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Oracle: The Cure #1

Posted: Monday, March 30, 2009
By: Chris Murman

Kevin Vanhook
Julian Lopez & Fernando Pasarin
DC Comics
I struggled with whether or not I would actually mention his name, but I like the guy so here we go. With all apologies to Ray Tate, I like Barbara Gordon where she is. That doesn't speak to the idea of Babs being able to walk again someday and don the tights being bad, I just like more of the peripheral concepts behind her staying in the wheel chair, which we'll get to. We also haven't see her carry her own title in a while (even a three part mini-mini-series) in quite some time. All of that, mixed with rising star Julian Lopez handling most of the art, gave me ample reason to be interested in this issue hitting store shelves.

Here's where I usually add my "but", except I don't have one. With the allowance for a few minor qualms, I was more than pleased with my purchase. I don't know if I'll feel the same way about issues #2 and #3, but that's for another day.

Honestly, I'm a bit of a technology nerd, so of course I like the idea of Red being behind the scenes with her VI touch screens. There are more than enough spandex-laden characters that jump around (you know, jump up, jump up, and get down), and I like variety. Also, we don't have many major continuity points that are still in effect. Gordon still mentions the Joker severing her spinal cord in this issue, which partially proves it still matters to some. Whether you agree with her being paralyzed or not, the fact some things still can stick is nice to see every now and then.

Here's there the "but" comes in. I'd be interested to see where the former Bruce Wayne sidekick fits in to this new Gotham without him in it, if I wasn't so worried about what this series is out accomplish.

Maybe this is all a big fat red herring, but the words "The Cure" sit on the cover for all to see. Babs mentions the notion that she can feel her legs (even though she's not supposed to). Are we to believe yet another ret-con is in effect in comics? We shouldn't be surprised, but will it make our girl more relevant or popular?

Before I finish that thought, let me also say that I'm not sure what the Calculator is out to accomplish by finding the little bits and pieces of the Anti-life Equation. It's funny to see that spineless twerp butch up and believe that he was somebody for what he did during Final Crisis, but I'm not sure he really makes an interesting plot point, even if he could piece every bit of it together. It's weak, but we're not here to read about him. We want to know if Barbara is going to walk again at the end.

I can't say that having a super hero in a wheelchair accomplishes that much for the handicapped community, but then again I don't know anyone that lives their life in one so what do I know? There's just a lot more to be had from a character in her position instead of if she could walk and kick. She obviously trains for combat still, and everyone loves an attractive red-head. Also, we need our wizard behind the curtain keeping everyone else afloat. Maybe she can do what she did for the Birds of Prey in Gotham for her brothers in crime-fighting (brothers...that just makes what she and Dick did sound creepy).

Julian Lopez continues to dazzle with his impressive pencils and ability to fill a frame with emotion and detail. I said this about every one of his issues of Batman and the Outsiders, but he is going to be a start someday. It would be good of DC to lock him down for a long time before Marvel gives him some higher priority work. I'm sure it's safe to assume Bit goes where Julian goes, so the same rule would apply. Bit finishes work very well, not too heavy on the ink and well-shaded. The color palette seemed to change a bit too much at times, but with art duties split up between Lopes and Fernando Pasarin it would make sense.

Overall, I look forward to finishing this mini out, with my eyes open as to what will (or is rumored to) happen. I'm sure Ray will tear this issue a new one, but until the ret-con actually happens we should expect that. Here's to enjoying my red-head computer geek for a few more months.



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