The Histories of Bucky and Jason Todd Explained [Comic] ... honestly, I can't argue with that conclusion. Though it is arguable whether 'tis better to be a brainwashed assassin responsible for the deaths of many who gets shocked back to sanity and then knows what he's done and has to deal, or a seriously cheesed off "anti-hero" responsible for the deaths of hundreds who knows exactly what he's doing at all points and does it anyway. (...OK, more than a hundred, anyway; Jason Todd just killed over a hundred admittedly very nasty criminals in Blackgate Prison a couple issues ago in "Batman and Robin". Granted that nobody not related to them will mourn them, this is still putting Jason into the company of the Joker and Firefly, in terms of being a really prolific mass murderer in the DCU. And for his sins, he gets to head up a new comic!)

"There is a reason that so many horrible things happen in Gotham". (Not a comic.) And let me just say: SQUEEEEEEE! Not just because this title is finally appearing, not just because both Williams and Amy Reeder Hadley make some seriously gorgeous art (I miss her Madame Xanadu), but because they're using a version of La Llorona for the first story arc! You probably have to have been brought up in Mexico or the Southwest US to really get it, but ... well, I was. So, you know. SQUEEEEE!

"Obama's Evolving Position". The first of this week's strips on the topic. Evolution proceeds impressively.

Another on the same topic, only with fewer reptiles.

(In all fairness, there's also this:
Justice Department strongly backs gays on marriage (San Francisco Chronicle,
Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer
Thursday, July 7, 2011

The latest San Francisco court filing on same-sex marriage reads like a gay rights manifesto: It rejects tradition, morals and procreation as justifications for marriage restrictions and concludes that a federal ban on spousal benefits was unconstitutionally based on "animus" - dislike, rooted in prejudice - toward gays and lesbians.

The brief comes not from Lambda Legal or the American Civil Liberties Union but the Obama administration's Justice Department - which, like the president himself, may be tiptoeing toward a wholehearted endorsement of same-sex marriage rights. [...]

-- The law "was motivated in substantial part by animus toward gays and lesbians and their intimate relationship," and rested on "stereotype-based thinking" that offends the constitutional guarantee of equality, the Justice Department wrote.
-- Even sincere moral or religious disapproval of homosexuality "is not a legitimate policy objective" or basis for a law.
-- Laws that penalize or prohibit same-sex marriage do not encourage heterosexual marriage, procreation or responsible child-rearing, but instead deny children of same-sex couples "the benefits of the stable home life produced by legally recognized marriage."
-- Proposition 8, the 2008 California initiative banning same-sex marriage, was an example of a "political backlash" demonstrating the relative powerlessness of gays and lesbians - a critical factor in judicial review of all such laws. [...]

I would not, myself, argue that our president is tiptoeing toward any endorsement of same-sex marriage rights. In fact, I would argue that he's tying himself into rhetorical knots to avoid doing any such thing, while also trying to avoid alienating gay and lesbian voters. At the same time, it looks like his administration, between trying to get rid of DADT and its newly articulated position on DOMA, is advancing a surprisingly coherent view of civil rights. Having his personal position appear to be so very different from his administration's position seems very strange sometimes, even allowing that he's doing this because he has to govern people who think very differently about the issue. But I digress. Back to comics!

You can sort of understand why she might think that way. What with all the ducking out on dates and everything.

Yes. Yes, it IS.

That would be probably the most unusual description of Austin, TX, I've ever seen.

Strangely enough, some days, web development works exactly like this.

Well ... you can't argue with the endpoint, some days.

"The Prince and the Sea: a romance." And a fairy tale in the folktale mold. Which means that things will not be quite what you expect.

What. The. HELL! is he thinking!? (Yes, there are two strips after this one, and SHE does the right thing, but I honestly can't understand why he would think that was even necessary.)

And in conclusion, just because of today's title:

Fear the power of veggie dip! FEAR IT! (And just in case: a bit of context here and here)

You know, most people don't react like this to the memory of soda. Or even actual soda.

