How many Batman books is too many Batman books? Depending on who you ask there ain’t no such thing! We try to stay up on what’s going on at DC, but we can’t always dig deep into every issue. The solution? Our weekly round-up of titles coming out of DC Comics. Today, we’re discussing Black Canary 10 and Starfire 11.
Black Canary 10
Mark: Black Canary 10 is a hard issue to like. As far as the actual plot and writing go, at this point, you’re either onboard with Black Canary‘s particular brand of “punk” heroism or you’re not. But the simplicity of this month’s story, where Dinah and Batgirl try to learn more about Dinah’s mother, makes this the most successful Black Canary issue in a while. They have friendly banter, reminisce a bit, and kick some ass. It’s fun to see these two characters back together.
So why is the issue hard to like? Artistically, it’s a mess. Moritat and Sandy Jarrell share pencil duties, and, whatever you think of their aesthetic, there are panels that are literally unfinished.
Check out the left arm of the second minion up there.
And while just last issue I called Lee Loughridge’s colors the MVP, here they suffer from the same lack of care. In Batgirl and Dinah’s first fight in the record store, Dinah’s shirt starts out red, changes to white for the remainder of the fight, and then immediately reverts back to red. I know mistakes happen, but on top of the other art problems that litter the issue, it feels like Black Canary 10 was a total rush job. Shame they’re still charging $3 for it.
Spencer: Starfire has always been a talky series, but it’s rarely felt like a problem, since the verbose, expository nature of the dialogue is such a comfortable fit for Kori, the character who always says what’s on her mind and never hides how she feels. Starfire 11, though, is practically drowning in copy, and it’s to the issue’s detriment. Writers Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti explain every point they want to make three or four times, even dropping two different explanations of “emofluid” on two consecutive pages (it relaxes people and makes them speak their mind, which, to be honest, is a bit redundant in a book like Starfire to begin with; often all these characters do is speak their mind, with or without emofluid).
Kori and Stella’s argument is especially frustrating, as the two argue each other in circles, repeating their points over and over in different ways. The conflict and their arguments are true to the characters, but its circular nature and the amount of space it takes up is just maddening. Conner and Palmiotti could have made their points in half the space, and it would have been far more effective.
(Not to mention that, even with all that exposition, Conner and Palmiotti never do explain why it’s so significant that Stella’s suit turned white.)
Then there’s the scene with Choor, which is truly perplexing; what starts out as a beat for Stella where she stands up for herself against a far too forward man turns into a plot where Kori accidentally ends up causing Choor to give birth to their children. I don’t even know if I can begin to dissect what makes me uncomfortable about this plot, but man, does it ever give me the heebie jeebies.
It’s a shame there’s so much of this issue that ends up feeling mishandled or misguided, because, as always, there’s a lot of fun, smart ideas being presented here: Sol and the space worm’s roadtrip is funny and touching in equal measure, and the conflict between Kori wanting to find herself and wanting to keep her friends safe is compelling and true to the character. Elsa Charretier’s artwork continues to dazzle, and perhaps most importantly, the issue continues to build itself around strong, supportive female friendships.
So yeah, it’s a shame that that strong framework gets bent and buried by a glut of overexplaining. Starfire 11 really could have benefitted from a heaping helping of subtlety.
The conversation doesn’t stop there, because you certainly read something that we didn’t. What do you wanna talk about from this week?