Jyger’s Rant – Injustice 2 Story Mode Review (WARNING – SPOILERS AHEAD)
…So, I don’t own this game. Just throwing this out now. Not available for any systems I own, don’t have the money to get a new one, and so here we are. That said, I really wanted to give my thoughts on the story in Injustice 2, especially since I DO own the original and have given my thoughts on it in the past. Luckily, plenty of people, like Maximilian Dood and Kwing, have posted playthroughs of the Story Mode, so I’m thus able to give it my own review. Just remember, though, that as I’m doing this review, I’m speaking strictly about the story, not the game in terms of how it plays and whatnot. Although, I will get this out of the way right now: So far, based on what I’ve seen, it looks like a really good game, haven’t heard much wrong with it from a technical perspective yet, and on a personal note, NetherRealm Studios seem to have HUGELY improved on their facial designs and animations with this game. In fact, over all, I think this is their best LOOKING game of all time. Whenever they wanna make Mortal Kombat XI, they need to take inspiration from this game when it comes to the graphics.
But yeah, the story. So, this takes place a few years after Injustice: Gods Among Us. Superman is in a red solar prison for taking over the world, and his former Regime buddies are either planning to break him out, working to make up for what they did under his rule, or joining Gorilla Grodd’s new group, the Society. However, pretty soon, it becomes clear that the Society are just pawns in a much bigger game, as Brainiac arrives to capture Superman, add a few Earth cities to his collection, and then blow the planet up. Eventually, the situation devolves so much that Batman and his allies have no choice but to release Superman and work with the Regime to try and stop Brainiac and the Society before they destroy the world.
So, right away, I have a bit of a complaint to make. If you didn’t play that game…well, there’re a few details that this game tends to completely either ignore or glance over. Specifically, the heroes of the mainstream DC Universe were brought over to the world primarily presented in these games and the comics to stop an evil Superman who had pretty much taken over with a new group made up of former heroes and villains called the Regime. And while this game takes place on that world, I think there’re maybe one or two passing references to the fact that Batman had help from good Superman and the Justice League in taking down Regime Superman (as in they did most of the work and he got all the credit), and the player is otherwise left to assume Batman was bad enough to bring down Superman all by himself. Also, no mention of the super pills they took last game, which are meant to explain how people like Batman, Harley, and other characters without superpowers can go toe-to-toe with superhumans, get tossed around in outer-fucking-space, and survive without so much as a scratch on them.
Another issue with the story is that it has a bit of a…complicated relationship with the tie-in comics. Nowhere is that more clear than in the first chapter of the story, which is actually set during an operation that Superman, Wonder Woman, and Cyborg were pulling on Arkham Asylum. Basically, some events that happened in the comics are considered canon, others aren’t, and there doesn’t seem to be any kind of pattern as to what is or isn’t, nor is it made 100% clear what all is and is not canon anymore. One thing we DO know about what’s been changed is that, while Damian did apparently still kill Nightwing by accident, it didn’t happen during the operation on Arkham. Instead, the thing that tears him and Batman apart is Damian killing Zsasz…who, in the comics, survived way longer than that, and was actually responsible for killing Alfred. So, right away, we’ve got a double retcon, and that’s not even taking into account certain details mentioned by Cyborg about the deaths of Starfire and Beast Boy.
Before I get to the two biggest things that bother me about the story, though, let’s talk about some positives. First, you know I’m a sucker for stories that involve a ton of characters, and this has a lot of different heroes and villains with a wide range of abilities, from Harley Quinn with her dynamite and mallet, to Doctor Fate, sorcerer supreme of the DC Universe. From Captain Cold, a former bank robber with a freeze gun, to Supergirl, the last hope of Krypton with almost God-like strength and powers. Even Dex-Starr, who is quite possibly the avatar of everything stupid-yet-awesome about comic books, plays a minor role in the story. Characters from all walks of life in the DC Universe have various parts to play in this crisis, and all prove their worthiness to be involved in such a tale. Sadly, the majority of them are taken down a few notches at best by the last two chapters, which I’ll get to, but it’s still awesome to see them all here. Even Joker makes a return via Scarecrow-induced hallucination, which leads to the awesome sight of Harley, in a somewhat close approximation of her classic costume, giving him a good ass kicking.
Another positive to the story is not quite something I suggested after playing through the first game’s Story Mode, but close and still appreciated. Several chapters of the game give you not one but two characters to play through with, and you choose which one to play as before each fight in that chapter. As such, you can mix and match who fights whom, or you can have your favourite of the two do all the ass kicking. It’s totally up to you. And I appreciate that. I personally suggested classic Marvel vs Capcom 2v2 style fights, but whatever. Still cool, and allows not only for different dialogue and scenes depending on who is involved in the fights, but for more characters to take center stage in each…at least until the end, but again, I’ll get to that.
So, now for something that annoys me to no end, and if you’ve played through the Story Mode and know me and the characters I like, you should be able to figure this out. Simply put, I am NOT a fan of how Superman, Wonder Woman, and Poison Ivy are written in this game’s story, especially the last two (although that could simply be that nothing Superman does could top what he did to Shazam last game, who is a CHILD). In particular, there is a scene where Poison Ivy uses her pheromones on Harley Quinn to turn her against her allies. Now, first off, I’d just like to point out that Harley is supposed to possess immunity to most poisons, toxins, etc., due to injections given to her BY Poison Ivy. But, let’s just ignore that for now, because that’s not what really aggravates me. Instead, after inhaling too much of Ivy’s pheromones, Harley starts going into shock, and Ivy’s reaction is to roll her eyes and show complete and utter apathy over her former lover lying on the ground dying five feet away from her… … …Linkara, I need you again!
Thank you!… … …Look, here’s the thing: I can see a situation where Harley and Ivy could be on opposing sides, sure, maybe even having to fight each other, but there is NO FUCKING WAY that Harley could be dying two feet away from Ivy, and Ivy would be on that level of not giving a shit. This is HARLEY we’re talking about. Regardless of if you subscribe to the idea of the two as a couple or not, the fact is that the second she saw her convulsing like that, she would have dropped EVERYTHING else and tried to help her, because be it in a romantic sense or not, Harley is one of the few people left that Ivy truly cares about. But she doesn’t. Why? Because Ivy is, in this story, irredeemably EVIL, as are Wonder Woman and Superman.
Now, I’ve brought this up in videos before, and they’ve brought up the defense that this is an alternate universe, so of course characters are gonna behave in ways we’re not used to. And yeah, as I said before, that was a thing in Injustice 1, and other than going to the extreme of Superman killing Billy Batson, I didn’t mind. So, why does it bother me here? Well, I thought about that, and I came to the following conclusion: It was easier to watch and deal with characters I knew and loved acting in such a manner in Injustice 1 because we had the versions we knew and loved going up against them. Hell, it actually made for interesting contrasts between them to see how they were so different, and yet had a starting point they could both be linked back to. Here, though, we don’t have that. We just have them acting like…well, MONSTERS. And, for that matter, why is it that we have characters who behave in a way that’s completely removed from the core of who they are, and then some who aren’t? Why are Barry and Hal able to realize the error of their ways in the previous game and try to redeem themselves, but Diana isn’t? You have to remain constant to the rules of how this alternate universe works, otherwise you’re inviting people to bring up these comments when stuff like this happens.
