Posts tagged Batgirl

Death of (a good bit of) my sanity

I’m just going to come right out and say it. It’s Death of the Family week. If that doesn’t interest you, sorry. See you next week, hopefully. Oh! Wait! I’ve got two non-DotF books here! Come back, come back!

It’s the last issue of Marceline and the Scream Queens! And, sorry, Bubbline shippers. No kisses in this mini, just lots and lots of juicy subtext. The monster that is Marceline’s insecurities is the villain this issue, don’t miss the awesome boss battle! Also, beginning next month, a new six-issue mini set in the world of Fionna and Cake!

Hahaha, Ame-Comi Girls. What do I even say about this book. I mean, it’s bad. It’s really, really bad. I’ve come to expect so much more from Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray, because I was spoiled by their work on Power Girl. But when I read a comic and see Selina’s name misspelled, Jesse Quick’s name misspelled and her formula stated wrong, not to mention the bucket of farts that is Duela Dent’s Ame-Comi origin? And that’s not before getting to the part where she-Brainiac created the Earth. Ha. No. Sorry. Done.

If someone were to ask me, on a scale of one to ten, how upset I was over Gail Simone being fired off of Batgirl, I’d basically have to forfeit my vote. Because after issue…four? Until just now with Death of the Family, I haven’t been reading Batgirl. Of course, it became a hit series without me, one of the top sellers in the New 52. Barbara Gordon, the iconic Batgirl, was back in the suit! And she was being written by the best female talent DC has to offer. But apparently, even making the company a lot of money wasn’t enough to save Ms. Simone from getting the axe, as she has also been off Firestorm since the sixth issue. I wish her the best in all she does, and pray that this means she’s going to be on Suicide Squad from now on.

Speaking of…oh, did I conveniently forget to review Batgirl? Whoops. I’m just a little more upset at DC than I am interested in that particular DotF storyline, which seems to involve the Joker’s desire to marry Batgirl, while also setting up a plot with her brother, James, that we’ll never get to see through. But yes, speaking of Suicide Squad, let’s have a round of applause for Adam Glass. He was a little slow out of the starting gate, but he finally got Harley Quinn to about the same place she was before the end of Gotham City Sirens pre-reboot. Bravo. Honestly, this was the best issue this series has had in…yeah, ever. It’s Harley versus Joker and you know what? Harley won. She made it out alive, and maybe showed Waller that she wasn’t as useless as everyone thought she was. Oh! Quick Rogues update! Digger seems to be leaving both the Squad and Belle Reve…wonder what he did to deserve that?

I have a confession to make. I haven’t picked up an issue of Batman and Robin since the Night of the Owls crossover. I have no idea what’s been going on in this book other than what panels I see on Tumblr. Maybe this won’t be so confusing? Well, we’re off to a decent start. I don’t think Bruce is going to be appearing in this issue at all. And really, wasn’t that what I disliked about the book in the first place? Bruce’s constant dismissal and underestimation of his own son was just…frustrating as hell. Okay. So, this is a Damian-centric arc. I can dig that. And Joker gives the same speech he did in the last issue of Batman about all the sidekicks dragging him down…hello! Okay! No spoilers, but get this issue. It was actually very interesting.

DC, please. Sinestro and Hal had a kind of a kinky dom/sub relationship during their stint as co-Green Lanterns, Joker is canonly in love with Batman…can you stop with all the subtext and just make with the anagram already? I can wait for the three of you who’ve never seen that joke on the internet to figure it out. In any case, it’s a nice little family reunion at the Batcave, where Bruce shares a not-so-heartwarming, kind of really fucking important story about one of his earliest tussles with the Joker. Seriously, dude. If a madman even has the chance of busting into your super secret hidey hole, you let someone know. Anyone. Tell the dog, for Christ’s sake. When people ask why I don’t like Bruce Wayne, I usually respond with something like, “He’s got more trust issues than a victim of a lifetime of emotional abuse.” or “He’s about as open as Santa’s Enchanted Forest in July.” Call him stoic, call him thoughtful, call him whatever. Best case scenario, he’s just a big manchild with shiny toys and an unlimited budget. Worst case scenario, he’s a sociopath waiting to happen. Scott Snyder is some kind of word wizard, though, because as good as the main story was, the back-up just blew me away. Finally, someone giving the Riddler credit! Hey, remember Hush, when Eddie totally figured out Batman’s identity, but didn’t tell anyone? Sigh. That was great.

