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DC Rebirth One Year Later – Detective Comics

Well, it’s June, so it’s finally time for me to take a more in-depth look at DC Comics’ Rebirth initiative. However, the reason this is only starting now in the middle of June is because…well, there’s a lot to talk about, both good and bad, and I can’t really imagine me going over ALL of my thoughts on DC Rebirth in one article. As such, I’m gonna be talking about several specific books in their own articles, what I liked and disliked about them, and then give overall thoughts on where I think the book might be headed. And obviously, considering I’m going over the events of these books, there will be SPOILERS, so if you aren’t caught up on them and don’t want to be spoiled, turn back now. So, with that said, let’s talk about Detective Comics.

Now, first and foremost, when I heard about this book initially, I was PUMPED. Not only was it going back to the old numbering, meaning we’d be hitting #1000 relatively quickly, but just look at the cover. It’s a TEAM book, featuring some of my favourite Bat Family characters: Batman, Batwoman, Tim Drake, Stephanie Brown, Cassandra Cain… … …erm, Clayface…Yeah, I’mma get to Clayface, but suffice to say, he’s one of the elements of the book that’s both good and bad. Regardless, though, this was gonna be great… … …Then some shit happened that made me a lot less excited. But I’ll get to that later. First, let’s talk about Tim Drake, AKA Red Robin.

So one of the first things the book did was re-establish everything great about Tim Drake. He’s the brains of the Robins, the one most on par with Bruce when it comes to detective skills, and is the one who builds a lot of the tech they use in their new base of operations. Bruce also gives him a new costume that’s more closely associated with the other Robins (remember, in the New 52, Tim was never Robin, and was always Red Robin), and makes it clear to him that he ALWAYS considered him a Robin, whether Tim did or not. Even Tim’s relationship with Stephanie Brown is re-established, much to my joy. And it goes a long way in explaining why these things were re-established here when you consider that, apparently, James Tynion IV is a big fan of the character and his original solo-series. So, for fans of Tim Drake, like myself, this was a great thing to do… … …Then Tim died.

Well, okay, anyone who has read the book where Tim Drake makes his final stand knows that Tim didn’t actually die. Before he could be killed, he was basically removed from the area by Mr. Oz, a character who has been cropping up in Superman’s stories for a while now, and was made Oz’s prisoner, effectively taking Tim off the board because he was an important link to a lot of different people in the DC Universe. What Oz’s motivations for doing this are is still a mystery, and I’ll get more into that when I talk about the Superman books, but that’s the situation as is. And frankly, while that DOES annoy me, that we finally got Tim back as he should be only to lose him, the fact is, this DOES play into a bigger story that even goes outside of this one book. Oz’s plans are one of the big mysteries of DC Rebirth, and Tim is now a part of that, as we see him trying to escape, make contact with Batman, taunt Oz over the loss of other prisoners, etc. He’s not just being benched permanently, it’s part of a storyline that’s actually going somewhere. But, I wouldn’t be lying if I said that fallout from his apparent death has led to things that DO legit bother me.

Now let’s talk about Clayface. First, let me explain that I actually do like his motivations for joining Batman. For those that don’t recall, it was established in the New 52 that Karlo’s abilities had evolved to the point where he could not only assume the forms of other people, his DNA would also change to whoever he made physical contact with. However, this came at a price: He could assume the form and DNA of anyone…except Basil Karlo. So, when we first encounter him in this book, he’s basically hit rock bottom, just sitting alone at a theater showing one of his old movies and not caring for crime or if he gets sent back to Arkham or not. It’s a position that I think a lot of us can understand and would probably find ourselves in if we were in his shoes. Thus, when Batman offers him a chance to become Basil Karlo if he joins Batman’s team to help Gotham, he accepts. And as a result of that, we see him start to change. He’s regaining his humanity and is legitimately wanting to help people again as opposed to feeling forced to. It’s a well-written redemption storyline that, hopefully, won’t be undone.

Unfortunately, there’s a problem with Clayface being the one to receive this redemption arc, one that I was not privy to because, while I know a lot about No Man’s Land, I have not read it in its entirety. However, since his introduction as a member of this team, a friend of mine let me in on the fact that it was made pretty clear (if not outright stated) that Clayface raped Poison Ivy during the events of No Man’s Land. This was part of the story that led to Ivy being put in charge of Robinson Park and looking after orphaned children. And I know, I KNOW, someone’s gonna point out that this might not be in continuity anymore. And granted, that’s a legit argument. However, here’s my counter-argument: DC, while getting better at it as of late, has never made it fully clear what all is and is not canon from the pre-Flashpoint stories. So, until it’s made clear one way or the other, we don’t really know whether the events of No Man’s Land are or are not still a part of these characters’ histories. Furthermore, even if No Man’s Land and the rape are no longer canon due to it being among the ten years of history taken from the DC Universe, it still doesn’t completely erase what happened, especially since events in recent comics suggest those ten years are going to be reintegrated into main storylines. And you just can’t have it both ways by saying that all of the previous history is canon again, but that the rape never happened. Other than situations where characters couldn’t have been physically present due to not being introduced in the new continuity until much later, re-establishing the past history means it ALL happened. Now, if this was an alternate universe with its own history and incarnations of the characters, then I would say “Okay, I can overlook that”. But this ISN’T. Rebirth has made it clear that this is the same universe that existed pre-Flashpoint, just with ten years worth of history removed and elements of the WildStorm and Vertigo Universes blended in. And I’m not even saying it’s IMPOSSIBLE to do a story wherein Clayface redeems himself for those actions, it’s just that, be it because Tynion isn’t aware or forgot about that story, or either he himself or higher-ups at DC don’t care, there does not exist a story wherein Clayface at least attempts to rectify what he did to Ivy. Now, if they do so later, fine, but for now, it’s an issue that will always stick out to me. And if you think I’m wrong to feel that way, lemme ask longtime DC fans something: What was your initial reaction to seeing Doctor Light appear in the New 52 as a good guy who joined the JLA? My guess is probably revulsion, because you remembered that image of Doctor Light raping Sue Dibny, and then later being made into a serial rapist who was killed by other bad guys because even they couldn’t stomach him. You can’t simply pretend that didn’t happen when these are all still supposed to be the same characters. This is what the publisher did with the character, and you can’t simply brush it off because it’s inconvenient.