And then there’s my last issue: The end of the game, and if you don’t wanna know, then sorry, MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD. This is your only warning…Okay, so Superman and Batman go up to the Skull Ship to stop Brainiac, save Supergirl, and restore the stolen cities. Unlike in past chapters with multiple characters, the final two fights of this chapter have you fighting Brainiac twice, once with Superman and once with Batman. Personally, I would have changed it to where you choose which of them fights him the first time, and then Supergirl takes him on in the final battle. After all, not only does the Story Mode start with a flashback to her escape from Krypton after Brainiac invades, but we frequently see her side of the story as it unfolds even outside of her chapter, plus she gets a good shot in on Brainiac just before the last fight, AND she plays a big role in the ending of the game. So, clearly, the story largely centers around her, meaning it makes logical sense for her to be the one to take Brainiac down in the end. However, what’s a bigger issue is…that’s NOT the final chapter. The final chapter involves Superman and Batman, having successfully stopped Brainiac’s ship from crashing due to Superman interfacing with it, as well as managing to restore all of the Earth cities sans Metropolis and Coast City, coming to an argument over whether or not to kill Brainiac and take control of his Skull Ship, thus risking the remaining cities that haven’t been restored yet, or keep him alive long enough to restore the cities. And guess what? The story ends with them fighting AGAIN, leading to you choosing which one to play as in fighting the other and their allies. So the story ends with either Batman defeating Superman with a Kryptonite-enhanced armor and then banishing him to the Phantom Zone, then inviting Supergirl to take Clark’s place on a new Justice League, or Superman defeating Batman, bonding with Brainiac’s ship, imprisoning Supergirl in the red solar prison, and using Brainiac’s tech to turn Batman into his slave…Oh, and I’m assuming (don’t know this for a fact) that you get the special armor shown in the ending for the character you chose.
So, what’s my problem there? Well, it’s two-fold. The first reason I dislike it is because I would’ve personally ended the game with Brainiac’s defeat…then I would have had Superman DIE trying to use the ship’s systems to restore the Earth cities. Yes, I would have KILLED Superman. Barring that, I suppose he could’ve been left critically injured past the point of being able to recover quickly from solar rays, thus leaving him comatose or the like. Either way, I would have had the story end with him making that sacrifice, and then, as he lies on the floor, surrounded by friends and family, he looks back on how everything that went wrong stems from his decision to kill the Joker, and finally realizes his mistakes. It wouldn’t have magically taken away everything he did, but it would have at least let him go out saving the world and acknowledging that he did wrong. And then, from there, I guess you have Supergirl taking his place on the new League, the Regime all either surrender, go into hiding, or likewise realize their errors and join the new League, and so on. Oh, and I also would’ve added a teaser at the end for Darkseid deciding to try his hand at attacking Earth next, since…well, let’s be honest, that’s probably where they’re going.
The other reason I don’t care for the end of this game, either one, is because… … …Well, because I don’t care. I don’t care that Superman and Batman are fighting AGAIN. I’m too numb to it now. Why should I care that Superman and Batman are going to fight for the 11,311th time?…That’s one for every day since The Dark Knight Returns #4 came out, btw, and oh dear lord, I just now realized I’m two days removed from being exactly one year older than that comic. My God, I’m old. But the point still stands, I’ve just seen it too often, and I just don’t care to see it ever again. So ultimately, the ending doesn’t impress at all. It literally leaves me going “Oh yay, this again…”, and that’s not how a story should end. Like, it really says it all when, the first time they fight in the game during Chapter 1, all I can think during this scene that’s supposed to be really dramatic and sad is “Wow, I love the gold trim on Superman’s cape in this scene. Looks really good, and adds some much-needed colour balance between the red, blue, and yellow”.
So, as a result, for the ending leaving me so disappointed and for everything else that went wrong…I have to unfortunately give the story a thumbs down overall. There ARE moments I like and even love, like Harley beating down Joker, Hal Jordan fighting off the urge of the Red Lanterns’ rage, Cyborg vs Grid, the reveal that Batman kept the old round table for the Justice League, and so on. But it’s just overshadowed by a story that is infuriating at times and just unenthusing at others. Sorry, NetherRealm, but this is one story I just couldn’t give my approval to. Better luck next time, though.
Anyway, what did you think of the Story Mode? Let me know in the comments below, and let’s hope that Mr. Boon and DC listen to what we have to say next time. Ja né!
How To Drop The Ball In Comics – The New 52
…Well, we’re finally here, folks. It’s been five years, but at last, the New 52/DC You is dead. Granted, a few of its titles are still finishing up their runs, and the new books still take place in this universe, but it’s a changed one, and, quite frankly, a VASTLY improved one in my opinion, but I’ll be going over how when I look at DC Universe Rebirth #1 (the reason I haven’t yet is because there was still some fallout from it that continues into the other Rebirth one-shots). Before that, though, I think it’s time to look back on exactly what happened with the New 52, where it went wrong, and some of the worst titles that I personally have ever read from this era. So, welcome once again to How To Drop The Ball In Comics as I, for one last time, let it all out about the New 52.
What Is It?: The New 52 was basically a way to bring in new readers who might be intimidated by 70+ years of history, likely as a means of competing more with Marvel by upping their numbers. Sound familiar? It should. It’s something that DC has tried to do a few times now. However, they never tried anything quite like this: Following the event Flashpoint, the DC Universe was rebooted to where most of the heroes of the world had only been active for about 5 years. Most of the history of the characters were either gone or changed, thus creating a blank slate to start over from scratch with new talent to tell their tales in a modern setting. Now, DC was no stranger to reboots and retcons. But, as I said, this went a bit above and beyond anything they’d ever done before. So, the question one has to ask themselves, as has been done since the beginning of this new comic universe, is the same singular word as it’s always been: Why?
How Did It Have Potential?: Really, when you get down to why DC felt the need to reboot everything, it usually leads to a common question: Are there really that many people who want to read comics but don’t because of so much continuity to go through? And the answer is…complicated. I’ve had this talk before, and as I said then, this generation is actually the luckiest when it comes to stuff like that. We have the internet, with which we can read up on all this information. Sure, we might not get EVERYTHING, but the most important details will be waiting for us. That said, there DO exist people who either don’t know where to get this information, or don’t feel obligated, for whatever reason, to read up on it, but would STILL like to get into comics. Now, personally speaking, nowadays, I’m more of a subscriber to the theory that the best way to get new readers isn’t to sweep everything under a rug, but instead to give just enough allusions to these old stories and make them sound super exciting and interesting, thus making the reader want to know more. If you wanna know where I figured THAT out, read JLA/Titans: The Technis Imperative. Or, if you can’t find it, watch Linkara’s review of it. However, I’m not blind to the views of those who would implement this strategy to get more people reading.
On top of all of that, though, there is one thing people have to consider. And I know that there are people who have forgotten this, but…there ARE some heroes who kinda got screwed over LONG before the New 52 happened, and who have since gotten a new lease on life as a result. Want an example? Okay, VIBE. Vibe was considered the worst member of the Justice League EVER. His name was practically a punch line, and he likely either would’ve remained that way or completely faded from everyone’s memory, were it not for the reboot giving Geoff Johns a chance to do something new with him. And after seeing how he worked in the New 52, I gotta say, I really like Vibe. I would gladly have him on my Justice League team. I hope he comes back again. And, likely as a result of his being brought back in the New 52, the character was also adapted into The Flash’s TV show, which has another new interpretation of him that I really like. So, yes, the reboot had potential when it came to characters like him. Also, while I’m not necessarily a fan of how Donna Troy was brought back in the New 52, I will say that I’m glad it finally gave her a definitive origin that didn’t require a road map to understand…I think, anyway. Not sure exactly how her origin works in terms of how she could’ve been a member of the Titans, but whatever. Something I’ll get into another time.