Ah, yes ... memory?

Sadly, in my admittedly quite limited experience, there's some truth to that last panel.

Who knew the effects of a one man band could be so dramatic? (Click on the comic in the page to expand.) Also, Albion: 1849 (video and audio at Youtube) is awesome ... though perhaps only immediately understandable for people of a certain age. This might be helpful.

Everybody loves Joan! Seriously, AMC should maybe purchase the rights for several of those illustrations, and use them as teasers here and there whenever the next season gets scheduled. (NB: Periscope also loves Janelle Monae.

Not a webcomic, but: at the rate this project is going -- or rather, not going, as far as can be told by the general public -- it could be non-ironically called "Batwoman: Turn On The Dark", with a second cancellation and unscheduled-as-yet re-re-resolicitation. Of course, it didn't cost $65 million and counting to produce, and there don't seem to be any major injuries or OSHA fines involved, but the constant rescheduling of the opening does seem very familiar... Given that DC was teasing the title in recent issues, whatever happened -- and DC is so far resolutely not saying; I hope that nobody has had any personal misfortune to cause this -- seems to have been very abrupt. Pity; the Williams/Stewart artwork for issue 1 was freakin' gorgeous. The question is going to be, how many times can DC promise and solicit and cancel and resolicit before the readership decides they just don't care, and they'll get it if and when they see it. The collection of Manhunter backups from "Batman: Streets of Gotham" was cancelled due to low pre-orders; how much will it take before the same thing happens to this title? (And in related nonwebcomics news: "Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark" delayed again by Taymor exit and book rewrite.)
iainpj: (Default)
( Oct. 19th, 2010 11:32 am)
All's I have to say is, I so want to see the blueprints for that building in the last panel... (Yes, I know, entirely beside the point, but still...)

How does one manage to do that "virtually"?

Sadly, public libraries are in just that sort of shape these days.

I do not believe I would ever describe that as "overlapping meat flaps".

I wonder why they think it's been pushed back so far? According to the DC Source weblog, issue 0 is still on track for next month, with the ongoing to start in February. (Oddly, the new publicity materials, if you didn't know who she was, make her look vaguely related to the Joker and Harley Quinn somehow. Seriously, doesn't her face look like a porcelain mask? Also, I am deeply amused by the guy in the comments thread who defines three characters as "lesbians galore." Though his point still holds, relatively speaking. After all, on the guy side, there's Obsidian and ... um ... well, at least he's not an egg any more. And ... he wants to merge with his sister and become a hermaphrodite? Really? Makes me happy that I don't read Justice Society, frankly.)
Huh. Apparently, when DC said they weren't going to shelve Batwoman, they might really have meant it. Whoda thunk it?

Alex Segura, The Source,

Last week, artist J.H. Williams III was nominated for two Eisners — best penciler/inker and cover artist — for his much-acclaimed run on Batwoman in DETECTIVE COMICS. His art was praised and recognized not only by the Eisners but across the mainstream and comic trade press for its fluid and versatile look in presenting Kate Kane and helping define her as a lasting character. J.H.’s distinctive style and creative page layouts were a key part of the book’s success.

Don’t expect that to change. In fact, J.H.'s role is about to be expanded. In the coming months, Batwoman will settle into more permanent digs of her own — namely, an ongoing series both written and drawn by Williams. He'll be getting a co-writer in W. Haden Blackman, a writer known for his work in the Star Wars universe, including the Star Wars: Galaxies MMO and The Force Unleashed video game. Additionally, MADAME XANADU artist Amy Reeder will be stepping in to handle the art for the second arc in the series. More on that later. [...] "Our goal is to tell a riveting action adventure tale with some heart and drama to it," Williams said. "We want the reader to learn even more about who Kate Kane is as Batwoman — showing why she is an important addition to the Bat Family of heroes beyond what has already been addressed. We are also wanting to really make sure we start building additions to her own 'rogues gallery.' Just how will Kate deal with the fallout between her and her father, Jacob? Will Kate be able to find love other than Renee Montoya, a.k.a. The Question? And as far as flavor — there will be a sprinkle of creepy beings, myth and legends, government agency intrigue, and a surprise return of a fan-favorite character." [...]

