One newer and one older female character are spotlighted in this issue of a book that could be considered the “really big apology of Charles Xavier”. First we have the always tortured, constantly unhappy Rogue. After all these years the poor girl is no closer to finding a way to control her powers than she was before. In fact, she’s one of the few mutants who didn’t even receive a second mutation. Then we have the Joss Whedon creation of Danger, the sentient form of the X-Men’s Danger Room. She’s very happy with her powers, but very unhappy with Charlie! As Rogue struggles with who she is and the memories of the people she absorbs (Oh yeah, and that ancient issue with Carol Danvers – that one needs to be buried for good!), Danger reveals to the Professor that she is aware of what he did to her when she first became “alive”. Let’s just say he didn’t handle it to her liking, but was true to his own character. So the Prof gets to apologize to the Danger Room before he pulls her plug, but not before Rogue fights, again, with the image of her mother and gaining counsel with a facsimile of Magneto. When Gambit (he came along with Charles because you can’t have a Rogue story without the Cajun Thief nearby) is attacked by some Shi’ar salvagers, a “new” Rogue seems to appear to help. I’ve stated before that I have really enjoyed this series, and the soul-searching quest that Professor X is on, but this issue seemed uneven to me. Danger’s side of the story was better for me. She’s new, she’s powerful, and we get to see what her issue’s are. I’m intrigued to see where she goes from here. Rogue, on the other hand, has had a rather weak plot this time around. Probably because she has yet to come face to face with the Professor and have the heart to heart that they both need. Instead, she’s wandering around in a holographic program where she has to relive her life once again. We’ve all seen it, all been there. Let’s hope that the final page means that our little Sugah is about to move on to something new, and more interesting. My score: B-
Not every woman this week seems to be on the side of good. Case in point: Commander Ursa, General Zod’s partner both in and out of the bedroom – and mother to Christopher Kent a.k.a Lor-Zod a.k.a. Nightwing. Greg Rucka keeps us enthralled in what is basically an all battle issue. And it’s easy to figure out why. The running commentary by Ursa is scarily enticing. This is one bad mama! She slices and dices the new Flamebird with a green Kryptonite knife, while giving the readers a wonderful inside look into her thoughts about her “son” and her position in this new world. And even though Christopher ends up taking “mommy” to the cleaners by the end of it, you can’t help but hope that Rucka doesn’t let Ursa stay down too long. Like the song says. “You be good to Mama and Mama’s good to you.” My score: A-
I would bet a great deal of pretend money that this book didn’t sit well with many readers. No action at all, no Captain America at all. This issue was all about Sharon Carter. A simple character study into the thoughts and memories of Steve Rogers on again, off again, girlfriend. Oh, and the woman who killed him (technically). I very much enjoyed this issue, though I’m aware that it seemed to sag just a bit in the middle. The appearance of an old friend and neighbor, who admits that he’s been stalking the woods near her house for weeks in hopes of running into her, is a plot point that didn’t need to be there. In the end, however, Sharon regains enough of her memory to realize she had been carrying the original Captain America’s baby, but she saw something while being held captive by the Red Skull that she still can’t seem to remember. Not the best issue in Brubaker’s run, by far, but I have a feeling that most of the story was probably necessary. And if not, it was good to catch up with Sharon. She’s one of Marvel’s toughest secondary characters that they have. My Score: B-
Every comic has those issues that are quieter than the previous couple, but are needed just as much to move the story along. This is one of these issues. The good news is that PAD and company still make every scene a need to read moment. Although Jamie’s story is probably the most intriguing at the moment, it’s the skillful way that David has been writing Syrin that keeps me coming back. After the major loss that she has suffered, you just know that she’s going to have to snap soon. I just hope everyone has got their earplugs ready when she does. My Score: B
When it comes to the women of comics, Dinah is second to only one other, in my book. I was very nervous when she left the Birds to get married to Ollie and join him in their own series. So far, I’m afraid, my fears have been realized. Since this book started it seems that Ollie and Dinah have been trading places as hostages. That alone, has been annoying. A good story can be told without either of them “needing” the help of the other, but so far neither writer of the series has figured that out. Now add to this the fact that Kreisberg is once again brining back that old worn out chestnut “Dinah is insecure that Ollie is going to hurt her like he has in the past” and it seems that we’re getting a retro Canary. It took Gail Simone several years to make Black Canary the powerhouse independent woman that she deserves to be. Now it looks as though it’s taken just over a year to unravel that. My Score: D+
Finally we get to my favorite comic lady of all time – Barbara Gordon. Thanks to the combined work of Chuck Dixon and Gail Simone, Babs was able to become one of the (if not THE) smartest woman in the DC Universe. A hero in the truest sense of the word, who rose above both the most physical and emotional pain, given at the hands of The Joker. Now, with all the hullabaloo of the death of Batman, a new person under the cowl, and the disbanding of the Birds of Prey, I’ve become more than a little nervous about my favorite heroine. However, this mini, which I thought was going to take Barbara in a new direction (for better or worse), seems to just be on some kind of cruise control. Nothing more than her ongoing battle for internet supremacy with The Calculator. This book has probably disappointed me more than any other, not because how bad it is, but because how boring it is. I hope the final issue gives Oracle the respect and storyline she rightfully deserves. My Score: C-
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