Archive for December, 2011

Talk about going out with a bang!

It’s the last week of the month, week 52, if you will, and what a week it is! New Flash, Teen Titans, and the next-to-final issue of Avengers: Children’s Crusade. I’m ready, are you?

Green Lantern: New Guardians is actually hilarious. It isn’t so bad it’s good, it isn’t so bad it’s terrible, either. It’s just…hilarious. Larfleeze smacking around the Guardians, Ganthet trying to talk to Kyle but getting ring-slapped for his trouble, the visage of Sinestro growing Arkillo’s tongue back, and then the solar system-sized space ship…Tony Bedard, whatever drugs you’re on, keep doing them. But, because I am a clean-living young lady, I think I’m going to make this series and in-store only book for a while.

You ever sit there reading a comic, and when you get to the end, you put it down and go, “I don’t understand!” Well, I don’t get it. Madame Xanadu is on anti-psychotics? June Moone is the bright half to Enchantress’ darkness? Who is this guy Shade is trying to recruit? I’m just so darn confused by Justice League Dark, I feel like I should go research all of the characters involved, then read the issue again. Too bad I won’t actually be buying this issue. JLD, you’re going to be an in-store series from now on.

Kick-Ass 2 is not supposed to be this entertaining. It’s just…how do I put this? This issue had extreme violence, murder, torture, little girls cursing, and more blood than is actually in the human body dripping off our main characters, and yet I still find it amusing. It’s the countdown final confrontation between Kick-Ass and…man, I’m just going to keep calling him Red Mist, because his villain name is idiotic. Allies are called in. The police are out of the picture. What’s on the line? Every living thing in Time’s Square. And…cliffhanger! Balls.

There was this rumor floating around about how they were planning on killing off Speed in The Children’s Crusade. Spoiler alert: It’s not true. Yet. Last issue, Doom was possessed by the Life Force, the thing that gave Wanda Maximoff her reality-altering powers. This issue, another Secret Wars, except it’s out in the open! Also, let me be one of the first to say that Billy’s speech? Officially better than Booster’s speech from Generation Lost. There is a good reason that kid is my favorite Young Avenger. Anyway, a lot happens in this issue. Scott is, surprise surprise, a gigantic dick, Doom is ridiculous, Iron Lad and Vision go claws-out again, oh, and Cassie may or may not have died. Who knows, they could be pulling a Jaime Reyes fakeout. Or, they could be pulling a Marvel. Only time, and the next issue in February, will tell.

Legion: Secret Origins is amazing. Fantastic, even. This issue seems to be the Old Trio/Brainiac 5/Tinya show, with a bit of the issue focusing on Brande himself. Also, first appearance of Reep Daggle and…reboot Lyle? Oh my god, Chris Batista, draw Lyle Norg forever. He’s just so…attractive. I can’t wait until the Legion finally comes together for the first time as teenagers, that’s gonna be so much fun. Oh yeah, and there was some kind of plot about other-dimensional warships or something. Frankly, the entire plot sounds like the story from the most recent Star Trek movie, so I just ignore it and look at all the pretty art and character interaction.

That’s just not fair, Teen Titans. The opening sequence, or at least the background of it, was just so…agh! Booster is on the big screen, and look who is lighting up a billboard right behind Superboy! Foreshadowing a Luthor connection, or just Brett Booth fucking with us? This was, by far and wide, my favorite issue of Teen Titans, any version of Teen Titans, in a long time. It has everything! Miguel is adorable, and has declared that he and Kiran are going to be “best friends forever!” Bart is…Bart. No, really. For the first time since the reboot began, I’m absolutely sure that this is Bart Allen. The Speed Force couldn’t stand the thought of a universe with only one speedster in it, so it spat Bart back out, but erased his memory of all past time lines. Though, it may have mushed some Wally into him, because those eyes are all Wally. Or, possibly, he’s wearing contacts to look less unique. But enough about Bart. Oh, wait, not yet. I think Lobdell is specifically playing up the Red Robin/Kid Flash bromance for Young Justice fans, despite them being a different Robin and Kid Flash. Because their banter? So cute. It reminds me a bit of how Bart and Kon used to interact in the first Young Justice series. Okay, done with Bart. The Cassie/Superboy fight was actually pretty schway. It reestablished Cassie as one of DC’s powerhouses, showing that she can hold her own against Superboy, and possibly even stand a chance of winning. I like Cassie, as a character. As a warrior. Not as someone’s girlfriend or general love interest. She’s better than that and we, as fans, deserve her to be treated better than that. Still, Lobdell couldn’t help but throw some WG/SB dialogue in for the shippers to pounce on, but I’ll save my sighing and eye-rolling for another day, if it ever comes to anything. It took me a second to remember if I was forgetting anyone, and then I remembered Celine. It’s like, she’s trying so hard to establish herself as only defined by her mopeyness about her power, and I don’t like that. Skitter has the opportunity to be such a great character, and here’s how: If the Teen Titans expands and manages to find Miss Martian, Megan can talk to Celine while she’s in her arachnid form, maybe break down whatever mental wall that was keeping her unstable. With that done, we get a nice Dani Moonstar/Rahne Sinclair-esque mental bonding friendship, another girl on the team, and one less mopey girl. Look, Scott. I just wrote an issue for you. Chop to it. One last thing before I go on to the next book. Bart, you are a precious flower. But if you destroy Tim’s One Year Later costume like you destroyed his sweatshirt, there is a pretty good chance he’ll kick you off the team.

