Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Amy Reads the Backlog

Spring Break has finally (!) arrived, Gentle Reader, and We Reads find ourselves on the brink of a lovely visit to Nearby Town for some much-needed Away Time. This time will, of course, be defined by reading and writing of the personal variety, and not of the academic variety. No papers shall be graded, no classes shall be prepped, and while This Humble Author finds herself Quite Lucky to teach Fantastical and Wonderful Courses that allow her to begin class with phrases like, "Now, how is Wonder Woman written to fulfill gender stereotypes here, and how is Batman not?" or, "So the name of today's game is zombie contagion. Discuss," One does need a break even from the things one loves, no?

But that means that I have time, yes, finally have time to begin tackling the Extreme Backlog of Comics. Last night found me finishing Secret Invasion, and catching up on Wonder Woman and Secret Six both. As This Humble Author still needs to pack for said trip tomorrow, the reviews will be brief in the extreme. Rather, I will leave you with small imprints, impressions, if you will, Friends, with a promise of a more in-depth review of Wonder Woman later.

Brian Michael Bendis's Secret Invasion #1-8
What I liked:
1) I feel sorry for Tony Stark for the first time since Civil War, Friends, and that is a Very Odd Feeling Indeed.
2) To quote the ever-quotable Kitty Pryde (and in this instance, the ever-quotable Joss Whedon): "Yeahbutwha?" Norman Osborne?? Really??? How Utterly Fascinating!
3) The fact that the writers recognize Spider-Man's insecurity insomuch that he will meet himself, and mock himself. Again and again.
4) Secret Invasion has made me interested in Mar-vell, a character I have never found myself very interested in.
5) Jessica Jones.
That is, any time Jessica Jones Saves The Day, I will smile.

What I didn't:
1) Friends, this defines, truly, my privileging of DC over Marvel: the treatment of Wasp feels overwhelming, more so than the treatment of major female characters in DC. Not only is she tossed aside like so much garbage, she is beaten down, figuratively rather than literally this time, by her husband once again.
2) The entire run seemed to end in an overall theme of "hell hath no fury." This failed utterly in X-Men III, and I found it Rather Grating here, as well.
3) I would have liked to see the comic do more with Wolverine. He felt--dare I say it?--extraneous, which he never usually does.
4) Sue Storm felt even more extraneous, when she is, clearly, the strongest member of the Fantastic 4. I adore Sue Storm as much as I dislike Reed Richards, and she once again seemed to be discounted.
5) Why would anyone use Kate Bishop, Gentle Reader, and then forget she is around? Is there a more interesting or engaging Young Avenger?

Gail Simone's Wonder Woman #28-29
What I liked:
Friends, I almost cried when I saw the trinity of Wonder Women--Diana, Donna, and Cassie--all armored in their matching individuality. It is a beautiful scene, and one definitely marking the signature of Ms. Simone's style. No one, no one writes the team-up better than Ms. Simone.

The constant revelations, and the constant fact that they were overwhelmingly unexpected. From the surprise appearance of Steve Trevor, to the big reveal of Dr. Psycho, and the bigger reveal of Cheetah, it is No Accident that #29 ends with the complete shattering of Zeus's last dredges of sanity.

What I didn't:
I want more from Tom Tresser. Ms. Simone has made me like, no, *care* for this character despite my previous protestations. I would like to see him do more on-screen.

The loss of a Great God feels like the loss of a Dear Friend.

The pacing feels off a bit, almost rushed. It feels like these events are too big for the normal 22 pages. Or perhaps it feels as if the origins storyline at the end rushes the entire comic?

What I wonder:
Is that a pregnant Amazon at the end??

Gail Simone's Secret Six #2-7
What I liked:
1) The Last Victim. I believe all comics would benefit greatly from arrogant immortal banshee aristocrats, truly.
2) Deadshot, Deadshot, Deadshot.
3) Scandal's final scene.
4) The entirety of Bane. The. Entirety. Of. Bane.

What I didn't (short answer):
Nothing, except that Junior has caused nightmares (!!!), Gentle Reader.

What I didn't (long answer):

That is to say, my adoration of Mr. Rucka's and Ms. Simone's runs on Wonder Woman is no secret to This Humble Blog. I cannot imagine it is a secret from anyone, especially you, Most Constant of Readers. But as well as Greg Rucka writes the Outlaw, Gail Simone writes the Team. And I must admit, as much as I love Gail Simone on Wonder Woman, I *adore* her on Secret Six.

It fulfills the promise of Birds of Prey, the dysfunctional little family that tries to pretend it is, in fact, *not* a family. That it is just a random group of people thrown together by common interest. Co-workers, yes?


It fulfills the promise of Gen-13, the dysfunctional little family that tries to pretend it is just a random group of people thrown together by age and background. Teenagers, yes?


It fulfills the promise of Welcome to Tranquility, the dysfunctional larger family that tries to pretend it is just a random group of people thrown together by location and need. Neighbors, yes?


The Team *is* the Family.

Here is the True Secret of this book, Gentle Reader: Gail Simone seems to experience nothing but Joy when writing this book, and that shines through in every conversation, every page.

This began as a simple "brief review" and turned into Something Monstrous, as anything I attempt to be "brief" eventually does. Ah well. I believe this is what reading comics after many months does to one, no?

And with this, I am off, Friends, to enjoy the rest of Spring Break. See you when the work week begins again.


Sea_of_Green said...

Have fun on your break!

-- Sea

SallyP said...

Secret Six is pretty darned much perfection.

The Scale said...

Your reviews make it very difficult to wait for the trade.