Looking To The Stars – The Week In Reviews




THE BLACK CANARY WEDDING PLANNER
Company Name: DC Comics
Writer: J. Torres
Artist: Lee Ferguson, Christine Norrie and Karl Story

I’m very torn on this issue.

Even ignoring whatever conflicting feelings I have over wanting to like the idea of a Dinah Lance/Oliver Queen marriage but not being overly happy with how it came about through editorial order and most of the execution thus far… there’s still a lot about the book that I love and a lot I loathe.

I like how Ollie and Dinah sound like a real couple, snarky remarks and all.

I like how Ollie is portayed as wanting to be involved in the details and not being the stereotypical indifferent groom and Dinah is portayed as just wanting to get the job done with as little fuss and interference as possible. Very true to their classic personalities.

I like a lot of the little character moments, like how Ollie is portayed as knowing a lot more about gorumet cooking than Dinah. I like this not just for the sake of breaking stereotypes (the man knows what a gastrique is) or because it’s funny (especially given Ollie’s preference for simpler fare like chili) but because given Ollie’s background as the Bruce Wayne before Bruce Wayne… it actually makes sense.

The artwork is, at times, gorgeous. Case in point.



On the other hand, there’s a lot not to like here.

While this is comic is supposed to be a bit-more humor heavy to make up for the lack of action, a lot of characters are truly out of character for the sake of making a joke. For instance, Ollie expresses a reluctance to have their honeymoon on a tropical island. Because – ya know – he was shipwrecked on a tropical island once. While I can see this making a sort of sense…

1) They don’t bother to explain the joke past Ollie raising an eyebrow and saying “An island, Dinah?” and Dinah saying “Oh… right. Sorry.” Granting that anybody reading this probably knows Ollie’s background involving tropical islands, that’s still the kind of detail I can see a newbie reader being confused by.
2) It really isn’t that funny if Ollie truly is traumatized by tropical islands.
3) If I want to go into severe nit-pick mode, I could point out that there is a long tradition of Ollie spending his time on tropical islands with no adverse effects. He did all of his One Year Later training on one. He’s even been shown, in one story by Scott Beatty, to frequently strand himself on islands on purpose so as to keep his hunting instincts up to par. I suppose a case could be made that Ollie just associates tropical islands with training and would find it hard to relax on one. But if you have to reach that far….

Finally, while a lot of the artwork is gorgeous, some of it is just awful. Case in point…



Since when does Ollie use Aquanet on his beard?

And did I mention there’s cheesecake?




Now, I’ll admit to being a bit unfamilar with the operations of your average sexy underthings shop, but I’ve always been under the impression that they don’t allow you to try things on, for obvious sanitary reasons.

That being said, I do like seeing a portayal of Wonder Woman that allows her to be one of the girls. I just wonder where the heck Zinda and Helena (aka Lady Blackhawk and Huntress – Dinah’s teammates and Sin’s aunts from The Birds of Prey) are in all of this as Dinah’s relatively more recent comrades from the Justice League are helping her shop.

In the end, this book is everything the comic promises. It is Dinah trying to balance her duties as a soon-to-be-bride with her job as a superhero, on her own, with varying degress of success. Provided you don’t take it too seriously and just go with the flow, it’s not all that bad. It’s not all that good either, but it’s not the things of mass protests either.

GRADE: C


XENA: DARK XENA #4
Company Name: Dynamite Entertainment
Writer: John Layman
Artist: Noah Salonga

While I’m not quite so enamored of this series as the infamous Chris Sims, one cannot deny the sheer awesome power of this mini-series. And not just for the usual reasons involving Bruce Campbell cameos or the fact that we can always use another comic involving women kicking serious butt with little effort.

Heck, this series isn’t even great for high metacomedy moments like the one where Gabrielle disguises herself as her own evil twin and then builds her credibility for NOT being a good guy in disguise. How? She points out just how common good/etwo other people in the party of villains she is joining have good twins running around somewhere.

No, this series is great because it is a story in which Xena’s sidekick – the Battling Bard Gabrielle – is able to talk Cthulhu (who is not so much in his house at R’lyeh dreaming as he is in a cave bitching about being overthrown by the stupid Titans) out of his slow war on humanity by virtue of the fact that everyone he really wants revenge on is already dead.

That’s a +20 DC to Diplomacy Check moment, let me tell ya. (Ah, I love making gamer jokes in a comic magazine…)



Seriously, this is a good fun story. And the best part about it is that the ending opens the field up completely for an on-going Xena series. Which, with this writing and art team, would be a fine thing indeed.

GRADE: A

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