I feel like I’ve spent less time reviewing and more time reacting this week, at least with the Death of the Family books. Why? Because, for the most part, I just can’t stand them. I dropped Batgirl because it wasn’t interesting to me. I dropped Catwoman because I found it insulting. I dropped Batman and Robin because Bruce is a douchebag. I was never reading Detective Comics. I dropped Nightwing because it was boring. I dropped Red Hood and the Outlaws, at long last, because I just couldn’t take it anymore. With the exception of the main Batman title, and the two Bat-titles that have nothing to do with DotF, Batwoman and Batman Inc, my pull list is relatively Bat-free. I have non-Bat interests. But all the events, all the crossovers, the pain, the suffering, the mental anguish…it all comes back to Batman in the end, doesn’t it? I hopped on the Batman bus in month four, before Night of the Owls. And I loved it. Still do, to an extent. But I’m getting a little tired of all the crossovers. Here’s an idea, DC. Let’s have a few months go by without some massive, Bat-related crossover event. Stop putting all your eggs in one Bat-shaped basket and let us rest.
I’m Touch of Grey. It’s two in the morning. I think you all know where I’m going with this.


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You know what goes well with Nightosphere? Joker toxin.

This is a very Bat-heavy week. Death of the Family is in full swing, running through Batman, Batgirl, and Suicide Squad today. May god have mercy on my soul.

One Bat-book that has nothing to do with DotF, however, is the Ame-Comi comic featuring Batgirl and Robin! Wow, this is completely different from the Wonder Woman issue, despite having the same writing team. For one thing, Robin? Completely annoying. I think they were trying for the quirky snark that Robins are known for, but fell short into the valley of irritation. Still, the villains! …no, they were pretty irritating as well. Harley talks to her hat, Ivy gets her kicks harassing kids on dates, and Catwoman just wants to start fights with everyone. The saving grace is Duela, who seems to have planned for everything, up to and including Batgirl’s escape from the death trap she set up. Hm, maybe she does take after her “father” after all…

Before all that nonsense, however, Marceline and the Scream Queens! Gosh, this comic is just so good. Marceline and the gang head off to her hometown, the Nightosphere, to play a special acoustic show! It goes well, but Marcy is still having her problems dealing with the self-doubt that gossip magazines have been instilling in her. She and Bubblegum get in a fight, and the princess decides to go back home. Now, I don’t know about you, but if those two don’t kiss it out in the final issue next month, I’m going to rip my face off.

You ask for a hamburger, I give you several paragraphs worth of Death of the Family spoilers

Starting with Batgirl, what do we know about the Joker? Well, aside from the obvious fixation he has on her father, the sanest man in Gotham, Jim Gordon, not much. Because it isn’t her he was fixated on…until he figured out she was Batgirl. Oh yes, it may have been her brother who lured her into Joker’s, ahem, disco of death (eternal apologies to Sam Scudder), but I have no doubt that Joker knows who is under the mask. Jim’s wife, Babs’ mother, was out of their lives for years. They moved on. Only when she began to reconcile with her daughter did the elder Barbara Gordon become a target. And she paid for it. The Joker cut off her ring finger, wedding ring and all, to present to his “dearest dominoed daredoll”. And I vomited in my mouth a little.

I don’t think you understand. I’m not even sure if I understand. But what I do know, is that Scott Snyder has officially become the best Batman writer in recent years. If you have read the latest issue of Batman, and your hatred of the Joker isn’t palpable at this point, then I’m worried about you. The man kidnaps Alfred and blinds him with ammonia. He somehow gets Jim Gordon with blood thinner and almost has him bleed out. He’s blown up the aqueduct while Nightwing stands on it, most likely injuring him greatly. Finally, instead of poisoning the reservoir, he just rounded up the people who would have gotten the poisoned water first and just killed them. Poisoned them? Drowned them? Who knows. But at least 30 visible people are dead, en mass, and it’s his fault. 

All because he loves Batman and wants him to be focused on him completely, instead of his ‘family’.

I’m not even looking at this with slash goggles on, he pretty much says it. The kids and Gordon and Alfred? They were dragging Bruce down, making him weak. Once he trimmed the fruit off the tree, then Bruce would have more time for him. Oh, and he knows all of their secret identities, so, uh. Called it.

