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!
Well, the New 52 is just about at its end, with DC Rebirth coming up next week and the last of the New 52 books ending over the course of the next few months. And while the New 52 has become something of a punchline for many fans, let’s not forget the good times that came with it. Let’s be honest with ourselves and admit that there WERE good books, as well as the bad. So, with that in mind, I’ve decided that, before I seriously rag on the New 52 one last time, I should really take a look at some of my favourite comics from this era. Now, keep in mind, these are JUST the ones that I read. I’m well aware of the fact that there were other good comics that came out during the past five years under the DC banner that won’t be on this list. As such, if your favourites aren’t on the list, by all means, feel free to place your own in the comments. Also, keep in mind that there are books that, while good, just weren’t the overall greats of this list. So, books like Justice League, while having arcs I liked, also had a bunch of arcs I DIDN’T like, so they just missed the cut…though I DO have a bonus round for them. lol And, of course, books that are not a part of the main line, like Sensation Comics feat. Wonder Woman don’t count. Why we couldn’t have more books like it and Legends of Wonder Woman in the main line, I dunno, but for now, let’s start with one that’s probably kinda obvious to anyone who’s read my blog for a while…
Yeah, not shocking anyone with this pick, I’m sure. Most definitely my favourite of the books starring the New 52 Superman, and it’s one of the reasons I’m actually sad to learn that he’s dying. Yes, he is arguably the most inherently flawed of the mainstream Supermen, but when you have a good writer with a good story writing him, those flaws are used in good ways. We see how this Superman is still an inspirational figure in spite of these flaws by never giving up and continuously trying to do the best he can for the world. So yeah, while I’m obviously overjoyed to see the pre-Flashpoint Superman return to active duty, along with his wife and son, there will always be a little part of me that gets nostalgic for the Superman who didn’t always get it right, but nonetheless kept trying his best, for truth and justice.
I actually feel bad because I initially was unwilling to give this book a try. Why? Because they’d seemingly undone Babs’ past as Oracle as a means to make her Batgirl again, thus taking the position away from Stephanie Brown, who was nowhere to be seen for a long time. But while all that is true, I can’t deny that this book has had some great moments. Granted, I HATED the Batgirl Wanted arc, and Black Canary’s characterization in the beginning of the Stewart/Fletcher era rubbed me the wrong way, but the rest of it has been highly enjoyable. Some of my favourite moments are probably Alysia’s wedding, the end of the Simone era when Babs called in damned near EVERY superheroine on Earth, ALL of her annuals, the tie-in to Future’s End, that time she and Strix took on vampires, it’s just been a hell of a ride, and I hope that the next volume is just as fun.
For those that never read this book, I’ll keep the recap brief: Shortly after the collapse of the government sanctioned JLA, which was secretly meant as a fail-safe against the Justice League, three of its members, Stargirl, Martian Manhunter, and Green Arrow, found themselves teaming with Supergirl, Adam and Alanna Strange, Animal Man, and newcomer Equinox, to form a new Justice League: the Justice League United, set up in Canada, and meant to protect the world from extraterrestrial and paranormal threats. Of course, right off the bat, I was excited, since…well, do you know how long I waited for my country to get their own Justice League? Was awesome. But beyond that, getting to see some of the character interactions without the dread present in the JLA book that came before it was great too (Green Arrow and Animal Man playing off each other made for some decent comedy), and there was a lot of more traditional superheroing. In the later stages of the book’s existence, the team began rotating members in and out in order to deal with different situations, regardless of which side of the law they were on. Anyone from Batgirl to Poison Ivy, Swamp Thing to Vandal Savage, and so on could be brought in depending on what the situation called for. Unfortunately, this didn’t last long before the book’s cancellation, but the JLU has since appeared during the Truth story-arc in the Superman books, giving me hope that they’ll one day return to action.
