Patrick: For all it’s crude early-90s wordplay and carefully constructed explorations of popular culture, the greatest strength of the movie Clerks is Dante’s refrain “I’m not even supposed to be here today.” The indignity of living his life is made all the worse when we realize there’s no escape for the poor guy, even on his day off. It’s like the universe is only happy when Dante’s stuck behind the register at the Quick Stop. Just as the DC Universe is only happy when John Constantine is up to his neck in charms, angry wizards and grifter-assassins. It turns out magic doesn’t take a holiday, even when Johnny needs it so badly. Continue reading
Today, Spencer and Drew are discussing Batman 21, originally released June 12th, 2013.
Spencer: Two gunshots ring out in a dark alley. A string of pearls falls to the ground. Sound familiar? It should — Batman’s origin story is one of the best-known and most beloved in comic book history. It’s been told and retold countless times, and while many of these stories are flat-out classics – Year One, Batman Begins, Mask of the Phantasm – one still wonders: Is another Batman origin story really necessary? Can Batman’s origin still be retold in a fresh way that doesn’t rehash or invalidate those earlier stories? The jury’s still out on the first question, but in Batman 21, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo prove that they’re capable of telling a Batman origin story the likes of which we’ve never seen before.
Today, Patrick and Scott are discussing Detective Comics 21, originally released June 5th, 2013.
Patrick: Ah, yes: Detective Comics. I believe we’ve dropped this title twice, a dubious honor it shares with Batwing. We keep coming back to the old girl because we’re tempted by a new creative team or a character that we like. I mean, it’s already Batman, so it’s got a better than average chance at entertaining me from the get-go. However, after checking in with it this month, I’m reminded of the list of reasons we put this title down in the first place. It’s not a disaster by any stretch of the imagination, but it lacks so much of the DNA of a Batman story that it starts to feel like something else entirely. Continue reading
Today, Patrick and Taylor are discussing Dial H 13, originally released June 5th, 2013.
Patrick: The Retcon Punchers tend to get flowery in our language when we describe Dial H - we’ve called it “aggressively weird” and ” gleefully surreal.” When the pages are stuffed with goofy characters like Captain Lachrymose and Bumpler Carla, it’s hard to escape the fact that the weirdness of the title is kind of the point. In issue 13, China Mieville digs into the background of Open-Window Man — a character we had previously only known as a compatriot of Boy Chimney’s — and discovers a moving truth about superheroes, comic books and the value of repetitive storytelling. Continue reading
Today, Shelby and Patrick are discussing Talon 7-8, originally released April 24th and May 22nd, 2013.
Shelby: We need to remember that the Talons are bad guys. I know, we’ve got Calvin here fighting the good fight against the Court, and we’ve got Mary working with the rest of the Birds; that makes it easy to forget that we first met the Talons as a sweeping wave of indestructible killing machines, hellbent on assassinating whomever they were pointed at. This title started out with Calvin’s unique position of being a Talon on the lam, a man with all the training needed, but unable to go through with the final process that would truly transform him into the Talon he was meant to be. In issues 7 and 8, all that is going to change; hold on to your butts, because things are getting complicated.
Today, Scott and Shelby are discussing Justice League 20, originally released May 22, 2013. This issue is part of the Trinity War crossover event. Click here for our complete Trinity War coverage.
Scott: What is the greatest threat to the Justice League? For a group with the power to make neutralizing powerful villains and preventing catastrophic events seem routine, maybe they should be looking at one another as possible threats. It’s hard for the Justice Leaguers to believe that one of their friends could let power get to his or her head or, worse yet, actively be working against them, but that’s a reality they must face. Justice League 20 explores different types of threats to the Justice League, those present, pending, and merely theoretical.
Today, Drew and guest writer Tyler are discussing Batman Incorporated 11, originally released May 22nd, 2013.
Drew: I love one-offs. I don’t know if it’s the satisfaction of a self-contained narrative, or just their relative rarity in modern comics, but I’m always excited to jump into a single-serving adventure. Unless, of course, it falls in the middle of the closing arc of an Epic I’ve been reading for years. I don’t want to hold the placement of this issue against it — especially since it likely afforded the creative team time to craft an incredible close to this arc — so I’ll do my best to put my expectations aside, but it’s a strange uphill battle that very few issues in comicdom are subject to. Continue reading
Today, Shelby and Drew are discussing Batwoman 20, originally released May 15th, 2013.
Shelby: Trust is always an interesting concept to explore when masked superheroes are involved. The protagonist’s entire experience is based on a lack of trust: they don’t trust their loved ones to with their secret identity, they don’t trust the existing authority to take care of crime. That the distrust is well-founded doesn’t lessen the fact it’s the foundation of a successful masked superhero. But even the most independent superhero has got to have someone in the corner, some support system of people they trust and can rely on. Unfortunately, Kate seems to continuously find herself faced with people telling her, “you will trust me, whether you like it or not!”, essentially rendering the entire concept meaningless.
Today, Mikyzptlk and Drew are discussing Vibe 4, originally released May 15th, 2013.
Mikyzptlk: As the old proverb goes, ”The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” I’m the kind of guy that tries to do the right thing in any given situation. I may not always succeed in that, but I usually have the best of intentions. However, no matter how hard I try, that old proverb rears it’s ugly head from time to time. Unfortunately for superheroes, they are no more immune to that proverb than I, and Vibe is quickly discovering that. Even though he just wants to do good, he may be figuring out that he’s being ordered to do just the opposite. This issue explores what Vibe does with that realization, as well as how he might be able to stay on his intended path. Continue reading
Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing Batgirl 20, originally released May 15th, 2013.
Spencer: We expect our heroes to be there for us when we need them, but who’s there for our heroes when they need help? Batman turns to Alfred, Superman turns to Lois Lane, and Batgirl turns to…her psychiatrist? While Barbara isn’t the first superhero to see a shrink, it’s rare for one with a secret identity to do so. Babs is putting herself at risk, yet where else can she turn? The failure of Barbara’s support system couldn’t have come at a worse time; not only is she weighed down by guilt, she’s also facing the most frightening new villain to show her face in Gotham in years. Continue reading