Weekly Round-Up: Comics Released 10/30/13

round upLook, there are a lot of comics out there. Too many. We can never hope to have in-depth conversations about all of them. But, we sure can round up some of the more noteworthy titles we didn’t get around to from the week. Today, Patrick discusses Damian: Son of Batman 1 and Cataclysm 0.1.

slim-banner4Patrick: Fifth week is always strange. DC uses it to roll out their Annuals, and other oddities. Generally, our pulls are lighter, so there weren’t too many titles that we didn’t already get around to talking about. There were two books that I just wanted to bring up briefly and then I wanted to just turn this space over to the comments to find out what else y’all were reading this week.

First up is the bizarre “What if?”-ish mini-series Damian: Son of Batman. I totally understand Andy Kubert’s drive to write and draw this piece: Damian is a fascinating character, and the world of Grant Morrison’s Batman 666 is one of those concepts that seems like it’s criminal not to revisit. We all miss the little bastard, so I guess it was only a matter of time before someone loved him enough to bring him back. I am 100% certain that Kubert was the wrong man for this job. I can’t — for the life of me — figure out what he thought was so interesting about Damian, because he writes the character’s voice as unsure and confused, lacking any of Damian’s trademark braggadocio. But Damian’s voice isn’t the only casualty here: Batman straight doesn’t sound like Batman — at one point he refers to Robin as “young man.” F’what?

If there’s an interesting nugget to the story, it’s that Batman dies in the first couple pages. Robin spends much of the issue dealing with the fallout, which means visiting his mother and grandfather and beating up any of the villains that claimed the Bat Kill as their own. (That last bit includes a Jackanapes cameo, which leads me to believe that no matter what Kubert’s assignment is, he’s going to find a way to draw that fucking monkey.) But the whole concept is subverted by the end as Bruce Wayne appears in the Batcave. So like… he’s not dead? What’s the point of playing this hypothetical game if we’re not even going to pretend? Also, why the fuck does it say THE NEW 52 on the cover of this issue? This thing is distinctly non-canon.

I also read Ultimate Comics: Cataclysm 0.1 — because hype works on me. I told Drew that I was picking it up and I got a snappy teasing: “oh, yeah, a world you’re not reading about is ending: can’t miss that.” Gentle ribbing aside, I’m not sure why I’m even half-interested in this event. The story follows the Vision, who in the Ultimate Universe is a sexy gold lady robot, as she follows her prophetic dreams about the world coming to an end to Galactus, Devourer of Worlds. Realizing that Galactus means business, she tries to take him out with some anti-matter bombs, but there’s just no winning against the big purple guy. 

galactus smash

As it stands, this is an exercise in “can I make myself care?” — and that’s such a crummy way to look at entertainment, so maybe I should just cut my criticism off there. I plan to pick up at least Ultimate Spider-Man’s adventures through the end of the world here, but only because I suspect that he’ll be joining the main Marvel Universe by the end (if he isn’t already in that Splendiforus Spider-Hero costume).

This is not a comic, but I’d recommend this week’s episode of the How Did This Get Made? podcast about the 2003 Daredevil movie. It’s worth a listen for the reason all episodes of How Did This Get Made? are worth listening to — Paul Scheer, June Diane-Raphael and Jason Mantzoukas are hilarious — but this one has an added bonus of featuring Ed Brubaker. Brubaker brings his wealth of comic book knowledge to bear on this poor flick, and routinely doing such ultra-nerdy things as comparing the theatrical release with the director’s cut, but he’s also going toe-to-toe with the professional comedians when it comes to jokes. Plus, by the end he’s pitching a Marvel Studios Daredevil reboot that sounds like it’d be fucking awesome.


The conversation doesn’t stop there, because you certainly read something that we didn’t. What do you wanna talk about from this week?

