How many Batman books is too many Batman books? Depending on who you ask there ain’t no such thing! We try to stay up on what’s going on at DC, but we can’t always dig deep into every issue. The solution? Our weekly round-up of titles coming out of DC Comics. Today, we’re discussing All-Star Batman 8, Batman 19, Batwoman 1, Superman 19, Trinity 7 and Wild Storm 2. Also, we’ll be discussing Green Lanterns 19 on Monday and Green Arrow 19 on Tuesday, so come back for those! As always, this article contains SPOILERS.
Today, Mark and Ryan M. are discussing Batwoman Rebirth 1, originally released February 15th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.
Mark: One of the benefits of comic books as a visually-driven medium is that sometimes fantastic art can help make up for an otherwise competent but unremarkable issue. Such is the case with Steve Epting and Jeromy Cox’s work on Batwoman Rebirth 1, whose art uses the opportunity of Marguerite Bennett and James Tynion IV’s Kate Kane history lesson to deliver page after page of remarkable, poster-worthy splash pages. Continue reading
Today, Spencer and Ryan M. are discussing The Woods 29, originally released February 1st, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.
Spencer: The Woods is a series about teenagers, but it’s never neglected its adult characters. From Principal Beaumont to the rulers of New London, the adults have all had their own desires and motivations that have made them more than just stock antagonists for the Bay Point kids. James Tynion IV and Michael Dialynas have spent quite a bit of The Woods’ third year fleshing out their protagonists’ parents back on Earth, and now that Sanami’s been teleported home, it’s clear why. Some are proving themselves allies while others stand in Sanami’s way; the splintering of Earth’s forces provides an interesting contrast to the action back on the moon, where old enemies may just be coming together against a common foe. Continue reading
How many Batman books is too many Batman books? Depending on who you ask there ain’t no such thing! We try to stay up on what’s going on at DC, but we can’t always dig deep into every issue. The solution? Our weekly round-up of titles coming out of DC Comics. Today, we’re discussing All-Star Batman 6, Detective Comics 948, Flash 14, Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps 12, New Super-Man 7 and Wonder Woman 14. Also, we’ll be discussing Gotham Academy Second Semester 5 on Tuesday, so come back for that! As always, this article containers SPOILERS!
Today, Michael and Ryan M. are discussing Detective Comics 942, originally released October 12th, 2016. As always, this article containers SPOILERS.
Michael: The “Night of the Monster Men” comes to a conclusion in Detective Comics 942. Though I haven’t been the biggest fan of this storyline, I’d argue that its resolution came too fast, too soon. After four issues of monster mayhem and catastrophe, Hugo Strange is defeated and cuffed as quickly as he arrived. Continue reading
Spencer: Sitting in a prominent position on my desk is a copy of Saves the Day’s self-titled album, signed by all four members of the band. It’s one of my most cherished possessions, not because “oh man, it’s my favorite band’s autograph!,” but because it’s a physical reminder of my first meeting them, of my role in getting that album created, and of some of the best shows of my life. I think that’s the true power of autographs (or selfies with celebrities, which are quickly replacing them); they’re more than just scribbles on paper, they’re a permanent reminder of celebrity encounters and of all the reasons why those encounters mean so much to us in the first place.
I had a lot of time to ponder the significance of autographs while at Baltimore ComicCon this past Sunday, mainly because I got a lot of them. Baltimore ComicCon is an intensely creator-focused con, to the point where I couldn’t even fit all the comics I wanted to get signed into one bag, and had to skip a few creators because I just couldn’t carry any more books. I’m not complaining, though: every one of these autographs will remind me of cherished memories for years to come. Continue reading
Today, Patrick and Ryan M. are discussing Backstagers 1, originally released August 17, 2016.
Patrick: Earlier this month, The Atlantic published an article by Angelica Jade Bastién titled “Hollywood Has Ruined Method Acting”. Bastién’s article responds directly to the marketing hype surrounding Jared Leto’s performance as Joker in Suicide Squad, but the piece is quick to point out that physical hardship is too frequently tied to performances that the culture deems impressive. Leonardo DiCaprio won an Academy Award because he put himself through discomfort, pain and real danger in order to achieve his performance in The Revenant. Does that actually mean that his acting was any better? Bastién argues that DiCaprio’s workman-like suffering creates the illusion that he’s doing something more substantial — and pointedly, more masculine — than merely acting. The implication, of course, being that acting is a soft skill, too feminine to be respected without being amplified by eating a buffalo heart or loosing a bunch of weight or something. James Tynion IV and Rian Sygh’s Backstagers 1 sets up a similar paradigm, elevating one art form over another by projecting mythological hardship on top of it. For a series so in-tune with nuances in teenage homosexuality, its disappointing to see such a regressive view of gendered activities and behaviors. Continue reading
Today, Mark and Drew are discussing Batman 52 originally released May 11th, 2016.
Mark: I have exactly zero interest DC’s upcoming animated adaptation of The Killing Joke. You will never be able to convince me that there is a version of Batman that needs to be R-rated. I don’t object inherently to the idea of a difficult Batman, I think there’s a place for one-off stories like The Killing Joke or Arkham Asylum, but to my mind these are mere diversions, thought exercises meant to explore the darker facets of the character. But while sometimes interesting, I don’t think they should even be lionized as important to the character. The best ones, including Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, are more a commentary on comics in general than they are everyone’s favorite Caped Crusader. You don’t really need any more evidence that holding The Dark Knight Returns and its ilk up as the “cool” version of Batman is a damaging exercise than Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Commentators and critics have already done a thorough job dissecting that movie’s many failings so I’ll refrain from doing so here, but I will add that even though Ben Affleck’s portrayal of Batman was praised by even some of its harshest critics, it’s not a portrayal of Batman I particularly enjoyed. Occasionally fun to look at? Sure. But like pretty much every other aspect of the movie, this is a Batman completely devoid of joy. Continue reading
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
Today, Michael and Taylor are discussing Gotham Academy 16, originally released March 9th, 2016.
Michael: What is the proper way for a comic book series to say goodbye? Depending on the critical and commercial success of that book, the answer may vary. You might have the fore-sight or -knowledge to plot things towards a conclusion or just have to wrap things up as quickly as possible with a few issues. Though DC’s Rebirth will be bringing us another Gotham Academy series — Gotham Academy: Next Semester — these are the last few issues of the series as we have known it. Brenden Fletcher is joined by a handful of other creators to relish in the whimsical nature of Gotham Academy before he says his (brief?) goodbye. Continue reading