[...] “I’m very excited to be working on BATWOMAN,” Blackman said. “I have a real affinity for the character. Jim [Williams III] and Greg [Rucka] have done an amazing job of establishing her as a premiere character in the DC Universe and I’m looking forward to using that as a launching pad to tell all-new stories with her. The opportunity to work with Jim is something we’ve been talking about for a long time and for me it’s really the best job in comics – getting the chance to work with someone who is truly one of the top talents in the industry.

“The thing that really attracts me to Batwoman as a character is her combination of a really strong, personal story and a dark, superheroic one. She has that perfect combination and I’m looking forward to the chance to take some of the classic aspects of vigilante comics and reinterpret them through the lens of this character.”

Excited yet?...

...Yes. Yes, I am.

I wonder if this means that JH will be writing the back end of the "Elegy" arc that he and Rucka had originally planned, or if that will be shelved for another storyline. And what this means for Detective, and for the Question. Presumably, she's not going to be a backup title in Batwoman, and one assumes that once Bruce is back, he'll take over the lead in Detective again. (Or Batman will, anyway.)

It's going to be interesting to see what Reeder does with the artwork on the second arc. I love her work on Madame Xanadu, but it's very very different than the style Williams uses for Batwoman (assuming that his visual storytelling style won't change). In the last Detective arc, Jock's style was very different from Williams', but still worked -- it did seem like maybe he was trying to echo some of the odd layouts Williams works with, but then, Jock's visual style is also fairly distinctive on its own. I'm sure that Reeder can produce a style all her own for Batwoman, if needed, based on what she's managed with Madame Xanadu. (I'm guessing that perhaps this may be what Ms. Reeder refers to in her LJ when she says, "my work-related announcement is that at some point there may be an announcement...about various work-related things. Uh...not sure when those will come, and if they'll be peacemeal, but they're very, very cool and I hope they will stretch me because I'm due for a good stretching." I wonder if she'll be working on both Madame Xanadu and this, or if MX will be handed to another artist -- other artists have worked on the series so far, as well as Reeder -- or if perhaps this means that Madame may be endangered; I really hope that it's doing well enough to continue. (Vertigo titles selling rather dreadfully, on the whole, it wouldn't surprise me if it's having problems. MX did make the March 2010 chart of the top 300 titles, although 8200 copies is kind of low -- although, actually, not for Vertigo. The best selling DC title -- and best selling overall -- last month was Blackest Night #8, with 135,000 copies; the best selling Vertigo title last month was Fables, with 20,000 copies.)

So, all things considered, yes, I am actually excited.

Of course (because a true fanboy is never satisfied), an actual launch date might have been nice.

(EDIT: And it turns out that Reeder will be completing this arc of Madame Xanadu, doing one more issue of a special arc, and then she's done with MX. And it's not clear from what she says whether or not Madame herself might also be done after the next arc. Ah, well.)
DC seems to be having itself a month, doesn't it? And not necessarily in the good way, either. Simone moves off Wonder Woman (though to reboot Birds of Prey, which many will think a worthwhile exchange -- having never read the latter, I can't say); Palmiotti, Gray and Conner leave Power Girl in June, and now this.

Greg Rucka Finished At DC, Off Batwoman [Wondercon]
Apr 2nd 2010
By: David Brothers (

During his spotlight panel at Wondercon, moderated by our own Laura Hudson, Greg Rucka dropped a bombshell. He has been out of exclusive with DC Comics for three years, despite spending those three years working exclusively with DC, and his time with them is over. He just turned in the last of his DC work for the foreseeable future, and his time with Kate Kane is done. He reiterated his love for the character, saying that walking away from her was an incredibly hard decision to make, but one that was necessary....

