web stats

CSBG Archive

Comic Critics #113!

Here is the latest installment of the Comic Critics strip, courtesy of Sean Whitmore (writer) and Brandon Hanvey (artist)! You can check out the first hundred and twelve strips at the archive here and you can read more about Sean and Brandon at the Comic Critics blog.

Enjoy!

Let us know what you think, either here or at the ComicCritics blog!

57 Comments

Ha! Excellent! But Oolong Island is being well treated by Giffen on Doom Patrol, thank you.

They should just make an Animated Question book about the JLU version, since that was the best version of the character ever. It could be like Nick & Nora Charles, but with him and Huntress.

The Crazed Spruce

April 13, 2010 at 1:20 pm

Great punch line this week. I mean, I liked Geoff Johns’ eye for nostalgia back when he kept it confined to JSA, but now he’s just going to hell with it.

That makes me sad.

Cartoon Gail* – raise your hand and stop him, dammit!

* – assuming that’s Simone, of course. If not…well, in my version it is.

The Crazed Spruce

April 13, 2010 at 1:25 pm

And the scary part is, I can totally see that Question comic happening two years from now….

HA!

On the other hand, I really would prefer Vic Sage back in business.

On the other other hand I do not want Geoff Johns to ever, ever touch the character.

…Does DC have any non-union Mexican equivalent to Mark Waid?

Is it wrong that I would totally read that comic?

Yes, Jared. It’s very, very wrong.

This comic makes scrapping the Renee Montoya Question seem like a bad thing. I for one would love to see Rucka’s pet character tossed.

Even better than the comic are the Crazed Spruce and Holland responses. *claps* Bravo gentlemen…bravo…you both beat me to the punch….=)

The Ugly American

April 13, 2010 at 2:18 pm

Missed a good opportunity joke about Judd Winick, there. Thumbs down.

Blah blah blah blah GEOFF JOHNS SUCKS the end.

I enjoy Gail Simone’s look of concern.

So i guess Comic Critics #114 ends either with a Jeph Loeb or a Rob Liefeld joke.

That’s what usually happens in a comedy comic about comics, Applemask. People talk, setting up a scenario, and then deliver a punchline that makes fun of trends used in comics.

I think this is an odd choice for a character to lampoon as an unnecessary resurrection, considering the Vic Sage Question is a unique character who is historically important (Ditko creation, Roscharch), fills a unique role in the DCU (Philosophical hero, as the O’Neil-Cowan series so ably proved), and was killed off and had his legacy willed to a character who doesn’t cover any of the same themes(and lacks the character’s media appearances in JLU). I appreciate the frustration of people for the supposed “Silver Age revival”, but as a newer comics fan, I find a common tendency among certain comics fans to throw the baby out with the bath water in the name of “progression.”

Exactly Captain Flash. Renee Montoya is more ripe for lampooning than Vic Sage. How she’s such a Mary Sue Pet Character, the transparent tokenism she was recruited to fill, how they set up this forced bond with her and the Question at the last minute to try to make the “legacy” more plausible, how she’s basically devoid of any intense ideology, objectivist zen or otherwise, which misses a major aspect of what makes the Question the Question…she’s just a generic street level martial arts character, whcih are a dime a dozen.

All the things that made the Vic Sage Question unique, which involved personality traits and disposition and belief systems, have been traded in for a stereotypical bland personality of Renee Montoya Question, where the only unique things are related to her TRAITS (female, Hispanic, lesbian).

To be fair, I like Montoya before she was removed from her unique character niche as a normal person in the Gotham PD. There are so few believable “normal” supporting characters, it seems a shame to lose one in this way. I heard somewhere that Rucka’s idea was actually to keep Sage and Montoya both around, which seems a much better idea (since I’m personally not fond of killing characters anyway).

I think this is an odd choice for a character to lampoon as an unnecessary resurrection, considering the Vic Sage Question is a unique character who is historically important (Ditko creation, Roscharch), fills a unique role in the DCU (Philosophical hero, as the O’Neil-Cowan series so ably proved), and was killed off and had his legacy willed to a character who doesn’t cover any of the same themes(and lacks the character’s media appearances in JLU).

I love how people now ignore that in his first issue writing the character, O’Neil killed off Vic Sage, and had him reborn in the next issue – with an entirely different personality and outlook on life.
He was basically a new a character, with the same costume and name.
I really don’t see how that’s considered better than having a new character with a different outlook take his place, except that the O’Neil one happened over twenty years ago.

funkygreenjerusalem

April 13, 2010 at 6:17 pm

That was me.

