Comic Book Corner — The X-Files, HQ, Wonder Woman and Batgirl

Image: Copyright DC Comics.

Happy comic release day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. This week, Lisa and Corrina check out how Harley Quinn spends her holidays, while Sophie picks back up with The X-Files #19, and Corrina also walks us through Batgirl #37.

But first, a panel so egregious, only the image can do it justice. WARNING: SPOILER for Wonder Woman #37.

A favorite Teen Titan returns in Wonder Woman #37. You won’t be glad to see her, especially given this panel. When Corrina posted the image on Tumblr, she was sent a message calling her narcissistic, prudish, and a cheesecake hater. Insults, no worries, but she’s tired of women calling out objectified poses being classified as “prudish,” so she responded on that matter. (Warning: NSFW for foul language.)

Onto the reviews!

Lisa Tate — Harley Quinn Holiday Special #1  by Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner

This three-story collection of holiday mayhem and madness by Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner is a crazy Christmas package only Harley can deliver. Part of the New 52 series, the issue’s two Christmas tales and one New Year’s story aren’t the most thoughtful and well-crafted yarns in this month’s DC offerings. However, they really aren’t meant to be. The first story is my favorite, as it lets Harley’s well-hidden humanity show just a little bit, as she attempts to find homes for amassed pets and ends up as a “toy” for a spoiled kid.

The most impressive art is from the third story, “Killin’ Time,” in which Harley seeks out Father Time to confront him about a new-found grey hair. It features beautiful illustrations by Darwyn Cooke. Mauricet and Brandt Peters contribute art to the first and second story, respectively.

It’s a fun one-shot, for anyone who wants a sampling of Harley’s endearingly psycho ilk without committing to the entire series, and it’s a great way to blow off some holiday season stress without actually going crazy.

Conner offers two cover choices: the main Christmas-themed and a variant with a New Year’s. I prefer the main cover and feel that  is missing out on a big money-making opportunity, if they don’t release these as Christmas cards next year. I’ll take four boxes, please!

Age Recommendation: Rated T.

Sophie Brown — The X-Files Season 10 #19 by Joe Harris with art by Tom Mandrake

The X-Files Season 10 Issue 19  Image: IDW Publishing
The X-Files Season 10 Issue 19. Image: IDW Publishing.

With #19, The X-Files returns to doing what it does best—cooking up nefarious government schemes being tested on an unsuspecting public. This time, we’re talking drugs and a conspiracy that dates back to the 1960s. The issue opens with a flashback to 1966, starring the Cigarette Smoking Man and Mulder’s father, who are dealing with the aftermath of a breach at a government facility. It’s an interesting start that introduces the key weapon in all of this: A government named G-23 that can “bring out the worst in people.” Whether or not Joe Harris is a fan of Firefly/Serenity I can’t say, but that’s quite a coincidence if he’s not. Could we be looking at a shared fictional universe? There’s nothing I’ve seen to say no!

Jumping forward to the present, and Mulder receives a tip off about this drug from the Smoking Man himself whilst waiting for a dinner date with Scully. I like that they have a dinner date. It reinforces that they’re an actual established couple now, without letting the mushy stuff overtake the plot. What I actually like more though is that the date doesn’t happen. It allows Scully to be upset at Mulder and for him to make amends, but in a way that keeps the plot moving forward. It also gives us some great banter, a piece of the X-Files puzzle that had been somewhat lacking in S10.

There are only three people you might turn to when investigating “government weed,” so it’s not long before The Lone Gunmen are on-board. It’s great to see them again, even if they are being used for some classic exposition scenes, and they naturally give Mulder all he needs to continue the investigation out in Nevada. It’s interesting that Scully doesn’t appear to follow him on this trip, although no explanation is given as to why not. Mulder isn’t alone, however, and we soon discover that Langly has decided to follow him. I have to admit that decision bugged me. For a man so paranoid about the government and who in the eyes of many is supposed to be dead, suddenly deciding to go flying halfway across the country just on the promise of “government ganja” seems way out of character. The final panel is… interesting. Even though it’s more than strongly insinuated that this is a hallucination, it’s inclusion feels weird and unnecessarily pervy.

