Amidst all the fireworks, noisemakers, and bits of confetti landing in fluted glasses of champagne (yes, I hear you pronouncing it like in that one episode of Futurama) the queerest and hardest working team of reviewers in comics found ourselves with an empty pull list. We briefly considered taking the week off and getting drunk, but our commitment to you, the reader, was such that we felt remiss in the former and did the latter anyway. Rather than do the obvious thing and make new year’s resolutions for ourselves, we decided to take the liberty to make resolutions on behalf of the books we’re covering.
Gotham Academy It’s hard to know what to ask for in a series as fresh as Gotham Academy that’s still carving out it’s own distinctive corner of DC’s most iconic city. If there’s much of anything I could ask for from this series, it’s to continue the excavation of Gotham’s history and shine lights in places that people who aren’t respected Batmanologists may never have seen before or have reason to believe existed. Gotham Academy has already established itself as a phenomenal gateway book for younger and less experienced readers to start their exploration of Bat Country, so the next logical step might be to make the broader history of Gotham more accessible to those new readers. The brilliant thing about tapping into that history in 2014 is that it only requires gentle nudges, not the exposition and long winded editor’s notes of years past. Eager readers will chase the connections down themselves and they’re only a google search away.
Harley Quinn The key to the Clown Princess of Crime’s 2015 is to resist the siren call of the mainstream and keep hold of it’s own brand of weirdness. DC’s commitment to the series and willingness to invest in special issues like the Holiday and San Diego Comic Con ones is a very rare vote of confidence in a female lead series, but it’s a road that fringe characters like Deadpool have driven right off the edge of. Conner and Palmiotti have found success blazing their own trail with the character, making her a viable character in her own right for the first time in over a decade. Keeping the Joker out of the picture is a key element of that, but for the time being keeping Poison Ivy’s appearances sporadic and memorable is just as important. Deeper exploration of Harley’s sexuality would be an absolutely welcome feature of the coming year, but hopefully lessons have been learned from the mistakes of plunging Batwoman into an ill fitting relationship to vindicate her. In the art department, holding firm to Chad Hardin and Stephane Roux as rotating artists would be my humble request as their styles compliment each other and have done as much to define the series as Conner and Palmiotti’s unique sensibilities have.
Batwoman In my last review on the series, the first published since the announcement that the may issue will be it’s last, I said that I hope Marc Andreyko is enough of a Neil Young fan to know that it’s better to burn out than fade away, but I’d like to amend that. Dylan Thomas feels more appropriate. Rage rage against the dying of the light. If this really is goodbye, don’t leave a single dry eye in the audience.
Catwoman My new year’s resolution for Catwoman is more editorial than creative. DC needs to strap a rocket to this series. Insofar as comics like Ms Marvel and Batgirl are crucially important to getting women reading comics again and moving forward in how comics’ tell women’s stories, darker, more methodically told stories like Genevieve Valentine’s Catwoman are just as important. Valentine has restored Catwoman to being the single best street level superhero comic on the stands, a distinction the title hasn’t enjoyed since Ed Brubacker held the reins. With that said, if there’s anything I could ask of Valentine, it’s to do Eiko justice. She’s a phenomenal character who deserves to become a Gotham City staple in the coming months and years.
Grayson Tied neck and neck with Harley Quinn for the longshot that paid off the biggest this past year, it takes some serious digging to figure out what more Grayson could do. I’ve already seen the fourth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer so I have a pretty good idea of what Spyral is up to with all these supercharged body parts. With that said, I could do with as much more Midnighter as Seeley and King can cram into the series. Their vision of Midnighter isn’t quite the loveable scamp I remember from Garth Ennis’ run on his solo title, but he makes up a key component of the series and offers loads of untapped potential for examining sex and gender in superheroing, exactly the topic the series has excelled at most so far.
Batgirl In light of the thoroughly disappointing misreadings of Batgirl #37 that turned into the most embarrassing episode in comics’ fandom of the year, what the title needs most is for it’s creators to keep their chins up. Or maybe tuck their chins to keep from getting jaw jacked again. The kind of bravery and willingness to press forward into uncharted waters they’ve shown so far absolutely cannot slacken for anything in the world. I remember the brutal tumble that Peter Milligan took after X-Statix’s jibe at Princess Diana’s canonization got leaked before publication and it would be nothing short of heartbreaking if Team Batgirl faltered similarly. If I had a resolution for the series it would be to continue expanding Alysia’s role in the book, but I already have all the assurances I need that’s going to happen.
Emma Houxbois is a fiercely queer trans woman from the wilds of Canada, most recently spotted in the Pacific Northwest. She is a two time IWC Women’s World Champion and has written about comics for the web since 2005 for sites including Playboy, Bitch Media, and Graphic Policy.