Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Wonder Woman #2 

Defending the weak, protecting the helpless, even though you will have to stand against Godly forces.

It’s not the weapon but the hand that wields it. True strength.

Written by Brian Azzarello

Art by Cliff Chiang

submitted by sigfrid

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Alana - Saga by Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples. Spoilers for the series so far

I love Saga.  I really do.  The characters, the art, the writing.  But most of all?  I love Alana.

Alana is a strong female character.  She’s not afraid to take advice on her parenting 

She’s wonderfully snarky 

And she’s a soldier. 

My favourite Alana moments are ones I haven’t been able to find scans of (And I’ve lost my Saga comics somewhere in my bedroom).  Both of them show her stregth as a mother, soldier and person.  In the first one, a bounty hunter threatens to kill her, and kidnap her daughter after (For all Alana knows) having killed her husband.  Alana takes out a gun.  The bounty hunter makes it clear it won’t hurt her. Alana takes the gun and points it at her daughter. 

"You think I won’t do whatever it takes to keep my only daughter from ending up with a c*** like you?".  One of the best moments of the comic was the look on the Bounty hunter’s face, along with her "Damn, bitch."  Because it didn’t seem like it was meant in a derogatory manner - More admiring.  Alana is a badass, and, if you mess with her family?  She will fuck your shit up.

My second submission to THIS! features my favorite comic book character, Oracle, in one of her earlier appearances. This is from Suicide Squad v1, #56, August 1991, written by John Ostrander and Kim Yale, pencils by Geof Isherwood.
I have many favorite moments featuring Babs Gordon as Oracle but I chose this one because I feel it represents the moment Babs stopped being a supporting character, she stopped being in the shadow of the Bat and started becoming the leader she would continue to be for the next 20 years (ironically it would be exactly 20 years later, in August 2011, that she would stop being a leader to go back in the Bat’s shadow).
This page, and in particular the second panel, shows Ostrander and Yale’s strength as writers as they only need one silent panel to express Babs’ feelings, all her fears and insecurities as she’s asked to become a hero once more for the first time since that tragic encounter with Joker.
In an earlier issue Amanda Waller asked Babs to step in as leader of the Squad in case of her incapacitation. After the Wall is almost fatally shot, Oracle needs to face her responsibilities and for the first time since being wounded by the Joker Babs has to find the strength to put her tragedy behind and start a new life as a leader with the lives of many in her hands. There’s only one moment of hesitation before she finally decides that people need her to be a hero again, people’s lives are at risk and she’s the only one who can help them. And thanks to Amanda’s help and support in the previous issues Babs is finally ready to move on and become the new kind of hero the Squad needs.
This is such a great moment of the character’s development, and I also love that this is something that Ostrander and Yale built up having Babs face another great female character like The Wall. The friendship the two authors build between Amanda and Babs is such an unexpected one that ultimately makes better heroes of both women.

My second submission to THIS! features my favorite comic book character, Oracle, in one of her earlier appearances. This is from Suicide Squad v1, #56, August 1991, written by John Ostrander and Kim Yale, pencils by Geof Isherwood.

I have many favorite moments featuring Babs Gordon as Oracle but I chose this one because I feel it represents the moment Babs stopped being a supporting character, she stopped being in the shadow of the Bat and started becoming the leader she would continue to be for the next 20 years (ironically it would be exactly 20 years later, in August 2011, that she would stop being a leader to go back in the Bat’s shadow).

This page, and in particular the second panel, shows Ostrander and Yale’s strength as writers as they only need one silent panel to express Babs’ feelings, all her fears and insecurities as she’s asked to become a hero once more for the first time since that tragic encounter with Joker.

In an earlier issue Amanda Waller asked Babs to step in as leader of the Squad in case of her incapacitation. After the Wall is almost fatally shot, Oracle needs to face her responsibilities and for the first time since being wounded by the Joker Babs has to find the strength to put her tragedy behind and start a new life as a leader with the lives of many in her hands. There’s only one moment of hesitation before she finally decides that people need her to be a hero again, people’s lives are at risk and she’s the only one who can help them. And thanks to Amanda’s help and support in the previous issues Babs is finally ready to move on and become the new kind of hero the Squad needs.

This is such a great moment of the character’s development, and I also love that this is something that Ostrander and Yale built up having Babs face another great female character like The Wall. The friendship the two authors build between Amanda and Babs is such an unexpected one that ultimately makes better heroes of both women.

Saturday, July 28, 2012
Captain America #114, by Stan Lee and Johnny Romita

Captain America #114, by Stan Lee and Johnny Romita

Captain America #114, by Stan Lee and Johnny Romita

Captain America #114, by Stan Lee and Johnny Romita

Rogue rescues Wolverine and Mariko

X-Men #173, 1983. Writer: Chris Claremont. Artist: Paul Smith

This was the first issue of the X-Men I ever bought, and it made me a fan of Rogue.  She’d defected from the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and sought help from Professor Xavier to control her powers.  The X-Men still didn’t trust her—heck, they didn’t even like her.  But she worked and sacrified to prove herself to them.  This issue is a prime example.  In time, Rogue became a fan-favorite character and a trusted member of the team.  Here, she’s willing to put her life on the line for Wolverine—and for Mariko, who treated her with kindness.

I love Buffy. And the moment that made me adore her in comics, was in Slayer, Interrupted. It’s a big splash page, and it’s the moment when she walks out of the institute, and behind her the doctor says: “Do not go gently into the night, Buffy Summers. Hold on to that part of you that is so unique to you. Show them how long a Slayer can live.” Buffy’s expression at that point in time is so beautiful. There’s so much power there and so much serenity all at the same time. She’s the Slayer. The one who will change the world. She’s Buffy. She’s all hero. 

