not unlike Solar Man of the Atom (if it's true), but I'll be at least interested to see where it's going.
Don't call it a reboot: There's no indication that any previous story about Captain Atom has survived the new continuity.
Upgrade? For all my affection for the original Bates/Broderick series, there's no denying that Captain Atom has been broken for a good while now. The only way to redeem the character at this point is to reboot him.
Will read? I've been hot lukewarm and cold about J.T. Krul's work in the past, but this is the best I've read from him. He's got me in the short term.
Recommended? Doc Manhattan being in the zeitgeist could help this series get some traction and I do recommend it for its "science gone wrong" elements. It's got real potential (I'm as surprised as you are).

DC Universe Presents #1
DCUP is going to be an anthology series à la Showcase, sticking to characters for the length of a single arc. Good for the trade paperback business, but not necessarily enticing to that vaunted new reader pool. Deadman's at least appeared in Brave and the Bold on TV, so it might attract the curious. Paul Jenkins writes a fairly good story, re-introducing the character's origin and giving his mission the familiar feel of Quantum Leap. I don't think he quite earns his cliffhanger, because we barely see what one of these karmic missions is supposed to be like. What we do get is a lot of narration, and Rama's pretentious zen claptrap. I didn't really dislike it, but I did feel a little bored, and I met such sights as the stripper or the Iraq veteran who wears his helmet into town with a raise eyebrow. The last few pages almost redeem the issue, but you do have to read the first 15 to get there. Bernard Chang's art is good though, unless he's responsible for my raised eyebrows, in which case he's just weird. Not sure how the story connects to Boston Brand's appearances in Hawk & Dove either.
Don't call it a reboot: It's the start of his career and some details were changed, but Deadman's still recognizable.
Upgrade? Not really.
Will read? DCUP may have features I like better down the road, but Jenkins' Deadman left me cold. I'm in for a second issue, but it's got to grab me.
Recommended? Hard one. Just because I found it a little dull doesn't mean everyone will think the same. Since this will be arc-based though, I recommend waiting for the trade on every arc. That way, you can check on the buzz before you spend your first dollar.

Legion of Super-Heroes #1
Let's get this out first: There's no way the Legion could stand another reboot right now. It's been rebooted so many times, it's become a running gag and a major gripe with fans. Paul Levitz doesn't do that here. What he ALSO fails to do is provide a true jumping-on point for new readers. The Legion is a huge team of super-heroes who operate a thousand years from now. It's not just about getting to know them, but about being introduced to their world. None of that happens here, and even current readers need to catch up with changes that have occurred off-panel, like the Academy kids having joined and the Legion reeling from having Lost some members. We even jump into an espionage squad mission in medias res (a mission that makes some Legionnaires get out of costume). New readers will have it harder, trying to figure out who the recently dead Legionnaire is and why they're being shown a scene about him, or having to google what Dominators and Durlans are. Francis Portela's art isn't a big help, as I dislike his stiff waxen figures and overwhelming background detail. And why the HELL is there a sniper on the cover?!
Don't call it a reboot: It flows right from Adventure Comics and the previous LSH volume.
Upgrade? Nothing's changed.
Will read? I'm a Legion fan and was following it before.
Recommended? I just can't. Levitz makes no effort to introduce the 31st century and his huge cast to new readers. For hardened Legion fans only.

Red Hood and the Outlaws #1
The other book that's been making waves about its sexual politics (in addition to Catwoman), Red Hood and the Outlaws features a sex kitten version of Starfire that's essentially been lobotomized, has sex with everyone else on the team, and has superfueled ADD that's made her forget her time in the Titans. She does a lot of cheesecake posing too. Frankly, it's pretty insulting to women and to my intelligence. And it's really too bad, because I was entertained by everything else. Scott Lobdell's made the Jason "Red Hood" Todd and Roy "Arsenal" Harper duo genuinely funny, created an intriguing new character in Essence, and though his plot could be clearer in places, set up a Big Bad that puts the Outlaws (terrible name, but at least it's not the Outsiders.. hold on, why ISN'T IT the Outsiders?) in their own corner of the DCU as international rogues who might take on real world, SF and supernatural problems. Same with the art. Aside from the ghastly and gratuitous cheesecake, Kenneth Rocafort has his own dynamic style. A bit obsessed with panel shapes to the point of causing clarity issues, but like Lobdell's script, it holds promise.
Don't call it a reboot: Jason Todd hasn't been rebooted (or at least, not much). Roy Harper's got both arms, so I guess he's been saved from Krul. And Starfire is a completely different character.
Upgrade? Yes for the boys, dear God no for the girl.
Will read? Lord help me, I actually want to. Shame about Starfire's characterization, because it's actually putting that desire into question. I certainly don't want to support that kind of thing.
Recommended? This could be a great action-adventure-comedy, if it weren't so demeaning to women. Maybe critical retroaction will affect some changes. In the meantime, I'd advise new readers to steer clear unless the above caveats don't bother them.

