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She Has No Head! – Superheroine Trifecta

Sif Panel

Sif gets her drink on in Sif #1

I read three brand new Marvel superhero books this week, all with a female slant (headlining female characters and also featuring female artists, writers, and even editors) and I have to say, buying those books was one of my most enjoyable trips to the comic store in a long while.  It felt good to have beautiful books in my hand that I knew were all about female characters and had women creators on board.  But as they were all one-shots and minis I was also nervous, my experience with minis and one-shots being patchy and disappointing at best.  But I still held out hope…so did they stand up to the anticipation?

Let’s find out, shall we?

Firestar #1 (one-shot).  Sean McKeever (writer), Emma Rios (artist), Matthew Wilson (colorist), Stephanie Hans (cover).  Marvel, 32 pages.  $3.99Firestar Cover

The first thing I noticed about Firestar #1 is that it has an absolutely phenomenal cover, and I hope Hans continues to get lots of cover work (and beyond?).  Unfortunately, the story and writing is ineffective at best and terribly cliché at worst.  In fairness, I think one-shots are incredibly difficult to execute successfully, as they are practically by definition inconsequential and forgettable, so it’s hard to judge one writer and one book.  However, even with this in mind I’m afraid I can’t give this a pass.  It sets Angelica (Firestar) up as a perfect and flawless person – superhero, student, and cancer survivor, a devoted daughter with a dead mother and lonely widowed father, a kind and let’s just say it – angelic – person with not a mean bone in her body.  It’s a terrible burden in my opinion to make a character so perfect.  What’s interesting about perfection?  Who can relate to perfection?

Anyway, the premise is that ‘Angel’ (yes, this is her father’s nickname for her, which wouldn’t be so bad if she had a flaw…anywhere) after recovering from breast cancer is moonlighting as a superhero while attending college.  Her long widowed father has finally met someone special and naturally that woman’s daughter is a woman that bullied Angelica in high school.  Convenient and a bit unbelievable?  Yes.  That the woman is still a complete and obvious jerk is also no surprise.  The fact that there’s some special reason that she’s such an obvious jerk (drinking) and that there’s a “tragic” reason she’s drinking (a divorce) are also not surprising.  To cap off the lack of surprise is the patience and understanding that Angelica applies to the situation, never getting catty or shutting this person down, but rather reaching out with her endless kindness and goodness.  When the two women finally have their “very special Hallmark heart to heart” it’s can be seen from a mile away, is treacly and cloying, and things are instantly and magically resolved with little effort.  Greg Burgas correctly called this out as feeling very “Lifetime Movie Of The Week” last week in his What I Bought post.  And I think that “Lifetime feeling” is unfortunately going to be a further strike in making this material interesting or relatable for men (and women like me that have an aversion to those kinds of stories).  Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t expect or need to see Firestar being some jerk or badass or careless young lady, the little I know of her has always suggested she’s a very kind and sweet girl, but I think there’s a way to do that without dragging your character into perfect Mary Sue territory.

Emma Rios’ interesting and unexpected art does its best to save the day – and the fact that the book doesn’t look like every other superhero book out there definitely helps – at least with the surface – the art is unique and engaging, and does bring the material up, but it’s not enough to fully combat the weak plot and character work.  Rios’ realistic body types and excellent anatomy and movement – especially evident on Angelica whenever superheroing as Firestar – is wonderful.  I particularly enjoyed the way Rios and colorist Matthew Wilson rendered Angelica’s powers, turning all the pages in which Firestar uses her powers quite warm – which feels right and like a particularly great attention to detail – in fact, it would have been interesting to see them take it further and apply it more liberally throughout the book – as if because of Angelica’s power, her whole world seems a little bit warm and burnt.  It could have been interesting.  The non-superhero stuff is also good, but not as strong in general.  I would however love to see Rios on a regular ongoing sometime soon; she’s definitely got the talent.

