Monday, April 26, 2010
Triple threat: Firestar-One Shot, Brave and the Bold #33, and Land of Oz #5
The Brave and the Bold #33
Written by J. Michael Straczynski
Art by Cliff Chiang
Letters by Rob Leigh
Colors by Trish Mulvihill
Cover by Jesus Saiz
Published by DC Comics
Review by Lan Pitts
"I'm putting together a girls' night out, and I'd like to invite you. Because I want this night to be special. Very special." -- Zatanna
Let me just start off by saying, I was mislead by the cover. I was hoping for some romp and stomp with three of DC's most notable heroines. Maybe a fight with the Riddler, Kadabra, and Dr. Psycho. Or perhaps team together to take on one notorious threat. It was fun for a while, but I just found myself almost heartbroken.
Since it's relauch, The Brave and the Bold has found itself to be one of the most consistent titles I've recommended to people who want to start reading DC books, but feel intimidated by continuity. It's for the reader out there who thinks that current books aren't for them and want to sit back and enjoy a fun adventure. While this issue had it's fun and cutesy moments, in typical JMS style, things take an emotional turn and punch you where it hurts, though true comic fans will see what's coming when the Oracle of Delphi is dropped into a conversation.
Cliff Chiang handles the art in his usual cartoonish style, yet still holds a level of energy with the girls and them having their fun. His use of facial expressions is spectacular that nothing feels wasted and even the most minor background character looks as if they have a story to tell. I loved how he handled Babs here and her level of inebriation without making her look dumb or, dare I say, slutty. As a fashion enthusiast, I also enjoyed how each of the girls outfits for the night reflected who they are (even shy little Barbara). In the end, how Chiang handled the "big reveal" is clever and all that much more terrifying. Trish Mulvihill does an excellent job of coloring over Chiang's work and compliments his simplistic style by not over-saturating the pages.
While I did have fun with the issue, I thought somethings felt a bit off. Mainly how JMS handled Diana. Her range of emotions are too extreme and seem almost out of place for a character who is the idea of perfection and grace in DC lore. Now while some readers might construe the ending as malicious, I thought of it as more in the vein as "what will be, will be". Barbara's legacy is so much more than just Batgirl, since I think she serves more of a purpose as Oracle and how she came out of her tragedy stronger than before.
Brave and the Bold #33 isn't perfect by any means, but I'm always ready to read something that showcases three of my favorite characters, even if it did almost make a grown man teary.
Firestar#1 (Published by Marvel Comics; Review by Lan Pitts): Again, another book not really having any other purpose but to springboard another soon-to-launch ongoing series. Now, if this issue was to entice me on getting on board the other book it's connected to, then color me unenthusiastic. Sean McKeever does a great job with the script in the beginning, but then it opens up a sort of Lifetime movie that doesn't seem to end. I admire how McKeever adds a bit of scientific knowledge to Angelica's (aka Firestar) powers, but the rest just seemed heavy-handed. In addition to that, I don't remember her being this young or looking as such. Then again, last time I read anything relevant with Firestar in it was "Maximum Carnage." Oh, that's right. I went there. Emma Rios delivers in her usual style, but the anime-esque appearances look to have been pulled back a tad, at least compared to her Strange series a few months back. If you're a fan of Firestar, I know you're going to at least browse through this, but there's nothing to write home about, but I'll give credit for Marvel to start putting out some female-centric books.
The Marvelous Land of Oz #5 (Published by Marvel Comics; Review by Lan Pitts): If you haven't been picking up this series for you, a young reader you know or love, or just a fan of the world of Oz, shame on you! The collaboration of Eric Shanower and Skottie Young is one of this generation's greatest, especially in the field of literature for the young and young at heart. I've mentioned numerous times how Shanower is a known Oz fan and knows the world left and right and up and down. Young's style incorporates everything you would want to see in a book aimed at young readers with it's animated look and storybook charm. Accompanied by coloring mastermind Jean-Francois Beaulieu this series is one of the best all-around titles out there. Now, I know some of you might want to wait for the trade, but once you give one issue to a child, I'm sure their patience won't run as deep.