So to my surprise, Red Hood and Captain Atom weren't as bad as I thought they would be, and none of these six are without redeeming value. Only Captain Atom really intrigued me, while the others never rose above "ok" or at best, "promising". This week has truly been the weakest of the New52. Hopefully we'll get some actual winners next week. I have high hopes for I, Vampire, Aquaman and Firestorm, but dread Batman the Dark Knight, Teen Titans and Voodoo.

34 comments:

LiamKav said...

The reaction to Laura Hudson's post on the Starfire/Catwoman issues contains lots of replies that make me sad.

http://www.comicsalliance.com/2011/09/22/starfire-catwoman-sex-superheroine/

Matthew Turnage said...

The only one in this bunch I read was Legion, and I don't have anything to day that would be different from your take.

Sad to hear about Starfire. I was (am) a big fan of the New Teen Titans, and it's disappointing to see a character from that book so mistreated. Starfire was always a little more sexually open than the average human, but not promiscuous. She was also pretty smart. Shame. I'll have no regrets about passing on this book.

Siskoid said...

Liam: I read the article yesterday and agree with it, but I wasn't brave or foolish enough to get into the comments. I hate flamebait.

Matt: Like many of the EXTREME!!!! books in the New52, it just falls short of being outrageous enough to be taken as satire. We've got badass anti-heroes being over the top badass and anti, and we've got the sexy heroine being over the top sexy, but it doesn't feel like that's the intent. This and similar books (say, Suicide Squad) only get halfway to Marshal Law or The Boys or even Lobo, and so they fail terribly.

In other news: Am I the only one who's overdosing on first person narrative?

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

I'm a pro fiction writer, and I was sick of first person narrative in boxes with colors I find hard to read in the old DCU. Nothing has changed.

Laura Hudson's piece was incredible, and it goes back to your bottle anaology where I mentioned this time its been shaken up by two fanboys and a bitter old bastard.

LiamKav said...

@Wayne

"Starfire was always a little more sexually open than the average human, but not promiscuous."

There's nothing wrong with a female character being promiscuous. Lots of people reading Laura's article are either misreading the point as "women are made to look like ideals, while the men aren't (even though they are)" or "women who have sex are sluts and bad". The article is neither of those things. It says that the sexiness on display here is nothing of the sort. It's degrading and one-sided.

It not matching the original Starfire is a different point. The cartoon Teen Titans Starfire isn't like her comic version either. The new version, however, is just a walking blow-up doll.

Michael May said...

As God as my witness, I thought it was Red Hood and the Outsiders. I'm observant like that.

Jeff R. said...

I think that everyone's giving the Outsiders book far too _much_ credit, actually. Because (although do not that I haven't read more than the 2-3 pages that are showing up everywhere; if there's other text that makes this a non-viable reading then let me know) I can't help but read it not as a Starfire reboot but as indications that something bad has happened to Kory, mentally speaking, and that Jason and Roy are taking advantage of that in a way that is, at the least, not entirely un-rapey.

Anonymous said...

Awesome, my word verification is "weehat". I gotta buy me one of those.

The thing about Starfire is, even in her original appearances she was a blow-up sex toy. I'm not just talking about her looks, though it is of course no coincidence that she looked like a porn star. Everything else about her happened to converge on sexual fantasy, from the fact that she didn't mind being ogled to how she got her powers from a BDSM incident gone awry. And don't forget the sex slavery, with creepy icky aliens for that extra twist of humiliation.

