Today, Michael and Patrick are discussing Gotham By Midnight 12 , originally released December 16th, 2015.
Michael: The finale: the final act of a story, the climax and conclusion, the final word that creators have with a set of characters that they have been working with. There are countless variations on the classic finale recipe (a different kind of examination for another day), but Gotham By Midnight 12 is a very specific finale: the publisher-induced cancellation finale. Ray Fawkes and Juan E. Ferreyra are saddled with the task of punctuating the tale of Gotham City’s resident ghost chasers. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Taylor are discussing Gotham by Midnight 10, originally released October 28th, 2015.
Patrick: Opinions very pretty wildly on whether or not Quentin Tarantino’s contribution to Grindhouse, “Death Proof,” works. It’s a talky flick, even by Tarantino’s standards, and the film’s sharp divide between two discrete halves makes it kind of an endurance test for the audience. By the time the movie reaches the final chase sequence, viewers are either totally bored or totally invested in the characters and the mythology. Those that invested during the first 80 minutes are rewarded with a harrowing vehicular action sequence, which would no doubt be impressive on it’s own, but which means tremendously more for all the groundwork laid before it. Gotham by Midnight 10, continues the talkiness of the interrogation-heavy ninth issue, but ultimately rewards them with — you guessed it — a thrilling car chase. It’s a testament to Juan Ferreya’s impeccable visual storytelling skills that this sequence it’s every bit as explosive and exciting as the most white-knuckle chase scene in the movies.
Today, Michael and Taylor are discussing Gotham by Midnight 9, originally released September 23rd, 2015.
Michael: Though Sergeant Rook came knocking on their door back in issue 1, Jim Corrigan and the rest of the Midnight Shift finally have to answer for their mysterious dealings in Gotham by Midnight 9. Rook tears through their station house for any potential evidence against the Midnight Shift while Corrigan and Lisa Drake are poked and prodded by Internal Affairs in their interrogation rooms. Both Corrigan and Drake go a few round with their respective interrogators without breaking a sweat – they are seasoned cops who how to play the game. The cops start leading Corrigan to the conclusion that he is the Spectre and that he knowingly chooses the Spectre’s victims. Needless to say Corrigan becomes agitated and the Spectre takes control, killing the two cops. The kicker is that Spectre tells Corrigan that the interrogators were right – Corrigan DOES pick the victims.
Today, Mark and Suzanne are discussing Batman Eternal 30, originally released October 29th, 2014.
Mark: In a few weeks, the Batman Eternal creative team will have produced more issues than even the longest running New 52 books. With the task of producing so much content, the challenges of serialization in a weekly title are magnified compared to a monthly title. Plot and action have to be metered out very carefully as to not burn through too much too fast, but at the same time every issue still has to feel like an event as readers have been trained to expect by monthlies. With that in mind, it’s enjoyable for me to watch the writers of Batman Eternal juggle the many, many plot threads they have introduced over 30 issues. I’ve read every issue since the title launched, and every few weeks I have a good “Hey, remember when this thing was about NANOBOTS?!” moment when something introduced months ago and seemingly dropped suddenly comes back to the forefront. The narrative whiplash is part of the fun. Continue reading →
Today, Drew leads a discussion on Batman Eternal 6, originally released May 14th, 2014.
Drew: Why does society seem to place a premium on auteurism? The vast majority of artforms are highly collaborative, yet we still talk about directors, show-runners, composers, and other creators as if theirs is the only intent that matters. Aside from a few notable exceptions, comics have always been a collaborative medium, but there’s something palpably different about a written-by-committee series like Batman Eternal. Indeed, it seems to have more in common with the conveyer-belt system of network tv than the short-season, tightly controlled cable model, but is that a bad thing?
Today, Spencer and Shelby are discussing Justice League of America 4, originally released May 29th, 2013.
Spencer: I’ll be honest: from the very start, Justice League of America has seemed more concerned with putting pieces in place for the upcoming “Trinity War” than it has with telling a compelling story. Unfortunately, for a story so focused on getting its players from Point A to Point B, the way writer Geoff Johns does so strains credibility. He makes several attempts to keep this issue engaging, but its biggest failing is simply that the heroes come across as really, really dumb.
Today, Drew and Peter are discussing Phantom Stranger 0, originally released September 5, 2012. Phantom Stranger 0 is part of the line-wide Zero Month.
Drew: I don’t remember when it is that I first stumbled across William Safire’s cheekily ironic Rules for Writers, but the last rule, “Last but not least, avoid cliches like the plague; seek viable alternatives,” has managed to nestle itself in my editing subconscious. I make a point of eliminating any cliche I see on the site (the odd exception aside), which has effectively lowered my tolerance for reading them. It rarely becomes a problem — this is one of the most well-known axioms in writing, after all — but every so often, I’ll come across a piece that indulges in cliches to excess, it’s beyond distracting. The Phantom Stranger 0 is one such example, offering sequences that are so dense with cliches, it’s hard to remember that this story was published in 2012.