Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Focusing On The Good (Birds of Prey #103, Cover Date April 2007)


Major Heroes: Oracle, Manhunter
Minor Heroes: Gypsy, Huntress, Big Barda, Misfit, Judomaster, Zinda

Major Villains: Spy Smasher
Minor Villains: Miguel


Oracle begins with a flashback to her days at Gotham University, when she and Katarina Armstrong were both friends and rivals. In the present, Spy Smasher threatens to shut Oracle down if she does not call off her mission.

Meanwhile, Manhunter, with Gypsy's help, is shutting down a metahuman prison on order from Bones in the DEO, and the rest of the BoP gang is trying to rescue Tabitha Brennan -- the ganglord's daughter -- from various and sundry bad guys.

As the situation resolves, Manhunter frees all of the kidnapped metahumans and threatens to warden to turn himself in, the gang completes the rescue of Tabby, only to realize that she was the one who had killed her father in hopes of taking over his father's mob, and Oracle has given in to Katarina's threat to arrest her in order to embarrass her father, and agrees to start working for Spy Smasher.


When Birds of Prey #100 came out, I was initially critical of the All-New, All White lineup, but I wasn't really comfortable writing about it, so instead I wrote about Checkmate, and what they do right in terms of promoting diversity in DC Comics. I said I'd get back to Birds of Prey eventually, after I had time to think about it and now -- at the end of the first post-Dinah arc -- this is it.

And my conclusion is essentially that I was wrong before to criticize Birds. It's a great lineup, and a great story with lots of intrigue, plot twists, interesting characterizations, and everything else you'd want in a good story. Checkmate is still my favorite current title, but just because Checkmate is doing everything right doesn't really mean that Birds of Prey is doing anything wrong.

I realized that my problem was looking to narrowly -- characterizing Birds of Prey as a "diversity comic" and then criticizing it for not being diverse enough. The crux of the specific criticism here was that the new lineup was all white with no Hispanic members, despite the fact that they were putting together a new team specifically for a mission to Mexico.

But that was looking at the issue too narrowly. Birds of Prey has no more obligation to have Hispanic team members than Batman does to have a Hispanic Robin for their next sojourn from Gotham to Guatemala -- none. The issue is, and has to be, broader. It is the responsibility of DC to ensure that there is wide representation throughout the DCU titles. But it was never to ensure a specific mix in each book. What I was doing in criticizing BoP was essentially a form of minority cannibalization. "Here's a team with minority slots, but look! They are all filled up with white women. We should trade some of those white women for Hispanic or black women." But there never were really minority slots. The problem of insufficient Hispanic women superheroes exists, but it was never Gail Simone's problem. In a world with a dozen Hispanic superheroes with their own monthly books, we'd probably never have noticed.

When I was reading back over my review of Checkmate, I realized that -- while praising them for their racial and gender diversity, including inclusions of all types of women, an Israeli Arab, Mister Terrific, etc., I never criticized them for not having any gay characters. The irony, of course, is that the next month Tommy Jagger came out, which just goes to show how awesome Checkmate is.

But the point was that it wasn't needed to make Checkmate a great book. In a DCU that will promise regular appearances by Obsidian, Batwoman, Catwoman, Grace and Anissa in the Outsiders, etc., Tommy Jagger wouldn't be absolutely necessary. In a DCU without them, he is needed, but not necessarily as White King's Knight. The "Book" stands on its own merits -- the "Universe" is where the praise of blame must lay.

So, for today, we are focusing on the good. In Birds of Prey #103, we learn that Manhunter, Spy Smasher, and Oracle are working on three different teams, and we are not sure who, exactly, are the "good guys". Lots of room for future intrigue here. Motives are unclear, and a future of Barbara "working for" Katarina can go so many different ways that picking up #104 is a sure thing. Misfit, meanwhile, remains an enigma.

The best part about a book with half a dozen female leads, of course, is that it removes the possibility of "the female" as a type. No one is confusing Barda with Kate, or Judomaster with Misfit. Multiple characters require multiple characterizations, and while I can see Huntress and Manhunter as being of a "type" (the Hunting type, I guess), there is still enough variety to see them either becoming best friends or rivals.