…*sighs* And, speaking of which, that leads me to probably my biggest disappointment with the book: Stephanie Brown. I have made it no secret that Steph is one of my all-time favourite superheroes, held the #1 spot for me for many years, and was the star of my favourite Batgirl title. Now, initially, I didn’t really have a problem with Stephanie in this book. It wasn’t until she left the team that I had a problem, and that wasn’t even really with her leaving the team. The thing is, Stephanie Brown finding fault and taking issue with Batman’s methods? That’s totally in character for her. They DO have differing philosophies and methodology as it pertains to helping people and dealing with crime. It’s not even that she leaves over Bruce’s tendency to inadvertently get others caught in the crossfire of his fight with villains, since it works as motivation for him to be more careful and do more to help those caught in his path. The problem is just how fucking hypocritical she acts, talking about how Gotham doesn’t need heroes when she goes out and specifically does superhero acts, all the while sabotaging Batman and saying how he shouldn’t be out in the open taking the credit. THAT is NOT in character for her. And she talks about how Batman should stick to the shadows and not let the general public in on his existence, when guess what? THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT HE USED TO DO!!! He DID stick to the shadows! He DIDN’T let people know he really existed! He was an urban legend, and the confirmed existence of him was known only to a select few. He only came out into the light when things in Gotham got SO bad that he HAD to, that his presence would’ve actually been a positive to Gotham. Then there’re hints that, in future issues, she’s gonna be teaming with Anarky. Now, Steph teaming with anti-heroes like Catwoman or the like, that makes sense. ANARKY IS A STRAIGHT-UP VILLAIN WHO KILLS PEOPLE. Her working with him makes no sense for her character. And the most insulting part of all of this is that the event that triggers it all is Tim’s supposed death, meaning it’s entirely possible none of this would’ve happened if not for the fact that her boyfriend bit the dust. Give me a fucking break!

In terms of the other characters, I like that the book makes use of people like Batwing, Azrael, and Bluebird, heroes who don’t have their own books and are able to get some stories told about them here. I also like that the book was able to tell a story that directly led into Batwoman getting her own solo title again, which is always a good thing. Batwoman is a popular and important enough character to deserve her own book, and I’m glad they’ve done so. I also like that it’s made clear that she and Bruce are equals on this team, as they should be. Not sure why they completely shaved her head at the beginning, but whatever, minor nitpick, and at least it’s growing back out again as of late.

One problem I have with the book that’s actually a bit smaller than the ones I’ve mentioned thus far is the fact that Kate’s dad was made a villain. I mean, I GUESS when you look at the story as a whole and how it unfolded, it kinda makes sense. Still, I kinda find it problematic if, for no other reason, it pushes Kate to be more like Bruce, since she now no longer has a father to go to. And frankly, the story of him going after a super-secret organization that Batman doesn’t believe exists, but then it turns out they do and that they’re a far bigger threat just makes Batman look like an idiot, especially since this isn’t even the first evil group he thought never existed and then was proven wrong about.

So, now for where I think/hope this book is going. Well, first off, it’s pretty clear that Tim being alive will come out at some point, especially with Superman apparently having to deal with Mr. Oz more directly in upcoming events. What they’ll do with him at that point is anyone’s guess, but I’d imagine him being confirmed alive will probably be what leads to Steph and Bruce resolving their issues. I honestly hope they DO actually work what happened in No Man’s Land into a story, with Clayface feeling the need to make right what he did in some way, shape, or form. CAN he be redeemed is a question everyone needs to ask themselves, but personally, I’d at least be fine with them giving it a legitimate attempt. At least acknowledge that he feels guilt over what happened. And hopefully, Kate and her father can resolve their issues as well, and WITHOUT him dying in some way. Honestly, what I think would be a good move after Tim is brought back into the fold is for Bruce to maybe take a step back and let the team do their own thing. Let us see how the group can function without Batman taking direct control of it.

One thing I’m legitimately worried about is that, with the recent reveal that the Outsiders are still canon, the team in this book will be disbanded and replaced with the Outsiders. I’m not against the Outsiders getting back together, and I would be in favour of them getting their own book or integrating this team into their ranks. However, I hope this team is not completely broken down for the sake of bringing them back. I feel like that would be a disservice to these characters.

Most importantly, though, I want Detective Comics to remain a team book. Detective Comics basically just being another Batman book in the New 52 seemed like a waste, whereas now we have actual stories we can tell with it. And, to be honest, despite everything bad I’ve said that’s happened in this book…it’s still a lot better than another Bat book I could name, which I’ll be getting to eventually. For now, lemme know what your own thoughts on Detective Comics in DC Rebirth are, and join me next time for something a bit more…wonderful. Ja né!

