Holy Comics, Batman, The ‘First Contact’ Crossover is Here!

It’s no secret that one of my favourite books of the New 52 is Worlds’ Finest, aka Huntress/Power Girl. Why? Well, a) because it is probably impossible for Huntress not to be completely badass, and b) because Paul Levitz’s incarnation of Power Girl is just the best. Just to recap, Power Girl is Super Girl from another dimension, but all sass and no whine. Also Super Girl is very much a girl, whilst Power Girl is a woman. I can say all of this with a straight face because I’m very dedicated.

First Contact is here!

First Contact is here!

Anyway, ever since I started reading Worlds’ Finest, I always knew that the moment I was waiting for was to be when Power Girl and Huntress, fugitives from another dimension, run into the Batman and Superman of this world. And it was dangled tantalisingly issue after issue, until the gods at DC Comics decreed that the four should meet. First Contact, the name of the Worlds’ Finest and Batman/Superman crossover, is not just a money making ploy to get fans to buy double the amount of books but also the comic event of my year. Yes, I know I thought I’d already had that when Power Girl turned up in Suicide Squad, but that became a rather soggy damp squib very quickly.

First Contact kicks off properly in Batman/Superman 8, and it immediately turned out to be the best use I’d made of £2.60 in a very long time. In case you don’t know (and why would you?) Power Girl’s powers have been fluctuating recently, going from oops-I-could-probably-detonate-the-earth-with-this-bad-boy to nada every couple of minutes. I hadn’t really cared too much, but from the beginning of Greg Pak’s wonderful script I was all like ‘ohhhhh, this is like serious’. Superman’s attempts to help his wayward cousin were unexpectedly moving, the storyline as a whole was riveting, funny and clever, and the whole book was enhanced by Jae Lee’s to die for artwork. Page after page unfolded images that were poignant, creepy, and just damn cool. Pak’s script was probably not perfect (though it was quite near), but with artwork as wonderful as Lee’s it didn’t matter.

Lee's gorgeous artwork from Batman/Superman 8

Lee’s gorgeous artwork from Batman/Superman 8

Now, this is a crossover, I thought. And not just any crossover, but the sort of thoughtful, brilliant crossover that Huntress and Power Girl deserve and that will bring a whole new part of DC’s readership into first contact (sorry, couldn’t resist) with the wonderful things Paul Levitz is doing.

And then I turned to the second half over on my home turf of Worlds’ Finest 20. Opening the first page, I begin to feel the creeping sense of horror and dread that you get when you somehow get invited by Manchester United to watch them play, and then they come over to the shitty mudhole that is your local patch of grass to watch you and your four friends piss about with an inflatable football.

Meanwhile, over at Worlds' Finest, Power Girl was doing her best Karen from Mean Girls face.

Meanwhile, over at Worlds’ Finest, Power Girl was doing her best Karen from Mean Girls face.

Worlds’ Finest’s forte isn’t its artwork, ok? Though Levitz has remained at the helm, a dizzying array of artists with fluctuating talents have come and gone on the book, each with different ideas of how it should look, and at the moment we have R. B. Silva. And while the disappointing art is a mild nuisance most of the time, after our away match with Batman/Superman, it became soul crushingingly bad.

The problem is a lot of DC books have middling to bad artwork, apart from its darlings, like Flash, Green Arrow, Batman/Superman, Wonder Woman etc., and I don’t grudge those books their daring, gorgeous looks. But the fact remains that poor artwork can drag down a good script. It can drag it kicking and screaming down to hell. I accept that not every book can have the Michelangelo of comics working on it, but I would be quietened with some doodles that just looked professional.

