Wednesday, 31 December 2014

The Best of the Huntress: Batman Family #20 Review

Title: Batman Family #20
Story: Trial By Fire
Characters: Huntress (Helena Wayne)
Creators: Paul Levitz (writer), Joe Staton (artist)
Publication Date: October 1978
Available In: Print

Introduction: Following the death of her mother and her first outing as the Huntress, Helena Wayne continued to operate as a crime-fighter in secret for a year. Her first major case as the Huntress since avenging the death of her mother was the uncovering of a real estate scam, which ended with the death of the man behind the scam. In this three-part narrative, we learn three important things about Helena Wayne: first, we learn why she continued fighting as the Huntress even long after she captured her mother's killer. Second, we learn how she operates as the Huntress, and third, we learn how she deals the deaths of criminals who die during their confrontations with her. It is here where we conclude our discussion!

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

The Best of the Huntress: Batman Family #19 Review

Title: Batman Family #19
Story: Gotham Town Is Burning Down
Characters: Huntress (Helena Wayne)
Creators: Paul Levitz (writer), Joe Staton (artist)
Publication Date: September 1978
Available In: Print

Introduction: Following the death of her mother and her first outing as the Huntress, Helena Wayne continued to operate as a crime-fighter in secret for a year. Her first major case as the Huntress since avenging the death of her mother was the uncovering of a real estate scam, which ended with the death of the man behind the scam. In this three-part narrative, we learn three important things about Helena Wayne: first, we learn why she continued fighting as the Huntress even long after she captured her mother's killer. Second, we learn how she operates as the Huntress, and third, we learn how she deals the deaths of criminals who die during their confrontations with her. Here is Part II of that ongoing discussion!

Monday, 29 December 2014

The Best of the Huntress: Batman Family #18 Review

Title: Batman Family #18
Story: A Choice of Destinies
Characters: Huntress (Helena Wayne)
Creators: Paul Levitz (writer), Joe Staton (artist)
Publication Date: July 1978
Available In: Print

Introduction: Following the death of her mother and her first outing as the Huntress, Helena Wayne continued to operate as a crime-fighter in secret for a year. Her first major case as the Huntress since avenging the death of her mother was the uncovering of a real estate scam, which ended with the death of the man behind the scam. In this three-part narrative, we learn three important things about Helena Wayne: first, we learn why she continued fighting as the Huntress even long after she captured her mother's killer. Second, we learn how she operates as the Huntress, and third, we learn how she deals the deaths of criminals who die during their confrontations with her. In short? Let's just say she's not too concerned... 

The Best of the Huntress in 2014

Oh boy. 2014 has not been a great year for the Huntress on various fronts. To start with, she's had only ONE decent narrative all year long, and the rest of the year was creative limbo. Paul Levitz did again this year what he did the previous two years which was go no where with her character or story.

Daniel H. Wilson was unfortunately not an improvement on the previous writer and was in fact much worse. His first objective as a Huntress writer was to put her in the refrigerator at the start of his laughably bad Earth-2: World's End weekly series, and said 'Merry Christmas!' to Huntress fans out there. Writing human women with agency is too difficult a task for a man who specialises in robots, I suppose.

The only time the Huntress actually read like Helena Wayne this year was when Greg Pak, Gail Simone, and Marguerite Bennett wrote her in the few issues that they got to write her in their respective books, which have been the few appreciated gems in the shitfest that was the year 2014.

All things considered, I actually surprised myself to still be able to come up with a Top Ten List of the Best Huntress Moments for 2014.

Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year, my fellow Huntress lovers!


10. Helena expecting her father to be regularly shot at since childhood. (Secret Origins #7)





Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Convergence 2015 First Look: The Pre-Crisis Earth-2 Returns!

ACTION COMICS
Writer: Justin Gray
Artists: Claude St-Aubin and Sean Parsons
Colorist: Lovern Kindzierski
Superman teams up with Power Girl, but can they stop a nuclear strike from Lex Luthor and Stalin of Red Son Moscow?













DETECTIVE COMICS
Writer: Len Wein
Artists: Denys Cowan and Bill Sienkiewicz
Colorist: Felix Serrano
Helena Wayne and Dick Grayson fight side by side in memory of Bruce Wayne as they decide who will become the next Batman.













