Spencer: I’m impressed by how quickly Batman Eternal is moving along. A year-long story with new chapters releasing every week could easily fall into the trap of being slowly paced, or even worse, of using filler to stretch out the story to fit into 52 issues, but if anything, the creative team of Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Ray Fawkes, John Layman, Tim Seeley, and Jason Fabok seem to be speeding through the story at an alarming rate. I’m starting to think that “the end” teased back in issue one may come sooner than we think; at the speed they’re throwing out ideas, the end may very well be the beginning of the story. Continue reading
Today, Mikyzptlk and Drew are discussing Forever Evil: Arkham War 1 , originally released October 9th, 2013.
Mikyzptlk: Giant line-wide crossover events like Forever Evil can be exhausting. Suddenly, a story crops up that seemingly takes over the narrative of the entire “universe,” while sidelining the stories you might rather be following instead. Not only that, these events usually bring with them a slew of additional material in the form of tie-in miniseries. These minis can be very hit or miss, but the best ones tend to expand upon the main event by showing us the effects it’s having on the rest of the word, and characters, around it. This is where Arkham War comes in. The only problem is, I’m not sure who to root for. Continue reading
Today, Drew and Scott are discussing Detective Comics 16, originally released January 9th, 2013. This issue is part of the Death of the Family crossover event. Click here for complete DotF coverage.
Drew: Batman, as an idea, is essentially a very elaborate scared-straight program. The whole reason Bruce Wayne dresses up like a bat is because he believes criminals — a superstitious and cowardly lot — will be too afraid to commit crime in Gotham. Sure, some criminals are too cocksure to fear him, or simply don’t believe that he exists, but pretty much everybody runs once he actually shows up. Joker is different. For whatever reason — that he doesn’t feel fear, doesn’t mind fear, or just that he just sees Batman as a guy in a costume who keeps insisting that everybody take him seriously — the idea of Batman doesn’t deter Joker from crime. In fact, modern interpretations of the character suggest that he commits crimes in order to gain Batman’s attention. That notion is what’s made their struggle such a fundamental one, and also explains why the Joker has so many fictional fans — if he can not blink in the face of terror, so can others. The idea that the Joker could be an empowering figure is a fascinating one, but unfortunately, Detective Comics 16 doesn’t take the time to do it justice. Continue reading
Today, Scott and Patrick are discussing Detective Comics 15, originally released December 5th, 2012. This issue is part of the Death of the Family crossover event. Click here for complete DotF coverage.Scott: It can be surprisingly easy to convince yourself of something that is obviously not true. I had a crush on a girl in elementary school and then some years later, I retroactively convinced myself that she had been my girlfriend. I don’t know how exactly it happened, but over time I came to believe this to be true, and only when I really stopped to think about it did I have the sad realization that I never had a girlfriend in elementary school at all. I also more recently convinced myself that this story sounded cute, and not at all desperate and creepy, which again may not be totally true. Regardless, I can sympathize with the Clayface arc that dominates Detective Comics 15: discovering that a love you believed in never existed sucks.
Today, Shelby and Patrick are discussing Detective Comics 14, originally released November 7th, 2012.
Shelby: Scott Snyder has spoiled us with his work on Batman. His take on the Dark Knight is complex and expansive, allowing for a lot of personal growth for the character as well as massive cross-over events. It’s gotten so that is what I expect from Batman; epic, sweeping narratives on a grand scale. It’s easy to forget the fun to be had in a simple Batman vs. bad guys story. That’s exactly what John Layman gives us in Detective Comics; Batman chasing the baddies, being a detective. While the storytelling is a little bit clunky, it’s still a fun little jaunt into an old-school Batman adventure.
Today, Scott and Patrick are discussing Detective Comics 13, originally released October 3rd, 2012.
Scott: My former boss created a “Law and Order” cheat-sheet, a minute by minute breakdown of every plot point, twist and reveal that occurs over the course of an episode. Each episode follows this same format, almost down to the second. Even more impressive though, is that the show still manages to captivate, and even surprise the audience. Even though the format is totally predictable, they withhold just enough information that we still feel like we’re solving the crime along with the detectives, and revelations that we might have known were coming are completely satisfying. Withholding that information is key, and it’s also where Detective Comics 13 falters; what could have been an interesting mystery ultimately lacks intrigue because it gives away too much at the start.
Today, Peter and Patrick are discussing Nightwing 12, originally released August 15th, 2012.
Peter: I feel like I’ve been let down a lot by comics lately. Most of the books I’ve read recently have left me feeling unfulfilled. Stories just don’t seem to be going interesting places, or aren’t very thought provoking. Nightwing has become one of these offenders recently. Dick is a great character that is capable of exploring so much. During the Night of Owls, he played a major role in the story and I loved it. There are some nice moments and a few redeeming factors, but overall, I am feeling very whelmed about this issue. Continue reading
Drew: Art is repetitive. Analysts like Joseph Campbell and Heinrich Schenker acknowledge that, if you zoom out far enough, most works of art resemble each other. This is true of most narratives, and especially true of superhero comics, where the beats of secret identities, costumes, fighting crime, etc. are near-universal. What makes them interesting are the details around those universals, the details that make Superman different from Batman or the Flash. What drew us to Batwing in the first place was it’s potential for interesting details — as a new title, it had yet to establish just what those details might be. Ten months in, I’ve yet to see those details effectively explored. In fact, this issue turns the focus so sharply from those details that I’m starting to think they just aren’t coming.
Today, Drew and Peter are discussing Batman Annual 1 originally released May 30th, 2012. This issue is part of the Night of the Owls crossover event. Click here for complete NotO coverage.
Drew: Let’s talk about baggage. Comics (especially comics with 70+ year histories) have a lot of fictional history that fans have long demanded that creators adhere to. DC’s relaunch promised to shake that status quo up a bit, freeing up editors, writers, and artists to keep what works and jettison anything that doesn’t. Of course, Batman being Batman, damn near everything about him worked. Writer Scott Snyder has revealed a lot of new information, largely by focusing on things that aren’t Bruce (or his core relationships), but much of what we knew about Batman has remained true. This makes any changes that are made — like those revealed towards the end of Batman Annual 1 — particularly effective; especially when they play so brilliantly against what we expect. Continue reading
Today, Patrick and Shelby are discussing Catwoman 9 originally released May 16th, 2012. This issue is part of the Night of the Owls crossover event. Click here for complete NotO coverage. Not caught up on Catwoman? No problem! Get up to speed with our video Cram Session.
Patrick: Judd Winick’s Catwoman is a morally dubious character that makes poor decisions all the time. And not just poor life decisions (like dressing up like a cat to steal things, or hate-fucking Batman), but tactically shitty decisions that put her life and the lives of her friends in danger. She will occasionally – arbitrarily – grow a heart, and do something nice for someone, as she does in her Night of the Owls adventure. But there’s nothing under her mask that supports any of this kind of behavior, and no amount of teased backstory is going to change that. Continue reading