Well, it’s not really a goof on Sage, or his level of necessity. Just the inevitability of it all.

And Renee’s not going anywhere. The blueprint for these things is that Vic will come back, praise her for the work she did, and then she’ll go over and sit in the corner and wait for a crowd scene.

did not take long for the comic critics to deal with the news of greg leaving dc. and hate to say that but that question comic no doubt is on the drawing board and may see the light of day by comic con.

@funkygreenjerusalem
I was not aware of that, thank you. The continuity geek/Charlton fan in me has now let go of any resentment that I had for that version of the character.

I’d still want to see an Elseworld/Earth 7(or whatever) Ditko Question comic.

Oh, great strip again this week btw.

Wow, Rucka did all that? I forgot about Wonder Woman. (Like the Marissa beat.) I guess it could have been him in the last panel volunteering for stuff!

I actually LOLed.

That joke would actually work well with:

- The Spectre
- Gunfire
- Sugar and Spike

Please take note. :)

@ Captain Flash, T.:

Agreed, but this was still really funny.

Aw, T.’s Randian Fantasy got replaced by Liberal Agenda.

Liked it.

I also like the Vic Sage Question.

I also like Renee Montoya.

I am also bored by Renee Montoya as the Question. They have a great character, and then they have to clamp an existing superhero identity around her in order for her to star in her own stories. Irritating.

You know, the way this strip evokes cheap laughs and heated political (for comics) discussion, it’s like it’s the Doonesbury we all deserve.

Anonymous,

I am aware of the changes O’Neal made to the character in the beginning of the 80′s series, (in fact the character in issue 1 is not at all like the Ditko question either). My point is that with the Vic Sage question, you were getting a noir series mixed with a strong philosophical viewpoint, be that Zen or Objectivism or Shaminism(Tommy Lee Edwards illustrated series). Montoya doesn’t fill that niche. Montoya’s Question is straight noir with no discernible philosophical outlook.

BTW, so I don’t appear overly serious, I did really enjoy this comic. Johns’ excitement in the last panel is hilarious. Whatever you feel about the man’s writing, you can tell he loves the DC characters.

I’m so DC-ignorant I didn’t even get the joke.

The Last Boy Scout

April 13, 2010 at 9:36 pm

You know what I love about this comic? (No, you don’t. Read on to amend that.) I love that the mock cover in the last panel includes the “Ethan Van Sciver” credit. That lifts the gag above a clever ad hom attack against Geoff Johns and into a comment on the inane repetition of the “Rebirth” phenomenon. Small detail, but major kudos to whichever of you realized it was just too appropriate (and true!) not to include.

the transparent tokenism she was recruited to fill

I don’t think that’s really a fair criticism. ‘Tokenism’ seems to be the idea that a character should be a member of a minority group unless there is a ‘good reason’ for them to be so. What I question is how often there is a good reason for a character to be a minority. It seems to me that all decrying tokenism does is to make a whole lot of white, male, straight characters.

The other idea seems to be that it’s alright for characters to be of one minority, but as soon as they are of more than one minority then they are tokenistic, which seems to say that it’s OK to drift from the norm (i.e. white, male, straight ) a bit, but not too much. If Gotham is supposed to be New York, then we can estimate that about 25% of the population is Latino, 50% is female and 10% is homosexual. That works out to 1.25%, which doesn’t seem a lot, until you compare that to the approximately 8 million that live in Gotham (again, if it is New York) where that would make 100,000 Latino, female, homosexual people in Gotham. It hardly seems insane that one of those people could be a major character.

Also, how does one become objectivist zen? How does “A is A” correspond to “Emptiness is form and form is emptiness”?

Also, how does one become objectivist zen? How does “A is A” correspond to “Emptiness is form and form is emptiness”?

That was a typo. There was supposed to be a comma between objectivist and zen. My point is whether he was extremely right wing like under Ditko or extremely left wing like under O’Neil, both takes weren’t as opposite as they seem on the surface because either way he’s strongly motivated by his intense political philosophy. The conspiracy theorist take on him in JLU, even though different than both O’Neil and Ditko’s takes still had that aspect of intense political philosophy.

Montoya on the other hand, at least in the stories I’ve read, is apolitical and doesn’t really have any big philosophy kicks. She doesn’t really seem to be into higher ideas period. She’s just a grim and gritty street level superhero who fights crime at night with no powers and martial arts prowess. Which there are a ton of in DC already. In fact, even the lesbian aspect isn’t unique seeing as how Batwoman already fills that niche too, along with the grim and gritty street street level martial artist niches.