INFINITY INC.
Writer: Jerry Ordway
Artist: Ben Caldwell
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
The young heroes of Infinity Inc. must choose between the path set for them by their parents or the one they’ve set for themselves as they face post-apocalyptic Jonah Hex.












JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA
Writer: Dan Abnett
Artists: Tom Derenick and Trevor Scott
Colorist: Monica Kubina
Older and in full retirement under the dome, members of the Justice Society get the chance to regain their youths to stave off forces from the Qward Universe. But the promise of youth comes with a deadly price.











WORLD’S FINEST COMICS
Writer: Paul Levitz
Artists: Jim Fern and Joe Rubinstein with cartoons by Shannon Wheeler
Colorist: Paul Mounts
The Seven Soldiers of Victory regroup to defend their city against the Qward invasion, while cartoonist Scribbly Jibbet transcribes their adventures.













Newsarama released the solicits for Week 4 of Convergence today, and I have to say April and May of 2015 is looking like a promising two months for Classic DC Comics fans like myself. Not only is it refreshing to see some familiar faces again, but it'll be a nice breather from the constant Doom and Gloom of the New 52. 

I sincerely hope that Convergence is successful enough to lead to some much needed positive changes to the overall narrative of all of these characters, and especially bring back the much needed diverse storytelling that's so sorely lacking in the New 52. This especially rings true for the New 52 Earth-2 characters who have yet to have stories told about them, and not have their entire narratives centred on editorial mandates, Apokolips, or Helena Wayne's usurper grandfather, who by the way, is supposed to be dead, even on Earth-2.  

More importantly I really want for Convergence to be a really strong message to DC Comics, letting them know that we want recognisable versions of our favourite characters again! I know I'll definitely be subscribing to the Earth-2 titles when I go to the shop tomorrow, and hopefully everyone else who is a fan of the Classic Earth-2 does as well. 

The only complaint I have right now about these solicits is DC's constant obsession with needing to have a Batman character in every narrative that they have. The decision to rob Helena Wayne of her own narrative on Earth-2 in favour of her (supposed to be dead) grandfather in the New 52 was one of the many things that got me to stop buying Earth-2 after the Tower of Fate story arc concluded. The decision to completely mischaracterise Helena Wayne on top of that to advance the narrative of her grandfather was another bad decision that guaranteed I wouldn't give World's End a chance. 

Believe me when I say 'New Earth-2 Batman' is the last thing I want to see on the solicitation of a Helena Wayne story that she shares with her former Bat sibling, Dick Grayson. It's especially insulting that DC is going back to this idea of 'needing a new Batman' on the version of Earth-2 where both Helena Wayne and Dick Grayson explicitly decided against taking over her father's identity and mantle, reasoning that legends should in fact stay legends, and that--as Bruce Wayne's successors--they should create new legends of their own as Huntress and Robin respectively. This was literally the story of Adventure Comics #462, first published in 1978. I honestly find this idea far more appealing (and with stronger story potential) than needing another Batman character for editorial to obsesses over. 

Honestly, DC, let these legacy characters be the stars of their own narratives. Let Helena Wayne take over her father's job as the Huntress. This idea was already successful in the 1970s and 1980s. She was, in fact, one of DC's more popular characters in the Bronze Age. I really don't see why this same concept can't still work or be successful in the year 2015, especially as the daughter of DC's second popular flagship couple, Batman and Catwoman. Additionally, I don't have any problems with Dick Grayson reclaiming his Robin identity on Earth-2 either. Sure, update the costume so that the colours aren't all over the place and that it looks more appropriate for an adult male, but let him keep something that always belonged to him. Earth-2 does not need a new Batman to replace Helena's father, Bruce Wayne. Let me me repeat that:

EARTH-2 DOES NOT NEED A NEW BATMAN TO REPLACE HELENA'S FATHER, BRUCE WAYNE.

