Posts tagged Batman Incorporated

Faster, speedster! Will! Will!

Welcome back to your regularly scheduled programming. It’s the last week of July, everyone! And more than that, it’s the fifth week of July. Also, I totally didn’t review last week’s comics. So what does that mean? It means you best hold onto your pants, as five comic reviews are coming your way!

Gonna start off with the one that made me the most angry. For the past two weeks or so, the internet has been blowing up because of Morrison’s interviews of him saying that he’s destroyed Batman, that Batman can’t come back from this. I have but one thing to say:
Fuck you.
Because Batman? Batman will always endure. In the long run, more people will pay attention to things like Snyder’s Death of the Family and Court of Owls storylines than they ever did to Batman Inc. Batman Inc was a vehicle. A death vehicle. Over the course of the last 13 issues, we’ve lost Knight and Robin, and now we’ve lost Talia al Ghul. One can argue that we’ve regained Kathy Kane, but bullshit. “Don’t try to find me.” She says. “I don’t exist.” It’s practically a warning for other writers: do not use this character ever again. As for the reaction to Talia’s death in the other Bat-books? Maybe we’ll see something in Red Hood and the Outlaws, those of you who still read it should give me the heads-up if a mention occurs. As for Batman and-, and the main Batman book? Bruce is still reeling from Damian’s death, too broken up over that to really give a shit that his mother died right in front of him. And the main Batman book is waist deep in something called Zero Year. I don’t know, I stopped reading it after Death of the Family.
Ladies and gentlemen, I am not a Batman fan. For a long time, I could have considered myself a Grant Morrison fan and really, I still am. Just…not when he writes Batman. And with the end of Batman Inc, he’s officially done. The endgame has been played. The Morrison era of Batman is over. You can all go about your lives. We’re free.

If you went into the second Animal Man annual thinking you were going to get an awesome fight and not have your heart broken, haha, have I got news for you, buddy! The story itself is half present-tense, half-memory. Buddy, still in mourning for Cliff, goes to a convenience store to buy beer. He sees a gossip rag that poses the question: “Was Animal Man’s son’s death a hoax?” and loses his shit entirely. We are then taken back four years. To the day of Maxine’s birth, actually. Buddy and Cliff are waylaid by Anansa, the Spider Mother, who has been kidnapping people to feed on their dreams. Buddy doesn’t actually have to fight her, as she’s peaceful in nature, and he actually later returns to help her move to an unpopulated area, where she and her children can eat all the animal dreams they want. He finds her again, all these years later, in order to retrieve the dream she’d been given by Cliff, and my heart tapdanced out of my chest, leaving me sitting here.

There’s this little game I like to play with the new Young Avengers series called ‘Loki, no’. In it, I count how many times I tell Loki not to do something in an issue. I think I may have said it twelve times over the course of two pages in the middle, help. Anyway, the Young Avengers are on the hunt for Tommy and his…kidnapper? Vaporizer? The not-Patriot, anyway. So they run through countless dimensions searching, picking up his trail but not finding him. And so, so many of those non-616 dimensions have various members of the team going evil. Though, there is a dimension where no one goes evil! Mother’s home dimension, where they end up finding not-Patriot. Two guesses as to who said oh shit out loud. And then they end up leaving Teddy and David behind accidentally in order to fall into a land where…oh shit. I call this book Journey into Misery 2: Electric Boogaloo for a reason, y’all. Leah, whom Hela banished at the end of Loki’s run on Journey into Mystery, has made a reappearance. I am going to die a painful death. Oh, speaking of dying a painful death, I have this little feeling that Billy is going to turn David inside-out if he ever finds out about…well, see for yourselves:

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Though, I do have a theory. A few pages earlier, David reminded himself that, yes, magic existed. And for those playing the home game, Teddy is currently stressing himself out because he believes, ding ding ding, that his entire relationship with Billy is fueled by Billy’s powers. Perhaps, because he and Billy are dimensions apart, any possible sway Billy’s powers could have held over him are gone. If Teddy pushed David away and protests that it wasn’t right for him to do such a thing, their relationship is real. If not…well, I’ve had my heart broken before by a queer Marvel relationship, when Xavin had to leave Karolina to go with the Majesdanians (and I can’t believe I remembered how to spell that). Broken hearts heal.

