Saturday, 11 March 2017

Batwoman Book 3: World's Finest (#12-17, #0)

"We will go to Gotham together.  And when we do find Medusa, she will regret ever leaving the safety of her cell" - Wonder Woman

So my month of comics devoted to the ladies continues. When I did my first of these estrogen soaked months I failed in a big way because I did not pay tribute to the ultimate female superhero - Wonder Woman.  Reader I will now 'fess up I own no Wonder Woman comics. The runs I've been interested in like Gail Simone and Greg Rucka's can be hard to find. But for this month I present the next best thing, Wondy teaming up with lesbian superhero Batwoman.  This is the New 52 incarnation of Batwoman, created by Greg Rucka but now written by JH Williams III and W.Haden Blackman.  I make no bones about it, I am reading this series mostly for Williams's amazingly beautiful art and layouts.  The writing has been average to poor at best mainly tied to the fact they have dragged the first story arc out to an incredible seventeen issues with a lot of extraneous padding along the way.  Batwoman is Kate Kane by day, a socialite who is dating policewoman Maggie Sawyer who is unaware of her secret identity.  Maggie is looking for some missing kids, unbeknownest to her they've been taken by an Occult organisation called Medusa.  Batwoman has been blackmailed into working for the D.E.O - The Department of Extranormal Operations who have kitted her out with all sorts of nifty technology in return for her help.  This volume sees Batwoman working with Wonder Woman to bring down Medusa for good and save the kids.  There is also a zero issue which explores Batwoman's origins but you're better off reading Greg Rucka's single volume reboot of Batwoman that I already covered with art by JH Williams III.  So lets have some World's Finest action.

We start with the narrative switching between Wonder Woman and Batwoman. Batwoman sums up the story so far by thinking that Maro the leader of Medusa has taken the kids they kidnapped through a wormhole and though she has "interrogated" a lot of Medusa agents and has all the resources of the D.E.O at her fingertips, she is no closer to finding them.  Meanwhile Wonder Woman contemplates her nature and how there are many stories about her:

Wonder Woman: "But in this moment, I'm only this flashing sword, impaling an eye the colour of fallen leaves.  I'm only the gleaming shield, blocking my enemy's arrows with the ring of wind chimes.  I'm only this golden cord, coiled and waiting for the truth."

Batwoman has teamed up with her werewolf allies lead by Abbot, to investigate the Bloody Mary legend, because Medusa has been using urban legends to capture children and battle her.  She's catalogued several variations on the legend but they all end in Bloody Mary's death and her being summoned by chanting her name in front of a mirror.
Wonder Woman at work.
As Batwoman summons Bloody Mary, Wonder Woman slices up serpents that have murdered children, as she kills them she thinks that "Clark would be horrified, Batman would be reluctantly impressed, Aquaman would call it defence of the realm".  As Bloody Mary appears to Batwoman, Wonder Woman keeps laying into the serpent monsters.

Batwoman smashes Bloody Mary's mirror and demands to know where Maro took the children.  Mary says Maro abandoned them "and fled to Medusa's lair".   She says Medusa is "not a group.  Medusa is the Queen of Monsters".  She says she can't be stopped and Batwoman crushes the piece of mirror Mary was talking through.

Then we cut to Batwoman as Kate Kane on board a yacht with Chase and Mr. Bones of the D.E.O. Kate tells Chase Maro isn't in Gotham anymore and they are going to need some help so what about Wonder Woman, Medusa is a Greek myth after all.  Mr. Bones agrees but they are going to mike her up so they can get some intel on one of the World's Finest.
Mr. Bones, Kate and Chase.
Meanwhile  the families of the missing children are protesting outside the Gotham police station because it's been months now and the lead detective on the case, Maggie Sawyer is no closer to finding them and they want her replaced.  The media is there as well and even as Maggie assures them they are working hard on finding the kids the TV people record one of the couples saying if it was Maggie's kid missing she wouldn't be satisfied with just updates. Commissioner Gorden brings the press conference to a close after that.

Back at home with Kate and Maggie, Kate says she has to go out tonight. Angrily Maggie says if Kate cared she'd stay with her tonight and not be so selfish.  When Kate says she can't really tell her where she was the night before they made love the first time Maggies shows her the door saying, "don't come back until you can."

We then visit Kate Kane's father who Kate isn't speaking to right now and who is taking care of his neice Bette "Flamebird" Kate who is still recovering from being gutted by one of Medusa's minions in book one.  He promised to teach her how to be a hero who is even better than Kate.  She tells him "I am going to hold you to that promise."