Helena Wayne and Dick Grayson can take over her father's job just fine on their own.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Secret Origins #7 Preview

SECRET ORIGINS #7
Written by PAUL LEVITZ
Art by JONBOY MEYERS
Cover by BRYAN HITCH
Huntress, written by Paul Levitz with art by Jonboy Meyer; Superboy, written by Frank Barberi with art by Robson Rocha; and The Flash, written by Robert Venditti and Van Jensen with art by Andre Coelho!
NOVEMBER 26 | RATED T | $3.99 | PRINT | DIGITAL









Sunday, 16 November 2014

The Best of Power Girl: Showcase Presents Power Girl #97-99 Review

Title: Showcase Presents #97-99
Story: Power Girl
Characters: Power Girl (Kara Zor-L), Andrew Vinson, Zor-L, Allura In-Z, Brain Wave
Creators: Paul Levitz (writer), Joe Staton (artist)
Publication Date: February-April 1978
Available In: Print

Introduction: Continuing our discussion on the origins of Power Girl as a character, we now get to the most important story in her history: her actual origin story. As I mentioned in my last review, Power Girl has always been much more than just 'an alternate version' of Supergirl. She was--more accurately--a different interpretation of a previously established character complete with a similar but ultimately different origin, a completely different personality, and ultimately a different narrative. What if Kara Zor-El had left Krypton as an infant instead of as a teenager? What if Kara Zor-El had been raised by her cousin, Kal-El, alongside his superstar reporter and wife, Lois Lane? What if Kara Zor-El had taken on a different superhero identity that wasn't Supergirl? What if Kara Zor-El functioned as a software expert by day and protected Gotham City by night? These are all questions that are answered in these three issues of Showcase #97 through #99!

Saturday, 8 November 2014

The Best of Power Girl: All-Star Comics #64 Review

Title: All-Star Comics #64
Story: Yesterday Begins Today!
Characters: Power Girl (Kara Zor-L), Superman (Clark Kent), Flash (Jay Garrick), Green Lantern (Alan Scott), Hourman (Rex Tyler), Star-Spangled Kid (Sylvester Pemberton)
Creators: Paul Levitz (writer), Wally Wood (artist)
Publication Date: February 1977
Available In: Print | Digital

Introduction: After Power Girl's smashing introduction in issues #58 and #59, it only made sense that we discuss the origin of her Power Girl identity, and specifically why she refused to wear a 'P' logo for a long time. One of the more regressive changes that was made to Power Girl in the New 52 was the initial decision to incorporate a 'P' logo to her costume in addition to wholly repurposing her Power Girl identity in a way that effectively removed its feminist origins. In contrast with the Power Girl of old who simply wanted to be acknowledged as an individual and not as an appendage to her cousin from the get-go, the New 52 Power Girl started out as Supergirl on Earth-2 and only became Power Girl when she got stranded on an alternate Earth alongside her best friend, Helena Wayne, at the end of the Apokolips War. As you will discover, many of the changes that were made to the Earth-2 Power Girl (including to her personality) in the New 52 have been fundamentally backwards for her character, and many of those changes have come from a place of internalised misogyny on behalf of the current DC leadership rather than a place of progress.

Friday, 31 October 2014

The Best of Power Girl: All-Star Comics #58-59 Review

Title: All-Star Comics #58-59
Story: All Star Super Squad/Brainwave Blows Up
Characters: Power Girl (Kara Zor-L), Flash (Jay Garrick), Green Lantern (Alan Scott), Dr. Fate (Kent Nelson), Wildcat (Ted Grant), Brain Wave, Per Degaton
Creators: Gerry Conway (writer), Ric Estrada (artist)
Publication Date: February-April 1976
Available In: Print | Digital

Introduction: When I decided to go back in time to cover Huntress and Power Girl's comic book Golden Age, I realised I couldn't begin this coverage without discussing the first female member of the Justice Society since the actual Golden Age: Power Girl. Not only was Power Girl the most prominent female character fronting the Earth-2 Justice Society books during the Bronze Age, but her membership into the Justice Society also led to creation of (and subsequently, the character's first meeting with) the Huntress, Helena Wayne. While Power Girl would undoubtedly become an important person in the Huntress' life as well as one of her most enduring friendships, this friendship would also become of equal value to Power Girl for reasons that will be explored in these first set of reviews. Beginning with her first appearance in All-Star Comics #58-59, we humbly explore the origins of the Earth-2 Kara Zor-L, better known to everyone as Power Girl.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Earth-2 #26 Preview

EARTH-2 #26
Written by TOM TAYLOR & MARGUERITE BENNETT
Art by ANDY SMITH & MARCUS TO
Cover by GARY FRANK
World's End is here! Everything the Wonders of Earth-2 have fought for stands to be destroyed.
OCTOBER 08 | RATED T | $2.99 | PRINT | DIGITAL

NOTE: This story takes place during the Earth: World's End event (a comic I don't recommend), but works okay as a standalone story. Mostly.