The First Contact crossover was an opportunity for Batman/Superman readers to get a glimpse into what the Worlds’ Finest gang are up to, and vice versa, and I assume the main goal was for some of the fans to continue reading both books long after the crossover had ended. Well, we at Worlds’ Finest got caught with our pants down. Not only was our artwork just not up to scratch, but we got the part of the story that was just a little silly and dubious. There were still nice touches, such as Huntress and Power Girl’s growing disillusion with Batman, but the script couldn’t quite make up the gap in quality left by the pictures and I don’t expect many repeat visitors from Batman/Superman.

Oh, Worlds' Finest...

Oh, Worlds’ Finest…

First Contact is a hit and miss crossover, but definitely more hit than miss. Unfortunately, most of the hits are in Batman/Superman, and it was with a great sense of relief that I read that the conclusion to the storyline would be held in that book. I’m really looking forward to it. It’ll be like a little holiday.

 

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Chicks On Lit: “The Bone Season” By Samantha Shannon

Boy do I love a good Dystopian text. I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it. I love the genre and everything about it. I love reading it, I love writing it and I love adaptations that include barely legal heartthrobs and smoldering yet artsy posters (I’m looking at you, Divergent!). But my only issue is that they all seem to be extremely American. Even the ones set in England tend to have a United States twang to them. Maybe it’s me, but I feel that a good Dystopian novel set in Britain is just what the world needs as we continue to grieve the loss of Harry Potter.

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Enter Samantha Shannon and her best-selling novel, The Bone Season. The title may give you all the wrong ideas as this is a fabulously delicious tale of modern day witch trials that infuses the universal action and mystery we expect of its genre as well as a good dollop of tasteful Britishness. The story tells us of Paige Mahoney (Who is actually Irish, but we’ll move on), a clairvoyant living in Scion occupied London in 2059. She lives in a secret world where the abnormal is deemed wrong and is punishable by death. As a “dreamwalker” she able to walk in and out of people’s minds and as such she must keep her gift a secret. After a fatal incident on a train, she is kidnapped and taken to Oxford, now a lost city, where the secrets of the world she lives in are revealed.

It’s a pretty meaty subject matter that spans different timelines. One chapter we’re in the nitty gritty with Paige as she rebels against the new order she’s placed in when the next chapter shows us her life before as a questioning young girl falling in love for the first time. As a romantic, and a fan of strong female characters, I have to say that Shannon really does kill it in that regard. Paige is pretty bad ass. She fights the power by no mistake and her actions are the perfect blend of enthralling and endearing. The story is so intricate you get the sense the Shannon totally knows what’s going on and we’re left in the dark struggling to piece together the clues she leaves us. Also, I’m all for a love triangle. Who isn’t, right? But this one takes the crown. God, I wish I could tell you but you’re going to have to read it for yourselves! It’s so modern and cool, I mean you absolutely see it coming but that doesn’t make it any less gratifying when it arrives.

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Samantha Shannon, author of The Bone Season

Hoooooowever, the book is not without its flaws. As a seven part series, I understand that there is still more to learn about Paige but sometimes I found myself wanting the book to just get to the bloody point! The suspense is great and I truly had no idea where the plot was going, but sometimes I found some chapters felt more like filler than anything else. It ebbs and it flows as a novel but a lot of the things I found more intriguing come very late in the book. Also, the world of The Bone Season is a complicated one. The way Paige’s gift works and the language used could be very confusing in places. Shannon does a terrific job in explaining the mechanics of the “aether” and how Paige’s gift of using it works but as a novel, the golden rule of showing and not telling intervenes and I’m left scratching my head. Luckily for me, Shannon announced quite recently that she will be releasing a series of blog post explaining whatever her fans want to know. You can find her blog here.       

At the tender age of twenty-two Samantha Shannon has achieved more than some novelists dare to dream. A six-figure book deal with Bloomsbury, a commissioned seven-book deal, Andy Serkis overseeing the film adaptation and a sequel novel only round the corner. She’s brilliant at what she does she creates an exceptional world from her own lovely London town and writes characters you not only care about, but want to know more about.

In summary: It’s pretty damn good.

