review Archives | Robot 6 | The Comics Culture Blog

‘Batgirl’ #32 is the best kind of fan service


[Editor’s note: Every 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.]

She was not Birds Of Prey‘s first writer, and probably won’t be its last, but Gail Simone has become associated pretty closely with the character of Barbara Gordon, and specifically Barbara’s identity as the omniscient info-broker Oracle. One might even say that only Simone could have returned Babs to her original role as Batgirl, as part of the New 52 relaunch. Since then, Simone has quietly made Batgirl into one of the more engaging Bat-books, spending as much time on her relationships as on her crimefighting.

This week’s issue (penciled by Fernando Pasarin, inked by Jonathan Glapion, colored by Blond) is a fine example. All those relationships collide when hardcore vigilante Knightfall decides she doesn’t like “common criminal scum” (and Babs’ boyfriend) Ricky Gutierrez suing ex-Commissioner Gordon. Meanwhile, Babs herself gets recruited by an old college roommate (now part of a super-secret spy outfit, of course) that wants to bring Knightfall down. All this while Batgirl has to deal with the current Batman Eternal status quo, in which snotty cops can (and do) refuse to arrest the Bat-crew’s various foes.

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‘Dragon Girl’ provides a bumpy, ultimately successful flight


You have to suspend your disbelief pretty hard to read Jeff Weigel‘s Dragon Girl: The Secret Valley, but it’s worth it, because underneath some improbable plot devices is a really good story.

Dragon Girl is your basic environmental fable, about a girl, Alanna, living in vaguely medieval times who not only makes friends with dragons but defends them against a murderous knight. It’s a neat inversion of the standard mythology, although it’s doubtful that Alanna’s animal-loving ways (in the first chapter, she tries to stop her brother from killing a deer) would have been as well-tolerated in the real Middle Ages.

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Robot Reviews | CBGB

By various authors, edited by Ian Brill
BOOM! Studios, $14.99

CBGB is a graphic novel anthology of short stories about the legendary punk nightclub CBGB and the people who hung out there. The music of the era plays a huge part in the stories, especially the introductory tale, but overall the book is really about the things that went with the music—drugs, sex, ambition, rebellion, being young and living in New York City—and most of the characters are on the floor watching the music, not onstage playing it.

For an anthology about punk rock and New York life in the 1970s, CBGB is remarkably colorful. The art leans more toward neon colors than the blacks and grayed-out colors one might expect, although there is quite a range of styles and story types.

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Let’s hope this becomes a regular feature

Bechdel's book review

Bechdel's book review

Comic-strip-style book reviews seem to be all the rage these days. First it was Ward Sutton, now Alison Bechdel reviews Jane Vandenburgh’s memoir, A Pocket History of Sex in the Twentieth Century, for the New York Times. (Thanks to Jeff Lester for the link.)

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