I want to know, first off, where Harley is getting her clothes. Does she make them herself? Order them offline in her spare time? Because, seriously. Where is this girl getting a purple mourning dress, trimmed with fishnet and complete with hat at like a moment’s notice? Where?! This is the true mystery, here. I remember saying, the last time I really did an in-depth analysis of Joker and Harley’s relationship, that he was, essentially, just an abuser. That’s it. That’s their relationship. He doesn’t love her, but wants someone that he can control. So he baits her, keeps her coming back, and…well, I prefer the approach Batman: The Animated Series used to that side of their relationship. In the here and now, however, we get to watch tooth-to-knuckle as he belts her across the face, then slices her mouth, before going to threaten the other people who were in the Squad with her at the funeral. And while I’m quite upset that Deadshot is dead, I really didn’t need Joker wondering out loud about his circumcision status. Yeow.

That was this week in comics, folks. If your LCS hasn’t run out of them by the time you get there, I also highly recommend picking up the latest issue of Punk Rock Jesus. That series is always a delight. Hope to see you back next week.

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Prelude to the Culling? Yeah, I’m going to go with prelude to the Snoring.

A Bat-heavy second week for me as I’ve, shamefully, decided to peruse a book I thought I’d long-since dropped. Pray for me.

I love James Gordon Jr. I always have. He’s a fascinating character; The son of the paragon of noncaped virtue in the DCU, James Jr is a sociopathic serial killer. Everyone in my LCS who knows my feelings on the Bat-villains knows my preferences, and when it comes to Gotham crazies, James Jr is in my top five. So when someone said to me, “Hey Grey, did you know that James Jr is in Batgirl this month?”, I not-so-gracefully flipped my shit. I loved James under Scott Snyder’s pen, but how much would I like him under Gail Simone’s? Luckily, it looks like I’m not going to have to worry about that for another month. James only shows up on the last page, the rest of his appearances take the form of flashbacks from his mother. And as I read this issue, I remembered why I dropped Batgirl in the first place. Babs is…borderline boring. The writer is entirely too fixated on Babs’ time in the chair being traumatic, rather than the acceptance pre-52 Babs had in regards to her disability. And the villain? Grotesque was bit too Larfleeze-esque for my tastes, so I mostly ignored him in favor of the…what do I even call it? Revenge martyring of one of the Joker’s former henchmen? I can see what Gail was attempting to do, but the execution was beyond poor. James Jr, you better be damn worth it for me to continue reading Batgirl.

I’m so done with Batman and Robin. No. I mean it. I can’t do this anymore. Bruce looking over at The Case while worrying about Damian clinched it for me. To read his little speeches about the nature of who Damian is, and how the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree…come the fuck on, Bruce. Writers have been condemning Talia as the ‘evil’ parent since day one. Conveniently leaving out all the actual romantic history between her and Bruce. Not to mention his little bit about he holds himself to a higher moral standard…just stop talking. We’re done here. You should’ve got your son a damn cat.

Okay, Suicide Squad. Take a step back and let me in on what the fuck just happened. This issue flashed back and forth so often, I felt like I was watching a Stephen King movie. So, who is the mole within the Suicide Squad? Do I have to go read Resurrection Man to understand next month’s issue? Is Savant going home to Creote now? Why were they able to wipe off the black paint stuff from around Harley’s eyes, but not clear up the grey skin, which is obviously some kind of paint as well, if the normal skintone around her eyes is any indicator? This was supposed to be a cooldown issue, but I’m more confused than anything.

And so ends the adventure in Barcelona. I liked this mini-arc within the Shade’s story, even if it was all for nothing. Richard’s great-grandson is dead, the Inquisitor has been vanquished, and the Shade is off to London. For all that happened this issue, I have very few words with which to explain. I guess I can just call it a fight scene issue, with religious subtext intermixed and be done. And look, I did!

Okay. Scott Lobdell. We need to have a serious chat. This ‘Culling’ event you’re preparing us for has a very…Battle Royale/Hunger Games feel to it, which obviously isn’t so. In fact, we already know who is going to survive to be on this new team of Ravagers, as it was announced months ago as one of the new books replacing the first wave of cancelled series’. So. Aside from Caitlin Fairchild and the new Terra and Beast Boy, our next official Ravager was introduced in Legion Lost (which I actually skimmed through for you people, uchh) this week, the creature called Ridge.
I guess what I’m trying to say here is Scott, you’ve kind of struck out. The Culling is obviously going to be DC’s way of trimming away teenage heroes they’ve got no use for anymore. Fans really, really dislike you as it is, both from the awful comments you make regarding the characters you write, and the actual things you write. You’ve also proven to be fantastic at writing stories that go nowhere and utterly raping well-built traits on characters that you think no one cares about anymore. Well. I care. I care about Percival Edmund Chang. He’s probably dead now, but I care about him, and the rest of Gen 13. Prepare yourself now, because I have little doubt that you’re going to spend quite a bit of time acting as the fandom’s punching bag.