The Complete Greg Rucka Wondercon Panel Transcript [Wondercon]
Apr 5th 2010
By: Laura Hudson (

[...]LH: I solicited questions from Twitter, and they overwhelmingly asked the same question: What's happening with "Batwoman"?

GR: I don't know. I finished my last of my DC work yesterday, and I'm not currently doing anything for DC right now. I love the character; I would love to continue working with the character, but at the same time I'm sort of needing to step back from my DC work in general. I suspect that we'll come back to her at some point. I don't know if that's going to be something that Jim and I do together. I am not sure what Jim's plans are. I want to keep working with him, and I believe that's mutual. There is more to tell. There's a whole five-part story broken down that is really the last of -- "Elegy" was supposed to be four issues; there were supposed to be three issues that were "Go," and then there was a five-part story that Jim and I had, but because of a variety of things in-house at DC, we were moved out of "Detecitve [Comics]" and we couldn't tell the story there. So there's a concluding story that's basically Alice's origin story. It's what happened to Elizabeth. I don't know if we'll ever get to do it. I have been around in this industry long enough to never say never....

Nothing More, Nothing Less (
April 3rd, 2010

[...] So, if you’re a fan of my work in the field of comics, you’ve most likely heard the news that I’m no longer doing work for DC. I’m told that speculation is flying fast and furious as to why this is, and apparently, even despite my on-the-record comments, it continues.

There is no drama here, folks. It is as it appears. I’m stepping away from DC to pursue different opportunities. Nothing more nefarious than that. Nothing less sinister. Time is a commodity that is as precious to me as it is rare, and there’s simply not enough of it....

According to a tag at the end of a piece at blog@Newsarama, DC says that while they'd like Rucka to continue to write the character, they're not planning to shelve the series that they had talked about. (Though, once again, it's worth noting that the series -- or miniseries; that was never clear either -- hadn't had a release date even before Rucka decided to concentrate on his other work.)

Assuming that DC is being up-front and truly is planning to go ahead with the character, it's going to be interesting to see what happens now. If I understand the structure of how things were to happen, Batwoman was supposed to move out of Detective ... well, now, actually, with the last issue of "The Cutter", which shipped last week. We were supposed to start a new ongoing/miniseries that would be the origin story of Alice/Beth -- what happened after she was kidnapped. Renee Montoya as the Question was supposed to take over Detective for a few issues to close out the human trafficking arc that she's investigating; it wasn't clear from what I'd seen whether Batwoman would become a B-feature for the length of that run, but it sounded more like she would simply not appear at all. I'm guessing those issues have been written and possibly illustrated at this point, since otherwise it would leave Detective stranded without any content for possibly several months to come.

My guess -- and, of course, it's only a guess -- is that assuming what I understand of the schedule to be accurate, instead of moving Batwoman to her own title and picking up on the origin of Beth, they may leave Kate/Batwoman where she is, and find a new writer to pick up on the rather startling last page of the last issue of Detective. For that matter, without getting into Alice/Beth's origin, they can get into what the Religion of Crime will think when they discover that Kate's made the acquaintance of a Lazarus pool; I should think that would get certain knickers in a complete twist.

I do wonder who they'll get to write her. Rucka mentioned in the above-linked transcript that he'd wanted to create a character that anyone could write, that it wouldn't be so strongly linked to a single creator. To a certain extent, at least, he's succeeded; Morrison put her in Batman and Robin and it didn't feel as though she were a completely different character or anything like that. (Mind, there was the timeline and story-related question of just what the hell she was doing there in the first place, but that's somewhat beside the point.) That said, I can't imagine that Morrison would pick up yet one more thing; he's got Batman and Robin, plus he's essentially controlling the direction of the entire Bat section of the DCU. (Yes, I realize that there's an editor for that. Nonetheless, Batman and Robin is the lynchpin of just about everything Gotham-related except the forthcoming Birds of Prey -- which, oddly enough, will include the recently-resurrected Hawk and Dove, as well as Oracle (between this and Batgirl, she's going to be insanely busy) and which is tied to Brightest Day. (Speculation about Brightest Day being tied to The Return of Bruce Wayne aside.) Andreyko would do a good job with it, I think, although Batwoman is actually a darker title than Manhunter -- which, considering as Manhunter features one of the only two DCU heroes who will kill if she feels it necessary, is saying quite something. (The other one being, of course, Wonder Woman. I wonder if it says anything at all that the two heroes of the DCU who will kill are both women. Also, now that Manhunter is in Gotham, I'll bet that they're very careful not to have her go up against the Joker -- she wouldn't hesitate to put him down like a rabid dog. But I digress.)

