The police don’t trust the Robins! The people don’t trust the Robins! The Robins don’t trust the other Robins! And the Owls? They’re just straight-up bad news! Welcome to our coverage of the Robin War tie-in issues released December 9th, 2015. Patrick, Michael, Mark and Spencer discuss Grayson 15, Detective Comics 47, Red Hood and Arsenal 7 and Gotham Academy 13.Continue reading →
Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing Batman 40, originally released April 29th, 2015.
Spencer: Batman 40 is a dense issue. I’ve lingered over this issue in a way I haven’t lingered over a comic in quite a while. Every page is rich with meaning, both in the writing and the art, and it would take far more space than Patrick and I have allotted here to fully unpack it. Let me assure you all, though, that doing so is more than worth the time and effort. Batman 40 is a masterpiece that can be enjoyed on numerous levels, and I think it’s an issue we’re going to be dissecting for a long time to come. So let’s get to it. Continue reading →
Today, Michael and Drew are discussing Batman 39, originally released February 25th, 2015.
Michael: When it comes to Batman, Joker stories are pretty much hit or miss. We’ve seen great successes and failures in film, animation, television (I’m looking at you Gotham), and of course, comic books. He’s an iconic character that has been built up to mythic proportions equal to (or greater) than Batman’s. Counting the Joker’s brief appearance in his Detective Comics run, this is Scott Snyder’s third stab at the Clown Prince of Crime. To make a truly remarkable Joker story, the approach to the Joker and how the story is told have to be changed. Continue reading →
When I asked Kyle Higgins which of his issues he’d like to discuss, he instantly said “the last issue of Nightwing.” To which I, like an asshole, responded “you mean, your last issue of Nightwing?” It’s been an incredibly personal journey for Higgins, with its fair share of trails and tribulations, and his final issue effectively reflects on the entirety of his run. Patrick sat down with Kyle and went through the issue page by page, so get your copy handy and join us on the Commentary Track.
Retcon Punch: Let’s talk about the last issue! First of all, I love Russell Dautherman’s art in this thing. It’s warmer — the whole thing feels more naked to me.
Kyle Higgins: Yeah, it’s a more stripped down story. It’s a structure I haven’t done before — an intercutting structure. I had the idea pretty early on when I was writing the final issue to do flashbacks to all the villains that he’s fought. Continue reading →
Today, Shelby and Drew are discussing Batgirl 28, originally released February 12th, 2014.
Shelby: Not that long ago, we had a glut of vampires in popular culture. Twilight, Vampire Diaries, True Blood:we were inundated. It didn’t seem that unusual to me, though; my high school into college experience featured a lot of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Hellsing(the anime, not the awful movie), so “Vampires did it!” isn’t really that strange of a story for me. Outside of Legenderry and the occasional Halloween issue, though, vampires are not something I expect to see in the comics I’m reading. Needless to say, I was intrigued by the cover of this month’s Batgirl.
Today, Patrick and Spencer are discussing Talon 15, originally released January 29th, 2014.
Patrick: When I wrote up the first issue of Talon, I lamented the fact that Calvin Rose’s origin story was less precious in the light of the other Talon origins we’d read just a few months prior. What’s more, origin-story-overload was starting to strip the Court of Owls of its mystique. New series writer Marguerite Bennett introduces us to yet another new Talon, but distorts and twists his back story, almost daring the reader to try to get something meaningful out of it. Ultimately, both the character and the author reject the importance of this origin narrative. It’s a fascinating concept that seems stubbornly resigned to its own unimportance. Continue reading →
Shelby: For being a new villain in the DC universe, the Court of Owls finds itself very firmly rooted in Gotham’s history. They’ve existed since the beginning, secretly running the city behind the scenes, shaping it into the image they want. They claim to be Owls, but operate more like snakes: hiding and striking from the shadows, fleeing when the going gets tough. That is the lesson James Tynion is teaching us in this Villains Month issue; the Court of the Owls will always retreat to the shadows when faced with an unbeatable adversary. And those shadows go a lot deeper than you might think.
Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Talon 11, originally released August 28th, 2013.
Patrick: When I was a kid, I used to think that Jedis were the coolest thing in the whole world. Why wouldn’t I? The only examples I had of Jedi were either too old or too young or too evil, but I loved Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader. They’re so rare that we never saw a Jedi in their prime — and that scarcity made them precious. Of course, that all changed in 1999, with the release of Phantom Menace. As the prequels rolled out more and more Jedis, I became less and less enamored with them. This is obviously a function of a lot of things — I was getting older, the movies were getting shittier — but chief among them was that the Jedis just weren’t a valuable commodity anymore. I feared the same thing would happen with Owls and Talons in this series, but instead I find myself overexposed to a different type all together: the hulking man-monster.
Today, Patrick and Mikyzptlk are discussing Talon 10, originally released July 27th, 2013.
Patrick: There’s a moment during this issue where one of Bane’s mega henchmen, code-named The Wolf-Spider (because he’s terrifying), tells Calvin that there’s nothing he can do to stop Bane’s army from destroying the Court of Owls. Calvin gives his blessing – there’s nothing in the world that would make his life easier than the utter annihilation of the Court. It’s a funny moment, and one that seems like it is frustratingly close to a workable armistice between the Talon and Bane’s henchmen. Alas, we’re talking about characters named Talon and Wolf-Spider, so the fists keep flying. Back in Gotham, Casey escapes from Harmon’s torture dungeon and gets herself arrested by honest cops in order to protect herself from the Court. It’s an issue of unlikely alliances teased, embraced and broken.
Today, Shelby and Spencer are discussing Talon 9 originally released June 26th, 2013.
Shelby: I’m a total sucker for magic tricks. As a kid, I obsessed over David Copperfield specials; as an adult, I understand it’s all a matter of misdirection and slight of hand, but I still fall for it every time. The magic of expecting one thing, but finding something else never grows stale for me. “Misdirection” is a label that can be applied to both this issue of Talon, and the title as a whole. James Tynion IV has continued to subvert our expectations with this title, making us think we’re reading one kind of story when it turns out to be another entirely. And, just like any slight of hand, the smallest little hiccup can knock the whole illusion askew. Continue reading →