Today, Patrick and (guest writer) Mark are discussing Batman and Robin 34, originally released August 20th, 2014.
Patrick: When The Death of the Family was heading into its final issue, Scott Snyder appeared in a ton of interviews claiming that this conclusion was going to have a lasting effect on Batman and the Batfamily. But after that story line wrapped up, Snyder took his own series into Batman’s past, conveniently avoiding working through much of this fallout. Similarly, Grant Morrison killed Damian in Batman Incorporated, but wrapped up his series only a few issues later. The emotional heavy lifting as fallen to Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason, who have dutifully presented the most erratic, emotional and frustrating Batman possible. Everything that Batman is — the selfless knight of justice, the patriarch of the Batfamily, the infallible detective — has been undermined in the wake of these twin tragedies. Understandably, that pushes Batman away from his readers, and his alienation from the world started to reflect the audiences’ alienation from the character. In issue 34, Tomasi and Gleason have Bruce offer a naked apology to his protégés, but they’re also inviting us to trust Batman again. Fuck yes: I’m ready to forgive. 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 →
It can be hard to keep up with all the comics you love. But it’s damn near impossible to keep up with all the comics you’re interested in.
Retcon Punch got you covered.
Sure, you’re reading Batman. Did you realize there are like 20 other issues that contain Death of the Family stories? How can you possibly understand the mind-bending reveal in Batman 17 without those volumes of additional content? Here’s how: we collected every single issue of the Death of the Family — all but the very last — so you can be totally, 100% caught up. (All of our coverage of individual issues can be found here.)
Today, Shelby and Drew are discussing Teen Titans 16, originally released January 30th, 2013. This issue is part of the Death of the Family crossover event. Click here for complete DotF coverage.
Shelby: What is the point of being a villain? Some do it out of greed, like the Penguin, others for a cause, like Poison Ivy. Then there’s the Joker, who’s just a psychopath. The source of his villainy is insanity; he is chaos incarnate. You’d think that would make it easier for writers to use the Joker in their stories. Just think of the craziest, most out there plan, add some gratuitous murder and cruelty, and you’re done, right? Wrong-o. The Joker is chaos, but he’s directed chaos. He has an end point in mind, there is a “reason for his madness.” Batgirl plays with the core idea that the Joker’s latest spree is based on love with a twisted wedding. Batman and Robin also ties back to love, either the love of Robin for Batman or the love of a son for his father, depending on whether or not you believe the Joker knows who everybody is. Teen Titans and Red Hood, however, have a tougher time showing us that central theme of love, so that at the end of the issue I’m left wondering, “what was the point?” Continue reading →
Crisis on Infinite Earths was a significant event for DC’s universe, but its more enduring legacy might just be the very concept of an expansive, line-wide event. Not all crossover events need to be quite so large — DC has recently seemed more fond of events crossing into small handfuls of titles, and only for a few months at a time. Some of DC’s Vice Presidents may balk at the notion that they seem to like events, but with over a third of their titles recently involved in one of their five ongoing events (with more announced), they’ve become all but unavoidable for fans. We here at Retcon Punch are no exception, but are these events welcome? Welcome to the Chat Cave. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Shelby are discussing Red Hood and the Outlaws 15 originally released December 19th, 2012. This issue is part of the Death of the Family crossover event. Click here for complete DotF coverage.
Drew: Back when I first read Red Hood and the Outlaws 0, I was in awe of the backup revealing the Joker’s role in Jason’s life. I wasn’t sure at the time whether or not I truly believed Joker’s story (he’s not the most reliable narrator), but the thought that it could be true was a fascinating idea. One of the things that struck me about that story is that it more or less confirms that Joker knows who Batman (and by extension, the rest of the bat-family) is, a notion that has been at the forefront of the Death of the Family event. I’ve staunchly defended the possibility that the Joker is bluffing, but this issue’s focus on his relationship with Jason makes that outcome seem as remote as ever. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Catwoman 14 originally released November 21st, 2012. This issue is part of the Death of the Family crossover event. Click here for complete DotF coverage.
Patrick: The scenario “Joker plays mind games with Selina Kyle” is ripe with potential for unpacking deep psychological issues. But that would be asking a fundamentally stupid series to try something smart. The result here is disastrous — a pointless diversion through visually incoherent space populated with flat characters playing a no-stakes game of Who Gives A Fuck. Continue reading →
Today, Shelby and Drew are discussing Catwoman 13 originally released October 17th, 2012. This issue is part of the Death of the Family crossover event. Click here for complete DotF coverage.
Shelby: Last week, we talked about the overuse of darker tropes as a means to make a story excessively dark and gritty in our Chat Cave discussion of Sword of Sorcery 0. The particular example we were discussing was an attempted rape scene which many viewed as a way to make the comic edgier and sell more copies. Drew made the point that the same argument can be made of any emotion; character’s emotions and their reactions to the emotions of those around them help propel the story forward, and they can easily be twisted to sell comics first, and develop plot second. The same can be said of madness. It can be used to effectively display a character’s unraveling, or it can be included in a story merely to push the envelope and be unique. The big problem with madness is it is, by nature, very confusing. So, when we’ve got a story that pushes madness to the extreme with very little reason behind it, we’ve got a disorienting mess on our hands. Continue reading →