I've seen a few people here and there baying "homophobia! DC is getting rid of the lesbians!" However, it's worth noting that, at least somewhat, whatever DC does with the characters is driven by the fact that they lost their writer. THAT said, DC seems oddly unprepared to replace him, or at least to announce who they're replacing him with.

In any event, it's going to be interesting to see what happens with Batwoman from here. If anything, of course.
GLAAD has announced the winners of 24 of its 32 categories of awards, with the last eight awaiting the Los Angeles ceremony. And the winners are:

Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) - 21st Annual GLAAD Media Awards - New York:

Awards Presented on Stage
Outstanding Drama Series: Brothers and Sisters (ABC)
Outstanding TV Movie or Mini-Series: Prayers for Bobby (Lifetime)
Outstanding TV Journalism Segment: "Why Will Won't Pledge Allegiance", American Morning (CNN)
Outstanding Digital Journalism Article - Two-Way Tie:
- "'We Love You, This Won't Change a Thing'" by John Buccigross (
- "Why Can't You Just Butch Up? Gay Men, Effeminacy, and Our War with Ourselves" by Brent Hartinger (

Hartinger's article is a fascinating exploration of the love/hate relationship gay men have with visible effeminacy. Buccigross' story is very touching, and also a little heartbreaking; Brendan Burke died in a car accident about a month or so after the story was published.

Other English-Language Awards Announced in New York

* Outstanding Film-Limited Release: Little Ashes (Regent Releasing)
* Outstanding Individual Episode: "Pawnee Zoo" Parks and Recreation (NBC)
* Outstanding Daily Drama: One Life to Live (ABC)
* Outstanding Talk Show Episode: "Ellen DeGeneres and Her Wife, Portia de Rossi" The Oprah Winfrey Show (syndicated)
* Outstanding TV Journalism – Newsmagazine: "Uganda Be Kidding Me" (series) The Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC)
* Outstanding Newspaper Article: "Kept From a Dying Partner's Bedside" by Tara Parker-Pope (The New York Times)
* Outstanding Newspaper Columnist: Frank Rich (The New York Times)
* Outstanding Newspaper Overall Coverage: The New York Times
* Outstanding Magazine Article: "Coming Out in Middle School" by Benoit Denizet-Lewis (The New York Times Magazine)
* Outstanding Magazine Overall Coverage: The Advocate
* Outstanding Comic Book: Detective Comics by Greg Rucka (DC Comics)
* Outstanding New York Theater: Broadway & Off–Broadway: A Boy and His Soul by Colman Domingo
* Outstanding New York Theater: Off–Off Broadway: She Like Girls by Chisa Hutchinson

Benoit Denizet-Lewis' story was fascinating, if vaguely inconceivable back in my day. And, in one of those moments of clanging irony, One Life to Live had its award announced a couple of days after the producers announced that the gay storyline for which it won was being phased out. Apparently, they thought that the storyline had harmed the ratings. (The fact that they also dragged out the wretched and annoying Mitch Laurence storyline from mothballs at exactly the same time somehow doesn't get blamed. Only the gay guys in what was clearly a subsidiary storyline. Yes. Quite.)

