Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Vixen: Return of the Lion #3 (February, 2009)

  1. Predators
  2. Prey

Superman, Batman, Black Canary and Arsenal were in flight over the Atlantic Ocean, while Jefferson Pierce was “already on the ground, gathering more intel.”

Mari woke up on a mat on the floor of a stone hut. Various native creatures like the lion and monkey lounged in the same room, as well as some sort of memorial to the dead. Brother Tabo, keeper of this Shrine of Saint Amica, brought Mari some milk in a wooden saucer. Brother Tabo explained that “St. Amica was a slave in a Roman house. She became a Christian in secret, and was executed for abandoning the Roman gods. A monk brought her body here to Zambesi-- the country of her birth.” As for the animals, “They are Lady Amica’s miracle. They seek this place out, and while they are here they live in the brotherhood, without aggression. You are lucky Zaki found you when he did. You would not have lived another day with those wounds.”

Meanwhile, former United States Secretary of Education Jefferson Pierce had thrown on a dashiki and grabbed a walking stick, so of course he was totally indistinguishable in color and facial features from native born Africans. Pierce also managed to walk right up to Sia, Kwesi’s good-hearted henchman, and ask about his relative with “hair like the Ajnabi.” I assume that since Pierce decided to only pepper his dialogue with Zambesi, all the natives spoke English, which must have been handy. Sia delivered a recap of the last issue, and then pressed a fight to get answers of his own, but the plainclothes Black Lightning kicked his ass. Pierce finally shocked Sia unconscious to insure his silence while he set out to find Vixen.

Only the white heroes get to wear costumes in this mini-series, so Dashiki Pierce joined the Justice League in raiding the Ridge Ferrick mining facility. Two present were struck by bladed weapons with “black junk on the spikes.” Within, Black Canary found plans that revealed that the “mining facility” was actually a weapon unto itself, employing seismic energy to potentially produce “a shock wave stronger than a megaton bomb-- anywhere within a thousand-mile radius.” Unfortunately, she had been poisoned with the voodoo concoction datria and collapsed, soon followed by Superman.

While all that was going on, Mari whined about her lack of an identity with the Brother on the Dagombi. Vixen felt like a third wheel among all the more competent, experienced heroes within their own incestuous little hierarchy. Amazing observation, considering it took nearly a year into Brad Meltzer’s run before the new League actually formed, and that she was serving with no other members of her previous League team after a two decade publishing absence. Anyway, Mari recognized that she was always planning to leave Zambesi, “there were so many things I wanted to do that I couldn’t do here,” but now felt selfish for abandoning her people in their time of need.

Brother Tabo tricked Vixen into calling upon the animal spirits without the Tantu Totem, because it’s now a law enforced by the Comic Code Authority that all super powers must be internalized (just ask Jefferson Pierce.) “I thought that without it, the Red would overwhelm my mind…” A boy named Antoine ran up, announcing that his sister had been killed by a rogue lion, and Brother Tabo thought Mari should handle the problem without the Tantu Totem. “I believe that Vixen owes nothing to totems or gods. That she was born to play this role, with or without help. Now you must believe it too.”

“Return of the Lion Part 3: Sanctuary” was by G. Willow Wilson and Cafu with colors by Santiago Arcas. Zambesi, not M’Changa! Why did M’Changa get the works? That’s nobody’s business but Wikipedia… M’CHANGAAAAA!!!! Also, G. Willow Wilson, not Chris Claremont, but not for her lack of trying. This whole mini-series reads like an episode of that intermittent series of special Uncanny X-Men issues Claremont did with Barry Windsor-Smith called “Lifedeath” where Ororo would return to Africa for some mystic crystal revelation and the mind’s true liberation—Aquarious! Aquaaaarrrious! Cafu’s art is nice, but it kind of looks like an ethnic motivational poster. The book looks soft and somewhat static, while the flimsy plot plods along. The story is Mari being introspective and finding herself, while the rest of the details are illogical and obligatory contrivances.

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