Well, shit. Okay, it’s time for a short lesson in the origins of the different Lantern Corps’. Everyone knows how the Greens came to be, so let’s just start with the ones that have been popping up since 07 or so. The Yellow Lanterns, the Sinestro Corps, were created by Sinestro, who mastered control of the GL’s yellow impurity while he was imprisoned withing the Central Power Battery on Oa. Next came the Red Lanterns, whose rings and batteries were created by Atrocitus from the blood of his fellow prisoners. The Blue Lantern Corps was created by Ganthet and Sayd as a way to help the Green Lanterns during the upcoming Blackest Night. If you don’t know Larfleeze’s story by now, then DC has failed you. And then there are the Star Sapphires. Love warriors who have been shown as able to convert Lanterns of other Corps’ to their cause. Well, guess who has been recycling shocking twists?! Geoff, you’ve done this already, when Fatality went from yellow to pink. Revealing that the Indigo Tribe successfully brainwashed Sinestro and changed the color of his suit is nothing new. However, finally getting some actual info on where the Indigos come from is going to be fantastic. We’ve been getting hints for nearly four years, our time is coming. That being said, this was a pretty great issue, if you like watching Hal Jordan act like an idiot. “Oh, I shouldn’t make constructs because this borrowed energy is unstable? Guess I’m gonna make me some constructs!” This moron, I can’t.

A moment of silence for the art of Amy Reeder, which will be leaving us after this issue.
I really, really don’t like Cameron Chase. Maybe it’s just personal taste, but the ‘driven to the point where sadism masquerades itself as professionalism’ type of character has always resonated with me in a bad way. It’s the main reason I’ve never been a huge fan on Amanda Waller, though I do think she’s pretty badass. You know what? I can’t talk about this issue right now. Not when I’m so upset about Amy Reeder leaving the book before the To Drown the World arc is even finished. I just can’t get over that. Her designs for Killer Croc, this new version of Bloody Mary, not to mention the distinct parallels in body language when she draws Kate Kane as opposed to Batwoman…it’s criminal. Though I understand that she left over undisclosed creative differences, it’s still a really hard blow to an already sore body that is the Batman Family fandom.

That was this week in comics. I’m hungry, I’m sad, and while I certainly didn’t fly off into as blind a rage as I could have, I’m still coming down off my Red Ring high. Hopefully, I’ll see you back here next week. Until then, I’m Touch of Grey.

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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:


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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The last two paragraphs of this entry are just a gigantic spoiler for the most recent issue of Superboy

Oh dear god, why me? I know I have the choice of not picking up some of these books, but I’m a masochist, sort of. Eleven books this week, and I’m really, really hoping that the good outweighs the bad.

Best pull the bandaid off as quickly as possible. Legion Lost, everybody. I don’t think I’ve stressed how much I don’t like this book. The art is half-assed, the characterization of all the Legionairres stuck in the past is shoddy, and oh my god, Fabian Nicieza, stop writing things. Okay? Killing off a character, just to have said character come back within the same arc is not good writing. I’m done with this.

I have to say, when it comes to blood and guts and gore, no title does it better than Deathstroke. I mean, that’s all the book is, really. Blood, guts, gore, and a little bit of a plot regarding someone out to kill Slade Wilson. For such a simple concept, it’s surprisingly enjoyable.

You know, I think I’ve discovered exactly what it is about Batgirl I don’t like. I don’t think, in this universe, Babs was ever Oracle. Even back when she was in the chair, people knew not to mess with her. Hell, there were entire issues of Birds of Prey dedicated to Oracle still being able to beat the crap out of people. Here she’s just…hesitant all the time. There’s none of that old feistyness that made Babs who she was. Yes, there’s snark, but every Batfamily member has that. And now, seeing the way she interacts with Dick, I’m sure of it. I’m not fond of this title. I don’t even like it. Sorry, Gail. Sorry, Babs. You’re not my cup of tea.

I find that by not reading the story and only looking at the beautiful art, Huntress is much more bearable. Marcus To is a wonder, and everything he draws is just fantastic. Paul Levitz puts me to sleep.

Batman, what are you doing? That’s the basic theme of Batman and Robin this month. First he buys a dog for a kid that prefers cats. Then he tells Damian that he can’t patrol with him. Then he makes terrible, terrible puns while fighting someone named Morgan. Okay. Yeah. Bruce, seriously. What the hell are you doing?

