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She Has No Head! – Mourning The Loss Of Yet Another Creative Team

Black Widow #1 – 5.  Marjorie Liu (writer).  Daniel Acuna (art and covers).  Blambot’s Nate Piekus (letters).  Marvel.  22-pages, full color.  $2.99.

I’m not sure I know how to write about the first five issues of the new Black Widow series without talking about my concern, frustration, and puzzlement as to why the creative team of Marjorie Liu and Daniel Acuna is changing just as this great series gets started.  But I’m definitely having some mild deja vu flashback to how I felt when I learned Greg Rucka would not be writing Batwoman.

Let’s be clear – there is very little information out there, and what is out there (from Liu’s blog) says that it was her choice to leave and it was always intended to happen that way, so I’m not trying to blame Marvel.  However, as Greg said in his What I Bought post this past week…WHAT THE HELL?  Okay, Greg said it much more eloquently than that, but I’ve whittled it down to its core. It’s REALLY hard to launch a new comic series these days, especially one with a female lead, so I just don’t know why you’d let the creative team and entire look and feel of a book that’s looking great and getting a good critical response, shift focus.

I certainly understand that Liu can only do what she can do (although why Acuna is leaving at the same time is still a mystery to me since the visuals are such a major part of this book’s identity) and since she’s adding a new X-23 ongoing to her schedule I guess she simply can’t do both.  Liu is also a novelist and I’m sure has many commitments beyond the comic book world (there is a world outside of comics, or so I’ve been told), so she may not have unlimited time for comics.  But I have trouble understanding why anyone (regardless of affection for a character) would abandon Black Widow for  X-23.  I suppose it doesn’t help that as a reader I intensely disliked the X-23 one shot that came out from Liu this past spring, and I intensely liked this opening arc on Black Widow…so there’s frustration there for me.  I look DESPERATELY for good books with strong female leads…and they don’t come around every day and it’s even more rare that they’re actually good – so this is a blow for me.

As for Acuna, his work, though not for everyone I’m sure, has been mind blowingly good on Black Widow (except for that pesky first cover that, though lovely, makes me want to stab my eyes out with its unzipped silliness) so it’s really hard to lose him on this title.  I can imagine, like Liu, that the schedule (Acuna does ALL the art – pencils, inks, and colors) has been hard on Acuna and maybe is not maintainable long term.  Although I will say that the art was wonderfully consistent for these first five issues, and if an issue was late, it wasn’t late enough to be noticeable.

So apparently it’s Liu deciding to move on by choice or necessity (or both) and for Acuna I don’t know what it is – choice, necessity, or something else.  But I can’t help but feel a little paranoid about these decisions.  It wouldn’t be the first time that a writer or artist fell on their sword for the big two…and with the information being so vague and limited (literally Liu’s blog is the only place in about half a dozen articles that I saw a grain of anything that resembled “why”) I remain suspicious.  Truth be told, silence makes me nervous…it makes me think publishers are hiding something…but it seems like this will just have to a mystery that never gets solved beyond what I read on Liu’s blog.  If I was The Black Widow I wouldn’t take that for an answer and I would dig deep and uncover this mystery, but I’m not The Black Widow and I’ve got to work in the morning, so we’ll never know.  Sad, that.

Of course if the second arc of Black Widow by Duane Sierczynski and Manuel Garcia is great, I’ll be better able to accept both the change and the secrecy surrounding the reasoning of such a change.  If it’s terrible, I’m going to be horribly bummed out and even more suspicious.  In truth, I hated the preview pages that were released.  Though they were unlettered and I could not get a feel for Sierczynski’s work I found Garcia’s pencils to be really out of synch with how well I thought Acuna nailed the tonal feel of a book about a Russian spy.  Acuna’s pages were appropriately dark and noir-like and full of excellent fashion and beautiful quiet moments, not to mention well executed action.  In contrast, Garcia’s pages seem garish and overly bright, the action appears a bit more confusing and I found the clothes and camera angles to be very poor choices.  But it’s only four pages…I could change my mind.  I hope I’ll change my mind.  It looks like, judging by some quick research that I’ve never read a single thing of Sierczynski’s, which seems odd but is entirely possible, so I’ll be coming to his work with no preconceptions, good or bad.  But he’s still got a tough act to follow in Liu and Acuna.