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Harley Quinn 0- Why, DC? Why?

Harley Quinn, ex-psychiatrist turned chief henchlady and missus of the Joker, has exploded into her own series, which began on Wednesday with Harley Quinn 0.

Harley Quinn 0 has arrived!

Harley Quinn 0 has arrived!

The series, still under a week old, has already been one of DC’s more controversial, what with the whole Draw Your Own Harley Committing Suicide debacle. The offending page, which apparently would have made perfect sense in context, was removed from the finished product, so I guess we’ll never know just how tasteless a gag it was.

Still, onwards and upwards, right? With superstar comics couple Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti writing, and seventeen artists illustrating, including such greats as Adam Hughes and Darwyn Cooke, this book should be bigger and bang-ier than one of the Joker’s bomb pies.

In reality, Harley Quinn 0 revealed itself to be pure filler, filler of the blandest and most boring variety, with no plot and no character development. Not only is the book drowning in its own smug self-indulgence and cleverness at breaking the fourth wall but it is yet more proof of the lack of outward writing in comics. A worrying amount of storylines seem to be written exclusively for a certain type of comic-reading demographic, and Harley Quinn 0 is the figurehead of a movement that seems to be trying to exclude newcomers from comics.

But where the issue really stank was the cringingly self-referential nature of the script. Harley spends the book wondering what it would be like if she had her own comic. She is then visited by the ghostly voices of Conner and Palmiotti, who proceed to show her all the different artistic looks her book could have- this is where the seventeen artists come in, each one more winking and elbow nudging than the last. Imagine how A Christmas Carol would read if Scrooge were visited by David Copperfield, Oliver, and Dickens, and you would still have prose less riddled with self-gratification.

Don't You Wanna Rev Your Harley? Bruce Timm's artwork from the issue.

Don’t You Wanna Rev Your Harley? Bruce Timm’s artwork from the issue.

Harley’s teddy bear asks her why she doesn’t get those writers onboard for her comic, y’know, the one who draws big tits and the one who writes cowboy stuff. Then Palmiotti’s voice corrects the bear, stating that he’s from Brooklyn. If you’re not laughing, wait till you get to the point where they discuss all the other books Palmiotti writes, and how little sales they garner (well if this is the standard of writing to be found in them, it really isn’t a surprise). Finally, for ultimate giggles, turn to the scene where Harley gatecrashes Conner and Palmiotti’s wedding, and Palmiotti vows to kick Harley’s butt… BROOKLYN STYLE!!

If you’re not in hysterics, it’s probably because you’re not a forty-plus comic nerd who knows religiously all the different names and styles of nearly twenty people, and this comic is not meant for you, and never shall be, so please move along and interest yourself in something like Star Wars. We’re enjoying our incredibly mature comics, thank you very much.

I think the most annoying thing about the whole issue is that Palmiotti and Conner were people I previously liked and respected, especially Conner. I maintained that the duo had brought something worthwhile to the Power Girl series, despite all the ‘heh: boobs’ jokes. But Conner, when you have Darwyn Cooke draw you punching Harley Quinn and Cat Woman at your wedding whilst shouting ‘I’m Amanda Conner, bitches!’, that is the exact point where the script needs to be scrapped.

Darwyn Cooke's art from the issue. Seriously though, Conner, I love you already... you didn't need to punch Harley to validate yourself.

Darwyn Cooke’s art from the issue. Seriously though, Conner, I love you already… you didn’t need to punch Harley to validate yourself.

It would be unfair to not state the positives of the book. With some of the best artists in the 52niverse, it was always going to have some stunning artwork, but what I really enjoyed was the Thanksgiving spread DC had included at the back for the holidays, which featured what looked a lot like the Spoiler, so marking the return of Stephanie Brown. So yes. The best part of the book was the part that WAS NOT PART OF THE BOOK.

