Thursday, September 15, 2011

Make Mine... DC?

I've recently been reading some DC trades, namely Batwoman: Elegy, Batgirl: Batgirl Rising and Batgirl: The Flood, and I've enjoyed them more than I enjoyed my Marvel reads. Whilst they've not exactly been problem-free reads, for example I didn't understand some aspects of Elegy, I've found them easier to get into and just generally more compelling reads. The titular characters also have another aspect that I've harped on about a little bit, and that's they don't have breasts the size of watermelon plantations. They're both relatively conservatively drawn and well proportioned, although of course they are a little thin.

Batgirl, with Stephanie, is a humorous and well-drawn read. She's a compelling character, she's a bit on the cute side, but it hasn't let the darkness that permeates Gotham-based comics get in the way of having a good bit of fun. Whilst there are some slightly darker moments, it's very arguably a bit closer to classic Batman in that it's fun, there's lots of people getting beaten up in a non-gruesome manner and it largely doesn't take itself seriously.

Batwoman, with Katherine Kane, is from the little I've read (i.e. just Elegy), a much darker and more serious read, but it's no less well drawn and has some of the most creative panelling I've seen in comics. Her sexuality, whilst a little controversial, doesn't define her character although it is an irreplaceable part of her that - were it different - would completely change her situation, perhaps even to the point of her not ever becoming Batwoman.

Has it been perfect? Of course not, as I mentioned above I found some parts of Elegy to be beyond me, specifically the werewolves (Or whatever they were). I didn't know them, I didn't know what part they played in Gotham, I knew nothing about them. It didn't affect the story too much for me, but they still had me scratching my head a bit. In Batgirl Rising, Batman was actually Dick Grayson (i.e. the original Robin) rather than Bruce, and I wasn't really clued up as to why, but aside from the banter between Oracle and Dick, it made little impact on the story.

I'll hopefully be receiving my new DC comics soon. I've ordered a few of the #1 issues from the reboot (Batgirl, Batwoman, Wonder Woman & Birds of Prey) to gauge if I'll like them or not, and I'll admit the Batgirl reviews have me slightly worried, but also if I'll continue to buy DC comics.

As for Marvel, you might be wondering why I'm leaning towards DC. I've found Marvel to be much less forgiving to a new reader. It's event after event after event, it's big breasts after big breasts after big breasts, even with the younger X-Men. Buy one trade, and you find you need another couple at the very least to fully understand the events going on. I also find Marvel's stable of female heroes to be less compelling. Spider-Girl I'm interested in, especially with the new girl, and I enjoy a few of the X-Men (Mercury, X-23, Pixie), but largely I find myself caring less and less about Marvel and its characters. Even Deadpool has fallen out of favour with me after a few over-priced trades (This is coming from she who bought The Killing Joke and Pixie Strikes Back) and the largely average Deadpool Corps, of which I have the Prelude and first collection.

So, from now onwards, I think DC will be getting a lot more attention from me. I'm very impressed with their attitude towards Batwoman, despite her tumultuous release history, and I'm hoping I enjoy their comics more than I have Marvel's.


  1. I just read the "new" Batwoman #1 last night. It was great. Probably my favorite comic of the relaunch so far. The art is, of course, amazing, and the plot seems pretty cool too. There are a few elements that I don't understand yet, (for example she is training a side-kick a la Robin I guess...) which seemed to come from out of nowhere. Still, good stuff.

  2. That's good to hear, Ryan. I'm very eager to read Batwoman #1, but I'll be sitting back and waiting for the trade after that.

  3. You shouldn't have to wait any longer than normal for the first trade, because I've heard JH3 has the first five issues already in the bag. However, eventually I expect the release times to slow down since he, understandably, takes a bit longer than others to turn out his art.

  4. What's "normal" for the trade? Sometimes they're out quickly, sometimes they're not. I'm guessing that it'll probably be this time next year?

  5. Well, with many comics they release an a story arc in single issues, (generally 5 issues). In the 6th month a trade is released collecting those issues, and the while the comic takes a month off from putting out a regular issue.

    That seems to be the format a lot of comics follow, but I'm not sure how DC will handle trade releases for the new 52. That would mean releasing a lot of trades in a very short span of time.

    Many titles will probably get a hardcover edition before a soft cover version comes out too. (I know that's how they released Batwoman Elegy).

  6. Wouldn't that imply, though, that in five month's time, DC will have a massive lack of releases?

    Still, Spring '12 sounds fairly reasonable. I'm really looking forward to the trades, regardless of when they actually release.

  7. Yeah, I'm not sure how they plan to handle that...It seems like everything gets collected these days so it's just a matter of when.