So what’s to like here? What am I so desperate not to lose?

Well, for starters Liu’s Black Widow is smart and sexy, dark and serious, but not without humor, sharp though it is.  She’s casual about who she is, regardless of what badass thing she’s doing, which feels right considering who she is and how long she’s been around.  She even says to Lady Bullseye in issue #4 “You’re a baby compared to me.  Of course I’m bored.  I know how this will end”.  And that line, all her lines, feel right.  They feel consistent and well considered – it’s some nice writing that fits the character beautifully, and in the case of someone like me, that hasn’t spent much time with Natasha, it’s a real indicator that done well, I could be a huge fan of the character.

It’s also a triumph that Liu can give Natasha this confidence and air of boredom and yet still raise the stakes enough on what’s happening to her that you do catch yourself worrying if she’ll be okay, despite her casual badassitude.  But more interesting than whether she’ll be okay or not is how she’ll get out of it, what tricks she’ll pull next.  And Liu writes that part well too.  The book, along with Natasha, is smart.  It asks a lot of the reader – the story is complex, as are the characters – and you can’t read casually and expect to get it all –  but I say “hell yeah to that”.  I wish more comics asked more of me.  I think for people that don’t know much about Black Widow beyond the hype – of which I am one – this book is not throwing any softballs – there are some things that I don’t totally get or understand – some of the nuance and convoluted history – but it’s not necessary to know it all in order to still understand the story and the character and feel totally fulfilled.

The plot, complicated and winding, is essentially that someone unknown is waging war on Natasha and it’s quite personal.  By attempting to first isolate her and ruin her reputation by turning the Avengers against her with the erroneous (we hope) claim that she has been spying on them all along and is a traitor, long and deeply buried in their ranks.  Natasha attempts to clear her name, protect her friends (and keep herself among the living) by unraveling the mystery of who is after her.  There’s a lot of great spy stuff and superhero stuff combined with some nice thriller and mystery elements.  Natasha’s search takes her from old friends like The Black Rose to enemies like Lady Bullseye and to somewhere in between (Elektra) as she jaunts across the globe and from trains to operating tables trying to get to the bottom of things.

For his part I think tonally there’s not a better artist for this book than Daniel Acuna.  His Natasha is incredibly beautiful and stylish, but much in synch with what Liu is doing, it’s almost a lazy bored beauty – as if she’s been around so long and seen so much that it’s just in her nature to be this way, look this way, move this way, act this way.  It comes across as almost matter of fact – which though horribly unrealistic I suppose – really worked for the style and tone of the book.  From the way Natasha is styled – her “superhero clothes” (which are blissfully practical with combat boots and a fully zipped catsuit) to her “spy clothes” – a stunning suit and stylin’ hat to her “play clothes” (although in truth all of Natasha’s clothes seem to be work/play combination clothes) it’s all visually realized in a completely cohesive and consistent way – I believe that this is Natasha’s wardrobe.  And maybe that’s not wildly important, but it is kind of rare for a character to be fleshed out so deeply that I believe that these are the clothes hanging in her closet.  It’s an attention to detail that I’d love to see more of in comics.

Excerpt from Black Widow #4:

Natasha feels three dimensional to me in a way that I rarely feel superhero comics accomplish – and that was equal parts Liu and Acuna.  The style of the book, as I said before, really tonally fits the kind of dark, depressing, spy noir that they’re doing – and is fitting for a character like Natasha (it’s one of the many reasons the art – and to a lesser degree the writing – didn’t work for me in the two Black Widow mini-series we saw earlier in the year).  The art is almost made for this exact story.  I don’t know enough about Acuna as an artist to know if he’s just naturally suited to this specific kind of story or if he’s just good enough to slightly modify his art to MAKE it perfectly fit – but either way, the adjustment to a new artist will be considerable – and judging from those preview pages – for me – painful.  My sole complaint about Acuna’s work is that the book occasionally goes too dark, making things hard to follow, but those panels were few and far between.

