Monday, 31 October 2011


So August was full of quite a lot of re-reads. After reading Oracle: The Cure at the end of July, and being so pissed off with it, I decided to go back to some Birds of Prey; Sensei and Student, Perfect Pitch, Blood and Circuits, Dead of Winter, Metropolis or Dust / Club Kids / Platinum Flats, Serious Concerns and The Battle Within – all of which were re-reads, and most of which were from the Gail Simone era, so I feel ok about tackling them all together. I like Simone’s writing, and I love the BoP franchise; it’s feminist without being overtly so, and, ok, it does follow the usual heroines in skimpy costumes formula of most comics, but all of the characters feel like developed individuals, and they have actual character and plot, rather than just being vehicles for spandex. It’s a world populated with women, rather than merely decorated with them.

I also read for the first time Endrun, and an early pre-Simone compilation, simply entitled Black Canary/Oracle/Huntress. Endrun felt a little... uneven. The new characters- Hawk and Dove – really don’t add to the new line-up, and are far too generic. Large, over-muscled, angry, hitty man, and quiet, demure, pretty, worrying woman. Sorry. Seen this before and it was old then. The other compilation was a lot better. It really gives a good sense of who these characters are, and was a great insight into the early dynamic of the main three. It’s totally worth a read for anyone with an interest in the series.

August also saw me getting into – and reading the entirety of – the Alexia Tarabotti series, by Gail Carriger; Soulless, Changeless, Blameless and Heartless. These are utterly awesome, and I can’t recommend them highly enough. Steampunk/Victoriana setting, with a large touch of the supernatural, and a heroine who I adore. Alexia Tarabotti is utterly sensible, no-nonsense, and intelligent, without being too “modern” in her attitudes. She fits in perfectly in her Victorian world, but never lets it constrain her into a typically useless-feminine role. And what’s even better, she isn’t the only practical or intelligent woman in the series, or the only one who is fully fleshed out and rounded. These books are highly Bechedel compliant, with all the women being distinct and interesting. They’re also all rollicking good adventure stories, and a lot of good fun.

And in the middle of all that, I read Snips, Snails and Dragon Tales, by Rich Burlew. It’s mostly a filler book of odd comics and strips from the long running Order of the Stick series. It continues the same standard of humour as the rest of the books, but it’s really only for the die-hard fans of the comic. It’s worth a read, but nothing special, and if you missed the limited print run, then you probably haven’t lost out much.

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