So, while I would not complain if we learn next month that Obsidian is joining the BoP, this month I have nothing but praise for what has been fairly consistently the second best DC Comic I read every month.

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Personal Lives (Checkmate #12, Cover Date April, 2007)

Characters Main Heroes: Fire, Thomas Jagger
Minor Heroes: Mr. Terrific, Sasha Bourdeax

Major Villains: Amanda Waller
Minor Villains: Bane, Colonel Computron

After a brief flashback of young Beatriz training in gymnastics with her father, and current Fire visiting her invalid father, we quickly get into the plot. In the country of Santa Prisca, an election has gone horribly wrong. The anti-American candidate, backed by Bane, received the most votes, but vote rigging led to the pro-American candidate getting the most votes. Aware of the cheating, Bane has declared martial law and taken over. We quickly learn that the vote-rigging was planned by Waller through an intermediary, leading to the ironic result of Colonel Computron, the vote-rigger, tries to get help from Checkmate to escape from his employer, not knowing that his employer is really Waller.

Mr. Terrific immediately suspects Waller, and wants to send two Knights to rescue Colonel Computron. Waller's Knight is out, obviously, and Thomas Jagger is also excluded since his father was killed by Bane, making him questionable in this nominally pro-Bane operation. When Mlle. Tautin is struck down by a Deus-Ex-Appendectomy, though, the only two Knights left are Fire and Jagger.

Black King and Thinker are working on a clue -- Carvalho -- that regular readers only know is something Waller is using to blackmail Fire. Ben Talib figures it out, but it is too late to abort the mission. As Jagger and Fire "rescue" Colonel Computron, Fire immediate turns on him and fries the Captain.


As I mentioned in this Checkmate post, Fire and Jagger are the only characters who have been given any personal history in this book so far, and here they are on a mission together. Jagger is actually given some much more important character development here. He is the son of the original Judomaster, Hadley "Rip" Jagger, but was told by his father not to follow in his path. So when Judomaster was killed by Bane in Infinite Crisis #7 (in his patented "Broken Bat" move), Jagger consciously chose to go his own way with Checkmate rather than become the "new Judomaster."

Now, as fate has it, chosing his own path leads him back onto his father's as he inevitably will have a showdown with Bane.

Of course, the most interesting part of this Jagger-centric story is that it's completely not at all about Jagger being gay. The new Diversity Guy always has to beware the Scylla of having monthly "Gay-Themed Adventures" and the Charybdis of quickly dying or turning evil. I am therefore happy to see Jagger's first post-"out" adventure involve confronting his father's killer, which is a perfectly normal thing for a comic book hero to do, and doesn't revolve around his sex life.

Meanwhile, I love ambiguously-evil Amanda Waller as a complex character, but come on now! Eventually, someone's going to stop trusting her with upper level administrative responsibilities. There are only so many times that the White Queen can re-construct the Suicide Squad or divert a United Nations agency to her own nefarious ends before they take away your keys to the international-executive washroom.

In my internal fan-fic, she leaves office with Lex Luthor, they get married, and she becomes a new Supervillain. Amanda Waller-Luthor could be even more dangerous than Lex.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Manhunter Sales, Part II

#24 (July): 14,600 (#134)
#25 (August): 15,100 (#128)
. . .

#26 (December): 23,767 (#96)
#27 (January): 17,842 (#126)

Not even Ted on the cover saves a decline back to sub-Aquaman levels.


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Bearing Witness (Manhunter #28, Cover Date April, 2007)

(Not the cover of an Aquaman story)

"C'est magnifique, mats ce n'est pas la Manhunter" -- General Bosquet


Major Heroes: Kate Spencer, Wonder Woman, Cameron Chase
Minor Heroes: Blue Beetle, Batman, Dylan Battles, Mark Shaw, Sasha Bourdeaux, the Madmen

Major Villains: The Madmen, Dr. Trapp


The sudden appearance of Ted Kord hurts Wonder Woman's defense that she had to kill Max Lord because he was a known killer. As our heroes fly away in the Bug, Ted says that he has no memory of the last 18 months. The Bug is attacked by the "Madmen", and after they parachute to safety, Ted says that he believes Max Lord is his friend, and that his first memory is awaking in the Alps, where he had been captured by Checkmate. The Lasso of Truth confirms that Blue Beetle truly believes he is Ted. A blood sample taken by Batman will, we assume, prove the same.

