Johanna Reads Superheroes Again: Stormwatch, Gen13, Wonder Girl, Suicide Squad

What I Read This Week: Stormwatch PHD #11 -- This is why I don't care about keeping up with superhero comics. (You might have noticed my issues with timeliness.) As soon as I find one I like, they cancel it. This issue sets up next's final with yet another bad guy attacking the heroes by striking at those close to them, and events happen in abbreviated fashion. The intriguing character interaction is undercut by boob-focused art when it comes to the female characters. (Gorgeous is less impressive as a bombshell if all the other women also have her exaggerated secondary sex characteristics, you know?) I'll miss Black Betty and several of the others when they're gone. Okay.

Gen 13 #12 -- Gail Simone has clever, funny ideas, but too often, I enjoy them in spite of the rest of the comic. The bigger framework or story too often is left lacking or too familiar. That's what happens here, where we get to see Grunge absorb Fairchild, which gives him superstrength and huge breasts. Once you get past the giggles of that visual (which is censored, of course -- it's still a DC comic), the rest of the book is Eh. In between flashbacks to Grunge's childhood -- surprise surprise, he's a supersmart prig, because there's less dramatic tension if he's the same person from birth to now than if he's the total opposite -- there's a big fight with yet another group of superpowers. I've read enough Authority to get the Authoriteens, but I don't know who the third gang that show up are. WildStorm's got too many characters as it is, and few of them can support any kind of regular title. Why add more? Meanwhile, some crazy robot lady is making new copies of the titular team in a plotline that's been plodding along since issue #1. Make it stop, already.

Wonder Girl #1 -- Cool! I'd love to read about a teen heroine.

What has happened to her chest on the cover? Did she go through puberty and surgery when I wasn't paying attention? First page: oh, ok, she's normal inside. Just typical bait-and-switch comic marketing.

Nice, a summary of her history to catch up those of us who want to read comics, not events. Wait, what's all this Amazons Attack crud? Do I have to pay attention to that to read this? I was enjoying ignoring it. We're supposed to believe that the public is outraged? I thought all that Civil War and Aftermath stuff was the OTHER comic company.

So Cassie is undercover, hiding out because people hate her. That's not a very promising beginning. Why can't she just be a heroine? Why's she got to act like it's so terrible to be able to do amazing things and hang out with other super-kids like Robin? Why's she so eager to take the violent, final solution? Why's she so alone, with all her superhero teams and heritage cut off from her? I don't want to read that. (If I did, I'd be buying Spider-Man instead.) Shame we don't have a Disappointing rating. Or Not What I Wanted. (It'd be more honest.) Eh.

Suicide Squad #1 -- I'm so glad John Ostrander is back writing this book, because no one did it better. The classic team -- Nightshade, Bronze Tiger, Deadshot, Boomerbutt (which raises a continuity question for those who care) -- is sent to rescue Rick Flag, previously thought dead. Most importantly, Amanda Waller is back in charge. As she describes herself, "I'm fat, black, cranky, and menopausal! You do NOT want to mess with me!" She's also usually the smartest person in the room and willing to do what it takes to make the right thing happen.

She's the kind of hero we need today, if you want to read stories dealing with more "realistic" circumstances. It's not the violence that makes her great; it's the strong moral code pushed to excess as a way of exploring justice, with loyalty as the primary virtue. The art, by Javi Pina and Robin Riggs, is lovely in its detail and complemented well by the shading of colorist Jason Wright. Good.