Strong Women of Vision
The best new comics this week are absolutely dominated by books featuring female protagonists, with new issues of Catwoman, Elektra, and Danger Girl. In addition, we take a look at a special anniversary issue of Guardians of the Galaxy, which features stories of both the modern-day Guardians, as well as the team of the 31st century.
Catwoman Issue No. 30
"Race of Thieves" Part One
The very first scene in this issue of Catwoman shows the title character, in her civilian guise of Selina Kyle, setting fire to the Catwoman bodysuit in a trashcan. Selina has decided that running around as a feline-themed jewel thief has cost her too much in her personal life, and is giving up the identity of Catwoman...FOREVER. Or until the end of this story, whichever arrives first. But until that point, Selina makes the most of her new free time. She goes to the gym for some exercise and light sparring, which is a good idea. Then she adopts 30 new cats and officially becomes a crazy cat lady, which is less than a good idea.
Selina stays retired from the identity of Catwoman for almost nine pages, which is probably some kind of record. But she is ultimately drawn back into the semi-criminal life by a competition that will test her in the 3 D's of crime: dexterity, disguise, and deception. How does our favorite cat burglar do? Pick up this issue by Ann Nocenti and Pat Oliffe, under a great cover by Terry Dodson, to find out.
Danger Girl: Mayday Issue No. 1
The Russian's Return
J. Scott Campbell's Danger Girl is a light-hearted and fun approach to the action-adventure-spy genre, and every new miniseries featuring the characters emphasizes this approach, especially in terms of the featured art. Comic book superstars like Art Adams, Leinil Francis Yu, and Phil Noto, as well as Campbell himself have all taken a crack at depicting the lovely ladies of Danger Girl. And while none of those guys are working on this particular miniseries, the art chores are still in capable hands, thanks to the talents of John Royle, who doesn't miss a beat in creating the hyper-real spy world of Danger Girl, aided and abetted by inker Jose Marzan, Jr.
The script, by Danger Girl co-creator Andy Hartnell, is also true to the spirit of the series, and even ties into the action of the original Danger Girl miniseries, which was published more than a decade ago. So long-time fans who may have not kept up with this title have something to bring them back, and new readers can also jump on with this new number one. This title should appeal to fans of James Bond (especially Bond girls), G.I. Joe, or Indiana Jones, or really just anyone who likes to read a good adventure yarn.
Elektra Issue No. 1
Assassinating an Assassin
Elektra returns in this issue by W. Haden Blackman and Mike Del Mundo, which has, by far, the best internal monologue of any book out this week. Credit for that certainly goes to writer Blackman, who has plenty of experience writing strong women of vision thanks to a quality run on DC Comics' Batwoman. In addition, the script for this comic is visualized quite well by artist Mike Del Mundo, who uses a painterly style to bring an ethereal and evocative quality to the title.
As for the story itself, this issue shows Elektra attempting to take her mind off her troubles by burying herself in her work. But since her work is being an assassin, it seems likely that someone will literally be buried because of it. And who better to face the wrong end of Elektra's sai than another assassin, one by the name of Cape Crow. This issue sets up the conflict to come, as Elektra gets ready for a mission to end the life of Cape Crow, and anyone else who gets in her way.
Guardians of the Galaxy Issue No. 14
The 100th Issue of Guardians of the Galaxy
Typically, issue no. 14 of any particular comic book series doesn't serve any sort of anniversary or special-edition purpose. However, this latest issue of Guardians of the Galaxy, by Brian Michael Bendis and Nick Bradshaw, is the 100th issue of GotG if you add up all the previous volumes of the title. There were 62 issues in the first volume (starting in 1990), 25 issues in the second volume (starting in 2008), and with 14 in this current volume, the grand total is up to...101 issues, actually. Oops. Oh well, the Guardians had to finish their crossover with the X-Men, "The Trial of Jean Grey," before they could celebrate an anniversary, right?
Anyway, this issue opens with Peter Quill, a.k.a. Star-Lord, a.k.a. Andy from "Parks and Recreation," having an incredibly neurotic internal monologue. Does Kitty Pryde like him? Why doesn't he like Angela? What's up with all the fantasies about Skrull women? We can't speak for Star-Lord's first two questions, but as for the third, well, it's probably those chins that make Quill weak in the knees.
Star-Lord doesn't get the entire issue to mope, only a page, as the Guardians are soon embroiled in what embroils them best: a shoot-out with starships from the Spartax interstellar fleet. And things don't exactly go swimmingly for the Guardians...
This issue, being an anniversary issue, also features a couple of back-up stories. One of them features the secret origin of Groot, using the limited dialogue choices of the character ("I am Groot!", "I am Groot?", "I am Groot?!"). The other features the Guardians of the year A.D. 3014. So, even though the numbering wasn't perfect, this is still a jam-packed special issue.
Other New Comics This Week
Lady Rawhide, The Walking Dead, and Buffy
The books reviewed here are not the only books with female protagonists that were released for the week of April 23. There are also new issues of Lady Rawhide and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And for the fans of everyone's favorite ongoing zombie comic, The Walking Dead concludes its "All-Out War" storyline with the latest issue, which was also released this week.