I should probably note that, when I say Convergence is a favourite of mine, I’m not talking about the main series. This is primarily because…well, I didn’t read it, and from what I’ve read, there’s not really much of anything that good, other than the restoration of the Multiverse. Oh, there’s some stuff involving the New 52 version of Earth 2, but unfortunately, that’s been a SERIOUSLY mixed bag. You wanna know more about that, go check out the blog Helena Wayne Huntress for more details. But no, what I’m referring to as one of my favourites of the New 52 is all the tie-in stuff. Granted, that could be seen as cheating for one simple reason: IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE NEW 52. The Convergence tie-ins are about giving resolution to stories that happened before the New 52, letting the heroes of ages past get one last hurrah, and even setting up for maybe a few of them to return later on. And they’re all awesome! Nightwing and Oracle get married and kick ass (not necessarily in that order, lol), Lian is brought back to life, Stephanie Brown suits up as Batgirl again, Lois and Clark have a child, the JSA return, it’s all amazing! Hell, even Scott freaking Lobdell turns in a good Blue Beetle book! I didn’t even think it was possible for him to put out anything of quality, but I guess mathematically speaking, it had to happen EVENTUALLY.
…Yyyeeeaaaahh, suppose this isn’t much of a surprise to anyone. lol While I wasn’t a fan of the story where Jim Gordon was Batman, and I found Joker to be WAY over the top in terms of unstoppable villainy is concerned, it’s really hard to not consider this book one the best of the past five years. Snyder and Capullo have simply been on fire for this era, and it’s sad to know that, at least for a while, that team of theirs is over. Although as hard as it is for me and other readers, I gotta imagine it’s even harder for them. But yeah, you guys should all know all of my favourite moments from this book, and if you don’t, I made a list of them just before the Superheavy story-arc. Point is, if you’re a Batman fan and you’ve been avoiding this book for the New 52 branding, don’t. It’s at least worth your time to check out.
So those are my favourite books of the New 52 in terms of overall quality. And now, the bonus round for all the arcs of books that I liked.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Huntress and Power Girl fighting a giant Irradiated Man in a Japanese harbour! All it needed was for Godzilla and Dragonzord to show up to make it the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen! XD
…Not to self: Review Darkseid War once the entire storyline is finished. It is easily my favourite story of the New 52 Justice League. Also, I thought Origin worked as an introduction to this new timeline, and the Amazo Virus was pretty awesome, too, and marked the point in which Geoff Johns finally found his groove with writing Wonder Woman’s character.
Cross World was great, and presented one of my all-time favourite images of Wonder Woman, and the stuff with Mongol and Toymaster is admittedly dumb fun that resolved in an awesome team-up involving Supergirl, Batgirl, Steel, Red Hood, and Krypto.
Y’know, DC, right after the engagement, I was totally gonna stick with this book. Then you called it off, the creative team left as a result, and then you did the stupid vampire thing. Just saying, you had a great thing gift-wrapped for you. I sincerely hope, though, that since Rebirth is apparently nixing the whole heroes-can’t-be-married thing, with the old Superman who is married to Lois Lane being back and Aquaman and Mera being engaged, that Batwoman finally is allowed to get married in Detective Comics.
Ultimately proved to be hit and miss, but I liked it for the most part. Could’ve done without Casey being damned near torn apart, but watching her make her badass comeback with a cybernetic arm-cannon was awesome. I mean, yeah, it’s another case of extreme violence against women in a comic, but it’s hard not to watch her in the hospital bed right after losing her arm and eye and not grin ear-to-ear when she’s still being like “Aw, fuck it, just put a giant arm-cannon on me, and I’ll fuck these guys up! And Calvin, you better make sure you haven’t completely screwed things up by the time I show up, or your ass is grass!” XD
I unfortunately can’t really justify putting Nightwing on the top 5, but that’s less to do with the quality of the stories told in it and more to do with the constantly changing status quo that was really only a thing strictly because of stuff happening in the other Bat Family books before ending due to events in Forever Evil. Oh, and as a side-note, SO glad to see that Nightwing is in blue again, but not sure where this is going with him as a member of the Court (or Parliament, I guess) of Owls.
