Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]
Gail Simone brought to a close her tenure as Batgirl writer and helped kick off the digital-first Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman series this week. Both issues were well within her comfort zone, featuring large casts of characters locked in spirited combat a la Wonder Woman #600 and Secret Six #36. Both had callbacks to previous Simone successes, one of which pleased this longtime fan immeasurably. (No spoilers, but let’s just say she’s a Bird of Prey I didn’t think I’d see in the New 52.) Perhaps most importantly, both showed their headliners fully in control of their respective situations. For Batgirl that came at the end of a long, somewhat depressing series of subplots, and in Sensation it was a well-executed rebuttal to anyone who thinks Wonder Woman can’t be as hardcore as her gothic-avenger colleague.
In fact, the two issues are almost mirror images. The first big “moment” of Batgirl #34 (pencilled by Fernando Pasarin, inked by Jonathan Glapion and Matt Ryan, colored by Blond) puts Babs, Black Canary, and the Huntress in a serious-looking piece of Bat-hardware. They then spend the rest of the issue coordinating various supporting players (including a literal small army of cameos), many of whom fight familiar Bat-foes. By contrast, the Sensation story (drawn by Ethan van Sciver and colored by Hi-Fi’s Brian Miller) starts with Batman and company out of the picture, and demonstrates how Wonder Woman would single-handedly take on Gotham’s deadliest supervillains. Spoiler alert: it is awesome. As WW herself intones, “I’ll put your house in order, Bruce. And I won’t even need a car.” It’s to be continued, so I’m hoping the Joker gets a session with the Lasso of Truth. Also, I suppose it doesn’t hurt that both issues are strongly evocative of Babs’ Oracle days. The Sensation story is pretty much a pre-New 52 adventure (not surprisingly), and the Batgirl issue is filled with foreshadowing.
Still, both accomplish their immediate goals in fine fashion. Batgirl offers some well-needed triumph and closure, and Sensation launches impressively. What makes both work is Simone’s obvious affection for these characters, and her ability to express that through her scripts. Both stories are about emotion — the satisfaction of a chapter closing, the excitement of a new one — and that’s something Gail Simone does very well.