How To Drop The Ball In Comics: All-Star Batman And Robin (It’s Miller Time)
Sometimes, comic book companies will try different ways of getting new readers who might be interested in their characters and stories, but are a little intimidated by years, even decades, of continuity to go through. One method that seemed to work pretty well for Marvel was the Ultimate Universe, which was basically taking those same characters, distilling them down to their core traits, and retelling their origins in a modern setting. DC attempted something similar with the All-Star comics, and the greatest of them was All-Star Superman, a story that, while possessing elements that one could criticize, nonetheless presented the main protagonist and his greatest elements in a story where the reader didn’t need to know everything that ever happened in his history. This…is not that comic.
Welcome to the newest installment of How To Drop The Ball In Comics. Say… … … It’s Miller Time. ^_^
With the final issue of All-Star Batman And Robin reviewed on Atop The Fourth Wall, and the adventures of Crazy Steve and Dick Grayson (Age 12) forever put away, I figured now’s a good time to discuss my own thoughts on the comic and exactly what went wrong. So…yeah, this is really just me giving my own thoughts on ASBAR, after having watched reviews of every issue on AT4W, on my blog as opposed to filling up poor Linkara’s comment section with my ramblings. lol But, for the sake of those who have never heard of this book, let’s do a quick recap of the concept.
What Is It?: As I alluded to earlier, DC was trying to cash in on the same success that Marvel was having with the Ultimate Universe. As such, they laid out a plan wherein they would do something similar with the characters of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Batgirl (the latter two series being cancelled when the All-Star line ultimately went belly up). For reasons that are best illustrated within the pages of All-Star Batman And Robin, though, I’m not sure that the intent was for these books to all exist in the same universe, but to each be their own unique take on the characters in question without being bogged down by three-fourths of a century’s worth of continuity. And while the All-Star line did eventually become cancelled, we now have a similar line-up of books entitled Earth One, although these ones are graphic novels only. And while I haven’t read them, I will admit that at least Superman Earth One addresses certain issues I’ve had with Superman’s back story (namely how the Kryptonians were seemingly so advanced and yet still died with their planet), and is clearly popular enough that it warranted not one but THREE graphic novels.
How Did It Have Potential?: Well, like I said before, there DO exist people who would like to read comics, but because their stories have gone on for so long, there’s so much information to go through. Granted, most of us on the internet can look this stuff up, which makes the necessity of stories that have all past continuity stripped away a little pointless if that’s the point behind doing it, but not everyone has that time. And while some of us might scoff at the idea that retelling the same origin story with a few tweaks will result in a well-selling story that people will buy, let me again remind you of the success of Ultimate Spider-Man, a story that set off a chain of events leading directly into stories that are STILL being told to this day, nearly 16 years later. However, the thing is, that’s because the overall quality of the books and the storytelling in them was so good that the success far exceeded anyone’s expectations…which of course leads to…
How Did It Drop The Ball?: Well, for one thing, because Jim Lee’s schedule is kinda funtastic, the book was outright PLAGUED with delays. In four years, they only managed to release TEN ISSUES. However, whereas that would usually be enough to kill a book, that’s just the tip of the iceberg of what went wrong. The rest? Two words: FRANK MILLER. Yes, Frank Miller has written some great works for Batman that, while having points one could take issue with and point out as being problematic, were at least well-crafted takes on the character. However, that was a while ago, and since then, Frankie’s pretty much become one of the most sexist, bigoted, racist, appalling, homophobic, classless, and downright moronic HACKS to continue to get work within the comic industry to this day. The same man who once had Batman rescue a cat in the middle of a firefight was now using words like “retarded”, taking glee and beating up thugs and damned near (if not outright) killing people, was cruel to the people who cared for him, and was pretty much Batman in name only. Or, as the memes refer to him, “The Goddamn Batman”. We who watch AT4W prefer to refer to him as “Crazy Steve”, crazed hobo/escaped mental patient/potential pedophile with homicidal delusions who found Batman’s costume and a winning lottery ticket, and decided to become the Dark Knight. But, as horrible as that is for anyone who considered Batman their childhood hero, that’s not all that went wrong. The pacing is awful, the dialogue repetitive and stupid to the point of hilarity, every single female character is written to be either over-sexualized or inspired by Batman to the point of near-cultism, and the Justice League are included and written as being completely ineffectual so that Crazy Steve is the only seemingly competent superhero among them, even though he pretty much, in every way, violates what it means to be a hero, or more specifically, what it means to be Batman.
