“The War of Jokes and Riddles” Gives Batman Another Opportunity to Feel Guilty in Batman 25

by Spencer Irwin

Batman 25

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

It takes quite a bit of hubris to think you can singlehandedly end crime, even in just one city. I’ve never been a fan of the interpretations that paint Batman as insane or as the genesis of his own enemies, but I do think there’s some merit to examining the negative effects his crusade on crime may create. That’s exactly what Tom King and Mikel Janin seem ready to do in “The War of Jokes and Riddles,” a storyline pitting the Joker and the Riddler against each other in a city-wide gang war that, of course, Batman blames himself for. Continue reading

Economic Disparity and a Glimpse of Things to Come in Green Arrow 25

by Michael DeLaney

Green Arrow 25

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Michael: Nick Spencer has thrown the entire nation into a tyrannical nightmare in Secret Empire. In Green Arrow Benjamin Percy focuses on political corruption and the American class system on the city level – which definitely vibes with the grassroots, personal touch often associated with the Emerald Archer. In Green Arrow 25 Percy uses the establishment of Star City as the most heightened allegory for the disparity between the 1% and the majority of Americans. Continue reading

Alfred’s Past Shines a New Light on His Relationship with Bruce in All-Star Batman 11

by Spencer Irwin

All-Star Batman 11

This article will contain SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Alfred fills a peculiar role in Batman’s world. He’s Bruce’s father figure, but also his servant; he’s the Dark Knight’s staunchest ally, but also his greatest critic. The one thing these disparate titles have in common is that they cast Alfred as a supporting player — indeed, it’s often easy to forget that Alfred Pennyworth is a man with his own life and history, not just someone who cleans up after Batman. That’s something Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque are out to change in “The First Ally,” a storyline that dives into Alfred’s past and uses his history with his father to shine a new light on his relationship with Bruce. Continue reading

Despair in the Denouement in Wonder Woman 24

by Ryan Mogge

Wonder Woman 24

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

In a classical Greek tragedy, no matter whether they achieve their goals, the protagonists of a story end up worse off than they started. In Wonder Woman 24, everyone is at once successful and miserable. Greg Rucka focus on three women living in pain even after reaching their objectives.

After seeing her mother and being only a step away from Themyscria, Diana is distraught when she returns. Rucka indicates that Diana is not her usual self in the way that she carelessly leaves Cheetah behind. It wouldn’t necessarily be careless if a regular person did it, but Wonder Woman has set standards of empathy and kindness that even she cannot always live up to. When Etta calls her out, it only takes a moment before Diana is ready to take action. Even in her guilt, she is committed to making things right. Continue reading

Knowledge is the Key to Victory in the Flash 24

by Spencer Irwin

This article will contain SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Knowledge is power. Yeah, it’s cliche, but that doesn’t make it any less true; it’s especially true throughout Joshua Williamson, Carmine Di Giandomenico, and Pop Mhan’s The Flash 24, where the power dynamics between each character are defined almost solely by how much they know. Not only does the Flash’s victory over Multiplex come, not from brute strength, but from using his CSI skills to learn about his opponent, but Reverse Flash’s utter domination of all who face him is largely powered by his knowledge of the time before the New 52. Continue reading

Gotham City Is a Character in Gotham Academy: Second Semester 10

by Taylor Anderson

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Gotham Academy originally started as a school drama set against the backdrop of Gotham City. However, things have changed greatly since the series first started. Instead of being merely the setting for the series, Gotham City has now become a major character in the series. As with all characters, this means the city is now being developed, and the way it interacts and influences other characters is being analyzed. In Gotham Academy: Second Semester 10 it’s revealed how the city has affected its main character, Olive. Continue reading

The Limits of Teamwork in Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps 22

by Patrick Ehlers

Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps 22

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

“Talent wins games, but teamwork wins championships.”

Michael Jordan

The rewards of teamwork are immeasurable. But it’s sort of amazing that any team can hold together for very long, right? A good team member is both strong and deferent to the team, qualities that would seem at odds with each other. Superheroes have a notoriously tough time working together — modern takes on both the Justice League and the Avengers barely have time to set up the relationships before knocking them down — but what about when the heroes and villains team up? In Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps 22, writer Robert Venditti, artist Ethan Van Sciver and colorist Jason Wright put the teamwork between the Green and Yellow corps to test and discover how easily the cracks show. Continue reading

Remixing Jack Kirby in Bug! The Adventures of Forager 2

by Drew Baumgartner

Bug! The Adventures of Forager 2

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, read on at your own risk!

How do we characterize a remix? As a self-aware riff on whatever work is being remixed, it feels somewhat postmodern, but in my mind, remixes don’t necessarily share the skepticism and ironic distance we associate with postmodernism. Indeed, many remixes might be better understood as reverent tributes to their source material, taking what I’d argue is a decidedly romantic approach: offering an unabridged window into how the remixer sees a given work of art (or entire oeuvre). I was first struck by this idea when listening to The Beatles’ Love, which feels very much like bouncing around inside a Beatles fan’s head, but it came back in a big way as I read Bug! The Adventures of Forager 2, an issue that takes the same approach to comics mythology (both DC’s and others). Continue reading

Dark Days: The Forge 1: Discussion

by Spencer Irwin and Mark Mitchell

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, read on at your own risk!

Spencer: By some sort of weird cosmic coincidence, I’ve been re-reading Grant Morrison and Howard Porter’s late 90s JLA run this week. While that series is rightly remembered for its grand, heady ideas and breakneck-paced tales, what impressed me the most this time around was Morrison’s regard for the DC universe — every story was sprinkled with guest stars and allusions to past stories, well-known and deep cuts alike. Despite Rebirth’s best efforts, that sense of history is something I’ve been missing from DC the past few years, so I was pleasantly surprised when I opened Dark Days: The Forge — the prelude to Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV’s big summer event — and discovered that it’s practically an ode to DC’s past. Snyder and Tynion are clearly having a blast digging into DC’s sandbox, and it’s hard for that sense of enthusiasm and wonder not to rub off on the reader. Continue reading

Chinese Folklore Makes Revelations Fresh in New Super-Man 12

by Mark Mitchell

New Super-Man 12

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, read on at your own risk!

I’m a big theme park nerd, so the 2010 announcement of Shanghai Disneyland was big news. For anyone who followed the development and construction of Disney’s first resort in mainland China, the guiding design principle you heard over and over from those involved in the project was “authentically Disney and distinctly Chinese” — melding the spirit of Chinese culture with the best of Disney. New Super-Man was launched by Gene Luen Yang 12 issues ago with a similar promise, to pair the best elements of superhero stories with Chinese folklore to create something entirely new. New Super-Man 12 is the first issue to really deliver the full potential of that promise. Continue reading