Batman 15

Alternating Currents: Batman 15, Drew and PatrickToday, Drew and Patrick are discussing Batman 15 originally released December 12th, 2012. This issue is part of the Death of the Family crossover event. Click here for complete DotF coverage.

Drew: Scott Snyder has stated that his first three pitches for Batman (The Court of Owls, Death of the Family, and the next arc) form a kind of triptych examining different aspects of Batman. The Court of Owls put Bruce’s relationship with Gotham under the microscope, revealing a great deal about both. Joker’s relationship with Batman is equally indelible (and worthy of scrutiny), but Snyder has dug much deeper with Death of the Family, taking on a much more fundamental — but often unexamined — characteristic of Batman: his leadership. Continue reading

Catwoman 14

Alternating Currents: Catwoman 14, Patrick and Drew DFToday, Patrick and Drew are discussing Catwoman 14 originally released November 21st, 2012. This issue is part of the Death of the Family crossover event. Click here for complete DotF coverage.

Patrick: The scenario “Joker plays mind games with Selina Kyle” is ripe with potential for unpacking deep psychological issues. But that would be asking a fundamentally stupid series to try something smart. The result here is disastrous — a pointless diversion through visually incoherent space populated with flat characters playing a no-stakes game of Who Gives A Fuck.
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Suicide Squad 14

Today, Mikyzptlk and Shelby are discussing Suicide Squad 14 originally released November 14th, 2012. This issue is part of the Death of the Family crossover event. Click here for complete DotF coverage.

Mikyzptlk: Suicide Squad is FAR from one of my favorite books. While I don’t think it’s the worst on DC’s shelves these days, it definitely falls in the “needs improvement” category. I consider this a real shame too considering that two of DC’s more popular female characters, Harley Quinn and Amanda Waller, are the main protagonists (along with Deadshot, who is both dead and shot at this point).  Continue reading

Batman 14

Alternating Currents: Batman 14, Drew and Michael DFToday, Drew and Michael are discussing Batman 14 originally released November 14th, 2012. This issue is part of the Death of the Family crossover event. Click here for complete DotF coverage.

Drew: Batman and the Joker are timeless. That is, they shift and adjust to the times. It gives them longevity, but it also makes pinning down the true nature of their conflict difficult. The Joker has been everything from a harmless prankster to a genociding psychopath, and Batman can range from avenging creature of the night to kid-friendly crime-stopper, so the fundamental nature of their relationship must lie deeper than superficial proclamations about color scheme, or even “seriousness.” The Dark Knight tilted at the deeper levels, but left them as overtones to the physical conflict. In Batman 14, Scott Snyder takes that subtext and makes it the text, delivering a surprising rumination on the nature of both detective stories and humor in general. Continue reading

Batman and Robin 14

Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Batman and Robin 14, originally released November 14th, 2012. This issue is part of the Death of the Family crossover event. Click here for complete DotF coverage.

Patrick: A few summers ago, Drew and I went to a screening of Rise of the Dead at the Winnetka theatre in the suburbs of Chicago. The event was hosted by Dan Tefler — a comedian who had stumbled upon the movie earlier that year with his wife. Tefler invited the film’s director, Will Wedig, and the AV Club’s Keith Phipps to talk about the extreme disappointment that Tefler experienced on his first viewing. Rise of the Dead sounds like it’s going to be a zombie movie, right? It’s advertised that way, and it has all the trappings thereof. But it’s really about the ghost of an aborted baby possessing bitches. When pressed, Wedig simply offered that he hadn’t set out to make a zombie movie, and Tefler very graciously owned his disappointment. Last month, Batman and Robin started to show us a sorta-zombie story, and I’m going to place the onus of my disappointment in the hands of the books creators.

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Catwoman 13

Today, Shelby and Drew are discussing Catwoman 13 originally released October 17th, 2012. This issue is part of the Death of the Family crossover event. Click here for complete DotF coverage.

Shelby: Last week, we talked about the overuse of darker tropes as a means to make a story excessively dark and gritty in our Chat Cave discussion of Sword of Sorcery 0. The particular example we were discussing was an attempted rape scene which many viewed as a way to make the comic edgier and sell more copies. Drew made the point that the same argument can be made of any emotion; character’s emotions and their reactions to the emotions of those around them help propel the story forward, and they can easily be twisted to sell comics first, and develop plot second. The same can be said of madness. It can be used to effectively display a character’s unraveling, or it can be included in a story merely to push the envelope and be unique. The big problem with madness is it is, by nature, very confusing. So, when we’ve got a story that pushes madness to the extreme with very little reason behind it, we’ve got a disorienting mess on our hands.
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Batman 13

Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Batman 13 originally released October 10th, 2012. This issue is part of the Death of the Family crossover event. Click here for complete DotF coverage.

Drew: Bruce Wayne knows those closest to him can be taken away. It’s an idea that was violently embedded in his mind as a child, and has driven every waking moment of his life since. A person driven to such lengths obviously values the closeness of others, yet it’s one of the bitterest ironies of Batman that his goal of stopping violence actually puts the people around him in greater danger. Bruce has been reminded of this all too often, as Jason was killed and Barbara paralyzed, but he can’t help but rely on others; as Batman Incorporated  recently pointed out, Alfred was there from the start. That reliance is often one of Bruce’s greatest assets — he could not have defeated the Court of Owls without them — but it’s also one of his greatest liabilities. Fortunately, very few criminals have the express goal of harming Batman emotionally, but of course, the Joker isn’t just any criminal. Continue reading