Current Reviews


Girl Comics #3

Posted: Friday, July 16, 2010
By: Ray Tate

Marvel Comics
After Colleen Coover gives her cute and charming take on Tigra, among other Marvel heroines spotlighted per panel, Marjorie Lui atones for her sins against medicine and common sense in Black Widow.

There's a couple of things you need to know about me. I never was a Marvel guy. I'm becoming one, but I never had an emotional investment in these characters. I had even less interest in the X-Men after John Byrne left the book.

Spoiler Ahoy!

My knowledge of Jubilee and Wolverine is limited to a Wolverine and Jubilee one-shot team-up that seemed like an old school Batman and Robin adventure.

Based on that team-up, which everybody told me was incorrect in so many ways, I assumed that Jubilee and Wolverine were a partnership. Lui must have read that team-up since her story in Girl Comics is essentially a sequel.

What's interesting is that Lui didn't come out and say that the female character was Jubilee. In fact, Wolverine does not mention her by name. The character simply sounded like an older, wiser Jubilee, or how I imagined an older, wiser Jubilee might sound. Sarah Pichelli drew her as I imagined an older Jubilee might be illustrated. Rachelle Rosenberg surprisingly did not give me any clues in the coloring. Jubilee's signature shade is yellow, but this lady sports an ordinary tan trench coat not the canary rain slicker.

All in all, it's an impressive feat when an artist and writer refuse to name a character but characterize her in such a way that the reader knows to whom they're referring.

Spoiler Ends

In Enter the Heroic Age Kelly Sue DeConnick contributed a fantastic Black Widow short story, but she stumbles badly in this issue of Girl Comics. Until she mentioned that the main character was a succubus, I had no idea that the redhead was supposed to be Satanna. Last I looked, Satanna was a hero in good standing, albeit a dark one. In this tale, she eats an innocent kid's soul--pretentiously symbolized as a butterfly. Nuts to that. Adriana Melo and Mariah Benes contribute the horrendous artwork. On the bright side, Chris Peter's colors pop.

Louise Simonson and June Brigman reunite for a Power Pack tale. I never was a fan of Power Pack, but it's a neat story related with style and brought to life through certainty in the artist's linework and Ronda Pattison's hues.

Leah Hernandez's short pitting Wolverine against Magneto is a strange one. Pretty though as are the pin-ups by Stephanie Hans and Nancy Drew's Sho Murase.

Ann Nocenti's Typhoid Mary tale is a sight for sore eyes. A few years ago, fellow reviewer Michael Deeley challenged me to review a swap of comic books. He picked out three for me. I picked out three for him. As a result I was forced to endure Brian Bendis' characterization for Typhoid Mary. This amounted to her calling everybody, "Shmoopie," and fighting with dumbass detective Jessica Jones. Mike agreed with me. WTF? Typhoid Mary's creator, of course, details all of Mary's personalities with grand ease. Molly Crabapple provides jarring artwork that visually characterizes Mary's certifiable madness.

The final story by Carla Speed McNeil and colorist Ronda Pattison is a hoot and a half. McNeil imagines Kitty Pryde's 21st birthday going horribly wrong, in a comedic way, as Wolverine does something perfectly irresponsible. He introduces Kitty to booze. That's merely the tip of the iceberg. McNeil takes advantage of this simple premise to erect a bar in the Marvel Universe where all the superheroes go to wet their whistle.

Consequently, the Thing pops in to challenge everybody's favorite mutant runt to a drinking contest. Tigra, Namora, Sif, She-Hulk, Rogue, and Medusa stop by for funny cameos. Colossus plays straight man and he's so straight that he's hilarious. Nightcrawler and the Beast break out in song and an enterprising bartender scores a fortune.

Two out of three stories isn't bad, but that Satanna tale left a bad taste in my mouth. It's the short that kneecaps the final issue of Girl Comics. Still, I wouldn't mind seeing more of Girl Comics. Let's hope this gender-directed anthology isn't the last.

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