I'm the goddamn Black Widow.

From a female positivity point of view, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised.  I’m always hopeful when reading a female writer, but in truth I feel they often let me down, perhaps because my expectations are too high.  In Liu’s case, I hadn’t read much of her work prior to Black Widow, but I was cautiously optimistic.  In Acuna’s case I was quite nervous, because while I knew I loved his style, between the first cover snafu and a few pieces here and there (he was responsible for one of the most egregious Rogue unzipped illustrations which you all know by now is a pet project and pet frustration of mine) I wasn’t sure he could deliver this book without the heavy cheesecake, and I just honestly think Black Widow is above that and deserves better.  But I was wonderfully surprised.  Acuna was clever in his clothing choices, and clever in a way that well reflected Natasha’s personality, and I saw little to no overt male gaze positioning and camera angles in his storytelling.  Instead he just told the story and he told it beautifully.  In fact, the story calls for Black Widow to (several times) be naked or only partially clad, and Acuna handled these with a wonderful restraint, the way I feel any story dealing with a male lead would handle them.  Rather than seeing a coquettish Black Widow that arches her back and looks at us sexily we saw a badass spy that was cavalier about being unclothed because it was secondary to whatever was happening.  It was great.  It made me proud and not embarrassed to be seen reading it.  It was a book respectful of both the character and the readers, which is sadly, all too rare.

Additionally, while the series thus far has been filled with great cameo appearances by other badass ladies (Elektra and Lady Bullseye) and heavy hitters Wolverine, Iron Man, Hawkeye, and Captain America, the guest stars never overwhelmed the story.  And perhaps most importantly the book never felt like it didn’t belong 100% to Natasha, which is often a problem in new series that front load themselves with guest stars.  Natasha’s love interest (James aka Captain America) makes a few appearances as both her teammate and lover, but he never takes control, and Liu does a clever balancing act of establishing both the trust and affection in the relationship, but also the boundaries.  It was easy to believe that Natasha would fall for him and he for her.  But like the guest stars, the love story never overwhelms the larger story, which could have been fatal.

Overall I’d say that Black Widow has been one of the better books I’ve read this last year, and certainly the best offering to come out of Marvel’s “Year of Women” next to Heralds (though this was certainly more consistent than Heralds).  So it’s a shame to be losing it.  Sure, it’s possible the future is still bright for Black Widow, and that Liu and Acuna have positioned the book well to be a success, but it’s just such a tricky balancing act to launch a new book, let alone one with a female lead, that I find myself wishing Liu and Acuna had at least gotten (and given?) a year on the title.  Just the possibility of what we could have seen excites me, instead I look toward the new creative with a wary eye and hope in my heart.  We’ll see.

The Black Widow #5 released on August 25th, 2010.  Issues #1 – 5 are available in comic book stores everywhere and will are expected to be collected in trade format at a later date.

36 Comments

[…] comics, comics should be good, marvel comics, she has no head! | Tags: recommended! A new She Has No Head! – about the Black Widow series thus far as it wraps up its first arc and loses the fantastic […]

Good article. I checked out the preview pages and that is a big tonal shift.

But I have trouble understanding why anyone (regardless of affection for a character) would abandon Black Widow for X-23.

Well, ignoring creative reasons, there’s the whole, writing a book staring a 3rd string Avengers vs writing a book featuring Wolverine’s “daughter”. One of those has a much higher potential for sales, and it’s not the one that might get a Scarlett Johansen photo cover.

I saw those preview pages and I wasn’t impressed either. Manuel Garcia is a more than capable penciller but he’s been paired with the wrong inker and colourist here. Look at his work on Mystique for evidence he can do this kind of book really well.

Don’t know that this is any comfort, but I enjoyed the work Swierczynski did on The Immortal Iron Fist after Fraction & Brubaker left. I thought he had a good feel for the characters and more importantly, to me, anyway, they all “sounded” like they were supposed to (or at least how Fraction & Brubaker had established that they should…).