Overall though, the art cannot save it, and this book is a miss.  I don’t know if that necessarily means that the upcoming Young Allies ongoing book (co-starring Firestar) and also written by McKeever will be as well, since one-shots continue to exist in this strange and seemingly meaningless pocket universe of comics.  I’ll try to give McKeever the benefit of the doubt and check Young Allies out anyway, but I admit I’m skeptical.

Excerpt from Firestar#1:

Firestar 1

Firestar 2

Sif #1 (one-shot).  Kelly Sue DeConnick (writer), Ryan Stegman (pencils), Tom Palmer and Victor Olazaba (inkers), Juan Doe (colorist), Travel Foreman and June Chung (cover).  Marvel, 32 pages.  $3.99

Overall Sif, even though it suffers from the same one-shot restrictions as Firestar #1, is a much better book.  DeConnick cleverly SIF Coveravoids most of the traps of a one-shot by picking a simple but engaging story that does not try to do too much or too little.

The set-up, that Sif, recently freed from the body of a terminal cancer patient and re-installed in her own body (Loki had taken possession for a time, ‘natch), is clearly still reeling from the violating and traumatic experience, and seems to feel unstuck from the world in general as a result.  Sif has decided to stay in Kansas, rather than return to Asgard, but her restlessness and discontent is obvious.  Beta Ray Bill and his companion Ti Asha Ra come seeking Thor’s assistance and with Thor unavailable Sif offers her help in his stead.  The following adventure to rescue the sentient ship Skuttlebutt from essentially a possession, well explores Sif’s character, personality, and power set while managing to be enjoyable at the same time.  The writing feels like a smooth fit for the character, a bit deliberately formal and stilted, but with Sif not feeling too cold or removed.  She’s a character I instantly liked and rooted for, which, in the space of 32 pages, is impressive to say the least.

The art is strong throughout and well matched to the overall tone of the piece.  It’s also pretty, but more importantly to me, it’s clear – easy to understand and well paced.  There were also a couple surprisingly good expression/character moments that helped sell some of the dialogue (the panel before the cut is a good example) and it’s always nice to see that seamless collaboration between writer and artist.  It’s also worth noting that much like the Firestar cover, Travel Foreman and June Chung’s cover is absolutely fantastic.  It’s also a good example of how you can break some of the unspoken “rules” of dealing with a female character respectfully if you do other things right.  In this case, Sif’s cover outfit, while wonderfully designed and interesting, under “normal” circumstances might draw fire from critics (me) as it is skimpy and somewhat inappropriate, however, because the drawing style does not skew towards porn star cheesecake, and because the posing is serious and suggests battle rather than pointless come-hither sexiness, it completely works.  It’s honestly one of my favorite covers of the year so far.

I was not very familiar with the character Sif prior to this one-shot, but I really liked DeConnick’s take and would love to see more.  In fact, of all the female focused books I’ve read over the last few months (and there have been quite a few), this is certainly the one I’d most like to see made into an ongoing – especially with this creative team.

Excerpt from Sif #1:

SIF 1

SIF 2

SIF 3

Her-Oes#1 (miniseries).  Grace Randolph (writer), Craig Rousseau (artist/cover), Veronica Gandini (colorist).  Marvel, 32 pages.  $2.99

I liked it.  Once I could get past the ridiculous breakfast cereal name of course.  And though I had some Her-Oes Coverreservations after my first read, I liked it more after a second as I tried to focus more on what was great about it and tried to ignore that it’s not really made for me.  Her-Oes is clearly geared towards young girls and maybe young teen girls, but it’s hard to see much appeal in it for boys, men, and even women to a degree.  In a way, that’s great – I love that a book like this is out there – a book designed almost entirely for girls – but I just can’t imagine it can do well without the built-in audience that’s there for material geared toward boys.  Of course it’s a mini-series and not an ongoing, and I suppose that’s not on accident.

