Batman 16

batman-16

Today, Michael and Patrick are discussing Batman 16, originally released February 1, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Michael: Now THAT’S what I’m talking about! I’ll admit to being a little lukewarm in my reception of the initial arcs of Tom King’s Batman run but I’d say that “I Am Bane” is off to a great start. Maybe it’s because I’m always rooting for a quality Bane story or maybe it’s because I love seeing the Robin club acting like a smarmy group of brothers. Either way it feels good to be excited about what direction Batman is headed in once again. Continue reading

Nightwing 13

nightwing-13

Today, Mark and Spencer are discussing Nightwing 13, originally released January 18th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Mark: There’s a moment in Nightwing 13 that clearly encapsulates the little, niggling issues in this current arc of Tim Seeley and Marcus To’s Nightwing that prevent me from really embracing the book like I want to. It’s a small moment, to be sure, and it’s easy to gloss over thanks to the stronger WHAM-BAM-BOOM elements in the issue. But the devil is in the details, and the difference between a good book and a great book is usually mere inches. Continue reading

Nightwing 11

nightwing-11

Today, Mark and Spencer are discussing Nightwing 11, originally released December 21st, 2016. As always, this article containers SPOILERS.

Mark: Being written by a member of the team that created a New 52 MVP contender in Grayson, the expectation was that Nightwing would continue that series’ characterization of Dick Grayson as, essentially, the most awesome person alive. Tom King, Tim Seeley, and Mikel Janin’s Grayson leaned heavily on Dick’s “Best Ass in Comics” reputation. Their Grayson was sexy, funny, smart, and could kick ass—basically, he was perfect. And while it should have been impossible to write an ongoing series about a seemingly flawless character, King and Seeley made it work month after month. But now almost one full year into Tim Seeley’s solo run, it’s clear that Nightwing is its own beast. The question, then, is who is this Dick Grayson? Continue reading

Nightwing 9

nightwing-9

Today, Spencer and Mark are discussing Nightwing 9, originally released November 16th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Spencer: If you go back and read my reviews of recent Nightwing issues, I’m on record as calling this run “grim” more than once. I’m still a bit puzzled as to why writer Tim Seeley has filled Dick with so much angst, but at least Nightwing 9 is an acknowledgement of this trend, and seemingly an active move away from it. It’s a refreshing look at why Dick Grayson is such a powerful character in the first place. Continue reading

Batman 7 and Nightwing 5

batman-7

Today, Patrick and Spencer are discussing Batman 7 and Nightwing 5 (aka, parts one and two of “Night of the Monster Men”), originally released September 21, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Patrick: If I had to guess conservatively, I’d say that we’ve covered a billion crossover events over the last four years on Retcon Punch. These kinds of stories always beg the narrative question “why?” The commercial question is a lot easier to answer: I’m reading Batman, and I’m certainly not going to skip an issue of Batman, so I might as well pick up the attendant issues of Nightwing, Detective Comics, and whatever else might be participating in this story. The result is usually a tonal mess, superficially tying together the storytelling styles of a disparate set of teams with some arbitrary commonality. “Night of the Monster Men” cuts a different swath through the series bearing its banner, uniting them under one writer, the always excellent Steve Orlando, and a unified artistic vision. Continue reading

Nightwing 1

nightwing 1

Today, Michael and Spencer are discussing Nightwing 1, originally released July 27th, 2016.

Michael: I find it kind of odd that as popular and enduring as Dick Grayson is, he’s constantly going through a series of status quo changes: Robin, Nightwing, Batman, Agent 37 and back to Nightwing again. Change is life, both in our three dimensional world and comic books’ two dimensional one. But the ground under Dick Grayson’s feet seems to shift moreso than other characters. Is it because comic-dom loves him so much and wants to keep him fresh? Is it because we don’t really know what we want for him? Nightwing 1 would have us believe that Dick’s always on the move because of his hectic circus upbringing, which is a plausible explanation, but I don’t know if I quite buy it. Continue reading

Batman & Robin Eternal 26

batman and robin eternal 26

Today, Michael and Spencer are discussing Batman & Robin Eternal 26, originally released March 30th, 2016.

Michael: It wasn’t that long ago when Retcon Punch decided to pit me and Spencer against one another, reviewing Batman Eternal 52 with very different opinions. Now they’ve done it again as we go head-to-head on the finale of the semi-sequel, Batman & Robin Eternal 26. As we transition back to the status quo, does this particular Batman-less Batman tale add anything to the mythos overall? Continue reading

Grayson 18

grayson 18

Today, Mark and Spencer are discussing Grayson 18, originally released March 23th, 2016.

Mark: I came into Grayson 18 unaware of the creative change-up behind the scenes, but it’s immediately apparent that this is a different team than the one that has guided Grayson through the past year and a half. Yes, Tom King, Tim Seeley, and Mikel Janin have departed in preparation for Rebirth, leaving new writers Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly to wrap up the last three issues with the help of artists Roge Antonio and Geraldo Borges. And while Grayson 18 definitely reads like a lesser issue, Lanzing and Kelly do well enough in beginning to bring Grayson‘s many disparate threads together.

Unfortunately, the same can not be said for Antonio and Borges. Continue reading

Batman 50

Alternating Currents: Batman 50, Drew and Michael

Today, Drew and Michael are discussing Batman 50, originally released March 23rd, 2016.

Drew: The owner of my old LCS, Paul, was not a Batman fan. In his mind, a billionaire using his resources to “punch bad guys” was so misguided as to be immoral. Couldn’t Bruce Wayne do more good resolving the root causes of crime by building mixed-income housing or running programs for at-risk youth? Admittedly, Batman’s “punch bad guys” solution to crime lacks nuance, and seems increasingly outmoded the more we understand what causes crime in the first place. Unfortunately, it’s kind of key to Batman’s appeal — he can be a philanthropist on the side, sure, but nobody wants to read a comic where a guy dressed like a bat subsidizes grocery stores in low-income neighborhoods. To writer Scott Snyder’s credit, he started his run on Batman by having Bruce turn his attention to exactly that type of socioeconomic solution, a goal that forces within Gotham actively worked against. It was a smart move, but the fact that the Court of Owls would allow Bruce to be Batman, but drew the line at him rearranging the economic structure of Gotham speaks to just how ineffectual Batman is at affecting systemic change. With Batman 50, Snyder offers a more compelling justification for Batman — one that just might be the definitive answer to Paul’s criticisms. Continue reading

Detective Comics 50

detective comics 50

Today, Mark and Michael are discussing Detective Comics 50, originally released March 9th, 2016.

Mark: Well…huh. Is that all there is?

Writing a mystery story in any medium is an unenviable task. It’s basically impossible to nail the landing. For my money, the ideal solution to any mystery is both surprising and logical. Once the solution is revealed, the audience wants to see that the answer was hiding in plain sight all along. Writing a satisfying conclusion like that is nearly impossible. It’s why when something like The Sixth Sense comes along it is so successful. But M. Night Shyamalan learned the wrong lesson from its success, thinking that audiences craved a “GOT YA” ending. And it’s why his other films that attempted a twist failed. Sure, the twists are surprising…but they’re meaningless and add no additional understanding to what came before. So after two (and a half) strong issues of Peter J. Tomasi’s Detective Comics mystery, we reach the end of The Bronze Age arc and, again, I ask: is that all there is? Continue reading