Shivers and ugly crying everywhere, that’s my personal reaction to this month’s issue of the Flash. There was barely any Barry in this issue, because this wasn’t a Barry issue. This was about Manuel Lago, this was about Mob Rule. Where he came from was already explained, but why he chose to go there was laid out today. Manuel’s father died in a plane-jacking by Basilisk (you know, the terrorist organization from Suicide Squad), and he joined the CIA to track down the people responsible. A good, old-fashioned vendetta. Unfortunately, they caught him and, upon discovering that he had regenerative abilities, decided to torture him in the best way possible. From the bits removed, grew Mob Rule. I liked how Manapul showed us just how Barry fit into Manuel’s life, and how good friends they were before the series began. Barry was there for him at his father’s funeral. Manuel went to Barry after he was presumed dead, to let his best friend know he was still alive before he alerted his own family. One of the Mob Rule clones put it best; the boys definitely have a bromance going. I wouldn’t mind to see Manuel continue to appear in this comic, he would make an excellent edition to Barry’s supporting cast. And where was Barry for most of this issue, you may ask? Knocked out by a bullet, but still alive. His little inner-monologue about how he should stop thinking so much about every possibility and just go with the one that seems right was pretty sweet, and that ending splash page? So many shivers all up and down my body. The Flash is continuing to be an amazing series, and I’m so pleased about that. I’ve never been ashamed to call myself a Flash fan, not even when Flash: Fastest Man Alive was the only Flash series out, or during Geoff Johns’ Barry series, but now? Now I’m proud to call myself a Barry Allen fan. Francis Manapul, you sir have made a convert out of me.

Well, that’s this year in comics! Next time we meet, it’ll be 2012, how about that? I hope all of you had a fantastic Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and/or Festivus, and will soon have a wonderful New Years!

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This week: Kill everyone!

Despite the fact that Catwoman and Birds of Prey both came out today, I’ve decided that I won’t be touching them with a ten-foot pole, in order to concentrate on better titles. This month is my cut-off month. No more waiting for a title to magically get better. If it doesn’t wow me this month, it’s cut from my buying list, and will eventually be cut from my reviewing list as well.

I feel really bad to admit that the only plot within this arc of Legion of Superheroes that I like involves Brainy and Glorith. Science meeting magic, with science desperately attempting to unravel the mysteries of magic just appeals to me. It doesn’t hurt that Brainy is my favorite member of the Legion, and Glorith is my favorite member of the academy.

How did Green Lantern Corps, one of my favorite books from pre-reboot DC, become so…uninteresting? Even with the big surprise reveal of the last few pages wasn’t enough to get me to care about this book. The central Earth Lanterns of this book are Guy and John, so I feel like I should like it more but…I really don’t. Hm. Sorry, GLC, you’re in-store only from now on.

I don’t like Nightwing anymore. Oh, not the character. I love Dick Grayson when he’s not characterized as a man-whore. But…I just can’t handle the eventual Dick/Babs pairing that is going to come about. I can’t do it. I’m not interested in that particular relationship, which seems to be a lot of peoples OTP. There was very little non-romance driven plot this month until the last two pages, and even then, it was vague and not exactly suspenseful. Sorry, Nightwing. Until you clean up your act, you’re in-store only.