Now I don’t mind DC flooding the market with redundant concepts, but I think it’s silly to do it at the expense of a much more unique, interesting concept.

Oops, that was me

Aw, T.’s Randian Fantasy got replaced by Liberal Agenda.

The problem’s not that it got replaced by liberalism. Honestly, even THAT would be preferable. But what it got replaced with wasn’t liberalism, it got replaced with an utterly apolitical and unphilosophical approach. She’s just a crimefighting martial arts detective superhero.

Even O’Neil’s uberliberal slant to the Question was more in spirit with the original Ditko vision, because it was same general concept of a crusading political and philosophical activism, just for the far left instead of the far right. It’s like they say, “extremes meet.”

Oops, Captain Flash already wrote what I did. Anyway, yeah, what he said.

Let me add, I enjoyed this comic too, despite my nitpicks. I do think a Judd Winick joke thrown in would have made it even better though. :)

Even O’Neil’s uberliberal slant to the Question was more in spirit with the original Ditko vision, because it was same general concept of a crusading political and philosophical activism, just for the far left instead of the far right. It’s like they say, “extremes meet.”

I would take it a step further.

What made The Question interesting was his blankness. He was just a guy in the middle-class, male sixties uniform except he had no face. There is no expression and, therefore, no emotion. That places an abnormal emphasis is placed on what is going on inside his head.

Also, emotional neutrality is a trait that is common to both Objectivism and Zen. That was what was clever about what O’Neil and Cowan did. They took Ditko’s symbolism and found a way to use it to their own purposes.

In contrast, putting Renee Montoya into the role subverts the symbolism. A woman in drag is not a neutral image. Adding the layers that she is a lesbian and a latina make the character still more specific from an identity perspective. The facelessness loses its meaning as a symbol.

Maybe that would not have mattered if Rucka had some brilliant twist on the premise, but he didn’t.

funkygreenjerusalem

April 13, 2010 at 11:22 pm

Montoya’s Question is straight noir with no discernible philosophical outlook.

Well, she is a woman.

Quick! Name a grim and gritty street level comic currently published by DC! No, wait, name a grime and gritty street level comic published by DC with a female lead! No, wait, name a grim and gritty street level comic published by DC with a female lead that doesn’t suck!

Answer? The Question. Yes, Rene is different than the Vic Sage version of the character, but she is hardly the same as any other comic DC has out there. Its rare enough to have a mainstream comic that has a woman in the lead to begin with. The fact that Rene was also a woman who didn’t rely on powers to get the drop on men made it all the better. It was cool. It was fun. It only helped the industry not look so homogenized.

Mr. T objects to “just [another] crimefighting martial arts detective superhero.” But he neglects to mention the fact that Rene is a woman. And that DOES make a difference. Good female leads are not easy to come by in a superhero book.

Bah! FunkyGreen beat me to it…

T, I’m not sure that your really answered my criticism. If you’re only problem with the Montoya character is that she took over from the Question, then you can’t really criticise her for being ‘tokenistic’, because she was a member of as many minorities before as she is now. If you do have a problem with her being tokenistic, then you should address my criticisms of your point of view. If you don’t have a problem with her being tokenistic, then you shouldn’t really criticise the character for it, as you will only be contributing to making the DCU less representative and more discriminatory.

funkygreenjerusalem

April 14, 2010 at 6:06 am

Mr. T objects to “just [another] crimefighting martial arts detective superhero.” But he neglects to mention the fact that Rene is a woman. And that DOES make a difference. Good female leads are not easy to come by in a superhero book.

Well this is awkward… I was playing the role of chauvinist, suggesting that being a woman, she’s not got a philosophical outlook.
But then you go ahead, and being all positive and all, suggest the same thing, only as a plus!

It’s like we’re doing the spectrum of sexist something.

Quick! Name a grim and gritty street level comic currently published by DC! No, wait, name a grime and gritty street level comic published by DC with a female lead! No, wait, name a grim and gritty street level comic published by DC with a female lead that doesn’t suck!

Batwoman. No, wait, how about name a grim and gritty street level comic published by DC with a female lead that doesn’t suck but is also a lesbian? Wait…still Batwoman.

I also would be happy to see Vic Sage coming back. Montoya cold go back to being a cop.

In addition, Black Canary was co-starring in Green Arrow for a while, as well as the ongoing Manhunter co-feature in Detective.