This was an opportunity to reach out and engage more people in comics, what with Harley’s growing popularity from her appearances in computer games and animation, but, because newcomers are scary, the book decided to make sure that only the right sort of people would enjoy this book, and to hell with the rest.

In short, issue 0 is staggering (and so not in a good way), fairly joyless, and is representative of almost all that is terrible in modern comics. Avoid at all costs.

Well... at least the Spoiler is coming back.

Well… at least the Spoiler is coming back.

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VFM’s Top Bad-Ass Heroines!

VFM’s TOP BAD-ASS HEROINES!

With the next instalment of The Hunger Games franchise rearing its shiny head, we welcome back Katniss Everdeen—easily one of the best female heroines of cinema and literature today, and not only because what she can’t do with a bow and arrow is nobody’s business. Katniss is a modern day heroine whose motives doesn’t rely on revenge nor a man; she’s a character whose strong, independent and in no-way sexualised. Plus, she starts a revolution, ‘kay?! Unfortunately, all these factors in this day and age is still pretty fresh in our modern day women. Yes, I’m glaring at you Bella Swan.

The return of Katniss and The Hunger Games has the VFM team thinking about other strong women of our books and screens, whether she’s a classical heroine from a book or controlled by you in a game. So, Venus From Mars proudly presents a specially selected top five bad-ass women who can hold their own in any fight (drum roll, please!):

Willow, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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Buffy…Willow…Buffy…Willow? Which one deserves a slot? On one hand, we have Buffy; she saved the world countless of times, while having to tackle school, boys, making sure her besties don’t die and being resurrected from the dead…twice! But then we have Willow.

Willow is introduced to us as the typical wallflower who’s in love with her best friend. The reason why she’s one of VFM’s favourite heroines is mainly down to the fact that she had the most character development. Ooo, character development, pretty bad-ass, right? Well, from starting the show as a shy teen who hides behind her curtain-like hair, she turns into a young woman who, as the episodes go on, dates a werewolf, becomes an all-mighty powerful witch, saves the world, then nearly destroys the world, but most importantly, she was a half of one of America’s first lesbian relationships on television when she hooked up with her witchy-lover, Tara. So, is there really any question to why she’s on this list? No, I didn’t think so… CatSmith92

Scarlett O’Hara, Gone With the Wind

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Let’s face it; who doesn’t love a bad girl? An anti-heroine who challenges all the rules, turns society on its head, thinks and acts outrageously, and can bitchsmack with the best of them?

For me, the first and last word in anti-heroine is Scarlett O’Hara, protagonist of Margret Mitchell’s sweeping epic Gone with the Wind. When we first meet Scarlett, she is a spoilt pretty thing who manipulates men and cares about nothing but her beloved Ashley. When we leave Scarlett, she has grown up. And when I say grown up, I mean she has killed a man, rebuilt her empire almost single handed, has fallen out with the ideologies of her society, delivered a baby during the shelling of Atlanta with no knowledge of midwifery, is an alcoholic, and has defied social conventions time and time again. Oh, and she’s amazing at Maths.

Love her or hate her (and some people really do), Scarlett is driven and doesn’t let anything get in her way. Anything.Scarlett is not only one of the most exciting and well developed anti-heroines; I’d argue that she is one of the best realised characters ever to appear in fiction- male or female. Lassomagicarescarte

Carol Peletier, The Walking Dead

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Sit down, shut up and let me tell you all the ways that Carol Peletier from AMC’s The Walking Dead is a total BAMF (Bad Ass MotherF*cker for those not in the know). Can’t avoid it so I have to throw it out there: pre-outbreak Carol lived with her abusive husband Ed and her daughter Sophia (who she somehow managed to shield from the abuse). Despite Ed’s awful personality and existence during the zombie apocalypse, Carol remained a total sweetheart, sharing supplies with others during the outbreak and making sure that her husband did not cause too much violence in the survivors group (which often meant taking care of things that Ed was supposed to be doing).