I don’t exactly advertise it, but I love Batman: The Brave and the Bold. It’s a fantastic show with a great cast of characters, and the comic, when I pick it up, is just as entertaining. I’m only going to say one thing about the all-Robin issue of B:TBatB, and that thing is, this is the single most quality comic to come out so far this month, and you should go buy it.

I’ve had people ask me why I like Batwoman so much, as a title. This isn’t just a little intro story, I’ve literally had people at my LCS ask me what I got out of Batwoman. It can’t be because it’s a title starring a woman, because I don’t like Batgirl or Catwoman, as books. It can’t be because of the creative team, because while I like Blackman, I will always prefer Rucka as a writer. So what is it? Why does this book have me singing its praises all the time?
Because. That’s my answer. Because.
The story is a continuation of another story that I personally loved. The main character is in turmoil because she believes that her father, someone she has looked up to and depended on for emotional support her entire life, has lied to her about the single most important event from her childhood. This isn’t just a book about Batwoman. It’s a book about Kate Kane, and Jake Kane, and Bette Kane, and Maggie Sawyer. It’s about intertwined destinies and new love and distrust and cynicism and death. Why do I buy this book every month, and talk it up every time I’m asked? Because it’s worth it.
This month’s issue was just…spectacular. The opening sequence, when La Llorona is drowning her in Gotham Harbor, the scenes with Bette and with Maggie…I can’t. I’m blown away. A special welcome back to Flamebird, by the way, whose costume just looks fantastic in this art style.

Ever read something that you hate to admit you love? That’d be Suicide Squad for me. I was never a huge fan of the original run (though I do love me some Amanda Waller), but it did have its moments. This new 52 run? I love it, except for those few moments I don’t. Not a fan of Waller’s new look, not a fan of Harley’s new look, nor the fact that she seems to have been thrown into the sexpot role her pal Ivy used to hold, but aside from that, I can dig it. I love Deadshot here. I love King Shark. And now, I love that Captain Boomerang is back in a starring role. I’m officially on board, Suicide Squad. You’ve converted me.

You know, I think I remember why I don’t like the Body Doubles now. They’re so ridiculously male gaze-y, I feel like they’re not even people. Just…cardboard stand-ups with healing powers and guns. Resurrection Man will be a lot better once they’re no longer the center villain.

Geoff Johns ships Sinestro/Hal, and nothing anyone says can make me think differently. I mean, my god. “No, you can’t go see the woman you have a confusing and overly complicated relationship with, you have to come with me, right now. To save a planet.” That being said, Sinestro laughing is probably the creepiest thing. Like a Parallax-possessed Barry Allen making out with an Ophidian-possessed Hector Hammond. It’s creepier than that. And his attitude directly afterward. “Okay, you hilarious ape-creature. Let’s go save a planet and destroy a Corps.” These two are ridiculous. It’s like, Johns has been waiting to write this particular fanfic for years, so now he’s throwing every single idea he’s ever had for them into a single issue. Sinestro is able to control Hal’s ring. They’re going to go off and save a planet together. Sinestro is jealous that Hal wants to go see Carol before he leaves. So much banter. Oh no, is that Sinestro’s ex or something?! (probably his sister, to play up the wacky misunderstanding aspect) And then Hal dies! Congratulations, Geoff. The ultimate Green Lantern fanfic has been published as a comic. You win.

I’m sorry for the spoilers, but holy shit. My mind is blown. The rest of this issue is toilet paper compared to that final page. Holy mother of god. I have no words right now. I literally cannot think of anything else to say about this issue.

That was this week in- holy fuck, seriously?! Caitlin is Red?! I can’t even. I really can’t. You guys don’t even know how much I loved the Wildstorm version of Gen 13, and now Caitlin is interacting with Superboy and Rose Wilson..? Oh my god. That was this week in comics. I’m going to go try and find coherent words.

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I’m not going to lie, I may have licked my copy of The Shade #1

Another round of second issues this week, as well as the first issue in a mini I’ve been looking forward to, The Shade. I have nothing else to add as an opening statement this week, so let’s just dive right in.

Okay, let me just be frank here: I’m not that into Babsgirl. Sorry, Gail. It’s just not a compelling story, the characters feel flat and we still haven’t discovered what this ‘miracle’ was that got Babs out of the chair. I’m relegating this book to read-only until further notice.

