Detective Comics #856 Preview

Out today is the third part in the Elegy story arc in the new-Batwoman-focused Detective Comics, by Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams III. Seeing as the bad girl is an Alice in Wonderland inspired villainess, it’s fitting that William’s luscious art is trippy.

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Ladies First At DC

Detective Comics #854I’m looking at my hefty haul of new comics this week, including the cheaper edition of the 2007 DC Comics Covergirls, which is a very pretty coffee table book focused on DC’s female stars from the last 7 decades. I’m also looking at three issues with strong female leads. Justice League of America #34 is the last ish written by Dwayne McDuffie, which is kind of a shame, especially since he’s just starting to introduce his Milestone characters into the DCU. However it’s no surprise, as he was getting rather vocal about the magic being created behind the curtain. However, at least there’s some strong female superheroes in the series now, with Dr. Light, Vixen, Zatanna, and half of Firestorm as regular cast members. 

DC, and especially boss man Dan DiDio, have copped a lot of flack over the years for killing off female characters, or just treating them with mild disdain. However, even the ardent naysayers must admit that steps are being made in the right direction. This week two new series debuted with leading female Gothamites. Sure, Batman had to die to make way for that to happen, but it’s bold move for DC. Hopefully fans will recognise that and support their risky venture. Are these new series worth supporting though? Yep.

Detective Comics #854 is a lush book. Greg Rucka knows crime tales and handles the new Batwoman terrifically. Kathy Kane made her mark in the pages of DC’s ambitious weekly series 52, but she didn’t have much to do, other than grabbing headlines for her lesbianism. (There’s a historical summary of the character here).Giving her her own series, and DC’s flagship book, no less is – out there. However Greg Rucka and artist J.H . Williams III – that’s a winning combo. The pair appear to be pulling out all the stops to show the fanboys and girls that Kathy Kane deserves this shot at fame.

Gotham City Sirens 1It begins with the leather clad redhead chasing a crim called Rush for information, before a brief encounter with the new Batman, ie, Dick Grayson, who gives her an unnecessary hair care tip. We then see Kathy have a breakup at a cafe before she talks to her stepfather, a Colonel who seems to be her Alfred stand-in. With the visit of pale Alice to Gotham, the new leader of the Religion of Crime and a gun-toting Batwoman staring her down it’s obvious that something odd is being set up. Odd in a good way though. With this new direction, it seems like a Vertigo book in the middle of Gotham. Williams’ fight scenes are beautifully choreographed and he makes the pages his own. When Batwoman kicks butt, wow is the only appropriate response. The dialogue and exposition scenes are designed with more restraint which makes the action scenes pack even more punch.

It makes sense for ex-Gotham cop Renee Montoya to appear as The Question in DC’s new co-feature in this series. Rucka knows Montoya well, having written her for years. With a mere 8 pages he forges a new path for The Question too, as a for-the-people heroine, who answers e-mails for help.

Gotham City Sirens #1 is by the always reliable Paul Dini and artist Guillem March. Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn and Catwoman have teamed up before, most noticeably in the web-toon Gotham Girls. In these pages they continue their hi-jinks. Unlike Detective Comics, this is fun, and funny. It’s not easy to bring laughs from Gotham, but Dini does it so well. The Riddler as Ivy’s catatonic room-mate, a dodgy villain by the name of Boneblaster and a real estate agent who specialises in themed villain hideouts. All this and more means this issue is like a sit-com. Like the three leads, it looks great and is suitably sassy.

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