See, here’s the thing that Frank Miller has clearly forgotten about Batman, and I know I’m getting on a soap box for the sake of a fictional character, but just hear me out. Yes, the phrase “I am vengeance! I am the night! I am Batman!” can make him sound harsh, dark, and cruel, but the real Batman knows how to temper those things with the ideals of justice and compassion. Yes, he is the man who engages in brutal, bloody fights with thugs, recruits teenage sidekicks over and over even after one of them got killed, and keeps hidden contingency plans for shutting down the other members of the Justice League, his friends and allies, if need be. However, he is also the man who is always there for his city and his friends when they need him most. He is a man who fights day in and day out, pushing himself past his natural limits, not for the sake of inflicting pain, but for the sake of a world where no other 8-year-old child will ever lose his parents because of a punk with a gun. And, and this is the big one for me personally, he is a man who once sat on a swing next to a little girl who was dying, and held her hand until her time came. Above all else, for his faults, Batman is not just a crusader, or a detective, or a ninja, but ultimately, he is a hero. Crazy Steve is not.
So, what would I have done differently? Well, the heart of this story was very clearly supposed to be about how, in a city that was so cruel and corrupt that it took a young boy’s parents and didn’t care, there was one man who was there for him. One man who, while tortured, was compassionate for that boy, saw himself and his own trauma in him, and offered him a chance to join in his crusade, while also letting the boy’s youth and optimism keep him grounded. If you are seeking to distill Batman and Robin to their most basic formula, THAT is the story of the Dynamic Duo to me, and what should’ve been the heart of the story. And there ARE times when it delves into that. See, while issue 9 is overall abysmal, with Batman and Robin painting themselves and a room yellow and making Green Lantern out to look like a complete tool (and even I don’t think Hal Jordan is THAT big a moron), the ending of that issue, where Batman recognizes he never gave Robin a chance to grieve over his parents’ death and takes him to see their graves, was perfect. Even the last few lines of the book, which usually is badly written in nearly every way, perfectly captures the moment: “We mourn lives lost. Including our own”. If we had more of that from the very beginning, and the book focused on Batman and Robin without adding the Justice League, Batgirl, Black Canary, and a bunch of other mischaracterized characters, it’d be a much better story. Hell, I wouldn’t even mind the change of making the Joker the man behind the Grayson killing if it kept to the themes and character motivations of everyone involved. Towards the end, you could see how it was at least building towards SOMETHING, that there was a point they were trying to reach. The problem was, by that point, nobody was left to care, and the reason is that, if that WAS the heart of the story, then clearly, Frank Miller forgot that. He forgot WHY Batman is, as he once put it, “as good and pure a superhero as you can find”.
But, I have to be completely fair on this. If I’m gonna judge Frank Miller for what went wrong, I have to be equally judgmental of Jim Lee. While his artwork in this book is gorgeous at times, except when he has to depict stuff like Vicki Vale seemingly literally talking out of her ass, his schedule ultimately hurt the book as well. He seemed to get back on schedule after a while, but much of that came from making splash pages and two page spreads that, while a visual marvel, could’ve been used for advancing the story, or what story there was. And I suppose I should also point out that Bob Schreck, the editor for the All-Star line, was seemingly all too happy to let most of the content of the books through, with the only exceptions being stuff like swearing…which is hilarious, when you consider what happened with issue 10. lol
Bottom line, for various reasons, this series is pretty much the epitome of what it means to drop the ball in the realm of comic books. Or, if I may borrow a phrase (and why not at this point), as we say in my favourite corner of the internet, “This comic sucks!” If you’ve got your own opinion on the book, feel free to leave it below. Or, if you wanna know more about the book and what went wrong with it, as I’ve said numerous times, Linkara has now officially reviewed all ten issues, so feel free to go to his website and check ’em out, plus his reviews of similar Frank Miller titles like The Dark Knight Strikes Again and Holy Terror. Ja né!