Janet Van Dyne (aka The Wasp), Jennifer Walters (aka She-Hulk), Namora (um…aka Namora), Carol Danvers (aka Ms. Marvel), and though she wasn’t in this issue, judging by the cover, Valkyrie will join them, are all teens going to the same high school.  None of them are publicly “out” with their powers so far as we can tell, which sets up a nice conflict and the obvious though effective life lessons that will surely provide.  The story focuses primarily on Janet and her desire to be out with her powers, to be better at everything, to get “the guy”, and to one day become a great designer (she’s already on her way and it’s reflected nicely in the attention to her clothing here).  There is nice stuff between Janet and her best friend Jennifer, as well as between Janet and her parents.  There’s also a predictable but effective “mean girl” contingent (being run by Namora) and all the necessary high school elements are in place for maximum drama.  It’s a nice set up for a first book, and while quite a lot happens, I have to wonder how quickly they’re going to have to speed things along in order to really deliver something emotionally resonant in only three more issues, if this was the launch of an ongoing, I’d say the issue was pretty on point in its set up, but they may have taken too long (or taken on too many characters) to really get it all done here in four…time will tell.

The writing is nice and handles both the material and character voices well.  It’s nothing to knock your socks off but it does the job and I think young girls would probably respond to it.  The voices feel sufficiently “teen” and the subject matter is certainly appropriate and probably pretty interesting for any teen girl that has any interest in superheroes. Unlike McKeever with Firestar, Randolph makes the right choice with Janet here, forgoing perfection and flawlessness for awkwardness, imperfection, and relatability and it works to the book’s advantage in overall believability and likability.

The art is solid, if occasionally a little inconsistent, sometimes with proportions strangely exaggerated or a flatness creeping in.  Overall the first two thirds of the issue felt more considered and carefully executed in regard to the art, but the style was a good fit for the tone, feeling fun and light and relevant to the story.  Additionally the color had a nice pop to it and felt like a nice fit for the story and characters.

My only real complaint (beyond my concern over it finding any kind of an audience – a friend of mine couldn’t find it because his shop didn’t even bother to order it – and in my shop they had only two copies and for some reason didn’t put them out with all the “regular books” – I had to ask for it) is that the cast is really white.  Which is to say 100% white, although an argument could certainly be made that Namora is not white (being Atlantean and here referred to as Greek) however they are all drawn pretty much straight up as white, and with the exception of Janet (or Jennifer in her She-Hulk form), blonde.  The book really would have benefited I think with a little more racial diversity – maybe a teen Ororo Monroe (Storm) or Monica Rambeau (Captain Marvel)?  Maybe a Cecilia Reyes,  Jubilation Lee (Jubilee), or X’ian coy Manh (Karma)?  It’s a real lost opportunity I think, to do a great book for girls that further promotes diversity.  Maybe they can diversify the cast for Her-Oes Series #2.  And maybe in the meantime we can work on that name?

Excerpt from Her-Oes #1:

Her-Oes 1

Her-Oes 2Unfortunately what I’m left with after reading these three books is that as much as I applaud and appreciate the strides with specific material they feel is geared towards young girls, teen girls, and women, I don’t really see how doing it this way can actually work.  Not unlike DC’s Minx failure I just don’t know how books designed and written “for girls” can do much to change things if we can’t get them into the hands of said girls .  Girls just aren’t in comics shops in big enough numbers to support books at a level that will satisfy the big two’s minimum requirements and so I worry that we’ll just end up with a handful of badly selling one-shots and minis and a handful of canceled ongoing books (good or bad) as a bunch of failed experiments that contribute to inadvertently proving that girls and women don’t read comics.

I continue to think that the only way to succeed here, at least as we remain in the fairly early stages of tackling this problem is to create books that appeal to both men and women, boys and girls.  And I continue to feel that this is really not as difficult as mainstream comics seem to think it is.  I believe pretty strongly that for the most part Dv8 Covermen and women want the same things – interesting characters, strong stories, good writing, solid, consistent art.  And if you can just remove, or even soften, the feeling that girls are not welcome in certain books – by pulling back on misogynistic humor and overly aggressive sexist imagery where it’s not necessary – and the like, I really think we’d be there.  Or at least really close to there.