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DC Rebirth Reveal – Some Art And Quick Reactions

…SO, today was kinda nuts. Before I go in-depth on all of the big announcements, since I fully expect more news to come out soon enough, let’s instead take a look at some of the art revealed for the new books and a few quick notes I took for the different titles.

80 PAGES FOR $2.99! HOLY CRAP! XD

80 PAGES FOR $2.99?! That’s some insane dedication to the price drop!

...So wait, several of my favourite Bat Family characters, all part of a team book, and debuting in the same month as my birthday? I feel like this book is especially for me. :D

…So wait, several of my favourite Bat Family characters, all part of a team book, and debuting in the same month as my birthday? I feel like this book is especially for me. 😀 Kinda confused by Clayface’s presence, but whatever.

Supergirl going back to a more classic costume makes sense, especially since we have her show going right now. The only thing that's kinda weird is that we're keeping the story arc where her father is the new Cyborg Superman. It's just...odd.

Supergirl going back to a more classic costume makes sense, especially since we have her show going right now. The only thing that’s kinda weird is that we’re keeping the story arc where her father is the new Cyborg Superman. It’s just…odd.

He’s back in blue! THANK GOD! Also, the reaction to the first story arc’s title, “Better Than Batman” got just the exact reaction I was expecting. XD

Greg Rucka is coming back to Wonder Woman. This is going to be INSANE, and I REALLY can’t wait for Wonder Woman Year One, with art by Nicola Scott. Also, thank God, Wonder Woman’s back in gold. I don’t even care that it’s blatantly copied from the movies, it looks good on her. 🙂

Lex Luthor as the new Superman of Metropolis. That’s literally all you need to know to realize that’s gonna end badly. Throw in Doomsday, and I’ll be surprised if there’s anything LEFT of Metropolis by the time we hit Action Comics #1000.

Interested to see where this new story takes Batgirl, but I hope it eventually returns her to Burnside. Would hate to see everything that's been going on with her dropped so unceremoniously.

Interested to see where this new story takes Batgirl, but I hope it eventually returns her to Burnside. Would hate to see everything that’s been going on with her dropped so unceremoniously.

So Hal's going back to the Corps, while Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz are having to take over on Earth. Interesting set up, and REALLY glad to see Cruz graduating to Green Lantern. :)

So Hal’s going back to the Corps, while Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz are having to take over on Earth. Interesting set up, and REALLY glad to see Cruz graduating to Green Lantern. 🙂

DC has a REALLY warped sense of humour, revealing this in the same week that Batman and Superman threw down. lol

DC has a REALLY warped sense of humour, revealing that the sons of Batman and Superman will be teaming up in the same week that Batman and Superman threw down. lol

Bryan Hitch, Tony Daniel, and Fernando Pasarin have got some BIG shoes to fill with Justice League, but I like the team. Also, it seems details on JLA are being kept a secret for now.

Relax, people. It's not THAT All-Star Batman. lol

Relax, people. It’s not THAT All-Star Batman. lol Also, I guess now we know what Snyder’s been up to. That said, gotta admit, I’m a little disappointed to see Ivy relegated back to being simply another rogue for Batman after all the work that’s been done with her as her own character.

Y’know, everybody else is talking about how Damian is on the Titans and how Wally West is still black, and all I can think of is “Thank God, Starfire’s on the Titans and NOT the Outlaws”. 😛

A mostly all-new Outlaws team with characters I don't care much about. So, in other words, Lobdell is being kept away from anything I care about. Good to know. ^_^

A mostly all-new Outlaws team with characters I don’t care much about. So, in other words, Lobdell is being kept away from anything I love. Good to know. ^_^

Whoa, whoa, whoa, lemme see if I understand this correctly: A Titans book where there's only ONE person in red??? :P

Whoa, whoa, whoa, lemme see if I understand this correctly: A Titans book where there’s only ONE person in red??? 😛 Also, who is that in green? Can’t be a Lantern, can it?

They really might as well have just said "We're going with the same team as from the movie". I mean, honestly, I don't even really care that they're cross-promoting, so why not just admit it?

They really might as well have just said “We’re going with the same team as from the movie”. I mean, honestly, I don’t even really care that they’re cross-promoting, so why not just admit it?

Oh goodie, David Finch is on Batman. -_-

Oh goodie, David Finch is on Batman. -_- Tom King should prove to be a good choice, though, and I’m interested to see where this goes in the aftermath of Superheavy, especially as it pertains to Duke Thomas.

Interesting set-up with Flash having to mentor not one but SEVERAL new speedsters. Also, I don't care that Wally is still black. I just hope he's FUN again. That's all I've EVER wanted.

Interesting set-up with Flash having to mentor not one but SEVERAL new speedsters. Also, I don’t care that Wally is still black. I just hope he’s FUN again. That’s all I’ve EVER wanted.

I've never been so excited and so confused for a book. So someone is posing as Oracle? Does that mean Oracle is canon again? Also, that's clearly New 52 Helena as Huntress. So does that mean she really WAS Huntress before having to fake her death?

I’ve never been so excited and so confused for a book. So someone is posing as Oracle? Does that mean Oracle is canon again? Also, that’s clearly New 52 Helena as Huntress. So does that mean she really WAS Huntress before having to fake her death?

Anyway, that’s all for now. I’ll go more in depth soon enough, though. Lemme know your own thoughts below, and we’ll see how things pan out from now to May 25th, 2016. Ja né!

