Baltimore ComicCon 2016

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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

Robin War 2

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Today, Spencer and Michael are discussing Robin War 2, originally released January 13, 2016.

Spencer: Have you ever watched or read something that you could tell was good, but something about it just didn’t work for you? Maybe there was just one small plot point that rang false, but the failure of that one moment led to the rest of the narrative collapsing around it? That’s the way I feel about Robin War 2. There’s quite a bit about this issue that I like, but there’s one flaw in its very premise that kinda ruins the entire event: writer Tom King never explains why the Court of Owls wants to reclaim Dick Grayson so badly. Continue reading

Batman Eternal 52

batman eternal 52Today, Spencer and Michael are discussing Batman Eternal 52, originally released April 1, 2015.

People need dramatic examples to shake them out of apathy and I can’t do that as Bruce Wayne. As a man, I’m flesh and blood, I can be ignored, I can be destroyed; but as a symbol… as a symbol I can be incorruptible, I can be everlasting.

Bruce Wayne, Batman Begins

Spencer: Throughout all of the many different storylines in Batman Eternal, one theme has steadily built under the title’s surface: the idea of Batman’s legacy. While it was never something addressed all that directly (at least until R’as al Ghul flat out asked “Is Batman eternal?” a few weeks ago), the creative bullpen has steadily been building up Batman’s team of allies and investigating just what effect Batman’s presence has had on Gotham City. With this massive weekly series finally coming to an end, Batman Eternal 52 aims to show exactly the power of that symbol on Batman’s chest, and it does so in spectacular fashion, pulling together nearly all the threads that have been cast throughout the last 52 issues into one show-stopping finale. Continue reading

Talon 15

talon 15

Today, Patrick and Spencer are discussing Talon 15, originally released January 29th, 2014. 

Patrick: When I wrote up the first issue of Talon, I lamented the fact that Calvin Rose’s origin story was less precious in the light of the other Talon origins we’d read just a few months prior. What’s more, origin-story-overload was starting to strip the Court of Owls of its mystique. New series writer Marguerite Bennett introduces us to yet another new Talon, but distorts and twists his back story, almost daring the reader to try to get something meaningful out of it. Ultimately, both the character and the author reject the importance of this origin narrative. It’s a fascinating concept that seems stubbornly resigned to its own unimportance.  Continue reading

Batman and Robin 23.2: Court of Owls

court of owls 23.2Today, Shelby and Scott are discussing Batman and Robin 23.2: Court of Owls, originally released September 11th, 2013. This issue is part of the Villain’s Month event. Click here for our Villains Month coverage.

villain divShelby: For being a new villain in the DC universe, the Court of Owls finds itself very firmly rooted in Gotham’s history. They’ve existed since the beginning, secretly running the city behind the scenes, shaping it into the image they want. They claim to be Owls,  but operate more like snakes: hiding and striking from the shadows, fleeing when the going gets tough. That is the lesson James Tynion is teaching us in this Villains Month issue; the Court of the Owls will always retreat to the shadows when faced with an unbeatable adversary. And those shadows go a lot deeper than you might think.

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Talon 11

talon 11Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Talon 11, originally released August 28th, 2013. 

Patrick: When I was a kid, I used to think that Jedis were the coolest thing in the whole world. Why wouldn’t I? The only examples I had of Jedi were either too old or too young or too evil, but I loved Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader. They’re so rare that we never saw a Jedi in their prime — and that scarcity made them precious. Of course, that all changed in 1999, with the release of Phantom Menace. As the prequels rolled out more and more Jedis, I became less and less enamored with them. This is obviously a function of a lot of things — I was getting older, the movies were getting shittier — but chief among them was that the Jedis just weren’t a valuable commodity anymore. I feared the same thing would happen with Owls and Talons in this series, but instead I find myself overexposed to a different type all together: the hulking man-monster.

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Talon 10

talon 10

Today, Patrick and Mikyzptlk are discussing Talon 10, originally released July 27th, 2013. 

Patrick: There’s a moment during this issue where one of Bane’s mega henchmen, code-named The Wolf-Spider (because he’s terrifying), tells Calvin that there’s nothing he can do to stop Bane’s army from destroying the Court of Owls. Calvin gives his blessing – there’s nothing in the world that would make his life easier than the utter annihilation of the Court. It’s a funny moment, and one that seems like it is frustratingly close to a workable armistice between the Talon and Bane’s henchmen. Alas, we’re talking about characters named Talon and Wolf-Spider, so the fists keep flying. Back in Gotham, Casey escapes from Harmon’s torture dungeon and gets herself arrested by honest cops in order to protect herself from the Court. It’s an issue of unlikely alliances teased, embraced and broken.

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Talon 9

talon 9

Today, Shelby and Spencer are discussing Talon 9 originally released June 26th, 2013. 

Shelby: I’m a total sucker for magic tricks. As a kid, I obsessed over David Copperfield specials; as an adult, I understand it’s all a matter of misdirection and slight of hand, but I still fall for it every time. The magic of expecting one thing, but finding something else never grows stale for me. “Misdirection” is a label that can be applied to both this issue of Talon, and the title as a whole. James Tynion IV has continued to subvert our expectations with this title, making us think we’re reading one kind of story when it turns out to be another entirely. And, just like any slight of hand, the smallest little hiccup can knock the whole illusion askew.
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Birds of Prey 20-21

birds of prey 20-21

Today, Patrick and Mikyzptlk are discussing Birds of Prey 20-21, originally released May 15th and June 19th, 2013.

Patrick: Fun fact: when Family Matters debuted in 1989, Jaleel White had not been cast on the show. Instead of being the adventures of Steve Urkel and the neighbors he loved to annoy, the show was a simple spin-off of Perfect Strangers – the story of a middle class working family in Chicago. But Steve Urkel made his appearance in the twelfth episode and was so well-received that it changed the DNA of the series forever. For better or for worse Steve Urkel had taken over Family Matters, and suddenly he was the only thing mattered. As Birds of Prey struggles to find it’s own audience and its own direction, it receives an Urkel of its own: The Court of Owls. Continue reading

Talon 7-8

talon 7-8

Today, Shelby and Patrick are discussing Talon 7-8, originally released April 24th and May 22nd, 2013. 

Shelby: We need to remember that the Talons are bad guys. I know, we’ve got Calvin here fighting the good fight against the Court, and we’ve got Mary working with the rest of the Birds; that makes it easy to forget that we first met the Talons as a sweeping wave of indestructible killing machines, hellbent on assassinating whomever they were pointed at. This title started out with Calvin’s unique position of being a Talon on the lam, a man with all the training needed, but unable to go through with the final process that would truly transform him into the Talon he was meant to be. In issues 7 and 8, all that is going to change; hold on to your butts, because things are getting complicated
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