The Movement #12

The final issue. I’m heart broken. This was a consistently good series with unique characters and nods to the rest of DC Comics, Gail Simone’s other titles and Coral City’s sister city Gotham. 

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Freddie Williams II has always provided art that well suits the feel of this title, but it’s above and beyond when we’re treated to a 2 page spread of Virtue’s ultimate dream for “The Movement”: Virtue and crew are fighting side by side with Justice League bigwigs. Mouse vs. Cheetah, Katharsis sword fighting against Deadpool, Virtue throwing down against Sinestro. It’s gorgeous and really showcases all that Channel M’s hacktivists could have accomplished. I’m so bummed. Virtue thought they could be big like the JLA, but with a twist, they could show people that empathy was as important as strength, that anyone could be a hero, “But then I remembered that I live here. In the ‘tweens. And they were never going to ask us to join a club that lives on mount Olympus.” 

24 hours ago (after a “we’ve come so far” montage where Burden cracks a joke and Mouse finds a new woman to like) Mr. Cannon infiltrates the sweatshop. He tells them that his son is the Cornea Killer. And that he needs to be stopped. The Movement confronts them and offers him an easy way. Come quietly and he’ll go to the police… if not, “the ‘tweens gets some of its blood back.” The Cornea Killer does not comply. In a twist, Cannon has Whitt on back up to take out The Movement. 

The Cornea Killer sacrifices himself in front of Whitt’s bullet to save his father. But it’s too soon, Vengeance Moth takes out Whitt before anyone dies. We get Holly’s whole backstory as told to Captain Meers and it all ends on a note of hope instead of death or disbanding. 

Gail Simone did a wonderful job wrapping everything up, I hope to see Virtue make a comeback somewhere in Gotham. I enjoyed the DIY nature of the heroes in this book, they’re a resourceful bunch, I’m sure they’ll pop back up somewhere. I hope. I’m really sad to see this one go. It’s one of the only DC series that I read and the only I actually consistently enjoy. I think this could have gotten a better start is it wasn’t billed with the Green Team. That one didn’t appeal to me and I think there was a huge misconception that you had to read BOTH; so people missed out. 

Nerd News-Day Tuesday (Bonus Anime Content)

upworthy takes on female fantasy armor. Creator of 90s cartoon Gargoyles releases YA series that takes place on fictitious islands in the Bermuda Triangle includes ghosts supernatural forces as a group of friends try to solve a mystery. The Jem and the Holograms movie is being cast on tumblr but sadly it’s being made without creator Christy Marx

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John Ostrander speaks up about the changes DC made to his character Amanda Waller.

In “But Why?” news: The Grudge is getting a reboot.

+Walking Dead tribute brew is made with …real brains. Smoked goat brains that is.

Any guesses as to what FOX’s mystery Marvel movie will be?

Bonus Content-

Attack on the Titan’s English dubbed version premiered at Anime boston last weekend

+epic new merch

Is This A Zombie was rereleased today as a “classic” by Funimation.

I’m staying optimistic about the rad diversity that the Sailor Moon reboot will bring.

eBook manga is hitting the US (+ beyond) thanks to Yen Press and Square Enix, first titles include Soul Eater and Black Butler.

 

Fantastic Female Friday: The Crimson Avenger

AKA Jill Carlyle.

Justice Society of America member, Ultra Humanite plot thwarter, bad ass, highly educated, super powerful.

Jill Carlyle was technically the third Crimson Avenger. She was also the most powerful. Jill Carlyle was a lawyer. She took up the original Crimson Avenger’s guns after failing to convict someone who was obviously guilty. In pursuit of justice, she purchased pistols at a pawn shop. From the origin story comes something very potentially Batman meets Dexter. Unfortunately, this was set forth by Geoff Johns, who I think is an misogynist ass. And racist. I hate him. Which is unfortunate, the Crimson Avengers third incarnation was a fucking bad ass.