This is where the spoilers begin: Carol stepped up to the plate and took care of Ed’s body to prevent re-animation. Carol and Daryl (eye candy archer) bond in the search for Sophia. Carol learns medical aide from Hershel and practises delivering babies via C-section on a walker. She also survives a breach without food and water for a couple days. Co-names baby Judith “Lil Asskicker”. Carol’s true BAMF character is revealed when you realise just how far she is willing to go to keep her group safe. She prepares the children for life outside of their safe compound, the education she wishes she had given Sophia. She straight up kills two sick people and burns their bodies to prevent an infection spreading. She risks her life trying to replace the water that she wasted.

Carol is a BAMF pre and post walker, she can get away with calling Daryl ‘Pookie’. You can’t sway me to think anything else. Dothrakimermaid

Beatrix Kiddo, Kill Bill

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While Quentin Tarantino doesn’t exactly have the best track record when it comes to representing women on screen (*cough* Django Unchained *cough*), in the character of Beatrix in Kill Bill Vol 1 & 2, he created one of the best classic action heroines of all time. By mixing the hyper-masculine genres of westerns and martial arts films, Tarantino unleashed one of the ultimate female icons of action cinema, showing that it’s not only men who can get their hands dirty with the best of them. Beatrix Kiddo surely has an impressive body count for any action hero, brutally slaying at least 40 members of the Crazy 88 in roughly ten minutes. Moreover, she is forced to battle with some amazing female villains too (Lucy Liu in particular provides the kind of visual bad-assery in O-Ren Ishii that was woefully lacking from her character in the Charlie’s Angels film). 

I’ll admit that Kiddo is a, shall we say, “complicated” feminist character – many argue that Beatrix is fuelled by a) the knowledge that she gains from her male teachers, b) her relationship to Bill and c) her status as a mother. Hell, she’s even referred to for most of the first film rather ominously as ‘The Bride’. These are all valid criticisms, but ultimately Beatrix’s skill, ability and surprisingly realistic character development comes out fighting. Like Die Hard is the ultimate Christmas movie, so too are Kill Bill Vol 1 & 2 probably some of the best darn mother’s day films you could possibly show your family.

Now, stop arguing with me, before I use the virtual five-point-palm-exploding-heart technique on your WordPress account. IntrinsicallyOdd

Ellen Ripley, Alien Franchise

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Ellen Ripley, what is there else to say? She’s one bad-ass bitch. Science fiction as a genre has held home to many strong female characters, but very few have even come close to Ellen Ripley. So, what makes Ripley so cool?

Firstly, despite not being very feminine (she has an assertiveness normally associated with men) she is clearly a female character. She shows a motherly protective nature. For example, in the first film she risks her life going back for the cat and in the second film she risks her life for a child. She is also constantly the voice of common sense.

But what makes this woman stand out is what she accomplishes—not just literally—but also metaphorically. In a literal sense, Ripley (sometimes single handedly) stops Alien reaching earth and eradicating the human race about four times, which is a feat in itself, but also metaphorically Ripley kills rape.

Yes, she kills rape.

Alien is a film, not only about space exploration, but also about a woman fighting off and defeating a creature that symbolizes sexual violence. Rather than just have female characters as victims much like the Lambert character was, Ripley overcomes and defeat this terror.

She is forced to fight not only Alien but also members of her own race as well, who see Alien only as a weapon. She is denied the chance to raise her daughter, is forced to kill herself and she destroys god only knows how many ships in order to kill this creature which is a walking embodiment of rape itself. If that’s not badass enough, really what is? KerrySlater

Fiona Goode, American Horror Story: Coven

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This coven doesn’t need a new Supreme. It needs a new rug,” Fiona mutters as she sits back in her chair and lights a cigarette in exhaustion. Her first kill in a while really tuckers her out and yet the next day she throws on the Givenchy and gets right back to business. Since the anthology horror series debuted back in 2011, actress Jessica Lange has been playing tragic and evil women who, if she’s not battling ghosts in a fabulous LA mansion, then she’s beating mental health patients in an 1960’s asylum. In the third season, Coven, Lange played arguably her best character yet as the stupendous and seductive Fiona Goode, Grand Supreme of all witches in New Orleans and one hell of a shit mother! Having sought out youth and beauty to no avail she returns to her old stomping ground to build bridges with her daughter and teach the young witches of Miss Robichaux’s Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies how to defend themselves against the return of Salem style executions.

