Cannonball Read IV

A bunch of Pajibans reading and reviewing and honoring AlabamaPink.

Archive for the tag “oracle”

Quorren’s #CBR4 Review #44 Brids of Prey: Between Dark and Dawn by Gail Simone

This is the third volume in Gail Simone’s Birds of Prey series.  I’ve ordered the previous volumes, to do a comparison reading, for future reviews.  I want to see how much having a woman at the helm has changed the tone of the characters, as well as if Simone had any influence on the art decisions.  For my hypothesis, I’m going to guess the the writing has changed (in a good way), while the art still has women’s bodies defying physics (although Simone does sneak tongue in cheek references to the ridiculous costuming).  On the plus side, I think almost every issue has at least one panel of Black Canary stuffing her face with food; in this volume, she chowed down on a huge cheeseburger.

Anyway, in this volume, Simone splits up the trio, with Oracle sending Huntress to a cult that may be convincing impressionable teenagers to commit suicide.  Huntress meets up with another friend of the Birds, Vixen.  Vixen has also fallen victim to the brainwashing at the cult, so Huntress has to deal with creepy cultists and a women that can channel the attributes of any animal she wants (some days I really wish I could spit cobra venom into people’s faces).  Meanwhile, Oracle does fancy, magical internet stuff and connects to the cultists’ server, motherboard, laser mouse, Ethernet, I have no idea.  Once inside, she gets telepathically linked to Brainiac, who had been living in the cultist’s computer and now he wants to knock up Oracle.

Yeah, this wasn’t Simone’s strongest story.  Aside from the weird plot machinations just to get from point A to point B, the pacing was, again, too fast.  This is becoming my most common gripe about this series and I don’t know who to blame.  Is it Simone’s fault or was there pressure from DC to ramp up the action in an effort to increase sales?


Quorren’s #CBR4 Review #29 Birds of Prey: Sensei and Student By Gail Simone

Birds of Prey was a DC comic series following the adventures of Oracle (formerly Batgirl), Black Canary and Huntress.  The series has gotten a lot of praise, mainly due to the writer, Gail Simone.  Simone is a great writer and the best choice to take over this series, mainly because Simone is female.  I’m not saying that men can’t write complex and meaningful female characters, but it is a rarity in the comic book world that a female gets more than one dimension.

Sensei and Student breaks up the dynamic duo of Oracle and Black Canary.  Canary travels to Hong Kong as one of her former martial arts masters is slowly dying of cancer.  She meets Lady Shiva there, as Shiva was also one of his students.  Canary and Shiva are at odds, as Shiva is the world’s best assassin whereas Canary uses her martial arts for saving lives.  Meanwhile, Oracle is having computer difficulties, which, as computers are kind of her super power, makes this a BIG PROBLEM.  She eventually is abducted by the evil Senator from the first book.

My biggest problem with the book came with the introduction of Cheshire, the world’s leading poison expert.  Shiva and Canary believe Cheshire murdered their sensei and come to question her in the middle of the night.  Cheshire emerges from her bed in the worl’d skimpiest nightgown ever and jumps out the window…into the conveniently placed pool.  Her and Canary tussle in the water, while I was waiting for the panel when the Girls Gone Wild crew would jump out of the bushes.  I don’t know if the artist were required to draw Cheshire in a certain way to keep with cannon or not, but they should have their pens and pencils taken away regardless.  And they should attend a physics class because they have no idea how gravity works.  When you put a busty women in a silky costume and have some sort of breast coverage come up from underneath her impossibly perky HHH cups, there will be a nipple peep show in the near future.  Unless she super glued the corner down, there is no why that piece of fabric is going to stand at attention on it’s own accord.

 I know, I know.  Comic books, like musicals, require a heightened suspension of disbelief.  But seriously.  She is one grabby Timberlake away from a wardrobe malfunction.  And a purple nurple.  Because you know angry generic Asian guy behind her there is going to fight dirty.

Quorren’s #CBR4 Review #11 Birds of Prey: Of Like Minds by Gail Simone

I have to give a shout-out to Mr. Quorren for picking up the first three volumes of this series for me for Christmas.  Gail Simone is pretty much the most famous female comic book writer.  Sadly, it’s not a very long list to choose from.

The story begins with Oracle teaming up with Black Canary.  Oracle is Barbara Gordon’s second superhero incarnation; she was Batgirl (and Police Commissioner Gordon’s daughter/niece) before a bullet from the Joker paralyzed her from the waist down.  Now she’s a computer hacker genius; basically all of those neat computer things people do on procedurals that are actually, in fact, illegal (and often imaginary), she can do.  Black Canary’s got her martial arts skills, a sonic scream and the ability to always look good in fishnets.  The  Huntress is the daughter of an Italian mafia family that was slain in their sleep, leading her on a path to revenge against the mafia and bad guys in general.

Black Canary and Oracle are busting bad guys based on what criminal information Babs can big up on her monster computer.  Their idea quickly goes south when a villain named Savant sets a trap to catch Oracle with Black Canary as his hostage.  Savant eventually reveals his end goal to be obtaining Batman’s real identity because batman once told him he’d make a bad superhero.  (Savant actually agrees with this assessment, as he’s way into beating people to a pulp instead of actually saving anyone, but that doesn’t mean Batman can go around being RUDE like that!)  eventually Oracle has to bring in the Huntress to save Black Canary.

I won’t go so far as to say that Birds of Prey is a true feminism comic, but it’s a great start to equality in the genre.  As you can tell from the cover, artists still think women would voluntarily choose to fight crime in lingerie, but Simone writes a few tongue in cheek nods to the fact.  Most of all, it’s great to see kick-ass women being kick-ass together and not fighting over a man or having emotions that “may not be in the interests of the mission”.

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