Finally, though, we have to be honest: The New 52 had good books, many of which I listed before. Also, some of the books which were of actual good quality would not or could not have worked in the old continuity. Not without their own share of heavy changes, anyway. And some of these books were so good that, when the word got out about them, they brought in new readers. You know how I know that? BECAUSE I WAS ONE OF THEM! Yeah, I was one of those people who was on the fence about actually buying comics. Sure, I was a fan of many of the characters long before that, but that was mostly via their TV shows, movies, video games, stuff I learned through Atop The Fourth Wall, and just word of mouth. But when the reboot came, I saw it as an opportunity to get into comics, starting with Scott Snyder’s Batman, and I’ve been buying comics ever since. And a few characters DID eventually get put over as new stars. Harley Quinn is one of the top characters in DC right now, and has been outed as bisexual in her own book, meaning she is one of the most high-profile LGBT characters in comics. Speaking of, Batwoman got her own monthly title. Granted, she was already the star of Detective Comics for a while, but here, she had her own self-titled story. So, yes, we have to accept the fact that, in some ways, THE NEW 52 DID SEE SUCCESS… … … … …Now for the half-to-three-quarters empty.
How Did It Drop The Ball?: Well, before I get to that, I wanna show you something. Before writing this article, I went out on Twitter and asked a few people, if they could sum up exactly what went wrong with the New 52 in about 10 words or so, what those words would be. Let’s see what they had to say, shall we?
To be fair, though, one person I asked also had THIS to say…
…And yeah, that’s a legit concern to have, one that I’ll address when I get to DC Rebirth. Regardless, I can’t help but agree with the other responses, too. So, let’s start with the obvious one: What the loss of the past continuity cost us. Well, for starters, at the beginning of the New 52 (so the first 52 books printed), there was no Wally West, Donna Troy, Stephanie Brown, Cassandra Cain, the VAST majority of the JSA, Aqualad (either of them), and several other legacy heroes. Dick Grayson was back to being Nightwing. Bart Allen was the only Kid Flash. Cassandra Sandsmark was the only Wonder Girl. Barbara Gordon was the only Batgirl, was only in a wheelchair for a couple of years (give or take), and was suggested to have never been Oracle. There was no Young Justice team. The Outsiders were forced underground and were ultimately forgotten for a time. Cyborg was never a Teen Titan, instead taking Martian Manhunter’s place as a founding member of the Justice League. Martian Manhunter was more or less made into a hero everyone had trust issues with and would freely mindwipe others at a whim. Aquaman and Mera weren’t married, although no one apparently thought to tell Geoff Johns that while he was writing. Also, the Teen Titans never existed before Tim Drake’s new team, but again, apparently no one told Scott Lobdell. Roy Harper never had Lian, nor did he ever become Red Arrow, and instead became an anti-hero working with Jason Todd. Batman never revealed his identity to Catwoman, and instead the two were just having sex on rooftops. No one knew where the frak Renée Montoya was. But probably the most damning of all, Clark Kent and Lois Lane were never married, nor in a relationship.
But even beyond stuff that no longer happened due to the loss of past continuity, there were other retcons passed around throughout the New 52 that either didn’t make sense, came outta nowhere, or just served to piss people off. I’ve already gone over stuff like what happened to Wonder Woman, Starfire, and Martian Manhunter, but it didn’t end there. The Phantom Stranger was made to be Judas Iscariot. The Question was… … …I have no idea what the hell the Question was supposed to be, honestly. Tim Drake didn’t find out Batman’s identity and become Robin out of a need to help him, but instead failed to figure out who he was and instead forced his hand by messing with Penguin and almost getting his parents killed. Supergirl’s dad became the New 52 Cyborg Superman, which apparently is still canon in Rebirth for some reason. Billy Batson was turned into a little asshole who never shuts his gob. Roy Harper got a STUPID trucker hat that he refused to take off for some reason. Jason Todd’s back-story was changed to where Joker apparently set up his life to turn out exactly as it did to where he was killed and brought back. Mr. Freeze was never married to Nora, but instead was obsessed with her because of stuff relating to the cold and his mother that just makes my skin crawl. Overall, though, most of these changes and several others served for a single purpose: To make the DC Universe darker, and the stories were more often than not reflective of this, oftentimes filled with lots of sex and violence.
More than all of that, though, where I think the New 52 fails most in terms of stories is just on a sheer conceptual level. You’ll recall that I said the reboot was meant to put everything back to a clean slate. Here’s the problem: Some events in the past continuity did still happen. Several moments in DC’s history were condensed down into a much smaller time frame that made less sense the more one thought about it. Supposedly, events like Hal Jordan becoming Parallax, Blackest Night, and Batman being sent through time and believed dead still happened, but several key people involved weren’t, and the exact details of how it happened were changed. All the male Robins still exist (though Tim Drake was apparently never Robin and instead was always Red Robin), all within the span of 5 (later changed to approximately 10) years. Barbara Gordon was still shot by the Joker. Kyle Rayner’s girlfriend was still murdered and stuffed into a fridge (which, of all things to wipe away, why did THAT have to remain canon?! o.O). And, on top of all of this, some things happened, others didn’t, and not only was DC quiet about what did and didn’t happen, but they failed to give memos to the people WRITING THE STORIES about what was and wasn’t in canon. Like I said before, guys like Geoff Johns and Scott Lobdell, who were given high-profile books, weren’t informed of certain details. The first issues of Red Hood And The Outlaws and Teen Titans clearly made reference to past Titans teams, only to later learn that, supposedly, there were no previous Titans. I honestly have NO idea if Superman being killed by Doomsday is still canon or not. Heroes like Plastic Man and Miss Martian were referenced in the first issues of Justice League International and Teen Titans, only for it to be retconned that they never existed. George Pérez had to quit after six issues of Superman after repeated failures of being informed of details about Superman’s new status quo in this new universe. And I’m sure there are other instances of stuff like this that I’m not thinking of.
If you haven’t put it together by now, a major problem with the New 52 was mismanagement, and it wasn’t just a problem with the stories, either. Ask any of the talent that have left DC within the past five years, and you’ll probably get a similar story of broken promises and last-minute changes. Many left their stories unfinished as a result. In particular, Andy Diggle left the company before the first issue of his run on Action Comics ever even hit the stands. I think probably the one that still gets me is the controversy involving Batwoman, and I’ve gone over this before, but here’s as quick a summary of what happened as I can do. In September of 2013, J. H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman went public with the fact that they were leaving Batwoman, starting with issue 26. Why? Well, because of last-minute changes to stuff they had planned, specifically that they were told that Batwoman and Maggie Sawyer, who had just recently gotten engaged in the book, would never be allowed to get married. According to Dan DiDio, superheroes shouldn’t be married because being happy would undermine their angst and turmoil, and would compromise their commitment to being superheroes. Now, apparently, DiDio claims this is only to do specifically with the Bat-related characters, but if you’ll recall, neither Superman nor Aquaman were married, either. In fact, the only superhero seemingly still with a family was Animal Man. So while DiDio says it was only a Bat Family thing, I think it’s more likely that he doesn’t like the idea of superheroes being married, for one reason or another. This is evidenced further by notes of his going back as far as Infinite Crisis, where it’s clear he wanted to break up Clark Kent and Lois Lane for YEARS. But hey, I’m not in charge of DC Comics. I don’t have any say in what goes on. So maybe Dan DiDio DOES know better than me. But, if that’s the case, can I ask a simple question? And it’s one I’ve asked for years now and never gotten a good answer for: If Batwoman getting married was such a problem, then why was it ever given the green light to begin with? Why were they ever allowed to get engaged? You could’ve avoided all of this and the controversy that followed if you’d simply suggested against this move to begin with in a calm and rational tone, and instead worked out something different with Williams and Blackman.