The Court Of Owls Returns In December
Beware the Court of Owls, that watches all the time,
Ruling Gotham from a shadowed perch, behind granite and lime.
They watch you at your hearth, they watch you in your bed.
Speak not a whispered word about them, or they’ll send the Talon for your head.
… … …Expect a far more elaborate geeking-out about this later on. lol Until then, click the image above or the link below to learn more about the Court of Owls’ involvement in Robin War, and we’ll see what other information turns up from now til then. Ja né!
… … … …Calvin Rose and Casey Washington better fucking well return in this. lol
What I Bought Today – Batman and Robin #18, Nightwing #19, Batwoman #19 (WARNING – SPOILERS)
Alright, so it’s Wednesday, and I am officially broke. XD Let’s take a look at…
So why am I broke? Because Injustice: Gods Among Us came out yesterday, and today I got four comics, two of which I’d been expecting for a while, and one of those two was a big one. So I’m gonna get the other three out of the way first and then cover Detective Comics #900 separate. So, let’s kick things off with the comic that gave everyone “the feels” last month, Batman and Robin #18.
OH MY GOD. If there was ever the emotional equivalent to getting punched in the soul, this is it. This is where Bruce starts to LOSE HIS SHIT. He is seeing Damian everywhere he goes, while driving the Batmobile, swinging across the city, going down the poles…and yeah, I did have to take a moment to giggle at the idea of them using the 1960’s Batman poles to get down to the Batcave. Then he finds the letter, which apparently Damian wrote before leaving to help him fight Leviathan. I will now read to you what he wrote, in excruciating detail, so you too will experience “the feels”.
I’m sure you’ll be angry with me for disobeying you again but I don’t care, I will not let you fight Leviathan alone. You need me and I will always be at your side.
Because it will be hard for me to say these words face to face, I want you to know that Mother may have given me life, but you taught me how to live.
Love and respect
Naturally, that’s the breaking point for Bruce, who decides to pretty much break the cave, and…well, we already know what became of that. Speaking of which, I feel bad for missing this, but apparently the next few issues will revolve around the five stages of grief. With Red Robin, it was denial, Red Hood will be anger, Batgirl bargaining, Catwoman depression, and Nightwing acceptance. So I guess that covers why it’s just those five.
Nightwing #19 does a good job of setting up the new scenario for Dick Grayson, having left Gotham to go to Chicago. Why Chicago? I DON’T KNOW. The situation feels a LOT like Blüdhaven, with the mayor being clearly corrupt and crime seeming to work its way down from there to the streets, very much a reversal of Gotham City and, in many ways, worse. So why isn’t it Blüdhaven instead of Chicago? Well, technically it was blown up…actually, I think it was blown up a couple of times, not sure. But considering everything else they changed with the New 52, I’m not really sure why they didn’t do this. Also, Prankster is a psycho. I’ll admit to not knowing much about the character going into this, and this guy caught me off guard with just how crazy he is. Like, Joker would probably really like this guy.
Batwoman #19 didn’t have much in the way of superheroing, it was more of a character study…which is kind of a trend I’ve noticed from last issue. There’s a lot of analysis on the characters, showing us their motivations, what makes them tick, what they’re willing to do in the field, how they relate to each other, all great. Guess what, though? Not a lot of actual superhero work done. And that’s fine for one issue, but this is two in a row we’ve gotten a lack of superhero work. I’m hoping that this is just a slow build to something big, though, and perhaps it is, as we discover that what the D.E.O. REALLY wants from Batwoman is to obtain Batman’s secret identity. Also, her sister’s been found, and is apparently going to be used as leverage to make sure she co-operates, but I get the feeling that Hawkfire might be looking to help her out of her situation.
So, three comics down, one to go. Check out my look at Detective Comics #900 coming up in a few. Ja né!
Batman & Robin For The Next Few Months + Who I’d Team Up With Batman
So apparently for the next few months, Peter Tomasi‘s Batman and Robin book is going be undergoing a bit of a new direction. First up, as I reported before, Batman and Robin #18 will be a silent comic. No text balloons, no sound effects, nothing. Just Bruce silently contemplating what he’s lost. Afterwards, for the next few months, Batman’s gonna be teaming with various members of the Bat Family, one per issue. It’ll start with #19 being Batman and Red Robin (YAY!), then Batman and Red Hood, Batman and Batgirl, Batman and Catwoman, and then Batman and Nightwing…which is odd, since I’d last heard he was headed for Chicago, but oh well.