Nothing happened in Batman and Robin this month, and yet I’m still raging. Bruce Wayne is the stuffiest stuffed shirt on the face of the planet, with absolutely no sense of fatherly duty within him. As Alfred said, he considers himself to be more along the lines of Damian’s mechanic than his father. And it’s this arrogance that just makes me want to slap the shit out of him. He keeps questioning what would happen to Damian if he were to ever die. Um, he would partner up with Dick. Damian was able to curb his rage issues pretty well when he was the Robin to Dick’s Batman. You never saw him killing bats while Dick was in the Batsuit. Fuck you, Bruce Wayne, you thoughtless prick.

You know, I’ve read a lot of dreck in my time and…Suicide Squad isn’t part of it. I’m embarrassed to admit how much I actually enjoyed this book. It’s about a group of deplorable people who will do anything for immunity from the government, even kill their own, and it’s fantastic. Plus, this issue had zombies! Who doesn’t love zombies?

Speaking of dreck, Legion Lost is still fabulously terrible. Seriously, why is it that the worst writers possible are working on my favorite team? This entire book seems like it’s going to be like the first few seasons of Smallville, super-people chasing down infected super-people and fighting them. I didn’t like the concept then, I don’t like it now.

What the fuck was that?! This month’s issue of Deathstroke was just…explosions! A shit-ton of explosions! Kyle Higgins essentially wrote a twenty page Michael Bay film. Ugh. Nothing more to say.

You know what? I think it’s just canon that Bruce Wayne is a dick. Honestly, why the hell would he need to put the fear in Kate over her “sidekick” getting killed, then coming back as a supervillain?! Jason isn’t a villain anymore, Bruce. He’s a good, morally grey, hero. And you should either get off his ass or hunt him down and give him the hug he’s always wanted. But, bitching about Bruce aside, I loved this issue. Not as much as I loved the first (because of Bruce being a dick and Kate smearing her daddy issues all over Bette), but it was still great. Once again, Williams manages to seamlessly intertwine Kate’s personal and professional lives without anything looking fake. It’s a great second issue, and a great book altogether, so far.

I can’t be the only person reading the new Green Lantern issue and yelling “Just have sex already!” at it. I can’t be. This entire issue is just about how much control Sinestro has over Hal’s position as a Green Lantern. The theme of sadomasochism is so thick, Rihanna should be singing about it. Actually, no. Not sadomasochism. More like ownership. Thaal is like, “You are mine so long as you wear this ring, because I made it and I can shut it off at any time. Now get on your knees and suck.” It’s crazy, and it makes me wonder if Geoff Johns is working out some personal issues through this title. Last issue was all about Hal feeling worthless, and now he’s the plaything of Sinestro. Either way, at least now we know that one of DC’s shining stars is actually a huge shipper, so whatever.

Okay, how do women like Donna Troy and Linda Park get the big pointy shoe of DC, yet the Body Doubles are the main villain of the first arc of Resurrection Man? Can someone explain that to me? Man, and people threw a shit-fit over Kory. Everything these women do is completely unnatural, visually. Though I have to say, the pages without them in it are pretty nice. Fernando Dagnino draws a hell of an attractive, scruffy man.

I don’t know what it is about the new Superboy series, but I like it. For one thing, I really enjoy the interaction between Rose and Caitlin. They’re polar opposites when it comes to mindset, and they’re both going to play a large part in Superboy’s development. Caitlin actually reminds me quite a bit of Dr. Serling Roquette, from the old Superboy series. She has the kid’s best interests in mind, or so she claims. Rose was a bit difficult for me to like…until the fight scene. Good to see she hasn’t lost any of her usual badassery. Wow, for a review about Superboy, I sure haven’t mentioned him much. Truthfully, he’s not in the book that much. This issue is much more focused on the women in his life, in a good way. Though there was a moment when I was pretty much forced to grin, when Superboy explained how his TTK worked. Man, I hope that becomes a running gag again.

A little bit of history before I get to this last title. I got into comics in 1997, and by that time, James Robinson’s Starman had been running for about 3 years. Through word of mouth and borrowing various key issues from a fellow fan, I managed to piece together the basic plot of this series, and fell in love with it. In more recent times, I’ve started collecting the Omnibus editions. I also managed to find a copy of the first Shade mini-series. Needless to say, I’m a big James Robinson fan. That’s why Cry for Justice and the last arc of Justice League were so painful for me to read. He’s such a great writer and those stories just weren’t any good at all. Still, I have hope. The Shade was a classic Flash villain from Jay Garrick’s time who Mr. Robinson took and remodeled into an immortal with skewed morals. This version of the Shade has always been my personal favorite. Let’s see if he’s still got that charm.
He’s back!!!