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The good: Carlyle was the most powerful of the three, she got added bonuses of teleportation and was able to dematerialize in order to avoid enemy attacks. She can’t die and she can’t miss. The original crimson Avenger, Lee Walter Travis (1938), was a trained soldier with martial arts skills who worked as a reporter and was the first official masked crime fighter. The second Crimson Avenger, Albert Elwood, made his single appearance in 1963, he was more trouble than he was worth. In 2000, the third Crimson Avenger found the guns and sealed her fate. Jill was something terrifying, she wasn’t some masked vigilante, someone hiding the skin around their eyes and toting a smoke gun; she took up the cause for a righteous reason and ended up cursed. Left with an eternally bleeding wound on her chest that made the hyper-masculine Lee Travis’s golden “bullet-esque” costume look weak. It’s deeper, the knowledge that if you set out to do the right thing you might get more than you bargained for. You might not be able to stop. 

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But unfortunately, a great character was undone by bad writing. During the time when she joined the JSA to team up against the Ultra-Humanite and Thunderbolt, Jill’s personality was consumed by the power of her weapons. (In the same string of events, the only other female; Powergirl, was artistically strong and stunning, but unnecessarily catty and impulsive to the point of incompetence- not that impulsive and irrational behavior is out of the norm for her. And the only other African American character was the one who accidentally gave the Ultra-Humanite a Genie that made him be able to take control of ALMOST all the world’s superheros. (Jakeem does set it right -but after a pep talk from HourMan… like I said, Johns doing inclusion.. HA!) 

At the end of the “Stealing Thunder” story arc we get a good glimpse at Jill. Ready for a new assignment, she wakes up in an electric chair, out to avenge Charles Durham. Charles Durham was framed. She gets to tell her story, and she shares that Lee Travis was cursed too, but left it behind for a costume and a sidekick, the curse was broken until she picked up the guns. The guns compel her, the holsters never come off (how does that work?) and she ends up after Wildcat -who helped save everyone from the Ultra-Humanite. 

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Jill Carlyle, educated black female from Detroit, from an unapologetically urban background, drawn to violence by grief -the way so many heroes are… Jill could have been more, if crimefighting was an itch she needed to scratch (a la Dexter) if she went home at night rather than turning into mist and drifting off to her next assignment she would have been more. It is a great disservice that she did not have more agency. 

That being said: Carlyle’s justice was universal. Wildcat didn’t get a free pass. He framed a man who died as a result. No amount of good deeds on the side made up for it. Jill Carlyle does not believe in affluenza. Jill Carlyle does not care about your upbringing, your excuses or who you know, she doesn’t care if you’re a “nice guy” or a pillar of the community. Her justice is universal. She can stop anyone who stands in the way.

And she does. Even the impervious Power Girl. 

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Jill Carlyle: “I am on no one’s side.” 

She spares Wildcat after hearing his testimony, he committed his crime for the same reason that she took up the guns. It was the only way. She fights against her curse and saves him. Using strength and will against the curse upon her. And sets off for a more worthy kill. 

She has been absent from The New 52! But I’m holding out hope that she can find a home under a worthy pen somewhere in the DC Universe. 

Harley Quinn #3

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Conner killed this cover. Or should I say nailed, murdered and shish-kabobbed it? Harleen Quinzel floats above, doe eyed and content (cute slippers, too) above corpses that have been hacked up with saws, hatchets, wrenches, scissors, rakes an sporks. Heart Grenade graffiti papers the background. 

Inside; a checkerboard format has Harley going through a haunted house ride. It’s Valentine’s Day there on planet Harley and a creepy surgeon reminds her of her bad boyfriend, Mr. J. Suddenly, she’s ambushed by a hit man dressed as a Nosferatu. She disarms him, shoot’s him and leaves him for the underemployed nerd to clean up.

She walks by happy couples with a rain cloud overhead and then sees Big Tony sitting on her steps with a bouquet. They weren’t originally for her, they were for Queenie, but she takes them anyway. But it’s not what she wants. HQ wants unconditional love, someone committed (pun or not?). While she sets her flowers by the window, she sees that her recent house guest, Poison Ivy has left her some goodies. One of the potted plants has a not that says “For finding LOVE” she eats a couple of the berries…

Then she gets a call: she got the therapist job at the nursing home. She feels the need to celebrate and gets decked out in leather leggings and a strapless dress. Harley hits the street, heading to a singles bar. 5 minutes later she crosses in front of a prisoner transport bus. The driver falls immediately for Harley, he loses concentration and crashes. 8 murderers, 2 serial killers, 2 mass murderers, and arsonist and a pervert escape …and they all catch Harley’s scent. 

