After a lengthy southern hemisphere winter hiatus, I’m back with the first of a new series of guides for Patrons of CK! This wasn’t the next guide on my list before last week, but thanks to a brilliant new #1 issue from Kelly Thompson, Leonardo Romero, Jordie Bellaire, & Clayton Cowles last week I decided it was time for this new guide to fly: Guide to Birds of Prey!
Birds of Prey is a comic with a dedicated fanbase, in large part to Gail Simone’s star-making turn writing it for the better part of seven years prior to DC’s 2011 Flashpoint event. And, it got a raised profile with the Harley Quinn & The Birds of Prey flick in 2020.
But, if I had to boil down the title to a single summary or mission statement for my new Birds of Prey Guide, what would that be? [Read more…] about New for Patrons: Guide to Birds of Prey
The Pull List was slightly lighter this week than the past three, partially due to me not managing to pick up any additional ongoings from Marvel or DC. I made a heroic effort to catch all the way up with Doctor Strange, but fell an arc short.
This week’s comics felt a little ho-hum for me, with even typical standouts like Flash and Paradiso falling flat. However, it also brought not one but two near-perfect comics, plus one unexpectedly great debut.
Here’s The Pull List for the 14th of March, 2018. New adds to the pull list are marked with *; dropped titles are marked with #.
- DC Comics
- Action Comics (2016) #999
- Batgirl and The Birds of Prey (2016) #20
- Detective Comics (2016) #976
- *Eternity Girl (2018) #1
- The Flash (2016) #42
- Mister Miracle (2017) #7
- Sideways (2018) #2
- Suicide Squad (2016) #37
- Titans (2016) #21
- Trinity (2016) #19
- Wonder Woman (2016) #42
- Image Comics
- Bonehead (2018) #3
- *#Dry County (2018) #1
- *Infidel (2018) #1
- Paradiso (2017) #4
- #Sleepless (2017) #4
- Slots (2017) #6
- VS (2018) #2
- Marvel Comics
- All-New Wolverine (2016) #32
- Astonishing X-Men (2017) #9
- Avengers (2017) #684
- Marvel Two-in-One (2018) #4
- New Mutants – Dead Souls (2018) #1
- Old Man Logan (2016) #36
- Weapon X (2017) #15
- X-Men: Blue (2017) #23
- Smaller Publishers: Aftershock Comics, Archie Comics, Black Mask Studios, & Boom! Studios
- Judas (2017) #4, Boom! Studios
- *Come Into Me (2018) #1, Black Mask Studios
- *Vampironica (2018) #1, Archie Comics
- *Betrothed (2018) #1, Aftershock Comics
Before we begin, a reminder that 2.5 stars on my rating scale is an average comic book and my bell curve distribution peaks at 3/5 stars! Don’t freak out and assume a comic book is terrible because it has 2 stars. That means it’s just a hair below average (and there are a lot of those this week)
Picks of the Pull
Big Two (Marvel/DC) Pick of the Week:
Action Comics (2016) #999, DC Comics
Dan Jurgens leaves us with a truly perfect, contemplative issue of Superman that puts a wrap on his stellar Rebirth run but also addresses his writing from over 25 years ago, as beautifully rendered by artist Will Conrad and colorist Ivan Nunes.
In Metropolis, Lois is newly reunited with her estranged Army General father after saving him from execution in the last arc. It’s his first time meeting Jon (sort of), but General Lane isn’t in on the Superman secret, so he thinks Jon is a regular kid. That makes it even more tense as Lois and her father square off across the dinner table about the philosophy of Superman. Jon has never been exposed to this kind of hatred and xenophobia about his father before – which is also, by extension, aimed at him.
Meanwhile, Superman is in space dealing with a routine chore of breaking up an asteroid that will stray a bit too close to Earth for STAR Labs liking. Superman is thinking about fathers – General Lane, his own father Jor-El, as well as Zod – all of whom were tangled in the cross-time plot he just wrapped with Booster Gold.
Superman can see the errors in the ways of each of those parents and they in turn reflect his errors back upon him. Clark Kent is good-natured to a fault, but he’s not always right. General Lane isn’t entirely wrong about him – sometimes his absolute power corrupts him, both in how he metes out justice and in how he isn’t accustomed to apologizing for his actions.