Wonder Woman has defeated all her enemies.  She washes herself in the sea thinking how she is "more than just my brilliant sword... more than my balanced shield... more than just my nimble rope... more than Amazon... more than demigod.. more than human." Then something rises out of the sea and startles her, it is Batwoman in a small sub.
Batwoman finds Wonder Woman.
After one year, every series that was part of the New52 took a one issue break from their on-going stories and did a prequel issues.  Thing is Batwoman had the perfect prequel story by Greg Rucka that established her origins.  I covered it here and as the issue zero pretty much just summarises it, so I am skipping it and carrying on with the Wonder Woman storyline.

Wonder Woman and Batwoman sit together as the sub takes them to where Medusa is supposed to be.  Batwoman thinks that what she is doing is the only way she can think to help Maggie.  Wonder Woman thinks about what Batwoman might think when she looks at her, "a goddess wrapped in her own nation's flag? Does she see a warrior?  A hero?"  She also ponders Batwoman cloaked in the colours of death and war, one of Batman's loyal soldiers.

They arrive at the prison that holds "mythology's most dangerous villains".  Batwoman says it sounds like "an Amazon Arkham Asylum".  Medusa is supposed to be held in the deepest cell far from the world she wants to destroy. There is no sentry on guard which doesn't bode well as the venture inside.  The place is strewn with dead bodies. They venture further inside:

Wonder Woman: "Be wary.  Any creature worthy of being imprisoned here has been deemed more dangerous than me."

They come across a surviving guard, a minotaur.  Wonder Woman questions him and he says this is the work of "Black hearted Nyx.. Mistress of the night".
Attacked by Nyx.
Then huge black centipedes come after them and start attacking.  They are both quickly overwhelmed and everything goes black. We are then privy to Wonder Woman's thoughts against a black background.  She feels like she has been buried alive as the centipedes wrap tightly round her.

Nyx speaks to her, saying "Medusa has brought you as my morsel" and that she is guarding the gate for her, Medusa is the "mother of all monsters."  Then Batwoman interrupts, tells Wonder Woman to close her eyes and sets off a flash bomb, freeing them.   Then she uses a explosive flare gun to blast open a way out through the wall.  Then they escape the island by hi-jacking Black Manta's flying sub, the D.E.O might be super shady but they do have some wonderful toys.

We take a quick visit to Kate's dad and Bette meditating together. Unfortunately all she can think and brood about is what it felt like to be gutted and how much pain she is still in and how she must try and be stronger than Kate.  Back with Batwoman and Wonder Woman they are in a desert looking for Medusa's other son "Pegasus" the brother of Falchion who was defeated in the last book.  Wonder Woman calls Pegasus out of his lonely home and out he comes.  He has festering wounds showing through to the bone in places.
An ailing Pegasus.
Wonder Woman warns Batwoman to be careful of him, he is still Medusa's son, but Pegasus collapses at their feet saying "only her bastard. But now I am gutted and clipped."  Batwoman kneels by him and checks his wounds and realises it was Falchion who inflicted them.

Pegasus: "Dying. For a thousand years I will die.  If we live forever so too do our wounds.   Mortals will have vanished from the earth before I am whole again."

She says to him that Falchion tortured him, Pegasus says his brother would call it "coercion". He has tried to recruit Pegasus to their mother's cause and Pegasus declined.  Many times over.

Wonder Woman asks him why Falchion wanted his help.  Pegasus says for "horror.  Madness. Death.  A reaping of all mortalkind.  I don't know how..."  Batwoman says does he know where this will happen.  Pegasus says yes, and he will tell them for a price.  Wonder Woman must take his head, "give me a warrior's death."  This shocks Batwoman and Wonder Woman tells him humans have no faith in him now he will not be brought back.  "I do not care" he says sadly.  So Wonder Woman, over Batwoman's protests, agrees.

Pegasus then tells them it's a "city where shadows are deepest and evil is born".  Batwoman realises what that means, "Gotham".  Then Wonder Woman cuts off Pegasus's head. She asks if Batwoman thinks she committed murder.  Batwoman doesn't know and asks if he can come back like Bloody Mary and The Weeping Woman.  "Maybe" says Wonder Woman.  "Then I choose to believe" says Batwoman as she immolates Pegasus's corpse.

Then Batwoman expresses her irritation that she dragged Wonder Woman halfway around the globe when Medusa was in Gotham the whole time.  Wonder Woman says Medusa is a powerful witch who has kept herself concealed for centuries, "but she will come out of hiding to complete her dark ritual." Batwoman asks if Wonder Woman wants to come with her, "or do I smash this bitch in the teeth all by myself?"  Wonder Woman will come.
Medusa in Gotham.
Batwoman thinks to herself how much she wished she had telepathy to warn Maggie to get out of Gotham, but it's already kicking off there.  Killer Croc in his new, even more mutated form is rampaging through the streets as Maggie and Harvey Bullock are fighting him.  Then they come across Medusa herself:

Medusa: "Long have I sat in darkness sharpening  this dream like a blade...My dream is a blade to carve out the heart of this city, bleed its lambs into goblets of gold. A blade to hack off our enemies heads to make the world safe for all my kind".