Well, ignoring creative reasons, there’s the whole, writing a book staring a 3rd string Avengers vs writing a book featuring Wolverine’s “daughter”. One of those has a much higher potential for sales, and it’s not the one that might get a Scarlett Johansen photo cover.

I don’t think you’re right, but it would be really sad if you were. In the event that X-23 does outsell Black Widow, I’m going to put it out there that Marvel should retcon every character to be somehow related to Wolverine. Black Panther? Wolverine’s second cousin. Galactus? Wolverine’s great grandfather, and so forth. Really cultivate that family tree.

LOL.

“Galactus? Wolverine’s great grandfather”

Hardest I’ve laughed in days. Thank you!

It actually made sense to me when I found out that Liu was leaving Black Widow after only one arc. The story never included any elements that served a longer plot than what was resolved in her five issues, which led me to believe that at some point this was only meant to be a mini, rather than an ongoing, but was bumped up because of the Widow’s reportedly prominent role in Iron Man 2 (even though she had, like, ten lines).

It made sense, but it’s still a bummer. I liked the way she progressed through the book’s main story, never revealing the extent of her knowledge or intuition to her opponents, and, through conservative narration, to the reader as well. The Black Widow wasn’t always one step ahead of her opponents, but she was always one step ahead of where they (and we) thought she was. That was a refreshing surprise.

As for Duane Swierczynski, I haven’t read anything of his that I’ve hated, but nothing he’s done has struck me as being as well-constructed as Liu’s Black Widow arc. He’s done a few standard-issue post-Ennis Punisher stories that stood and fell on the strengths of the artist he worked with and the recently-ended Cable series which had few surprises, and, again, my enjoyment of his work was largely dependent on the artist attached (Jamie KcKelvie, Paul Gulacy – yay! Ariel Olivetti – eh). I don’t really know much about Manuel Garcia – the work in those previews is unlikely to convince me to change that, though.

But I will take issue with one small part of the article (sorry, comics lifer kneejerk reactions are next to impossible to deny) – We haven’t seen enough of Lady Bullseye to know whether she can be a legitimate threat or just the next female Doc Ock. She did some cleverly sadistic things to Matt Murdock, but it was later revealed that she was just a pawn in more consequential players’ games. At the moment, all she’s really doing is waiting for the Kingpin to tell her what to do and when. And if my suspicion that she’s due for an encounter with a resurrected Bullseye near the end of Shadowland bears any fruit… well… we need to establish that regular Bullseye is still a threat SOMEHOW, don’t we? Her only non-Daredevil appearance has been the one in Widow, and, well… that didn’t exactly go her way, did it? I guess it should be said that I’ve been down on this character from the start, as I am with most spinoff characters. But some clever plays from her lawyer alter-ego and unbridled ambition have endeared her to me somewhat, so we’ll just have to see where she goes from here.

Garcia did the final, abominable arc on Checkmate, and it was the only good thing about it. I agree with Mr. Daylight – his work on those preview pages is not as good as it has been elsewhere. I live in hope, though!

“I just feel that Black Widow is above that and deserves better.”

This is interesting to me. Are you saying that there are some female characters who DON’T deserve better? And if so why do they not deserve better while Black Widow does?

But yeah, I agree with you, it’s been utterly killer so far. I don’t think I’ll be reading Scwedon’twannalookitup’s run on the title though, since the ENTIRE reason I bought the book was for the creative team.

@Chris

Definitely not – I think I worded that a bit poorly. I didn’t mean to imply any other characters (male or female) don’t deserve respect – they certainly all do – but I do think in some ways I perhaps expect it even more for a character that’s been around so long like Natasha.

Swierczynski has gotten really good. I had liked what I had read out of Black Widow so far but this is definitely within his wheelhouse and he’s done some excellent work with female characters (Hope, for instance, in Cable).

In general, if you can only look at two of his comics I’d look at Cable #6 and #16, though the former is more about Cyclops than anything else.

From what I understand, Liu just has something of a day job and she only has time for 1.5 comics a month and she wants to devote that time to X-23. Hopefully those issues are just as good as what she’s been doing with Natasha.

