Wednesday, May 11, 2016

What I Bought 5/10/2016 - Part 1

I actually have a pretty decent number of comics for this round of reviews. Hooray! I'm going to start with the only title I have two issues for, because I'm kind of scrambling for time again this week, and only reviewing one title goes a little faster.

Henchgirl #6 and 7, by Kristen Gudsnuk - Mary's joy makes me want to visit a natural history museum. I haven't in so long.

The Butterfly Gang robs the museum of a a valuable gem. Which turns out to have a mystical property which forces the person holding it to speak the truth, and all this was a trick by Coco to get Mary to confess to leaking their "defraud the orphanage" scheme. The trick works, but they don't kill Mary. They take her to Dr. Maniac, who injects her with evil serum, so that she'll enjoy being evil more. Pretty much the first thing she does is lure Consuelo to the middle of nowhere and beat her to a pulp for breaking Mary's goggles during their brief run-in during issue 4. After that, Mary and Coco become quite the pair, having great fun robbing people, and there doesn't seem to be any hero capable of stopping them. Mr. Great Guy briefly pulled himself out of his alcoholic depression to try, but was pretty half-assed about it. Mary's friends are concerned, and don't really enjoy Coco being invited to movie night, but aren't yet sure what's happened.

I have this feeling Mary will have to fight her sister soon. Her family knows she's in the Butterfly Gang, and she and Coco aren't exactly being low-key. Unless her friends can figure something out. Fred's not one to approve of Mary's criminal career, but she did also save his life by putting his body back together, so he kind of owes her. Plus, Coco almost killed him once already, probably better not to push it at the moment. Consuelo tried the entirely reasonable approach of giving the cops Mary's name, but they took the same approach as Arnold in Terminator and just started with the first "Mary Posa" they found. Too bad for that lady.

I'm surprised that Coco and Mary are actually getting along so well once Mary got the evil serum injection. I'd assumed Coco was just tired of Mary messing with what she saw as the proper operation of the gang. Not paying attention to briefings, not enjoying hurting people, just not buying in. But it seems like Coco really wanted someone to enjoy committing crimes with, and now she's got Mary, and she's excited. It would have been better if she could have found some common ground with Mary without resorting to mind-altering drugs, but hey, super-villain. This seems like the sort of arc that's going to cause a lot of ripples down the line, even if Mary's friends do find a way to undo the damage done to her.

They end issue 6 with Mary's beating of Consuelo, and the last page is a full-page splash of Mary standing over her beaten body saying, 'I hope you've learned your lesson.' There's nothing particularly remarkable about the page in itself, but as far as I can recall it's the first time Gudsnuk went with a splash page (she definitely didn't in the previous two issues, which are the only ones I have handy). So it's effective, with our perspective being the same as Consuelo's: on the ground looking up at someone who is indifferent to the pain they just caused, looking down their nose at us, moon backlighting Mary like a badass. It's completely different to how she's been presented up to then. Even when she's doing something cool with her super-strength, there's emphasis on the effort behind it, or it's played for jokes. Gudsnuk built up Mary's character through everything to this point meant the moment felt earned as a big dramatic shift, and so it felt like the right place to use a full-page splash. As opposed to a lot of those comics that throw them in as padding, or for generic "cool" scenes that don't really mean anything. Maybe that's not happening as much as it used to. I feel like it started to happen a lot in the late stages of Geoff Johns' run on Green Lantern, double-page splashes of pointless fighting run amok. This isn't that, which is good.

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