Even at the age of 12, when NTT #1 came out, I remember thinking, "man, these people have issues".

Starfire has been treated better over the years, and I'm glad for that; but the original concept laid the foundations for what we're seeing today.

Siskoid said...

Michael: If you didn't buy it, you're justified.

Jeff: It's Outlaws ;-)

But more to the point, I think it's a matter of muddled intent. The "men behaving badly" element of Jason and Roy's story lend credence to your hypothesis that they are taking advantage of Kory. However, the art is behaving badly too, making the creators willing participants in the Kory's being treated (and indirectly, us, the audience). And because there's a partial reboot going on, only with difficulty can we assume that Kiry's been brain damaged. Other characters are getting retroactive status quos, so it would seem Starfire is too. There's no real indication in the script that she ever behaved any other way. Perhaps that was the intent, but it doesn't actually come across. And since DC is using the relaunch ostensibly to get new readers interested, they won't care or know about past histories. All they'll see is the blow-up doll Starfire is presented as (and if a new reader's only experience with Starfire is the Teen Titans cartoon...)

Anon: Sure, and that's what I mean by EXTREME! comics. It's the same basic idea, but taken too far into bad taste. It's the same as justifying casual blood, guts and dismemberment by citing decades of superhero punch-ups as if one type of violence equates another. Things are not all created equal.

Jeff R. said...

Outlaws, Outsiders... how's 'bout we just call it Outhouse and be done with it?

Anyhow, I'd cite Roy's being surprised by her lack of memory as evidence at least pointing towards her not having been like that during the New Teen Titans portion of the nuTimeline, however compressed that will have to have been...

Siskoid said...

Good call. I hope you're right.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

@LiamKav, just saying that Hudson had some good points. I haven't read Red Hood (and see no reason to) so I'm curious about this memory problem Starfire has now. But she was sexed up in Countdown to Adventure, as well, more played for laughs as she was a Buddy Baker'ds house, so there were the kids, the neighbors, Ellen...

I didn't read Laura's article wrong. I'm just not taking a stand on either side, because it won't change anything. I was born with cerebral palsy, I'm not in a wheelchair, but I was pi$$ed to hear about Batgirl. Again, why argue? DC cares about money, Babs is hot again and between Starfire and Catwoman, guys can sit on trains and buses with boners under their iPads.

Swellsman said...

I know this is off-topic, but I came across an intriguing article by Julian Sanchez re: power and wealth as portrayed in comics b/w heroes and villains.

If you've not already seen it, you can read it here:

www.juliansanchez.com/2011/09/21/ceos-in-comics-villains-earn-heroes-inherit/

Oh, yeah . . . and I'm not the guy that wrote the article, this isn't some kinda scam to drive people to my site. It's just that I've been coming here for a while, I saw the article, I thought you'd find it interesting.

LiamKav said...

"DC cares about money, Babs is hot again and between Starfire and Catwoman, guys can sit on trains and buses with boners under their iPads."

That's what I don't get. Are there really people out there who want to read comics but just can't because Amanda Waller is fat?

(Although, I've never got that attitude in general. Are there people who only watch sports because at half time some attractive girls will dance? I can understand very well "men want to see hot women", but there's a million and ones ways to do that. Wanted, or needing it in your comics as well seems unnecessary.)

Siskoid said...

Swell: Don't worry, there were none of the usual Spam catchphrases, so even if you had written it, that'd be fine. Gotta promote your stuff SOMEtimes (so long as it's on-topic of course). Julian's article is good. Heroes inherit of course because... all their parents are dead. It's a thing.

Wayne: I totally get (and share) your "don't sweat the small stuff" attitude, and certainly none of my comments have been written in the spirit of sincere outrage. However, I do believe that the media, like everyone else, have a responsibility towards the society we live in. Depictions of women and minorities in media IS important because it either encourages negative stereotype or breaks it. Whether we like it or not, comics are geared towards young white adult males (at this rate, anyway). So encouraging the idea that women are sex objects or that no one wants to see an overweight or handicapped woman is a complete misunderstanding of 1) where social norms are at and 2) what your responsibility is as a peddler of a product that taps into the youth market. Cater to your Maxim fans if you want, DC, but I know kids who watch Brave and the Bold and then want to read about those characters in the comics. So long as the Teen Titans cartoon is out there (on DVD), and so long as Tiny Titans is out there, DC has a responsibility to readers who outgrow one and need a bridge to the other. Outlaws is NOT that bridge.

