Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Review: Ame Comi Girls #3

With Superman Unchained and the digital Adventures of Superman print copies looming in the near future, my review schedule might become a bit bloated soon.

So the big question is ... should I continue to review Ame Comi Girls here?

Ame Comi Girls #3 came out in print last week and, as always, it was a very entertaining read. I guess the promotion to a monthly book has given writer Jimmy Palmiotti the opportunity to expand this series, opening it up to the entire DC universe (albeit the Ame Comi) one. So it is interesting to see new heroes and villains crop up. So to meet Jade and Star Sapphire is fun, especially Jade's origin. If only the costumes weren't so ridiculous. I mean it, I feel semi-embarrassed taking this book of the shelf sometimes.

Also, since this is a world without male supers, it is a fun read to see the interactions of 'normal guys' with these powerful women. So seeing Jimmy Olsen act as the human love interest of Power Girl is a great read, probably my favorite moment in this issue.

Santi Casas provides the art here and he seems to be a natural for the book. His anime influenced style is perfect here.

This being the Ame Comi world, the Green Lantern equivalent is nicely shunted into Jade. She is Jade Yifei, a blind rock climber. If not having fear is a necessity to be a Green Lantern, Jade Yifei has it. I like the fact that she is blind, showing that everyone can be a hero. And this isn't innate green powers like the classic Jade; we see her given the ring and is sworn to protect sector 2814.

Jade's father is prosecutor who has taken down organized crime in China. As a result, the family is attacked by 'The Flying Guillotine' a flying super-villain with a great costume design.

And I even like Jade's costume, especially the lantern-like head band. Despite just getting the ring, Jade utilizes it well, fending off the guillotine.

Since this is a new universe and the heroes have just formed a team, Power Girl and Wonder Woman announce to the UN and the world their intention to form a League of sorts, to help fight immense threats.

It is a good scene with the world reacting mostly in panic, wondering what rules the League will follow and who will they feel free to attack. I like how Power Girl, usually a bit edgy and fiery in the DCU, comes across as the 'Superman' here, trying to calm the leaders that the team will only be there to help.

I do worry that the 'warrior' aspect of Wonder Woman is a bit too prevalent in Ame Comi. Diana instantly turns on the crowd saying that the League could end all war if it wanted to. She also talks about the evils of man's world. I sometimes miss the Ambassador of Peace and Love parts of Diana's character. Recently it seems she is much more eager to wield the sword rather than say that they should be converted to plowshares.

And with China now boasting it's own hero in Jade, the country states it doesn't need the League's help.

In fact, the Chinese government wants Jade to turn over the ring so they can study it, maybe even mass produce it. Jade's father even seems on board with the plan.

So I loved this scene were Jade shows some internal strength and stands up for herself. She not only tells them she isn't going to give them the ring, she flies off.

How great is that? I like how this new hero has already found a moral compass to guide herself.

As I said above, Palmiotti and Gray are starting to expand this universe and so this issue seems to concentrate a bit on the Green Lantern Universe. First we meet Jade. Then we get some cryptic snippets about a fear based villain, someone we know from a future solicit is Sinestra.

And then we meet Star Sapphire!

I mean it. I wish the ridiculousness of the costumes was even just a smidge less. This costume takes the Ame Comi score to 11. I feel icky.

What I do like about this is that this Carol Ferris is a sort of Hal Jordan herself, a pilot and astronaut. We get to see her meet the Abin Sur equivalent Star Sapphire on a moon mission. Now Violet Lanterns tend to sway more towards the lust/passion side of love and it is hinted at that maybe it is our human nature that can't control the sapphire energy. Maybe the other Sapphires here are less obsessed.

As I said before, it is fun to see DC relationships under the switcheroo aspects of this universe.

So to hear Jimmy Olsen talk about his feelings of inadequacy in trying to be interesting enough and good enough for Power Girl, an 'angel who fell from the skies', was great. It is clear these two love each other as even his feelings are stated in a playful almost flirty way. But I can imagine that it must feel strange to be 'normal' and try to romance a super-hero.

This whole conversation (this being a snippet of it) was the favorite part of the issue for me.

As feared by the alien Star Sapphire, it seems that Carol can't handle her power and her ideas of love seems to veer towards obsession and possession. It seems that Jimmy is a 'Mr. Action' and has dated Carol in the past before a rough breakup.

Carol shows up at some sort of function and uses her powers to enslave Jimmy. And that doesn't sit well with Kara.

It leads to a nice brawl between Power Girl and Star Sapphire, punctuated by this choke slam by Kara. Nice! As noted in prior reviews, it is clear that Palmiotti and Gray have a soft spot for Power Girl. She really carries this book and is given the best moments.

In fact, Supergirl isn't even in this issue and is only mentioned once by Kara (at least she acknowledges she needs to save her cousin). Kind of a bummer.

I have to say Ame Comi Girls is a guilty pleasure for me. It is fun ... something that seems to be rare in super-hero comics these days. And it is always entertaining. I really hope that somehow Supergirl gets pumped up a bit in the book and treated the right way.

And I would not be against Santi Casas always being on art on this book. Perfect style for this story.

Overall grade: B/B+


valerie21601 said...

Hi Anj,

I enjoy the art and story. I am a woman and truly enjoy the art of this series and I am a straight. At least they aren't drawn as all boobs and butts by the artists on Ame-Comi.

I think your worried a bit by political correctness of the times. Maybe afraid someone see you picking it up at your LCS, shout and point a finger at you and in public proclaim a sexist pig, make a poster with your face on it and spread around it the neighborhood.

I admit I exaggerated but willing to bet I hit the feeling right.

Anonymous said...

Is it me or is the dialogue in this book definitely taking on an arch sort of a tone? Vaguely pidginy so to speak...

I like the idea of a universe where heroines rule, but just remember in a meta context this is also a universe that cannot conceive of anything for Supergirl to do except languish isuspended animation....Nope nothing sexist about that....nothing at all.


LJ-90 said...

I enjoy your Ame-Comic reviews Anj, but I thought today was Smallville review day :P

Hopefully you'll continue to review all the comics you read, I think we all enjoy them :)


Anj said...

Thanks for the comments.

It is true Valerie. I wouldn't buy the Ame Comi statues to show in my house. I don't want to support ludicrous presentations of women in comics. But the characters here are strong and independent so hope I am doing the right thing supporting this. It is entertaining.

John, I can only hope Supergirl gets treated right here. We'll see.

And LJ, Smallville print comes out tomorrow. So review probably Friday or Monday! :P

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

Anj, the Ami-Comi books sell fairly well with both males and females at my LCS. Some of the costumes are no worse than what was done in the newDCU, and I might argue that the Star Sapphire character is dressed that way as she represents desire, so maybe that is supposed to be a bit meta.

Regardless, the book still continues to take me longer to read than most two other DC books combined.

Anj said...

Some of the costumes are no worse than what was done in the newDCU, and I might argue that the Star Sapphire character is dressed that way as she represents desire

Both excellent points!

Thanks Wayne!

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

Off-topic, on Amazon I came across a store that is selling the Death of Supergirl from COIE still in the blister pack, slightly damaged, but the cost is only $4.95. I'm not certain if its a two-dimensional Superman holding Kara up, but maybe its worth a look.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

The action figure is actually $3.95, when I receive it, I'll tell you what the damage might be here. Somehow, the COIE figure came up while I was searching (and found) a Golden Age Hourman.