The Difference Between Safe and Fair in Batman Creature of the Night 2

by Patrick Ehlers

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

As a force for good in the world, there’s a lot missing in the Batman equation. Or, if not missing, at least contradictory. Batman’s search for justice implies a kind of universal balance, one where all bad behavior is punished and all good behavior rewarded, and because money is never an object for Bruce Wayne, this balance is achieved at no real cost to anyone. Batman Creature of the Night 2 explores the inherent imbalance necessary to create Batman in the first place, illustrating the difference between being safe and being fair. Continue reading

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WTF is Happening in Deadman 1?

by Patrick Ehlers

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

While the concept of a ghost investigating its own murder is pretty straightforward, there’s something of an incongruous cognitive leap we need to make to buy into it. Specifically, if there’s a consciousness around to investigate its own murder, is that person really dead? It’s a circular logic question, and one that ultimately isn’t super fruitful — either we buy in to the premise of the story or we don’t. But that tension still hangs over the proceedings in Deadman 1, and creator Neal Adams leans into that emotional confusion hard, breaking down every page and every story beat into a whirling WTF mess of plot twists and body swaps. Continue reading

A Quiet, Touching Pay-Off in All-Star Batman 14

by Mark Mitchell

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

All-Star Batman has been an interesting coda to Scott Snyder’s prolific run on Batman. While never reaching the sustained highs of Batman in its best years, All-Star has allowed Snyder to experiment with the type of Batman stories he tells. Not every arc has been a knockout — I don’t know how into Alfred-Pennyworth-as-ninja I am, really — but there is something inherently interesting in watching an artist stretch himself. Continue reading

[Obscuring] Place in All-Star Batman 13

by Patrick Ehlers

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

When I was a kid, my family used to spend parts of our summer vacation at a cabin in the woods outside of Hayward, Wisconsin with our good family friends, the Pfarrs. The Cabin — which was all we ever called it — had a kind of romantic mythology about it, slowly crafted by years upon years of family bonding. There was a ill-used road into town that we had nicknamed “sneak path,” and which carried a (probably bogus) story about a young couple driving too fast along it and slipping in raccoon guts and driving off the road. We were all told that the Cabin itself was drunkenly constructed backwards, so that delightful front porch was meant to be in back, overlooking the lake. I have no idea if that last one is true, but to this day it feels right. I close my eyes and I see this space – it’s a comfort, a complete flash-memory, and the most common setting for my dreams. It’s a place of subconscious and unconditional love. In All-Star Batman 13, writer Scott Snyder and artist Rafael Albuquerque tap into the connection between place and relationships. Continue reading

Batman 7 and Nightwing 5

batman-7

Today, Patrick and Spencer are discussing Batman 7 and Nightwing 5 (aka, parts one and two of “Night of the Monster Men”), originally released September 21, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Patrick: If I had to guess conservatively, I’d say that we’ve covered a billion crossover events over the last four years on Retcon Punch. These kinds of stories always beg the narrative question “why?” The commercial question is a lot easier to answer: I’m reading Batman, and I’m certainly not going to skip an issue of Batman, so I might as well pick up the attendant issues of Nightwing, Detective Comics, and whatever else might be participating in this story. The result is usually a tonal mess, superficially tying together the storytelling styles of a disparate set of teams with some arbitrary commonality. “Night of the Monster Men” cuts a different swath through the series bearing its banner, uniting them under one writer, the always excellent Steve Orlando, and a unified artistic vision. Continue reading

Batman 6

batman-6

Today, Michael and Spencer are discussing Batman 6, originally released September 7th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Michael: Comic book fans are extremely protective over their favorite superheroes, a fact that has probably been exacerbated by the internet. We debate on Batman’s actions as if he were a living, breathing person because he’s important to us. It’s the same way of asking the question “What’s the best Batman story of all time?” Art is subjective and comic books are no different. We may agree on many of the same things, but my Batman is different from your Batman. It’s why stories continue to roll out 75+ years after his creation. Continue reading

Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1

batman tmnt 1

Today, Michael and Taylor are discussing Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1 originally released December 9th, 2015.

Michael: To be perfectly honest, I have been putting this write up off. I’m a cynical, curmudgeonly sort of critic. I actively try to fight it but sometimes my nature gets the better of me. People are super excited about Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I’m happy that people are super excited, honestly. Personally I wasn’t wowed by the limited series’ first outing.

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Batman and Robin Annual 3

Alternating Currents: Batman and Robin Annual 3, Michael and Shane

Today, Michael and Shane are discussing Batman and Robin Annual 3, originally released April 1, 2015.

Michael: Convergence has already begun, whose end will signify the sort-of-new direction for DC’s entire line. While Batman and Robin 40 was Patrick Gleason’s final issue on the series, Batman and Robin Annual 3 marks the quiet death of the Batman and Robin series that Gleason and Pete Tomasi re-launched back in 2011. So prepare yourselves for Batman and Robin IN SPAAAAAAACE!

Batman and Robin Annual 03-008 Continue reading

Batman and Robin Annual 2

batman and robin annual 2

Today, Greg and Mikyzptlk are discussing Batman and Robin Annual 2, originally released January 29th 2014.

Greg: My friends often make fun of me for liking everything, and they have a good point. If one of them asks me for a movie recommendation, I’ll give twenty, and get at least one “I heard that was terrible” in response. If someone rags on the recently cancelled and critically reviled Sean Saves The World, I’ll pipe in and counter that it was actually one of the best new comedies of the season, prematurely put down. The new Paramore album? On repeat, in my car stereo, no apologies. Sometimes I’ve been criticized as not having enough cultural taste or filtration. My counterargument is that the consumption of media and storytelling fundamentally stems from love and positivity. It behooves a consumer to like things, because of the positive feelings you get. So, whenever I do genuinely, fully, through-and-through dislike something, not only do I mean it, but it pains me to say it out loud. It blots out my blinding sun of naive media love. I’ll put it frankly, no matter how much it hurts me to say: Batman and Robin deserve better than this issue.
Continue reading

Detective Comics 27

detective comics 27

Today, Mikyzptlk and Drew are discussing Detective Comics 27, originally released January 8th, 2014.

Mikyzptlk: Detective Comics 27 is an anniversary issue not only because it’s the second “Detective Comics 27” in DC’s publishing history, but also because it’s Batman’s 75th anniversary (or close to it, anyway). With that, DC has brought on an impressive array of writers and artists (Brad Meltzer! Neal Adams!) in order to celebrate the Bat’s 75th birthday. The result is as intriguing as it is entertaining and heartwarming.  Continue reading