As she and her minions fight the Gotham PD she thinks about how Falchion failed her, but did at least raise this army for her.   They are the ones who scoured the world and freed her.  Falchion also found Maro who created her supernatural army.  So s/he wasn't totally useless then.

Medusa then tells Killer Croc he can become more powerful, Maro using a blood ritual causes Killer Croc to mutate massively becoming a hydra like creature, "the beast of Babylon" says Medusa.  Backed into a corner by Medusa, things look bad for Maggie and Harvey then suddenly down swoop Batwoman and Wonder Woman to the rescue.
Kick ass.
Trevor McCarthy takes over as artist for the next issue meaning the loss of the lovely layouts of Mr. JH3.  Maggie is stunned and confused by the arrival of her rescuers and a fractured narrative follows showing us the events leading to this moment.   She flashes back to an hour ago as she reviews the missing kids case for the umpteenth time. Then we see her shooting Medusa's soldiers, there are no cries of pain where the bullets hit, the dying call for "Mitera" (Mother).

Everything is confusing out on the streets, "why is a Chinese gangster speaking in ancient Greek?"  She demands to know who "Mother" is from someone she has a hold of.  "She is the end of Gotham.  The end of your world" she is told.  "Zealots in my city" she thinks.  She bumps into Agent Chase of the D.E.O and wants to know why they aren't helping the GCPD on the front lines.  Chase says that is not her orders.

Chase tells her to have the GCPD fall back and the D.E.O will cover them.  Maggie doesn't trust her.  She and Harvey head towards a church where she has been told some people are preparing to become matryrs.  It's a Catholic church and inside are the mainly hispanic parents of the missing children.  They have heard "that these monsters have our children.  Then have our children on chains."
Maggie defuses the mob.
Maggie tells Isabella the leader of the mob that they should let the police handle this. Isabella says "you will just keep failing".  Maggie says the things can't be fought with baseball bats and kitchen knives nor guns either.  Maggie points her gun at the man toting a shotgun telling him to put it down.  When he won't she says:

Maggie: "I'm trying to save your kids. But if you get killed, what will happen to them?  Where will they go?  Who will take care of them?  Foster homes? The street? The church".

She then disarms the shotgun wielder.  But Isabella starts to freak out, her husband Felipe went out there alone looking for their children.  So Maggie goes back out to find and save him.

He is outside shooting down Medusa minions until he runs out of bullets.  Maggie and Harvey find him, but then water coutesy of the Weeping Woman sweeps over them.  Felipe kneels before her and when she tells him she will "free" the whole place he forgives her and she fades.  Maggie comes over and comforts the distraught man and when he says of his kids "I miss the so much" she hugs him.  And she worries maybe she'll never be able to bring them home.
Maggie comforts Felipe.
She returns Felipe to Isabella at the church then she and Harvey venture out through the rubble of Gotham's streets. Then we arrive at the moment when BatwMoman and Wonder Woman arrive, and as they do so Maggie thinks "God loves me enough. To keep Kate out of this madness. And bring her home safe."

JH Williams III is back on art for the rest of the book now.  Batwoman drops down to where Maggie is in the middle of all the chaos.  But Maggie yells at Batwoman to forget about her an Harvey and take out what Killer Croc has turned into before it destroys the city.   She starts to fight her way to it, horrified that it is breaking her "building... my base.. home... everything". Wonder Woman meanwhile is also fighting and feeling oddly responsible for Medusa, and now her senses are "dulled by shame, guilt, rage".

As Batwoman head towards the Hydra, Wonder Woman stops her saying she is not capable of taking it on. Batwoman says she's lost her home, her pictures of her sister, her mother's journals... she tails off.   Wonder Woman promises to kill the Hydra, but Batwoman needs to concentrate on getting back the children.

Medusa is waiting for Ceto, the mother of all monsters to appear from the sea.  She will rise, devour all mortals and make a world safe for the monsters.  Then Mr. Bones appears pointing a gun at her.  Medusa says he should be an ally what with him being a skeleton and all.   She tries to uses her petrifying eyes on him but fails. 
Flamebird back in action.
Then the hook handed creature attacks Chase, she fires on him but he shrugs it off and advances on her, but then Bette Kane as Flamebird appears ready to extract revenge on the being that so badly injured her. Her inner monologue has her as terrified, but she punches him and keeps punching him but he manages to grab a hold of her and she wishes that if he guts her again she wants to die.

Medusa stands at the sea's edge with the children and Maro.  The children ask if they are going to be killed.  Medusa says Ceto needs "your souls to bind her to this world".  Right now Ceto is a "dream. A ghost. A myth" says Maro, but once she was feared throughout the world.