Liam: I like the points you make. I don't know what kind of market research DC did to prepare for the New52 (not as much as they should have, by the looks of it), but will they actually get more readers by doing this? Or are those creators and editors just that lascivious?

Anonymous said...

"Babs is hot again"

I don't think "hotness" factors into that one at all. I suspect it has to do with the awareness that Babs was gravely injured for shock value and even Alan Moore regrets it in retrospect. I'm glad Barbara can walk again, I'm glad Roy Harper has his arm back (apparently), and I'm glad DC has taken this opportunity to repair some of their inventory rather than leave it broken. Next step: write better stories and rely less on shock value / titillation; even 18-34 year old males get sick of the BS.

(I also think Babs should eventually decide that DC needs an Oracle again more than it needs yet another Bat-themed street fighter, especially when Stephanie is probably around; but that's a different discussion.)

This time I got "peepin" as my verification word but I think I'll just stick with my weehat.

Anonymous said...

Supervillainy is a job; superheroism is a hobby.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

I'm glad my last paragraph last night provided further comments. Anon, Babs IS hot again--though its not the word I would use--because she's obviously not atrophied after three years in a wheelchair. (She does mention having the great upper body strength, so there has to be an opposite.) Does Alan Moore regret writing TKJ? I hadn't heard that, I usually hear about how he laughs off DC editorial for taking one of his characters as the main villain of Blackest Night as they have no originality. (Point being, Babs in the chair was original.)DC could have used Wonder Woman's Purple Ray on her any time they felt it was needed, and there's no reason to think that Babs could walk again but still choose to be Oracle.

LiamKev, maybe a little of both, though I didn't mention Waller. When I read comments about sexuality over at CA, I feel sad that those protesting that women aren't being treated as objects because mean are, as well, that just reads of desperation. Look at any single variant cover by Michael Turner, et. al., and tell me that DC would put Jason Todd or Superboy on a cover and expect it to sell for the same reason. I think we both agree, we all do. Siskoid, I would be curious as to how much market research was done and by whom and to whom.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

Sorry for the typos, meant to read through before clicking. Men, not mean, is the most confusing of the bunch.

But I wonder, in regards to market research, did DC even consider Barbara Gordon choosing to be Oracle instead of returning as Batgirl? I've done focus study groups where it seems as if the answers accepted by the client are limited to those they already intended to use, with perhaps a little tweaking involved.

Anonymous said...

Read the Wikipedia entry on "The Killing Joke"; Alan Moore says that he feels editorial should have reined him in on what he did to Babs.

Just because Babs can walk again doesn't mean that hotness is a factor. That's really quite a charge to level, especially in the absence of fanservice scenes like with Catwoman and Starfire.

Siskoid said...

Batgirl/Oracle isn't the same issue as the Catwoman/Starfire stuff, but it may be symptomatic of the same attitude. Why CAN'T we have female characters who deviate from the basic superheroine shape? Harvey Bullock didn't suddenly show up with Batman's physique, so why the double standard?

The problem with Oracle isn't HOW Babs got into the wheelchair (and I find it a little disingenuous that Alan Moore would blame editorial for his own work's extremes - "it's the police's fault they didn't stop my murder"), but what was done with the character later. Oracle wasn't prefigured by The Killing Joke. It was a new lease on life given to the character by John Ostrander in Suicide Squad. What's sad about the Batgirl thing is that DC robbed itself of a unique character and concept to overload an already filled niche (I don't just mean that there have been two other viable Batgirls, but that they also publish Batwoman).

I read that they used focus groups, but I don't know how true that is given how many writers didn't even know the relaunch was coming and how quickly it became a reality. DC wasn't even planning on the Relaunch a matter of months ago. And it shows in the haphazard and thoughtless way many of these changes were done.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

Anon, I've also heard the phrase that DC told Moore it was OK to "cripple the b!tch." Take Wikipedia for what it is, but I'm not trying to dump on you. Maybe I can say it better, is Babs "hot" if Simone showed her having trouble walking from her weakened legs (granted it wasn't a miracle cure)? Certainly there wouldn't have been shots of Batgirl jumping from rooftops. That was my point, not the word hot, rather the fact that her book can be thrown in with Catwoman and Red Hood.