And you know what? I'm not even going to snark about that comics award. Yes, Detective Comics comes from one of their beloved four mainstream publishers (DC, Marvel, Image, Dark Horse). Yes, Greg Rucka is, you know, a straight guy. It's also a superhero comic starring two lesbian leads, with gripping storylines. And it's bloody flippin' gorgeous to look at. (It's a bit of a pity that this seems to be only a writers award; I think that artist JH Williams III has had as much to do with the series' success as Rucka, frankly.) Doesn't mean that I don't think there were other titles out there worthy of consideration; just that, even allowing for GLAAD's relentlessly narrow parameters for consideration, this is a pretty good choice.

Spanish-Language Awards Announced in New York

* Outstanding Novela: Más Sabe el Diablo (Telemundo)
* Outstanding Daytime Talk Show Episode: "Adopción gay: un tema muy controversial" Paparazzi TV Sensacional (MegaTV)
* Outstanding Talk Show Interview: "Realidades de ser gay en la tercera edad" El Show de Cristina (Univision)
* Outstanding TV Journalism – Newsmagazine: TIE: "En el cuerpo equivocado" Primer Impacto (Univision) & "Damas gracias: Entrevista con Eva Leivas-Andino" Al Rojo Vivo (Telemundo)
* Outstanding Newspaper Article: "Mas familias de dos papás o dos mamas" by Pilar Marrero (La Opinión)
* Outstanding Magazine Article: "Del odio a la justicia" by Lena Hansen (People en Español)
* Outstanding Digital Journalism Article: "Saliendo del clóset: Cómo enfrentarlo en familia" by Fernanda Martínez (
So. GLAAD announced its media awards nominations for 2009 today, including, of course, the nominations for outstanding comic book. Let's remind everyone of the requirements for nomination, shall we? Let's shall?

GLAAD Media Awards Categories
Comic Book
Given to a comic book published by the four mainstream publishers and their subsidiary labels: Dark Horse, DC, Image, and Marvel. At GLAAD's discretion, a comic book from another publisher may be nominated if the book achieves a level of visibility and impact similar to a mainstream publisher. The comic book may be nominated for an individual issue, a story arc or a recurring LGBT character. Receives Award: Award is given to the comic book. Writer, artist and/or editor may accept.

Insert teeth-grinding at GLAAD's stupid limitations here. And ... OK, we're done. Moving on.

Actually, allowing for GLAAD's corporatist bent and the actual purpose of the awards ... I don't hate these nominations. In fact, it's really a pretty good lot. (I know! I'd never have thought I'd say that either!)

Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) - 21st Annual GLAAD Media Awards - English-Language Nominees: Outstanding Comic Book
Buffy the Vampire Slayer by Jane Espenson, Steven S. DeKnight, Drew Z. Greenberg, Jim Krueger, Doug Petrie, Joss Whedon (Dark Horse Comics)
Detective Comics by Greg Rucka (DC Comics)
Madame Xanadu by Matt Wagner (Vertigo/DC Comics)
Secret Six by Gail Simone (DC Comics)
X-Factor by Peter David (Marvel Comics)

Given that particular group of nominees, I suspect it will come down to Detective vs X-Factor. And I can't say as I'd argue with that, either. (I think the Rucka/Williams run on Detective was perhaps the best thing I read in comics last year, period. It certainly was the most gorgeous.) Mind, that does have one caveat: I don't read Marvel, so I don't read X-Factor. That said, its nomination makes perfectly good sense; the reason it might beat out Detective is because Rob Liefeld, the creator of the characters, who hasn't written them in several years, had a very public hissyfit at the very notion that the character could be gay. If GLAAD can't resist the opportunity to thumb their nose at him while rewarding what seems to have been good writing ... well, I certainly couldn't blame them. (For what it's worth, Peter David and Rob Liefeld have an ... interesting back and forth in the comments thread in the latter article.) Detective is the only comic from any of the Big Four featuring two lesbian lead characters, Kate Kane's Batwoman in the main story and Renee Montoya's The Question in the backup. I only read Secret Six in trade, so I'm not sure what the storylines there were -- although reading Blackest Night: Suicide Squad, which involves the Secret Six, certainly lets one know that Scandal is still most definitely interested in the women -- and Madame Xanadu had one arc featuring a lesbian relationship (granted, involving the main character). And Buffy had Willow, whose relationship with Kennedy became more prominent this year; I don't remember if the whole "Buffy having a lesbian moment" thing was this year or last.