I can’t say enough how much I adored the team-up with Power Girl. Was just great.
I feel like I MIGHT’VE put this on the list if I’d read through the entire thing and it didn’t delve into the cheesecake quite as much as it did, soooo…Eh, call it sixth, I guess. lol
Again, DC, you had me right up until Evil Superman working for Darkseid, and Thomas Wayne as Batman. Then you completely lost me. And THEN you pissed me off with World’s End and the first arc of Earth 2: Society. Seriously, like I said before, go read Helena Wayne Huntress’ blog for more details, but suffice to say, it’s been a MESS, one that I hope gets cleaned up soon. I DO recommend the Tower of Fate arc, though.
Problematic for me personally at times, but still enjoying it, and glad it’s here. 🙂
And that’s all my favourite stuff of the New 52. Like I said before, if you’ve got a book that you really liked from this era that wasn’t on here, by all means, leave your own list in the comments, and be sure to check back in the future when I go over the worst of this era. Ja né!
Always awesome seeing Steph be a badass, but I’m still counting the days until we get to see her huck a Gooperang again. 😛 Anyway, here’re the preview pages for Batgirl #51.
- After the events of issue #50, Barbara Gordon is at a crossroads in her life—will new horizons beckon her away from her home in Burnside?
Not gonna lie, kinda bummed these guys aren’t the new Birds of Prey, but whatever, should still be a good book, as should this. Here’s the preview for Batgirl #50.
- It’s the explosive conclusion of the epic that changed Barbara Gordon forever! The enemy lurking at the edges of Batgirl’s life has been revealed, as have the gang of heroes assembled to help her! From this point on, Batgirl doesn’t walk alone! It’s an extra-sized celebration of the greatest hero Burnside has ever known, from Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher and Babs Tarr!
…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!
Hoo boy, this could get very, VERY bad if even one little slip-up occurs. Anyway, here are the preview pages for Batgirl #49.
- To unravel the secret of Batgirl’s bizarre new nemesis, her friends must travel to strange and uncharted territory: the inside of Barbara Gordon’s spectacular mind!
Okay, this isn’t a complaint, more-so just something that’s kinda bugging me: Why doesn’t Babs just TELL her dad the truth now? Not only is there little to nothing he can say about it, given the situation, but it would benefit both of them, as she’d have someone on the inside at GCPD and Powers, and HE’D have someone in the Bat Family who firmly recognizes him as an ally. I just don’t get why she can’t be honest with him, and the only reason I can think of is because Bruce is coming back and the status quo will be returning to normal, and having that revelation now would off-set that. Yay, status quo. -_-
*sighs* Whatever, tangent over. Here’s the preview for Batgirl #47.
- Batgirl’s about to lose the greatest weapon in her arsenal…her mind is failing her! Is her ragtag group of allies enough to pick up the slack?
I’ve DEFINITELY been looking forward to this one. 😀 It’s the preview for Batgirl #46!
- In her civilian life, Barbara Gordon may be sitting on tech research that could be a gold mine…and in her life as Batgirl, she’s cracked the code that might enable her to take down massive police corruption in Burnside! It’s time for Batgirl to level up—but she’s going to need allies on both fronts. Enter the Spoiler!
Double the Batgirl, double the fun! Here are the previews for Batgirl #42 and Batgirl Annual #3!
- Batgirl can barely hold her own in combat against the new Batman… so what happens when Livewire joins the fight with the intention of taking them both out?
- On her latest mission, Batgirl finds herself mixing it up with Helena Bertinelli of Spyral…but who is the mysterious Spyral agent who seems to be one step ahead of her at every turn without ever showing his face? She’s determined to crack this mystery – but Grayson is just as determined not to get caught! Plus: Batgirl visits Gotham Academy – and there are plenty of surprises in store for her!