Dark Nights: Metal 2 Learns to Stop Worrying and Love the Weird

by Michael DeLaney

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

Over the past 50 years, relaunches like The New 52 have favored comic book “realism” — whatever that may be. As I’ve gotten older, however, I’ve found that comic books are at their best when they embrace the silly, high-concept ideas that ran without question for the first 50 odd years of comic book history. Dark Nights: Metal 2 is the type of book that blends the modern “realism” with the whacky fearlessness of the books of old. Continue reading

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Batman 30: Discussion

by Michael DeLaney and Drew Baumgartner 

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

Michael: I’ll admit, I haven’t really understood Tom King’s fascination with Kite Man during his tenure on Batman. King placed Kite Man in the middle of “The War of Jokes and Riddles” in Batman 27 and his tragic origin — Riddler poisoning and killing his son — still left me unmoved. Batman 30 marks the second part of “The Ballad of Kite Man” as well as my cold heart thawing to Kite Man’s tragic existence. 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 is Always Right in Batman/The Shadow 5

by Michael DeLaney

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

After Frank Miller turned Batman into an angry grumpypuss, many modern Bat-tales involved The Dark Knight’s allies showing him that there might be a better way than un-trusting ultraviolence. In Batman/The Shadow 5, Scott Snyder and Steve Orlando place Batman on the opposite side of that dynamic while embracing another trope of the character: Batman is always right. Continue reading

Green Arrow Stands Apart from Batman in Green Arrow 29

by Michael DeLaney

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

I like to think of Benjamin Percy’s “Hard-Travelling Hero” arc of Green Arrow as “The Oliver Queen Apology Tour” — as Green Arrow travels across the country and ends up proving his worth to the heavy hitters of the Justice League. This time around Green Arrow is teamed up with fellow billionaire playboy/non-powered vigilante Batman. Continue reading

Dark Nights: Metal 1: Discussion

by Patrick Ehlers and Mark Mitchell 

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

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Patrick: Throughout Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s run on Batman, the creative team valued invention over archeology. The character of Batman has been around for so long that deconstruction of the character is practically in his DNA, and while Snyder and Capullo found ways to riff on Batman’s history, their stories were always new. New threats, new allies, new secret identity. With Metal, the latest DC event, Snyder and Capullo turn inward, to explore, refine, and recontextualize the mythology and iconography that is already part of their multiverse. There’s a premium on re-arranging existing pieces into an entirely new whole. Continue reading

Choosing a Side in Batman 29

by Spencer Irwin

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

Marvel’s various takes on their Civil War franchise have all urged readers to “choose a side.” That’s not an approach Tom King and Mikel Janin can really take with “The War of Jokes and Riddles” though, because who wants to support either side of a war waged by sadistic supervillains? Yet, that’s exactly where Batman finds himself in Batman 29 — forced to pick between supporting either the Joker or the Riddler if he wants to end this war once and for all. Continue reading

Balance in the Space Between in Batman 27

by Patrick Ehlers

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

What’s the difference between camp and genre fiction? How about the difference between parody and pastiche? All of these categorical distinctions share the same powerful feature — exploiting tropes to elicit involuntary emotional reactions. And usually, that reaction is a laugh. A knowing chuckle, a boisterous guffaw, rolling chortles — what’s the difference? Is one form ridiculous while the other form is cool? Is one form important while the other form is base? And is there any space between them? Tom King and Clay Mann’s Batman 27 answers that question with the simultaneously ludicrous and tragic origin story of Chuck Brown: The Kite Man. Continue reading

Batman 26: Discussion

By Drew Baumgartner and Michael DeLaney

Batman 26

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

A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic.

Joseph Stalin

Drew: Joseph Stalin likely never uttered this phrase, but while its provenance may be dubious, it’s hard to argue with its sentiment. We’ve all experienced this personally; individual deaths carry with them the nuance and beauty of the decedent’s death in a way that dozens of deaths simply can’t. Each of those deaths are felt singularly by the loved ones they affect, to be sure, but the rest of us can’t really fit the sum of those tragedies into our brain. They become, for lack of a better term, a statistic. This is why war stories are so rare in superhero comics — the higher death count doesn’t necessarily equal higher emotional stakes, so killing swaths of civilians runs the risk of making any one of those deaths lose whatever oomph it might have on its own. Writer Tom King seems keenly aware of how easy it would be for the victims of “The War of Jokes and Riddles” to become statistics, taking pains to emphasize just how deeply Batman feels each of those deaths. Continue reading

Wonder Woman 25: Discussion

By Michael DeLaney and Taylor Anderson

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

Michael: The concept of a higher power is one that many men and women struggle with at least once in their lives. One popular debate between believers and non-believers is the question “why does God let bad things happen to good people?” More to the point, “why does God let bad things happen?” After all of the trials and tribulations that she has gone through, Wonder Woman faces her gods and demands answers for it all. Continue reading