Purity of Tone in Batman 33

by Patrick Ehlers

Batman 33

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

Catwoman: He’s right, you know. There are rules.

Batman: I know. I wrote them.

Batman 33

Of course Batman wrote the rules; he’s Batman. But the infallible detective isn’t nearly so authoratative as the creators that have used Batman to repeatedly define both genres and mediums. Is there a better demonstration of superhero camp than Batman ‘66? Is there a purer gritty reboot than Batman: Year One? Within the stories, Batman may be writing the rules of non-interference in Khadym, but from the reader’s perspective, he’s demonstrating writer Tom King’s realignment of Batman’s tone. Continue reading

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Dark Days: The Casting: Discussion

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

Bruce. We need you to explain what’s going on here.

Hal Jordan

Michael: Recently I watched the entirety of HBO’s “The Leftovers,” which I enjoyed immensely. One of the show’s theme songs is Iris DeMent’s “Let the Mystery Be,” which means exactly what it sounds like: don’t try to find the explanation in everything, just enjoy the ride that the unknown provides. Mainstream comic book readers don’t subscribe to this philosophy when it comes to the capes and tights crowd, myself included. Dark Days: The Casting is a dense issue that will likely have our kind baffled as to what we just read. Continue reading

Dark Days: The Forge 1: Discussion

by Spencer Irwin and Mark Mitchell

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

Spencer: By some sort of weird cosmic coincidence, I’ve been re-reading Grant Morrison and Howard Porter’s late 90s JLA run this week. While that series is rightly remembered for its grand, heady ideas and breakneck-paced tales, what impressed me the most this time around was Morrison’s regard for the DC universe — every story was sprinkled with guest stars and allusions to past stories, well-known and deep cuts alike. Despite Rebirth’s best efforts, that sense of history is something I’ve been missing from DC the past few years, so I was pleasantly surprised when I opened Dark Days: The Forge — the prelude to Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV’s big summer event — and discovered that it’s practically an ode to DC’s past. Snyder and Tynion are clearly having a blast digging into DC’s sandbox, and it’s hard for that sense of enthusiasm and wonder not to rub off on the reader. Continue reading

Batman 18

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Today, Michael and Patrick are discussing Batman 18, originally released March 1st, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Patrick: Two weeks ago, Drew made a pretty convincing argument that Tom King’s Batman is attempting to synthesize all canonic and non-canonic versions of Batman. References to both Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on A Serious Earth and Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy seemed to suggest that all of the Batman franchise’s greatest hits were implicitly in play, even during the main-continuity run in DC’s flagship series. With all of those connections freshly in-place, Batman 18 starts to negate some of the commonly held beliefs about the character, hinging almost all of the real-time drama of the piece around Batman’s simple utterance of the word “No.” Continue reading

All-Star Batman 7

all-star-batman-7

Today, Michael and Spencer are discussing All-Star Batman 7, originally released February 8th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Michael: A sympathetic villain is one whose immoral actions are motivated by noble intentions. Rather than being an outright force of evil, the sympathetic villain tends to have an ultimate goal — the ends of which justify the means. As a mass audience we tend to like our villains to be at least somewhat sympathetic — allowing us to latch on to some human emotion and understand them. You know who also likes to sympathize with his villains? Batman. Continue reading

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

All-Star Batman 5

all-star-batman-5

Today, Patrick and Mark are discussing All-Star Batman 5, originally released December 28th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS!

Patrick: From the outset, Batman seems like a pretty simple concept: an orphaned billionaire who grew with a grudge against the criminal element that took his childhood away from him. Plus, y’know – gadgets and punching dudes. But nearly 80 years of publishing history have done a number on what the character “means.” A holistic view of Batman is nearly impossible, and it usually takes a savant like Grant Morrison to synthesize it all into one character. With their “My Own Worst Enemy” story arc, Scott Snyder and John Romita, Jr. make a case for the existence of multiple takes on Batman, and by extension multiple takes on heroes, villains, and humanity in general. It’s an exercise in not pinning anything down, which makes for a genuinely exciting, if often unsettling, narrative. Continue reading

All-Star Batman 4

all-star-batman-4

Today, Michael and Spencer are discussing All-Star Batman 4, originally released November 9th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Michael: One of the tenets of Batman story is perception: the difference of worldview between Batman, his allies, and his villains. There’s the more popular battling ideologies of vigilantism vs traditional legitimate law enforcement or Joker’s anarchy vs Batman’s order, but All-Star Batman’s battle of ideologies is based on the age-old question of “is man inherently good or inherently evil?” Continue reading

Batman 7 and Nightwing 5

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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

Batman 6

batman-6

Today, Michael and Spencer are discussing Batman 6, originally released September 7th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Michael: Comic book fans are extremely protective over their favorite superheroes, a fact that has probably been exacerbated by the internet. We debate on Batman’s actions as if he were a living, breathing person because he’s important to us. It’s the same way of asking the question “What’s the best Batman story of all time?” Art is subjective and comic books are no different. We may agree on many of the same things, but my Batman is different from your Batman. It’s why stories continue to roll out 75+ years after his creation. Continue reading