Remember how I mentioned that there were some titles I read purely for the character interaction? That’s Red Hood and the Outlaws. Roy is a dork with issues, Jason is a jerk with issues, and Kory is an alien with issues. It’s the issue club! Gonna focus on Kory’s role in this issue, rather than the stagnant plot that is Jason’s vengeance quest against the Untitled. In this issue, Kory fights the super-intelligent, mutated, xenophobic human, Crux. I don’t expect to see this guy in more than three issues, as he seems to be a generic, exposition-spewing villain, and Lobdell could do better. Still, goddamn, Kenneth Rocafort. You’re spoiling me with this art! Does this guy have an official fan club yet? Because I want to be part of it.

Speaking of comics with amazing art and meh writing, Justice League! No, really. Where Green Lantern is fantastic, Justice League is atrocious. Sure there’s a lot of quipping, but when it comes down to it, the League is just a big penis-waving title about who has more power. The only people that even seem, well, like real people are the Flash and Wonder Woman. Diana in this book is new to the world of man, fresh off the boat from Themyscra, if you will. She’s learning about the United States from the government, which doesn’t seem like the best idea, but she’s still an Amazon, always ready for a fight. Flash is, well, a cop. An everyman, really. Superman soars above you, Batman hides from you, Green Lantern lights up your world but Flash? He runs along side you. Barry seems to be this incarnation of the League’s conscience, common sense, and heart, all rolled into one. Aquaman, who was introduced this issue, has the air of a king, and it’s pretty cool. I haven’t been reading the Aquaman title, because the character never interested me, but I hear he’s being written well there, too, so maybe I’ll check it out. The big, big reveal this issue, however, was Darkseid. I’ve heard people call Darkseid DC’s office joint, because he’s passed around so much. Need a big villain? Send in Darkseid. Need a horde of unstoppable monsters? Send in the Parademons of Darkseid. I’ve never been a huge fan of Darkseid, if only because in recent years, he was used so often, his effect was dimmed. Reboot Darkseid is supposed to be bigger and meaner than old DC’s Darkseid, but really, it looks to me like they’ve just turned him into Galactus and had him lose the tunic skirt. As reveals go, it was sort of cheesy, though very well drawn. Speaking of art, this issue’s ‘making of’ feature is Jim Lee’s redesign of the Flash, as drawn by Francis Manapul. It’s really a great redesign, even if it is a bit more detail-oriented than any other Flash costume ever. Something that pissed me off, though, were the little character details on the left page below the close-up of his waist. First appearance was on the cover of Justice League #1, 2011? Fuck you, first appearance was Showcase #4, 1956.

Supergirl is one of the best female-lead books in DC’s line. Kara Zor-El has never really been a favorite character of mine, I prefer her angrier, bustier, alternate-universe cousin Kara Zor-L, but there is no denying that she’s an interesting person. Younger, yet older, cousin to the Man of Steel, Supergirl has all the powers of Superman in a smaller, blonder package. Last issue, we met Mr. Tycho, Supergirl’s own Lex Luthor. Committed to making the world a better place, so long as he makes a lot of money doing it. Kara spends a good portion of this issue just trying to escape from his space station, so this issue can technically just be written off as one big fight scene. There is one part I didn’t like, when one of Tycho’s minions decides that he doesn’t want to see Kara in pain from the Kryptonite, so he gets her out of her pod and…is shot for his efforts. Dick move, Tycho. Still, it was an overall decent issue, and I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes from here.

So, you know how Suicide Squad is my guilty pleasure and Teen Titans is my abusive boyfriend that I can’t leave? Blue Beetle is turning into a combination of the two. I loved the first Blue Beetle series with Jaime Reyes more than any non-speedster focused series ever. It was creative, innovative, and funny, with interesting characters and an original plot. This new series? Tony, what the hell are you doing?! It’s like he’s trying to take everything I loved about the last Blue Beetle series and tear it to pieces. Bianca Reyes was an understanding, supportive mother. Here, she doesn’t even want to listen to what her son has to say. And Khaji-Da…don’t even get me started. He used to be inquisitive, even sort of playful. Now he’s just this controlling, monstrous…thing. And that last-page twist I just, I can’t. Don’t do this to me, Tony Bedard. I used to love you so much, don’t start to rely on cheap shocks to sell a book.

That was this week in comics. For those who weren’t aware, tonight is the second night of Hanukkah, and I’m off to have some soup and latkes, then catch the season finale of American Horror story. See you here next week!

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Prepare to scream in frustration!

I’d like to state that even though Legion Lost, Batgirl, Deathstroke, and Star Trek/Legion are out today, I won’t be reviewing them. I won’t even be picking them up. I’ve officially cut them from my list in order to pursue better titles. That being said, we’ve got seven books on our plate today, best get along.