As for the other categories ... well, it's an interesting batch. I didn't see or even hear of a lot of the films that were nominated in the small film category. The television categories are pretty standard, on the whole, with not that much unexpected. I do hope "One Life to Live" wins the daytime drama award. (...Oh, hush already! It's fun! And the Oliver/Kyle/Kris storyline was actually surprisingly well handled -- by which I mean that the coming-out part was really well done, and the romance part was treated pretty much exactly like they treated the straight romances that were going on at the same time. Though I do think Kyle's candle thing was a little ... odd. And that's independent of Amelia's storyline, which was brief but weirdly awesome. But I digress.) The startling thing is that "RuPaul's Drag Race" actually made it for Outstanding Reality Program; a gay program on a gay network nominated for a GLAAD award! Imagine that! (...OK, I'll stop now. Maybe.) And I somehow thought that ABC Family's "Greek" was a drama, and not a comedy. (And look! "Beautiful People" from Logo! Another gay show from a gay network! Good heavens! ... OK, now I'll stop.) In any event, I don't expect that the rest of the category has much chance against "Glee", which seems to have all sorts of momentum these days.

The journalism nominations look very solid. I've actually read or seen most of the stuff nominated -- how on earth did that happen? -- and I can't really argue with much of it.

I do wish that the nominations page had more (or, well, any) links to the nominated items or websites, where possible. But that's a technical quibble.
Angel Annual #1: "Last Angel in Hell" (Brian Lynch/Stephen Moody/Leonard O'Grady; IDW)
In which we see the movie made from Angel season 6. (For the sake of sanity, the new arc that Willingham is writing can be thought of as Angel season 7.) The conceit is that it was written by someone who lived in Los Angeles when it was dragged to hell, who saw much of what happened, but who wasn't close enough to the center of events to really understand what was going on. Add to that the muck that Hollywood frequently makes of things. Add to that the fact that ... well, neither the script nor the actor playing the lead seem to be very good. In fact, they seem to be quite quite quite awful. Put that all together, and you get a comic book "adaptation" of a movie that is impressively, awesomely bad. Angel appears to be played by a man who has taken lessons from the Nicolas Cage school of acting (think "Moonstruck", "Raising Arizona" and "Knowing", all mixed together in the same performance). Spike is played by a woman with, so we are told in a previous issue, a rather bad English accent. Gunn is being played by a round white guy and can turn into a dragon when pressed (he prefers not to). Fred is played by a black woman as an impressively kickass character, wearing the high-tech prototype ILLYRIA suit. (No, the acronym doesn't make the slightest sense. It shoots lightning from her hands when needed.) Angel starts out as an LAPD detective, whose partner, Wesley, gets killed and ghostified (don't ask) during an operation that goes wrong because of vampires, in which Angel does not believe until forced. (Again, don't ask.) But he starts to recover from that shock, and he's going to marry Spike, but the wedding goes horribly horribly wrong, in a way that will seem astoundingly familiar to anyone who ever saw the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" movie. (Or read the BTVS "Origins" comic.) And that, for some reason, provides the final push to send Los Angeles to hell. Lorne, as it turns out, rules most of LA as a lieutenant of Satan himself, and ... well. You just have to read the thing to see how awesomely, terribly, deliberately bad it is, in the best tradition of unintentionally awful and tacky horror movies. It's overwritten in all the right ways. The art is actually much better than you'd think the script deserves.
Very good; highly recommended.