I think Sif is a pretty good example of this, as is the first issue of the new Black Widow ongoing by Marjorie Liu, and the new Brian Wood Dv8 miniseries Gods and Monsters – books that have something for men, women, boys, and girls, without compromising or talking down to any of them.  To me, it doesn’t matter so much that Her-Oes is actually pretty good, and that I expect young girls would like it quite a bit, because I can’t see the appeal for anyone other than young girls and we can’t seem to get it into their hands.

What I do love, regardless of what numbers any of these books pull or don’t pull, or Sif turning into an ongoing or not, is the huge increase in female talent I’m seeing on these books (and many others).  In these three books alone there are ten ladies in high-profile and creative positions – two writers, an artist, two cover artists, a colorist, a letterer, and three female editors.  All that, as far as I’m concerned, is always a step in the right direction.

35 Comments

Good article. That Sif book looks good, and I agree with you on the Firestar art: excellent. While I haven’t read Her-oes (yet), so I can say very little about it, but if they are making typical super heroines into high schoolers, why couldn’t they have changed the ethnic makeup? Ultimates gave us an Asian Wasp, why not Her-oes? Is this yet another example of regressive thinking on Marvel Editorial’s part or is it simply lack of imagination?

[...] New She Has No Head! is up at CSBG. A review of three new superheroine books from Marvel – Firestar, Sif, and Her-Oes. twitter [...]

Re: Firestar…I haven’t read the book, but the character’s “perfectness” is pretty much who Firestar is going back to her original mini-series. Dutiful daughter to widowed father who called her “Angel”…(which is also from her original appearance in “Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends”). Really, it’s just who she is.

re: Her-oes. See, I thought Janet was supposed to be Asian, like the Ultimate version was. (I’ll grant her parents were rather white for that, but I was thinking she was adopted or something).
I would imagine that it’s aimed as a mini, to give it a better shot out the gate. People are often more likely to give a mini a chance than to invest in the first issue of a new series “destined to be canceled”.

Another interesting thought…think less of a comic to test the waters of the market, and more as a potential pitch to Disney. Just because they bought Marvel to get a crack at teen boys, doesn’t mean they’ll turn away girl money….and Janet Van Dyne is a character custom built for a fashion doll line :D

Tom Fitzpatrick

April 26, 2010 at 10:46 am

Someone once told me that he hated those yellow “Baby on Board” signs. Thought that they were completely useless because if an accident were to happen, it was going to happen regardless of who is driving and who is being struck by. No matter whether alcohol or car malfunction or bad driving is the factor that causes the accident.

I HAD to concede that he had a point there.

Haven’t read any of those 3 female-driven books and probably won’t because they’re continuity-driven and shock-full of Marvel heroes(-ines).

BUT good blog there, Ms. Thompson.

Wow… I was awfully surprised when I read your reviews. I didn’t read Her-oes. Tthe premise is ridiculous, but it is possible it is still good… but the other two gave me the exact opposite rection that you had.

Firestar is good. Not great, but good. It is a comfortable extension of the good Marvel Divas mini. Well worth a read.

Sif, on the other hand, was just plain awful. The art wasn’t terrible (though it felt like they were trying AWFULLY hard to be Walt Simonson), but the story was painfully bad.

Very disappointing.

Her-Oes isn’t continuity driven…it has nothing to do with regular Marvel comics, other than the characters.

[...] She Has No Head! Superheroine Trifeca by Kelly Thompson [...]

Chalk me up as one of those fans who are appalled at the regression in Firestar from her Avengers run. It seems that writers on her have regressed her back to “just left the Mass. Academy” days while Justice, Nova and Speedball all have been forced “to grow up”. My Angelica is the one from Ultron Unleashed….this new Firestar, I just don’t recognize….points to the book on having Monica Rambeau in it though….