I struggled to choose a THIS! moment for my Batgirl, Steph Brown. Several of my favorite Steph moments — her announcement to Scarecrow that she is who she chooses to be, her never-say-die “Same time tomorrow?” to Cass Cain during a brutal training session — had already been chosen.

It was also hard to choose because there is no single, defining moment as which Stephanie Brown became “my” Batgirl. I was a lifelong Batman fan but a lapsed comic book reader when I picked up her title on a whim one afternoon several years ago, some half a dozen issues before her series would be brought to a close with “Flashpoint” and the New 52. Originally, I picked up the book merely because it had occurred to me that there was a monthly comic book series out there with a female Bat, and even if Steph wasn’t a Bat I had encountered before (I knew only of Barbara and Cass), I couldn’t see any reason not to give her series a try. In those final six months of its run, it became the book I first turned to when I returned home from my LCS — but it wasn’t until many weeks into the New 52 that I started to realize just how much I missed Steph under the Batgirl cowl.

I think it took me so long to realize exactly what Steph’s Batgirl had come to mean to me precisely because there wasn’t one big, epic moment that solidified her character for me. Instead, it was so many smaller moments — moments where Steph made a joke or fell asleep in class or flirted with a guy or told someone off or disobeyed Barbara or argued with Damian or stood up to Bruce or enjoyed a plate of waffles with her mom. Steph wasn’t just a prop, she was a person, a completely three-dimensional character in her own right — with a hundred little details that made her the rare female comic book character that I could truly connect with.

I love the big, epic scenes in comic books. I will never forget Huntress facing down the Joker and refusing to back down at the end of “No Man’s Land.” And Harley Quinn besting the Joker in finding an unbeatable death trap for Batman in “Mad Love.” And Supergirl taking back her power from the Black Banshee in the New 52. But I don’t want just the epic. Because it’s the little details that make a character truly “human.”

And that’s why I chose this scene from the end of Issue #13 of Bryan Q. Miller’s run on “Batgirl” as my THIS! moment. It is one of many moments that show my Batgirl as a real character, a real person — an undefeatable optimist who, in the grandest tradition of the Bat, *will not quit* no matter how many times she’s knocked down. And she does it all with a shot of hope, a quick quip, and a smile.

And waffles. Don’t forget the waffles.

 

Batgirl #13
Writer: Bryan Q. Miller
Artist: Pere Perez

I struggled to choose a THIS! moment for my Batgirl, Steph Brown. Several of my favorite Steph moments — her announcement to Scarecrow that she is who she chooses to be, her never-say-die “Same time tomorrow?” to Cass Cain during a brutal training session — had already been chosen.

It was also hard to choose because there is no single, defining moment as which Stephanie Brown became “my” Batgirl. I was a lifelong Batman fan but a lapsed comic book reader when I picked up her title on a whim one afternoon several years ago, some half a dozen issues before her series would be brought to a close with “Flashpoint” and the New 52. Originally, I picked up the book merely because it had occurred to me that there was a monthly comic book series out there with a female Bat, and even if Steph wasn’t a Bat I had encountered before (I knew only of Barbara and Cass), I couldn’t see any reason not to give her series a try. In those final six months of its run, it became the book I first turned to when I returned home from my LCS — but it wasn’t until many weeks into the New 52 that I started to realize just how much I missed Steph under the Batgirl cowl.

I think it took me so long to realize exactly what Steph’s Batgirl had come to mean to me precisely because there wasn’t one big, epic moment that solidified her character for me. Instead, it was so many smaller moments — moments where Steph made a joke or fell asleep in class or flirted with a guy or told someone off or disobeyed Barbara or argued with Damian or stood up to Bruce or enjoyed a plate of waffles with her mom. Steph wasn’t just a prop, she was a person, a completely three-dimensional character in her own right — with a hundred little details that made her the rare female comic book character that I could truly connect with.

I love the big, epic scenes in comic books. I will never forget Huntress facing down the Joker and refusing to back down at the end of “No Man’s Land.” And Harley Quinn besting the Joker in finding an unbeatable death trap for Batman in “Mad Love.” And Supergirl taking back her power from the Black Banshee in the New 52. But I don’t want just the epic. Because it’s the little details that make a character truly “human.”

And that’s why I chose this scene from the end of Issue #13 of Bryan Q. Miller’s run on “Batgirl” as my THIS! moment. It is one of many moments that show my Batgirl as a real character, a real person — an undefeatable optimist who, in the grandest tradition of the Bat, *will not quit* no matter how many times she’s knocked down. And she does it all with a shot of hope, a quick quip, and a smile.

And waffles. Don’t forget the waffles.

 

Batgirl #13

Writer: Bryan Q. Miller

Artist: Pere Perez

Wonder Woman and Love

Wonder Woman #10 Spoilers:

Binding her with her own lasso of truth, Hell asks Wonder Woman, who he is forcing to marry him, if she loves him.

This is one of those moments intended to be utterly shocking, maybe it’s supposed to look like Wonder Woman is giving up and giving in, but she’s not.

Diana’s love is her ultimate power. I believe she is the strongest warrior of the Trinity, able to kill when she knows it is necessary (Max Lord), but it is her love is what makes her strong. Love is ultimately her reason for coming to America in past iterations, and love should ultimately be how she wins battles.  And this is indeed what happens in Wonder Woman #10.

I wrote an entire blog post on why Wonder Woman in this issue is striking and important. Wonder Woman is a wonderful, complex character with many layers, and I love that her love is one of those layers once again.