Did you read Richard K. Morgan’s take on Black Widow from a few years ago? Terrible, terrible Greg Land covers, but inside the book was pretty spectucular (Sienkiewicz was doing the art) and the characterisation and story was great, especially the first series. Well worth checking out.

It seems to me that many creative teams are often only hired to do the first initial arc, or mini-series, or whatever, and then hopefully create enough interest to allow others to take over. Gaiman’s work with Marvel is a perfect example of this kind of work, and perhaps Rucka with Batwoman as well I suppose. I guess the theory is that it’s tough to keep top-talent on lower-paying books (based on residuals/royalties/basic page rates, is my guess, from what I’ve read from other creators’ comments in the past), but more importantly, Marvel/DC/whoever want to be able to continue to sell a series based not only on the creative teams’ names, but on the selling power of the characters themselves. It does no good to Marvel if they can’t move a book as soon as their talent jumps ship.

Excuse me, but did Marjorie Liu or Daniel Acuna suddenly die and I missed the news article? No? Oh, good. Glad to know. So…

What exactly is there to ‘mourn’, again?

You have not lost a creative team, Kelly. They merely left a title after finishing a story arc you felt was very strong and enjoyable. Far be it for anyone to know when to bow out gracefully when the curtain drops and leave their audience wanting more. So they left. So what? Neither has said they’ll never work on the character again. Nor have they said they wouldn’t work toegther on other projects again, have they? So how, pray tell, is this creative team lost to fandom forever more, which is the only time one should be “mourning their loss”?

Overreact much?

You ‘mourn the loss’ of a creative team when there’s no possibility of future collaborations between them. As in when Mike Weiringo died, we mourned his loss and the loss of the team of Dezago and Weiringo for TELLOS. Or you’d mourn for for Bill Mantlo and all the cool stuff he could have given us that we all lost after the horrible accident that left him in a vegetative state for years before he passed on. Or you mourn the loss of a creative team when it’s clear the creators in question hate each other’s guts and won’t have anything to do with one another again (and I’ll spare folks the speculations on that).

But you don’t ‘mourn the loss’ of two creators who are healthy and happy who have simply chosen to bow out and move on to new challenges. You say, ‘Thank you for a very enjoyable story. I hope you come back to revisit this character again soon.’ And you move on with life. Maybe the next team will be worth following, and maybe they won’t be, but such is the case with all ongoing series, isn’t it?

Yeah, Kelly, you should be ashamed of yourself for wanting to read more of a creative team you enjoyed. Where’s your sense of…

Wait, Bright-Raven, what was your point again?

Overreact much?

And the Aware for Unintentional Irony goes to…

Wait, Bright-Raven, what was your point again?

I think it’s that the word “mourn” can never be used in any context outside of death. I’m paging Meriam Webster’s now so they can fix this egregious error in their dictionaries.

And of course I meant the AWARD for Unintentional Irony, “award,” as in “I will never win the award for best typist.”

Man. This is the second time that I’ve had to post a dictionary definition in order to prove that I know what a word means. And this definition is even from my crappy computer dictionary, so I feel particularly vindicated. I am human guys and prone to mistakes, and you are all welcome to call me on it (though if you start calling out grammar errors we’re gonna be here all day) but generally I don’t use words if I don’t know what they mean.

mourn |môrn|
verb [ trans. ]
feel or show deep sorrow or regret for (someone or their death), typically by following conventions such as the wearing of black clothes : Isabel mourned her husband | [ intrans. ] she had to mourn for her friends who died in the accident.

feel regret or sadness about (the loss or disappearance of something) : publishers mourned declining sales of hardback fiction.

I find it particularly hilarious that the example for my definition is about “the declining sales of hardback fiction”. That couldn’t have worked out better if I tried.