Fiona’s bad ass in very sense of the word. Not only does she posses the powers of telekinesis, resurgence and knocking back a substantial amount of bourbon in one go, but she also fights for what she wants. Yes she may suck the life out of a doctor in order to maintain her ever-dying youth and yes she may slit the throat of any woman in line to take her crown, but Fiona isn’t afraid to take action when she feels necessary. Although her ways are far from the norm, they are put in place to protect her coven and keep it from crumpling into ruin and I think that is pretty bad ass! JamesTaylorrr

Zelda, The Legend of Zelda

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Arguably Nintendo’s second biggest flagship, The Legend of Zelda has had strong debates over the feminist issues it presents through its character of the same name–Zelda. On the surface, she is nothing more than an objective marker for the protagonist–or even (like many claim) another damsel in distress trope. But after several hours delving into the many worlds of Hyrule, you will discover the truth. Zelda— or more precisely Sheik– is a complete Badass. For those who haven’t explored The Legend of Zelda series yet, Sheik is Zelda’s bitchin’ alter-ego. Her disguise has manifested itself in all sorts of ways over the years, a ninja style magic user, and even a fucking Pirate Queen! It has been pointed out that while she is out of her disguise and back in her dress, Zelda is always more vulnerable. However, Zelda the princess symbolises times of peace, when in war her alter-ego comes out to play. Sheik is a true warrior, and within the gaming world, she’s a refreshing sight to look back upon, one that doesn’t follow the Japanese gaming conventions of only wearing an ‘armoured bikini’ into battle. Matt Lightbound

Have we missed your bad-ass woman out? Comment, and tell us who and why!

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Hyperbole and a Half

‘Who the fuck does this goose think it is? It thinks it can waltz into my home, bite everyone, and then proceed to claim ownership of my couch and DVD player?’

If you didn’t find that funny, then, no, don’t check your pulse, check where you are on The Better Pain Scale, because you must be at 11 or higher to not care about the brilliantly surreal humour of Allie Brosh.

Brosh’s hugely popular blog Hyperbole and a Half is a wonderful mix of words and shitty computer paintings that creates a portal through which you can experience the Narnia of her life.

Yes, Narnia. Because it’s fun, magical, but there is also some seriously dark shit lurking in that winter.

The blog is essentially a memoir, but the sort of memoir that would make studying memoirs fun (sorry Henry Thoreau). It is also crammed with surreal deviations, frustrations at the irrationality of humanity, speculations about dogs, and with ‘Clean all the things!’ is also a Meme Machine.

Like many web creators before her, Brosh has released a book, Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things that Happened. The book is half old favourites and half new material. Brosh has been struggling with depression for a while now, so new material was not to be sniffed at. And to be honest, there was very little about the book that made me want to sniff (except to sniff back tears when reading some of the sadder chapters).

I admit the phrase ‘half old favourites’ made me sceptical, but when I was crying with laughter at a forgotten story about her ordeal at the hands of a goose, I knew it was the right decision.

The book hasn’t just been slapped together either- there has been some thought put into the presentation of her work, (such as different coloured pages for different stories- WORTH THE PRICE ALONE!!) and it makes rediscovering the stories even more fun and exciting.

Brosh's book landed at the end of October.

Brosh’s book landed at the end of October.