Focus groups are iffy, I can go to quite a few here in Chicago. One involved looking at print ads for vodka and which we like the best. My assumption would be that a group in Portland might get questioned on Batman, a group in Denver on the Teen Titans, or shown the TT costumes and asking what they thought of the dynamic.

Siskoid: haphazard and thoughtless. As I've mentioned before, these are fanboys running things now, not middle-aged businessmen in suits. And the way it was rushed, perhaps, was because someone had the insane idea to put out 52 books in the same month.

I appreciate everyone reading my comments and taking the time to reply.

Siskoid said...

Barbara can be hot AND in a wheelchair, as the Birds of Prey tv show proved, so that's neither here nor there. To me, it's a question of robbing the DCU of a unique character and standardizing such a character even as their press releases tout a commitment to "variety". It is not that far off from the "white-washing" of the past year (killing off heroes from different ethnicities and replacing them with white counterparts). At least they've gone back on many of THOSE in the new DCU.

Is it the same as the hypersexuality of CW and RH&O? Not really, but it's still "gender/minority issues".

I'm wary of the focus groups thing because you'd think the secret would have gotten out if they really had, and it doesn't jibe well with idea that editorial requested pitches from writers and took the best ones. The timeline's all wrong for both stories to be true.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I think the problem IS how Babs got in the wheelchair. It was a stupid shock value ruining of a character, and while I commend Ostrander for figuring out how to make use of a character that Moore did his best to ruin, I say the original ruining isn't worth respecting. If they want to keep it in continuity but also have Babs able to walk again, I'm good with that. If they want to say it never happened, I'm good with that too.

This is not to say I have problems with a wheelchair-bound heroine; I just have problems with writers trying to wreck characters they have no use for. I don't have any great inherent fondness for Barbara Gordon, but I think she deserved better than what Moore did to her.

We don't know much about the "miracle" that allows her to walk again, but if it's something that later results in a tough choice where she can either keep walking or save a life (don't ask me what that scenario would look like), and she chooses to save a life, I will be much more accepting -- then at least it won't be dumb shock value from a writer who probably isn't quite as brilliant as he thinks he is.

Walking or not walking, I would like to see Babs return to Oraclehood, because you're absolutely right, the Batgirl niche is overloaded, while the Oracle niche is filled with cheap knock-offs at best.

And yes, it's disingenuous for a writer to say, "You know, editorial really screwed up by not reining in my excesses." Then again, this is Moore, who once said, and I quote, "Oh goody, DC has acquired a whole bunch of Charleton characters, I know just how to wreck 'em". Okay, so that's not a quote.

Anonymous said...

Wayne: even Wikipedia has Alan Moore recounting that Len Wein said it was OK to "cripple the bitch". There are multiple parties to blame here, but Moore was the genius that gave us the idea of wrecking a character he personally had no affection for. Odd how writers never wreck the characters they like, at least not intentionally.

There's diversity and then there's bad ideas; I say we tarnish diversity when it comes by way of bad ideas. If Gail Simone puts Babs back in a wheelchair -- and I suspect Gail plans to eventually -- I won't object provided it's done in a fashion that shows a lick of respect for the character.

Suppose, just suppose, the Joker sees Babs Gordon walking around again, and decides to abduct her and wreck her legs again, just to prove a point. If Babs still manages to bring him down without use of her her legs, and maybe even saves some lives, I could respect that. Let's just skip the super-tasteful parts where the Joker strips her naked and photographs her, okay?

Siskoid said...

But that's just it. The Killing Joke (which you find objectionable) IS still in continuity, while Oracle (which you defend as a good idea) doesn't seem to be.

I'm fine with the argument that Oracle is fruit from the poisonous tree, but the fruit is gone, and the poisonous tree remains!

LiamKav said...

The thing that's often forgotten is that Babs had already retired by the time The Killing Joke came out. Moore picked a character that people knew but that no-one had any plans to use to create his Big Shocking Story. It's not the same as, say, using Stephanie Brown, a character who was in active use but little known to the general public.

