Saturday, 10 November 2007

Who'd Like A Cocktail? #9

A tough decision this week for the cocktail, partly because I only picked up a handful of comics. Infinity Inc was never in the running, however; the third issue has simply made me realise that the title's not working for me so I'll be dropping it. Both Midnighter - Keith Giffen continues to impress with his dialogue even though the plot seems a bit haphazard - and the Red Rain issue of The Search For Ray Palmer - if only for the Kelley Jones artwork - were close contenders but, as I did for the very first cocktail, I've gone for The Atom.

Once again, Gail Simone has written a fast moving, tightly plotted adventure, free of the confines of the Search for Ray Palmer crossover from previous issues, that can deal with the characters she so obviously enjoys.

It's probably no coincidence with Simone taking over the writing of Wonder Woman that Diana turns up in Ivy Town this issue, intent on using Giganta - whose alter ego of Doris Zeul teaches at the same university as Ryan (The Atom) Choi - as bait for something bigger. Complications arise, though, when it turns out that Ryan and Doris, as was hinted at in previous issues, are almost beginning a relationship.

Their first date isn't just complicated by the arrival of Wonder Woman, however, as a new villain - or possibly villains - arrive to throw a spanner in the works. A man arrives at the class of Ryan's friend Panda and uses mind control to implant the suggestion that Panda should kill Ryan the next time he sees him; either the same villain in a woman's body - as shown on the right, he/she seems to have the ability to swap brains/bodies - or a related one tells Giganta that Ryan's selling her out to Wonder Woman. While the results of the latter incident are played out almost instantly, it seems likely that Panda's troubles will be picked up in future issues.

Giganta and Wonder Woman have a long history which invariably involves violence - at their date, Doris complains about the way calves are kept before being killed for veal. Ryan, despite his obvious attraction to her, can't help but mention how many times she has tried to kill Wonder Woman.

The date doesn't end well, partly due to the villain mentioned above informing Doris that Ryan is going to turn her over to Wonder Woman. While he had originally agreed to wear a wire, Ryan's principles had come to the fore and he had decided not to betray Doris's trust. Unaware of this, and prompted by the mysterious villain, Doris becomes Giganta and ransacks the restaurant.

Wonder Woman launches an attack and despite the Atom's attempts to calm things down, Wonder Woman ends up knocking Giganta down, forcing the Atom to come between the two women and stand up to the Amazonian princess who seems intent on hitting her foe even when unconcious.

While Wonder Woman compliments the Atom on his bravery, Giganta mysteriously disappears and unknown to either of the heroes, Ivy Town is about to be quarantined by the Department of Metahuman Affairs.

Simone writes an excellent Atom; his interactions with both Giganta and Wonder Woman work a treat. She doesn't forget the alien Head, either, with a throwaway line from him as he stares at Wonder Woman and says "Head have feel oddly aroused by non-head appendages!"

What she doesn't write well, though, is the obviously British male villain that confronts Panda. While it starts off well - using the term "mate" as opposed to "friend" or "pal" and referring to the Atom's nemesis Dwarfstar as a "git" - she loses all credibility with the line "Off snoggin' with the birds, weren't he?"

Trust me, Gail: no-one in Britain speaks like that.

Despite that, this is still a damn fine comic.

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