Catwoman 13

Today, Shelby and Drew are discussing Catwoman 13 originally released October 17th, 2012. This issue is part of the Death of the Family crossover event. Click here for complete DotF coverage.

Shelby: Last week, we talked about the overuse of darker tropes as a means to make a story excessively dark and gritty in our Chat Cave discussion of Sword of Sorcery 0. The particular example we were discussing was an attempted rape scene which many viewed as a way to make the comic edgier and sell more copies. Drew made the point that the same argument can be made of any emotion; character’s emotions and their reactions to the emotions of those around them help propel the story forward, and they can easily be twisted to sell comics first, and develop plot second. The same can be said of madness. It can be used to effectively display a character’s unraveling, or it can be included in a story merely to push the envelope and be unique. The big problem with madness is it is, by nature, very confusing. So, when we’ve got a story that pushes madness to the extreme with very little reason behind it, we’ve got a disorienting mess on our hands.
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Catwoman 0

Today, Shelby and (guest writer) Heath Gordon are discussing Catwoman 0, originally released September 19th, 2012. Catwoman 0 is part of the line-wide Zero Month.

Shelby: I really want to like Catwoman. I’ve always been intrigued by the “villain of convenience,” that one character who does what he wants; sometimes his goals line up with the hero’s, sometimes they don’t. Every encounter reveals a new motive that can land anywhere on the villain/hero scale. We never really know where this character’s loyalties lie. Ultimately, it all adds up to interesting and engaging reading. This is what I want Catwoman to be: a kick-ass thief with a unique take on what’s right and wrong. I was disappointed with Judd Winick’s vapid, selfish, recklesly stupid Selina Kyle, and had high hopes for Ann Nocenti’e origin story. Looks like I’m going to have to stay disappointed.

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Green Arrow 0

Alternating Currents: Green Arrow 0, Patrick and Peter

Today, Patrick and Peter are discussing Green Arrow 0, originally released September 5, 2012. Green Arrow 0 is part of the line-wide Zero Month.

Patrick: What do you get when you tell a story about the greatest superhero archer in the world, and set it before he was either a superhero OR an archer? Let’s add another layer to riddle: what happens when that character is an entitled asshole with inconsistent morality, no sense of humor and imperceptible motivations? Why, Green Arrow 0, of course!

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Batwing 0

Today, Patrick and (guest writer) Tricia Aung are discussing Batwing 0, originally released September 5, 2012. Batwing 0 is part of the line-wide Zero Month.

Patrick: I always thought it was weird that the African arm of Batman, Incorporated would spend his time the same way regular Batman does. The real world problems of the continent are catastrophic to the point that fighting supervillains seems like a waste of time for someone with David Zavimbe’s abilities and assets. What Batwing 0 does is patiently remind me that there’s more to this character than simply his unique setting. Prior to this issue, I might have disagreed with that assessment.

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Batwing 10

Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Batwing 10, originally released June 6th, 2012.

Drew: Art is repetitive. Analysts like Joseph Campbell and Heinrich Schenker acknowledge that, if you zoom out far enough, most works of art resemble each other. This is true of most narratives, and especially true of superhero comics, where the beats of secret identities, costumes, fighting crime, etc. are near-universal. What makes them interesting are the details around those universals, the details that make Superman different from Batman or the Flash. What drew us to Batwing in the first place was it’s potential for interesting details — as a new title, it had yet to establish just what those details might be. Ten months in, I’ve yet to see those details effectively explored. In fact, this issue turns the focus so sharply from those details that I’m starting to think they just aren’t coming.

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Chat Cave: A Gay DC Character

Following Co-publisher Dan Didio’s announcement that a formerly straight DC character was going to be reintroduced as gay, the comics world has been abuzz with guesses as to just who this character might be. While Didio’s comments have ruled out many characters that have already been introduced, that hasn’t stopped folks from expressing who they’d like that character to be. Today, the Retcon Punchers weigh in with their favorite — not necessarily most likely — guesses. Welcome to the Chat Cave.

Drew: I’ve found many occasions to bring this up on this site, but I really think Jason Todd would make a lot of sense as a gay character. In fact, I think his story becomes more compelling if he is gay. Think about it: he’s this incredible exaggeration of the classic younger sibling of an overachiever; he’s always made to feel guilty about every little thing he does differently from the way Dick did things. It’s not a huge leap to think that he may have felt that pressure in his personal life, staying closeted for fear of the way his father (figure) might react. Gay readers may find a great deal to relate to in Jason’s conflict with Bruce, who fundamentally can’t accept him for hard-lined moral reasons (not that I’m comparing homosexuality to murder). Continue reading

Batman: The Dark Knight 9

Today, Shelby and Drew are discussing Batman: The Dark Knight 9, originally released May 23rd, 2012. This issue is part of the Night of the Owls crossover event. Click here for complete NotO coverage. 

Shelby:  I’m not a regular reader of Dark Knight; like Catwoman I just picked it up for our Night of the Owls coverage. My esteemed colleague Patrick told me that I didn’t need to bother reading issues 1-8 because a) Issue 9 is so insulated from the rest of the story it’s basically a one-off, and b) Issues 1-8 really are not very good. Since I don’t like people telling me what to do, I read all nine issues anyway, and Patrick was completely and totally right on both points.
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Catwoman 9

Today, Patrick and Shelby are discussing Catwoman 9 originally released May 16th, 2012. This issue is part of the Night of the Owls crossover event. Click here for complete NotO coverage. Not caught up on Catwoman? No problem! Get up to speed with our video Cram Session.

Patrick: Judd Winick’s Catwoman is a morally dubious character that makes poor decisions all the time. And not just poor life decisions (like dressing up like a cat to steal things, or hate-fucking Batman), but tactically shitty decisions that put her life and the lives of her friends in danger. She will occasionally – arbitrarily –  grow a heart, and do something nice for someone, as she does in her Night of the Owls adventure. But there’s nothing under her mask that supports any of this kind of behavior, and no amount of teased backstory is going to change that. Continue reading

Cram Session: Catwoman 1-8

It can be hard to keep up with all the comics you love. But it’s damn near impossible to keep up with all the comics you’re interested in.

Retcon Punch got you covered.

Sometimes Selina Kyle is a compelling anti-hero. But mostly, she’s a petty thief who doesn’t know when to quit. Between her inability to stop stealing and repeated poor judgement calls in her relationships, it might be hard to find Catwoman sympathetic… luckily, you don’t have to! Just watch our three-and-a-half minute video and you’ll know everything you need to know about issues 1-8.

Batwing 9

Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Batwing 9, originally released May 2nd, 2012. This issue is part of the Night of the Owls crossover event. Click here for complete NotO coverage. Not caught up on Batwing? No problem! Get up to speed with our video Cram Session.

Drew: Last month, we took Batwing to task for its bat-family cameos; when the hero is still winning over an audience, placing him alongside one of comicbookdom’s biggest draws will necessarily divert our interest. As I looked ahead to reading this issue, I wondered how removing Batman from the equation would work. Batwing is still in Batman’s city, and is now fighting one of Batman’s villains, but without Batman’s presence, would the issue feel lacking? Continue reading