You are warned, here be spoilers.
I’ve been reading comics since the early ’90s, yet for some reason it’s only now that I’m noticing signs of actual geekiness in the writing. And then came an issue of All New Atom, wherein the writer, the inimitable Gail Simone, quoted Seanbaby. Now, I’m delighted to find it cropping up all over the place.
Take the current issue of Power Girl, an unapologetically cheesetastic romp where the villainess appears to be a super-powered cosplayer with a grudge:
Power Girl: I want you to stop this now before someone gets hurt!
Zoraida: I issued fair warning to thee, flaxen beauty! My cause is just, and I shall not waver in my commitment to topple the technocracy!
Power Girl: Seriously, can you just stop with the whole Dungeons and Dragons thing? This is not how I want to spend my Saturday night, and I don’t want to hurt you.
The writing and art both have a cheeriness that dips into comedy without robbing the story of its drama; the effect isn’t miles from what we get in Robert Kirkman’s wonderful Invincible. (Side note: Image Comics? Work on your web site.) Underneath the genre-savvy commentary, it actually seems a bit of a throwback to Silver Age storytelling. This sort of introduction and vanquishing in a single issue of Some Massive Threat, without it being part of a metaplot (as far as I can tell at this juncture), would be right at home in my copy of Essential Iron Man Volume 1.
The story’s not trapped by the ’60s, though. A ’60s issue of Tales of Suspense wouldn’t have had room for the four pages we spend on Karen Starr and Terra watching a movie before the threat is introduced, nor the seven spent on Karen’s business and housing hassles. Along with the post-Whedon wryness, there’s a post-Whedon contrasting of the heroic role with the mortal who implements it.