They start this creepy “yum. yum.” “mine” thing at her and she says, “I ain’t none of yours.” They chase her up the road where she finds WE B TOOLS and goes on the search for her weapon of choice.

She makes her stand with weed whackers, a proband tank, axe, wrench, nail gun… She take particular vengeance with the pervert… a female police officer shows up to investigate and she falls for Harley, too. Our girl runs for home and slingshots Poison Ivy’s love plant out the window. Big Tony comes in, asks for the flowers back, he’s gonna go after Queenie and fight for her. HQ gives him a freaky berry to give him the edge (well, that’s rapey). 

Harley goes to play with her dogs and goes on an anti-Valentine’s Day rant.

I still don’t know what to make of this series. It’s zany. I like Harley. But there’s not enough happening yet. I wanna know who put the hit on HQ, issue 3 seemed a little early for a Holiday Themed side track. 

Also, Harley giving Tony the berry after she got harassed, assaulted and nearly chopped up for dinner. She gave him less, so that wouldn’t happen to him, but it would still trick Queenie into falling for Tony. Queenie who’s on a date with someone and doesn’t like Big T. Consent is absent there. That’s not romantic, it’s gross. In the final panel we also see that Queenie’s date has fallen for Tony. Love potions are equivalent to date rape drugs, consciousnesses are altered in order to achieve a certain result. It’s not hilarious it’s a fucking crime. 

The Movement #8

In the last issue of this story arc we begin with Erik Yee standing up to fellow officer, Whitt who is proposing that they go and exert some influence on the Channel M kids. Vengeance Moth is scraping herself off the floor and Burden has gone full out hideous demon and is brawling with the Graveyard Faction. 

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Virtue, Tremor and Katharsis are still at the hospital looking after Mouse. All unaware of the trouble at the warehouse since the Graveyard Faction is using a jammer. Virtue misses her date with Rainmaker. 

Pena and female officer Fricks stand with Yee against Whitt. When the Captain arrives he fires Whitt. Soon after the injured Yee reveals that his checking up on Virtue has lead to some interesting results: She’s dead.

Mouse comes around… and lays a kiss on Tremor. And now thinks that they are in love and are going to get married and live in the sewer and she’ll be his rodent princess…. yikes.

Meanwhile Vengeance Moth, concerned that the fight between Pallas and Burden is going to cause the building to cave in, knocks out leader of Graveyard Faction and disables the jammer she calls Virtue. But now Anguish is pissed off and Ven is exhausted and helpless. Luckily Katharsis lands a blow on the leader of the Graveyard faction while Tremor makes sure the building holds. Virtue shows off the extent of her power when she uses the fear the Vengeance is feeling to paralyze the previously mega tough Anguish.

With the Graveyard Faction banished from Coral City, The Movement’s next challenge will be: …Batgirl?! 

Some major reveals. Ven gets down on some action. Burden embraces his dark side. Yee and Meers mend fences. Whitt’s off the force but of course, this doesn’t mean he won’t rear his ugly head some time in the future, if anything he is more likely to go villain and blame The Movement rather than his own aggressive actions.. And what’s up with Virtue? A great way to round out the Graveyard Faction’s story arc… Can’t WAIT to see what’s next!

Forever Evil #4

Trying to get back to regularly scheduled blogging, but it’s been a slow couple of weeks in comics… what with Christmas and New Years. But just shy of 2014: Forever Evil #4 hit shelves.

I’m slightly less than lukewarm for this series. I know many people who like it, I keep holding out and thinking that I will come around…

As I see a tattered Batman and Catwoman on the first pages: I’m interested.

Batman takes Mz Selina Kyle to the Batcave. She looks over his wares. Displays of his old costumes, a steampowered Batcycle, a giant dinosaur. Batman is all business. Catwoman says that they “are practically the last man and woman on earth and all you can talk about is the plan.” Wowzers. I assumed they would be “talking” when they weren’t front and center, since they are humanity’s last hope. Actually… the cover says Lex and Batman are humanity’s last hope… so… I get Catwoman just wants to talk. Errrr…. Anyway, Batman keeps her at arms length because way back in October, Nightwing was unmasked and now it is common knowledge that Nightwing is Richard Grayson. Batman feels responsible for this, since Batman trained him to be Robin and then drove him away where he became Nightwing… but ZZZzzz… because we all already knew that.