The book is incredibly easy to read (another strike against Thoreau, I’m afraid) and I raced through it in a few days (I would have finished sooner, but you know, sleeping and eating had to be done). I’d been looking forward to the book for awhile, and not only did it not disappoint, but it led me back into the website’s archives to seek out all the favourites which weren’t included.

This is emotive, colourful writing from the Leonardo of Paintbrush. It will make you want to run around the Parp. Alot.

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Time For A Little (More) Gail Simone Appreciation

Gail Simone: Professional Badass

Gail Simone: Professional Badass

For those of you who aren’t comic book nerds, Gail Simone is one of the most prominent lady writers in comic-dom. She’s one of the best team book writers I’ve ever read, and her runs on Wonder Woman, Birds of Prey and Secret Six for DC not only updated and developed characters such as Black Canary, Huntress and Cat Man in the most delicious of ways, but she also was never afraid to touch upon the Big Issues. In fact, for those of you who remember the fantastic DC Animated Movie Wonder Woman, she was part of the writing duo that brought one of the best realisations of the amazon’s character to the screen.

Alright, some of you might say. So she’s a woman in comics. Big deal.

For a start, Simone was the ONLY female writer in the first run of the New 52. Yes. In the initial FIFTY-TWO new titles that DC launched in 2011, there was ONE female writer. How’s that for Fridge Horror?

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/FridgeHorror

Think about it…

Since 2011, DC has tepidly reached out to the other fifty percent of the world’s population and expanded the number of women writers, with Ann Nocenti and Christy Marx taking over Catwoman and Birds of Prey respectively (because that’s what women know about right? Heaven forbid a girl should start writing Batman).

There are a lot of comic book writers whose work is servely lacking, and as much as I would like to see otherwise, the girls can often write stuff just as lousy as the boys.

So Gail Simone is writing in a pretty thankless environment, and has survived DC trying to drop her ass from Batgirl, despite her run being critically acclaimed and a commercial success. And if you drop your A-Game a little, some bitch like me is right up your asshole complaining.

But Simone is a ‘fan favourite’. And you know why? Not because she has tits and is literate.

Because she is a FANTASTIC writer, and she deserves a great deal of the credit she gets.

You wouldn’t catch Simone doing a run on a team book and having characters left underdeveloped. She’d develop the shit out of them. Her storylines ensure that each character has a moment to shine.

However, the proof of her brilliance is really in her Batgirl run.

I have never, ever, ever, not once forever, liked the character of Barbara Gordon, aka Batgirl. No. She’s just so irritating. Little know-it-all. I’ve tried Barbara’s Batgirl runs with an open mind- Gil Gane’s The Greatest Stories Ever Told collection and Simone’s The Darkest Reflection– but she is just so bloody annoying! Also her nickname is Babs. Babs. In a world where all women are drawn with double Zs, this is unfortunate. And she goes out with Nightwing, so… Babs and Dick.

So, grudgingly, and only because it was free and Twitter’s been squeezing about it, I picked up Batgirl issue 22 and 23, and, despite having missed about ten issues, and deliberately coming to it with an attitude of disdain and hatred, I- well….

I really liked it.

It was really good.

Batgirl 23: A Game Changer

Batgirl 23: A Game Changer

Simone’s always been good at pushing her characters, but Babs, and the supporting cast, find themselves in emotionally torturous situations that are not only engrossing, but also make you empathise with them (as comics have become progressively more leery and horrible to their characters, this is a rarity). Commissioner Gordon, in one display of Bad-assery, actually PUNCHES Batman. There’s even an evil superheroine trying to kill some of our beloved characters in order to cover her vigilante ass. This is a thriller, bitches, in the kind of nitty Gotham style that I thought Greg Rucka owned, but Gail Simone, you proved you rule every type of comic, not just team books, and I am loving it.

Simone’s work, already pretty damn good, has matured- we’re free now of the ironic fan service-y fights in swimming pools between Black Canary and Cheshire, and it makes her work an awful lot stronger.