Green Lantern is a hilarious title this month. For one thing, it’s shippy as hell. It’s like someone went to Geoff Johns and said, “Uh, Geoff? We’re going to need you to tone down the homosexual undertones of Sinestro and Hal’s relationship, please. Dan is starting to get that tic in his eye again.” So Geoff thought about it for a while then said, “I know! I’ll add a previously unknown chick that Sinestro maybe used to bang back when he was a Green Lantern the first time, and revisit the utterly useless plot device that is the relationship between Hal and Carol! That should do it!” And that’s exactly what he did. We once again see that in Hal’s mind, Carol is is WUN TRU LUV 4EVA, and the last construct he wants to make before his ring runs out of juice. Meanwhile, Sinestro is tortured by his own people as they try to get the ring off, before they just toss him in the same power-draining cell that Hal was in…except his is full of people that are pissed at him. We learn that Arsona, the random chick from last issue, was an officer of the law on Korugar when Sinestro was a GL, and that she was one of the few people that believed in him way back when. After a (slashy) little pep talk from Hal, Sinestro manages to make a Lantern ring for every person in the cell and, would you look at that, they all turn on him. Good to see you thought that one through, Thaal. Will he survive until next month? Seeing as it’s Sinestro, probably.

I think it was this issue of Superboy that really drove home the fact that the character in this book is not Kon-El. I’ve been comparing reboot Superboy to a character in a webcomic called Artifice (NSFW occasionally, also gay in the most literal sense of the term, so warning) lately. Deacon and Superboy share the same distinct awareness that they aren’t human but whereas Deacon latched onto, and later fell in love with, a human, Superboy is still in the beginning stages of accepting humanity and its flaws. I actually like this book. For one thing, it has let me know that the Gen 13 kids are still around, and lemme just tell you how much I’m looking forward to a reboot Freefall. Superboy is not Kon-El. Not in any way. He may not even have the same genetic donors that Kon did. But with this issue, he’s slowly starting to try and shape himself into a hero, albeit one with a pretty twisted view on heroism, and it’s about time.

Just let me gush about how amazing The Shade is. This isn’t even going to be a proper review, this is just going to be me fangirl-squealing at you until you are forced to scroll down. James Robinson is a stickler for detail and proper research. He doesn’t just pull facts out of nowhere and put them to a page unless he’s absolutely sure that they’re correct. And by sending the Shade to Australia, well, that’s a whole new culture he has to play around with. The little facts that Shade lets us, the readers, in on as he travels are just amazing and…no, you go read this. Buy it. Rub it all over your body. Because this is what a quality comic looks like.

Can I please start off by saying that somewhere, someone is taking offense to the term ‘transhuman’? Because I feel it in my bones. For one thing, he’s not halfway to becoming anything. He’s just…a guy with robot parts. I’m not actually very into this issue, to tell the truth. Way too much fanservice, and not the good, fun, in-joke kind. Why is one of G-d’s higher angels in fishnets, thigh-high boots, and a miniskirt as her battle armor? And wow, I’ve never really encountered the Body Doubles before, except for in one issue of the Harley Quinn series, but…wow, these chicks give the word bimbo new meaning. I dunno. The concept works, an unkillable man who resurrects with new powers every time he dies, but the execution is really sort of awful.

I need to make a confession. I actually sort of enjoy Suicide Squad. No, hear me out! You know those people who watched The Hills, even though they were aware that it was a scripted reality show with no real plot? That’s what this book is to me. A guilty pleasure that I feel terrible for loving. And can you blame me? Harley is a bicycle with a terrible costume, and Digger is most likely dead now. Then again, Deadshot is as magnificent a bastard as ever, and King Shark is, at the very least, entertaining. Now this terrorist group, Basilisk. What’s wrong, afraid too many people would associate the snake-themed terrorist group you already have with the guys from GI Joe? Then again, they’re both named Kobra, so maybe. Ah well, surely this title can only improve. I mean, Harley seemed to show a shred of actual emotion when she heard that the Joker was dead, so that’s a start.

Batman and Robin pisses me off to no end. Maybe it’s because I’ve never liked Bruce Wayne. Maybe it’s because I have an extreme aversion to parenting through the ‘do what I say when I say it or’ method, especially when no actual consequence is set. That’s the thing about a kid like Damian. You can’t just expect him to ignore years and years of training. When Cass Cain came on the scene, she took what she knew and became Batgirl. When Damian Wayne came on the scene, it wasn’t until his father was no longer Batman that anyone bothered to think, well, I guess we should take this kid, who literally does not know any better, and teach him to be a considerate person. Really. Talia and Ra’s Al Ghul raised Damian to be the perfect weapon, but taught him to always think himself more important than others. Dick seemed to manage to drum into Damian that everyone is equal, and that no life is more important than another. And how’d he do that? By treating Damian like an equal and not talking down to him. Then Bruce comes along and fucks it all up. Way to go, Bruce.

