Retcon Punch is on Summer Hours, which means we’re going to be writing fewer in-depth pieces for the month of August. But we’re addicts at this point, so we need a place for our thoughts on all those comics we can’t stop reading. Today, we’re discussing Bizarro 3, Black Canary 3, Dr. Fate 3, Green Lantern The Lost Army 3, Justice League 43, Martian Manhunter 3 and Robin: Son of Batman 3.
Look, there are a lot of comics out there. Too many. We can never hope to have in-depth conversations about all of them. But, we sure can round up some of the more noteworthy titles we didn’t get around to from the week. Today, Michael, Shane, Patrick and Mark discuss Black Canary 2, Green Lantern The Lost Army 2, Martian Manhunter 2, Secret Six 4 and Superman/Wonder Woman 19.
Michael: We’re in the second month of DC’s soft reboot of “DC YOU.” Though the name is so very stupid, the shakeup of DC’s monthly offerings has been a welcome change of pace thus far. We’re dealing with characters and concepts that have been in rotation for at the very least a couple of decades; so it’s nice to look at them from a different, less New 52-ish lens. I think that this particular selection for our DC round-up presents iterations of villains and do-gooders that may be different but don’t stray too far from the core of their character. You finally seem to be on the right path DC. (Hopefully.)
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 Superman/Wonder Woman 7, originally released April 9th, 2014.
Shelby: I’m pretty bad at talking about my feelings. I’ve gotten better, because I have realized the value in just stating how I feel or what I want plainly, but I still sometimes have a hard time with it. Talking to dreamy men is still my biggest challenge; there’s just something about the simple phrase, “You are cute and cool, want to grab a drink?” that causes my brain to just completely melt down. I recognize it’s pretty silly, but am at the same time powerless to stop it. Maybe it’s an extreme fear of rejection? Or maybe I’m worried I’ll end up in a awkward situation like Clark and Diana, who have an unspoken, “I love you, too” hanging between them (not to mention nuclear fallout).
Today, Drew and Shelby are discussing Nightwing 0, originally released September 19, 2012. Nightwing 0 is part of the line-wide Zero Month.
Drew: The past is complicated. Or rather, our relationship with the past is complicated. Time has a way of changing our opinions of events, placing even our emotional attachment to our own memories in flux. That shifting relationship to the past is made exponentially more complicated in the comics world, where the actual events of the past are open to revisions, reboots, and retellings every few years or so. While those changes are often jarring for the characters, they’re particularly difficult for the audience, who may be attached to previous iterations of the story (not to mention the fact that they may be particularly anal about continuity). Like I said; shit’s complicated. It’s impressive, then, that Nightwing 0 isn’t just a successful retelling of Dick’s origin, but a compelling essay on the value of such retellings. Continue reading
Today, Peter and Patrick are discussing Nightwing 12, originally released August 15th, 2012.
Peter: I feel like I’ve been let down a lot by comics lately. Most of the books I’ve read recently have left me feeling unfulfilled. Stories just don’t seem to be going interesting places, or aren’t very thought provoking. Nightwing has become one of these offenders recently. Dick is a great character that is capable of exploring so much. During the Night of Owls, he played a major role in the story and I loved it. There are some nice moments and a few redeeming factors, but overall, I am feeling very whelmed about this issue. Continue reading
Drew: Watching his parents fall to their deaths; training to be a crimefighter; falling out with his mentor; becoming Batman; relinquishing the Batman mantle once his mentor returned. To put it lightly, Dick Grayson has had a turbulent life. Tension and tragedy are somewhat par for the course in the superheroing world, but coming of age in costume has amplified those difficulties. At the start of the relaunch, Dick had reasserted his identity as Nightwing, and he seemed to have the agency all former sidekicks long for. Soon enough, however, he was being roped into all kinds of identity crises, as his personal and family histories made claims on his future. He emerged from those events with a stronger sense of self, and issue 10 finds him acting with that hard-earned agency, even as a corrupt cop tries to redefine Nightwing in the public eye. Continue reading
Today, Peter and Patrick are discussing Nightwing 9, originally released May 16th, 2012. This issue is part of the Night of the Owls crossover event. Click here for complete NotO coverage.
Peter: Excepting the main Batman title, Nightwing has been involved in the Night of the Owls more than any other book. Dick Grayson plays a huge role in the story, which has been incredibly compelling and just down right cool. Dick’s large role gives a deeper understanding and widens to scope of this event. Which is why it’s safe to say I love this book, and so should you.
Today, Drew and Peter are discussing Nightwing 8, originally released April 18th, 2012. This issue is part of the Night of the Owls crossover event. Click here for complete NotO coverage.
Drew: Scott Snyder has said that, for Batman, the Night of the Owls is all about his relationship to Gotham. That singular focus on a theme so close to Bruce’s identity can be felt throughout that title, and all of our favorite books have a similar thematic focus; Wonder Woman on family, The Flash on time, etc. While these themes all focus on aspects of their heroes’ identities, Kyle Higgins has managed to refract the events of the Night of the Owls onto identity itself, Nightwing’s own pet theme. Last month’s reveal that Dick had been earmarked (okay, toothmarked) to be the next Talon struck a powerful blow to his sense of self, which was still on the mend from his recent costume changes (plus the inherent issues of being a kind of unmoored twenty-something). Continue reading
Patrick: Drew and I like identifying themes. Oh the curse of the liberally educated! When we first started this comic-review-practice, we both quickly picked out the theme of “you can never go back” from the pages of Nightwing. It’s a potent concept and one that hits double-hard for recent college grads that insist and transplanting themselves thousands of miles away from their friends an families. Boo hoo, Patrick, we all have problems. Since our initial 3-issue write-up, the thematic and narrative focuses have broadened, usually to the detriment of the storytelling. But Nightwing #7 reclaims the series’ former glory by addressing its central mystery and staying emotionally on-point. Oh and a cameo from the Batman don’t hurt none, either.