More interestingly, Batman has been hoarding artifacts as a contingency plan against the Justice League. A Kryptonite ring (which won’t work against Ultraman. But they don’t seem to know that), a ring recovered from Sinestro corps, a lightning rod from the future -you know, typical stuff.

Meanwhile Lex Luthor is resurrecting Black Adam as Black Manta, Bizarro and Cold look on. Luthor explains that Ultraman’s biology is opposite of Superman’s -specifically that Ultraman has been consuming kryptonite and hiding from sunlight while Superman’s weakness is kryptonite and his power is enhanced by the sun.

Speaking of Ultraman… he’s huffing kryptonite out of Metallo’s suit while Superwoman taunts him. Ultraman finds out that Superwoman is pregnant (with Owlman’s baby which he doesn’t know) Superwoman says that Owlman is plotting against them and that they need to prepare. Elsewhere, Power Ring is having a meltdown, Deathstorm is summoned back to unlock Firestorm’s ability to change matter into kryptonite leaving Power Ring to go after Captain Cold alone.

Luthor has a heart to heart with Bizarro (whose name originated as B-Zero? cool!) and then they bust in to Wayne enterprises where they find Catwoman and Batman. And then Power Ring, Deathstroke and that lot bust in and find everyone. Batman tries to wield the Yellow Ring to defeat this bad dudes, but it is easily taken from him. Power Ring is victorious! But then Sinestro shows up! Next issue is Sinestro vs. Power Ring…

There is so much going on here. And for some reason minor quarrels dominate the majority of action and dialogue. The women in this series are FEW so FEW and the portrayals are shallow and heinous. Superwoman was in fear of Ultraman and he was clearly abusive towards her, but Geoff Johns was sure to include that she was really sneaking around with Owlman (AKA “she deserves it”) and now another layer of conniving is being added. And the taunts? Calling him weak when in the first 2 issues she was terrified of him and fearful that he would find out she was with child… and now in this issue she taunts him and threatens him (while “needing his support against Owlman”). Uh, huh. This is not how a woman who has been victimized would behave. That Geoff Johns feels the need to make women either helpless or devious is insanely creepy. Catwoman being treated as if she’s new, can’t handle herself and wants to stop and talk about their feelings? Batman has always been chivalrous and reserved so I can forgive some of it, but Catwoman not understanding the urgency… and hiding from Black Manta and Luthor. I’m unamused.

David Finch’s art didn’t help in that regard:

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Why can you see her whole buttcrack!?

Why am I reading this series?!

Are you reading it? Pipe up with it’s redeeming qualities, or let me know if there is something I am missing.

Alternate Opinions:

ComicSpectrum: who has issues with the art for other reasons but likes the story and also referenced the Lex/Bizarro interaction as one of the highlights in this issue.

Sciencefiction.com: Just loved it.

 

Harley Quinn #1

Harley Quinn #0 was so frigging awesome. One might think it would be tough to follow that up… and they’d be right.

Unfortunately the official first issue of Harleen Quinzel’s first book didn’t rock my socks off the way that issue 0 did. 

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Dr. Harley and her little furry friends leave Gotham and their exploded dumpster home behind and head for Brooklyn. She inherits her building as promised… but there is a catch, the tenants- including a Danzig look a like- are behind on their rent, she’ll need to collect and then make half a fortune herself as she tries to pay for the building. So she paints herself up human for a therapist job at a new-agey drug free clinic and joins the roller derby- All the while dodging assassination attempts. 

Newbie Chad Hardin’s art is detailed and suits both Harley and Brooklyn. However it seems as if even on the same page he can’t decide whether he’s going for Harley: playful scamp in a skimpy clown costume or stonecold icequeen sexpot. There’s nothing wrong with big boobs or skimpy clothes, but when facial expressions take the serious and sexy at random intervals and necklines and cupsizes change at random… I’m miffed.

I do have hope for this series yet. Harley is showing off her sensitive and independent side and we’re rooting for her to foil the assassins and their benefactor. Unfortunately, fans got a slow set up with this first issue.