Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Comic Book Reviews: Batgirl #0 and Green Lantern #0

The #0 month is now at a close, and I can honestly say that it was a good call doing it.

While it didn't in all cases, I personally feel like a lot of the universe got an expansion, which was nice.

Some quick things I'd like to note:

I HATE the Catwoman origin in her issue. I know I've already said it, but come on!

The Ravagers knows that people care most about Beast Boy and Terra, but they continue to fail when it comes to making their stories compelling.

Really? Did we NEED to see the destruction of Krypton again in Superman #0?


Why is this becoming as negative as it is? Ok, let's look for positives:

Billy Batson's story is actually really fun, and it's the first time in a long time I've been compelled by the character.

But why must he be called Shazam instead of Captain Marvel. That's going to take some getting used to. (Sorry, back to the positives)

Early Batman stories actually seem compelling and I would not mind seeing a book that focuses on Batman's new past.

Batwoman remains a strong book and definitely one to keep an eye on. I personally don't buy it because I for some reason just can't get myself enthralled in her character. And if this writing and art can't do it, my guess is nothing will. But definitely take a look and see if you can.

And Wonder Woman and Aquaman's books have been amazing. I still don't think dropping the clay-made "Spirit of Truth" origin was necessary, but what I've seen of Wonder Woman so far has at least caused some great stories, and I've warmed up to the "Zeus-on-Queen action" origin.

And lastly, let's get to the only other books I physically bought this past month.

Batgirl #0

This story had a lot to like, and a lot that will leave you disappointed.

What to like: It shows how Barbara got the Batgirl idea and her first encounter with Batman.

It shows her brother, Jim Jr., before he went crazy. Actually, no it doesn't because this kid was creepy as all hell even then. It was kind of interesting to see, though.

The original Batgirl suit (the New 52 version) is AMAZING. I actually prefer it to Barb's current suit, and probably second all time in terms of Barbara suits (the original purple one is still just classic).

I like that they showed Barbara's natural ingenuity and gave her an encounter with Batman that would give her motivation to fight crime. It is a psychological touch that is done brilliantly. Gail Simone does do a great job with getting into Barbara's head.

Now for the bad:

I guess in DC's universe, spandex has different properties that allow womens' chests to fit into form-fit sleeves. It's less present in the later part of the book, but it's still unsettling, especially on the cover.

Why are potential Olympic gymnasts all becoming crime fighters. Seriously, Barbara AND Tim Drake did this? Where are all these pinnacle-of-human-perfection people coming from and why do they all have an obsession with joining up with Batman?

If Barbara is SO apt at technology, why not just give her basic gymnastics and self-defense. She'd start out dependent on gadgets and then over time gain fighting capabilities hanging around and training with Batman. QUIT making superkids!

Lastly, this book is disappointing because of false advertising. It said we'd look into her post-Killing Joke recovery, but it wasn't present at all. Heck, only a few KJ panels were even there - right at the end of the book.

I guess we'll keep waiting. Overall, though, if you can find the book, at least skim through it. It's a fun read to be sure, even if it's not all we were promised.

Green Lantern #0

This book is special, actually, because it introduces a new Green Lantern: Simon Baz.

I really like this character. I grew up with the Justice League animated series, so to me, John Stewart is my default Lantern, and although I like Hal Jordan and Kyle Rayner (Guy Gardner irks me), their stories just aren't that compelling for me.

This character has dealt with a lot that hasn't been seen in comics very often; specifically, Muslim life in America post-9/11.

Only two things really annoyed me in this issue. The first is that they don't really go into his descent into needing to steal cars. We see the prejudices he deals with but nothing that would indicate he failed at being able to have any success in the world.

The other was how crazy everyone's reaction was... because it was probably accurate. I could easily see the misunderstanding in this book turning into a waterboarding spree simply because of racial profiling. This really helped Baz for his Lanternship, though, because as crazy as this was, he kept trying to explain his circumstances calmly. I gained a lot of respect for him.

The best part of this is that the Lantern ring given to Baz was the refused ring of Hal and Sinestro. The ring had an error while fusing, so now the ring is a little screwy. This could add an interesting dimension to the stories that Baz goes through.

Ultimately, I could think of some great arcs for this character to last him a couple of years, and I'm not a comic writer. I look forward to seeing this character more in the future.

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