Every week I do a column full of comic book reviews as I've done since March 2003 and currently published at Comic Book Resources. Then, after the reviews post, I try to come over to Komplicated and expand on the thoughts and ideas listed there. Why talk about stuff at some other site? Oh, like you've never done any private projects when you're at work! Sometimes things get profound, sometimes it's gibberish, but it's always about comics … let's see what we get this week!
What? This week's reviews …
THAT VOODOO THAT YOU DO: If you don't want [SPOILERS] for the just-released Voodoo #1, this might be a good time to wander off …
All right, let's go.
Okay, apparently, she's not a Daemonite anymore, she's a Martian.
How did I come up with that? Well, at the end of the issue, she changed her appearance from being a vapid version of Claudia Jordan to a scruffy-looking Josh Holloway (who, someone on Facebook suggested, would have made a more charismatic and interesting Hawkeye than Jeremy Renner, and I can't disagree). That was the first clue.
Then, they noted that she had telepathy, and could read minds. That sure sounds Martian.
Then, she loses it and transforms into a green skinned alien form that slashes dude into cole slaw. Like J'onn J'onnz? Maybe.
Why would I care? Well, the idea of J'onn J'onnz being the last green-skinned Martian is a big part of the pathos in his character. They even jammed in M'gann M'orzz but were careful enough to make her a repentant white Martian in "greenface" because people think white Martians are all evil (not going into the obvious jokes here). Since Wildstorm's just one of DC's 52 worlds (and maybe even more "integrated" than that), the whole Daemonite thing could be gone. I don't care. Add a new green Martian? Nuh uh. We don't need any more sex-toy women of color flouncing their boobs around.
When you add to that the vapid, boob-centric writing and artwork (although I'll admit the craft in the latter) and you have a book that fails on almost every level, especially since she's portrayed as a "woman of color" most of the time. Not cool.
TACIT CONSENT: I read somewhere that DC was, despite catching a lotta flak, publishing way more comics with female leads than the Mouse House of Ideas by a margin of, what, four to one? I believe the actual numbers are "four" and "one," to be honest. How do those numbers add up for Black people?
DC (September 2011):
- Mister Terrific (with the only Black writer in mainstream monthly comics today)
- Static Shock
- Voodoo (we’ll allow it)
MARVEL (September 2011):
- Black Panther, The Most Dangerous Failure Alive
- Ultimate Spider-Man
- Iron Man 2.0 (War Machine)
Three to four. On the other hand, of the DC books, half of them infuriate me, whereas I'm only actively angry at one of the Marvel ones.
Let's not get started on the issue of creative teams, as we may have a few more brown faces acting as Directors of Photography, but there's a limited ability to tell the actual story there.
"What about Misty Knight?" Leading the ensemble cast of Heroes for Hire is cool, but it's not a solo book and her name's not on the marquis. Ooh, quick, let's run all of them through the Black Hero Origin Algorithm and see what we come up with …
- Mister Terrific: Two Ebonies ("How wude!") for being in the Olympics and following in the footsteps of a white character
- Static: One Ebony ("Whosa dis?") for the Tony Isabella Corollary of electrical powers, being created after Black Lightning.
- Batwing: Two Ebonies for footsteps and poverty (sorry DRC)
- Voodoo: Two Ebonies* for criminal background (the feds are after her) and having a John Stewart Impurity
- Black Panther: One Ebony for his recently developed John Stewart Impurity. Thanks David Liss! (sigh)
- Ultimate Spider-Man: Three Ebonies ("Dellow felegates … mesa proposes … granting emergency powers to the Supreme Chancellor …") for picking up for Peter, his criminal uncle and [SPOILER] dad and an asterisk depending on whether his "sting" turns out to be bioelectric
- War Machine: Three Ebonies for footsteps, poverty (south Philly) and a John Stewart Impurity. We won't count his time as a "criminal" under Norman Osborn's "Dark" Reign because Bizarro rules apply. Also, the Reign? Not that dark. Just saying.
The least embarrassing things on the list are from Dwayne McDuffie and Stan Lee.
So, is DC better for Black people than Marvel? Is getting slapped in the face better than getting slapped on the other side of your face? We appreciate the progress, but we've got a long way to go, baby.
… AND NOW, FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT: Now we have all that unpleasantness out of the way, can I just gush like a Korean schoolgirl meeting Rain about Kieron Gillen? I first fell for his crafty writing on Phonogram with frequent collaborator Jamie McKelvie (I would stab nuns through the bone of their face for a chance to work with him), where their Singles Club was a bold and fascinating exploration of music and magic. Yes, I have a story idea set in the Phonogram universe. No, I won't pitch it. Shut up!
Anyway, Gillen's mastery over the character of Loki, first shown to me in a Dark Reign one-shot but its kept on strong and the deftness that he uses to swing the character from grinning mischief to credible, effective loyalty and filial love is so good it's scary. I think his Journey Into Mystery has hit the magical NBA Jam position (three jumps and "you're on fire," getting to come home until you screw up) and I'm an unabashed fan.
I have to be careful, because the last writer I got so worked up about was Jonathan Hickman and while I still admire his brains and talent, his work on S.H.I.E.L.D. and FF make me wanna throw up on my shoes.
However, today Kieron Gillen is like a great, shining edifice of wonder, and I will (today) honor him as such.
THAT'S THE NEWS, AND I AM OUTTA HERE: Extra points if you remember this headline in 2015. That joke ain't for everybody …
Playing (Music): "Princesse Nubienne" by Les Nubians
[Source: Comic Book Resources]