Now, I like this idea, but I do wish others were getting in on this. Now granted, probably the reason they aren’t is because that would stretch this a bit longer than they’re planning to, but it still would be neat to see, so let’s take a look at some of the other characters I’d have team up with Batman for this angle. Also, I apologise as a few of these pics actually have Dick Grayson as Batman and not Bruce Wayne.
Because gosh darnit, I’m horrified that DC otherwise plans to just shove her aside now that her partner Knight passed away. And it’s easy enough to make it work, like he goes to the UK to help her with a case, or she spends a few days at the mansion because she needs the confidence booster before going it alone. And they would have common ground, since they both just lost their partners.
Other than a couple of cameos that Batman has made in Batwoman and the one time she cameo’d in Batman: The Dark Knight, these two really haven’t had much interaction as of late. I’m not really sure why that is, either. She’s like the only member of the Bat Family who doesn’t work underneath him (shut up, don’t make that joke) in any sort of sense, and yet she’s the only one who doesn’t team with him. What’s that all about?
Ugh, I get it, okay? The chances of ever seeing Stephanie Brown again are paper-thin. I’m just saying, it’d make for a good team-up. Leave me and the characters I love alone, Dan Didio. I hate you.
This one’s a little different, but basically it’s born out of one thing: Cyborg is the only member of the Justice League who does not have his own book. Therefore, the only time he appears outside it is when he cameos in other people’s books, and even then, he doesn’t do that very often. Give Vic some love, writers.
Suddenly noticing a lot of these are women. lol Anyway, I know I said that Helena Wayne was among the possible candidates to be the next Robin, but considering she’s like 23…yeah, kinda old for that. But I would like to see a story involving the two. Maybe not even being a full team-up, just Huntress working from the shadows to help her sort-of father, only for it to turn out in the end that he knows everything and that she was there and so on.
So yeah, that’s my two cents on the matter. I still suspect this to be cool, though. Ja né!
Jyger’s Favourite 5 – 5 Favourite Damian Moments
Yeah, as you might imagine, I’m feeling just a little nostalgic for some of my favourite Damian Wayne moments, what with him dying horribly in the newest issue of Batman Incorporated. Now, I understand why a lot of people dislike the guy. Hell, I did for a long time. However, there have been some really great moments of his, be they either F Yeah moments of awesometasticness, or just plain ROFL moments. So, to help people get over the loss of Damian, and to help his detractors better understand why I liked him, these are my 5 Favourite Damian Moments.
I think this was the moment that pretty much solidified beyond any doubt why Dick and Damian as Batman and Robin were awesome. I forget exactly why they were crashing the wedding. I mean, I know there were thugs and crooks and whatnot there, but I forget the exact situation. But regardless, Dick and Damian crash the wedding, and as Damian points out during the ensuing fight, they both had a line upon crashing the doors down. I will admit though that Dick’s is funnier and maybe adds a little insight on certain lingering issues of his regarding weddings.
This one was more a matter of “Which one would people kill me most for leaving out”. I didn’t wanna go the cheap way and say “Every Time Damian And Stephanie Were On The Same Panel At The Same Time”. Likewise, if I did all my favourite Damian and Stephanie moments, this whole list would be just them. So I had to pick one, and for me, this is the best one. It pretty much summarises their chemistry as an unlikely duo in that one page. Sadly, it kinda makes me wanna shake my fist at DC, as one of these characters is banned from use by writers, and one is now dead…What the frak.
So Damian has just beaten Jason Todd in a fight (albeit with some shenanigans involved), and what does he do? He rides off on Jason’s motorcycle with the Red Hood helmet mounted on the front. This is Damian being a very blatant dick, but considering he’s doing it to Jason Todd, it’s admittedly kind of funny. Though this once again raises some questions regarding Damian, like “How the hell can he drive a motorcycle?”.