We then get a quick history lesson on her. She became Goddess of the Oceans, she fell in love with Phorcys, Mystery of the Deep.   Many wonders were born from their union. Those wonders brought awe and adventure to the world. "We gave their frail lives meaning".  They were killed by mortals who wanted to prove they had mastery over all the primordial forces putting them and their followers to the torch and spear.  Ceto was brought to Mt. Olympus and judged.  "Zeus claimed there was no room for both mortals and monsters on Earth". He banished her, stripped her of her beauty and power reduced to the one cruel epithet, "The Mother of all Monsters".  So that's what she will be "and the mortal world the gods love will suffer for it".

Batwoman is fighting her way to Medusa and fighting the urge to go back to Maggie.  Also Abbot and his werewolf coven are also helping her despite how mean she usually has been to him in prior volumes.  Wonder Woman is taking on the hydra.  She discovers that whipping her sword fast enough makes it hot enought to cauterise the neck and stop another head growing.
Wonder Woman takes on the Hydra.
Batwoman and Abbot arrive at where Medusa, Maro and the children are.  Medusa calls the Weeping Woman again, but Batwoman shouts "what if they were your children, Maria?!" And Maria pauses remembering the two that were.  She attacks Maro who killed them saying "you are my grief" and melts Maro's face. Medusa says the Batwoman it doesn't matter now, "My mother is coming."

Batwoman can't process what she sees next,  "it's a tear in the fabric of reality.  As if it's something we can just stitch up". A huge squirming, many tentacled thing has appeared.  She realises there are somethings you can never unsee and never fix. Wonder Woman jumps down saying "please tell me you know what the hell this is, Batwoman".  Batwoman can only tell her Medusa and Maro performed a ritual and summoned the Mother of all Monsters.
The Mother of All Monsters is summoned.
Wonder Woman says "Ceto".  Batwoman says so she knows her name but does she know how to stop her.  "Haven't a clue" replies Wonder Woman. So Batwoman decides they should start by kicking Medusa's ass. We return to the hook-handed monster holding Flamebird by the throat.  Flamebird using arm mounted flame throwers (!) blasts the hook-man in the face then as he kneels holding his bubbling face she attaches a bomb to his hook and blows it off his arm then tosses it in the sea where it fastens onto a crab.  Catharsis!

Maro makes it to shore, but her twin who inhabited the same body is dead now.  On land an almight ruckus is taking place.  Batwoman, Wonder Woman and the werewolves versus Medusa's minions.  Abott gets turned to stone by Medusa and as she kneels by him, Flamebird appears and helps her up.  They quickly formulate a plan, they shatter Bloody Mary and use a piece of her mirror to reflect Medusa's glare back on her and she turns to stone.  Batwoman then smashes the statue for good measure.
Medusa defeated.
They look out to sea and there is no monster, just some rainbow smoke. Wonder Woman thinks "we broke the spell somehow."  The Weeping Woman holds Medusa's head and says she was as Medusa made her, but actually she wants to erase all the stories ever told about her.  Wonder Woman is about to kill her saying her stories always end in death but Batwoman stops her.  And Wonder Woman helps her up saying she keep her safe instead.

Flamebird points out the D.E.O is about to arrive so she makes herself scarce telling Batwoman her new name is "Hawkfire".  Wonder Woman says she too has no wish to meet the D.E.O.  Before she leaves Batwoman gives her the recordings she's made of her the past few days.  Wonder Woman crushes them and says, "if you ever need me again, just ask."

Chase catches up with them and is pissed about the loss of intel on Wonder Woman.  She then takes the children to a park close by where Maggie is moodily sitting on a swing. When she realises Batwoman has bought them all back and has called her "Mags" she realises who she really is:

Batwoman: "Marry me Mags".

The book then ends with Mr Bones interviewing Alice, the crazed supervillain sister of Batwoman and he says "oh I know who you are.  You have our sister's eyes."
And that was the end of the series and they both lived in marital bliss and lalalalala can't hear you DC editorial!

Once again it's the art that sells me this series, with stunning layouts and gorgeous renditions of everything from eldritch abominations to caped crimefighters.  His depiction of Wonder Woman is superb, she fit and athletic looking rather than skinny and top heavy. She looks like a woman who gets shit done as does the bustier fetish clad Kate Kane.   But I keep circulating round to my major problems with the series so far, this arc went on far too long, the dialogue is often stilted and unnatural which suits the narration of the mythological aspects of the story but not the voices of the characters. Also the happy ending is somewhat soured by knowledge of what happened next which was DC vetoing the marriage. In their sort of defence I don't think that was homophobia at work, DC simply didn't want any of their New 52 characters to be happy.  Seriously, that was an editorial edict.  This then resulted in Blackman and Williams III quitting the title and DC spiking their final issues.  I haven't read any further Batwoman after this one mainly for those reasons, while the series had flaws it had potential and this just felt like the straw that broke the camels back regarding DC's overbearing editorial attitudes during this period. Still, curiosity might compel me to check out the next volumes and If I do I'll cover it here.