I don’t see how a book about Wolverine’s daughter is such a sure thing compared to a Black Widow series. Spin-offs often fail, sometimes spectacularly so. X-23 has only been around a few years and she hasn’t appeared much in the X-Men books I’ve read. And while admitting that this website and a couple of others which only partly deal with comics are my own connection to the wider fan community, I haven’t seen any indication that she is in any way popular. I can only think of maybe two occasions that I’ve seen X-23 mentioned in Comics Should Be Good. Whereas the Black Widow has been around since the 1960s, appearing in every major Marvel series at one time or another. Sure, she’s not one of the big names, but everyone who reads much Marvel must be familiar with the character by now, which I don’t think can be said for X-23.
I don’t much like the description of Natasha as ‘a 3rd string Avenger’, even though she is one. It’s just that I’ve always thought of her primarily as a partner of Daredevil, but I guess that’s just showing my age.

Tom Fitzpatrick

August 30, 2010 at 7:19 pm

Two of my favorite Black Widow stories, were by Rucka & Kordey, “Pale Little Spider” and the one drawn by legendary artist extraordinaire George Perez.

I’ve not read any other since then, sigh.

*sigh* I have to recall a line from BSG here….”As it has happened before, it will happen again” Marvel just loves doing this to die hard fans…Liu has done a great job on Black Widow, and she did really well with X-23 before (as well as Dark Wolverine) but like a couple of posters alluded to before, this felt like Iron Fist all over again.

I wish her well but I really would have loved 3 or 4 more arcs on Black Widow….. come on, if that scene with Lady Bullseye wasn’t proof of that…nothing will sway you….

Kelly:

You want to play the English vernacular / dictionary game? Okay…

The title of this column is “Mourning The Loss Of Yet Another Creative Team”.

The only way this *creative team* is lost to us are:

1) One or more of the creators dies.
2) One or more of the creators gets injured / deabilitated to the point where they can no longer produce work.
3) The creators don’t like working together and have chosen to part ways.
4) The editorial group / publisher doesn’t want them.

There have been no public indicators of any of these scenarios. So the creative team of Liu & Acuna is in fact NOT lost.

Now, if you had titled your column, “Mourning BLACK WIDOW’s Loss Of It’s Current Creative Team” or “Mourning Yet Another Great Series The Loss Of It’s Creative Team”, or “Mourning Marvel’s Losing It’s Creative Team on BLACK WIDOW…” or some other variation thereof where it’s the title or the publisher who has lost something, *then* you have your context as you claim you’re using it, Kelly.

The way your title reads, however, is clearly a designation that we, the audience, have lost this creative team. Yet both creators are alive and well and can produce work and as far as we know have no problem collaborating together, and there doesn’t seem to be any public indication from Marvel or any other publisher that they don’t want them working together anymore. Ergo, why ‘mourn the loss’ of the team, when it’s presumably intact, just inactive, or (potentially) moving on to collaborate on other projects?

You are not “mourning the loss of yet another creative team”, merely their departure from a series you happened to like them on. And yet here you are, writing your column like it’s a eulogy for the character and the creators’ careers both – playing right into the OTHER definition of the term for mourning relating to death, mind you – like there’s some sort of conspiracy going on that took them all out of the equation. “I can’t understand why anyone would leave Black Widow for X-23…” Maybe because Liu has more creative control over X-23? Maybe because (for now) she’s told the story as far as she can with Natasha for whatever reason, and feels she has to step away so that she doesn’t screw things up?

Why is Acuna leaving? Maybe because he’s loyal to Liu. Maybe because the deadlines are too much to maintain a monthly schedule. Does it matter as long as he’s somewhere producing cool work that you might also enjoy? The correct answer to that question is NO, it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that Liu and Acuna continue to entertain you, individually or collaboratively, in the future.

All that matters, in terms of the comic in question, is that Sierczynski and Garcia give you something enjoyable of their own. Obviously it will not be the same thing. And maybe it will be as good, but different, and maybe it will suck, or maybe just different and not as good but still enjoyable – who really knows until the work is out there to be read. If it isn’t worth continuing with, it isn’t. Drop the book and move on until a new creative team comes on or Liu & Acuna return for an arc, or whatever. It’s no different than having to drop any other title.

