DC Spinner Rack: Zatanna 5, Batgirl 14, Justice League Generation Lost 11, Booster Gold 37

All comics are $2.99, published by DC Comics.

Zatanna #5

Zatanna #5 cover

written by Paul Dini
pencils by Chad Hardin
inks by Wayne Faucher

It’s cheesecake-y at times, as you’d expect from a title starring a woman wearing fishnets instead of pants, but in spite of the exaggerated cleavage, I find myself impressed by one thing about this series: Zatanna gets to win.

She’s got a lot of power, and she uses it well. She may be stymied temporarily, but instead of losing her head or having to be rescued, she comes up with an alternate way to free herself and stop the bad guys.

You might think this might get tiring, but Dini is coming up with new threats and villains all the time. Magic allows for lots of creativity, whether it’s battling demon this or wizard that. There’s a human element, too, as Zatanna’s relationship with her cousin Zach is a struggle. Although they have similar powers, Zatanna’s been more successful with hers, both heroing and on stage, so Zach’s jealous and hurting. I found it refreshing to see the younger, aspiring role being filled by a boy, seeking help from an older woman.

The entertainment world, here represented by Las Vegas and a sleazy casino owner, is a great setting for Zatanna’s blend of power and stagecraft. Her abilities depend as much on her intelligence, on outwitting her opponents, as raw might. That’s why I can’t wait to see how she gets out of this cliffhanger, about to be brainwashed into marrying a user and abuser.

Batgirl #14

Batgirl #14 cover

written by Bryan Q. Miller
pencils by Lee Garbett
inks by Trevor Scott

An excellent teamup and a timely threat. Supergirl visits Batgirl just in time to fight movie Draculas come to life.

What I like most about this title is the way Stephanie is a college student and superhero. It’s so much more fun reading an adventure comic when the hero seems like a real person, one with hopes and dreams, balancing a full life (or grousing about having nothing to do on a Friday night) instead of griping about how rotten powers make everything. She doesn’t have powers, just strength and determination and a great supporting cast. (Unfortunately, we don’t see Proxy this issue. Maybe next time.)

The writing excels, with jokes and comments that fit the characters instead of vice versa. There’s a sense of menace, to make the story exciting, but also a sense of fun. I like seeing these young women share action and find more of what they have in common. There are so few superheroines with their own books that it’s nice to see them being friends.

Justice League: Generation Lost #11

Justice League: Generation Lost #11 cover

written by Judd Winick
pencils by Aaron Lopresti
inks by Matt Ryan

I’d gotten behind on this series, so I hadn’t realized that Keith Giffen had left several issues ago, taking my interest with him.

Instead of focusing on the core characters, we get Metal Men and, last issue, Magog. Now, the former are ok, but they’re not the Justice League members I was reading this series for. And the latter — he was a joke! A symbol of everything stupid about superhero comics in Kingdom Come. Now, we’re supposed to accept him as a significant character? No. I reject the Cable clone and the kind of “force it down their throats” writing he represents, the idea that if someone is shoved in front of fans often enough, they’ll give up and realize they were wrong about hating him. But that was last issue. This time, it’s the Metal Men who are out of character, missing everything that made them charming. Now they’re just another team of robots written by someone who seems to be more familiar with Voltron than their background.

Also missing: cast interplay with a light touch and a sense of history, what made this series different from the existing crossovers and event books on the stands. Instead, this issue is all pointless battle. What a time-waster. I don’t know why Keith Giffen left, or if that’s even what really happened; all I know is that this is another comic I was enjoying and now I don’t.

Booster Gold #37

written by Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis
pencils by Chris Batista
inks by Rich Perrota

Hey, look! Giffen is working, again paired with DeMatteis, on this title, instead! I’ll start reading this one now.

Especially with such wacky ideas as this: Booster’s in intergalactic prison, Blue Beetle (the old one, due to time travel) is a chipmunk, and new character Estrogina is claiming Booster as her boy toy once they break out and rejoin her group of female space pirates. It’s all fast and furious with plenty of narration and wisecracks, just like the good old days. With so much happening, it’s great value and a fun time.

9 Responses to “DC Spinner Rack: Zatanna 5, Batgirl 14, Justice League Generation Lost 11, Booster Gold 37”

  1. Dwight Williams Says:

    I’m not rejecting Magog as a joke. I’ve read too much by now, much of it written by Messrs. Johns and Giffen.

    As for why Giffen broke off from JL: Generation Lost, I thought that was partly explained by the new LSH Annual he’s been working on with Paul Levitz.

  2. Argo Plummer Says:


    OK, the world must be about to end, because you and I have agreed on something from the world of comics–superhero comics no less. It was almost as if I wrote this post–except it was better written and more interesting than if I had done it–to be fair, I don’t read Zatanna–never have found the character interesting, but I appreciate Dini’s skill and how he is portraying a female lead in the male dominated world of the DC Universe (makes me feel like I should read it and support the effort)–but I am loving the new Batgirl series and the Giffen / DeMatteis Booster Gold run while JL Generation Lost has been a major disappointment to me–and I am actually a Judd Winick fan–OK, maybe fan is too strong a word, but I do defend him when he gets badmouthed–some of his mainstream stuff is better than he gets credit for and I have loved his indy stuff–I need more Barry Ween!!!!