  1. Oh. Wonder Woman. I was called a heretic for not liking her so many times. I can't help if, from her inception, that smells to me like yet another guy trying to sell me his boner as empowerment (at the time it might seemed novel, daring, and what not, but I'm living now), to the current continuity mess and apparent writer war, I just find her off putting. And yeah, her fans being at my throat for it probably didn't help either. :/

  2. No you're right, poor old Wondy has had some pretty poor treatment over the years but I think she did come from a genuine attempt to give girls a hero as well (her creator lived in a polyamorous relationship with two women who he modelled her on, he died not long after they stayed together for the rest of their long lives). Of course he did have some odd ideas about bondage improving ones life, but well maybe he just pre-emptied 50 Shades of Grey by decades there :D

    Anyway, reports from my cinema attending sister is that the Wonder Woman film looks amazing, so maybe her comic book incarnation will get sorted... maybe. Still no one should be abused for not liking a character, sorry you had to suffer that. Fans can be dicks sometimes.

  3. "Reader I will now 'fess up I own no Wonder Woman comics."

    Gold star revoked.

    Ok where to start. Love the artwork. Not just for the quality but also the use of layout. Reminds me of when 2000AD started experimenting with use of the page to forward the narrative. There was one festa example called 'Mandala'. The artwork was very like this, but the story was a bit confusing. They had to admit in the end that the editors had got confused too and actually printed the pages in the wrong order. Looked pretty though. But this worked.

    Can see what you mean about the character designs. Of course, as a semi deity I suppose WW can kick ass with any body shape, but both women here seemed credible as fighters. I don't have any problem with the 'waif-fu' concept. One of the most dangerous girls I know must weigh about six stones dripping wet; but she has very pointy knees and elbows. However when it comes to a full on beat down you need a bit of body mass. Having said that, who's the skeleton dude? He's well cool.

    The story was a bit meh. Mythical beings in modern day setting is getting a bit old hat now. I'd actually have preferred if it had just been a stat gut forward kidnapping ring. I think that might have better suited the tension between the 'good old fashioned coppering' of Mags with Kate's semi superpower approach. Rather like that Gotham police tales thing you like. As you know I prefer more grounded settings.

    And now to contradict myself I do also like the idea of 'supernatural bureaux' within regular organisations to tackle the more out of this world threats. But again that works best against on an otherwise normal setting. It's the juxtaposition that appeals to me. Here it all seems a bit of a mash-up. The 'occult' stuff is too out there in the real world and the civvies are aware of what's behind the masquerade. I mean, what are the next day's newspaper headlines "Gods are real! Argh we're fucked!"

    So again it seems to me (IMHO etc) that is is once again great characters wasted in a story that doesn't live up to the potential, it's al out not worthy of them. It's a shame as there are so many great themes that could have been explored. Especially as you have a 'normal' human, a highly trained 'badass' human, and a person with actual superpowers. That's such a great dynamic and imagine the potential for examining the relationships between those three women. And the moral code of each. Literally 'lawful' vs vigilante vs deity. What makes it more disappointing is that they almost begin to touch on that with the moral dilemmas about killing, but then it's just brushed over.

    Still, that's probably a bit nit-picky. Nice to see some lasses kicking ass without broad chested hero coming in to save the day "Step aside ladies, I've got this" and I too am going to imagine they both lived happily ever after.

  4. @Alan

    "I mean, what are the next day's newspaper headlines "Gods are real! Argh we're fucked!""

    In the Marvel and DC universes gods being real is very much common knowledge at this point. I mean, Wonder Woman routinely battles some, and on the other side Thor is in the Avengers. What people think these gods are and how that relates to the cosmology of the respective universes can vary, though. (I know there are for example atheists in Marvel*, I'm guessing in DC too.)

    * Actually the Kree (Marvel alien race) have an equation that "proves" that gods don't exist. My best guess how that works is that they define god so narrowly that nobody fits. ^^;

  5. @ malitia

    I love that bit in Discworld about how "it's hard to be an athiest when gods routinely throw bricks through unbeleivers' windows".

  6. @Alan

    Marvel gods are at least not that petty... or they just don't depend on belief/worship that much (more on meta and memory) so don't feel the need to break windows (Loki currently wanting a church notwithstanding). :3

  7. I always liked arch-atheist, Constable Dorfl's reaction to being struck by heavenly lightning after questioning the existence of the Discworld pantheons: "I DON'T CALL THAT MUCH OF AN ARGUMENT". :D

    @Alan: Now you know I have more of a taste for "cartoony" artwork when it comes to personal preference, but I cannot deny JH Williams III is one of the most gifted artists working in the industry right now, and his layouts which make every page a delight to read are a big reason for always being excited when he is attached to a project. I'd actually like to see him do a run on Wonder Woman if it went all out with magic and the supernatural as we can see here he'd really make it sing. And I'd definitely buy it, can I have my Gold Star back, please? (Actually I noticed the other day in Forbidden Planet that Greg Rucka's run is back in print so that's something else to add to my looong To Buy list).