Meanwhile, in Gotham, Cameron rescues her sister from capture in a wax museum, but is promptly assaulted by Dr. Trapp, posing as a wax figure. Dylan tries to run in to the rescue, but the gates clank down, preventing his entrance.

In the other meanwhile, Mark Shaw gets some flashback/extrapolation on the history of the Knights of St. Dumas and Azrael, and is informed that he is to be their new hero.

We end with Kate receiving a copy of the unadulterated Wonder Woman/ Max Lord tape from Sasha Bourdeaux.


So, the real problem with Manhunter #28 is that it is not, as far as I can tell, about Manhunter. Or Kate. Now, it's been three issues into the story arc, and the only time Kate has been in "uniform" has been when she was sparring with Wonder Woman in #26. Now, some might complain about that, but I was fine with it, because Kate Spencer, Attorney at Law, was a crucial part of the story for #26 and #27.

But read through Issue #28 again and tell me exactly what it is that Kate and/ or Manhunter DOES for 22 pages. She watches Ted Kord talk to Wonder Woman, and fails to respond to reporters. She watches Ted and Diana rescue her from inexplicable bad guys in the Beetle-mobile. She watches Wonder Woman and Batman do the science v. magic testing of Ted. She watches Sasha give her evidence. She isn't present when Cameron fights Dr. Trapp, or when Mark Shaw becomes the new Azrael, or whatever.

It's like in those old 1960s covers where Aquaman or whoever talks to the audience while the rest of the Justice League has the actual adventure. We like Aquaman, of course, but we're not quite sure why he's there. Same here. It's a great story. Highly recommended. Five stars. I just have no idea why its happening in a book entitled "Manhunter".

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Cinderella III: A Twist in Time: The Good, The Bad, and the Creepy

Since my most popular post has been my review of the Disney Fairies series, I thought I'd jump in and review the latest Disney Princess movie, which I recently purchased for one of the Ragkid's birthdays. The thumbnail review is: The "Story" is better than the original, but not as good as the Disney Fairies stories, the Songs are unmemorable, and I was kind of creeped out by one of the story's implications. Overall, a Qualified "Good, but not Great". And really, what more can you expect from a Direct-To-Video movie?

Also, a note. I never saw Cinderella II, so I may be missing something important from that movie -- but I doubt it.


It is Cinderella and the Prince's One Year Anniversary. Anastasia is spying on them, and realizes that the events of a year ago were caused by the Fairy Godmother's magic. Anastasia steals the magic wand, and gives it to the evil stepmother, who turns the Fairy Godmother to stone, moves time back a year, and "bippety boppety boo"s the shoe so that it fits Anastasia's foot before Cinderella escapes from her locked room. (The Tagline of the Movie is "What if the slipper didn't fit?", which isn't really accurate. It's not that the slipper didn't fit. It's that Cinderella never got to try the slipper on.)

The Prince knows immediately that Anastasia isn't his true love, so the evil stepmother bippety boppety boo's his memory so that he recalls dancing with Anastasia instead of Cinderella. The wedding is planned for that night.

In the meantime, Cinderella decides to take matters into her own hands. Impersonating the Royal Mousecatcher (along with Gus and Jacques), she sneaks into the castle to win her Prince back. Meanwhile, Anastasia is having second thoughts because she wants to marry for love, but the King is so nice to her, that her doubts are assuaged.

Eventually, Cinderella steals back the magic wand, but is captured and banished before she can undo the magic, and the mice convince the Prince that he is under a magic spell, and that he is "really" in love with Cinderella, even though he remembers falling in love with Anastasia. The Prince rescues Cinderella before she can ship out.

Her plan falling apart, the wicked stepmother makes a last ditch attempt to save her plan by casting another spell on Anastasia so that she looks like Cinderella, and sending Cinderella away in a locked pumpkin carriage driven by the now-human cat Lucifer. Cinderella escapes, Anastasia refuses to marry the again-fooled Prince, and the Prince saves both Cinderella and Anastasia, who the wicked stepmother tries to turn into toads.