My Thoughts On Upcoming Changes To Batman And Gotham (WARNING – SPOILERS AHEAD)

So, this October marks a HUGE turning point in a lot of the Bat related books, as a few new ones are getting started, and pre-existing ones are getting big changes in relation to what’s going on in Batman Eternal. What’s interesting about the new books is that some of them don’t even necessarily star Batman, or even involve him directly, rather simply taking place in Gotham City and starring different characters. Now, because they take place in Gotham, I would assume he’ll make appearances, but otherwise, they aren’t about him. It honestly reminds me of an often brought up theory that DC doesn’t know how to market products that don’t involve Batman anymore. And before anyone brings up that it could be in relation to the upcoming Gotham TV series, let me remind everyone that Green Arrow has had a TV show for a couple of years, but has advertising for his comics improved much? Granted, they’ve done more with him, but the actual marketing for his books don’t seem to have changed at all. Flash is getting a new TV show, but I don’t see much in the way of marketing improvements for his series, despite the fact that Wally West is coming back as Kid Flash. Last year was Superman’s 75th Anniversary, and yes, he got a new book that I’ve come to love, but compare what they did for him to what they’ve done for Batman’s 75th. You start to see the problem, yes? And sure, a lot of people love Batman, but what about people that are sick of Batman and want to see the other heroes get some attention? They’re pretty much outta luck.

But anyway, enough about me ranting about that, let’s instead focus on these changes, in no particular order, and what my thoughts on each of them are before giving a final overall opinion. Keep in mind, these are my thoughts going into these changes, and I could end up flip-flopping on some of them when they actually occur. Let’s start off with…

Batgirl

Barbara Gordon loses everything she owns in a fire, and so, as part of her attempts to start her life over following the end of Gail Simone’s run, she decides to do the same with Batgirl, creating a whole new costume. The book promises to be a bit more lighthearted and fun, with Babs going to grad school, and will feature quite a few LGBT characters in addition to fan favourite, Alysia. Again, I wish this was Stephanie Brown in this role, in fact the costume immediately makes me think of Steph’s (just picture her in blonde hair and you’ll see immediately), but I am NOT gonna say no to a book that promotes itself as being fun and lighthearted while also starring one of my favourite characters, so I’m going into this with a good attitude.

Arkham Manor

Something happens at Arkham Asylum that causes them to have to move a bunch of their inmates to a new location. As such, Wayne Manor becomes a new home for Gotham’s criminally insane, because that’s the most logical place to put them, right? Now, based on Batman #34, which takes place at the same time as the new Arkham Manor book, Batman is still operating out of the Batcave. But is it THE Batcave, or simply A Batcave? Sure, all the usual stuff is there, but they could’ve been moved. After all, having your base of operations underneath some of your worst enemies, with an access route in place to it, isn’t exactly a very tactically sound idea, and we know Batman isn’t stupid. He either moved to a new cave, or has found a way to block off the cave from the inmates. Either way, while I don’t think I’ll be buying this book, I will say I’m interested to see where this is going. Also, I’m curious as to Bruce’s stance on all of this. Is he against the idea, or could it actually have been his to begin with?

Gotham Academy

Apparently, another book that will look at the youth of Gotham City is the new book Gotham Academy. Don’t really know much about it beyond that, other than the art looks fantastic. Can’t say as I’m familiar at all with the cast, which is unfortunate as they could’ve easily had Stephanie and/or Harper Row be part of it just to give them more exposure, but whatever. Not terribly interested myself, but looks promising for people wanting to know more about Gotham and the people living there, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if some of the characters cross over into Batgirl.

Gotham By Midnight

Okay, this is where the whole “DC not knowing how to market anything unrelated to Batman and Gotham” thing can actually seem kinda devious. Why? Because the star of Gotham By Midnight is Jim Corrigan, AKA The Spectre. Granted, in the book Gotham Central, which I believe is getting a reprint soon (which proves Dan DiDio a blatant liar about the book’s popularity…AGAIN), there was a corrupt cop named Jim Corrigan on the squad, but he was VERY different from the previous version of the character. However, in the pages of Trinity of Sin: The Phantom Stranger, the two versions were more or less merged into one, making The Spectre a Gotham based hero of sorts. Anyway, this is slated to be a more horror-style book, with Corrigan being part of a division of the GCPD that investigates supernatural cases. Haven’t decided if I’ll be getting it yet or not, but fans of The Spectre should be pleased nonetheless.

Catwoman

As revealed in Batman #28, and will be made official this October, Catwoman will at some point become the kingpin of crime in Gotham City and take direct control of all organized crime in the city. This is an especially welcome change to many who have read her solo book, like my colleague FHIZ of Gotham Spoilers, who have voiced their EXTREME displeasure of the title for the past 2-3 years. And frankly, having read some of what goes on in that book, I can’t say as I blame them. It also makes her relationship with Batman all the more complex. Yes, she’s running a major source of his biggest griefs, but she’s also shown that if Gotham is in big enough danger, she will help him in her own unique way. Again, not sure if I’ll be getting her book, but it’s at least a change I can get behind.

Batwoman

This is a change I’m NOT so fond of. As far as I can tell, Batwoman becoming a vampire is a change they’re actually rolling with, and will see her teaming with a group called The Unknowns, which are made up of Ragman, Etrigan the Demon, Red Alice, and Clayface. So in other words, she’s a brooding anti-hero at best, and a straight-up villain at worst. Wonderful, DC, just fucking wonderful. PASS.

