This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
What is Batman’s weakness? Some might say his mortality, some might say his relationships, while others might argue that Batman has no weaknesses. Batman 28 argues that Batman’s largest, most vulnerable spot might be Gotham City itself. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Michael are discussing Mother Panic 1, originally released November 9th, 2016. As always, this article containers SPOILERS.
Drew: A quarter century after the runaway successes of Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns, deconstruction remains a thriving mode of superhero storytelling. It makes sense that, in a world that is constantly retelling the same stories in films, television shows, video games, and the comics themselves, there’s little need to reiterate the beats we already know, so Batman’s origin, for example, can be cut down to a few iconic images, and the rest of the narrative can be given over to highlighting themes and ideas baked into that origin. That is, the narrative can be less about the story (since we all know it), and more about the telling. Of course, that approach tends to be reserved for characters whose origins have become common knowledge — heavy-hitters like Batman, Superman, and Spider-Man — but what if that approach was applied to a totally new character? What if their origin was taken as a given, so the emphasis was more on texture than the specific beats of the story? You might end up with something like Mother Panic 1, an issue that blends a familiar presumption of familiarity with a truly unfamiliar character. The effect is disorienting — frustratingly so at times — but nonetheless alluring. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Michael are discussing Klaus 5, originally released May 4th, 2016.
Patrick: Joseph Campbell’s monomyth needs revision. Certainly, the concepts born out in his Hero With A Thousand Faces appear in every blockbuster action movie and comic book produced in the last half-century. But the proliferation of visual storytelling since Campbell’s heyday has added some colorful hallmarks to the heroic storyteller’s lexicon. I don’t know what we can really trace these recurring visual motifs to — Hollywood Westerns, anime, comic books, Saturday morning cartoons — but the fact remains that our heroes all share some common traits. They have costumes that give them either an instantly recognizable silhouette or an instantly recognizable color palette. They all move the same way: with a shocking grace, often over rooftops. In Klaus, Grant Morrison and Dan Mora imbue Santa with these same visual hallmarks, updating him from folk legend to comic book hero. Continue reading →
Today, Shelby and Drew are discussing Batman 27, originally released January 22nd, 2014.
Shelby: We all know why Bruce Wayne became Batman: parents killed, city corrupted, a cowardly and superstitious lot, etc. We get it, we get Batman. But that has never been enough for Scott Snyder. Throughout his run on Batman, Snyder has forced Bruce to recognize his allies, and nearly lose them. In Night of the Owls, the very city of Gotham seemed to turn on Batman, and Death of the Family saw Bruce realize how important the Bat-family is to him just in time to nearly lose it (or actually lose it, the family certainly hasn’t been the same since). While on its surface, Zero Year is another retelling of the Batman origin, Snyder actually gives us a much closer look at Bruce’s motivations, and the beginnings of those relationships he grew to value so dearly. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Shelby are discussing Batman 0, originally released September 12, 2012. Batman 0 is part of the line-wide Zero Month.
Drew: If I may, I’d like to offer a bit of my own zero issue: One year ago, I had never purchased a monthly comic. Comics culture struck me as insular and impenetrable, and I saw fans as hyper-vigilant of petty continuity issues. Today, I’m a regular Wednesday warrior, and — more surprisingly — have become a nascent continuity-phile. That tendency has reared its head most fiercely in our coverage of the Before Watchmen prequel series, where I’ve argued that strict observance of continuity is an important means to observe the source material. It’s an opinion that has lead to a few clashes with Shelby, who would much rather enjoy a comic than obsess over details — an opinion I can totally respect, and am striving towards. What better test, then, when another creative team I respect immensely revisits beloved, seminal works?