And I will be reading more of Batgirl, damn you.

And I’ll even pay for it.

DC: From Me to You

Ladies and Gentlemen in control of DC Comics,

I’m a big time fan of your work… I don’t think there’s been a time in my life when your company wasn’t present in my life in some form or another. From Batman the animated series, Justice League to Teen Titans and Young Justice. I’m about 99.99% confident to say that I’ve seen every animated adventure you’ve ever made and presented to the world, and loved the majority of them.

And I’d like to ask you some questions as a female fan…

A Wonder Woman Live action film… When am I getting one? She’s only had one animated film and that came out in 2009 (and that went straight to DVD, you guys, I want to see her on the big screen!). You don’t seem to know what you want to do with her, it’s really irritating as a fan, because she’s not that hard of a character to capture. She’s a compassionate, fierce, warrior princess in an unfamiliar world which she is attempting to adapt to.

Seen here deflecting your BS excuses

Secondly… Why has Harley Quinn’s impending death been made such a mockery? She’s lost Mister J, she’s criminally insane. Holding a contest to draw HQs suicide is just… I get chills. I love her. I love how she managed to fall in love with the dark, twisted mind that was the Joker (or  Puddin’ as she likes to call him), and now that you’ve killed him off… Well she’s gone further into the deep end.

You say you’re trying to help someone break into the comic industry and the requirements for your panels make light of suicide as a whole and sexualise it at the same time? I honestly don’t know how to begin explaining how messed up drawing a nude female character committing suicide is… And with your history of sexing Harley up so much in the past. Shame on you! And, uh… wasn’t she supposed to be alive during the time of Terry McGinnis wearing the cowl? Being the grandmother of DeeDee?

I’d like for this Harley Quinn back please

Can Batwoman please get married to her girlfriend? I just want it to happen, your writers want it to happen. That’s why the team  up an rage-quit when you scrapped the story. Look at the relationship you created for Kate and Maggie. It’s beautiful! Gotham city is kind of modelled off of NYC (which has allowed gay marriage, as have other states), so what’s the problem here?

Maggie saying “Yes.” would make my life

As for my final queston…a reaction to DiDio’s response to Batwomangate… Why can’t superheroes be happy?

“Heroes shouldn’t have happy personal lives. They are committed to being that person and committed to defending others at the sacrifice of their own personal interests.

That’s very important and something we reinforced. People in the Bat family their personal lives basically suck. Dick Grayson, rest in peace—oops shouldn’t have said that,—Bruce Wayne, Tim Drake, Barbara Gordon and Kathy Kane. It’s wonderful that they try to establish personal lives, but it’s equally important that they set them aside. That is our mandate, that is our edict and that is our stand.”

What is wrong with a hero having a happy personal life? I get that the stress of ruining plans at the drop of the hat is inconvenient and all the unexplained absences and injuries might be suspicious to those involved in the personal lives of our heroes. Will they not eventually give all that they have until they have nothing left? Did you not have Selina Kyle question this of Bruce Wayne in TDKR last year?

It’s heartbreaking seeing your favourite superheroes get kicked in the feels every single time they try and connect with someone outside of their caped/masked identity. Anger and pain aren’t the only emotions you can channel to help crime- fighting. I distinctly remember Starfire in the animated Teen Titans having a scale of positive emotions linked to her superpowers.

Most superheroes are not like Hit Girl and Superman; they were their “alter-ego” first. What would be the point in them even attempting a personal life when you disregard their primary identity in order to be fully submerge themselves in their masked personas? In Kick-ass 2 she is quoted saying “You don’t have to be a badass to be a superhero, you just have to be brave.”

I get that the nitty gritty stuff draws in the audience… But not every superhero needs to be a tortured soul to be relevant. Don’t you think it’s about time you realised this so that some of them can be happy?

Questioning my loyalty to you…

Fayola