Batman and Robin

While the major change here isn’t occurring in October, we will nonetheless see the next chapter of the Batman and Robin story, Robin Rises, which concludes in December. Long story short, Damian’s body is on Apokolips, as it has accidentally absorbed energy from something called the Chaos Shard, which we saw back in Batman/Superman’s first arc, and as they were unable to regain the crystal itself, they took Damian’s body instead. This crystal has the power to bring the dead back to life, though quite possibly at a cost. As such, Batman has declared that he’s going to Apokolips to get Robin, and he’s bringing him back, ALIVE. Peter J Tomasi has gone on record as saying that this story WILL resolve with Batman having a Robin again, though whether that Robin is Damian or not remains to be seen. It could be that the quest to bring Damian back could instead result in someone else taking up the mantle. Frankly, I’m hoping it’s either Damian back from the grave to reclaim his role at his father’s side, or that he becomes Redbird again and Carrie, Stephanie, or Tim take up the role of Robin. Either way, I think we all know that Batman NEEDS a Robin, so I’m just glad for that much. Will I buy the book again? Not right away. I’m waiting until Robin is active again to start buying. But once that’s done, most likely.

Red Hood And The Outlaws

Don’t know, don’t care. NEXT!

Batman

So we already knew that Harper Row would be becoming the heroine Bluebird, but it seems that another character possibly coming to Batman’s side is someone named Lark. Who are they? Heck if I know. Maybe it’s Harper’s brother, Cullen, deciding to join his sister in her fight against crime. If so, I demand a book for them. No, seriously, make it happen. I wanna see a book about Bluebird and Lark fighting C and D list criminals. Maybe even add Steph, Calvin Rose, and the recently returned Misfit to the mix for funsies. Heck, they could form a whole new Birds of Prey group with Black Canary and/or Batgirl.

Anyway, that’s most of the changes to the Bat Family books (because I don’t wanna spoil EVERYTHING). How do I feel about them overall? Honestly, I think that, in the end, change can be a positive thing, as long as it’s handled well. Even the stuff I’m not exactly on-board with, like Batwoman And The Unknowns, can be done well if given the right amount of thought and direction. So, overall, I think this is a good thing. Ultimately, though, it feels like Batman Eternal’s actual story is taking a backseat to setting up this new status quo and showing how we get to this point, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In the end, I remain hopeful that these changes will lead to a better, more fleshed out Gotham.

So, those are my thoughts. Do you agree or disagree? Let me know in the comments section below, and we’ll see what happens in October. Ja né!

My 12 Favourite Bat Villains

So at the beginning of the month, I listed my 10 Favourite DC Villains. However, since I knew it would otherwise be a Batman/Batgirl bonanza of baddies, I limited them to two. And since I wanna cover 10 villains who I haven’t already covered in my previous list, and two of my favourites are characters I’ve yet to shut up about, let’s just say that they’re #1 and #2…

#1 – Poison Ivy, and #2 – The Joker

…and let’s look at #3 – #12 of my 12 Favourite Bat Villains!…Also, just FYI, be prepared for more than one of these choices to be as a result of Batman: The Animated Series. Just FYI.

#3 – Harleen Quinzel, AKA Harley Quinn

What’s funny about this one is that she’s worked VERY closely with both my #1 and #2 picks, being the on-again/off-again sidekick/one-way lover of The Joker, and the on-again/off-again partner/BFF of Poison Ivy. Originally, she was just The Joker’s henchman from Batman: The Animated Series. Once a psychiatrist, she was drawn in by Joker and became part of his criminal lifestyle. Since then, while she still regularly finds herself suckered back into working for The Joker, she’s also branched out on her own on occasion, teaming with Poison Ivy and Catwoman to become the Gotham City Sirens, being made to join the Suicide Squad, and even leading Joker’s army of crooks in an alternate universe in Injustice: Gods Among Us. Like The Joker, she tends to enter combat against Batman and other superheroes with an array of more comedic looking weapons, though they are generally quite lethal. Also, due to injections from Poison Ivy, she’s immune to most known forms of poisons and toxins.

#4 – Clayface

There’s been a few villains who have answered to the name Clayface, though arguably the most well-known is Basil Karlo. An insane Hollywood actor, he was originally just a villain in a mask, but later injected himself with samples of the others to become Clayface, gaining their shape-shifting abilities. Not only has he battled Batman, Robin, and Batgirl, but he’s also gone up against Wonder Woman and Donna Troy, and has had less than stellar relations with Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy. Recently, his shape-shifting powers have evolved to the point where he can assume the DNA of anyone he comes in contact with. However, this has come with a heavy price, as his own DNA has all but rotted away.

#5 – Victor Fries, AKA Mr. Freeze

Originally just a minor villain by the name of Mr. Zero, Paul Dini reinvented Mr. Freeze as quite possibly one of the most sympathetic villains in DC history. Voiced by the late great Michael Ansara, we learn that Victor Fries was a scientist whose wife, Nora, had to be cryogenically frozen to keep her alive after she’d been plagued with disease. At some point, Doctor Fries was involved in an incident with cryogenic substances that left him mutated. Now, he requires a cryo-suit that keeps his body at sub-zero temperatures to keep himself alive. Turning to a life of crime, his goal is to eventually obtain the resources required to find a cure for his wife, even if he has to kill to get it. He’s typically armed with a freeze ray of varying design and overall power, while his cryo-suit increases his physical strength to levels where he might actually be able to duke it out with the next guy on my list…

#6 – Bane

The man who broke the Bat, Bane is a criminal whose genius and physical prowess make him one of Batman’s most dangerous foes. However, I feel like something writers tend to forget, even when they know he has a genius level IQ, is that it was because of THAT that he beat Batman initially, NOT his brute strength. Bane knew that Batman could take him in a straight out fight. So, rather than attempt that, he opted to release the inmates at Arkham Asylum and let Batman go about bringing them all back in, all the while Bane deduced Batman’s alter ego and prepared to face the highly exhausted Bruce Wayne in his own home, when and where he was least expecting attack. This is what makes him so dangerous: It’s not his impressive strength that might actually be enough to inflict small amounts of damage to Superman, but rather, it’s his mind that makes him a near-unstoppable monster.

