Another week, another stack of great comics have come out! As usual, I find what’s risen to the top of my reading list, and share, in the hopes that someone else tries one of these and loves it as much as I did.
In one, we find Batwoman’s sidekick, Firebird, and her team of experts we met last issue, start taking things into their own hands. They kidnap the DEO’s top analyst, trying to get information out of him to take down Bones, head of the DEO, in an ultimate attempt to free Batwoman from their control of her. At first they try torture, which is distasteful, but it doesn’t work at all. Then Firebird takes over and tries a much smarter approach, which works like a charm and sets up what’s sure to be a dynamite next issue.
More interesting to me was the Batwoman/Maggie storyline. In a previous issue, Batwoman, aka Kate Kane, used Scarecrow’s Fear Toxin on her would-be girlfriend Maggie to keep her from finding out her secret. This is something she deeply regrets, and to prove it, she doses herself with the same toxin so she will have to suffer the same way. This is exactly the sort of stupid shit people do when they’re in love and don’t know what to do. It turns into a really touching scene of Maggie staying by Kate’s side all night while she sweats out the venom.
There aren’t many mainstream comics that show two women in a complicated, evolving, but functional relationship, and I’m extremely happy that this one exists.
And oh yeah, the DEO is sending Kate after Batman next, so that should be something.
The Superior Spider-Man #16
Last issue, our not-so-friendly neighborhood wallcrawler discovered the identity of one of his arch-villains, the Hobgoblin. And so, what does he do? Very smartly, he immediately broadcasts it on local TV to the entire city, asking for help in containing Phil Urich, aka the Hobgoblin.
Phil’s at his place of employment, The Daily Bugle, with his girlfriend Nora, his writing partner. Needless to say, things don’t go well for him. She dumps him fairly rapidly, as you ought to do when your boyfriend is revealed to be a homicidal maniac! He immediately rewards her by taking her hostage and threatening to kill her, until being subdued and humiliated by Spider-Man.
Unfortunately for Spidey, before the Hobgoblin can be safely delivered to prison, he’s broken out and brought under the employ of the Goblin King, who has been lurking around for a number of issues. He, like Spider-Man, is smart, ruthless, well-equipped, and has a lot of manpower. They’re taking their time with the setup for this, and I’m expecting a big pay-off. Lots of comics set things up well. Very few pay off like the Superior Spider-Man has consistently been doing.
Jump on board!
This is ultimately a bridge issue between stories, but it’s the sign of a great comic that they can still have some epic moments even when they aren’t at a true climax, and Fables manages that handily this issue.
Prince Brandish has been causing all kinds of trouble for Snow White and Bigby Wolf, before being seemingly defeated. Unfortunately, he’s had his heart removed and placed in a secure location, and thus cannot be killed. He also reveals more of his backstory, and he’s a nasty piece of work.
Meanwhile, Rose Red is waking up from, well, being an early-twenties entitled princess to being a woman who knows what she wants and takes charge of her own life to get it. While not all of us are mythological fables with the fate of the world at our fingertips, it still is a very familiar emotional journey and one that I always rejoice when I see people take it. (Which tends to happen to some in their early twenties, many more in their thirties, and some even later in life. And some never.) It rings true, which is why I’m really enjoying seeing her come into her own. At the moment, she’s putting together a renewed Round Table, seeking knights from far and wide to fight for virtue and stuff. There’s an excellent recruitment montage, with some surprises along the way.
But then, Rose hears about what’s been going on with Brandish, and Deals With It. In an epic, satisfying, delightful way. I have a soft spot for kick-ass women, and Rose just kicked down the door and busted onto that list with a vengeance. Buffy, Xena, new Starbuck, and Sarah Connor would be proud.
It’s strange, when I first heard about Fables, I didn’t pick it up despite good reviews, because I was afraid that such static characters would be impossible to show any growth. We know who Cinderella and Prince Charming and Pinocchio and so on have to be, after all. I couldn’t have been more wrong – this series is all about character growth, taking familiar tropes into unexpected places, and after an impressive number of issues, it’s still going strong with no signs of stopping!