Dean, great additional points at 10:54 PM

@T: I don’t think Batwoman quite counts. Bat characters can, but are not always, street level. I mean, when you tackle super-villains with plots to poison a whole city… it stops being street level. But I can see how you could pin the ‘gritty street level’ on Batwoman considering the whole ‘cutter’ arc. And yes, she’s gay too.

But both of these characters were championed by Rucka (which is the point) and with him gone there’s a real possibility that these two characters go on the back burner. Thus we lose our aforementioned niche. With Vic Sage back as Question we won’t get the same kinds of stories. Which, if you want the Vic Sage stuff is a good thing.

T. seems to be making out that the role that Rene and Batwoman play is easily filled by others. And it aint. Both of those characters were kind of unique.

@FunkyGreen: I don’t think championing positively portrayed female characters in comics is sexist. Unless, you take Feminism in general to be sexist… Or am I missing your point?

T. seems to be making out that the role that Rene and Batwoman play is easily filled by others. And it aint. Both of those characters were kind of unique.

You’re putting words in my mouth. I have no problem with the Batwoman concept. Particularly because her previous incarnation was much more redundant and less unique than this one. You don’t lose anything good from the original by making this current change. Adding lesbianism to the existing Batwoman concept to me actually takes a less interesting character and makes her much MORE interesting. In the case of Renee Montoya question it is more annoying because it moves in the opposite direction: you take two more interesting concepts and sacrifice them for one less interesting one.

You have the dynamic of an extremely philosophical and radical superhero with the bland exterior that Dean described above. You have the normal nonsuperhero woman dealing with the world of superheroics while just chutzpah and street smarts and toughness, not any supergenius smarts or super high level martial arts. And she had to grapple with being female, lesbian and minority to boot.

With Renee Montoya, you remove the unique aspects of the Sage Question (extreme philosophical and political slants on the interior with an incredibly neutral inoffensive exterior) and the unique aspects of Renee Montoya (street smart everywoman) to create a new character that only keeps the least unique parts of both characters.And being alongside Batwoman makes her extra redundant.

Also, your argument doesn’t work about Batwoman being different than Question because Batwoman does street level and cosmic while Question only does street level. Because Question already had a cosmic magic miniseries where she fought alongside the Spectre.

http://comics.wikia.com/wiki/Final_Crisis:_Revelations

@T: Ok, I see your point. And I think I agree for the most part. I liked Rene much more in Gotham City Central. I think she does seem to be sacrificing some of what made her special by doing the superhero thing. Seeing her in the Batwoman flashbacks kind of reminded me of how cool she was as just a regular cop. I don’t think her being along side makes her redundant though.

I will concede though that both the Question concept and Rene as a character are better served being separate. But here is the clincher, does Rene even have a chance surviving as a character without the mantle of Question?

Also, I happened to really like the Cully Hammer Question back up for what it was. Which was a super fun crime comic.

Of Note: CBR just did a post about JHWIII continuing the Batwoman solo on his own (with back-up writing by Blackman) so its not like Batwoman is disappearing any time soon. Which is a sigh of relief to me.

@T: Fine. You win on the whole “Batwoman and Question are different” score. But both characters seem to be the exception to the rule in the DCU. Most female crime fighters have some kind of super powered back up (like Dinah’s super chirp). And the other non-super powered females never held my interest for long (ie I’ve always found Huntress to be a bore and the current Batgirl to be not so much for my tastes).

I will concede though that both the Question concept and Rene as a character are better served being separate. But here is the clincher, does Rene even have a chance surviving as a character without the mantle of Question?

Who is more likely to get bumped off in a event:
a. A well-drawn supporting character that could move from title to title, or
b. A third-tier legacy superhero that never quite gelled

I would be willing to bet a nice sum of money on “b.” Rene Montoya is far less likely to survive as The Question. Heaven help her if she becomes a non-core member of some super-team.

@Dean: This is true. If they put her in Outsiders she’s practically got a ticking bomb strapped to her waist. But why can’t we have another run of Rene as Question? I’d like to see how her story pans out. I think it was cool. Ideally I’d like to see her as Question for a while and then return to Gotham Central or some other such title. Where it’s safe. But since when does anything turn out ideal in comics? It seems like all the good stuff is a wild, booze fueled mistake. I mean, how else would a gay woman replace Batman in his own title?

Really funny…but alot of people have good points about her not being the best fit for the question.

[...] The webcomic Comic Critics tackles Greg Rucka leaving DC. [...]

Leave a Comment

 

Categories

Review Copies

Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.

Browse the Archives