#7 – Roxanne Sutton, AKA Roxy Rocket

…I just like this one, okay? Although I find it interesting that she chose to be a villain. Given her back-story, she could’ve just as easily decided to become a crime fighter. Roxanne Sutton was a stunt double for big action movies, but was blacklisted when she began making the stunts too dangerous, clearly getting off on the thrill. Frankly, if she wants a thrill, she shoulda helped the Justice League against Darkseid. Now THERE’S a life-or-death scenario for ya. Then again, she’s also tussled with Batman, Batgirl, and even Superman on occasion, so make of that what you will. She’s never seen in action without her trademark rocket, which she has spares of hidden away for emergencies, and she generally likes to be armed with flare guns and other explosives. She’s not really cruel to the people she robs, though. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen her intentionally try to outright kill anyone, save for the end of her début, when she almost crashed herself and Batman into a cliff, and we got to see just how far her obsession with thrills (and pushing the limits of the censors) went…

…Yeah, don’t pretend you weren’t thinking it. lol

#8 – Edward Nygma, AKA The Riddler

Riddle me this, riddle me that…he really SHOULD be afraid of the big bad Bat. Nevertheless, Edward Nygma has proven again and again that he has no fear of Batman. While he’s by no means a match for Batman on a physical level, he lives to test him on a mental level. In fact, his obsession with proving to be Batman’s intellectual superior is usually what leads him to leave riddles for his enemy, to see if he can actually keep up. However, Batman more often than not is more than capable, which has led to more than one humiliating defeat for The Riddler. Still, he should never be underestimated, as he has at times gone to Joker levels of manipulation and cruelty.

#9 – The Court of Owls

Kinda cheating, I know, but it’s hard to pin down a specific individual within the group that makes a better antagonist for Batman than the others, other than Lincoln March/Thomas Wayne Jr., whereas the group as a whole has proven to be a MASSIVE threat to Batman more than once in the past couple of years. They’re deeply entrenched in Gotham’s past, their soldiers are undead and near-unstoppable, and they have near-infinite amounts of time and resources with which to make their plans. Eliminating them for good may yet prove to be impossible, but their plans can be stopped, even if only long enough to force them back into hiding.

#10 – Shauna Belzer, AKA The Ventriloquist

If you thought the original Ventriloquist was creepy, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet! This woman is a freaking horror movie monster! Like the others, she’s a psychotic killer with impeccable voice-throwing and impersonation skills. Where she differs is her general attitude, her sickly appearance, and the fact that she may or may not be a metahuman of some sort, able to control dead or otherwise inanimate objects. For example, her doll, ‘Ferdie’, and even her dead parents. This hasn’t been confirmed, however, as it could simply be some sort of trick, but there’s no way to know so far…which is just how I like it, to be honest. Of course, as her appearance might suggest, she’s not exactly very adept at defending herself otherwise, and is taken down rather easily. Still, that requires one to get past Ferdie and the rest of her unwilling accomplices.

#11 – Harvey Dent, AKA Two-Face

You know how I said Mr. Freeze is one of the most sympathetic villains ever? Well, if there was ever another DC villain to dispute that title, it’s these next two, starting with Two-Face. Once Harvey Dent, a district attorney who, together with Batman and Commissioner Gordon, sought to put the worst of Gotham behind bars, he faced horrid tragedy when the left side of his face was horribly burned. With that act, a lifetime spent keeping a lid on his anger, bipolar disorder, and paranoia were undone, creating the split personality of Two-Face. His obsession over the number two has led him to enact crimes centered around it, and he’s obsessive-compulsive toward his coin, which he uses to settle most of his decisions. And if that doesn’t seem terrifying to you, just imagine a man holding a gun to your head, flipping a coin, and then trying not to piss yourself in fear over the results.

#12 – Mary Dahl, AKA Baby Doll

Yeah, it was a tough call deciding on the last pick. Granted, guys like Penguin, Hush, Professor Pyg, Ra’s al Ghul, and Scarecrow are great villains, but for me, this is a villain who, despite appearances, should NEVER be taken lightly in terms of overall threat level, and is really hard to hate, given her circumstances. Mary Dahl, an actress born with a condition that kept her from growing past the physical stature of a little girl, she became the sitcom character Baby Doll, until the show was cancelled and she eventually was set on a life of crime due to general reactions to her appearance. She came very close to murdering her castmates in an explosion, but was stopped by Batman. And I’m not gonna lie here, people: This episode of Batman: The Animated Series might possibly have the saddest ending to a DCAU production EVER. Don’t believe me? Well…you’ve been warned, people.

…I warned ya. And frankly, I’m not really sure why she was never used in the comics. Despite her obvious flaws, she’s inventive, creative, manipulative, and has a mean streak longer than…Yeah, I’m not using the short jokes. That’s a good way to get smacked. I’d kinda like to see her tussle with Babs one of these days in the comics. But, if not, I can always look back on this episode with fond, albeit sad, memories.

Anyway, those were my Top 12 Bat Villains. Got a favourite who’s not on here? Leave a comment below, and I will see you guys next time. Ja né!

