Monday, November 13, 2006

In Review of: The Dark End of the Street by Brubaker & Cooke

Now we're talkin'. Seriously, this was a lot of fun. Isn't that what comics should be about every now and then?

The Slam Bradley back-ups here that comprise the first half of the book really show how well Brubaker can cook up a Private Detective story. Cooke and Hollingsworth combine for some serious noir, and we even get a rather matt Wagner Batman along for the ride.

I haven't followed the character of Catwoman for years, so I'm not sure what the reboot was from, although I suspect that it was the "water balloons stapled to my chest so I'm really unhappy" Jim Balent version of Catwoman. i find it interesting the see where DC is going with a character that certainly predated feminism by 30 years and that has swung back and forth over the criminal line too many times to count. Part of this has to be the rather sketch morality of Selena: she's a thief, and we'd hate to glamorize her, say the editors, but then they make her a cool customer, hot to look at, and give her an outlaws mystique. Hmm, had to have it both ways isn't it? Kids don;t do this, but it sure looks like fun.

As we enter the '00's, haven't we grown up enough to amass a fairly decent history of Selena, especially since we moved from the exploitive '90's finally. How many women really want to fight crime with massive wedgies? No wonder Brubaker has Selena thoroughly confused as to who she is in these first issues. i doubt anyone knows at this point, even the writer. Too often Selena has be thrown to the editorial winds of fate. She deserves better. Here, she gets it.

Cooke inks himself on the first part, the rough large brush strokes echoing Scorchy Smith, Frank Robbins, Caniff in a hurry. I love it. In the second part of the book, Cooke is inked by his polar opposite, Mike Allred, whose control and careful deliniation make for an interesting match. I like it as well, even though it comes across as a bit jarring.

My friend Lis can probably make the best case for Selena as the first true woman 9not just a cypher) in comics, escaping from her brutal husband and making it on her own as an international jewel thief in Batman #1. i'll let her fill in the details later. I'm just enjoying the read.

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