Also, I don't recall Barbara ever being drawn as anything other than attractive while Oracle. Her legs were never drawn in a way where you could tell she hadn't walked on them for several years.

As Siskoid said, they took the lemon of The Killing Joke and made lemonade by making her Oracle. Now, they've undone the good parts and left the bad. And yeah, there were a thousand story reasons how they could have healed her. But, to go back to continuity bottles, you have to ignore them the same way you ignore that Batman has access to alien tech and matter transporters during most issues of Detective Comics, otherwise lots of stories break down.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

OK. Some of this started by me using the word 'hot' to describe Babs. My original point was that she was just going to be used for her sexuality. I'm glad Simone avoided that, but I'll be damned if I understood the book. I liked the idea of PTSD, though.

Anon, thanks for bringing up the other section of the Wiki entry. It is something how Moore will have quotes close to the one you mention about the Charlton characters but he'll whine later about DC reusing his characters.

Being a 52 yr old comic geek, Batgirl wasn't truly retired at the time of TKJ. In an issue of COIE, she has a talk with Supergirl about not being able to deal with the crisis. I took that to mean a possible set-up where Babs dies, when it is Kara, in possibly the next issue. A year after TKJ, there was a Batgirl one-shot. She quits at the end, I can't even recall the story, but maybe someone at DC felt that such a story was needed.

LiamKav, you are correct on Oracle's looks. I'm thinking of Howard Porter's work on Morrison's JLA. The one time somebody got it right was when Dick Grayson took Babs out of the chair, swinging on a rope and such, but making certain her legs were wrapped together at the calves.

Going back to my use of the word hot, I'll expect top see gratuitous shots of Power Girl and Huntress in JSA. Babs was drawn well as Oracle. But in a static way. Now us fanboys can see the whole package any time DC decides.

If I sound like I'm ranting (or close), its because of my own disability. Men will whistle at girls, they'll call me drunk or retarded. But I can better accept what blacks or overweight people go through on a daily basis. I worry that--given DC's mindset--Ryan Choi will be The Atom, and then get killed so Ray Palmer can take over.

Doug Wall said...

The story I heard in regards to "The Killing Joke" is that Moore had intended it to be an "imaginary story" that didn't necessarily fit into continuity. It was a later editorial decision to make the crippling canon and give us Oracle. No facts to back it up, but that's what I heard.

Anonymous said...

"Now us fanboys can see the whole package any time DC decides."

I've seen way more cleavage on Oracle than I ever did on Batgirl. I'm just sayin'.

Are we perhaps missing the obvious: that the point of restoring Batgirl to the version used on multiple TV series, is that it is the version new readers will be most familiar with? They're trying to remove a barrier to reader accessibility, at least for issue 1 (the main jump-on point). Again, I hope Barbara returns to her Oracle gig; who knows, maybe Stephanie and Babs can share the comic, and be friends and stuff.

Siskoid said...

Wayne: In my experience, there is a gulf of misunderstanding between the majority and any minority. Because it is outside their experience (and I mean something as vague as "being the member of a minority"), they cannot relate, understand the frustrations or why something would be offensive to said minority.

I'm a straight white male, but I'm also a member of an "invisible minority" - a French-speaking Acadian. I've had a taste of what it means, though of course, English-speaking bigots in my province (they exist) can't tell from afar (and yet I've been screamed at from passing cars twice for just being near a French-speaking institution or wearing a French-language t-shirt). So I'm sensitive to these issues in a way that DC editorial may not be.

Anon: I'm always wary of your argument that excuses a dodgy or poor decision with complete speculations of how it will get better. We'll see, but for the moment, all we've got is what's been published or solicited. As for the argument that they've reset the universe to what people are most familiar with, it falls apart when you consider that DC has not been consistent AT ALL about this. Superman is the best example. Robin isn't Dick Grayson. The Teen Titans are a far cry from the cartoon. Sinestro is Green Lantern. And so on. If there was a coherent strategy at work, I'd find it acceptable, but it's all half-measures.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

Anon, we saw cleavage, now we can see ass and crotch shots again. That was more my point. But I understand yours.