    The skeleton dude "Mr Bones" I don't know an awful lot about, I've only seen the D.E.O crop up here and a couple of other places as one of the approximately 8 billion quasi-governmental secret organisations in the DCU. I'd like to think there was a market for their activities to get their own book but the cancellation of the amazing "Gotham By Midnight" which looked at the supernatural crimes department of the GCPD possibly shows there wouldn't be (I covered both volumes here anyway, DC likes to test my devotion so).

    That said this was a pretty cool use of Wonder Woman, she went through a massive Dork Age during the New 52 so good uses of her were few and far between. In her own series the rest of the Amazons were shown as murderous rapists, and outside of her series she was hooked up with Superman in a relationship literally no one liked even though DC kept trudging along with it (at least until they threw up their hands, said the New 52 Superman wasn't the "real" one and killed him off so they could reboot him back as being in a relationship with Lois like everyone had wanted five years earlier, OH DC Y U DO THIS?).

  8. I always liked arch-atheist, Constable Dorfl's reaction to being struck by heavenly lightning after questioning the existence of the Discworld pantheons: "I DON'T CALL THAT MUCH OF AN ARGUMENT". :D

    @Alan: Now you know I have more of a taste for "cartoony" artwork when it comes to personal preference, but I cannot deny JH Williams III is one of the most gifted artists working in the industry right now, and his layouts which make every page a delight to read are a big reason for always being excited when he is attached to a project. I'd actually like to see him do a run on Wonder Woman if it went all out with magic and the supernatural as we can see here he'd really make it sing. And I'd definitely buy it, can I have my Gold Star back, please? (Actually I noticed the other day in Forbidden Planet that Greg Rucka's run is back in print so that's something else to add to my looong To Buy list).

    The skeleton dude "Mr Bones" I don't know an awful lot about, I've only seen the D.E.O crop up here and a couple of other places as one of the approximately 8 billion quasi-governmental secret organisations in the DCU. I'd like to think there was a market for their activities to get their own book but the cancellation of the amazing "Gotham By Midnight" which looked at the supernatural crimes department of the GCPD possibly shows there wouldn't be (I covered both volumes here anyway, DC likes to test my devotion so).

    That said this was a pretty cool use of Wonder Woman, she went through a massive Dork Age during the New 52 so good uses of her were few and far between. In her own series the rest of the Amazons were shown as murderous rapists, and outside of her series she was hooked up with Superman in a relationship literally no one liked even though DC kept trudging along with it (at least until they threw up their hands, said the New 52 Superman wasn't the "real" one and killed him off so they could reboot him back as being in a relationship with Lois like everyone had wanted five years earlier, OH DC Y U DO THIS?).

  9. One of my favourite takes on that 'gods are visibly real' thing is in Erik the Viking. The vikings go on a perilous quest battling every baddie from the norse pantheon. But the one christian amongst them literally can't be affected by them, or even see them. It becomes a bit of a plot point when they use him escape from Valhalla because he can just walk through the walls.

    I don't know too much about WW other than her origin, in the Doylelian sense and the brilliant Lynda Carter series. I'm torn because I love strong women but I'm not fond of invincible superheroes. There's a thing in Bond fandom that Dalton and Craig are the best because their Bonds are 'clearly feeling every punch'. That's the same for me with characters generally. Firstly, unless there's a chance they might lose its a bit boring but also it's just hard to empathise with characters with no real weaknesses. It's like they don't really have any skin in the game. I much prefer the idea that Kate Kane has to spend hours each week hitting the heavy bags in order to do her stuff. Although just once I'd like to see a superhero have to neck some post battle pain killers. Heck, even Dredd has to soak in the bath (although he once did take down an entire gang without getting out)

    But back to the current. I do love the fact you can have a story centering around three women (albeit the missed opportunities) and a female villain without it seeing that that's like the USP. They do seem to have avoided this being some 'hey, it's all girls' novelty item. I would love to see though a genuine 'normal' female protagonist, in the same vein as those real world nick fury tales. And that's not from any sort of pro feminist perspective. I just think it would be genuinely interesting.

  10. Nick Fury does have a sorta female equivalent in the DCU in Amanda Waller. She's completely normal (and pre-The New 52 a larger lady, slimming her down and sexing her up was the subject of almost as much fan rage as de-crippling Barbara Gordon) but very high up in the DCU Shadow Government and can make both heroes and villians have a very bad time of things with the power of her paperwork skillz. I was actually pretty pleased with how she was represented in the Suicide Squad film, I'd read a comic she starred in she could have as potentially as interesting a "real world" story as Ennis's Nick Fury.