Speaking of the controversy involving Batwoman, that leads me to another issue: The women of DC. And that’s not just the characters. That said, here’s a list of just SOME of the examples of violence and fridging towards women in the New 52 (though PLEASE be aware that these are horribly graphic in many cases, so read at your own discretion): Link. Beyond that, though, there was an overall lack of female creators working for DC at the beginning. I think the official figures were that the female creators at DC had dropped from 12% to 1%. And we’ve got more now, but it’s still a rather small number. And probably the most high-profile among those at the beginning was Gail Simone. Only, guess what? There’s controversy there, too, not only because Secret Six, a best seller at DC before the reboot, was cancelled, not only because the book she’d be working on, Batgirl, had Barbara Gordon taken out of the wheelchair and claimed to have never been Oracle, a move that ticked off a LOT of people, but because she was, in December of 2012, fired from Batgirl via e-mail (which was later suggested to be inaccurate or untrue, but who knows at this point), despite the fact that she’d made the book work and be a top-seller in the face of everything working against it. Granted, she was hired back 12 days later, but I honestly feel that’s only because her firing got SO public that DC was basically becoming a lightning rod of hate. But again, guess what? She eventually left the book AGAIN, and then went on to write a rebooted Secret Six, which is, again, getting cancelled. Maybe it’ll be back in Rebirth someday down the road, I don’t know, we’ll just have to wait and see.
And lastly, I was GOING to include a list of my 5 Least Favourite Books of the New 52. However, I’ve decided not to because, at this point, you should probably have a good idea as to which books I didn’t like and which ones outright pissed me off. Maybe I’ll go back and do it later if I REALLY feel the need to, but for now, here’s just a quick rundown of the books I didn’t like, hated, or just had problems with.
Batman The Dark Knight: A horrible and nonsensical opening arc, and then later, the AWFUL killing of Batman’s love interest at the time. Even excluding those, though, it just wasn’t good.
Action Comics/Superman: The character was just not as likable or inspiring as he could be, even with the reboot, and later became crossover event after crossover event.
The Fury of Firestorm: Sorry, Gail, but every great writer’s gotta have at least one bomb, and this was just terrible.
Detective Comics: The book started off with Joker getting his face cut off just to set the stage for a story written one year later in another book…Do I even need to SAY anything else after that? Even when it was good, it always felt like it was just the other Batman book.
Teen Titans: Even if Scott WASN’T a sub-par writer, the lack of communication with editorial over what was and wasn’t canon ruined it in the beginning. The second volume started off promising, but later delved into being just bad. Overall, both volumes have kinda ruined Tim Drake as a credible leader. Still, I really like Bunker and hope he returns in Rebirth.
Wonder Woman: Massive retcons to Wonder Woman’s origins and the Amazons, and was later given to the Finches, who frankly just do not get the character.
Justice League of America: Existed solely as lead-in to Trinity War, and was later scrapped and reworked into the superior Justice League United. There’s also a JLA book going on right now that involves the seven main members of the Justice League going up against Rao, but I haven’t been following, and apparently, the book has been outright plagued with delays and cancellations.
The Movement: …I DID mention that I really like Gail Simone, right? 😀 …Okay, to be fair, I actually really liked the characters, but the overall story structure seemed problematic. Maybe it was just me, though. I’d actually be fine with this title coming back someday, or maybe the characters making comebacks, especially Vengeance Moth and Virtue.
Superman/Wonder Woman: Would’ve been fine if it was just about the two teaming up to fight bad guys, except it was far more about the two’s relationship that many were sick of already, and later existed solely to further the crossover events involving the other Superman-related books.
Birds of Prey: Started off okay, and had a new fan favourite bisexual character in Starling and put Poison Ivy on her more heroically inclined path, but it quickly fell completely apart, particularly when both aforementioned characters had heel turns and left the group.
Nightwing: While I personally enjoyed the book, it had a problem that a lot of other books frequently involved in crossover events had, in that there was rarely if ever a status quo to become invested in.
Red Hood And The Outlaws: The only reason I can fathom as to why this book is being brought back for Rebirth is as a means to keep Scott Lobdell away from anything else. That said, at least it won’t involve Starfire and Roy Harper anymore, who are returning to the Titans books.
Earth 2/World’s End/Earth 2 Society: Earth 2 started off promising, but then Dan Wilson took over, and the ship was pretty much sunk in every conceivable way. Dan Abnett’s actually trying REALLY hard to make Earth 2 Society good, and you can tell he’s a good writer, but I just don’t know how or if you can save this outside of another reboot, and that’s what got us into this mess.
Harley Quinn: If this was a book that was just about Harley, that’d be one thing, but they include Poison Ivy and just do strange and stupid things with her at times (though they DID at least make it canon that these two are bisexual), and did an amnesia arc with Power Girl where the latter was utterly humiliated and degraded in more ways than one.
Futures End: Brought Terry McGinnis into the mainstream continuity just to kill him off and replace him with an alternate future version of Tim Drake. Also, was FULL of body horror, dark twists, and ultimately proved to be pointless as the future presented never happened. Still, it DID have some good tie-ins, like the Batgirl one that I’ve brought up before.
Martian Manhunter: If anyone can tell me just what in the hell happened in this book without giving me a headache, that would be much appreciated. lol
Catwoman: I don’t even. I just don’t even. The first issue has her having sex with Batman for no reason, and has gone through multiple writers and arcs, none of which seemed to be written all that well.
Black Canary: I wouldn’t call this BAD, it’s just weird seeing Dinah in a band. But, let’s be fair, that could just be a problem with me.
There’s almost certainly more I’m either not thinking of or didn’t read, but that’s enough for now. Honestly, at this point, I’m sick of ranting about the New 52. And really, this is why I decided to do this article: Just to get this all out one last time so I can move on. Because, if you’ll look back on my blog and read my DC-related articles, it’s clear that I need to move on. I can’t live in the past, especially THIS past. I need to look to the future, and while DC Rebirth has a few things I could pick out as problematic, I will say that it still looks like a VAST improvement over the New 52. In the end, all the New 52 was was just a poorly managed era of comics history, one that even those behind it have figured out was a failure, and one that I am more than happy to leave behind for brighter horizons.
So, that’s pretty much the New 52 in a nutshell. Got any stories about this era of comics or details I might’ve left out? Lemme know in the comments below, and come back later this month when I finally take a look at DC Universe Rebirth #1, and my overall thoughts on the new era going forward. Ja né!
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.