Oh James, how could I have ever doubted you? This issue has everything that made me fall in love with Starman in the first place. Vibrant detailing, fanciful, wordy conversations, word squares out the wazoo. So much exposition, I could go mad with it, if I wasn’t already mad for it. And Hope! Mikaal! I could just puke with joy, but I won’t. No, I think I’ll just take this as a victory for team Robinson, and hope that the next eleven issues keep up the standard of quality.

I apologize for the lateness of this posting, but I must confess to being absolutely in love with the new show American Horror Story on FX. It’s a great watch, if you haven’t seen it.

Attention readers in the South Florida area! Broward County specifically. West Regional Library in Plantation is having its annual Manga-Comic Mini-Convention this Saturday, 1 pm to 5 pm, and yours truly has a table! Stop by, say hi, maybe even buy some of my wares.

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An overview of the 26 titles in the new 52 I’ve read: I promise it’s not as dull as the title would suggest.

I know, I’m a day late and a dollar short on this, but I had a lot going on over the weekend, so bear with me.

Tomorrow begins the second month of the DC reboot. Over the course of September, I personally read 26 of the 52 new titles and, for the most part, enjoyed them. The point of this particular post is to outline the books I liked and will be buying, the books I will continue to read to torture myself, and the books I will be avoiding. One, two, ready, go!

The Good: The books I will be buying, until quality ceases.

The Flash: I liked the first issue. I was so ready to hate it, too. It was a Barry book, Wally didn’t exist, Bart probably wasn’t going to be in it, and Iris wasn’t the main female. But you know what? It held its own. It’s a Barry book that we haven’t seen before; focusing more on his life as police scientist Barry Allen rather than his superpowered alter-ego, the Flash. The art didn’t hurt, either. If he’s able to pull this book off, Francis Manapul will officially be my favorite professional writer/artist, next to Ross Campbell.

Justice League International: This was another title I wasn’t expecting to like. I mean, my favorite character quit the team in the preview pages, not to mention that blatant dig at fans who had been bitching about the new 52 both online and at conventions. But…it has Guy and Ice being friendly again. Gavril is still ridiculously adorable. Also, August General in Iron. He’s there. DC remembers that he exists. This is basically one of those books I’m going to be getting for character interaction rather than content. Yes, the first arc is going to be about fighting giant monsters, but I’d rather just see Gavril and August General argue some more.

Green Lantern: It’s a Sinestro book, and Hal Jordan is miserable and living a terrible life without his ring. As vindictive as this sounds, this is everything I’ve ever wanted in a Green Lantern book. Oh, and the end of the first issue looks suspiciously like the beginning of a really hardcore slashfic. That’s enough of a reason to keep reading.

Green Lantern Corps: It’s a Guy and John book that isn’t set in the DCnU. That is reason enough for me to buy it.

Green Lantern: New Guardians: Pros: Multi-Lantern book. Written by Tony Bedard. Pretty, pretty art. Cons: Seems to be a ‘wonder of Kyle’ book. Might be set in the DCnU. I’m split on this book, but the first issue was more of a set up than anything. Once we get some plot going in issue 2, then I’ll make my decision.

Red Lanterns: Great writing, terrible art. Seriously, how do neither Ed Benes nor Rob Hunter know how to draw a cat? But moving away from the bad, I’ve always had a fondness for the Red Lantern Corps. I’m looking forward to getting to know the rest of the Corps members’ stories as time goes on.

Batwoman: This title could only improve if Greg Rucka was also working on it. Batwoman is amazing and beautiful and not set in the DCnU, plus Maggie Sawyer. I have no words to describe this book to you all other than a resounding yes.

Nightwing: I love Dick Grayson. I love time travel plots. Therefor, the first arc of the new Nightwing series appeals to me greatly, personally. Also is not apparently set in the DCnU, which is nice.

Animal Man: There is nothing about this book that I don’t love. The writing, the art, the twist ending of the first issue that sets up the rest of the arc. This is the surprise hit for me. Batwoman, I expected to like. Animal Man, I never expected to love.

Justice League Dark: Man, talk about an unexpected hit. I don’t really like magic books (Zatanna being an obvious exception), but this one spoke to me. Maybe it was because a character that had died in Flashpoint was once again alive and it gave me hope, maybe it was all the Vertigo characters showing up in one book had me convinced that the mysterious woman in red was actually an entity like the Endless, who knows. But I liked it, and I can’t wait to read more.