The wedding can them go off as planned.


The Good: A solid story for a movie that's only about 70 minutes long. Lots of plot twists, and jokes for people of all ages. My three year old got scared when the Fairy Godmother was turned to stone, but when I reassured her that she's be fine by the end, she was okay for the rest of the movie. Cinderella is much more self-directed. Not able to take the "footwear path" to happiness, she takes matters into her own hands and fights against her wicked relatives to win her man. She defeats Lucifer and without any help, and has some other individual successes that were not driven by magical or male assistance or magical guidance. Also good is that the Prince is given a personality, so that he appears to be someone worth marrying, rather than just a handsome outfit who dances well. When they "re-marry" at the end, we are happier for them, because they both really worked for this time.

The Bad: While Cinderella is more self-directed, her direction is still solely to win the hand of a man she met for a couple of hours the night before. Also, while Cinderella is much more pro-active, and fights some of her own battles, she is also "rescued" twice by the Prince -- once when she is banished, and again when the wicked stepmother tries to turn her into a frog. Anastasia and Cinderella stand together, and have some individual successes, but they would have failed in the end had not the Prince stepped in repeatedly to help.

In one the "Disney Fairies" books we read recently, a wingless fairy is falling, and another tries to catch her. When she fails, a sparrow man tries to help, but the two are not strong enough together. When they fail, another fairy adds her muscle, and the three of them together save the falling fairy from disaster.

In the "Disney Princesses" stories, the women may be self-sufficient to a point, but the Prince is always the last line of defense. Sometimes the sisters do it for the themselves, and sometimes an extra man is needed. There is never a situation where are you are missing for success is an extra female. While I have no objections to the man sometimes coming in to save the day, there is no balance. Moving from "Woman always saved by Man" to "Woman sometimes saved my Man and sometimes saves Herself" is a step in the right direction, but it is not even and symmetrical.

The Creepy: So, this starts out as one of the sweeter parts of the movie. The Prince is having second thoughts about his betrothal to Anastasia because there is no "magic" when they touch, and Anastasia is a particularly bad dancer. She is crestfallen, but the King takes her aside and talks to her, saying how his Queen, before she died, was also a terrible dancer, and that love isn't based on superficial qualities like dance ability. In addition, the picture of the Queen, over the King's throne, looks surprisingly like Anastasia.

So, based on this and other similar scenes, both daughters took the implication that there was, in fact, a budding romance growing between Anastasia and the King! The thought of the erstwhile evil-stepsister becoming Cinderella's new formerly-evil step-mother-in-law just skeeves me out in a Faye-Dunaway-in-Chinatown kind of way. ("She's my sister and my daughter!")

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Eureka Moment, Or Not

So, I don't post a lot about 52, but I'm reading it all, and I did post here about butterfly references -- specifically, the Chang Tzu quote about dreaming you are a butterfly, and Charlie's mumblings about butterflies. Omitted was the most obvious reference, which was Mister Mind actually cocooning in Week Three, to emerge later in an as-yet unidentified form.

But it wasn't until Sunday night, when I was reading my daughter a Disney picture book version of Alice in Wonderland, that I realized that Charlie isn't just a caterpillar turning into a butterfly, but he's THAT caterpillar -- from Alice in Wonderland.

Charlie's first and recurrent question -- "Who are you?" -- to which Renee always responds "I don't know", is taken directly from the conversation between Alice and the Caterpillar, complete with smoking and getting lost in the clouds of smoke. And of course, their adventure begins at 520 Kane St. when they fall through the trap door together (down the rabbit hole . . .)

Or maybe I'm reading too much into it. Alice is dreaming, of course, and I have always suspected that Ralph Dibney is dreaming, or hallucinating, or whatever, since his Helmet of Fate experience doesn't line up with the Half-Helmet stuff going on the Helmet of Fate mini.