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 The DC Rebirth Line-Up
Yeah, this is kinda late, but I thought I’d wait at least a little bit to see what news emerged before giving my thoughts on the current line-up. There were a lot of rumours going into Rebirth, namely what exactly it was. Another complete universal reboot, a soft reboot, a changed line-up to better reflect the shows and movies going right now, etc. In the end, though, what it appears to be is basically taking the concept of books like Green Lantern Rebirth and The Flash Rebirth and applying it to the DC Universe as a whole, as Geoff Johns explains here:
So, it doesn’t seem to be a universal reboot, but rather a soft reboot to reintroduce certain aspects of the characters that we love, as well as re-establish certain other heroes. We can go more in-depth about what that might entail, as well as the cryptic words of the mysterious narrator, later, though. For now, let’s just look at the actual line-up of books that have been confirmed thus far, which looks like this:
• AQUAMAN REBIRTH #1
• BATMAN REBIRTH #1
• THE FLASH REBIRTH #1
• GREEN ARROW REBIRTH #1
• GREEN LANTERNS REBIRTH #1
• SUPERMAN REBIRTH #1
• TITANS REBIRTH #1
• WONDER WOMAN REBIRTH #1
New #1 Issues (Shipping twice monthly):
• AQUAMAN #1
• BATMAN #1
• THE FLASH #1
• GREEN ARROW #1
• GREEN LANTERNS #1
• SUPERMAN #1
• WONDER WOMAN #1
New Issues (Shipping twice monthly):
• ACTION COMICS #957
• DETECTIVE COMICS #934
• BATGIRL & THE BIRDS OF PREY REBIRTH #1
• HAL JORDAN & THE GREEN LANTERN CORPS REBIRTH #1
• THE HELLBLAZER REBIRTH #1
• JUSTICE LEAGUE REBIRTH #1
• NIGHTWING REBIRTH #1
• RED HOOD & THE OUTLAWS REBIRTH #1
New #1 Issues (Shipping twice monthly):
• HAL JORDAN & THE GREEN LANTERN CORPS #1
• JUSTICE LEAGUE #1
• NIGHTWING #1
New #1 Issues (Shipping monthly):
• BATGIRL #1
• BATGIRL & THE BIRDS OF PREY #1
• THE HELLBLAZER #1
• RED HOOD & THE OUTLAWS #1
• THE SUPER-MAN #1
• TITANS #1
• BATMAN BEYOND REBIRTH #1
• BLUE BEETLE REBIRTH #1
• CYBORG REBIRTH #1
• DEATHSTROKE REBIRTH #1
• EARTH 2 REBIRTH #1
• SUICIDE SQUAD REBIRTH #1
• SUPERGIRL REBIRTH #1
• TEEN TITANS REBIRTH #1
• TRINITY REBIRTH #1
New #1 Issues (Shipping twice monthly):
• CYBORG #1
• DEATHSTROKE #1
• HARLEY QUINN #1
• JUSTICE LEAGUE AMERICA #1
• SUICIDE SQUAD #1
New #1 Issues (Shipping monthly):
• BATMAN BEYOND #1
• BLUE BEETLE #1
• EARTH 2 #1
• GOTHAM ACADEMY: NEXT SEMESTER #1
• SUPERGIRL #1
• SUPERWOMAN #1
• SUPER SONS #1
• TEEN TITANS #1
• TRINITY #1
…So, let’s go over my thoughts for now about some of the announced books, starting with…
Looks like the Superman titles are undergoing a major revamp. While Action Comics is going back to its old numbering, Supergirl is returning with her own title (about time), and we’re also getting the new books Superwoman, Super Sons, and The Super-Man. If I had to take a guess, and I suppose at this point that’s all I can do, I’d wager that this all has to do with the upcoming Super League storyline that’ll wrap up the current Superman titles, with Superman enlisting several other superheroes as a team of Supermen (and Superwomen, it seems). Why is he doing this? Well, recently, Superman was able to regain his powers, but at a price, and he’s potentially dying, so he might be trying to pull a Batman and have the Super League act as a contingency should something happen to him and the world still needs Superman. Also, Batman/Superman and Superman/Wonder Woman seem to be getting dropped in favour of a Trinity book, which I am 100% okay with, especially since both books have been telling the same story as the other Super titles anyway. Might as well just put all three in a single title where they all get top billing. Also, I can’t help but notice that Superman: Lois And Clark is disappearing, but I’ve heard that the pre-Flashpoint Superman who appears in that book will both be involved in the Super League story as well as Rebirth, so not crossing them out just yet. Lastly, the one book that got me to raise an eyebrow most in this whole line-up was “The Super-Man”. However, I’ve since been directed to a cover for Justice League #51, where Lex Luthor is shown to be in a Superman-esque costume. Perhaps an attempt to cast Lex Luthor as the evil Superman that was originally conceived before Action Comics #1? We’ll see. Oh, and just saying, PLEASE DC, put Superman in a costume that at least balances out the three colours better. There’s just too much blue and not enough yellow in this equation.
I’m a bit interested to see where Batman goes now that he’s been back from the dead…again. lol I mean, the last time he came back, he created Batman Incorporated. Right now, it feels like a similar idea isn’t far off, with Jim Gordon apparently keeping his Batsuit, Batgirl starting a new Birds of Prey team, and Dick Grayson evidently going back to being Nightwing. And, if you’re confused about that, well…Batman And Robin Eternal #20 kinda revealed that Helena Bertinelli set it up to where Spyral’s orbital little satellite has the ability to make everyone forget about his unmasking and ‘death’ in Forever Evil, thus allowing him to go back to his old life if he so chose. And, I gotta admit, when I first heard about that, it actually sounded like an intriguing moral and ethical dilemma: Should Dick use this technology, essentially mind wiping the entire planet’s population, so he can go back to being Nightwing? Or should he continue to work for a group of secret agents who are CONSTANTLY bending the rules of what is and isn’t ethically sound or legal in order to get the job done? It’s not an easy situation to figure out… … …Too bad I know for a fact that they’re not gonna explore it much and instead it looks like he’s just gonna flip the switch and damn the consequences. I’m not saying that’s necessarily WRONG, just…kinda feels like the easy way out. Frankly, at this point, I just hope they put him back in blue this time around. I’m also interested to see what Batgirl And The Birds Of Prey will be like, and I kinda hope that Gail Simone ends up writing it eventually. Ask nearly anyone, and they’ll tell you that Birds of Prey was at its best when Gail was writing it. No sign of a Robin book yet, which is a little concerning, and it looks as though Gotham Academy is continuing on. And lastly, yeah, I remember what my initial reaction was to Red Hood And The Outlaws coming back, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that, as long as that book is around, it keeps Scott Lobdell away from anything I actually CARE about. 😛
SONOFABITCHMOTHERFUCKINGSHITMASSAGINGCOCKGRINDINGMONKEYFACEDCLOWNFART!!! Just when Justice League had become AMAZING, Johns and Fabok are both off the book! Didn’t I specifically say I wanted them to stay on the book going into Rebirth?!…Well, hopefully, Fabok can find work on one of the other titles. I’m personally hoping for Wonder Woman, because I fucking love how he draws her. Speaking of, I’ve been hearing rumours (so take this with a grain of salt) that Marguerite Bennett could be the new writer for Wonder Woman, which is actually funny because she’s Scott Snyder’s old pupil, and I was requesting Scott Snyder’s Wonder Woman a while ago, so…Yeah. lol Anyway, Justice League of America is apparently just gonna be Justice League America…’kay. Why we can’t just call it JLA, I dunno.
