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, Spencer and Scott are discussing Nightwing Annual 1, originally released October 30th, 2013.
Spencer: Will they or won’t they? Television romances love to milk the idea of two characters who are obviously into each other, but for whatever reason, simply can’t spit it out, or if they can, will be kept apart by circumstances beyond their control. Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon are one of DC’s ultimate “will they or won’t they?” couples, and in the Nightwing annual, writer Kyle Higgins decides to further explore their relationship. If these two are so perfect for each other, why can’t they be together? It takes a superpowered arsonist for them to discover the answer. Continue reading
Today, Mikyzptlk and Drew are discussing Forever Evil 2, originally released October 2nd, 2013.
Mikyzptlk: Last month, the first issue of Forever Evil left me feeling relatively good about the start of DC’s first line-wide crossover since the inception of the New 52. Most of the heroes were gone, the Crime Syndicate was established, and Lex Luthor finally got a glance something that may just be worse than a bunch of costumed do-gooders. Ultimately, Forever Evil is about villains being forced into a position to fight a greater evil. I think that issue 1 gave us a pretty good starting point for that. Looking at issue 2, while I feel that there was some interesting developments, I can’t help but feel the entire issue suffered from structural issues, and that it was ultimately about getting Luthor to say one damn line. Continue reading
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, Mikyzptlk and Scott are discussing Nightwing 23, originally released August 14th, 2013.
Mikyzptlk: Do you remember The Transformers? No, I’m not referring to the Michael Bay “film” franchise. I’m talking about the cheesy goodness that was the 1980′s cartoon series. It had a tagline that I’m sure most of you remember: “More than meets the eye.” If you don’t have the theme song stuck in your head like I do, then let me help you with that. I couldn’t help but be reminded of that tagline while reading this issue. This issue is full of characters not being exactly what they seem. While I’m not sure what it’s all adding up to, it certainly seems like it’s going to make Nightwing’s life that much more complicated. Continue reading
Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Batman Incorporated 13, originally released July 31st, 2013.
It never ends. It probably never will.
Drew: What does it mean to end a run writing Batman? How do you “end” a story featuring a character that has been published in perpetuity for over 70 years with no signs of slowing down? Sure, Grant Morrison “killed” Bruce Wayne, but that was back at the close of his epic’s second act. No, the ending here had to be something much grander, something much truer to the unrelenting nature of Batman. The sheer scope of Morrison’s epic is deserving of the same pomp and circumstance of “the definitive end” of Geoff Johns’ Green Lantern, but Morrison manages to approach that same grandiosity with modest deference, keeping in mind that, while the he may be done, Batman will keep on going. That simple nod turns his elaborate love letter to Batman’s past into an equally impassioned love letter to Batman’s future, and gracefully shifts Morrison from center stage to the audience. Continue reading
It’s sad, but true; none of us Retcon Punchers were able to go to SDCC this year. I have avoided all those galleries of incredible cosplayers at the convention, afraid they would make me She-Hulk-out in a jealous rage. Instead, my esteemed collegue Taylor and I attended steampunk weekend at the Bristol Renaissance Faire in southern Wisconsin and found ourselves surrounded by creative comic book fans in beautiful steampunk costumes. I appropriately geeked out, and got my picture taken with as many as I could find. Despite missing out on Nerd Mecca, I have my own, unexpected cosplay gallery to share with you all. More after the jump.
I loved The Flash. He had pistons on his legs, and the wings on his hat were exhaust pipes that actually smoked.
Today, Scott and Shelby are discussing Nightwing 22, originally released July 10th, 2013.
Scott: Some things just feel right. Like Dick Grayson, I once moved to Chicago seeking answers. For me, it was during college, and after growing restless at school in my home state of Michigan, I transferred to Northwestern University in northern Chicago. Knowing no one, I was able to shed a lot of the inhibitions that followed through my life and grow in ways I probably couldn’t have if I’d stayed closer to home. It’s a common story- a change of scenery leads to a rejuvenation- and it’s impressive that something so simple could inject such new life into Nightwing. In Nightwing 22, the title feels less restrained than ever. As Dick’s involvement in Chicago expands and the characters around him grow more complex, Kyle Higgins may have to find excuses to keep Dick in Chicago longer. Nightwing feels right at home.
Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Batman Incorporated 12, originally released July 3rd, 2013.
Drew: I don’t know when exactly I learned the phrase “grand finale,” but for much of my childhood, I only associated it with Fourth of July fireworks shows. I don’t know if it was just youthful impatience, or just excitement over getting to use those special words, but that was the only part of the show I ever cared about — who wants to see brilliant explosions paced out slowly when they can all go off in rapid succession? To some degree, I think there’s still an expectation for finales to be grand — remember everyone’s reaction to The Sopranos finale? — even if that ignores that narratives aren’t the same thing as fireworks shows. A satisfying conclusion to a narrative features consequents to the antecedents set up throughout the story, effectively closing all of the open parentheses. That job is already tough (think of how many otherwise decent stories have been totally ruined by a botched ending), but becomes exponentially tougher as the antecedents and open parens pile up over the years — especially when Grant Morrison is writing. His Batman Epic has been truly epic — it features both a global scope and a historical perspective, and has introduced countless characters, relationships, and histories — all of which require additional consideration as the story winds to its close. This entire final chapter of Batman Incorporated has been about starting that process, but issue 12 suggests that Morrison might actually intend to close ALL of his open parentheses AND give us the grand finale our inner child has been begging for for the past seven years. Continue reading
Today, Scott and Spencer are discussing Nightwing 21, originally released June 12th, 2013.
Scott: Obsession can be a very dangerous thing. For Superheroes, letting emotions dictate the decisions they make often muddles the line between justice and personal satisfaction. Dick Grayson is obsessed with Tony Zucco, a man he rightly feels deserves punishment for murdering Dick’s parents. But Dick has shown that he will go to any lengths to get to Tony, even if it means compromising many of the things Nightwing stands for. Nightwing 21 finds Dick Grayson venturing further into the realm of moral ambiguity, with implications as fascinating as they are frightening.