Friday, December 9, 2011


It’s a shame DC mini-series like Huntress don’t have some sort of
branding like “The New 52" to help them compete in a marketplace
overrun with mediocre fare like, well, most of “The New 52” titles
and whatever overblown epic is sprawling across the Marvel Comics
universe of titles.

Huntress is a six-issue series by Paul Levitz with art by Marcus To
(pencils) and John Dell (inks).  The first issues is an excellent
start.  Levitz is a master of comics writing craft, though his work
doesn’t always have the heart I would like to see.  This time, he’s
dealing with situations that truly hit the reader in the gut, such
as gun-running and, even more intense, the international traffic in
sex slaves.  If Levitz digs a little deeper, he could finish very
strong with this series.

The writing is top-notch in this issue.  Though Helena Bertinelli
- the Huntress - could get a bit angrier in her confrontations with
the series villains, I do like the first-person narration utilized
by Levitz.  The To/Dell art is both solid storytelling and lovely
to behold.  Colorist Andrew Dalhouse delivers an outstanding job as

Heaping a bit more praise on the issue, I love that the story isn’t
tied to other DCU storylines.  It’s set in Italy and, outside of a
mention of Gotham City, there’s no other DCU references.  I’d love
to see more DC and Marvel titles that stand on their own merits or
failings.  It makes reading them more enjoyable.

I like Huntress better than almost all of “The New 52.”  I hope the
success of that brand doesn’t spell doom for more independent works
like this one.


My daughter Kelly and her best friend Giselle still love the Sailor
Moon cartoons that found their way to the United States when they
were younger.  So when Kodansha Comics announced the reprinting of
the original Sailor Moon and Sailor V manga series, I acquired the
first volumes of each.

Codename: Sailor V [$10.99] predates Sailor Moon.  The series was
created by Naoki Takeuchi in 1991.  As seen in this first volume,
it’s Sailor Moon without the team concept.  Middle-school student
Minako Aino is recruited by talking cat Artemis to use the powers
and weapons of Sailor V to protect Earth from otherworldly villains
like the Dark Agency. 

The soft and dream-like art of Sailor V is beautiful, but doesn’t
lend itself to clear storytelling.  Key plot points are obscured or
reduced to minimal size.  The stories themselves - there are eight
more or less done-in-one tales in this volume - have a sameness to
them.  The series - thus far - isn’t to my taste, but your mileage
could and probably does vary.

I found Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon [$10.99] the better of the two
debut volumes, though that is partly due to my greater familiarity
with the characters from the cartoons.  The flighty, klutzy Usagi
Tsukino (Sailor Moon) is better realized and more fun than Sailor
V.  The storytelling is somewhat clearer and the humorous moments
are actually pretty funny. 

In this first volume, we also meet talking cat Luna, Tuxedo Mask,
Sailor Mercury, Sailor Mars, and Sailor Jupiter.  None of them is
as compelling or interesting as Sailor Moon herself, but they are
all better-developed than the weaker supporting cast of Sailor V.

Sailor Moon is obviously Takeuchi’s second attempt at this kind of
shojo super-hero manga.  She got it right the second time around.
Not perfect, but good and very entertaining.

Codename Sailor V ran 15 chapters, which should translate to just
two volumes of the new reprint series.  Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon
ran 52 chapters with ten separate side stories.  That should come
out to between 12 and 14 volumes.  I’ve already ordered the second
volumes of both series and am leaning towards sticking with Sailor
Moon for the long haul.  Expect updates.
I’ll be back on Monday with more stuff.   

© 2011 Tony Isabella

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