So, I’m guessing that since there are two Titans books right now, Teen Titans and Titans Hunt, and there are two Titans books post-Rebirth, Teen Titans and just plain Titans, that plain Titans is probably gonna be about Dick Grayson, Donna Troy, Roy Harper, and the other older Titans. With any luck, we’ll see Starfire join that team, since her book is ending (not cancelled, though, as it was apparently always planned for 12 issues), and otherwise, I fear she might end up going back to RHATO, which I would LOATHE. Other than that, not much else to discuss.
Like I said earlier, the team of Marguerite Bennett and Jason Fabok on Wonder Woman would be awesome if it comes to be. The silhouettes for the official image for Rebirth suggest the return of Wally West as Kid Flash, which could prove interesting for The Flash, and there looks to be a female Green Lantern, which could be Jessica Cruz, and after recent events with the Green Lantern Corps, they could use the new recruits who are already a little experienced with Power Rings. It’s looking like Earth 2 might be reverting back to a more traditional look and feel, especially if I’m right about who that is second from the left behind the curtain of the Rebirth image. And I couldn’t help but notice both Ted Kord and Jaime Reyes appeared in the video, so seeing that there’s a Blue Beetle comic involved raises some questions, like are they going to be working as a duo of sorts. And Hellblazer…Look, I don’t really care about Constantine. I find him to be a major horse’s ass, personally speaking. But, I know a lot of people DO care, and were pissed when his show got cancelled rather quickly, so I will say that I’m glad those people are getting their fill of Constantine, both with this comic and with his appearances in Arrow. Oh, and lastly, I’ve heard that Rebirth will apparently include what Dan Didio calls his most controversial moment ever…Dear God, save me. -_-
Anyway, those are my thoughts so far. If anything else comes up that I’m personally invested in, I’ll go ahead and give my thoughts on it. Be sure to leave your own thoughts below, and we’ll see what goes on from now ’til June. Ja né!
…Oh yeah, and expect a How To Drop The Ball In Comics: The New 52 in June. ^_^
What I Bought Today – Batman #24 (WARNING – SPOILERS)
So, I was at Heroes’ Beacon today (the shop where I buy my comics), and I got some awesome books, so let’s take a minute to talk about…
Now, as I tend to do many times when one book in particular is just a huge flipping deal, I’m gonna cover it on its own, and then do the others in a second post. With that said, let’s take a look at Batman #24!
This issue kinda marks the halfway point for Zero Year. Not necessarily that it’s halfway done in terms of number of issues, but from a storyline perspective, the first half is done, that being dealing with the Red Hood Gang and becoming Batman. And yes, we do see Bruce Wayne in his first (in the New 52 canon, anyway) Bat suit, in all of its purple-gloved glory! XD And snark aside, I felt they really did a good job of bringing back the classic Batman costume and modernizing it. In fact, the reveal is done in a two-page spread, where Batman is swinging with a Red Hood in a pose meant to harken back to the cover of Detective Comics #27, AKA Batman’s first appearance.
In the Batcave, Bruce and Alfred begin piecing together a plot by Red Hood One, which seems to be slightly rushed with the appearance of the Batman. However, they’re still lacking on some details, so Alfred suggests Bruce go to see Philip, who is overjoyed to see Bruce alive. Philip admits the Red Hood Gang got to him, and while he’s had enough of Red Hood One’s shit, when he wanted to go to the police, the gang kinda branded RH347 on his chest, thus linking him to them. However, he does give Bruce access to the information he needs, and he and Alfred quickly deduce Red Hood One’s plan. However, while Alfred says Batman has to stop them, Bruce replies that Batman can’t, that there’s only one man who can stop the Red Hood Gang this time: Bruce Wayne.
Bruce decides to reveal himself as being alive…again, this time through an impromptu press conference, Commissioner Loeb deciding to send Jim Gordon down to check it out, and here’s where we get something awesome. Bruce asks everyone watching at home why they love Gotham City. And really, when you read Batman comics, you have to wonder why ANYONE would love Gotham. Even without the super-villains, it’s still Hell on Earth. There’s gangbangers, the price of living comfortably is insane, there’s too much rain, and it just seems to bring out the worst in so many people. So why would anyone stay there? For Bruce, the answer is simple: People come to Gotham to become something MORE. Gotham City challenges the people living there to make themselves more than they are. It dares them to become better, and does everything it can to stop them, and if one can take all it can dish out, they become something more as a result.
Anyway, once the speech is over, Bruce points to the building he’s been standing in front of all along, and reveals it to be the Red Hood Gang’s hidden base: A.C.E. Chemical. Red Hood One is creating a flesh-eating poison that they’re going to unleash upon the city, Having given away their position, the Red Hood Gang decide to take out Wayne, but in the confusion of them shooting rockets at him and the GCPD getting involved, Bruce manages to get inside. Red Hood One finds him and holds him at gun-point, but Bruce literally tells him he’s “so full of #$%”, that his concept of ‘life is meaningless if you can die at any time’ is crap, since what matters most is what you do in the time you have. Red Hood One has heard enough and is ready to kill Bruce, but the lights go out, and as can be seen from above in a GCPD helicopter, the whole area has blacked out, the outline of which now resembling a bat. Sure enough, as the lights come back on, Batman kicks the crap out of the entire Red Hood Gang, all the while Red Hood One watches from the shadows, his eyes fixated on the Dark Knight.
While Batman deals with the grunts, and impressively so for a guy only in his first year as a crime-fighter, Red Hood One takes aim at him, but is caught by a bullet from another Red Hood bouncing off his helmet. Red Hood One straight up executes Red Hood 347, which Batman realises to his horror is Philip, just as the police finally manage to bust in. Granted, while they DID have charges, considering the chemicals in the building, they obviously couldn’t risk it. Unfortunately, the deflected bullet causes one of the tanks to leak, which in turn creates a chain of explosions, so I guess it didn’t matter in the end. The police try to arrest Batman, but you can probably guess how well that works…as in, not at all. lol
Batman catches up with Red Hood One, who is trying to escape in a helicopter, but they tumble back into the building, there’s another explosion, Red Hood One is dangling over a vat of chemicals, Batman tries to save the poor bastard, but he just says it wouldn’t be any fun, and…well, you can probably guess how this ends. However, there is a twist. A while later, we see that Bruce and Alfred have updated the Batcave a bit to look a little closer to the more modern take we see nowadays. Bruce suggests it’s only a matter of time before people start piecing together that he’s Batman, and jokingly offers to share a cell with Alfred. Pennyworth, however, says that at least the Red Hood Gang is defeated and he can move on from them…However, it seems Bruce can’t. The body of Red Hood One was never found, and while Red Hood members all pointed to a man named Liam Distal as the leader, HE was found dead the day before.
Distal’s corpse was mostly dissolved in lye, so that it’s impossible to tell exactly when he was murdered. So, now there’s a mystery regarding the identity of the man he fought…Okay, I’m just gonna say it, it’s The Joker. Either Joker killed Distal weeks ago and took his place, or he was a patsy reading lines for Distal and only made the switch recently. It’s also possible someone else killed Distal, and then switched places with ‘The Man Who Would Be The Joker’ before Batman caught up with him on the roof at A.C.E. In the end, without more evidence, there’s no way to know……..Scott Snyder, you redefine what it means to troll your readers. XD
At any rate, Alfred finds it unlikely people will figure out Bruce Wayne is Batman, relating back to his days as an actor. He used to try too hard to make the characters he performed just perfect, and leave no trace of himself in it, as to avoid seeming like a faker. However, what he learned is that the audience WANTS to believe in the actor. They want to forget who is under the mask, and become enthralled by the character, because the actor put so much hard work and passion into it. Add in the fact that Batman can pretty much make the rules of logic his bitch, and the everyday ordinary people of Gotham won’t WANT to know who Batman is.