So, level with me here, DC. You want us to legitimately ship Barry/Patty, but then you dangle Barry/Iris in front of us. The marriage that stood the test of time 1000 years into the future. The matriarch and patriarch of the Flash family. Good to know your own characters shut you down, though. If even she wasn’t directly meaning to, Iris attempted to stir the paranoia pot in regards to Patty and Barry living together…and Patty was basically, “Nope, it’s all pretty natural. Nothing scary about it.” For observant readers, Iris works on Broome street, named after John Broome, co-creator of the Barry Allen Flash and a prominent part of the Silver Age as a whole.
Then again, there is one definite “Barry, you asshole” moment this issue:

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What a beautiful bit of misdirection, Barry. Ah, but the interactions with the womenfolk are the potatoes of this issue. The real meat lies in the mystery of our big bad, the Reverse Flash. One thing we know for sure: it’s not Dr. Elias. Also, if I may take a moment to gush, the fact that he uses the plates of his Speed Force suit as projectiles is awesome. There’s an application Barry never thought of, tell you what.

And now, for our grand finale before my brain fails on me, the Brave and the Boyfriends. Bold, I meant to say bold. But really, Hal, when you refer to your first team-up as your first date, after you’re pulled from your actual man-date to the planet of the fight clubs, people tend to talk. In any case, the main story in this annual is about the first time Flash and Green Lantern worked a case together…as well as the consequences of that first team-up. Someone is snatching children from group homes, and police scientist Barry Allen is on the case! Of course, he had to choose to be on the case in Coast City, California, home of Green Lantern. There’s a moment of wacky misunderstandings, and then the two must jump into action! Though, Barry can’t just go as himself, he has to do a quick costume-change, first. As it turns out, the children are being kidnapped by space aliens from the planet of fight clubs, in order to be strapped in EVAs and sent to fight in an arena to the death. Hal makes a deal with the team leader that if they stop kidnapping children, their team will be padded with a pair of superheroes. A pity he never mentions that to Barry. It’s a good, solid story, probably my favorite Flash story since Barry came back to life. Sami Basri really kills it on the art, too. All the things that made me hate him on Power Girl have me swooning here. He’s really improved in the last couple of years!
The back-up story is also quite good, about all the little ways the Flash has touched the lives of people in Central City. Some are good, some are bad, but the one the story is based around is terrible. A woman dies before the Flash can save her, and her husband takes it hard. Years later, he attempts to take revenge. Cully Hamner’s art is a little distracting in places, but it doesn’t detract from Nicole Dubuc’s wonderful story in the least.

That was this, and last, week in comics! I’m so tired, I may decide to not wake up tomorrow. Hope to see you again, in August!

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And so it begins (Batman Inc #12 spoilers)

Welcome to the first week of July! If you’re reading this, and you live in America like I do, happy Independence day! If you’re outside America, carry on with your non-exploding day. As y’all may be aware, this is yet another five-Wednesday month, which means books are going to be spread a little thin. That being said, due to reasons, Batman Inc did not ship last week, but was available this week instead. The final issue will be shipping two weeks from now, because, once again, of reasons. Incidentally, Batman Inc was the only New 52 book I picked up today. I think you know what this means.

With this issue, we are one from done. Grant Morrison first took on the Dark Knight in his own title in 2006, and the near-decade of hell is almost over. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed a great deal of Morrison’s run on the various Batman titles, but His Scottishness has turned cruel in his later years. I’m still not entirely convinced that he didn’t originally create Beryl to eventually become the Knight. So, what happened today? Oh, not much.

Batman just went completely bugfuck insane, pumped an entire army of bats full of the antidote to the Man-Bat serum and sicced them on Talia’s warriors while communicating with them in their own language, then beat the hell out of the Heretic. And while watching the complete and utter meltdown of a man who is supposed to have the finest tuned mind in the DCU is fun and all, my full enjoyment of this issue came at the hands of, surprise surprise, someone who isn’t Batman.

Specifically, someone who might be Kathy Kane.

Let’s look at the facts: Way, waaay back in The Leviathan Strikes, the St. Hadrian’s elite wear costumes similar to the original Batwoman suit, along with skull masks. Those same costumes have turned up again in the last two issues, only now the girls work for the Headmistress of Spyral. Given the amount of time between her ‘death’ and the present, this leads me to believe that Kathy has overtaken her dearly departed father (whose corpse was seen in the other story in The Leviathan Strikes), Agent 0, as the head of Spyral. Spyral is not working for, or with, Leviathan, as they’ve gone from being a spy agency to part of the international intelligence community. Plus, look at how Dick reacts to the shadowy figure he, for some reason, cannot seem to be able to see with his lenses down:

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No, that’s totally Kathy Kane.

