Monday, May 28, 2007

Dipping a toe in the DCU

I don't read many comics on an ongoing basis, though I do like to check in and see what's going on now and again. So last week I popped in to Liverpool's 'Worlds Apart' (an oasis in the pre-match mayhem) and picked up a passel of recent books. I was interested to see novelist Jodi Picoult's take on Wonder Woman and got her first issue. WW is perhaps the most mutable major character in the DC Universe; an Amazon, sometime goddess, feminist icon (though very 3rd wave judging by her cleavage), fully-functioning superhero. As such she lends herself to endless reinvention. Now the character is seen as focussing on her human identity as Diana Prince, with a day-job, new hairo and bodysuit, and some decidedly non-mythological struggles with subway turnstiles and Starbucks coffee menus. Amazingly, Picoult is only the second woman to write the WW strip in is six decades.

Tad Williams is another author venturing into long-underpants territory with Aquaman. I've rarely read an actual Aquaman comic though he shows up regularly in the Justice League. Since the latest reboot of the DC Universe he seems to have become a wide-eyed underwater ingenue, rather than the grumpy, grizzled, one-handed regal figure he has been for ages. The artwork in this strip is reminiscent of Herge, clean and cartoony, making the ocean seem like a perky, Euro-fairytale place. Although it's the beginning of a story I felt swamped by established characters and plotlines - I don't think I can persist at these depths. (Though I did like the ship that is a giant wooden castle, and the ghost-scientist.)

More my fighting weight is the Brave and the Bold, a romping tale with Batman, Green Lantern, Supergirl and others chasing a dangerous artefact across the universe. Great artwork by George Perez...

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