Alfred and Bruce decide to make up after their most recent issue, but are cut off by a broadcast from Edward Nygma, who had become The Riddler. He delivers the second riddle of the Sphinx: ‘There are two sisters; each gives birth to the other. Who are they?’ Bruce, Alfred, and Commissioner Gordon all recognize it, just before Nygma calls for the ‘dark, dark night’, and our comic ends as he sets off explosions that cause a massive blackout all over Gotham City.
This comic is frigging awesome. The modernizing of Batman’s original costume is great, as is the little Easter Egg of the words “BK was here” on the roof in the two-page spread where Batman is revealed for the first time. Also, the result of his confrontation with the Red Hood Gang went VERY well. While I’m all too willing to say that the individual dressed as Red Hood One is the Joker, since it all but outright says that, the fact that we don’t see the transformation still leaves some ambiguity. And even if it IS him, we still don’t REALLY know who he is, and that’s how the Joker SHOULD be. As he himself said, “If I’m going to have a past, I prefer it to be multiple choice!” The ending where Riddler appears DOES seem kinda rushed, but I think that’s the idea, where Batman has defeated the Red Hood Gang, and yet only NOW is the shit getting real.
Anyway, that’s it for Batman this week, but we still have Nightwing, the Fearless Defenders, and Red Sonja to go through, so check back in a few when I talk about them. Ja né!
- Batman – Under the Red Hood Movie Review (detectivemaxxzeqsterscreepycrawlyamazingadventures.wordpress.com)
- Batman #24 (comicvine.com)
- EXCLUSIVE: Guillem March’s “Zero Year” Variant Sends Red Hood To His Fate (comicbookresources.com)
- Does Rockford, Illinois need a Batman? (therockfordblog.com)
- Batman Through The Years (costumesupercenter.com)
- The Side of Batman We’ll Probably Never See on the Big Screen (nickverboon.wordpress.com)
- The Red Hood Strikes in ‘Batman 66′ #3! (mancave.cbslocal.com)
- Off My Mind: Batman Zero Year and the Red Hood Gang Leader (comicvine.com)
- The Falcon (Anthony Mackie) Says Ben Affleck Will Make Batman “Cool Again” (cabletv.com)
- Batman: Under the Red Hood (therealmoffilm.wordpress.com)
What I Bought Today – Batman #22, Superman Unchained #2, Nightwing #22, Batgirl #22, Fearless Defenders #6 (WARNING – SPOILERS)
Well, despite heat and sore feet, I have ventured uptown on this Wednesday and returned to show you all…
*Groan* Well, this was the expensive week. Five books, one week. Thank God three of them were among the cheaper ones out nowadays. Let’s begin with the two expensive ones, starting with Batman #22.
Yeah, I’m calling it right now: Red Hood One is The Joker. Maybe it’s someone else and this is a HUGE swerve, but I’m pretty sure it’s him. And if that’s the case, I would just like Scott Snyder to know that I’m fine with that, so long as we learn NOTHING ELSE ABOUT HIM. NOTHING. The whole point of the character is that we’re not supposed to know who he really is. Otherwise, Zero Year has been superb. I have a slight issue with Bruce and Alfred coming to the point where one actually has to hit the other, but considering it’s Alfred having to slap some sense into a younger and rasher Bruce Wayne, I guess it works. The Riddler proves to be an awesome villain hanging out in the shadows, though I HIGHLY doubt he’ll remain there much longer, as he clearly has plans that will require him to step out into the light. Overall, great issue, can’t wait to see what in the hell happens next.
Superman Unchained #2…When I saw the preview pages for this, my reaction was “Ooh, this looks good!” And you know what? That’s the first frakking time I’ve ever had that reaction to a book starring Superman in the New 52. I’m gonna spoil the first 8-10 pages a bit for y’all, so if you don’t wanna know what happens, skip ahead to the next book I talk about now: Superman flies to Dubai, sees thousands of people trapped in the Burj Khalifa after it’s knocked over (which, for those unaware, is the TALLEST MAN-MADE STRUCTURE IN THE WORLD), and manages to save them all at the last frakking second, even with a giant mech suit trying to kill him…Okay, for realsies? This is the best Superman title going right now, but it really says it all that this is the best Superman title simply because it FEELS like a Superman book and doesn’t do anything to screw up the winning formula for him. Hell, we even see Lex Luthor up to his old tricks! Now, of course, there are some moments that feel SLIGHTLY groan worthy, like Superman later having to fight corrupt soldiers, and once again we find Lois Lane in need of being rescued, but I’ll still fuckin’ take it over the Lobdell titles! Oh, and don’t even get me started on Justice League, that’s a rant for another day!…Oh, and Batman was in this. lol
Nightwing #22 was great. Will Conrad’s art is actually really good, and because of the similarity to Brett Booth‘s work (minus the beefcake) and the fact that the book still has Andrew Dalhouse as the colourist, I honestly might not have noticed the difference too much. The stuff with Tony Zucco honestly makes me wonder if Zucco is actually legitimately reformed or not. Prankster very quickly capitalizes on the mistake Nightwing made by not personally ensuring he gets handed over to the authorities, as he holds Chicago ransom and reveals the sins of the Mayor. Overall, continues to be great.
Batgirl #22………Oh boy. Look, I’m gonna skip what I thought of most of this book, because thank God, most of this book actually works REALLY WELL for me. I’m not really a huge fan of the romantic interest in this series, but this issue helps to sell him for me, and I’m grateful for that. Also, the first page was hilarious. However, I have to talk about the ending, because it encompasses the worst of this book nowadays: Jim Gordon is an idiot right now in Batgirl. I don’t know if Gail Simone is intentionally writing him to be an idiot, but frankly I don’t give a damn. IT’S ANNOYING AS FUCK. I’ll talk more about this in a separate rant, but for now I’ll just say that I’m already fed up with this, and if it gets much worse, I might just be dropping Batgirl, at least until this particular story arc is over.
Fearless Defenders #6 was okay. I really feel bad for the fans, though, since a character they really grew to like has died. I won’t spoil it, but suffice to say for a friend of mine who made a guess on it, it’s NOT Hippolyta. Unfortunately, I can’t feel too bad since I’m rather unfamiliar with her (in fact, note to self: Buy first 4 issues of this book to get caught up). Kinda ends on a pretty sad and uncomfortable note, but we’re left with the promise that it could get better, so I guess we’ll see. I will once again say that it is AWESOME to see all these super-heroines in the same place at the same time. ^_^
So that’s it for this week. Next week, it’s Catwoman’s turn at bat with Crazy Steve-I mean Batman, and Supergirl has an encounter of the Cyborg kind. Ja né!
- Comic Book previews 10/7/13 (justpressplay13.wordpress.com)
- REVIEW: Snyder & Lee’s “Superman Unchained” #2 (comicbookresources.com)
- Get ready for Comic Con by blowing all your cash on This Week’s Comics (io9.com)
- COMICS: Preview ‘FEARLESS DEFENDERS #6’ (comicbookmovie.com)
- Step Up to #Infinity with Fearless Defenders @MarvelComics (drhiphop85.com)
- This Week’s Essential Comics: 07/08/13 (comicvine.com)
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…
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.
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!
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!