This is a really strong issue with a solid plot and good character interactions. Tom Mandrake’s artwork is not at all to my taste, but I have to give it to the man; he can draw trippy well. I’m looking forward to see how this one concludes!

Age Recommendation: Age: 15+

Disclaimer: GeekMom received this item for review purposes.

Corrina— Harley Quinn Holiday Special #1 by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti with art by Conner and a host of guest artists

We liked this so much, we reviewed it twice.

Reading a Harley Quinn comic by Conner and Palmiotti never fails to make me smile. I know that’s odd for a comic starring one of Batman’s more insane villains, but while Harley lacks inhibition, she can sometimes have a warm heart. She just kinda expresses it all wrong, like in the opening story, where she gives away her excess kittens and puppies by choosing among people out Christmas shopping. Or when she can’t quite say goodbye to the last puppy, so she terrorizes an entire police precinct to track the license plate number of the car where she left the puppy. This leads to her breaking and entering the home where the puppy is, just to make sure he’s okay. (Which he is.)

And then the bratty daughter of the family decides Harley is her Christmas present and… it becomes surprisingly touching. I forget sometimes that Harley is a psychiatrist. There’s also a number of fabulous pin-ups and two more stories—with one featuring Harley trying to stop the New Year from coming. All of it is sheer (though twisted) fun. This issue would make a great stocking stuff for any geek.

Age Recommendation: 13 + for adult situations

Batgirl-37 cover
Image: DC Comics.

Batgirl #37 by Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher, art by Babs Tarr

As it’s clear from my previous reviews, I’ve enjoyed this creative team change for Batgirl. I still do, but I’m starting to have some serious niggles that are interfering with my enjoyment of the fabulous art by Babs Tarr.

One is, as I said last time, Black Canary being such a jerk. That continues this issue, where she leaves Batgirl in the lurch. I hope this is a plot point that’s wrapped up very soon. The second is that this Babs is a little more carefree than I’m used to seeing her behave. Of course, the creative team wanted to add more fun into this, and they have, but still, Babs is a disciplined and careful person by nature, and I don’t think the writers have yet grasped that fully.

The third (MINOR SPOILER WARNING) is that at one point, the villain is mocked for cross-dressing. I believe the creators meant to mock the character himself for being over-the-top, but it comes across as slamming transgender people. The creative team has already issued an apology for this, so I won’t belabor the point. What I will say is that for the last three issues, Babs has taken down three minor and semi-forgettable villains sent against her by a mastermind. I’d like to have more story progression. Three times the same plot is at least one time too many.

Still, it’s great to see Babs in action against a doppleganger, well able to take care of herself, and seizing her own destiny. I like the new cast that’s been introduced and there’s one chilling panel, a callback to Babs in the wheelchair, that shows Tarr can do scary as well as fun. Also, there’s a great panel of the cast in civilian formal wear, which is fantastic. But I’m ready for this story of someone behind the scenes sending enemies at Batgirl to be done. My guess is Jim Gordon Jr., Babs’ brother, who has never quite been able to let his story succeed at anything.