Son of a bitch. Son of a bitch! Bette Kane, I could smack you. In her defense, that government woman is really the wrong party here. Damn DEO. Yeesh, no title makes me swear more than Batwoman. Visually, it’s still stunning. The overlay of Kate’s night with Maggie on top of Bette’s fight with the hook-guy as the opening sequence was inspired. Conceptually, also fantastic. The first villain of this series doesn’t have ties to the supernatural, she’s a ghost! And seeing how Kate herself is tied in with the Religion of Crime, it’s sort of fitting. But freaking Bette had to go and put on that costume again. I will admit that I found Kate talking down to her cousin, while the two are roughly the same age, as gross as I found the tempermental-at-best relationship between Damian and Bruce, but at least Bette was learning from Kate. Kate nixed Bette’s training out of fear of losing the only person she still considered family. A little cruel, but understandable. And what happened? Bette went out and got hurt. But the real travesty of this issue? It was only 20 pages long! Sorry, but I thought comics used to be a bit longer than that. Ugh, excuse me while I fume.

Well, that was this week in comics, everyone. Hope to see you back here next week! This is ToG signing off.

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It’s a good week to be a comic fan!

A normal week, five books. Only one real ‘must-read’ series in the bunch, but still. Let’s dive right in!

I hate to give praise to Paul “women don’t read comics” Levitz, but this was a pretty solid issue of Huntress. A common problem with a book based on one character is that it can sometimes succumb to internal-monologue syndrome. Luckily, this is not the case here, as the book tends to rely more on the art and dialogue to tell the story, which is nice. Also, I’d like to just say that I hope Helena gets a spot in the Batwoman book at some point, as Kate could probably teach her more about fighting. If Helena hadn’t known that…Vulcan neck-squeeze move, she would probably have been dead in her fight against the Chairman’s guard.

If you’re not reading Red Lanterns, you’re really missing out on a fantastic story. The gigantic plot device known as the Blood Ocean has struck again, with Lanterns Ratchet, Zilius Zoxxx, and Skallox going into the drink. Their pasts are, well, for the two that are shown, not as tragic as Bleez’s. Skallox apparently stole something from the person he worked for, and got his ring as he was tortured in an oven. Ratchet’s past was sort of sad, but already used. On his planet, isolation is a law. You’re not allowed to meet anyone face to face, but he and several of his people longed to meet in person, and they did. And they were arrested by the Isolation Police who…somehow exist as a viable law enforcement agency on a planet where no one is allowed to meet. Aside from the part about meetups being illegal, the concept was already done in the Waid/Kitson Legion of Superheroes threeboot. In any case, these Lanterns were only thrown into the plot device so that Atrocitus could find out whether or not Bleez plans to kill him and assume control of his Corps. Meanwhile, the corpse of Krona gets up and walks away, and Atro is completely devastated. Is it just me, or is there a whole lot of necrophilia within the Lantern Corps mythos? First Black Hand, now this…yeesh. Oh, and the Earth Brothers plotline was visited again. Who wants to bed that Glasses Brother gets a ring and kills No-Good, Jail-Bound Brother?

Moving away from a series set in outer space, let’s look at a series where the first big villain is from outer space! Can I please just state for the record how disappointed that Manga Khan wasn’t used as the first villain for the new JLI? I mean, that would have been perfect. I’ve noticed something about this issue. A lot of people/goop monsters seem to be grabbing inappropriate things. Though, in Godiva’s case, I highly doubt she copped a feel of Batman’s junk by accident. Uh. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the JLI saves the day in the end, because there is no way that this Peraxxus fellow blows up the Earth. Just isn’t good for the DCU, as a whole.

Wait wait wait, hold on a second. Guillotina is a Female Fury. Not a Bang Baby. Scott McDaniel, what are you doing? That being said, Static Shock didn’t really wow me this month. For one thing, despite all the teasing, just like with how Babs got back on her feet, no one is actually saying how Sharon got split into two people. And frankly, all the Bang Babies in the world aren’t worth jack if you’re not informing us of how a member of the hero’s own family was essentially mutated, and why he blames himself.