    Batwoman still exists in the DCU, this title was cancelled when the DCU soft-rebooted into the DCYou, and she's mostly seen in the pages of Detective Comics AFAIK now, which is a demotion really, but there we go.

    Also I hadn't realised until you pointed it out this was three heroines and a female villain, which makes me realise they I need to give them some credit for not making it obvious how like, totally SJW this was, y'know.

    Maggie and Kate should totally have got married if only for the image of Kate doing shots with Wonder Woman at a lesbian strip club during her Hen night, getting slowly more drunk as as Diana doesn't get affected by the booze. Oh wait, far, far to much like fun for DC in this period.

  11. I did have a brief discussion about 'the wall' with someone on Mammoth who's a bit of a fan, although for him it was as much as her being a non stereotypical black character. She does seem pretty cool. Funnily enough that reminds me that we also got on to a character called 'Ebony Jones'. She was created for DC Thompson's proposed girls action comic. That was abandoned but they did use her in their boys comic. She was very 'badass normal'. The creator admits he had no idea how to write a female character so he just wrote as if she was a bloke. Ironically I think that's why the story was so strong.

    And I very much love the idea of that hen night. Especially if they did fancy dress. Wonder what WW and Kate would go as?

  12. Part of me has wondered if modern (by which I mean the black) Nick Fury who debuted in The Ultimates and influenced the MCU version so that white 616 Nick Fury got killed off and replaced by his son who looked like Samuel L Jackson, and uh comics are complicated... anyways he reminds me a lot of Amanda Waller, who's been knocking about the DCU since the mid-80's with the first run of Suicide Squad.

    Now there's a thought, not enough cosplay inside of superhero universes. I amused myself with the thought that Batwoman and Wonder Woman could dress up as each other xD

    Kate: "I feel half dressed, I'm practically naked!"

    Diana: "How do you move in all this PVC? And this cape keeps catching on things."

  13. Great minds think alike. I was pondering all those possibilities too. Like the idea of someone wearing one of those WW costumes you get in a plastic bag in fancy dress shops. And what would people who wear costumes as part of their everyday identity go as?

    One thing I do find myself wondering, and not just in a pervy way, is what do superheroes do about underwear. There's all the old jokes about Batman and Superman wearing their underpants on the outside. But what about the women? Do they wear sports bras and the like, or is Diana down Marks & Spencers buying three packs of pants?

  14. I've often wondered how supers in all universes deal with being fetish objects. Sure it's sweet seeing kids dressed as you for Halloween, but what about perverts who like a bit of super-sexy role play?

    As for underwear, I reckon some characters go through them faster than others and some it's just ...magic. Google image search X-Men's Emma Frost sometime, I think her secondary mutation is both diamond form and ultra boob control, because I can't explain how perky they stay otherwise!

  15. I'd be more concerned with the royalties on my costume. But I suppose it's like some celebrities now. No doubt some find all the rule 34 aspects really squicky. Mind you, Jacqueline Pearce says she quite enjoyed being a fantasy figure especially being responsible for a number of young boys, er, 'awakenings'.

    Had a quick look at Emma. See your point. Don't need to speculate on her undie choices. I wonder where they get their costumes from? I remember a prose Batman anthology that featured around the guy who made stuff for both Batman and all the villains. It's a funny thing though the practicalities of outfits. A number of my fitness pals practically wear just the pants and bra combo. But it doesn't seem out of place, so maybe supes wouldn't look so daft in real life. You get some interesting outfit choices in Krav class too.

    Speaking of peeps who only have a lycra wardrobe don't forget to give Jess a shout when you're feeling up to it.

  16. Heh it would be funny seeing Batman running around at Halloween slapping a copyright violation on all the kids dressed as him. Mind you I always thought most anonymous heroes must be handy with a needle and thread, because yeh the issue of tailoring comes up (and who built the Bat-Cave eh? eh?).

    As for Jacqueline Pearce, I must admit I find her smoking hot. Blake 7 had some damn sexy women in it and some outrageous amount of fetish fuel in it too. The first time I came across slash fic was in relation to Blakes 7 and phew.

    I know when I did JKD it was sturdy sports bra time, then just the usual t-shirt and jogging trousers I wear normally. I've shot a reply to your friend, I thought I already had done but that was when I was insanely tired and just imagined I did >_<

  17. There's a family guy bit where stewie tracks down the batcave through the contractors.

    "But I told them it was a rec room"

    "You got them to put a lazy susan in for your batmobile; people are gonna talk"

    Doesn't Watchmen address the licencing and IP issues around supes, with Ozymandias's toy line? There's also that thing in Mystery Men with the sponsorship logos on that guys outfit. It's funny about real world implications. Even as a kid I wondered who'd connected the batphone. Also, did the batmobile have a tax disc and insurance?

