Today, Drew and guest writer Michael D. are discussing Batman and Red Hood 20, originally released May 8th, 2013.
Drew: Bruce Wayne has never been particularly good at processing grief. He’s still driven by the death of his parents — actively and daily. In the wake of Damian’s death, Peter Tomasi has set out to follow Bruce through the five stages of grief, but has Bruce ever gone through all five stages? This month’s stage — anger — reveals a very familiar Batman, suggesting that he may have stalled out there 20+ years ago. Of course, both this issue (like last month’s) finds Bruce bargaining something fierce, so perhaps there’s hope he can progress, after all. Continue reading →
Today, Mikyzptlk and Shelby are discussing Batman and Red Robin 19, originally released April 10th, 2013.
Mikyzptlk: Some of the things we enjoy discussing here on Retcon Punch are the various themes that come up in the comics that we read. Sometimes those themes are buried deep within the surface of the story while other times they are a bit more telegraphed. With the latest issue of Batman and Rob –sorry– Batman and Red Robin, Peter Tomasi has chosen the latter option as he’s begun to take Bruce Wayne on a journey through the 5 stages of grief due to the loss of his son. There is no doubt that this issue is all about denial to the extent that it’s the actual title of the issue, but if Bruce is going through denial Tomasi is going to make sure he doesn’t do it alone. The obvious guest-star of this issue is Red Robin, but Tomasi has another surprise for you up his sleeve. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Batman and Robin 18, originally released March 13th 2013.
Drew: I could have told you that summarizing and analyzing a dialogue-free comic would be hard — pictures are worth a thousand words, but the words in comics direct our attention, and provide context for those images. Strictly speaking, sequential art doesn’t require words, but they’re so common (especially in superhero comics) that to eschew them altogether feels downright radical. This isn’t meant as a value judgement — I’ve read many great dialogue-free comics — just to say that it’s a little outside my wheelhouse. By all rights Batman and Robin 18 should be hard to talk about because of it’s lack of dialogue, but instead, it’s hard to talk about because it’s so fucking sad. Continue reading →
Today, Shelby and Mikyzptlk are discussing Batman and Robin 17, originally released February 13th 2013.
Shelby: Even though Death of the Family technically finished with Batman 17, there’s still going to be some emotional fall-out for the whole Bat-Family to deal with. I’m happy I didn’t have to wait more than a week for Batman and Robin; as soon as I read that final “Ha” last week, the first question on my mind was “How is Damian going to deal with this?” Despite the fact he’s more mature than your average 10-year-old in a lot of ways, Peter Tomasi has reminded us time and time again that Damian is still just a kid. Between that and Damian being the only actual family Bruce has, his reaction to the Joker’s action’s is the one I’m most interested in. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Shelby are discussing Batman and Robin Annual 1, originally released January 30th 2013.
Drew: At its best, Batman and Robin is a very straightforward father and son story. Sure, the father is Batman, and the son has homicidal tendencies, but the sense of love and obligation is universal. The strictures of crossover events often force writer Peter Tomasi to contort the story in odd ways to stay true to this theme (which miraculously happens more often than not), but when those distractions fall away, this series can be a moving study of Bruce and Damian’s relationship. Tomasi smartly seizes upon the annual to return Batman and Robin to it’s resting position, delivering a clever, subtly moving story about both Bruce and Damian. Continue reading →
Today, Michael and Patrick are discussing Batman and Robin 16, originally released January 16th, 2013. This issue is part of the Death of the Family crossover event. Click here for complete DotF coverage.
Michael: A series is generally more gratifying when it subverts expectations without betraying our understanding of the characters. In a New 52 series like Batman and Robin, this balance is difficult to achieve; readers demand a basic level of fidelity to beloved genre tropes and character traits, but expect narratives that stand up to the scrutiny of a savvy, cliche-fatigued audience. This issue doesn’t drop any groundbreaking twists, but it works deftly within a familiar framework
Today, Shelby and Michael are discussing Batman and Robin 15, originally released December 12th, 2012. This issue is part of the Death of the Family crossover event. Click here for complete DotF coverage.
Shelby: I have some friends who have a young daughter who has just reached the age of willfully not listening. The other day she wanted to use some scissors, which she never has before. Her mom told her not to, but she just didn’t listen. It’s ok, she didn’t get hurt at all; the point of the story is that her mom was looking out for her, trying to keep her safe, and despite that she wouldn’t listen to her. Even when it’s for their own good, once kids think they know better than their folks, there is no telling them otherwise; they only way they’ll learn is by being wrong. A lot of times, being wrong means getting hurt, and Damian is definitely about to learn a lesson about being wrong.
Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Batman and Robin 14, originally released November 14th, 2012. This issue is part of the Death of the Family crossover event. Click here for complete DotF coverage.
Patrick: A few summers ago, Drew and I went to a screening of Rise of the Dead at the Winnetka theatre in the suburbs of Chicago. The event was hosted by Dan Tefler — a comedian who had stumbled upon the movie earlier that year with his wife. Tefler invited the film’s director, Will Wedig, and the AV Club’s Keith Phipps to talk about the extreme disappointment that Tefler experienced on his first viewing. Rise of the Dead sounds like it’s going to be a zombie movie, right? It’s advertised that way, and it has all the trappings thereof. But it’s really about the ghost of an aborted baby possessing bitches. When pressed, Wedig simply offered that he hadn’t set out to make a zombie movie, and Tefler very graciously owned his disappointment. Last month, Batman and Robin started to show us a sorta-zombie story, and I’m going to place the onus of my disappointment in the hands of the books creators.
Today, Drew and Shelby are discussing Batman and Robin 12, originally released October 10th 2012.
Drew: Peter Tomasi has a pretty thankless job. Titles like Batman and Robin and Green Lantern Corps often take a back seat to their flagship counterparts — both in popularity, and narrative. Those kind of supporting titles are often bound to crossover events, requiring their writers to absorb, implement, and embrace plot developments they didn’t come up with themselves, and which may be disruptive to their own plans. In the collaborative, editor-driven world of comics, following such dicta is par for the course, but Tomasi has found himself particularly bound by crossovers, as Death of the Family kicks off the third he’s been involved in since the relaunch. It’s a testament to Tomasi’s skill, then, that he’s able to incorporate details of Death of the Family so elegantly into this issue, while still finding the emotional through-line that has made is work on Batman and Robin so enjoyable. Continue reading →
Today, Shelby and Peter are discussing Batman and Robin 0, originally released September 12, 2012. Batman and Robin 0 is part of the line-wide Zero Month.
Shelby: Damian Wayne is a new character for me, and I don’t like him. I’d call him a brat, but he would probably kill me; he’s cold, ruthless, and not even a teenager yet. He’s like no character I’ve encountered before. I wasn’t sure what to expect from Peter Tomasi and Pat Gleason on this my third Batman zero feature. What I didn’t expect was … no Batman ’til the last page. It worked out better than I thought it would; Tomasi gave me a chance to get to know Damian a little more, and after seeing what kind of childhood he’s coming from, I’m impressed he hasn’t just killed everyone else in this title simply because he can.