Sif was well done. I love when Beta Ray and Sif are together on adventures…even though this one definitely strained the relationship.

Her-oes I not touching with a ten foot pole right now…sorry. I may be open to new ideas but this idea sounds like “Sky High” meets X-Men with a twist of Pretty in Pink… not that open to it when I cutting back on picking up books.

DV8 is a concept that I’ll thumb through later on. I loved the previous Ellis concept before it went off the rails in other hands. The “anti Gen 13″ could be one of the most overlooked teams in terms of concept and potential.

Thanks for the analysis Kelly.

Brian Wood is writing that DV8 miniseries? I completely skipped over it in the solicits ’cause, y’know, it’s freakin’ DV8.

Kelly, just want to say that I am in complete accord with your take on the Sif cover; it is probably the best, non-eroticized depiction of an outrageously skimpy outfit that I have seen in some time. It actually kind of reminds me of the way that similarly underdressed male heroes like Conan and Namor are usually portrayed.

By the way, Kelly, what’dja think of Brave & the Bold 33?

I’ve been thinking of getting the Firestar, but now after reading this, I’m not so sure. I still might get it, depending on how much I spend on other stuff.
Angelica has had some flaws in some stories I’ve read. She lets other people push her around quite a bit, and on rare occasion her rage can really build up. But yeah, she is a bit too much on the perfect side, and always has been.

This is the first I’ve heard of Her-Oes, aside from just the title. I’m disappointed to see that it’s an alternate version of the characters. I prefer stuff that’s connected with the rest of the Marvel Universe. So I don’t think I’ll be getting it. It is great to see that they’re doing a mini-series for just three dollars, though.

You’re right that Marvel needs to find a way to attract girls, but without keeping the boys away. But they have done it before. The classic 1980s X-Men springs to mind. Not to mention the original New Mutants, Generation X, the second New Mutants, and the New X-Men series it turned into– all of which were basically the same series under different names. They were very female-friendly, and judging by the letter pages, they all seemed to have a lot of female readers, at least in their original styles, before new creators came in and made changes.

@Scavenger: The point about Disney is an interesting way to think about this. I’ll have to think some more about that aspect.

@Tom: I would say these books were all very “out of continuity” as I could follow them with ease and have never read Sif or Firestar (except for a little dabbling here and there over the years on Firestar). Additionally Her-Oes, as Scavenger said, is completely outside of continuity. So if that’s what is holding you back…jump on board.

@Rusty: I guess we parted ways here. I really disliked the Firestar mini, but I also detested Marvel Divas (except for the art, which was phenomenal)…so maybe there was no hope for me. I did like seeing Monica Rambeau here, though her presence was minor.

@Daryll B.: I don’t blame you for staying away from Her-Oes, I would be surprised if you would find much interest in it…in fact, though I liked it in the end, I would not have bought it were it not for this column. If I had a niece or daughter…anything along those lines though…it would be a great purchase.

@MIchael P: I REALLY liked Brian Wood’s first issue of Dv8. I dabbled in Dv8 about a thousand years ago and haven’t looked at it since, but this was really new reader friendly and interesting – and the art by Rebekah Issacs was wonderful – really strong. I actually liked The Brave & The Bold #33 as well…the Cliff Chiang art was excellent. For the first half of the book I was a bit skeptical and having Marvel Divas-ish concerns but it really turned it around by the end and gave the beginning significance (although I do have some serious reservations that I know a lot of people are pissed about…I’m a little on the fence though). I wanted to talk about it as well this week…but it didn’t work out…maybe in a future column.

@trajan 23: Interesting way to think of it – you’re right. Her portrayal on the cover is very much how I would expect a male in a skimpy costume (so rare!) to be depicted.

@Mary: If you really like Angelica Mary it might be worth checking it out, especially since the art is so nice, but I really disliked it.