Detective #860: "Go: Four years ago" (Rucka/Williams III/Stewart; DC)
In which we see how Kate started her work as Batwoman, and how she sees it not as the sort of crusade that most of the Bats seem to, but as an extension of the same ethic that took her to the military. Her father discovers, rather easily, what she's doing, and is not at all amused, but when Kate makes him understand why she's doing it, he helps her with his connections, money and vision to make it happen. The three scenes with her father are, in fact, the heart of the story -- the first where she convinces him that she can do what she's trying to do, and he decides to help, the second where it all comes together and she gets her uniform ("Pop ... are those heels?"), and then the last scene, where we find out exactly what her father did when she was kidnapped, where they break each others' hearts. (In fact, as far as the colonel goes, his reasons for what he did provide the one somewhat false note in the entire story so far; his reasons for doing what he does simply don't match the character as we've seen him to date. He took away hope, however futile, for a false certainty. It will, of course, turn out that his daughter has, quite accidentally, given him exactly the same false certainty -- and we get confirmation of that on the last page.) Williams' art is, as usual, stunning; the first two thirds of the story look as though they're drawn by a completely different person, and the last third in that striking style he's used for the modern part of the story.

Rucka and Cully Hammer's "Pipeline" Question backup story hits a very interesting point, as Renee and Helena appear to have made a rather dramatic mistake in their attacks on the cartel that's been trafficking in people and drugs. (It does bring up the question of exactly how secret identities work, if it's that easy for something as low-rent as a regular criminal cartel to figure out who the Question is and where she lives -- getting Helena at the same time was simply the lagniappe.)

Excellent; Highly recommended

(NB: As has been seen elsewhere, this is the last of the Rucka/Williams "Batwoman" stories in Detective. Rucka and Jock will be writing and illustrating Batwoman in Detective 861-863, and that story will appear to be unconnected to what's come before. In the new Batwoman title to start in 2010, after a new issue 1, they'll pick up with the final five issues of the "Elegy" arc, which was planned to break around "Go" originally. The Question co-feature will continue, and was in fact scheduled to become the primary story for a few issues after "Elegy"; whether that will happen earlier is unclear. It's also unclear whether Batwoman will be an ongoing title, or whether that will be only a 6-issue miniseries.)

Wonder Woman #39, "Warkiller, finale: Dawn before Darkness" (Simone/Lopresti/Ryan/Anderson; DC)
In which the threads started in "Bad Blood", "Rise of the Olympian", "Genocide" (somewhat) and "Warkiller", as well as the odd issues between those major arcs, are finally pulled together and concluded. Given that all of this has taken well over a year -- in fact, nearly two -- it would have to be one hell of a kickass issue to feel at all satisfying. And you know what? It kind of ... is. We finally understand, for example, what the hell happened to the Greek gods after the end of Amazons Attack and Countdown, when they seemed to have been rescued, but then disappeared for the entirety of Final Crisis; we find out where they were and why they weren't around to keep Olympus from being desecrated by the New Gods. We see gods abused, gods who were killed and resurrected, gods who weren't really dead. We find out what's behind all the strange pregnancies of the Amazons. We find out the truth of Diana's engendering. We get to see Diana, Hippolyta and even Achilles kick quite a lot of ass. Lessons are learned by the most unexpected people. Donna gets her sanity back. A lot happens, and it pretty much all works. Everything isn't completely wrapped up, of course, but that's to be expected. It really is a very satisfying ending for such a very long story arc.

Something of a side note: I would really love to know how Simone managed to get DC to allow her to run for such a long time without paying even the teensiest amount of attention to the ongoing crises of various sorts in what is supposed to be one of their major titles. None of this arc would have happened without Countdown, of course, but there have been two major events in the DCU since then, and this title hasn't taken any notice of either of them.

A side note to the side note: I wonder if we're going to find out what happens to the resurrected Olympians. As things are left, there doesn't seem to be a plan to send them back to Hades. And given what Simone has said about him, I'd love to see a miniseries with Achilles, just to see what he would do in today's world.

Very Good; Strongly recommended.


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