Age Recommendation: 10 +

Looking for something else, readers? Check out this week’s listed books:

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Arrow Season 2.5 #3
Authority Vol. 2 TP
Batgirl Vol. 4 Wanted TP
Batgirl Vol. 5 Deadline HC
Batman #37
Batman And Robin #37
Batman And Robin Vol. 5 The Big Burn HC
Batman Eternal #37
Batman Kelley Jones Gallery Edition HC
Batman Superman #17
Batwoman #37
Catwoman #37
DMZ Deluxe Edition Vol. 3 HC
Earth 2 World’s End #11
Fables #147
Futures End Five Years Later Omnibus HC
Green Lantern New Guardians #37
Identity Crisis Tenth Anniversary Edition HC
Infinite Crisis The Fight For The Multiverse #6
Justice League #37
Kitchen #2 (Of 8)
MAD Magazine #531
Multiversity Thunderworld #1
New 52 Futures End #33
Red Hood And The Outlaws #37
Sandman Overture #4 (Of 6)
Smallville Season 11 Continuity #1 (Of 4)
Spectre Vol. 2 The Wrath Of God TP
Supergirl #37
Superman Batman Vol. 2 TP
Swamp Thing Vol. 5 The Killing Field TP
Teen Titans #5
Teen Titans Go #7
Trinity Of Sin #3
Wonder Woman #37
All-New Captain America #2
All-New X-Men #34
All-New X-Men Vol. 4 All-Different TP
Avengers And X-Men Axis #8 (Of 9)
Axis Hobgoblin #3 (Of 3)
Axis Revolutions #4 (Of 4)
Black Widow #13
Captain Marvel #10
Cyclops Vol. 1 Starstruck TP
Daredevil By Mark Waid Vol. 7 TP
Deadpool Vs X-Force #1-4 Master Set
Death Of Wolverine The Weapon X Program #4 (Of 5)
Deathlok #3
Elektra #9
Fantastic Four #14
Guardians Of The Galaxy #22
Inhuman #10
Marvel Firsts The 1980s Vol. 3 TP
Marvel Masterworks Famous Firsts 75th Anniversary Slipcase Set (2nd Edition)
Marvel Universe Avengers Assemble Season Two #2
Miles Morales Ultimate Spider-Man #8
Moon Knight #10
Ms. Marvel #10
Official Handbook Of The Marvel Universe Avengers NOW
Powers Bureau Vol. 2 Icons TP
Scarlet Spiders #2 (Of 3)
Spider-Woman #2
Storm #6
Thunderbolts Vol. 5 Punisher Vs The Thunderbolts TP
Uncanny X-Force By Rick Remender The Complete Collection Vol. 2 TP
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Bigger Bang #2 (Of 4)
Borderlands #5
Complete Junior And Sunny By Al Feldstein HC
G.I. JOE #4
G.I. JOE A Real American Hero #209
Ghostbusters Vol. 9 Mass Hysteria Part 2 TP
Ghoul Treasury Edition
Godzilla Cataclysm #5 (Of 5)
Godzilla Rulers Of Earth #19
Godzilla Rulers Of Earth Vol. 4 TP
IDW Winter 2014 Archival And Art Books Sampler
Killogy Halloween Special #1 (One Shot)
My Little Pony Equestria Girls Holiday Special
Ragnarok #3
Rot And Ruin #4
Shadow Show #2 (Of 5)
Star Trek #39
Star Trek New Adventures Vol. 1 TP
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Ghostbusters #2 (Of 4)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles New Animated Adventures #18
Transformers Drift Empire Of Stone #2 (Of 4)
Transformers More Than Meets The Eye #36
True Blood Omnibus Vol. 1 TP
Winterworld Vol. 1 La Nina TP
Angel And Faith Season 10 Vol. 1 Where The River Meets The Sea TP
Athena Voltaire Compendium HC
B.P.R.D. Hell On Earth #126
Brain Boy #1 (#1 For $1 Edition)
Brain Boy Vol. 2 The Men From G.E.S.T.A.L.T. TP
Criminal Macabre The Third Child #4 (Of 4)
Dark Horse Presents #5
Dream Logic HC
Eerie Comics #6
Lobster Johnson Vol. 4 Get The Lobster TP
Predator Fire And Stone #3 (Of 4)
Trilogy USA HC

Acronym Key: VC = Variant Cover / HC = Hard Cover / TP = Trade Paperback / GM = GeekMom Recommended Reading