Siskoid, its hard to even list how many minorities there are on this continent (or just US/Canada alone). I feel for you even though I have no idea (without reading up on it) about Acadians. French-speaking, I know a bit about that. Not really off-topic, as we are talking about how out of touch DC is re: ethnic characters. Should we start a pool on which one will die first? And, of course, we have your excellent posts about Alpha Flight. It's not just about Don't Ask Don't Tell or me getting emails of watermelons in the Rose Garden simple because certain friends think that if I'm white and live in Chicago, I must certainly find that funny. When I think about it being almost 2012, all I can do is shake my head. For what it is worth, I feel for you in a way I'll never truly "get," because I'll never be in your part of Canada.

Siskoid said...

Which is why I prefer to live and let live, and meet ever culture with a measure of tolerance and even interest. Culture in the widest sense of the word. I was raised on Star Trek, so I'm all about the IDIC.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

Amen to that. Namaste to that. I have a young German guy who translates my work. He has tales of simple bigotry between the old and the young in the small town where he lives. And to be honest, aside from telling new writers that I learned to write from reading comics, they help me forget the indignities...

 

Blog Archive

Category

5 Things to Like Activities Advice Alien Nation Aliens Say the Darndest Things Alpha Flight Amalgam Ambush Bug Animal Man anime Aquaman Archetypes Archie Heroes Arrowed Asterix Atom Avengers Awards Babylon 5 Batman Battle Shovel Battlestar Galactica Black Canary BnB 2-in1 Books Booster Gold Buffy Canada Captain America Captain Marvel Cat CCGs Charlton Circles of Hell Class Comics Comics Code Approved Conan Contest Cooking Crisis Daredevil Dating Kara Zor-El Dating Lois Lane Dating Lucy Lane Dating Princess Diana DCAU Deadman Dial H Dice Dinosaur Island Dinosaurs Director Profiles Doctor Who Doom Patrol Down the Rabbit Hole Dr. Strange Encyclopedia Fantastic Four Fashion Nightmares Fiasco Films Within Films Flash Flushpoint Foldees French Friday Night Fights Fun with Covers FW Team-Up Galleries Game design Gaming Geekly roundup Geeks Anonymous Geekwear Gimme That Star Trek Godzilla Golden Age Grant Morrison Great Match-Ups of Science Fiction Green Arrow Green Lantern Hawkman Hero Points Podcast Holidays House of Mystery Hulk Human Target Improv Inspiration Intersect Invasion Invasion Podcast Iron Man Jack Kirby Jimmy Olsen JLA JSA Judge Dredd K9 the Series Kirby Motivationals Krypto Kung Fu Learning to Fly Legion Letters pages Liveblog Lonely Hearts Podcast Lord of the Rings Machine Man Motivationals Man-Thing Marquee Masters of the Universe Memes Memorable Moments Metal Men Metamorpho Micronauts Millennium Mini-Comics Monday Morning Macking Movies Mr. Terrific Music Nelvana of the Northern Lights Nightmare Fuel Number Ones Obituaries oHOTmu OR NOT? Old52 One Panel Outsiders Panels from Sheena Paper Dolls Play Podcast Polls Questionable Fridays Radio Rants Reaganocomics Recollected Red Bee Red Tornado Reign Retro-Comics Reviews Rom RPGs Sandman Sapphire & Steel Sarah Jane Adventures Saturday Morning Cartoons SBG for Girls Seasons of DWAITAS Secret Origins Podcast Secret Wars SF Shut Up Star Boy Silver Age Siskoid as Editor Siskoid's Mailbox Space 1999 Spectre Spider-Man Spring Cleaning ST non-fiction ST novels: DS9 ST novels: S.C.E. ST novels: The Shat ST novels: TNG ST novels: TOS Star Trek Streaky Suicide Squad Supergirl Superman Supershill Swamp Thing Tales from Earth-Prime Team Horrible Teen Titans That Franchise I Never Talk About The Prisoner The Thing Then and Now Theory Thor Thursdays of Two Worlds Time Capsule Timeslip Tintin Torchwood Tourist Traps of the Forgotten Realms Toys Turnarounds TV V Waking Life Warehouse 13 Websites What If? Who's This? Whoniverse-B Wikileaked Wonder Woman X-Files X-Men Zine