This one’s kind of different, because it’s more heart-warming than anything. In the first issue of Batman & Robin of the New 52, Bruce tells Damian about their family and about the deaths of Damian’s grandparents, Thomas and Martha Wayne. Now at first, he doesn’t seem to care much, but then in later issues he’s seen searching through the sewers for something. And what does he eventually reveal to his father? One of the pearls on Martha Wayne’s necklace from the night she’d been shot. This was Damian proving to Bruce that he DOES care about more than just himself, and we see these two genuinely bonding as a result…although this kind of pales in comparison to the last of my favourite Damian moments.
If you’ve read my look at this comic, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. If you’re lazy and don’t wanna read it, here’s a basic summary: Damian sends Bruce and Alfred on a scavenger hunt around the world that allows Bruce a chance to retrace his parents’ trips across the world while Damian patrols as Batman. There’s funny moments, heart-warming moments, and lots of Damian being a badass. Also, looking back on it, I’m glad we got to see Damian done the cowl once.
So yeah, I hope that this has helped people in the wake of Damian’s death, and let’s hope that someone (Tomasi, Snyder, etc) can convince Morrison to let them bring him back so we can see more awesome moments like these. Ja né!
- What I Bought Today – Batman & Robin Annual #1 (WARNING – SPOILERS) (jygersrant.wordpress.com)
- Some thoughts on the future of Damian Wayne (robot6.comicbookresources.com)
Robin RIP? (WARNING – SPOILERS)
I feel odd posting that there are spoilers for Batman Incorporated #8 here, seeing as how this news was delivered by DC themselves, but yes, it has been confirmed: Damian Wayne, AKA Robin, is going to die.
Like with Alfred in Death of the Family, this was guessed at for a while now. However, it seems that this time, we were right…and boy, do I wish we were wrong. For all his ups and downs, the little punk was actually growing on me a lot. But yeah, it seems as though in two days, I have another eulogy to write. I’m thinking I’ll probably do that separate from Wednesday’s edition of What I Bought Today.
Now, I’m not surprised that this was Grant Morrison‘s call, not DC Editorial. After all, since his run with Batman is coming to an end, this kinda helps bookend it a bit. The thing that surprises me most about all this is that apparently Peter J. Tomasi, the writer of Batman & Robin, has known since day one of writing that book that Damian was going to die. I’m gonna have to look back on his run with the book to see if there were any hints early on that he was writing toward that eventuality, though he has noted that he was hoping Morrison would change his mind.
Speaking of which, word is that Batman & Robin #18 is gonna be a silent comic. What that means is no word balloons, no sound effects, no text period…well, except for the title likely, and words on books or something, but you get what I mean: No one and nothing making a sound throughout the entire issue. Colour me interested, Tomasi. Also, following this, Red Robin and Red Hood are gonna be hanging with Batman for a bit, though I should stress that neither one are for certain going to be Batman’s new partner. Personally, my bet is on either Helena Wayne or Harper Row becoming Robin, which would be great because we’d get to see another female Robin.
Anyway, I suppose I’ll see everyone in a couple of days. Ja né!
- DC killing off Batman’s ‘Boy Wonder’ Damian Wayne in new comic book (nypost.com)
- BAT SIGNAL EXCLUSIVE: Tomasi Reveals “Batman & Robin’s” Future (comicbookresources.com)
- BREAKING: Something Big Happens in Batman Inc. #8 (Spoilers) [UPDATE] (ifanboy.com)
- DC would like you to know Robin is gonna die this week in Batman, Inc. (io9.com)
- BATMAN INC’s Huge Plot Point SPOILED in NY Post (newsarama.com)
- Robin the Boy Wonder Killed Off in Latest Batman Comic (theepochtimes.com)
Is Damian Going To Die? + Possible Power Girl Developments (WARNING – SPOILERS)
So I recently read an article on Gotham Spoilers, wherein my Twitter friend FHIZ suggested that Damian Wayne is going to die. Of course, I was sceptical going in…and then he started to list his evidence, which includes solicits from April and May issues that were revealed recently. I’ll go ahead and throw up the link to it now…
- Get your crowbars ready… (gothamspoilers.com)
So, what are my thoughts on it? I really, sincerely hope that FHIZ is wrong here. All of the evidence he listed seems to suggest that he is correct, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he is, but I hope he’s wrong. Despite my nitpicking, Damian as of late has truly grown on me. Yeah, he’s still a little dick, but he sincerely wants to do well and have his father be proud of him. So I’m hoping that he doesn’t die here, or at least dies and they find a way to bring him back and soon.