Resurrection Man: Unlike Animal Man, whom I’ve fairly familiar with, Resurrection Man is new for me. All I know about him is that he can’t die permanently, and every time he’s killed, he comes back to life with a new power. It’s a cool, slightly depressing concept, and I like it. Who knows, maybe the new series will make me want to seek out backissues of the old, to see how they differ.

Static Shock: No contest, this is hands-down my favorite ‘teen’ book in the new 52. I loved the Milestone series, and Rebirth of the Cool is never dusty on my shelf (when I’m not lending it out to people). Scott McDaniel nails Virgil’s personality head-on. And he really, really makes me want to know why the hell there are two Sharons.

Deathstroke: He is the badass’s badass, and I believe I am quoting an actual line from the first issue. I haven’t got all the issues of the first Deathstroke series anymore due to some crappy relationship managing skills (never let a guy claim your books, you will lose them and be sad), but I’m looking forward to seeing what the supporting cast in this series is going to be like. Seriously, that was pretty much my favorite part of his last series, so we need to get some badass women in this title stat.

Blue Beetle: No offense to Tony Bedard, but Jaime’s second series is nowhere near as good as his first, so far. So far. I have hope, however, that the ‘defective evil alien device’ angle he’s going for plays out well. That being said, the art is nice, and this book immediately gets merits for seemingly keeping 90% of the original cast. Now if only we could somehow work in the ‘yes, he is actually a legacy character’ angle somewhere…

Superboy: Put the tomatoes away. I like this book for a lot of the reasons I see people hating on it; no, the main character isn’t Kon-El or Conner Kent. His name is Superboy. He hasn’t got another name yet. He hasn’t really got any memories yet. Unlike Kon, who was cloned to believe he was Superman and Conner, who was cloned to replace Superman, Superboy doesn’t really have any connection to Big Blue yet, other than bearing his DNA. Like it or not, this is a brand new character with an old name. He has a lot to live up to, let’s see if he can manage. Just, give the poor kid a chance first.

Supergirl: I’m conflicted. From the way the series is described in interviews, I feel like I should hate it. But then I read the first issue and, Kara is just a scared teenager on a strange world, trying to figure out what’s going on. Maybe my feelings will change as the issues go on, but for right now, I like this book.

The Bad: The books I will be reading in-store and verbally ripping apart for your pleasure.

Birds of Prey: I want to know why the guy exploded, that’s all.

Red Hood and the Outlaws: I just want to see how bad this gets, honestly.

Batgirl: Babsgirl gets one more shot to not suck, then she’s gone.

Hawk and Dove: I’m in it for the hilariously bad art and cliched soap opera substory okay.

Batman and Robin: If Bruce doesn’t get his shit together, I will just drop this title and be done with it.

Legion of Superheroes: Paul Levitz is basically just continuing from where he left off, here. Okay, whatever. Wasn’t too fond of the Legion book pre-reboot, either, so, I can roll with it.

Teen Titans: I’m sort of obligated to keep reading this because it’s a Teen Titans book. Who knows, it could get better.

Suicide Squad: I promised a friend of mine that I would read the first arc for him. I am sincerely regretting that promise.

The Ugly: Fuck you, you can’t have my time or my money.

Catwoman: Bad writing, bad art. Off my pull list, you.

Legion Lost: This was dreck. I literally can’t even. Paul Levitz should not we writing both Legion titles.

Justice League: Pretty art, terrible, terrible writing. The worst intro to the new 52 possible.

And well, that’s about all I have to say about that. I didn’t pick up any of the more anticipated titles, like Action Comics, Superman, Detective Comics, Batman, any other title exclusively starring Bruce Wayne, Batwing, Mister Terrific, or Firestorm. I’m not all that fond of the characters and, despite Firestorm being written by Gail Simone, I refuse to throw money at series’ starring characters I never really liked all that much. Or, as was the case with Batwing, I couldn’t get into the art. Despite what I may lead you to believe, I’m actually very visually distracted by art I don’t like. It’s the main reason I’ve never read Justice or, well, anything else drawn by Alex Ross.

Anyway, these are my opinions on things. Feel free to ignore the ones that you don’t agree with, or leave a comment about how I should so give Catwoman a second chance. Or, hey, recommend a book I didn’t look at! Let’s get some interaction going, ladies and gents. I’m Touch of Grey, and according to my Tumblr feed, I have fifteen new messages. Later days.

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