I like to save my favorite books of the week for last, and oh my god, I’m so glad I did. If I’d read Animal Man first, I probably would have spent all night on it. Maxine has officially become a Kid Powerhouse, which is fantastic. Most of the issue actually focuses on her, but that’s not what has me freaking out. The depictions of the agents of the Rot, the Hunters Three, are officially the most disgusting things I’ve ever seen. Travel Foreman is a sick, sick man. And that ending…is Cliff, well, dead? Or is he one with the Rot, just as Maxine is one with the Red? I mean, that would be sort of awful for Buddy, to have one kid be the savior of man, and the other the destroyer. I must say, I think Jeff Lemire is a Bleach fan, because the whole ‘kitty cat mentor’ thing is striking a familiar chord.

And that’s this week in comics. Wow, I barely got angry at all, my meds must be kicking in. Ha, that’s a joke. I guess, when really pushed, the folks at DC can put out good books! I’ve got to go now, but I expect I’ll see you all back here next Wednesday?

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Four plus three equals Batfamily: The Batkids and why I love them.

What makes a Batman comic great?

Is it the fight scenes, the character interaction, the villains..? Well, maybe. But if you’re asking me, I’m going to look you dead in the eye and say one word:

“Robin.”

I love Robin. Every Robin. All of the Robins in all of their various forms. Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, Tim Drake, Stephanie Brown, Damian Wayne, even Carrie Kelly. Though to be fair to her, I’ll have to come clean and admit that it took me a couple of tries to get through the two books she was in. Frank Miller is not my favorite writer, and that art style was just…yeuch. Actually, speaking of terrible art, that brings me to the other half of the equation, namely, the Batgirls.

We’re actually going to start with the Batgirls because I have less to say about them than I have to say on the Robins.

For a long time, Barbara Gordon was my dream girl. I am saying this in the absolute least heterosexual way compared to what I actually mean, but yes. She was my hero. I loved her. I wanted to be her. Because I was born in 1990, and grew up watching Batman: The Animated Series. She was My Batgirl for a long time…until I got into comics. By the time I got into comics in 97, Barbara Gordon hadn’t been Batgirl for almost a decade. Instead, she is now Oracle, the wheelchair-bound computer genius who, arguably, keeps the superhero community connected. I loved her in that role, even more than I loved her as Batgirl. Batgirl will punch you in the face! Oracle will fuck your life up big time, the power is at her fingertips. Her recent return to the Batsuit…irks me. Why did it happen? What was the purpose of taking Barbara Gordon away from the thing she did best to get her back to doing what a thousand other people do just as well, if not better? The sting wouldn’t be so bad if the series was at least done well, but Gail Simone is really off her game on this one, and the art isn’t much better. But enough about Batgirl number one.

Now to be honest, I didn’t follow a ton of Bat-titles through the 90s, mainly because I could only really afford to pick up 4 or 5 titles a month (Flash, Impulse, and Titans always ranked above Bat-titles). If I had a little extra money, I would flip through the other titles on the shelf, usually paying more attention to the art rather than who was in them. And so, I’m a little ashamed to admit that for a long time, I passed up Cassandra Cain’s solo series, because Damion Scott cannot draw. I now own the entire series and, while the art still bugs the crap out of me when he’s on pencils, it’s still a great book, and Cassandra is a great character. She gives a new meaning to ‘strong, silent type’. But she also has just the right amounts of heartbreaking. Remember when Babs was trying to cheer her up, telling her, “You just go and be the best Batgirl possible!” And Cass was like, “Can’t. You were.” Oh god. Oh god my heart. When I read that, I knew that good art or bad art, I would love this girl for the rest of my life. Cass recently won the title of Most Kick-Ass DC Woman on Tumblr, via DCWomenKickingAss, and she deserves it. Hopefully, some DC executive types were paying attention.

You may be wondering why I’m going straight into the Robins. To which I say, have some damn patience, it’s only a few paragraphs more.

Dick Grayson is the single most important character DC has ever had. Why do I say that? Because while Superman and Batman were the heroes to little boys everywhere, Robin was one of them. A kid could only dream about someday being Batman. Robin, he could try right then and there. As Robin, Dick helped to found the Teen Titans. As Nightwing, Dick was the leader for several more incarnations of Titans, as well as the Outsiders. And then, after the battle for it was over, Dick became Batman. I could talk for ages about how much Dick Grayson means to me, but the truth is, he’s not my Robin. He was never my Robin, he was always just Nightwing to me. Want to know who my Robin was?