Which got me thinking about the other threads, and I wonder if I'm extending metaphors too far . . . The Steel/Natasha Everyman stuff doesn't happen until after Dr. Irons starts hallucinating that he is talking to Steel after identifying the "other" Luthor . . . Are Starfire and the space gang trio replaying the Wizard of Oz going after the wicked witch (Lady Styx) after Dorothy bumped her head during the Crisis?

Maybe I'm overanalyzing, but that's just how my mind works, I guess.

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Stupid Questions #3

Asking the really stupid questions so you don't have to!

Superman, Catwoman, Batgirl, Superboy, Aqualad

B: Plastic Man, Wonder Woman, Power Girl, Ultra Boy, Lightning Lad

Is there a rule on when the gender identity is joined with the rest of the name, and when it is separate?


"Thinking Hasn't Really Been My Strong Suit" (Supergirl #14, Cover Date April 2007)


Main Heroes: Supergirl
Minor Heroes: Robin, Captain Boomerang, Jr.

Main Villains: Batgirl, Power Boy

Linear narrative is problematic, as we have a lot of scene-jumping and the standard flashback scenes to Kara on Krypton with evil daddy Zor-El. Nonetheless . . .


Supergirl and Power Boy are out on the town fighting bad guys together and flirting, when Power Boy asks Supergirl out on a "date" and the two kiss. Supergirl says she's going out alone to find out who is trying to kill her, and brushes off Power Boy, who tries insistently to go with her.

Supergirl is found by Robin in the Bat Cave, where she is trying to use their computers to track down Batgirl, who she believes is trying to kill her. Robin gives her the information begrudgingly.

Batgirl, previously seen chatting with a distraught Boomer and with the (unidentified?) woman who hired her as an assassin, is now waiting for Kara to arrive for their big fight. In flashbacks, Kara recalls her father calling her "special", and in real time Batgirl is saying that Kara is nothing special as she uses her advanced planning to take the upper hand in the fight. Meanwhile, Boomer is hanging up like a tortured masthead, begging for help in a pose semi-reminiscent of Stephanie Brown's murder scene.

As Cassandra comes up from behind for the kill, however, we see that Kara has somehow internalized some Krypton-esque crystals, and they choose this time to spike out of her back, impaling Batgirl.

Kara, victorious, calls Power Boy for help, who is busy covering his wall with pictures of Kara.


So, this is the first issue of Supergirl since Eddie Berganza's empassioned "Girls Should Read Supergirl Because, Um . . . Well, Is 'Mimbo' A Word . . .? " So, how did we do?

Badly, I'd say.

First, the good, because there is a quite a bit of good to build on.

1. Tim and Kara in the batcave was cute, especially the part where Tim realizes that Kara and Cassie had talked about the "kiss". Okay, it was more of a good "Tim moment" than a good "Kara moment", but I'm not picky. It was a good scene. Up until the end.

2. The well-choreographed fight scene with Batgirl: "For every kill there is a weapon. Diamond dust. Red wavelength UVB lights -- and me!" It's the sort of fight you expect to see if Batman is planning to take down an evil Supeman. You know that, given enough planning, on Batman's home turf, Batman can take him down pretty easily. It's that sort of fight for a few pages. Up until the end.

3. The flashbacks to Krypton every time Kara hears the words "special." I know some people don't like the sepia-toned flashbacks, and I agree that they've gone on too long, but I guess I'm just a sucker for long, drawn-out suspense. Up until the end.

So, three "good" scenes. And all end poorly.

1. Robin warns Kara not to underestimate Batgirl.

Robin: She's a special case, Supergirl. You should think this one through.

Kara: Thinking hasn't been my strong suit. What button do I press to Mapquest this chick?
Apparently, as with any real teenaged girl, math is hard.

2. The fight scene with Batgirl goes well for Cassandra -- but too well too quickly. The obvious problem might have been that Kara is so powerful that it won't be much of a fight at all. But Cassandra has done a good job of evening the odds, resulting in . . . Kara giving up after a few failed punches? And bursting into swollen eyed tears? And being easily and lengthily distracted from the killer by the shirtless Boomer on the Masthead?