That aside, there’s something else that really got my attention: May solicits for Supergirl and World’s Finest. You’ll recall I finally had to drop World’s Finest after the bunk that they’ve been doing with Power Girl. Basically, she’s been an overzealous flirt, she didn’t care about kids that got boom tubed away to who knows where, she went on a rampage in a foreign nation that should totally have the Justice League on her tail, and her costume (which everyone refers to as ugly but that I actually don’t find much wrong with) continues to get torn off, blown off, and just plain burnt up so we can see PG naked in damned near every issue. Well, recently CBR revealed the May solicits for DC, and a couple of interesting bits regarding Power Girl. First, there’s World’s Finest #12…
And then there’s Supergirl #20…
…Okay, these two seem to directly contradict each other. The only thing I can figure is that Supergirl’s ‘death’ is metaphorical and that Power Girl becoming Supergirl is temporary. As for Power Girl getting her classic look back, I’m sure people will be pleased, but I’m honestly unsure how this makes sense within the context of the story, unless it turns out she used to patrol in this costume and finds herself having to dress in it for a mission and decides to stick with it.
At any rate, I’m hoping this also equals a bit of an attitude adjustment and her character reverting back to a more noble persona. If she does, I might just decide to start picking up World’s Finest again, since Power Girl was my biggest issue with the story. I’ll keep y’all posted. Ja né!
What I Bought Today – Batman & Robin Annual #1 (WARNING – SPOILERS)
Yep, that’s right, I’m once again taking a look at…
Thought I’d give this particular comic by Peter J. Tomasi a look all on its own. Here is Batman & Robin Annual #1.
First off, I’m gonna go ahead and answer the immediate question raised by the cover: Why is Damian wearing Batman 666’s costume? It’s especially odd since, in Batman Incorporated, we’ve established that Batman 666 isn’t Damian, but rather his clone The Heretic. So why does he wear that costume in this comic? I………….don’t know. 😛 I have no clue, folks. I know he’s supposed to be Batman, but why this costume, I have no idea. Either there’s a lack of communication between Tomasi and Grant Morrison, or it’s supposed to be an irony type thing that’s just over my head. I suppose either one is equally possible, considering.
The book opens up with Batman kicking the snot outta some guy in an armoured suit that spews flames, who turns out to be a major pussy and starts crying and begging that Batman not tell his Dad about this. We then cut to-Oh hai Alfred! You’re looking quite lively today! This tells me that either Alfred does in fact survive the ordeals of Death of the Family, or this story takes place before his kidnapping. Either way, he’s one of the best parts of this comic, with the dialogue between him and Bruce being HILARIOUS. And there’s plenty of these two together, since it seems that Damian’s in London and has set his father up on a scavenger hunt of sorts to reconnect with his family roots, something that Damian has recently been learning the importance of. But it turns out to be a trick of sorts, as while he does have this plan set up, he also has never truly left Gotham and is using this time while Bruce and Alfred are away to patrol solo as Batman, though I personally prefer to refer to him as Batman Jr. in this costume, named after one half of the Super-Sons.
Meanwhile, a member of the GCPD by the name of Detective Pierce is feeling pissy because people keep referring to her as part of the “Bat Backup Brigade”. Batman Jr. doesn’t exactly help matters by pulling a double yoink on some evidence taken from a crime scene. Seems something chewed through the gas lines so that gasoline could be syphoned away with ease. As Bruce and Alfred continue on their scavenger hunt, Damian sending them clues while appearing on a green screen to make them think he’s overseas, Batman Jr. heads out the next night in the Batmobile…and it’s at this point I gotta ask a question that has bugged me for some time regarding Damian: How the fuck can he drive?! Now, I don’t mean how does he know how to drive, I can buy that. What I mean is, how the fuck is he physically able to drive? He’s kinda small. Unless he’s pulling a Short Round from Temple of Doom where he’s got boxes stacked on the pedals, this doesn’t seem physically possible.
