This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
The Terminator definitely wasn’t the first “travel back in time to prevent Armageddon” story, but it is one of the most popular ones, and it has been homaged countless of times in the comic book medium. The “Super Sons of Tomorrow” crossover is the latest such arc. Batman-Tim Drake from an alternate future has traveled in time to kill Jon Kent, who causes the destruction of Metropolis. Continue reading →
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, Michael leads a discussion about Convergence 8, Action Comics 2, Blue Beetle 2, Booster Gold 2, Crime Syndicate 2, Detective Comics 2, Infinity Inc. 2, Plastic Man and the Freedom Fighters 2 and World’s Finest 2.
Michael: When’s the last time you read a true finale from Marvel or DC? I’m talking final word, last story, completion of a hero’s journey, close-the-book-on-it ending. I could probably only count a handful of those types of finales in the past couple of years; maybe. Like any analysis of the Big Two, it can be seen in two ways: cynically or inspiringly. Cynically, there will never be a “final story.” The Coca-Cola and Pepsi of comic books always leave a door open for potential future stories because they want your money. Inspiringly, we are witnessing the sagas of modern mythology: endless heroic epics. These stories will never come to a true end because their legend continues and the heroes never say die. It can be impossibly cheesy, but the end caption “Never the end” always clutches at my heart strings. After eight weeks, 41 books and 89 issues Convergence has finally met its end. I think there is a strong argument for the inspiring read of “Never the End” present in most of these finales. Conversely, Convergence been criticized as a sales stunt, so the more cynical finale read is just as viable. Two months later what have we learned? For one, nostalgia can be expensive. Continue reading →
Today, Mark and Drew are discussing Detective Comics 37, originally released December 3rd, 2014. Mark: Of all the Batman movies, Batman Returns remains my favorite. It’s probably the darkest Batman film yet made (I mean, it opens with parents throwing their baby in the sewer. Opens!), but it also has a sense of humor and style that the oppressively serious Christopher Nolan adaptations lack. One of the things that makes the movie pop is the decision to set the action at Christmastime. Even all lit up for the holidays there’s no place as terrible as Gotham City, and that contrast adds a dark mirth to the proceedings. With the holiday season once again upon us, it’s the perfect time to revisit Gotham at Christmas. After a two month airport diversion, creative team Brian Buccellato and Francis Manapul are back and Detective Comics 37 jumps us right into the thick of Gotham on Christmas Eve. Guess what? Things are not great. Continue reading →
Today, Mark and Ryan are discussing Detective Comics 36, originally released November 5th, 2014.
Mark: It took me a long while to decide what it was I really wanted to do in life. About two years ago I packed up everything that would fit in my car and moved to Los Angeles without a job and without knowing anyone. Ever since then, like Sonic the Hedgehog, I’ve felt the need to go fast. In some ways I feel far behind my peers, and I try to work double to make up for lost time. The sad reality, of course, is that you can’t make up time.
Detective Comics 36 wraps up a two-part story, Terminal, by the guest creative team of writer Benjamin Percy and penciler John Paul Leon. The set up is a familiar mystery thriller trope: a passenger jet lands at Gotham International Airport and careens into the terminal, crew unresponsive. When Batman and the airport’s Chief of Police board the plane, they find everyone onboard is dead and their flesh decayed. What could have killed them? Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Scott are discussing Detective Comics 32, originally released June 11th, 2014.
Drew: Last month, Shelby compared Detective Comics to a well-executed magic trick. Specifically, she was referring to the way Brian Buccellato and Francis Manapul wield misdirection, but I think the similarities between magic and art are manifold. Both rely on deceptively simple techniques to create effects that are greater than the sum of their parts. For me, the only real difference is how we value being “fooled” by those effects. If we see the strings, a magic trick is ruined, but understanding exactly how a scene was painted or filmed or carved can enhance our appreciation of a work of art. I personally enjoy knowing how a magic trick is performed, too — I think it gives me a deeper appreciation for exactly how skillful the magician is — but then again, I’ve always liked knowing how the sausage is made. Many folks would rather never know how the lady gets sawed in half, or how a painter simulates sunlight peaking through the clouds, or how a composer strings harmonies into a coherent musical idea. It’s an attitude I can’t fully support, but I do understand it: a little magic is lost when you can spot every palmed card. Manapul and Buccellato have long been a team that rewards digging beneath those effects, but this issue found me wishing that I wasn’t so aware of what they were doing. Continue reading →
Today, Shelby and Scott are discussing Detective Comics 31, originally released May 7th, 2014.
Shelby: I love magic tricks. Granted, I understand it’s not actually magic; I am an adult, after all. Even knowing it’s all just slight of hand, I still fall for it every time. Personally, I think the most effective illusions are the most simple; some quick misdirection, maybe some witty repartee, and suddenly there are three foam balls in my hand when I could have swore I started out with one. That’s one of the reasons I like Batman as much as I do; he’s got the fancy gadgets and whatnot, but at its core his act is one of illusion and misdirection. We look for what he leads us to believe is there, and gives us something completely different while our backs are turned. Brian Buccellato and Francis Manapul have adopted a similar approach with Detective Comics, and it’s just as effective as any close-up magic I’ve seen.
Spencer: Back in the summer of 2010 I was obsessed with Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim comics, and eagerly awaited the release of their movie adaptation. I spent the weeks leading up to it reading and rereading the comics and preparing myself for the awesomeness I knew the movie would surely be. After I actually saw the movie, though, I was oddly disappointed by the many changes made between it and the comics. It took me quite a while to reconcile the two versions, but once I did, I ended up seeing it twice more in theaters and it quickly became my favorite movie. I had a similar experience reading Detective Comics 28 this week. After last month’s introduction to the “Gothtopia” storyline I was expecting a lot out of this issue—specifically, more exploration of this new Gotham utopia—but the story ended up veering in another direction entirely. I was disappointed at first, but fortunately, the story I got instead ended up being pretty enjoyable in its own right. Continue reading →
John Layman’s run on Detective Comics is coming to a close in March, but he’s got one last spectacular trick up his sleeve – the what-if-Gotham-was-a-happy-place? story of Gothtopia. This is the first time in the New 52 that a Bat Family crossover wasn’t lead by Scott Snyder’s Batman. We traded emails with Layman to dig into what makes both Detective Comics and Gothtopia different from what readers might expect. For more information on Gothtopia, head on over to our Gothtopia event page or check out our conversations about Detective Comics 27 and Batgirl 27.
Retcon Punch: First, congrats on Detective Comics 27 – it’s a huge issue and people really seem to be responding positively to it. Did you know that your first Gothtopia story was going to appear beside so many other “imaginary” stories? Did that change your approach to it at all?
John Layman: It didn’t really change my story, but I communicated with all the other creative teams, so they knew what I was doing, and I knew what they were doing. To make sure everything meshed, and every book complimented the other while being unique. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Scott are discussing Detective Comics 21, originally released June 5th, 2013.
Patrick: Ah, yes: Detective Comics. I believe we’ve dropped this title twice, a dubious honor it shares with Batwing. We keep coming back to the old girl because we’re tempted by a new creative team or a character that we like. I mean, it’s already Batman, so it’s got a better than average chance at entertaining me from the get-go. However, after checking in with it this month, I’m reminded of the list of reasons we put this title down in the first place. It’s not a disaster by any stretch of the imagination, but it lacks so much of the DNA of a Batman story that it starts to feel like something else entirely. Continue reading →