In Case You’re Just Joining Us:

Vixen went back to her home country as soon as she found out that the man who killed her parents is free. She confronts him, only to discover he has super powers of his own. She suffers a nasty stomach wound and has a gun pointed to her head.

But the real review is after the break.

Insert Duran Duran joke here...

Insert Duran Duran joke here...

There are many good things going for this series. It’s good to see DC giving a black super heroine a trial miniseries. It’s good to see a more authentic depiction of Africa than is traditionally seen in comics. It’s good to see that a member of Justice League Detroit can be rehabilitated in the public eye and be considered a character worthy of induction into the real League (Dwayne McDuffie‘s efforts have not been in vain). Mostly, it’s good to see fresh faces and different voices in the industry (the fact that newcomer G. Willow Wilson is a woman is novel enough in the industry; the fact that she is a practicing Muslim makes her a pioneer). All that said, let’s talk about the series itself.

Wilson tells a simple story thus far, not far removed from Campbell’s Hero’s Journey. Her strength is in showing the audience how beautifully different Africa really is compared to the West, and how even a native can experience culture shock after having been gone for a while. She depicts a village that has been scarred by meddling missionaries and civil wars. Christianity, traditional beliefs, and “black magic” give the sense of spiritual unrest to go along with political unrest and personal conflict. Plus, she strikes a delicate balance when depicting Superman during his requisite cameo. Yes, he comes across as a bit folksy, but not preachy or naive. Also, when his judgment is questioned in the second issue, it’s done so without completely invalidating his point of view. Some writers *cough*FrankMiller*cough* could take a lesson from this.

I absolutely love the work that the artist Cafu is doing on the series. The women are realistically proportioned, the men (and Supermen) look super without being overly muscled. Different ethnicities do not have “whitewashed” facial features, but also don’t look like caricatures. The backgrounds provide an appropriate sense of scale (warehouse offices looked appropriately cramped; African plains seem vast and daunting). Action is not sacrificed for the sake of photo realism, though. Fight scenes are still fluid, dynamic and easy to follow. In a just world, Cafu will be getting a lot of high-profile work in the near future. Colorist Santiago Arcas enhances the naturalism of the art by muting the usually garish superhero colors in favor of warmer earth tones.

My quibbles with this issue (and the series thus far) are minor. This issue’s ending was a little deus ex machina. Vixen’s self-doubt doesn’t really make sense without having read  the last few issues of Justice League of America. The recent tendency of superheroes to shout out their attacks is starting to get played out. Finally, under no circumstances should Black Canary EVER say “this is how we roll”.

Recommended For: people looking for more diversity among DC’s heroes (and creators); fans of nature documentaries.

Not Recommended For: people who are burned out on “the hero’s journey”.

About The Author

Reads comics. Watches movies. Passable at karaoke. Kicks ass at trivia.

3 Responses to Vixen: Return of the Lion #2

  1. Erika Szabo says:

    Nice first review, and good to have you on board! I was actually kind of let down by the end of JLA #26, maybe I’ll appreciate it more if I read this.

  2. You’ve got me curious about this one, I’ll have to check it out.