Anyway, Batman Jr. delivers a purse snatcher to Commissioner Gordon, who is able to tell from his voice that it’s Robin (he’s kinda obscured by the light of the Bat Signal, otherwise it’d be a bit more obvious), but this backs up my theory that there’s not much communication between Tomasi and Morrison since in Batman Incorporated #7, we see that Damian is able to imitate his father’s voice perfectly to trick the Batcave’s voice recognition security. Whatever, small nitpicking aside, we see more of Bruce going on his scavenger hunt as it becomes clear he’s revisiting some of the locations travelled to that would have sentimental value to them and, by extension, to him. It really is touching to consider how much time and effort Damian had to put in to make all this work.
The next night, Batman Jr. saves some people from a burning building and finds the fanged culprit responsible for biting into the gas lines, as well as his partner. And wouldn’t you know it? It’s pansy man from earlier’s daddy, who also has a giant fire spewing robot. Luckily, he turns out to be as big a pushover as his kid, and Batman Jr. brings him down. The next day, Damian meets his father, who tells him he’s well aware that Damian was patrolling solo and using green screen, but he’s not angry. Rather, he’s proud of his son for what he did for him, and has learned at last that he can trust him. I like this, it kind of reminds me of a situation that came up with Tim a few years ago.
This comic is awesomely entertaining. If I HAD to nitpick one other thing besides what I mentioned, it’s that this again is very clearly a Damian story that is also starring Bruce Wayne, not a story starring Batman and Robin equally. I’m hoping it’s something they work on, otherwise the title becomes too misleading. Otherwise, the story is great, artwork is great, and it had a number of ROFL moments for me while reading, so yeah, definitely a recommended comic, especially for those who aren’t too keen on Damian and want to see the better parts of his personality shine through.
Anyhow, next week we return to Earth-2 to see the début of Dr. Fate, we watch Batman fight the League of Smiles in Detective Comics, and because I’m honestly curious as to what the hell they’re gonna do with this, we’re gonna take a look at Young Romance: A New 52 Valentine’s Day Special #1…Why do I get the feeling this is gonna be one of those hard to forget comics that are either really good or REALLY bad? Ja né!
What I Bought Today – Talon #4, Batman Incorporated #7 (WARNING – SPOILERS)
Well, luckily the bad taste of Injustice: Gods Among Us #1 is outta my mouth, thanks in no small part due to…
Oh, and I also bought Batman & Robin Annual #1, but I’m doing a separate blog entry for that so I can give it a proper review. But before I take a look at Talon and Batman Incorporated, I’d like to take a moment to apologize for missing something important in Batman Inc. last time, and as well, I would like to say a fond farewell to a long lasting character in DC since 1950, Cyril Sheldrake, AKA the second Knight, who died at the hands of The Heretic near the end of Batman Incorporated #6. I really have no excuse for not realising he was dead, what with his neck snapping and all. Anyway, Cyril was the second Squire, later taking on the mantle of Knight when his father passed away, and then taking on Beryl Hutchinson as his new Squire. He was a prominent member of the Batmen of All Nations and Batman Incorporated, with he and Squire acting essentially as Batman & Robin’s counterparts in England. Indeed, a legend has fallen within the Bat Family…
Anyway, I suppose I might as well start with Batman Incorporated #7…
Batman is captured by Talia after The Heretic kinda beat the shit out of him. Nightwing looks over the evacuation of the Batman Inc. members that were in the building, and Beryl is a WRECK after what has happened to Knight, blaming herself. They don’t have much time to grieve, though, when all of a sudden a bus full of kids brainwashed into serving Leviathan arrives, attacking with weapons as the police are unable to fight back due to them being children. Wingman, who as you’ll recall is actually Jason Todd, heads to Batcave East when he’s tasered down by The Hood, who declares that Batman Inc. is over and he’s getting out while the getting’s good. Red Robin is nearly blown up, Traktir and Spidra may be about to die, but through all of this, Damian learns the truth about Batman’s visions of the future: The Batman of the future is not Damian. Piecing together what he’s seen and learned over the past few years worth of comics (pre-Flashpoint Batman & Robin and Batman Inc.), he deduces that The Heretic is his clone, created by Talia to replace Batman at the right given time. As Talia puts Batman through a death trap that will either kill him or leave him unable to stop Talia in time, Damian decides enough is enough and becomes Robin to go out and try and save his father, the city, and the world. Overall, great story, though hampered by the death of Cyril, who we hopefully either find out isn’t really dead, gets raised again, or his death serves a higher purpose like turning Beryl into the next Knight.