    With hindsight there was a bit of a fetish vibe to B7. Avon looked like he'd escaped from a suburban S&M party at times. But Servalan was great. And just because you're a power crazed despot in a crypto fascist empire doesn't mean you can't wear nice frocks. Just look at Herman Goering.

    One thing I like about Krav is you can wear anything. And you get to keep your footwear on. (always embarrassing in mauy thai if it's been a long day and your feet look like a hobbit's). There's a great vid of some girls doing Krav in Givenchy dresses and heels. We always encourage people to train in regular clothes every now and then. If you do get attacked youre not going to have time to get changed into something stretchy.

    Cool on the Jess front. I hope she can help you. She's really nice and she knows her stuff. She'd probably make a good superheroine. Although her superpower would probably be annoyingly perkiness at six in the morning. (she's done like 25 burpees before I've even stopped coughing)

  18. There is a half canonical explanation about Emma Frost's clothing (which just rises more questions*). And that is: She doesn't actually dress like that, that's just a telepathic image she projects. (She worked as a telepathic stripper for a while so she has experience with doing that.)

    I can only talk about Marvel and there seems to be superhero clothes shops and tailors. Doesn't seems to be very lucrative though as both I came across a also sold regular costumes/clothing (one summoned a dragon to make people buy more hot pants... I'm not explaining that) and one of them also moonlights as mercenary job broker.

    As for likeness rights... those come up occasionally. The current Ms. Marvel got into trouble because as an anonymous hero she couldn't get her look legally protected and the Hope Yards Development and Relocation Association (watch the acronym :3) nicked her pictures for advertisement purposes without her knowledge.

    * the first: What about technology?!
    the second: Then what does she have on?!
    the third: Isn't that a waste of concentration/energy?
    and so forth...

  19. Malitia - one thing I miss about London was all the specialist clothing shops. I have to buy things like those collarless shirts we wear and bands (those little white necktie things) at a particular shop. I also liked the shop next to Westminster Abbey that sold religious apparel. They literally had like bishop's mitres for sale. But of course bishops have to get them somewhere. (religious suppliers are also an excellent source of cheap high quality candles fyi). There's a similar district in Paddington that sells medical apparel like those doctor coats. So I like the idea there's a little backstreet in Gotham where you can pick up spare tights or domino masks. You'd think with all the clothing damage that occurs it'd be a self sustaining business.

    And yup, that does raise a lot more questions than it answers. What happens if her mind drifts? I dread to think. I was also wondering if she got cold, but that would probably be an issue even if they were real clothes.

  20. Thinking a bit more about the scantily clad supes thing, I live by a beach. There seems to be an unwritten convention that you can wear a bikini, in shops and the like, up to a certain distance from the beach but after that it's a bit weird. Generally it's if you can still see the sea.

    I wonder if it's the same in superhero land. Like you can wear whatever whilst you're actually fighting supervillains but if wonder woman goes to the supermarket afterwards she's expected to cover up a bit?

  21. So shops. Here is one (pic courtesy of google image search):
    -- Big Ronnie's Custom Battle Spandex

  22. And another (more posh?) one:
    -- LUC Customier

    Also Greg Land's art trying very hard to f~ up Al Ewing's writing.

  23. Costumier ... Auto correct why??? O.o /o\

  24. I bet that shop assistant isn't really French. They always put on the accent in places like that.

    Heh, I do love those pics though. I'm torn, I do quite like posh shops, but at heart I'm probably more of a battle spandex type of guy. Ironically Sig Sauer (the gun people) used to make tactical trousers that were cotton but with 2% spandex so they stretched. I *loved* those, but they don't make them any more. Boo.

  25. Yes, been feeling a bit down though. For lady reasons so it's passing. I'm currently marathoning the first season of Daredevil and bashing out the next blog post. Should have it up in the next day or so :)

  26. Aww sorry to hear that. No rush on posting. Just wanted to check you were ok and Biff hadn't eaten you.

  27. Thankyou for your kind concern, I do occasionally wake up with him cuddled up to my face but I don't think he's consciously trying to kill me. I'm just laying here with a hot water bottle clamped to my stomach groaning "bring on the menopause!" :D

  28. D'aww. He's like a little furry facehugger. I do feel for you. One of my other mates has that endowhatchamacallit and it's like someone puts the crucius curse on her once a month.

  29. I think he likes feeling my breath on his fur. Actually now I am havng the damn period I feel a lot better, my fentanyl patch and codiene tablets make it virtually painless, the hot water bottle is mainly for extra soothing. And I don't suffer the things monthly, can be up to six months between them. It's the lead up I hate, one week of misery, crying at every little thing and feeling tired and demotivated. It's the worst.

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  31. Sent you an email (plus one silly photo)

  32. I have responded but didn't get a picture. I checked via AOL Anywhere on my laptop though, maybe resend and I'll read it via my AOL login software on the desktop one.

  33. Those Russian hackers probably intercepted it. Resent.