Thursday, 14 August 2014

Batgirl #34 Review

Title: Batgirl #34
Story: Crash and Burn
Characters: Batgirl (Barbara Gordon), Black Canary (Dinah Drake), Huntress (Helena Wayne)
Creators: Gail Simone (writer), Fernando Pasarin (artist)
Publication Date: August 2014
Available In: Print | Digital

Summary: The epic finale of Deadline (and Gail Simone's run) begins with a yacht in the middle of Gotham Harbour, just as Charise Carnes prepares to set into motion her ultimatum on Gotham's criminal underworld. Also cruising through Gotham Harbour is Batgirl and two allies: her best friend, the Black Canary, and Earth-2 refugee, the Huntress. Together these three ladies are about to put up a fight for the rights of Gotham's citizens, including the ones Charise intends to kill.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Batgirl #34 Preview

BATGIRL #34
Written by GAIL SIMONE
Art by FERNANDO PASARIN
Cover by ALEX GARNER
Batgirl teams with Huntress and Black Canary to stop the evil of Obscura! After everything Barbara has been through to become Batgirl, will she be undone by her demons?
AUGUST 13 | RATED T | $2.99 | PRINT | DIGITAL

NOTE: This issue is part of the Batgirl: Deadline storyline (Batgirl #27-34).







Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Batman 75 Special Review: The Autobiography of Bruce Wayne

Title: The Brave and the Bold #197
Story: The Autobiography of Bruce Wayne
Characters: Batman, Catwoman, Robin (Dick Grayson), Batwoman (Kathy Kane)
Creators: Alan Brennert (writer), Joe Staton (artist), George Freeman (artist)
Publication Date: April 1983
Available In: Print | Digital

Summary: The story begins with an elderly Bruce Wayne sitting behind a typewriter reflecting on his early career as Batman, his adventures with his friends in the Justice Society, and his guardianship of Dick Grayson. He states that all of these individuals have been very important people in his life, but admits that the person who changed his life the most was his one-time adversary and later wife: Selina Kyle, the Catwoman. Bruce then takes us to the moment in his life that forever redefined his life's meaning.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Batgirl #33 Review

Title: Batgirl #33
Story: Deadline, Part 2
Characters: Batgirl (Barbara Gordon), Black Canary (Dinah Drake), Huntress (Helena Wayne)
Creators: Gail Simone (writer), Fernando Pasarin (artist)
Publication Date: July 2014
Available In: Print | Digital

Summary: Batgirl #32 saw the protagonist, Barbara Gordon, on the edge of her limits as a superhero after her arch nemesis, Charise Carnes (aka Knightfall), returned to Gotham bigger, badder, and more powerful than ever before. While Charise essentially shares the same goals as Barbara in that she wants to look out for Gotham's best interests, she also has an extreme and ultimately totalitarian idea of justice comparable to that of a dictator. Barbara is especially weary of her persistent use of violence as a way of getting her message across. The final straw for her was the amputating of Ricky Gutierrez' brother's hand to force the former into dropping his lawsuit against Barbara's father, James Gordon, for a shooting incident involving the GCPD. 

Knowing that she has to take things a step further if she is to take down Charise once and for all, Barbara recruits the help of her oldest and closet friend, Dinah Drake-Lance, who operates as Black Canary and the current leader of the Birds of Prey. Barbara fills her in on her case with Knightfall, and Dinah feels that she is embarking on a suicide mission, but agrees to help her out regardless. At the end of this conversation, they gain the support of one more individual, Helena Wayne, who chanced upon their meeting in one of her rare visits to Gotham.


Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Batgirl #33 Preview

BATGIRL #33
Written by GAIL SIMONE
Art by FERNANDO PASARIN
Cover by ALEX GARNER
The deadline for all criminals to leave the area is fast approaching, and anyone left will be killed on sight. Knightfall lays down the law, but Batgirl has a plan of her own.
JULY 09 | RATED T | $2.99 | PRINT | DIGITAL

NOTE: This issue is part of the Batgirl: Deadline storyline (Batgirl #27-34).







Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Batman/Superman #12 Preview

BATMAN/SUPERMAN #12
Written by GREG PAK
Art by TOM RANEY & KEN LASHLEY
Cover by JAE LEE
A new arc begins following the events of “FIRST CONTACT.” The worlds of Batman and Superman come to an explosive clash as something terrible happens to the World’s Finest team, and a Dark Knight who is not quite himself must team up with Lois Lane to find a missing Man of Steel. Meanwhile, Selina Kyle encounters a person of amazing strength who has no idea who he is.
JULY 02 | RATED T | $3.99 | PRINT | DIGITAL






Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Batgirl #32 Preview

BATGIRL #32
Written by GAIL SIMONE
Art by FERNANDO PASARIN
Cover by ALEX GARNER
Clandestine meetings, tapped phones, video surveillance--Barbara Gordon is being watched. Who has it in for her, and how can Batgirl investigate without compromising her secret identity?
JUNE 11 | RATED T | $2.99 | PRINT | DIGITAL

NOTE: This issue is part of the Batgirl: Deadline storyline (Batgirl #27-34).







Saturday, 31 May 2014

Five Reasons Helena Bertinelli as a Woman of Colour Matters and More

Earlier this month, creators Tim Seeley and Tom King announced that a New 52 version of Helena Bertinelli would be debuting in the new series, Grayson, which would see Dick Grayson rebuilding his life as a spy after the events of Forever Evil outed him as Nightwing.This week saw the official first appearance of Helena Bertinelli as both an agent of Spyral and as woman of colour in the final pages of Nightwing #30.

As was to be expected in this situation, the change to Helena Bertinelli's appearance in the New 52 didn't go unnoticed. Many people supported the change and there were just as many who didn't. Those who supported the change saw this as a positive development for the character, and those who didn't complained about the change for all of the wrong reasons. Unsurprisingly, most of the complaints were, at best, deeply rooted in ignorance over the diversity of people that exist in Italy, and, at worst, rife with racist rhetoric.

Given the mixed bag of reactions the new Helena Bertinelli got, I decided to compile my own list of reasons for why this change actually works in her favour. Not just to enlighten the unenlightened, but also to express my own excitement for this development as well as address any concerns about where this could go given DC's awful track record with women in the New 52. But first, the positives!

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Batman/Superman #9 Preview

BATMAN/SUPERMAN #9
Written by GREG PAK
Art by JAE LEE
Cover by JAE LEE
"First Contact" part 3, continued from WORLDS' FINEST (2012- ) #20. Batman, Superman, Huntress and Power Girl battle a massive new threat to the DC Universe. Meanwhile, Kaizen Gamorra unleashes the means to take down Superman, and an unbelievable discovery is made. Continued in WORLDS' FINEST (2012- ) #21!
FEBRUARY 26 | RATED T | $3.99 | PRINT | DIGITAL

NOTE: This issue is part of the First Contact story arc.





Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Batman/Superman #8 Preview

BATMAN/SUPERMAN #8
Written by GREG PAK
Art by JAE LEE
Cover by JAE LEE
"First Contact" part 1! With Power Girl's abilities on the fritz, see what happens when her long-lost cousin Superman approaches her. Plus, a major threat returns. Continued in WORLDS' FINEST (2012- ) #19.
FEBRUARY 26 | RATED T | $3.99 | PRINT | DIGITAL

NOTE: This issue is part of the First Contact story arc.







Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Earth-2 Annual #2 Preview

EARTH-2 ANNUAL #2
Written by TOM TAYLOR
Art by ROBSON ROCHA
Cover by ETHAN VAN SCIVER
The origin of Earth 2's new Batman is revealed. But after he tells his tale, will any of the other heroes trust him again?
JANUARY 29 | RATED T | $4.99 | PRINT | DIGITAL

NOTE: This annual story recounts the origin of Helena Wayne's grandfather, but she does appear as a child in the flashback sequences with her parents.