Her·o·ine (noun \ˈher-ə-wən, ˈhir-, ˈhe-rə-\) - 1:a. A mythological or legendary woman having the qualities of a hero. b. A woman admired and emulated for her achievements and qualities.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Blood-Sucking Feature

I'm sure I don't have to tell anyone how crazy the vampire trend is right now. I've never understood people's obsession with sexy dead things--or the fact that people actually wish they could be one of those sexy dead things.

Vampire imagery is becoming more and more common in pop culture. And just as more and more vampire fiction or vampire TV shows are written, you can bet that comic books are doing the same thing.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer #36
Written by Joss Whedon with pencils by Georges Jeanty. Inks by Andy Owens, colors by Michelle Madsen, and letters by Richard Starkings.

I think I've mentioned Buffy the Vampire Slayer several times in this blog, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that I've been reading the season eight comic books which, sadly, is almost over. This this is the first of the final five-issue story arc before fans are going to say goodbye to Buffy... Again!

So let me start off by saying that this issue is okay. It's certainly not the best Buffy comic I've read, but it is nice to read Whedon's work. It's his connection to the comics that really makes the translation from TV actually work. But for the story-telling this time, I wasn't uber-impressed.

The comics have recently reintroduced Angel (as the initial masked villain, Twilight) and Spike (as his usual self, but traveling with giant bug things). Whom can Buffy trust, if either? It's a scenario I was hoping Whedon would avoid because now Buffy's all weird and superwoman-like, and she created a higher plane of existence, and the Buffyverse as we know it is falling apart.

I was a bit disappointed that the majority of this issue is focused on the men even though it's Buffy's comic. However, it does serve to finally explain Angel's mysterious history and connection to the entire story line. It also gives the backstory to Spike's sudden arrival in the previous issue. Also, I love the jabs that Whedon makes at other vampire narratives: Angel's villain name is Twilight (I don't have to tell you the obvious reference), but yet the world supports him and rallies for vampire rights, similar to True Blood.

So while it's not exactly a woman-motivated issue, I recommend the entire series. Even the four issues still to come. Yes, I'm biased, but Buffy's a good role-model and she's a badass vampire slayer.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Batgirl's Comeback

Batgirl #12
Written by Bryan Q. Miller with Lee Garbett, Pere Perez, and Walden Wong on pencils and inks.

So I've always been a Batgirl fan. Well actually, a Barbara Gordon fan. If you grew up in the 90s or have family that grew up in the 90s, you might recognize her from Batman: The Animated Series. And even as an old lady, Babs was pretty awesome. But the comic books are where she really shined. Alicia Silverstone's portrayal of Batgirl in Batman & Robin? Not so much. But then, the Joker shot her severing her spinal chord and rendering her paralyzed.

Needless to say, I was very upset with Alan Moore, but he later apologized to the fans of one of America's favorite comic book characters.

But that wasn't the worst of it. They introduced Cassandra Cain. She's you're typical femme-fatale ninja assassin. But no need to talk Ms. Cain, we don't want to listen to you. Yes, they created an abused and conflicted ninja assassin who can't talk.

Needless to say, I stopped reading.

Until I came across the new Batgirl cover in the comic book store. And guess what? She's blonde!

I had to do a bit of homework since I left Batgirl a while ago and apparently this is Stephanie Brown. Cassandra Cain passed the role to Brown when Batman supposedly bit the big one. Stephanie even used to be one of the dark knight's [girl]-wonders, Robin. So naturally it was time for a promotion.

Right from the beginning, I was captured by everything. The art is fantastic, but the storyline really manages to pull you in almost immediately (even for a guy who was jumping in at the end of the story). Basically, Barbara Gordon became The Oracle of Gotham City, a genius hacker who heads the Birds of Prey. Well she's been captured by her one of her nemeses, the Calculator and it's Batgirl's job to save her mentor and save the day.

But don't think Oracle is your standard damsel in distress. The Calculator is holding her captive inside a kind of mind-link between them. Babs is so smart, she learned how to fight back and his hol
ding her own until Batgirl comes to help her out.

What I found most appealing about this story is Batgirl's quirkiness. This is still a training period for her, even with her experience as two previous superhero identities. She makes mistakes, and Miller depicts them comically. She reminds me of my favorite super heroine, Buffy Summers (Of Joss Whedon's Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame). Her inexperience will also provide readers with the opportunity of actually seeing her develop as a character.

On Oracle's side of the fight, we get a bit more gritty as Barbara delves deeper into the twisted mind of the Calculator and we discover the reason for his insanity; I'm a bit disappointed that it's pinned on women, but it's only a minor detail in the shining roles the Batgirl and the Oracle play.

Overall, I really enjoyed the comic. It was a good mixture of comedy and drama and it kept me interested and invested in all of the characters. My only recommendation is to watch for the text boxes. They're so oddly placed in certain panels that it's easy to skip one and get lost.

But other than that, I would recommend Batgirl #12 to anyone.