I first entered a comic shop in 1997. I’d been sort of into comics for about a year before that, reading backissues that my uncle and one of my grandmother’s friends had, but those issues were old, the most recent ones being from around 1986. Sure, I knew that Dick Grayson had been Robin first, but the first Robin I ever read about was Jason Todd. My uncle was more into Justice League and Superman than Batman, but he did have a few issues featuring Jason Todd, most of which I would later learn to be classified as pre-Crisis. So imagine my surprise the first time I go into a comic shop and see that Robin has his own series! Wait a second, that’s not…where’s Jason?! I actually had to ask the guy behind the counter who it was that was starring in the Robin series. After about five seconds of him being condescending (before he realized, whoops, that’s a little girl), he explained that it was Tim Drake, and that he’d been Batman’s partner for a few years now. “Wait, so where’s Jason? Is he Nightwing now?” The man explained to me very gently that Jason had died, and even gave me a copy of A Death in the Family (that was shot to hell and missing pages, but still, it was a nice gesture). I’d never been so upset over something fictional before in my life. This was three Bambi moms and a Mufasa all rolled into one. And right then and there, I swore that I would never like Tim Drake as Robin. Ever. Even years later, after Jason returned as the Red Hood, quite literally bringing sexy back, I would still hate that mantle-grabbing brat, Tim Drake.

I was a very stupid kid.

Tim Drake, from the beginning, was in love with the idea of being Robin. He was (subtextually) in love with Dick Grayson, enough to be able to figure out that Dick was Robin, just from seeing Robin perform a move that Dick had years ago. Oh yeah, and Tim had been at the circus the night Dick became Robin. To this day, I still haven’t read a lot of early Tim stuff, from before he had his own series, though I do own about 90% of the Robin title, as well as all of the Red Robin book, and let me just say this: If Dick Grayson is the guy everyone wants to know, then Tim Drake is that gigantic dork that everyone knows and loves, but can’t figure out why. For a long time, Tim was this giant nerd that, for some reason, endeared himself to me. He was never my Robin, though he was the one I ended up knowing best. Probably my favorite thing he was ever in, though was Young Justice. It was nice to see how awkward he was compared to DC’s other teenagers. He held the title of DC’s emo kid from 2004 until about 2009, though to his credit, DC shit on him pretty thoroughly for those years. And while he was sort of starting to get back some of his more essential Tim-ness towards the end of his run in Red Robin, that completely vanished once DC rebooted, so I guess I can go back to hating him in peace.

Stephanie Brown is my favorite Robin. No, seriously. I loved the idea of Steph as Robin in the World Without Young Justice crossover event, and when that actually happened in the main canon, I freaked. A girl Robin! Oh my god! And it was the girl who bricked Tim Drake! Steph was part of the reason I kept buying the Robin title. She was just so…normal, compared to Tim. She was this girl who had friends and went to school and didn’t exactly lie to her mom about what she was up to at night. Her only real flaw was that she seemed to have Tinya Wazzo syndrome, inability to function without Tim in her life. Though, I chock that up to it being Tim’s book, because whenever she’d appear in Cass’ book, she was just fine. And then she died. I didn’t even find out she died until, well, until Tim did. Because I didn’t really follow crossover stories. I didn’t know how to react. Surely this was a Disney death. Obviously she’d be back in a few weeks, because this wasn’t really happening. Well, Stephanie did eventually come back, as Spoiler, in one of the strangest, stupidest explanations for a character death ever. I mean, this was ‘Bucky was found by the Russians, given a new arm, and sent to kill things’ weird. But I swallowed it, because by this time, I’d pretty much accepted that I’d been drinking the Tim Drake Kool-Aid for years now. And then, an amazing thing happened. Stephanie, my Robin, my eggplant warrior, made the ultimate leap. While Cass ran around starkers (seriously, did she just…get naked on the roof and leave the uniform there?), Steph donned the cowl for the very first time as Batgirl! Augh, can I just be a fangirl for a second and screech about how much I loved it? Power Girl had her own (awesome!) title, and Steph had her own ongoing as Batgirl. Not to mention that the very Silver Age Batgirl/Supergirl friendship was revived…I was in heaven. Because here’s something you’re all going to hate me for. Stephanie Brown is my favorite Batkid. She’s my Batgirl, she’s my favorite Robin, she’s the one who worked the hardest for the recognition. She’s not perfect. She makes mistakes. But she doesn’t close herself off or hole up somewhere to mope about it. She just deals with it and moves on, just like a normal, well-adjusted person who runs around in a purple Bat-suit is wont to do.