What I Bought Today – Batman #20, Batman and Robin #20 (Batman and Red Hood), JLA #3 (WARNING – SPOILERS) + DC Universe Online Update + Changes to Comics I’ll Be Buying

So I got a LOT I need to cover today, so let’s just start off by looking at…

What I Bought Today

I bought three comics, one fun, one kinda depressing, and one…well, I’ll get to that. Let’s begin with the fun one, Batman #20.

FOR GOD’S SAKE, STOP HITTING YOURSELF!

I feel so bad for Clayface. Poor Karlo had this perfect frakking plan, and it all fell apart before his very eyes, though not for the reason I thought. Clayface’s plot was to become Bruce Wayne and cause crimes, which would get Batman’s attention in a hurry, and then he was going to make contact with Batman’s skin, thus becoming whoever Batman was under the cowl. Well, it seemingly works, and right in front of Gordon and his men, but it turns out Batman’s wearing a fibre mask under his cowl coated with the DNA of Bruce Wayne (which is actually his own, if yer following along) in order to sort of trick Clayface. Meanwhile, Clayface is now stuck in a light-screen panic room that can only be opened by the one man who Clayface doesn’t have the sufficient DNA to assume the form of: His own. Also, HOLY SHIT, Batman Beyond!

…Man, the writers for DC must REALLY love Batman Beyond, between this and Batwing, and I’ll explain that in a later post.

Batman and Red Hood, AKA the anger phase…Umm, Bruce is a serious asshole in this comic. I know that’s probably the intent, so points there, but he is a SERIOUS asshole to Carrie Kelley, who comes looking for Damian (turns out he was paying her for acting classes, likely after the thing with Alfred in Batman and Robin Annual #1). He then recruits Jason Todd to go hunting bounty hunters who had previously come looking to collect on Damian, during which Batman INTENTIONALLY CRIPPLES THEIR HANDS FOR LIFE. And from there, it gets even better, because then he takes Jason to the place where he’d died all those years ago, hoping it would jar his memory and help him learn the method for bringing Damian back…So his plan is to make Jason remember the worst day of his entire existence so he can learn to use a method that is probably highly unethical and dangerous as shit to raise the dead. Again, Bruce is an asshole, and Jason pretty much spells it out like it is and punches him out, leaving for Red Hood and the Outlaws #19 (LET’S DO THE TIME WARP AGAIN!).

JLA #3…Yeah, I might be dropping this book in a month or two. There’s still some fun to be had with it, and I don’t blame a single person who wants to stick with it, but unless I’ve missed my guess, I can see where this book is going, and it’s not a happy place. Basically, Amanda Waller is forcing Stargirl to be their public face person and not allowing her to go on missions, Martian Manhunter appears downright diabolical or just needing serious emotional help sometimes, Simon Baz STILL has not shown up, and Green Arrow is pretty much bribing his way onto the Justice League of America by agreeing not to tell people Catwoman is on the team. Oh, about that? There was some confusion over the fact that the plot the JLA had in Catwoman #19 hinged on the Secret Society not knowing Catwoman was on the team, which made no sense since she was with them on their mission in this issue and the previous one. Thing is, though, apparently Vibe’s powers make it so that the robots occupying the location they went to couldn’t relay visuals of the team back to the Society, so yes, #19 of Catwoman actually DOES make sense…but it still sucks. lol

Anyway, that’s all for what I bought, but there’s something I gotta address. Like I said, I may be dropping JLA, but it won’t be the only book I drop. Obviously, one other book I’m for sure going to stop buying soon is Batman Incorporated, since the book is ending in July. However, in addition to that, I think I may be dropping Batwoman in favour of Supergirl. No offence to the character, but the story itself has gotten kinda iffy with me, and I just find Supergirl to be more solidly written with more interesting villains. I’ll still be following along with what happens, and if anything noteworthy pops up, I’ll let you guys know about it, but otherwise, I’m pretty sure I’m done with it. Also, don’t think I’ll be picking up Red Hood and the Outlaws again, though there is a MASSIVE improvement in the quality of the stories for anyone who would like to, and I’m thinking that when Batman Incorporated ends its run, I may decide to start buying Batwing.

As for DC Universe Online, I cannot play it. Why? Well, first off, the disc didn’t work right, which may or may not have to do with the fact that apparently Sony has been giving the game away to download for free…OY…On top of that, it seems that my graphics card and processor are both unable to handle the game. Good news is, if I ever get a new computer, I know where to find the game for free. So really, not a big loss.

So that’s all for today. Next week, we check in on Batgirl following the horrific events of last month, we see how Nightwing’s handling the change of scenery, and we find out how Supergirl is handling the whole her-own-base-is-trying-to-kill-her thing. Ja né!

What I Bought Today – Batman #19, Batgirl #19, Batman and Red Robin (Batman and Robin #19) (WARNING – SPOILERS)

Y’all know what day it is, and believe it or not, I actually managed to get all the books that came out this week! lol So, let’s check out…

What I Bought Today

So today, we got death, despair, and doppelgängers! Let’s start off with Batgirl #19.

Hallelujah, Gail Simone has returned! And holy crap, she hasn’t missed a beat after being gone for a couple of months. First off, let’s talk about Barbara‘s room-mate, Alysia, who lets her back home and, after a heart-to-heart between the two where Babs tells her everything (except being Batgirl, that is), reveals she’s actually transgendered. I don’t know if that was the original plan or if they decided on this later, but it does add some depth to the character. Either way, kudos to Gail Simone and DC for doing this, and let me just say it’s most welcome to see the first openly transgender character in a mainstream superhero comic. Also, I can’t help but wonder if, after Barbara tells Alysia to call her Babs because “The people I love call me Babs”, Gail Simone is actually planning on doing a relationship angle between the two? If I recall correctly, she had once wanted to do Barbara and Black Canary as a couple but was denied by DC, so it wouldn’t be the first time she wanted to try something like this. Given my own personal experience in writing superheroine stories, I will say that I would accept this change with open arms if it did happen.