11 comments on “Weekly Round-Up: Comics Released 10/30/13

  1. The sad thing about that Damian book is that it’s actually a good plot. Once or twice while reading I found myself intrigued by where it could go, and in the hands of a better writer (or *cough* any writer; Kubert has truly proven himself to be just an artist) I’d be really invested in the story, but Kubert is really just not very good. The dialogue is terrible (from EVERYONE), and Patrick’s already pointed out how out of character Damian is. He’s not arrogant or brash or confident, but worst of all, Kubert makes sure to have Damian mention several times that he doesn’t want to be Batman, which is ridiculous since that’s kind of all Damian has EVER wanted, to the point of sending his father on a scavenger hunt so he could pretend to be Batman for a few nights. It’s just not very good, which is truly disappointing.

    Also…I’ve seen all the reviews of this book praising Kubert’s art, and I admit that I’m not a great critic of the actual artwork myself (though I’m certainly trying harder with it), but I just don’t see it? Like, most of it isn’t bad, but nothing really blew me away, anad that first page splash is literally AWFUL, with Damian’s face elongated to the point where it looks like it’s going to snap. And DC somehow put that terrible looking image on the closing page of every issue that week. Sigh.

    • Eh, intrigued as I was by the idea of a Damian mini, I try not to get fooled the same way twice. Having hated Kubert‘s Joker issue on pretty much all levels, I didn‘t pick this up, and judging from this review and a similar one I read yesterday, I‘n damn satisfied with that decision.

  2. I think the only other book I picked up this week was the Aquaman Annual, which I wavered on but ultimately picked up because I’m fond of the Others. It was…mediocre. I still like those characters, but the story didn’t do much with them and came to an abrupt ending; it was obvious that the writer just kind of ran out of pages and decided to unceremoniously end things there whether it was the right time or not. Again, not a bad book necessarily, but I’d be a lot more into it if it cost less (or if I had unlimited funds). As it is, I’ll probably avoid future one-shots like this unless something really catches my eye.

    • I’m convinced that The Others is a concept that I only like in theory, and basically never in practice – just like Scooby Doo and the gang. Some one might be able to craft a fun story with them, I just haven’t seen it happen yet.

      • I’ve been told by people who’s opinion I respect that the recent “Scooby Doo: Mystery Inc.” animated series is an excellent, modern version of the franchise that even has continuity and romance and character development and overarcing plots. I haven’t had a chance to watch it for myself to judge, but I kind of want to.

    • 2 good comics coming out this week are Green Arrow # 25 and Daredevil: Dark Nights # 6.
      The Emerald Archer’s series has been pure awesomeness each months since Lemire started working on it (that is to say, from issue # 17); as for Dark Nights, so far each issue of this miniseries has been very satisfying as well.
      I’m sure that both the comics I mentioned won’t leave a bad taste in your mouth, if you give them a try. : )

  3. I liked Cataclysm quite a bit. I’m a big enough fan of Ultimate Spidey that I want to read how his world ends, and I’ve read a few other Ultimate books and liked some of them (and have recommendations from my comic guy on the best ones). I found the Vision’s ‘death’ to be a pretty moving story, and I felt for her drifting helplessly through space trying to send back the simple message, “Reed Richards.” (Some knowledge that Reed Richards is completely insane in the Ultimate world helped, as well as knowing that really the only way Galactus has ever been stopped in the regular Marvel world is by Richards is a plus)

    • Ultimate Reed Richards is insane? I love that. Tell you what buddy, I’m going to pick up all the Cataclysm books and bear witness to the end of a world in which I spent no time. There’s something here that’s super interesting, I’m just not sure what it is. So I thank you for your patience with me as I weigh in on the Ultimate stuff from the next couple months – are you reading all three of the them or just Spidey?

      • Just Spidey, but I like Spidey so much I want to know how the hell his world is ending and where he ends up, because I know, know, KNOW he can’t die yet. I’m not sold on what my comic guy tells me (He’s going to end up in the regular Marvel universe), but I want to know and I’m somehow interested in this story.

        Plus, Bendis has been hot. His shit’s been good lately. I’m in even though I might not understand it. I’ve got an unread Cataclysm: The Ultimates’ Last Stand in front of me and I’m ready to read it and ride on to the end of the world.

        All aboard!

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