Sunday, December 14, 2008

...To Write me Down An Ass

There's a pretty good scene for Black Canary as team chairperson in JLA #27 this week (or is it last week already? I was kinda lost in 1978...).

Stars and Garters shows you the page, and I won't reprint it here, so I don't crib his act. But I do want to show you the page before, which COMPLETELY undermines the scene:

The quote is Shakespeare, by the way...Much Ado About Nothing.Really.

Black Canary is about to have a big leadership moment, we're supposed to take her seriously as JLA chairperson, and Ed Benes introduces the scene with a page specifically designed to make you ignore everything else, designed to draw your eye right to her buttcheeks.

The JLA is essentially a broken book, a damaged concept right now, and I'm not sure what it would take to fix it. But of all the things wrong with it, nothing is more dire than having an artist who directly undermines the story points the writer is trying to establish, who undercuts Dwayne McDuffie's attempts to build up Black Canary with his immaturity and his fetish for close-ups of female body parts at inappropriate times.

So maybe instead of worrying about the Big Three undermining her, Dinah should worry more about the idiot they have drawing her, which does far more damage.

(Although I praised McDuffie's scene above, I have a couple of quibbles about his script.. One, Dinah never lays out any specific grievances about the Big Three, except that they're meeting in private. And since she establishes that no one else knows about the private meetings, it's not clear how they're actually "undermining her authority." No example of orders countermanded, or secret plots, or anything. A good manager always has specific examples when laying down the law. Given that just a meeting is ticking her off, I shudder how Dinah is going to respond to Trinity.

Secondly, they get a distress call from Dr. Light (the good one) on a JLI communicator...and they take a Quinjet (or whatever they call it) to Metropolis? They have a freakin' teleporter. Zatanna could just magic them there. Superman or Flash could certainly get there more quickly. It's a distress call, she might be dead or dying...and they don't take the fastest way there. Good show, League.

So it's not just the art of JLA that's broken.)


Siskoid said...


Pun intended?

snell said...

Never let spelling get in the way of a good rant...

notintheface said...

1. I'm not sure if it's just because I've been inoculated to Benes' Dinah by virtue of owning the entire Simone-Benes BIRDS OF PREY run, but I have to judge Benes "not guilty" in this case. Although Benes has generally gotten out of control with sacrificing storytelling in favor of butt shots in this book, here the shot actually works for the scene. The scene involves the shock of her insinuating herself into their "backroom meeting". She was keeping things light right before the big verbal smackdown. So it worked for the scene, if perhaps accidentally. If Benes had drawn another butt shott on the next page, then yes, he would have killed Dinah's big moment. If you want to talk about a more grievous Benes example, you should look at the previous issue for the double-page spread that was supposed to be the JLA vs their doppelgangers, but was drawn as a Wonder Woman pin-up with the JLA and their doppelgangers in the background.

2. It wasn't just the meeting. Bats had undermined her in the supervillain arc by pursuing the Joker against orders. Supes (and later the rest of the 3) withheld vital info about Vixen from Dinah. So she's got more grounds than the meeting.

3. But yeah, I agree that the book needs a different artist. But who? I don't want to see Nicola Scott leave Secret Six, and I want Gary Frank to stay with the Superman books. What about Mike Perkins, who's currently drawing Stephen King's The Stand for Marvel?