Batman 50: Discussion

by Drew Baumgartner and Michael DeLaney

Batman 50

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Drew: Bruce Wayne understands that his responsibilities as Batman demands sacrifice. He devotes his time, body, and earthly resources to his mission to fight crime, and generally takes that mission very seriously. All of which can look like he’s sacrificed his own happiness in order to be Batman. Or, more precisely, that his happiness is a necessary sacrifice for his existence. Batman’s drive, the argument goes, comes from his grief, anger, and sadness, so anything that blunts or dilutes those feelings weaken his mission. It’s a position DC Editorial staked out back in 2013, when Dan DiDio explained why Batwoman’s marriage could never happen, but it’s not necessarily a philosophy writer Tom King ascribes to. Indeed, King has argued that Batman’s happiness is a valuable source of drama, stating “There’s no conflict in having Batman be sad. There’s conflict in having Batman be happy.” That may mean King sees Batman’s happiness as only a temporary condition, but it’s obviously not out of the question. The point is, it’s a hotly debated topic, and one that King cleverly allows to play out in the pages of Batman 50. Continue reading

Superman 16


Today, Mark and Michael are discussing Superman 16, originally released February 1, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Mark: A lot of my time in Los Angeles has been spent in and around the improv comedy community, and watching a seemingly endless amount of bad comedy (and, truly, few things will make your flesh want to flee your body more than bad improv) really makes you appreciate the pros — people who week after week are able to deliver a baseline solid, occasionally brilliant, show. Consistency is what makes a pro a pro, in comedy, sports, comic books, what have you. The ability to reliably deliver the goods is indispensable. Superman 16 is a slightly disappointing end to Patrick Gleason and Peter J. Tomasi’s “Multiplicty” arc, but they’re pros, so even a messier Superman has ideas and moments worth paying attention to. Continue reading

Superman/Wonder Woman 6

superman wonder woman 6Today, Scott and Taylor are discussing Superman/Wonder Woman 6, originally released March 12th, 2014.

Scott: Why are Superman and Wonder Woman together? Anyone remotely tuned in to the DC Universe has wondered this at some point in the past several months. On the surface, it seems perhaps too convenient, or little more than an attention-grabbing ploy. Realistically though, doesn’t the relationship make perfect sense? People date the people they spend the most time with. A 20 year old college student is most likely to date another 20 year old who goes to the same college. So, in a time when Justice League duties seem to be dominating many heroes’ lives, it’s only appropriate that Clark and Diana, the two most similar Justice Leaguers, would get together. The real question is, what does their relationship have to offer us as readers? If Clark and Diana are going to be spending a lot of time together just by the nature of their jobs, does a romantic relationship add anything to the story? With Superman/Wonder Woman 6, Charles Soule sets the record straight — the relationship and, thus, this book, is more than the sum of it’s parts.

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Superman/Wonder Woman 5

superman wonder woman 5

Today, Taylor and Shelby are discussing Superman/Wonder Woman 5, originally released February 12th, 2014.

Taylor: When I first moved to Chicago a little over six years ago I was desperate for cash and ended up applying for a job at a local tea and coffee and chain. My roommate at the time, and current Retcon Punch editor Patrick, was in the same straights as I, so he applied as well. We both got jobs but we were told we couldn’t work at the same location because we were roommates. The best we could figure it, the company was worried about our personal life bleeding over into our work life. At the time it seemed silly to us, but in retrospect it’s maybe a good policy for the company to adopt. After all, you never want a friendship or relationship getting in the way of your job. This proves especially true for romantic relationships and it only seems natural that Superman/Wonder Woman would eventually get around to the exploring this idea. In issue five, Clark and Diana are forced to confront this issue head on while also dealing with some invaders from Krypton’s past.

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Superman/Wonder Woman 4

Today, Taylor and Scott are discussing Superman/Wonder Woman 4, originally released January 15th, 2013.

Taylor: When you’re Superman and/or Wonder Woman nothing is ever simple. This idea extends to basically every part of their lives, from their work as heroes all the way down to their most intimate experiences. Given the circumstances of their lives, it’s amazing that Clark and Diana have the stamina to maintain a romantic relationship. The two lovers had been blessed with keeping their relationship a secret from almost everyone they know, save a few confidants, but now their secret is out now and all that they have built together could potentially come toppling down under the weight of the world’s scrutiny. Issue 4 of Superman/Wonder Woman sees our favorite power couple split up by narrative space and the work of two distinct creative teams. The result is an issue that meditates on the desire to keep things simple while everything else becomes increasingly more complicated.

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Superman/Wonder Woman 3

Today, Taylor and Mikyzptlk are discussing Superman/Wonder Woman 3, originally released December 11th, 2013.

Taylor: The holidays are a strenuous time. For all of the good that comes with them (family, friends, food, secret trips to the store for booze) there’s a lot of hard work that comes with them too. Travel is difficult, parents ask awkward questions, and for a lot of people choosing gifts for those they care about is especially difficult. How will you know they’ll like it? Are you spending too much (or  too little)? Does this gift sum up our relationship? You would think that for superheroes like Superman and Wonder Woman these daily worries of the common man would be of no concern. However, in the third issue of the series this proves untrue, as Wonder Woman and Superman continue to develop their relationship in a way that’s recognizably human. Oh, and they have to deal with a crossover from the Phantom Zone who possesses the power to kill Superman and enslave Earth. Just your average holiday gathering.

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