And then, Cassandra comes in for the kill, and what the heck was that? Some sort of prolonged lesbian, spooning, interlocking-legged death hug? Try picturing THAT scene with Bruce and Clark instead of Cassandra and Kara. (See, Agenda Items 7 & 8.)

3. Which takes us to the flashbacks. Kara is being called "special", and something unidentified is being done to her. This merges with the present when, apparently, both sides have given up the fight. Kara is crying and ineffectual. Cassandra is chatty and snuggly in an assassin-esque kind of way. So which of the girls wins the fight? Well, I guess Kara's Dad Zor-El does, since he's the one who installed the latent exploding-crystal thingie. In a fight between two girls, the winner is a long-dead man. Hm.

Is this the issue that will "attract women to read Supergirl"? Signs Point To No.

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Coming This Summer to a Book Store Near Me

Three Items That I Will Enjoy

(Cover of Wonder Woman #98, May 1958)

Writer: Robert Kanigher
Artists: Ross Andru and Mike Esposito
Collects stories from WONDER WOMAN #98-117
$16.99 US, 528 pages

(Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olson #22, August 1957)

Writers: Otto Binder, Jerry Siegel and others
Artists: Curt Swan, John Forte, Pete Costanza and others
Collects stories from SUPERMAN ' S PAL JIMMY OLSEN #22, 28, 31-33, 41, 42, 44, 49, 53, 59, 65, 69, 72, 77, 80, 85 and 105
$14.99 US, 192 pages

(Detective Comics #359, January 1967)

Writers: Gardner Fox, Cary Bates, Bob Haney, Mike Friedrich, Robert Kanigher, Frank Robbins, Dennis O ' Neil and Elliot S. Maggin
Artists: Carmine Infantino, Curt Swan, Frank Springer, Gil Kane, Bob Brown, Win Mortimer, Irv Novick, Don Heck, Mike Sekowsky, Neal Adams and others
Collects stories from DETECTIVE COMICS #359, 363, 369, 371, 384, 385, 388, 389, 392, 393, 396, 397, 400, 401, 404, 405-424, BATMAN #197, ADVENTURE COMICS #381, WORLD ' S FINEST COMICS #169 and 176, THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #78, JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #60 and SUPERMAN #268 and 279
$16.99 US, 520 pages

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Monday, February 05, 2007

"Project Pillowcase"

My daughters' elementary school collected Superhero Pillow Cases for wounded soldiers in Iraq. The story was picked up by the local news, and the video and transcript from Channel 3 is here.

It's a lovely idea, and let's the kids "do something" to help.


Rob asks:

I would give anything to see what people were searching for when they stumbled across entries on other feminist comic blogs like When Fangirls Attack, One Diverse Comic Book Nation, Comic Book Thoughts, Pretty, Fizzy Paradise and Written World. I'm sure most of them will be along the lines of "wonder woman naked" "batgirl rape pics" or "amanda waller nude fan art."

Sorry, Rob. I just noticed your trackback. #1 is clearly "Vagina Dentata". I think I am on the first page of Google or Yahoo for that one. After that, I actually get a lot of hits looking for stuff on comics and religion, which isn't really my focus, but I guess it's obvious (both to readers and to seach engines) that I am a practicing Jew. After that, it is probably tied between generic stuff ("Guy Gardner" or "Phantom Stranger") and the rest of the sex/gender stuff (undetermined whether they are looking for analysis or pictures.)

As I look back over my logs, I get very little traffic from people looking for comic book racism, although I probably write about race issues about as frequently as gender issues. That makes me wonder whether no one cares much about racism, or that all the stuff about feminism is just people hoping for dirty pictures.

Well Rob, I will be awaiting my check for "anything" as I present all the searches that got people to my site yesterday.

1. vagina dentata (this is by far my #1 seach hit. I get two or three hits from this search every day.)