What I Bought Today – Batman #17 (WARNING – SPOILERS)
Well, it’s Wednesday, and that means it’s time for me to talk about…
Today’s gonna be a little different. I bought four comics, one of which being a comic from last month that I missed and had to have specially ordered. But before I get to that, I wanna take the time to talk about one comic in particular first, the conclusion to Death of the Family, Batman #17.
Scott Snyder, I salute you sir. You frigging TROLLED us for MONTHS, making us dread this issue and what was gonna happen to poor Alfred. Well, the good news, for anyone that feared that, is that Alfred Pennyworth is alive and well, and thank goodness too. After all, the last time someone died in a Batman comic, I had to eulogize them, and really, what could I possibly say about Alfred frigging Pennyworth? I am not qualified to talk about Alfred Pennyworth. And better yet, I don’t have to eulogize ANY of the main cast, who all survive the ordeal.
So, Batman wakes up after being electrocuted at the end of Batman #16 to find himself in the caves under Gotham City, and bound to a chair at the head of a table. And sitting around the table, also bound and with sacks over their heads, are Nightwing, Robin, Red Robin, Batgirl, and Red Hood, who all tried and failed to bring down the Joker in their books, which I’ll get to in a bit. Of course, Batman COULD get free, but Joker’s rigged his chair so that, if he gets up from it, it will light the gasoline that has covered the Bat Family. A Jokerised Alfred comes out and pulls the sacks from the Bat Family’s heads, revealing them to be covered in bloody bandages, as Joker finally shows us what’s in the platters. What is it? THEIR FACES.
So after Joker decides to bullcrap with Batman for a while, Batman gets up, setting the family on fire, but he knows these caves pretty damned well and blows out the roof to bring down a huge gush of water that douses them right out. Joker takes off, naturally, and Batman immediately goes to Damian, and the poor kid is clearly traumatized, which I’ve NEVER seen from Damian, EVER. He’s putting up a brave front, naturally, but you can tell he’s horrified, waiting for his father to pull the bandages off and tell him how bad it looks…and sure enough, he’s perfectly fine, Joker’s little platters being fakes. If I had to guess, Dollmaker made ’em or something.
Batman wants to stay with the others, but Nightwing assures him that they’ll be fine and that he needs to go after Joker. The freaking psycho clown has an axe and decides to try to bullcrap some more, but Batman just wrestles it away saying “No more talk”, punches him saying “No more dances”, and picks up Joker’s crossbar saying “No more quarrelling”. Joker lets him in on the fact that he left a bomb full of Joker gas, but Batman’s not going back, not because he plans for them to kill each other, but because he believes in them and knows they don’t need his help, as sure enough they begin to resist the effects. As Joker almost goes over a cliff into a waterfall, Batman stops him and tells him he intends to go further than he ever has with Joker, and for a moment you really believe he’s going to kill him, but instead he intends to do something far worse from the Joker’s perspective: Batman tells him that in the past year, he finally figured out who he is. But Joker, in his rage and horror as Batman leans in to whisper his true name, hits Batman with a joy buzzer and dives off the cliff, his face falling off and flapping into the wind. Oh, and no, I guarantee he ain’t dead. He’s survived WAY worse.
Later on, Alfred is recovering in bed as Bruce tells him he’s expecting the others shortly. Before that, though, he has an admission to make: Shortly after they took Dick in, Bruce went to Arkham Asylum under the pretence of investing in a new wing to the Asylum, but what he was really there for was to go to Joker’s room and present him with the Joker card that was found in the Batcave beforehand, and while Joker looked at him and the card, he didn’t truly SEE Bruce. This is how Bruce knows that Joker doesn’t know he’s Batman: Because he doesn’t care. If anything, if someone told him Batman was Bruce Wayne, he’d probably go running into the corner singing “Trololololol lololol lololol!” He doesn’t WANT to know who Batman is for the same reason he doesn’t want Batman to know who he is: Because it would ruin his fun. The truth is, if he cares ANYTHING for the Bat Family, it’s not that he believes they make Batman weak, it’s because they get in his way. For him, it has to be Batman vs Joker, ALWAYS.
So why didn’t Batman tell the others this from the start? Because it would mean admitting that he knows Joker WAY better than he’d like to admit. And I’ll admit, I get where he’s coming from there. However, after all that’s happened and the mental scarring they’ve taken, the family leaves messages one after the other telling that they can’t make it. I don’t think they’re necessarily angry with Bruce, they just need time to themselves. This leaves Bruce alone in the case as the computer alerts him to an isotope found in the Joker toxin they were infected with, which turns out to be Element 105: Dubnium, also known as Hahnium or by its original element symbol, Ha.
Okay, so I know that there are gonna be people pissed off by this finale. Me personally? I love it. I still have frakking chills from this. This was a great arc. There are some of the flaws of Death of the Family, and I will point them out eventually, but for now I’m just gonna say this: There is no fucking way Joker was in as many places as the tie-ins suggested he was in all at once. None. Maybe a couple, but not all of ’em. He either had stand-ins or hallucinogens or some other type of trickery, but there is no way he was present in all those locations.
So yeah, this further cements that I’m gonna be doing a retrospect on Scott Snyder’s Batman in the super near future. In the meantime, though, be sure to check back here in a few when I discuss what else I bought today: Nightwing #16, Batgirl #17, and Batman & Robin #17. Ja né!
Preview Images for Batman #15
So yeah, Comicvine has recently released some preview images for next month’s issue of Batman. during their interview with Greg Capullo. I highly recommend that you go check out this interview…
…but if you aren’t interested, here are the images. First, let’s take a look at the cover, which admittedly has been available for a while.
I’d make a joke about how Batman’s got Joker on the brain, but that’d be pointless since the cover is outright showing us that. And if that isn’t enough to prove that, trust me, one of the images in this line-up will. Next up is the first of the images I saw…
This seems to suggest a definite stand-or-fall-together story, that the Bat Family knows the Joker is after them all and, despite certain issues they may have with each other (Tim Drake and Damian Wayne can’t get along and NOBODY trusts Jason Todd, although Tim does occasionally sympathise with him…for some reason), the six are going to have to come together if they want to live through this.
Here, we can make out Batman gliding across Gotham, passing over a couple clearly about to go for a home run, before settling on a house showing a family having dinner together. Well, maybe he’s going to watch a family all together as a sign of hope in this horrible situation, or maybe he’s just checking on the people to make sure they’re okay, or…
…or maybe he wants to scare the hell out of them. I can’t help but hear Christian Bale‘s voice in my head screaming “WHERE WERE THE OTHER DRUGS?!?!” at the sight of this. I think the implication here is that the head of the family works for Joker, or possibly used to work for him, and Batman, obviously driven more than a little bit crazed by what Joker’s done over the past couple of issues, picked the worst possible time to grab him EVER.
Okay, I joke, but can you honestly blame Batman for not thinking straight here? Joker has murdered several people by this point, almost killed Commissioner Gordon, kidnapped and blinded Alfred, and has declared his intent to murder Robin, Red Robin, Nightwing, Batgirl, and Red Hood, all of whom make up Batman’s closest circle, like a family, and that he knows their identities, addresses, and even the soap they use, meaning he can get at them in just about any way he wants. It’s probably all Batman can do to not grab the first person he knows for sure is associated with Joker and not torture them for information.
So yeah, Death of the Family continues to get creepier by the issue, and while I’m just about ready to wet myself in fear of it, I continue to press onward. Until then, I’m Jyger, and I remain scared shitless. Ja né!