Compassion vs. Selfishness in Green Arrow Annual 1

by Spencer Irwin

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Spencer: Early in Green Arrow Annual 1, Oliver says that “on Christmas everything turns out exactly as it should.” It’s a nice sentiment, but that’s exactly what it is — sentiment. The world doesn’t magically change just because it’s a holiday, and holidays can, in fact, be very depressing times for many people. If Christmas is a special time, it’s because people make it that way, and the desire to do so is the clear line that divides Green Arrow and Count Vertigo. Continue reading

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Laying the Evidence in Batgirl 12

by Drew Baumgartner

Batgirl 12

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

There are no incidental details in prose. Or rather, there are no specific incidental details in prose. You might get a sketchy description of someone’s home or office, with the understanding that you can more or less fill in the blanks on what kind of furniture might be there, but if a specific item of furniture matters, it has to be mentioned explicitly. This makes it very difficult to introduce elements casually; if a specific item of furniture is mentioned, we can’t help but assume it will have some significance to the story. For most stories, that’s not a problem — indeed, faith that the details matter to the narrative might be fundamental to our enjoyment of them — but that gets complicated when there’s a mystery to be solved. That is, prose has a hard time giving us clues that don’t immediately broadcast themselves as clues; the very fact that it’s being mentioned betrays its significance. Continue reading

Batgirl 52

batgirl 52

Today, Mark and Drew are discussing Batgirl 52, originally released May 25th, 2016.

Mark: What is the best way to portray a female superhero?

Batgirl 52

The first sizzle reel revealed for CBS’s (now CW’s) Supergirl television series was met with a healthy dose of skepticism and derision since it included a number of moments where Kara is shown doing stereotypical “girlie” things and its The Devil Wears Prada-esque setting. Some compared it to SNL’s satirical trailer for a Marvel Black Widow movie that aired just a little bit before the Supergirl first look was released. The fact that Kara worried about boys at all or worked at a fashion magazine meant that she wasn’t a strong female character. I haven’t watched Supergirl at all outside of the pilot, but the general consensus of her portrayal now that the first season has concluded seems to be overall positive.

Likewise, Brenden Fletcher and Cameron Stewart’s Batgirl of Burnside, making Barbara Gordon more pop and significantly less intense than the Gail Simone run that preceded it, has been met with similar criticism. I’m not a woman, but I am gay and it is through that lens that I approach the desire for people like me to be represented in media by strong characters. In that way, I can understand the eye-rolling at a social media obsessed Batgirl just like I sometimes get annoyed at what I perceive as grossly flamboyant gay characters in movies and TV shows. Continue reading

Batgirl 50

batgirl 50

Today, Mark and Spencer are discussing Batgirl 50, originally released April 6th, 2016.

Mark: Batgirl 50 is the culmination of the Fugue storyline, and Brenden Fletcher and Cameron Stewart successfully check the box on every superhero trope a reader could want. Mind control? Check. A bank robbery? Check. Previously unmentioned deus ex machina device? A big, fat pneumatic tube-shaped check! The Fugue has released all of Batgirl’s previous foes and is using them to set up mind control devices to lure Burnside’s citizens to Burnside Bridge. Then he’s going to blow up the bridge, killing the citizens, and then convince the rest of Gotham that Batgirl is responsible. This is not a good plan! Continue reading