Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Terra - DC Comics

It has been a little while since I've posted about, you know, comics. Sorry about that.

I realize I have a tendency to to post about the comics I have on my pull list, and this usually means that there are a good amount of reviews of Avengers, G.I.Joe and X-Men, and I wanted to expand my scope a little bit.

So I picked up the trade paperback collecting 2007's "Terra" from DC Comics, created by Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray, and Amanda Conner.

I wanted to like this book. It was a fresh new character with a decidedly female influence in Conner that did add a different element and made it feel, I guess, a little more authentic. As well, the book was a good light adventure comic, with appearances by Supergirl, Power Girl, and Geo Force.

But that's also where the book fails completely.

I can see this book being discussed as a good story that could act as a gateway to new readers or female readers, (or even new female readers) into the DCU. A new character with a clean slate that has no idea about the world she has arrived in, trying to do the right thing and save the day, well, that's a good place to start any series. You would, as a new reader, then be able to be introduced to this world as it is introduced to the protagonist, and you would learn things on the way, and, ideally for DC, you would like this world and want to explore more of it.

Then why would the creative team on this book insist on having this character tied to plot points from books over 25 years old? I read Wolfman and Perez's "New Teen Titans". I quite liked "The Judas Contract" and I think the book holds up pretty well in the decades since it's publication.

But, even as a comic book fanboy, I had a hard time pulling to the surface all of the Tara Markov/Terra I and Terra II history that was needed for this new series to make sense. I cannot imagine giving this book to someone who was not literate in 30 years of DC comics and expecting them to understand why Geo Force appearing is important, and why everyone is a little freaked out that a new Terra appeared out of nowhere.

It confused me. I was hoping to read a book, set in the DCU, about a super hero that I could use as a good "lender" to people, a book I could say "Here, take a look at this, it's a good place to start." And this book was not that.

It wasn't a bad book. I really liked the art. I thought it was fun and bright. I liked the action, which reminded me a little bit of Marvel's "Arana" in the way that it was a new comic about a girl with superpowers, but not about the fact that she was a girl, per se. I do not however, understand who the intended audience for this book would have been, as I do not know too many folk looking for girl comics rooted in Teen Titans history but that are also totally new to the DC Universe. So while I liked the book, I'm disappointed I don't think I can pass this one over to my fiance to read without having to suggest she slug her way through four or five years of old comics from the 80's.

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