Instead of wondering ‘why’ and bemoaning the departure, be thankful you got something worth reading that was completed (i.e. the story didn’t get axed or altered against the creator’s intent midstream, as is commonplace in this business) and that the creative team didn’t outstay their plans (if we are to believe Liu’s statment that this was her decision to leave and had been so from the start, and until we see evidence to the contrary I think I’ll take Ms. Liu at her word). It’s far better they leave the book on a high note and the next team come in and fuck it up, leaving them the possibility of returning to ‘fix’ it, than it is to continue, and possibly produce mediocre to shit work. (And haven’t we all seen enough of that from plenty of different creators in this business over the years?)

Here’s another word for the dictionary game, Bright-Raven: pedantic.

I just assumed that Liu and Acuna had pitched a mini and the powers that be decided to use it to launch a series.

We have had our mini. If the new veersion of the book doesn’t look good, leave it at that.

I hope you give Swierczynski a chance. One of the characters in Severance Package is basically the Black Widow and she was, well, quite awesome (in every sense of the word).

Davey Boy Smith

August 31, 2010 at 8:08 am

Bright-Raven, the amount of rancor in your posts is creeping me out.

Great stuff, Kelly.Some comments:

1. I, too, mourn the loss of the great Liu-Acuna team on this book. Although I hope for the best (I’m a big Black Widow fan), I have a sinking feeling we are going to witness a re-run of what happened when the fantastic Brubaker-Fraction team left IRON FIST. Oh, well, at least in both cases we still have a great run of stories to remember.

2. Ditching the overt sexiness: I’m with you on this one Kelly. Frankly, I find it embarrassing to be seen reading a Comic Book whose cover could be mistaken for the cover shot on MAXIM.Besides, I really don’t see what’s so titillating about a drawing. What am I supposed to do, think, ” Well, yes, I suppose that if this actually were a flesh and blood girl, then this drawing would be quite stimulating…?”

3. The zipper: A note to all artists: The Black Widow somehow made it through the 70s and the 80s with the zipper on her catsuit pulled up all the way. No one seemed to mind it then.

4. Liu as gateway drug: My girlfriend saw Liu’s name on the copy of the Black Widow that I was reading. Turns out that she is a fan of her paranormal romance novels (her guilty pleasure). She read the issues and loved it.

“Bright-Raven, the amount of rancor in your posts is creeping me out.”

Seconded.

Is B-R officially a new resident lunatic?(I say “a” because, well, this blog has more than a few…) Because I’m pretty sure taking like 900 years to argue about the semantics of the title of a blog post is one of the first signs that you’re both crazy and have way too much time on your hands, so the dude definitely has the chops to reside, and be a lunatic.

Kelly: You want to play the English vernacular / dictionary game?

This was probably the worst sentence in the whole deal.

Because, yes, clearly it was Kelly who decided to take this discussion into pedantry.

“YOU WANT WORDS? THIS IS WHAT I THINK OF WORDS. TRY TO TELL ME TO STOP. I WILL NOT.

WOOOOORRRRRRRRRRRDDDDDDDDSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS”

I like Bright Raven better when he’s in self pity mode.

Luckily, he’s in self pity mode 99.9% of the time.

“Bright-Raven, the amount of rancor in your posts is creeping me out.”

Yeah, it definitely has that creepy ‘I can’t socialize with women, so I’m going to focus on one to belittle and then I’ll feel better about myself’ feel to it.

Ick!

Dude, get a grip on yourself.

On the plus side – the story is self-contained, so I’m free to not only ignore any other storylines but not be annoyed at what would otherwise be dangling threads in a partial story. I like that, it’s a flaw in Batwoman: Elegy that so much of the begining of the story is dependent upon prior stories that I have not read and have no interest in reading. (But Elegy quickly moved beyond and gave so much more.)

Intrusive outside continuity keeps me from most of the mainstream books these days, and tends to dampen my enjoyment when I do dip a toe back into that pool.

I’ll hope they return to do more work on BW, but if not, we have one great story.

BTW, the collected edition of this arc is due in January (with an additional 8-pager from somewhere…)

But seriously… “Lady Bullseye”? Who the fuck came up with that moniker?

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