I agree, the X-Men (and iterations of that) – Generation X, New Mutants etc.- have been good Marvel examples in the past of books that can easily appeal to both boys and girls – I think in general team books, if they can stay away from sexism and misogyny both in the writing and art – are great places for this.

I’m actually curious to read Brave and the Bold now, because from what I’ve heard about it, it sounds like a candidate for worst comic book of the year, if not the decade. The fact that it looks great just makes it so much more egregious, to me. I’ll probably go get it even though I’m sure I’ll hate it.

Greg, I’m sure you’ll hate it, too.

I can TOTALLY see how people have problems with and hate Brave and the Bold…and I have some of my own issues with it…but if I look at it as just a nice standalone story with these three great characters…and the amazing art…I don’t know, I couldn’t help but like it.

But yes, I can totally see the hate, and it’s probably justifiable. I mean (PSEUDO SPOILER) the fact that powerful characters that can practically bend the world to their will (and have on occasion) want to take someone marked for tragedy out for “one great last night” is hugely problematic if you think about it any other way. If they’re normal people and not Wonder Woman and Zatanna…it’s interesting (still complicated and potentially polarizing and problematic) but interesting…but since they ARE WW and Zatanna…yeah, it’s a problem. I can see why people are pissed. But the art is SOOO good. Can we get Chiang on any other book that I’m reading please?

I, frankly, don’t see why anyone would be pissed at that story. But then, I usually don’t when the Internet throws a bitch fit over the nerd tapestry.

And another thing…

Frankly, the story gave all the explanation it needed to for why Diana and Zatanna can’t just magically (other than the fact that, if they do that, then there’s no story): it’s the rules of the road that some fates just can’t be changed. He went right back to classical mythology for it, too; ask Oedipus’s father how well trying to avert that prophecy worked out. So then the story becomes, if you can’t save someone, what do you do? And the answer, as I found it, was, while bittersweet, also touching and deeply human.

If people are pissed at that, I can only see it either as being angry that a good story made them sad (in which case, go watch a sitcom or listen to empty Top 40s pop or play a video game or something), or that they mistakenly think Barbara Gordon is their friend and are mad at JMS did something mean to her (in which case, get a grip on reality, and grow up while you’re at it).

Honestly done now.

@Michael P: [SPOILERS] I think…and part of this comes from a commenter on SHNH getting really upset with me on some post a while back because I didn’t advocate for Barbara Gordon to be Batgirl again (or something similar) and I talked about how powerful a character Oracle is and that Gordon is a great (and rare) non-able bodied role model and how much she has grown into the role (and grown OUT of being Batgirl) and that selfishly I don’t want it any other way.

But he made some salient points about the fact that in the DCU literally anything seems to be possible (I mean, Bruce Wayne is skipping through time or something right now and all sorts of other craziness happens with the frequency of heroes just waking up in the morning) and yet Gordon remains stuck in a wheelchair…and he has a point. It’s like DCU will bend the fabric of time if it suits their purposes, but because Gordan as Oracle has become a beloved and respected character, they’re happy to leave her in the chair…but the feeling is, if she was say Batman…the wheelchair would just be a temporary thing that he would overcome…you know?

So I think this story, while interesting as a tiny little slice of story and a feature on these three interesting women…becomes this kind of “really? they go out dancing rather than try to actually solve this problem…a problem theoretically much smaller/easier to work with than most average day in the life of a superhero problems?” It does start to seem pretty unbelievable. JMS tries to account for it and explain why they’re not doing anything in that diner scene, but it does feel like a lot of reaching and over-explaining to make the story work. If you can look at it completely out of context, it’s more palatable, but in context…I can see how it would really be anger inducing to fans.

Without the deeper layers, as just a simple story I enjoyed it and because of the emotional ending I thought it gave the rest of the piece more significance than simply a fluffy and pointless “girls night out” piece…but I can see the complaints…and I can’t really disagree when it comes down to it.

