DC 52 Review: Let’s Hear it for the Ladies! Diana, Kara, Selina, and More!

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This week released a crazy amount of New 52s that I couldn’t pass up! Several of these had one thing in common – chicks that completely kick ass!

 Wonder Woman #1:

The issue starts with the man who will assumably be Wonder Woman’s adversary. He’s creepy. He’s sadistic. And he certainly has a skill for controlling, manipulating, and destroying women. He’s Apollo, the son of Zeus.

After Apollo’s intriguing introduction, but before we can see our first glimpse of Wonder Woman, a second villain is introduced. Though we never see her face, we know by the peacock cape that this is Hera. And she’s pissed. Oh damn is she pissed.

None of this is looking good for Zola, a young woman pregnant with Zeus’s child. It will take a divine intervention to protect her from Hera’s first round of attacks. Luckily, that’s what Wonder Woman does best.

WW was awesome in this issue, though we saw little of her. She is strong, sexy, confident, and able to leap raging centaur in a single bound. The plot is quickly set in this issue and though lots of mystery still shrouds where this story is heading, I suddenly can sit back and let out a sigh of relief. This might just be a Wonder Woman worth reading!

Of course credit for this optimism should also be given to artist Cliff Chiang. Diana must be a hard woman to draw. To be true to the mythos of the character, she must be presented to look strong, sturdy, feminine, sexy, not TOO sexy, timeless, regal, even godly all at the same time and in every panel. Talk about pressure! But so far Chiang is pulling it off. Here, see for yourself:

 

Catwoman #1:

One word. Boobs. Yes. I said (wrote) boobs. I enjoyed the writing, pace, and basic plot structure of this initial Catwoman story. I did. But I do have to say – the consistently present peep show provided by Catwoman’s bra’d bosoms was rather distracting. And for a female reader, a little annoying.

Ok Catwoman is sexy. Of course she’s sexy! She’s Catwoman. That’s part of her platform. But for some reason I always think of Catwoman’s appeal in a more slinky, teasing sort of manner and much less of the cheap dancer in a neon bra look. (Oh, btw – this is rated T+, in case that wasn’t obvious.)

Ok, ok. I’m done with that rant. Back to the plot – Catwoman is displayed as her ever-graceful, personality-out-the-gills, risk-loving self. The story is told mostly from her own point of view through her inner monologue. While a lot of times this can be a tiring approach in a comic book, writer Judd Winick really made it work for this introduction to Selina Kyle. And, boobs aside, the artwork was entirely fitting in furthering this characterization. And while we are obviously able to see Selina’s sex-bot side, Winick also makes sure that we catch prominent glimpses of her savage, blood-thirsty side as well as the part of her that is an intelligent, capable woman who is damn good at her job.

The verdict for this book is overall positive – I really liked how well paced, well-plotted, and beautifully drawn it was. This first issue pushed the limits of comic book propriety (wait till you get to the last page and find out what happens when Batman just can’t say no). My curiosity is, admittedly, a little perked to see if they can/will/even SHOULD keep up this level of boundary-shoving antics.

Supergirl #1

Back to the more innocent side of comic books! Today is a big day for Kara. Today is the day she lands on earth – and boy is she confused! Is she dreaming? Where is she? Why are there beams coming out of her eyes? And who are these robot-men attacking her?

Kara’s young, sweet yet strong voice really comes out immediately. Best of all, as clearly as the Supergirl persona immediately comes across, nothing is lost on the action front. In fact, this issue is a spectacular blend of action and inner monologue pulling the reader through the pages at an exciting pace. Her fear, determination, and confusion all come across in a way that makes this completely out of the normal realm of possibility kind of situation (you know – landing on a new planet and having no idea how you got there) seem entirely realistic.

Once again, the writer/artist pairing is great. The younger tone of the book is matched with a more simple, yet still skillfully presented look. Kara’s landing on earth is all about the Superman mythos and the creators of this comic further bring together the building mystery around the Super superheros.

 

Birds of Prey #1

Let me start by saying that I am completely unfamiliar with any of these characters. But I saw a team of women who looked like they could ruffle a few feathers (pun intended) and I couldn’t pass it up. The cover shows Black Canary, Starling, Katana, and Poison Ivy – who I densely did not realize was Poison Ivy for a long time. She’s not in the first issue anyway so I guess it doesn’t matter.

All the women on this team have a bit of shadiness tainting their permanent records. So far it’s just two – Black Canary and Starling. But two is enough to stunt the assassination attempt on a local reporter who was being pawned into pulling the BOPs out into the open so that their mysterious, anonymous attacker to make his/her move. In several quick scenes these two initial characters are quickly defined, thrust into the heart of battle, and pulled out again only to find themselves with a disturbing first-issue ending on their hands.

I’m glad that this series decided to take it a little slower. With four not-huge characters that will need significant introduction to new audiences, this slower pace allowed both action and introduction to happen seamlessly. The writer on this book is Duane Swierczynski and artist Jesus Saiz get the credit for this nice blend.

Overall I finished this premier issue with a ‘hm. That was good.’ – I don’t know that I was blown away by the awesomeness of it, but it was certainly a solid beginning to what could be a good run!

 

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