2. Is "Freddy Freeman" Jewish? (I get this one, in particular, a lot. I think he's not, but I'm not really sure.)

3. Teenage girls Christian topics. (Sorry, no. I am neither teenaged nor Christian.)

4. Star Trek Comic Computer Malfunction. (I have no idea.)

5. Comics Rape (I hope they are not looking for pictures, but I fear they are.)

6. Comics Virgin (I write a lot about Virgin comics. I don't know if that's what they are looking for or not.)

7. plane + beetle (Maybe)

8. comic books p'shat (I assume this is someone who was looking for my site specifically and forgot the name)


9. Prince Halftime Phallic Symbol just came in today! Again, I have no idea. I TiVoed the Superbowl and fast-forwarded through the half time show. I wonder if Prince had a phallic symbol with him, or if he was himself the phallic symbol at issue.

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Friday, February 02, 2007

Welcome to the Diversiverse (Ion #9 and #10, Cover Dated Feb. and Mar. 2007)


Major Heroes: Ion, Captain Atom
Minor Heroes: Guy Gardner

Major Villains: Green Lantern, Flash, Atom



David and Josh Holliday are looking at a mysterious Green Lantern that they found on the beach a year ago. It appears to have tiny people inside, saying the names of Superheroes.

Kyle visits his dying mother in the hospital, but is called away by the Oans for a secret mission. His mother tells him to go. Before leaving Earth, he feels a "tug" and goes to investigate. There, he finds the remains of the Holliday's treehouse, and two people calling themselves "Flash" and "Atom". Flash is a white female who has powers involving flight and control of light. Atom is a white guy who can control his density. The two quickly defeat Ion and decide to form a superteam together, and summon out of the lantern a new "Green Lantern", this one also female. The monitors observe the breach, and comment that "Kyle Rayner must be eliminated."


This issue begins with the "new Green Lantern" giving a Phantom Stranger-ish intro, saying that her universe had been destroyed, but might live again. Kyle awakes in the "bleed", a space between universes that cannot be monitored by the Monitors. There he finds the Holliday boys, fights some ugly monsters, and is finally saved by Captain Atom, who appears to have survived Bludhaven, by escaping to the Wildstorm universe. Captain Atom does some exposition on the bleed and the multiverse, and helps Ion get the kids back to their home.

The alternate Green Lantern, Flash, and Atom are walking on a beach, with Green Lantern explaining how her mission to do avenge the dead and give them one last wish. As the skies turn red and strange people from other dimensions begin to appear, Kyle and the boys emerge into their own universe, pushing the three alternate superheroes back into the Bleed.

Ion takes the Green Lantern to Oa and gives it to Guy for safe keeping. The Oans send him to explore a "rift in our reality", but refuse to disclose whether it is related to the "bleed". Out in deeps space by the rift, Kyle finds a massacred Qward force, and Donna Troy standing amidst the bodies.


In our universe, there have been four White Men who were called the Flash (Jay, Barry, Wally, and Bart), and five Men (four white) who have been called Green Lantern (Alan, Hal, John, Kyle, and Guy). So, out of nine representatives of the next level below the unchanging Trinity of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, only John Stewart isn't a white male.

Loren has a post expanding on Guy's list of ways to diversify DC comics. One of the suggestions was:

Since you're bringing back the Multiverse, introduce an Earth where Europeans didn't run roughshod over the planet and cast all of its superhero icons as minorities. In that Earth's version of the JLA (Justice League of Africa or Asia, perhaps?), have one white male and call him White Lightning. Robin and Jimmy Olsen may also remain white.

Well, Ion doesn't give us a world of minority Superheroes (the are all white), but it does give us a female Flash and Lantern, which is in the same sort of direction as Guy's suggestion. Of course, they end up fighting Kyle for unexplained reasons, and they are not directly comparable to "our" Flash and Lantern, but it is something.

Meanwhile, Donna appears to have finally escaped from Giganta's cleavage, where as far as i can tell she has been dangling for most of the past year, so that is progress, too. I had to think for a while to remember if she had appeared anywhere else. When characters don't have their own titles, its hard to know if they are "missing" or just unimportant.

My only concern now, as I expressed on Loren's thread, is that a multiverse with a female-dominated universe and a third-world dominated universe in it would serve to take pressure off of the attempt to diversify the "real" universe of Earth 1. Any criticism of a non-diverse JLA would be met with references to the JLA of Earth-Woman or Earth-Thirdworld or Earth-Queer, allowing Earth-1 to revert to the default Earth-White-Guy.

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