@ Michael P: I think you make a really good point about the Oedipus thing…I think the problem is that the DCU in general does not abide by those rules. For the sake of a good story or crossover (or whatever they need) they bend the rules to suit their needs…and they do so arbitrarily…and so it makes it feel disingenuous to say that in this world of the impossible happening every day that Barbara Gordon MUST be consigned to a wheelchair despite all the technology and magic at the disposal of Oracle and all her powerful friends.

In regards Firestar being too perfect: If memory serves, her main character flaw in New Warriors (the only book I’ve read where she got a significant amount of character development, although I never read her original miniseries) was that she tried to hard to please other people and bottled up her resentment over it until it eventually all came out at once. In other words, about the worst character trait for a one shot – you either go the route this issue did (i.e., all bottling up, no explosion) and she comes across as a depth-free goody two-shoes, or you fast track her to the blow up and she comes across as an unstable hothead.

My big problem with Her-oes was the same issue everyone seemed to have with X-Men Noir: why does this story need to be done with these characters (or rather, with vastly modified versions of these characters in an alternate reality)? Are Narmora and the Wasp such big-sellers that recasting them as high school students makes more sense than using any of the many, many young characters Marvel already has? Like the Young Avengers, the Runaways, Power Pack, the NYX cast – heck, I’m pretty sure a third of the mutants on Utopia are teenage girls.

“You can’t fight fate” has been a theme of JMS’s Brave and the Bold run, with it previously being covered by the Dr. Fate/Green Lantern issue and the Dial H for Hero/Batman issue.

I actually find it a touch weird that the Dial H for Hero issue was criticized a lot more than the Babs/Zatanna/WW issue. (Dr. Fate/Green Lantern is somewhat different because there isn’t anybody who simply accepts what the future will bring.)

Rohan Williams

April 27, 2010 at 3:20 am

Wasn’t it pretty firmly established in Booster Gold that it was impossible to save Barbara? This sounds consistent with that story.

The problems with B&B 33, as I see it are this: Zatanna decides that she and Diana _MUST_ take Barbara out for one last night of fun, because, SHE’S BARBARA!!! despite there being no history of the 3 characters…ever. Not in the past comics…not even in current continuity…but it was important because OH NO, IT’S BARBARA!. It’s not say Donna Troy or Starfire, people you could make an argument know Barbara thru Dick…it’s just arbitrary.

AND then…if they’re such best buds that the HAD to give her one more night of fun…why haven’t they helped her since? Diana can’t use amazon magic and rays to cure a spinal injury? Zatanna, who is essentially omnipotent, doesn’t just heal her? Some BFFs.

BUT, that’s geek stuff.

My SUPER ISSUE with it is the final bit…Barabara was dreaming of the time she could “dance” and was “pretty”.

That’s the point of the story…the two glamorous celebrity super heroes gave their crippled “friend” a memory of one last time when “she could dance and was pretty”.

Scavenger, in general that’s a big problem with DC comics lately, especially after Identity Crisis where all superheros were presented as some giant extended family rather than peers in the same line of business. (The constant use of first names, the attendance of all superheroes at the funerals, the idea that the Atom and Jean Loring both knew Tim Drake’s secret identity). Since then there’s this assumed premise that all longtime heroes are exceedingly close buds beneath their masks. Before Identity Crisis secret identities were still such a closely guarded secret that most of the League didn’t even know each other’s until that arc by Mark Waid and Bryan Hitch. After Identity Crisis and Brad Meltzer, everyone seems to know each other’s first names, even Batman’s.

Willie Everstop

April 27, 2010 at 11:41 am

Maybe Barbara secretly feels more useful in the wheelchair. Oracle has gained the respect of her peers in a way Batgirl never did. All of the role models are now depending on her.

Or maybe she is a little scared to be in the line of fire again. I thought that also might be the reason Hawkeye has been dressing up as a ninja. He’s still a little wary of strapping explosive arrows onto his back.

