A lot of this has come out a bit grumpy. I didn't mean it to but I suppose it's easier to talk about not liking things. Skip to the Batgirl section at the bottom for sheer love!Young Avengers Presents...
I really liked the first volume of Young Avengers, but from then on it's been suffering from the same issue as I have with Teen Titans: on paper, it looks like something I would love, and I like the characters, and I really WANT to love it, but somehow I just don't. There's something not quite there about them and I can't put my finger on what it is. Bah. (These scans
really make me interested in reading the new Young Avengers book, though.)Heroes for Hire: Civil War
Positives first: I really love how diverse this team is, and the writing was mostly pretty great. Misty Knight's voice came through very strongly in the opening pages, and I particularly loved the scene where she and Colleen are discussing the Registration Act with Iron Man, Spider-Man and Reed Richards: though they're broadly pro it as the best practical compromise in a bad situation, they're very aware of the potential dangers in a way that the three white men they're talking too aren't. Negatives: THE ART. It was bad in pretty standard ways, sure, all ridiculous postures, boobs akimbo, visible bellybuttons etc, but I find that sort of thing particularly annoying in otherwise woman-friendly books: it implies, basically, that women aren't really the target audience for these books, or even if they are, it's still vital that they appeal to (straight) men. Blergh. To be fair to the artist, he probably didn't design the ridiculous outfits most of the women were stuck with, but still. (I can blame him for the woman in the form fitting, split to the waist prison jumpsuit, though, right?) Of course, since it was written by Gray and Palmiotti, I kept thinking about how I would have liked it more with Amanda Conner's art: she can draw sexy women in ridiculous costumes but make it seem fun and playful, not leery.Batman RIP
...eh. I think it's time for me to accept that I just don't like Grant Morrison's writing. Actually, it's not really the writing, it's the genre (ETA and the fact that I don't really care about Bruce Wayne at all most of the time probably doesn't help): I don't have much time for the whole "nightmarish landscape, all dialogue is Freighted With Meaning, no sense of humour, everything is Important and all the women are femmes fatales (or victims)" thing. (Beryl Hutchinson was the shining exception to that last, but she was only there for about a page and a half altogether.) The bits I did like (apart from the Beryl panels) were mostly the bits where Dick or Damian turned up and made me laugh. And I was made somewhat grumpy by the potted history of Batman which missed out Steph (SHE WAS A ROBIN) and Cass, and only included one panel of Babs - her getting shot, of course. SIGH. (Also, brief moment of silence please for the recently-retconned origin stories of the first three Robins.) I was fairly interested in Batman Incorporated, because the concept appeals to me, but now I know that Morrison isn't allowed to use Cass or Steph
, I probably won't bother with it.
MOVING ON. I reread Batgirl: Kicking Assassins
as a palate cleanser and quickly became overcome with feelings. Cass does things to my heart. She's so beautifully serious, but not in an "everything is grim" way, she just takes things seriously. She's careful and thoughtful in everything she does, and especially in everything she says. (There's a lovely panel where she's telling two police officers about something the Penguin's up to, and her thought caption thingy - do they have a proper name? I feel like they must - reads "I practiced saying that". CASS.) And she's consciously trying to learn, all the time: training with Onyx (sidenote: what happened to Onyx? Was it something terrible, or did she just disappear?), thinking about what Batman would do, picking up tips from Alien
, watching tapes of other heroes fighting an opponent similar to the one she has to fight. All the bits about her moving into her new neighbourhood are lovely, especially how kind Alfred is with her, and the bit where she goes to her first party and really gets into the dancing. Also, this is the volume where she almost drowns and sees a vision of Steph, who helps her to fight her way to the surface again. HEARTS.