When he first came on the scene, I fucking hated Damian Wayne. No, I didn’t just hate him. I fucking hated him. Expletive needed. He was this whiny, bratty, next to useless twerp who, yes, kicked Tim’s ass, but he also threatened Alfred. In my eyes, no one with a soul could want to hurt Alfred. And then his dad died. Damian teamed up with Dick and oh my god, that was the best. I started buying Bat-titles. Me. Batman and Robin hardly ever disappointed me. I mean, you guys know. You were here. You remember. Because while Dick was a fantastic Batman, Damian was a flawless Robin. He held himself to the highest of standards, learned from his mistakes, and started to crack wise. He even formed a kinship with everyone else in the Family (except Tim). And now…I don’t like reboot Damian. It’s like everything Dick was trying to teach him is slowly slipping away. He’s being more ruthless now. Why? In an act of defiance? Because he wants his brother back? Tell us what you want, Damian! We will try to give it to you! Also, hello, Bruce. Your child likes cats, and you bought him a dog. Wake the hell up.

If my body wasn’t telling me that I’m very tired, this would probably be longer. I’m sorry, Carrie Kelly fans, but I will not be discussing her this evening. I didn’t like the only books she was ever in, so I only ever read them once, to say that I had. And while I’d like to talk about Colin, technically, Abuse isn’t a Batkid, just a kid associated with Damian. Maybe some day, if Damian is ever allowed to age, we’ll have more Robins. But for now, we have a Nightwing, a Red Hood, a Spoiler, a Red Robin, a Batgirl, a Black Bat, and yes, a Robin. And I think we can all be content with them.

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This is the shortest post ever, I’m so ashamed.

Last Wednesday of the month, and what do I have to show for it? One book. One. DC, you’re not planning ahead well. On months with 5 weeks, it may be a good idea to not shove all your great books into the first two weeks. Anyway, all preamble aside, this week, we’re looking at Legion: Secret Origins.

I’m not ashamed to admit that I think Legion: Secret Origins is the best Legion book out right now. The main Legion book is just a continuance of the last Legion series, pre-reboot, and it’s nothing special. Legion Lost is, for lack of a better phrase, completely lost in its motivations, and I honestly don’t see it lasting longer than the first arc. Legion: Secret Origins is a re-imagining of how the Legion of Superheroes first formed. The original origin is that a bunch of kids, all inspired by Superman, banded together to form a super-team. This was supposed to be a one-shot story in an issue of Adventure Comics, but the idea was so popular that the Legion kept making appearances, eventually getting their own feature and later, their own comic. The origin of the Legion that everyone knows is this: Three superpowered teens happen to be in the right place at the right time and end up saving the life of a very, very rich man. The man is R.J. Brande, who is pushing for the idea of a United Planets (kind of a UN in space), and likes the fact that three kids from three very different worlds were able to work together to achieve a single goal. So…he turns them into a superhero team. That premise is still the same in Secret Origins, with a bit of a twist. And what is that twist? Someone really, really, really wants Brande dead. I mean, three assassination attempts in two issues. Jeez. So far, Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, Triplicate Girl, and Cosmic Boy have been spending all their time keeping him alive. Every time the comic cuts away to the secret cabal of old people or Brainy and Tinya, I expect the others are just sitting around, twiddling their thumbs until someone shoots at R.J. again. It’s sort of repetitive.
Oh, speaking of Brainy and Tinya, my god is their interaction adorable. Brainy has this very obvious, “Oh god it’s a real girl, what do” thing going on, where his first response is to treat her like she’s an experiment. Tinya…isn’t happy about that. And I’ve got to say, I like this version. Tinya Wazzo has never been my favorite member of the Legion if only because she’s one of those girls who can’t really function when her boyfriend isn’t around. That’s how the one in the first Reboot Legion was, anyway, and it annoyed the piss out of me. By the way, is it just me, or is the fact that so many people are interested in Brainy’s force field probably going to come up as being very important later in the series?
The secret cabal of old people is another segment I find more interesting than the main focus, which is Brande and his bodyguards. From what I can tell, it’s a Coluan man, a Naltorian woman, and a human man watching the entire universe on screens, and…talking to each other. They’re obviously the secret braintrust behind the United Planets, but still. Something needs to actually happen before- oh my god one of the old guys stood up! Shit is going to go down, people! This is not a drill, shit is going to go down!

Well, that’s about it for the actual reviewing this week. Tiny Titans also came out, but it wasn’t really that good this month, which sort of disappointed me. Stay tuned for another post about…whatever the good people at Tumblr decide I should write about.

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