As a result, Superman decides to put right two wrongs. One is with Hank Henshaw, the Cyborg Superman, who he currently has imprisoned in the Phantom Zone. The other, eventually is General Lane. [Read more…] about The Pull List: Action Comics, Avengers, Eternity Girl, Infidel, Judas, Marvel Two-in-One, Vampironica, & more!
The Green Arrow comic books definitive issue-by-issue collecting guide and trade reading order for omnibus, hardcover, and trade paperback collections. Find every issue and appearance! Part of Crushing Krisis’s Crushing Comics. Last updated February 2017 with titles scheduled for release through July 2017.
Green Arrow first appeared in 1941 as a hero in the Batman mold but with a twist – superhero billionaire Oliver Queen wore a costume reminiscent of Robin Hood.
He was a popular anthology character in the Golden Age, so much so that Green Arrow continued to appear through the 1950s – generally a barren period for comics. As a result, Oliver Queen was one of the few heroes outside of DC’s trinity to not be re-cast as a new character with the arrival of the Silver Age in the late 1950s.
Green Arrow began the Silver Age as member of Justice League of America, but his popularity reached new levels when redesigned by Neal Adams in The Brave and the Bold #85 and then transformed into a more socially-conscious hero by Denny O’Neil, culminating in his legendary run in Green Lantern / Green Arrow.
It wasn’t until after Crisis on Infinite Earths that Green Arrow merited his own ongoing series, which elevated him to a major starring role he has occupied ever since.
Birds of Prey is a team that’s crossed over to many other forms of Bat media. It’s a largely all-female team of costumed crime-fighters centered in DC’s major urban meccas.
It’s not so hard to grasp, and generally one of my favorite types of comic to read. Yet, I managed to be completely ignorant of the team aside from one key facet – that Barbara Gordon acted as team captain from her wheelchair as Oracle.
With the reboot sweeping Gordon’s Oracle off the playing field, I wasn’t so sure of what to expect from Birds of Prey. Add to that writer Duane Swierczynski, who I think of as the kind of guy who writes stoic male characters, and an DC-exclusive artist I’ve never heard of.
The result? Not a clue of what to expect from the cast or script of this book.
Birds of Prey #1
Written by Duane Swierczynski, art by Jesus Saiz
Rating: 4.5 of 5 – Remarkable
In a Line: “Can’t help but like her. She’s a natural born hellraiser.”
#140char Review: Birds of Prey #1 is a pitch-perfect debut for the lady mercs. Duane scripts each well & crafts puzzles within puzzles. Want the next ish now
CK Says: Buy it!
Birds of Prey #1 is one of the best first issues out from DC this month, and that’s coming from a reader who has never heard of or seen these characters ever before reading. Afterwards? Totally hooked.
I was concerned that Duane Swierczynski, who I think of as a hard-bitten guy-with-gun writer, wouldn’t have the hang of a slightly funnier female-driven book. I was entirely incorrect. He keeps the dialog brisk and to-the-point but still gets the tone of his pair of deadly heroines just right.
He also makes perfect use of intercut flashbacks, which artist Jesus Saiz’s cannily matches frame for frame to their lead-in from the present day. In an action-filled issue that’s decidedly NOT an origin story he still managed to clue me in as a totally clueless new reader.
As for Saiz, his pencils are ace. From the first panel of a dilapidated church seen through driving rain I knew we were in for something special. I’m simply in love with his art. Backgrounds are detailed with sharp details and textures, but characters don’t try too hard to be photo-real. Nei Ruffino’s colors help each character pop off of the background of the page. There are only a couple of instances where I couldn’t quite follow action from one panel to the next, and a few panels where Starling looks rushed.
Black Canary seems like the coolest gal friend to have as well as the most efficient non-lethal merc you can hire. Maybe that makes her a bit of a Mary Sue, but I didn’t get the sense she’s infallible. In fact, though she’s capable throughout, a mid-issue cliffhanger as well as the issue’s climax hinge pretty exclusively on her lack of foresight.
Meanwhile, Starling comes off as a deadpan suicide girl, tatted up and quick to act in a crisis. A Batgirl cameo was a thrill for me as a new reader, and seemed like a knowing reference to some post incarnation of the title.
It only took one issue for Swierczynski and Saiz to find the right formula for this action-packed, adventurous book. If they keep it up Birds of Prey will be one of the premiere titles of DC’s relaunch.