BIRDS OF PREY #2
Written by Gail Simone; art by Ed Benes.
(Review contains spoilers.)
While I thought the first issue was a good start, I have very mixed feelings about this second issue. This is a very action-packed book, which, combined with Gail Simone's snappy dialogue, makes this a very exciting and fast-paced reading experience. I was totally sucked into it on my first read. I ate it all up, including the shocking scene where Creote shoots himself in the head live on video for Oracle.
It was only after I'd finished the issue and started thinking about what I had read that I had a few problems with it. As a lot of fans (on blogs and message boards) were quick to point out, the last thing DC needs at this point is for more minority characters to get killed. So what are we to make of gay character Creote's suicide? The only reason this didn't register immediately with me is that I have no attachment to this character. I didn't even know who he was until I read the first issue last month.
To be honest, I still don't know what to make of his death. I find it a bit distasteful, but I am inclined to give Gail Simone the benefit of the doubt and wait to see where she is going with this. I would like to think that the woman who first brought to light the women in refrigerators phenomenon wouldn't then turn around and "fridge" a gay character she created unless she had a damn good reason for doing so. Her immediate reaction to fan outrage online was that all is not as it seems and that fans should wait to see how this plays out. But unless this means that the character is not actually dead, I don't really know what kind of aftermath would justify this move.
(I don't have the stomach to read all the flame wars about this on message boards. Online discussions drive me crazy, especially when they deal with hot topics like race or sexual orientation. I tried contacting Gail Simone directly to see if she would be interested in answering a few questions by e-mail. I thought that we would have a better discussion away from all the trolls and "fanboys," but she hasn't returned any of my messages. She probably received a lot of mail about this, so I'm sure mine was just lost in the sea of insults/complaints.)
In any case, I've decided to try not to analyse this too much for the time being and wait until at least the next issue before forming an opinion. The bottom line is I enjoyed the story and I'm looking forward to finding out what happens next, which means that Simone must be doing something right.
On the art side, however, I can't say I'm too impressed with this book. There are two problems with the art in this issue. First, due to some unexpected health problems, Ed Benes was unable to complete the art, so they had to get Adriana Melo as a fill-in artist. I don't know who did what exactly, but the overall result feels very rushed and unpolished. Second, there's a limit to how many camel toes and wedgies I can look at without starting to feel a bit grossed out. It's not even that I'm a prude or overly concerned with treating female characters like objects to be gawked at – it's just that those outfits look so damn uncomfortable, I don't know how these women can stand it. Maybe I'm being incredibly naive, but I find it hard to believe that people buy mainstream super-hero comic books to jerk off to, so I'm not sure exactly who this appeals to. It's distracting and completely unnecessary.
Bottom line is that I consider this book now on probation. I'm definitely going to stick with it until the conclusion of the first story arc, and if the writing stays strong and the art improves, there's a very good chance that I'll stick to it beyond that. We'll just have to wait and see.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
BIRDS OF PREY #2
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