Today, Mark and Andy are discussing Batman & Robin Eternal 1, originally released October 7th, 2015.
Mark: Last year DC debuted three different weekly series, Earth 2 Worlds End, New 52 Futures End, and Batman Eternal. Where the former two had shorter runs and were used to set up the events of Convergence, Batman Eternal was a 12-month affair that told its own story (though there were a few spin-off titles based on the events of the series during that time). Frankly, 12 months was way too long a time to tell the story Eternal wanted to tell, and the amount of juggling it had to do to keep all of its narrative balls in the air made for a sometimes boring, occasionally incomprehensible read. Now, six months after the title’s conclusion, I could hardly tell you much about it and actually had to look up how it ended.
But for all of the title’s failings, there’s no denying it was a commercial success. The same probably can’t be said for the less-loved Futures End and Worlds End. Everyone loves Batman, and even though readership dropped steadily over the year, enough folks were willing to spend more than $200 to read it all that we’re getting a sequel of sorts, Batman & Robin Eternal.
Today, Mark and Spencer are discussing Grayson 12, originally released September 23rd, 2015.
Mark: Grayson 12 is billed as Dick’s return to Gotham after quitting Spyral, and it is, but it’s also a continuation of the Grayson spy game. Dick truly intends to leave his life as international sex spy behind, but his hand is forced when the mysterious Agent Zero attacks him at Wayne Manor. Unless he returns to Spyral, she threatens, they’ll reveal to the world that Bruce Wayne is Batman. It’s a threat that’s been made in Bat Family comics forever, but it actually has greater weight here as Bruce is currently in no position to defend himself. Continue reading →
Today, Andy and Mark are discussing Midnighter 4, originally released September 2nd, 2015.
Andy: Midnighter 4 continues the search for the stolen God Garden Tech with Midnighter enlisting the help of Spyral Agent Dick Grayson (of Robin/ Batman/ Nightwing fame) chasing a name associated with the stolen tech from the God Garden, Noi Akakyevich. Following a brawl in a Russian Banya, Midnighter and Grayson squeeze a potential hideout out of a trio of Russian Business Bros. A tech modded gangster is offering scummy businessmen the opportunity to slay their own vampire, bred out of lured bums from the nearby alleys. After taking out Polidorin, the big bad, Grayson’s attempt to save the remaining prisoners backfires, and they are burnt to a crisp. Continue reading →
Today, Mark and Michael are discussing Grayson 11, originally released August 26, 2015.
Mark: Grayson has always been a series towing the line between following genre tropes and undermining those tropes at the same time. It’s a remarkable case of having cake and being able to eat it too, and the fact that Tom King and Tim Seeley have been able to pull it off consistently for a year is remarkable. The threads they’ve been able to tie together time and time again, while at the same time keeping each issue fresh, is impressive, and Grayson 11 continues that trend. Continue reading →
Today, Michael and Mark are discussing Batgirl Annual 3, originally released July 29th, 2015.
Michael: I don’t know if the concept of “Annual” comic book really has a true characterization. Sometimes it’s just a giant-sized issue of an ongoing story. Other times it’s a semi-audition for up and coming writers to get their feet wet. Then there are annuals like to jam-pack the issue with as much muchness as possible. Batgirl Annual 3 is the much muchness example. Continue reading →
Today, Spencer and Michael are discussing Grayson 10, originally released July 22nd, 2015.
Spencer: Once, way back when Wally West was the Flash, he ran so fast that he merged with the Speed Force, a fate from which no speedster had ever returned. Wally did return, though, all because of the love of his life, Linda Park. Wally called Linda his “lightning rod” — no matter what weird shenanigans he had to deal with, Linda’s love always kept him grounded in reality. I think most of us have a “lightning rod” of one sort or the other, some person or thing that acts as a constant in our life, that keeps us tethered to our old lives even as everything else around us changes. Dick Grayson has gone through more changes than most ever since his “death” in Forever Evil, but even as an agent of Spyral, he had both his mentor Batman and his faith in his own abilities acting to keep him grounded. With Grayson 10, though, Tim Seeley, Tom King, and Mikel Janin strip those last familiar comforts from Dick, leaving him with nobody he can trust — not even himself. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Mark are discussing Earth 2 Society 2, originally released July 8th, 2015.
Patrick: For the vast majority of DC’s line, Convergence didn’t really effect that much. And honestly, how could we possibly expect that convoluted mythology pile-up to effect anything even remotely grounded in reality? I don’t think this is a bad thing: I love having stories I can take seriously and follow ravenously from week-to-week and month-to-month, but I also enjoyed the two-month goof-off session that Convergence afforded us. Because the wackiness of that event was always going to be self contained, we got crazy major character deaths and radical shifts in status quo and all kinds of world-ending stuff you’d never be able to get away with “in continuity.” Of course, that story was part of DC’s continuity: specifically the Earth-2 part. Earth 2 Society 2 deals with those insanely elevated stakes gleefully, hilariously putting the FATE OF THE PLANET in danger. Again. Continue reading →
Today, Michael and Patrick are discussing Grayson 9, originally released June 24th, 2015.
Michael: I think the majority of comic-book-dom would agree that Dick Grayson is awesome. I mean, I love Dick Grayson but some people loooooooove Dick Grayson. There is something inexplicable about certain corners of fandom and their obsession with the former boy wonder. There is the fact that he is the first (some would argue best) Robin, holding the role for over 40 years. But it’s not just that – Dick Grayson has become something of a sex symbol in the Bat-fan community. Dick Grayson fans are very vocal about this fact, using social media to express their interest to see more “butt shots” of Mr. Grayson to various writers including Scott Snyder, Kyle Higgins and current Grayson writer Tom King. There is of course the easy/stupid pun involved in his name – which I will ignore – but fans of all genders and sexualities are all about Dick Grayson. With Grayson – issue 9 especially – Tom King has not been afraid to give the people what they want. Continue reading →
Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing Batman 40, originally released April 29th, 2015.
Spencer: Batman 40 is a dense issue. I’ve lingered over this issue in a way I haven’t lingered over a comic in quite a while. Every page is rich with meaning, both in the writing and the art, and it would take far more space than Patrick and I have allotted here to fully unpack it. Let me assure you all, though, that doing so is more than worth the time and effort. Batman 40 is a masterpiece that can be enjoyed on numerous levels, and I think it’s an issue we’re going to be dissecting for a long time to come. So let’s get to it. Continue reading →
Today, Spencer and Shane are discussing Convergence: The New Teen Titans 1, originally released April 22th, 2015. This issue is part of Convergence. For our conversations about the rest of Convergence last week, click here.
Spencer: I think most of us take on certain comfortable roles when we’re among our friends. Sometimes, though, things change, and those roles no longer suit us, but they’re so firmly entrenched among the group dynamic that they can be impossible to escape. Marv Wolfman and Nicola Scott’s Convergence: The New Teen Titans finds this happening to the Teen Titans. After a year spent under the dome, the Titans are attempting to take their relationships to new places, but find themselves caught up in the same old roles and conflicts that have always defined them. Continue reading →