In other news, Jim Gordon Jr. is dead. Again, thank goodness. The guy was as psychotic as anybody else in DC’s long line of villains. Now, technically Batgirl does kill him, but because she got him with a Batarang to the skull when he was going to kill their mother and he fell off the pier to the sharp pointy rocks below, and she DID try to save him. Besides, it was her mother who had originally intended to kill James to protect them both. However, Commissioner Gordon shows up at the entirely wrong time, looking to arrest Batgirl for his son’s murder, not knowing the whole situation and that Batgirl is his daughter. Definitely going to make future scenarios in this comic interesting to say the least.

Batman and Red Robin…Well to be honest, this feels more like it should be called Batman VS Red Robin. First off, we get to meet the Prime Earth version of Carrie Kelley, who is a college girl who was a friend of Damian’s (the exact relationship is still not completely known). She’s intent on finding out exactly what has happened to Damian, but Bruce ain’t talkin’. In fact, Bruce is kinda busy at the moment, as he has kidnapped Frankenstein so he can take him apart (Frankenstein still lives, mind you), and figure out how he works. Why? Because Batman has officially gone Bat shit crazy, and is trying to resurrect Damian. Luckily, Alfred called Tim Drake up and asked him to check on what Bruce was doing in the Arctic, and managed to put a stop to it. Unfortunately, doing so may have made an enemy out of Batman, depending on just how far into this plan he is and how willing he is to see it through. Still, it’s an interesting set-up for the next few issues of Batman and Robin, especially considering that next month, it’s Jason Todd‘s turn to meet up with Bats.

Batman was pretty awesome. The only problem is that there was no doubt in my mind that the Bruce Wayne on the cover was Clayface. It seems he’s actually evolved somewhat, as he’s not only able to replicate one’s appearance, but their DNA as well. This makes him all the more dangerous, especially since he’s assuming the form of Bruce Wayne. He can now access anything Bruce can, from his insane wealth to the tech created for Batman Incorporated. Also, I gotta admit that I really like the extra story included in the back, written by James Tynion IV, that features Batman and Superman investigating a house filled with mystical energies, that apparently will be concluded next month along with the conclusion to the main story included here. At any rate, this is still a good issue, despite the fact that it IS really just filler until Scott Snyder begins Zero Year.

So that’s all for this week. Next week might be a big week depending on what becomes available (I have two comics being ordered in AND there’s some confusion regarding JLA #3’s release date), but for now I will say that I will be checking in on Nightwing’s move to Chicago and how things are going for Batwoman. Ja né!

What I Bought Today – Earth-2 #7, World’s Finest #7, Detective Comics #15 + Info Regarding Batman #18

Ah, the beginning of the month comic-wise, always so awesome for me. Why? Because I get to take another trip to Earth-2! 😀

This one seemed sort of the odd one out, but I think I know why: It doesn’t really focus much on the JSA. There’s a few pages dedicated to GL and Hawkgirl, explaining more of her backstory and showing that she’s trying to encourage Alan to join their group, but the rest seems more focused on showing that Terrance Sloan is the bad guy…even though I kinda figured that when he tried to nuke Washington D.C. Also, Mister Terrific appears again, and we get a glimpse of this world’s Red Tornado, who appears to be in the form of a woman.

“Yesterday it was zombies, today it’s Wolfman, tomorrow killer clowns! This place is CRAZY!” XD

World’s Finest…Okay, lemme just get what I liked a lot better than last time out of the way first. I like that Power Girl managed to go an issue without losing her costume or being sexy and/or provocative in any way, I like that we see her being awesome with her powers, I like that the dynamic between Huntress and Robin seems to working REALLY well, and I like that it’s clear that this story is building to something big. What I did NOT like was that a bunch of child soldiers wielding what appeared to be weapons from Apokolips got dragged into a Boom Tube and Power Girl was completely indifferent to it. And I’d make a joke about how this comic must not be very “PG”, but I’ve looked online and people have already beaten me to it. lol So yeah, once again Power Girl represents what’s wrong with this comic. She’s gotta be fixed and fixed soon, and we gotta see more about why these two are best friends, because otherwise I can totally see the book dropping the Power Girl and Huntress subtitle and just becoming a Huntress book.

Detective Comics, we find out just what in the fuckingest of fucks was going on with Clayface being married to Poison Ivy, and how they could’ve possibly gotten married in Vegas and pulled a bunch of crimes around the States when Ivy’s been lying low lately. I’ll give you the short answer: They couldn’t, and when Clayface finds out, he is NOT happy. We also see more of Penguin and Joker and their apparent deal from the end of Batman #14, and that his head goon seems to be looking to take over his organization in his absence.

Okay, this cover just SCREAMS the Bale voice. XD

Speaking of the Joker, some info has been released regarding Batman #18. For one thing, Greg Capullo is taking the issue off so Andy Kubert can fill in for him. Second, the description suggests that Death of the Family will not end well…

And I quote…

“In the wake of unspeakable tragedy, Batman is in danger of losing his humanity!
Fan-favorite character Harper Row returns — will she be able to pull Batman back from the brink?” So yeah, definitely keeping an eye out for more info on this. Until then, this is what I bought today. Ja né!