Saturday, June 26, 2010

Review: 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.


Gail June 26, 2010 at 8:49 PM  

Thank you for your comments but just for the record, I have received no such emails from anyone named "Yan Basque." Most of the email I've gotten has been supportive but those who did have questions, I have responded to them with a brief note that I will answer their questions or at least respond in more depth as soon as I can (I'm at deadline and I caught a rotten flu bug).

I am not sure what email account you used but I have not received your letters.

Sorry for the inconvenience,


Yan Basque June 26, 2010 at 9:17 PM  

Oh, hi Gail. Thanks for your comment!

I first tried contacting you via the CBR message boards. Your inbox was full, but there was an option to send an e-mail, which I tried. I'm not sure how reliable that system is. (Probably not very.) I also sent you a message via Facebook.

I don't have your e-mail address, so those were the only two methods at my disposal.

Anyway, it's no big deal. I understand that you're busy and I assumed that you were receiving a lot of e-mail (whether positive or negative), so I wasn't offended by the lack of immediate response.

If you are reading this and would still be interested in answering a few questions (when you have the time), you can e-mail me at corpsesasbedmates at gmail dot com.

PS: Sorry if I made it seem like you were ignoring me on purpose. I never thought that was the case.

Gail June 26, 2010 at 10:29 PM  

No worries, honestly, I'm trying not to respond on message boards but I felt bad that your messages weren't getting through.

I still don't have your cbr mail you sent, but I DID find the Facebook thing buried--I get a ton of Facebook mail and I just missed it, somehow.

As I said I'm on deadline with the flu but I'll try to get a response to you soon, okay? It may not be perfect but it will be truthful.



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