  3. Johanna Says:

    I used to think Judd Winick’s work couldn’t be as bad as people said, but this run of JL:GL issues (I read the last four, up to #11) was just horrible. To be fair, I rarely like continuity event tie-ins, but I was enjoying the early issues of this one until the changeover.

  4. Argo Plummer Says:

    First, I can’t believe we are spending this much time on Judd Winick–anyway, I actually really enjoyed his GL run and about the first half of his Green Arrow run. I thought his run on Batman was pretty good even though I hated that he brought back Jason Todd. It was a real love / hate thing–I was enjoying the individual stories but didn’t like the overall story being told. His Outsiders run was decent at first, but deteriorated pretty quick–though I hate he killed Donna Troy in the mini that led up to that–yeah, it didn’t last, but I still hated it. Haven’t read his Power Girl or Exiles. Generation Lost didn’t even keep my interest when Giffen (who is one of my all time favorite creators) was co-writing it and it has gotten worse. I actually haven’t bought it–I was waiting for trades, but I read the occasional issue in my LCS and I won’t be buying the trade–maybe checking it out from the library eventually if they get it. Anyway, have you ever read any of Winick’s independent stuff?

  5. Johanna Says:

    I found Barry Ween a bit too sophomoric for my tastes, and Pedro and Me didn’t need to be a comic — it didn’t have a good integration of image and text.

  6. David Says:

    Wow. You don’t like Barry Ween or Pedro and me? Odd. Btw, the general consensus is that Giffen was plotting breakdowns based on winick’s scripts from gen lost #2 and on. The “change over” happened awhile back. Like, from the beginning. I think you just have issues with Winick and not the storytelling.

  7. Argo Plummer Says:

    Johanna–Your criticisms of Pedro and Me and Barry Ween are fair and valid. Pedro and Me’s visual storytelling was static in places and downright amateurish in others, but the story really tugged at my heartstrings so I happily forgave it’s rougher areas. As for Barry Ween, yes it is sophomoric, but I loved that. Though I am rapidly approaching 40, I still enjoy a good fart or male anatomy joke. Different tastes and all. I think Barry Ween does a good job of balancing the crude humor with heart and the storytelling was much crisper. Interestingly, these are not my favorite Judd Winick works though I love them both. I find his one-shot published by Oni, titled Road Trip (it collects a serialized story originally published in Oni’s anthology title) to be better drama than Pedro and Me–it shouldn’t be too expensive to pick up if you ever find a copy. As for humor, I prefer the two collections of Winick’s aborted / failed newspaper comic strip Frumpy the Clown. I believe these were published by Oni as well. They are probably harder to find, but again worth a look. They sit proudly on my bookshelf next to my Calvin and Hobbes, Peanuts, and Bloom County collections. BTW, with regards to David’s comment, I think you came across as fair and balanced with regards to your criticisms of Winick as opposed to having issues with him.

    David–you probably know this and just got confused, but Giffen would be scripting from Winick’s plots, not the other way around. :) While I don’t have JL Generation Lost’s credits memorized, I know Giffen is well known for doing the plotting and breakdowns and having someone else script . I’m not necessarily saying he was doing that with JL:GL, but if it was the more traditional Giffen set up with his plotting and Winick scripting, then it would make sense that the tone of the book changed when he left and Winick took over the plotting as well. Just saying…

  8. Johanna Says:

    Yeah, that’s the problem with criticizing Pedro — it’s such a touching true-life tale that people overreact to pointing out it wasn’t a very good use of the medium. And I can certainly see why people liked Barry Ween; it just didn’t match my sense of humor, but it’s a neat concept with lots of potential.

    I liked Road Trip too! It’s such a quiet little story, though — no high concept, no brand hook — that it’s no wonder it got overlooked.

    As for David, well, there are always people who mistake criticism of the work for criticism of the person. I don’t pretend to know the details of what really happened behind-the-scenes … all I know is that the early issues felt like the Giffen work I enjoyed back on Justice League, and these recent ones have none of the same appeal to me.

  9. Hal Shipman Says:

    Oh, oh, oh, oh. I was having the same reaction to GL. Winick’s involvement was why I was hesitant in the first place, but ended up really loving it at first. But the last few issues – hadn’t even noticed the change in credits.

    “I found Barry Ween a bit too sophomoric for my tastes, and Pedro and Me didn’t need to be a comic — it didn’t have a good integration of image and text.”

    I have to admit, I freaking love Barry Ween. I have read that over and over again and still laugh. I looked at Pedro for my paper on graphic memoir. One interesting thing about it is very meta – it’s a memoir largely documenting a (purported) documentary experience. And unlike the others of the formal, there’s a reasonable expectation that readers of the work actually saw the TV show. Doesn’t make it good story-telling, though.




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