Today, Scott and Patrick are discussing Batman 26, originally released December 11th, 2013
Scott: There’s real risk in presenting a story like Zero Year. Mostly, there’s a risk that there won’t be enough tension to keep the story interesting. One thing that makes a story exciting to read is that we don’t know what will happen to the characters, and there’s always the possibility of tragedy striking a character we love. Those possibilities are limited in Zero Year. Since it takes place in the past, we know a lot of things can’t happen. Bruce can’t die in Zero Year. Neither can Alfred, Jim Gordon, Lucius Fox, or any other character we saw in the first 20 issues of Batman. With that in mind,let’s take this opportunity to thank goodness that Scott Snyder knows how to exploit all of the things this type of story can do. Zero Year shows an evolution — one of strange people becoming the characters we’ve come to know — and it’s full of mystery. Seems like a risk worth taking. Continue reading →
Today, Mikyzptlk and Shelby are discussing Batman 25, originally released November 13th, 2013
Mikyzptlk: From the moment that Zero Year was first announced, it has been shrouded in mystery. What exactly was the “Zero Year” and how would it change the origin of Batman that we’ve been familiar with for so long? We are now five issues into the story, and while some of the mysteries are becoming clear, there seems to be tons of new ones cropping up left and right. Issue 25 of Batman is no exception. At the same time, we are introduced to a brand new/really old Batman villain that may just be revealing more about our hero than he is about himself at this point. Continue reading →
Today, Spencer and Shelby are discussing Green Arrow 25, originally released November 6th, 2013.
Spencer: Much like Wonder Woman or Batwoman, Jeff Lemire’s run on Green Arrow has been steadily building its own mythology that feels completely removed from anything else going on in the DC Universe. Despite that, Lemire’s still managed to make Ollie’s connections to the Justice League of America and Roy Harper work within the context of his larger saga, but he isn’t so fortunate with this month’s Zero Year story. The tie-in feels pointless, and it’s only the new character of John Diggle that anchors things to the book’s ongoing plot at all. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Scott are discussing Batman/Superman 5, originally released November 6th, 2013.
Drew: Ironic detachment is a dangerous thing in a work of art. It calls our attention to the weaknesses of a story, but it can’t do much to address those weaknesses. In calling our attention to the foibles of a work of art, the artist is intentionally leaving them in, which either means they’re either left there intentionally (maybe just to point them out), or they’re actually unavoidable, in which case, making fun of them is entirely superficial. Either way, it makes the art about itself, which is great if the point of the art is to comment on the limitations of the form, but starts to break down if it needs to make any other points. Unfortunately, Batman/Superman 5 aims for something beyond its postmodern trappings, and falls firmly into this latter category. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Taylor are discussing All-Star Western 24, originally released October 23rd, 2013.
Drew: The lone wolf has always been an alluring figure. Every continent has their tales of solitary, wandering soldiers — most often period stories (knights, ronin, cowboys) — but comics have always featured that notion pulled into the modern day. All-Star Western has always been about playing with that line, often in reverse, pushing our expectations of superheroes back to the old west, but the current arc makes that relationship explicit, pulling Hex into the modern day DC Universe. Surprisingly, he fits in quite well. Continue reading →
Today, Scott and Spencer are discussing Batman 24, originally released October 9th, 2013.
Scott: It’s not enough just to tell a Batman origin story anymore. We know that story. The Bruce Wayne story. Bruce watches his parents die, he runs away, he trains, he becomes a great warrior, he returns to his city and his fortune, he fights crime, yada yada yada. It’s a great story and it’s fun to read, it’s just that, in this Bat-saturated day-in-age, it’s not enough. It’s not enough to see how Bruce Wayne becomes Batman, we need to see how Batman becomes Batman: The Legend. Finally, Scott Snyder is giving us a look at how the myth of Batman is born, or rather, carefully constructed by Bruce and his trusty aide, Alfred Pennyworth. The ensuing story doesn’t just feel like new. It feels like enough. (And I mean that in a very good way.) Continue reading →
Drew: I’m not sure I’ve ever “gotten” Ra’s al Ghul. Sure, as the immortal leader of a criminal empire, he’s a great villain, but I never fully understood why he’s a Batman villain. The best Batman rogues highlight some important element of Bruce Wayne: Joker’s gleeful chaos reflects Batman’s brooding order, for example. Without a gimmicky hook, I was always left thinking that Ra’s was meant to highlight Bruce’s mortality, which is kind of a defining characteristic, but one that is brought up every time he’s put in moral peril, so not really specific to Ra’s. With Batman and Robin 23.3: Ra’s al Ghul, writer James Tynion IV finds that parallel in the way both men wield myths to make them stronger, turning in a character-defining secret origin that actually builds on the character’s history, rather than simply rehashing it. Continue reading →
Today, Mikyzptlk and Shelby are discussing Batman/Superman 3, originally released August 28th, 2013.
Mikyzptlk: When I think upon my childhood friends that I am still friends with today, I sometimes wonder how our lives might have differed had we not become friends when we had. I also wonder what would have happened if we had not met until we were much older. I would be much different. They would be much different. Would we even have become friends at all? The third issue of Batman/Superman has me asking those questions as it explores how the World’s Finest heroes of Earth 2 became friends. Word of warning y’all, it’s totes adorbs.
Today, Shelby and Mikyzptlk are discussing Batman and Nightwing 22, originally released August 21st, 2013.
Shelby: Grief is hard. Even the most well-adjusted, grounded person will struggle with it, and I think it’s pretty safe to say that Bruce Wayne is pretty far from well-adjusted. His grief over his parents’ deaths so many years ago still propels him forward, so it’s no surprise he’s been having difficulty letting go of Damian. It’s not until he lets himself see the grief in those around him that he really begins to move towards acceptance.
Today, Patrick and Scott are discussing Superman Unchained 3, originally released August 21st, 2013.
Patrick: As problematic as Superman’s powers are for a narrative, Clark Kent’s moral purity proves even more bothersome. Mind you, it’s much easier for writers to dial down Clark’s ideology to bring him in line with modern heroes than it is to de-power him in any way: if Supes can’t stop a bullet with his chest, fans will cry foul; but if he starts making unscrupulous choices, only the purest purists will grumble. Plus, how else should Superman writers obey the mandate to make the characters younger and more relatable? Personality flaws, and plenty of ‘em! It’s fascinating then, that when Scott Snyder trots a bigger, more powerful version of Superman, he also doubles down on reason and civility. If the goal of Superman Unchained is to put the concept of Superman on trial, then we’ve actually got to put both versions on trial: the invincible boyscout and powerful alien protectorate alike have to answer for their sins (even if they’re only sins of omission).