DC This Week: Catwoman #55, Birds of Prey #94, Supergirl & the LSH #18, Justice League Unlimited #20
- Posted by Johanna on May 28, 2006 at 2:03 pm
- Category: Superhero Reviews
- PUBLISHER: DC Comics
It’s an all-female focus!
Catwoman #55 (written by Will Pfeifer, art by David Lopez and Alvaro Lopez) is the only “One Year Later” title I’m bothering to follow (and I sampled them all). It’s not very involved with all the continuity crud that subtitle implies (and thank goodness for that) — the jump forward has instead been used to put the characters in interesting new situations. Selina, the former Catwoman, is now a single mother, adjusting to her new responsibilities and facing life with new attitudes due to those who depend on her, while the current Catwoman is her former assistant Holly.
These changes are executed with a character-based focus, lots of revealing scenes driven mostly by dialogue. There’s some kind of crime-based conspiracy, for those who don’t want to go without their adventure, but regardless of the situation, the writing shines. I was struck by the scene of Selina trying to step back into her old life, where she faces a challenge every woman knows but few authors would think to include. I also liked the way the point was made clear through the art without being overplayed or exaggerated.
This issue is a particularly good one to sample, since it begins with a flashback demonstrating why Catwoman made the decision to retire. Realistically, it wasn’t any one thing, no life-changing dramatic trauma, but instead a combination of factors. Meanwhile, Holly is training with Wildcat — I know he’s got his fans out there who might appreciate seeing him guest-star. The book ends on a high point that leaves the reader asking “what next?”, just what should happen in a serialized periodical.
Ah, but what about Gail Simone’s Birds of Prey, I hear some readers asking? Great concept, but too much violence for my taste. The idea of Shiva and Black Canary changing roles is a good one, but it’s being executed with too much grit and sadism. Then there’s the villains torturing each other, the lack of any significant role for Oracle (she’s not needed when the clever plans boil down to “beat him up”), the cover that doesn’t match the events of the comic, the ludicrous idea of Canary taking down an army single-handed… plus, this is a much smaller point, but I was put off by not having one of the team members identified in the comic. Is the girl who walks through walls the former Gypsy? I don’t recall her name being “Cindy”.
As is also unfortunately typical of this title, the artist (Paulo Siqueira, this issue) seems more interested in oversized breasts than clear storytelling. There’s one particular full-body profile shot of the Huntress that was astounding in its exaggeration.
Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #18 was enjoyable, but I have little to say about it. It’s another chapter of the soap opera, with various revelations, adventure and comedy, character introductions and elaborations. Entertaining, but I can’t get terribly excited about it, because I no longer have the emotional connections to the team and concept I once had. If I stopped reading the series, I wouldn’t miss it, but while it’s around, it’s better than a lot else out there. I like the powerful naivete Supergirl adds.
Justice League Unlimited #20 is an all-girl adventure by Paul Storrie and Rick Burchett. Why’d it take me almost two months to get to it? Because Diamond didn’t send it to my comic shop for three weeks, and then I got behind. I thought others might find this posted sign amusing:
That border, aside from echoing one of the odder Legion of Super-Heroes adventures (in which the whole team dies), captures how some retailers feel about Diamond when they’re over a barrel, caught between trying to provide great service to their customers and Diamond’s monopoly status.
Anyway, the comic. Mary Marvel wants some advice about being a female superhero. She’s looking for Wonder Woman, but when she’s not available, Mary and Supergirl wind up swapping tips as they observe a variety of heroines doing their jobs. It’s mostly a fight scene, but with a message that readers sadly still need reminding of: doing the right thing is something everyone, male or female, is capable of. The commissary scene, with numerous background cameos, is a hoot for DCU fans.