Drew: Comic books often rely on well-worn tropes. As do mystery novels. And action movies. This arc of Batman (like all great Batman stories) is essentially all three of these things, so a little soliloquizing from the villain in the final act isn’t just expected, it’s downright obligatory. Of course, Scott Snyder is not a writer content to simply rely on such tropes, and instead uses the opportunity to comment on that particular cliche, while simultaneously delivering a final act soliloquy that is better than any of those it is riffing on. It’s one of my favorite tricks of postmodernism (one that is rarely pulled off so well), and is only a microcosm of what Snyder has been doing with this whole arc. As the Court of Owls arc concludes, we’re left with a deconstruction of a Batman story that is among the best Batman stories ever told. Continue reading
Drew: There’s a moment, right in the middle of this issue, that finds Bruce sitting in his robe, idly handling a pair of shell casings. How these clues fit into his current case isn’t apparent, but as the scene plays out, it slowly becomes clear that these were the casings of the bullets that killed Bruce’s parents. This kind of shocking, resonating reveal first introduced as something innocuous is a microcosm of writer Scott Snyder’s current run on Batman; a magic act he’s able to pull off time and time again, to impossibly greater and greater effect. This issue is an exemplar of that skill, cashing in on a set-up not just 10 issues, but 73 years in the making. Continue reading
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
Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Detective Comics 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 Detective Comics? No problem! Get up to speed with our video Cram Session.
Patrick: If I had to put my finger on the one thing that made me like Detective Comics less than the rest of the Batman series, I’d say it’s the pointless darkness. In other titles, dark themes and images reflect the twisted nature of Bruce’s obsession with justice or the strained relationship between Bruce and Damian. But every time DetCon reaches for that same darkness, it comes off like precocious child that has borrowed his dad’s power tools. It has all the pieces of something I love – including unlimited access to Batman’s rogues gallery – but cobbles them together into a largely incompetent whole. You almost get the sense that with a little guidance from someone who knows better, Tony Daniel would be able to wield these tools more effectively. With the guiding light of Scott Snyder’s Night of the Owls cross-over, this sense is proven only marginally true.
Peter: If there is one thing I can’t do it’s throw in the towel. I’m a bit of a completionist. Sometimes, it’s really easy for me to finish something because it’s really good. Sometimes it’s really easy for me to finish something because despite it being impossibly hard, I enjoy doing it, and at the end, I feel extremely satisfied, even if completing it was stupidly hard and I probably will never be able to do it again. (Battletoads, I’m looking at you!) But I will say that continuing to read Detective Comics is putting me to the test.
Patrick: At its outset, Batwing was something incredibly new for the DC Universe. David Zavimbe is the first to open a Batman Inc. franchise and his is the first series to take place in Africa. The early issues explored dark dark dark themes, toeing the line of exploitation, but this gave these early issues a relevant, almost dangerous feel to them. With two whole issues in Gotham and in the presence of Batman, Nightwing, Robin and Batgirl, Batwing loses its identity, becoming a bland, by-the-numbers comic book adventure. Continue reading
Drew: Batman 7 begins in a pivotal moment in Bruce’s history; as he sits, broken and bleeding in his own library, considering the bat that has just broken through the window and lit on his father’s bust. It feels like familiar territory, but as the bat flies off into the night, creating an oh-so-familiar silhouette against the full moon, something…changes. Continue reading
Drew: At the end of issue 6, I had mixed feelings about this title. I liked the stylized art, particularly Brian Reber’s atmospheric, almost dusty colors, and I appreciated the idea of distilling the idea of Batman down to it’s essence and seeing how it plays in different cultures. At the same time, I wasn’t sure I actually liked the approach writer Judd Winick had applied to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I complained that the title was exploitative, but it really isn’t guilty of doing anything any frank (or, more importantly, action-focused) depiction of subsaharan Africa wouldn’t do. I’m still not convinced that this title isn’t exploitative, but this month’s issue comes a long way in making me more comfortable with the world David Zavimbe inhabits. Continue reading
Patrick: David and Isaac Zavimbe were orphaned when their parents died of AIDS. They were kidnapped from the orphanage by Warlord Keita, who transformed them both into monstrous child-soldiers. As the Zavimbe brothers were impossibly good at killing in the name of the warlord, Keita took them on as his own sons – calling them his Dragonflies. The more atrocities they committed for Keita, the more he trusted them. When Isaac defied and order and refused to murder children, Warlord Keita gutted him with a machete in front of his brother. By way of revenge, David left Keita defenseless in an enemy village and vowed to never kill again. David grows up to become a police officer in the Republic of Congo by day and superhero Batwing by night. This is canvas upon which the Batwing saga is painted.
Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Batman 6, originally released February 15th, 2012.
Drew: I have a bit of a tradition on the third Wednesday of the month: I pick up the new Batman, thinking “there’s no way they can top last month,” and put it down thinking, “okay, but there’s really no way they can top this next month.” It’s a credit to Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo that my expectations keep getting blown out of the water. After last month’s mind-bending issue, I suspected that the final image of Batman being stabbed by the Talon might just be in Bruce’s head. Of course, my expectations were proven wrong once again, as Snyder and Capullo deliver an issue that is simultaneously more action-packed and subtler than its predecessor. Continue reading