Two issues in, Animosity is proving to be one of the most original debuts of the year. The AfterShock series takes place on an Earth where animals suddenly gain sentience. Naturally, confusion leads to violence which only ratchets up the narrative’s tension. However, there is more to the title than a tale of animal resentment run amok. Writer Marguerite Bennett, along with artist Rafael De Latorre, are crafting a nuanced portrait of humans’ relationship with the rest of the animal kingdom. At New York Comic Con, I had the chance to speak with Bennett about the series.
Marguerite Bennett of DC Bombshells, Animosity, InSexts and Angela will be writing a new Batwoman ongoing series with artist Steve Epting of Velvet, Captain America and New Avengers. Bennett will start co-writing the character for two issues in Detective Comics with series writer James Tynion IV who will also be co-writing the first arc of the new series. More details at The Hollywood Reporter
In this segment I will be highlighting a variety of work. Something old is a book from my shelf I have read in the past. Something new is a new comic series I am excited about. Something borrowed is a book I do not own and have borrowed to read specifically for this segment. Something queued is a book I have now placed in the “to-read” pile as a result of the previous three. Every now and then I will pop something off the queue and write about it. This week I am highlighting Greg Rucka, specifically his stories with strong female detectives. (Technically they aren’t all “detectives” but investigative work is done).
By James Tynion IV, Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira & Adriano Lucas
On Wednesday, Detective Comics joined the Rebirth initiative with a new creative team and old numbering. It also skipped the one-shot step, jumping straight into the action. This proves to be a smart choice on DC’s part, allowing the title to avoid some of the problems which have plagued the one-shots, such as Batman and Superman, which felt like they were more about the past than the future. Instead, readers get an engaging comic book which manages to channel previous work, while still feeling rooted in the present. As such it is the most successful debut chapter of a Rebirth title to date.
Next year will mark the 10th Anniversary of the debut of the current Batwoman, and what better way to celebrate than with a big-screen blockbuster? Yes, Kate Kane may not have the same name recognition as other members of Batman’s extended family, but as Marvel Studios continues to demonstrate, audiences are more than happy to be introduced to new concepts. Batwoman is a terrific character with a lot going for her. Here is how I would harness that for the silver screen.
The Concept: This is a street level action-drama. There are plenty of supernatural elements in Batwoman’s comic book adventures, but I would save those for future outings. For this first film, I would concentrate on grounding the characters in the familiar territory of urban violence. At the same time, I would plant seeds of a larger conspiracy, as Batwoman gradually uncovers the organization behind Gotham’s criminals’ increasing audacity. This group is led by the charismatic, unbalanced Alice. She would serve as Batwoman’s primary antagonist for the film. I would stop short of actually connecting this organization to The Religion of Crime as, honestly, I never found it to be one of Rucka’s most intriguing ideas.
Over the weekend, the debut issue of Marguerite Bennett & Marguerite Sauvage’s highly anticipated DC Bombshells debuted digitally much to the joy of comics fans who had been awaiting the new comic. Based on a series of concept covers and statues, DC Bombshells refits it’s female superhero’s to look like classic WWII era pinup girls. It’s an idea that’s been met with some controversy for it’s levels of sexism and objectification but the series felt like it was being created as a way to bring back the character’s agency and in it’s first issue, it unequivocally succeeds in that while also being a really fun period else-worlds piece with a lot of heart beneath the surface.
DC Bombshells begins with showing a 1940’s era Batwoman who fights crime and plays baseball, sometimes simultaneously. She’s called Batwoman partially because of the whole Bat thing but also because she carries a baseball bat to fight crime. There is sort of goofy camp to the beginning of the comic that writer Marguerite Bennett plays to well in her so corny it really works style as a kind of slapstick superhero. But while it is legitimately humorous, Bennett and artists Marguerite Sauvage also manage to incorporate an air of cool to the heroine by giving her a slight edge aesthetically. There’s a tinge of “take no shit” to the character of Batwoman that aids in enduring her for the reader. That is also explored further in the issues second half as Batwoman and her lover, female detective Sawyer, talk about the former’s past adventures and the lack of excitement for her current relationship. Again, this is a sequence that has some really funny moments, like when Sawyer is trying to figure out a name for their hypothetical dog breeding farm they’ll retire to or when Kate cracks a joke about Ernest Hemingway, but there’s an element of sadness underneath all that as well which elevates it past it’s base level of enjoyment and gives it a certain level of gravitas that is enduring. Bennett’s writing is just right in it’s balance as it’s perhaps the best work of the young writers career so far.
Artist Marguerite Sauvage is excellent as per the usual here but it’s most impressive how she adjusts her style on the book to fit within the principles of the story and setting. Sauvage blends a more classical style with a hint of cartooning to it that is like nothing else being done right now but what’s most impressive is how adaptable that is here. It nails the period aspect of it about as well as has been done in recent comics but it has an aesthetic through-line that feels singular to the artist. It’s at moments pretty, at others goofy and others dynamic, and it navigates between those different stages seamlessly.
In it’s debut issue, Bennett & Sauvage are flawless in establishing a defined voice and style for Bombshells that incorporates the concept while expanding it into something far more interesting and engaging then could have been hinted towards from the variant covers or statues. In a year when DC Comics continues to redefine and expand it’s parameters for the publishing line of superhero books, Bomshells stands out as one of the most unique and enjoyable debut’s from the new crop of series. This comics exceeded almost every expectation I had for it as the creators run a tight and enjoyable opening salvo that establishes the world of the series while opening up the the range of possibilities for it’s potential. Bombshells opens up with bang.
Fan favorites Young Avengers, Batwoman and Fearless Defenders in addition to Life With Archie and Dark Horse Comics Husbands have been nominated for outstanding comic books for the annual GLAAD Media awards. The film adaptation of the original graphic novel Blue is the Warmest Color was also nominated. Read the additional nominees here. Also you can read Cosmo’s writing about Batwoman and Young Avengers in addition to my writing about Blue Is The Warmest Color
Another week of December, another best of 2013 list. Today, I shall be reviewing some of the most memorable single issues of the year. The criteria for selection is an issue, whether part of a larger narrative or simply a self-contained tale, that impacted me the most these twelve months. These are not necessarily the best overall stories; some outstanding arcs from 2013 are unrepresented because there was no specific issue that stood out from the others. So, with that in mind, I present a list of 15. First place is a tie between two thematically overlapping choices; the remainder are listed in alphabetical order.