Dammit, I love Talon. Seriously, someday I hope to see this guy join either Batman Inc. and/or the Justice League. He’s THAT good. I’m still pretty sure Sebastian Clark is gonna turn heel at some point, Casey and Sarah and their group are all awesome in their own ways, and of course, Calvin Rose remains a badass. Sadly, when a monster of a Talon known as The Gotham Butcher, comes looking for them, Casey has to scramble her networks, but after they give the Gotham Butcher the slip and wash him down the Hudson, Calvin and Casey decide it’s time to go to Gotham and stand against the Court of Owls together like they should have in the first place. However, Calvin makes one mistake: He says the words “We’ll never see him again” in relation to the Gotham Butcher, which of course leads to the last image being the Butcher’s fist emerging from the Hudson in a major WTF moment, since Talons brought back from the dead are vulnerable to the cold, and he got flushed into the Hudson IN JANUARY! This guy really IS a monster! :O
Anyway, that’s it for those two comics. Next up, I give my review of Batman & Robin Annual #1. Ja né!
What I Bought Today – Batman #16, Batgirl #16, Batman and Robin #16 (WARNING – SPOILERS)
Oh look, it’s Wednesday again! That means it’s time to take a look at…
We got three comics that are leading into the conclusion of Death of the Family, so let’s start off with Batman #16.
Lemme just give a hint to people that plan to wait until the trade comes out to buy Death of the Family: Whenever you think you know what the Joker is planning, slap yourself in the face and say “No, you don’t”. I almost feel like Scott Snyder is trolling me in that sense sometimes. Now, at this point, the Joker’s master plan appears to be slowly but surely unveiling itself for what it truly is, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m actually way off on what the end result of this story is. If I have one complaint about this book, though, it’s that there’s a short montage of sorts where Batman fights through several of his rogues gallery to get to the Joker in Arkham Asylum, but he makes each fight quick and relatively easy looking. And these aren’t second stringers either. Frigging Mr. Freeze is in there. It just seems too easy for him, the way he breezes past them. Also, horse lovers might not exactly like this book all that much, since there are two horse fatalities in it. Still, this comic continues to keep me on the edge of my seat, and I’m somewhat mortified by something that happens at the very end, and we’ll get to that later.
Batman & Robin #16 was…well, here’s the thing. I felt none of the emotional tension they were trying to convey in this story whatsoever as Robin was fighting ‘Batman’ because I frigging KNEW that wasn’t really Batman. I’m sorry, but I could just smell the fake-out coming from the instant I was done reading last month’s issue. That was the inherent problem with this particular tie-in: I knew the real Batman couldn’t really be there. It’s also part of the problem with this being a Batman & Robin book instead of a Robin book: Batman HAD to be there. Seriously, this book needs to drop Batman as a main protagonist and just be a Robin comic. Heck, it technically already is, just not in name.
Batgirl #16 is wonderful and creepy, as the whole series has been. I’m gonna miss Gail Simone…for the two months she’s off. lol Long story short for this issue, Joker tries to wed Batgirl, James Gordon Jr. gets involved, massive fight breaks out, ends with a destroyed church…Well THAT’S not gonna go over well. To those who were actually wondering if they were going to pull this, no. Batgirl does NOT get married to Joker. Duh. However, we get a scare at the very end that’s quite similar to what we see at the end of Batman and Batman & Robin, which means it’s finally time to talk about this.
Joker has a dinner tray. Well, I think it’s one dinner platter, it looks a little different in each book. I’m going to assume either they’re different platters or nobody kept it clear what it was supposed to look like. Anyway, point is he has a platter, and the contents are covered up. We don’t know what’s in it for certain. However, I do recall Batman #14 wherein the Joker said he kidnapped Alfred to prepare for some type of celebration…and the platter has what appears to be blood on it in Batgirl #16…If that platter has what I think it has inside, I think I’m gonna be sick. :O
…So yeah, that was all for this week. Check in next week when the Joker continues to give us nightmare fuel in Nightwing #16. And I think come this time next month, I’m gonna want a few barf bags ready. Ja né.