Willie….go ask someone who’s been crippled if they feel more useful in a wheelchair.

(To be fair to you, though…a wheelchair bound friend of mine is of the opinion that Barbara in fact a masochist who likes playing the pitty card, which causes any attempted healing of her to fail…he’s a bit bitter about how she’s treated…)

I read the Firestar one-shot. Not the best representation I’ve seen of her. I never liked that her break-up with Vance happened in the pages of an obscure Valentines special.

It did confuse me at first to wonder why she would be fussing with her hair in mid-flight, but then there is a pay-off at the end.

If Marvel was keen on gaining the interest of young women readers, then perhaps a preview issue published within a young teens magazine would have been more appropriate. And then make sure the title is sold where the customers can easily find it. Unfortunately the other problem would be to find a local comic shop that stocks the titles. More to the point, they would have to find a local comic shop that runs as a professional business and not as extension of some fanboy’s garage or basement.

When the graphic novel adaptation of Twilight was announced, I told my friend my from work that she would have to place a standing order with a comic shop in another city, as the local one here would only stock a limited number, if any at all. To my surprise, the graphic novel is currently on sale in all local bookshops and department stores.

Willie….go ask someone who’s been crippled if they feel more useful in a wheelchair.

(To be fair to you, though…a wheelchair bound friend of mine is of the opinion that Barbara in fact a masochist who likes playing the pitty card, which causes any attempted healing of her to fail…he’s a bit bitter about how she’s treated…)

I agree with you. I think it’s such a hypocritical attitude to me because DC says Barbara doesn’t want to be cured because she doesn’t view being in a wheelchair because it’s not a handicap, she feels more useful in the wheelchair, she doesn’t want blahblahblah, or whatever the PC reason of the week is. Yet Batman gets crippled and somehow it’s not demeaning to real life handicap people to cure HIS paralysis. That means the powers-that-be at DC don’t really believe the PC shpiel they’ve been telling us, because when an A-list character is at stake suddenly it’s okay to admit he’s better off walking.

Willie Everstop

April 27, 2010 at 7:11 pm

My dad is a disabled vetran who doesn’t seem to want to get better. I never said it was a healthy attitude.

Willie Everstop

April 27, 2010 at 7:12 pm

oops, i meant veteran

Just for the record (since I suspect it will come up at some point in the future)…I’ve been thinking about B&B #33 off and on all week, and re-read it, and despite my desire to want to like it for the phenomenal art and the slice-of-life-y-ness of superheroes, which I tend to enjoy, I think I have to come down firmly as displeased with B&B #33. Regardless of what JMS has been doing with fate in other issues (which I have not read) these are supposed to be stand alone stories…so I think they pass or fail on their own…and I just have too many problems with Barbara Gordon’s story being used this way…the first of which is that it just seems in bad taste.

I still want Cliff Chiang on any of the books I buy regularly…PLEASE. Bonus points if we could get him on something with a lot of female characters…I think I’d die of pleasure if that could be Birds Of Prey…any chance DC? Please? :)

I picked up Firestar and Her-Oes and really liked the former. The art, as you said, was great. The bright glowiness really fit the character. The hair reveal made me roll my eyes (as it did during the Watchmen movie), but otherwise it sets up a nice busy superhero woman dealing with real life storyline. I didn’t like Her-Oes as much. The superheroes, but now in highschool!!!! gimmick has been done a lot in the recent past (like X-Men Evolution on TV). Also some of the faces in perspective looked very off.

Speaking of off, off-topic: will Straczynski’s latest Brave and the Bold be making it to this column?

Oops, I should read things before I post. Sorry!

I think that they could make good comics for boys and girls by doing twins,
or the one soul in two bodies thing.
I myself am not a big comic reader, but that’s because i’m annoyed that most comics just star guys.
And that the women that manage to get a part are just the superheroes sexy girl friends.

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