And to the people who don’t remember, yes, the Heretic totally killed the Knight a couple of issues back. Snapped his neck like he wasn’t in over a hundred pounds of armor. It was really tragic, and I was seriously mad for…actually, I’m still seriously mad. That Knight and Squire mini was one of the best things to come out that year. I own the single issues and the trade paperback. But he was killed by…by a big baby head.

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Full-grown body, Damian’s little face. Not the creepiest thing Morrison’s ever done (that goes to the WE3 pets, or Professor Pyg), but it’s in the top five. Still, who cares if it’s an irredeemable sociopath with his son’s face (I feel like I’ve stolen that line from somewhere…), justice still needs to be served! Or not.

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You know, it’s funny. Just like he’s constantly refusing to kill the Joker, even though it would make life better for everyone in Gotham, Batman refused to kill the Heretic. For a man fighting a war on crime, whose sole motivation in confronting Leviathan from the moment Damian dies? Bruce is seriously bad at revenge. I know he thinks it puts him on a higher moral ground than others, but really, he just looks like an asshole. Maybe it’s because I’m from a region where “He needed killing.” is a pretty justifiable defense when talking about a murderous scumbag, but really. He should have just let Beryl off the kid. Better than what would end up happening to him a page or so later.

(hint: it involves Talia and him not having a head anymore)

The issue ends with the destruction of Wayne Tower, as well as, presumably, many other areas in Gotham. Oh, and one of the coolest damn cliffhanger pages ever:

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Talia, as it has been seen, is actually quite a formidable opponent. Add in the emotional ties between her and Bruce, and this is set to be one hell of a fight.

Well! I’m pumped! Yeah! Fight to the death, yeah! That’ll end well.

In any case, that’s my week in comics. The last issue of Fionna and Cake came out today (y’all may want to pick that up, it’s pretty cute), as well, just putting that out there. 

This Sunday I’ll be at Florida Supercon in Miami, looking through backissue bins and rubbing elbows with whoever decided to stay all four days! Tickets will be available at the show for $30 and up. The con itself starts tomorrow. See you there, SoFla comic fans!

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“I’ve got the magic in me.” -direct quote from Billy Kaplan

Now normally, I’d be lamenting the end of another month while at the same time joyfully expressing my love of the comics that came out this week…but May has five Wednesdays this time around, and DC shot its wad a bit early. So, I suppose that y’all can consider this an early warning. If I can’t think of something current and interesting to talk about next week, there may not be a post, as all DC is putting out for the fifth week of May are annuals for series’ I don’t read.

Ah, as for the lateness of this post, well…I guess I should come clean. I love independent comics. I probably love them more than superhero comics at this point, and I’ve spent the last few months building up my Los Bros Hernandez collection. Yesterday I picked up the twelfth volume of their Love and Rockets collection, Poison River, done entirely by Gilbert Hernandez about his best-known character, Luba. I got home around 10 pm and spent the next three hours devouring the entire book, before even touching the actual new comics I bought. But really, can any of you blame me? It’s always good to look outside one’s comfort zone, and trust me, there’s nothing on the market further from DC Comics’ new 52 than Love and Rockets.

I wanted to kick things off with a bang by looking at Bruce’s confrontation with Talia…but unfortunately, that’s to be put off another month. Grant Morrison wasn’t involved with the 11th issue of Batman Incorporated at all, despite being the creator of the two protagonists, Jiro Osamu (the Batman of Japan) and Shy Crazy Lolita Canary. Instead, we get an issue written by the usual artist, Chris Burnham, and an artist by the name of Jorge Lucas. If the name doesn’t ring a bell for the usual DC reader, have no fear! Lucas is yet another artist DC has drafted in from another company, this time Top Cow, though he has done work for Marvel in the past. As for the story itself, it’s not bad. A regular Bat-style bad guy punch-em-up with no real detective work thrown in (that’s left to the computers, don’t you know), and a cute look into Jiro and Canary’s size-challenged romance. Though seriously, this issue was originally solicited to be a direct continuation of #10, don’t do that again, DC.

It’s winter in Gotham! Well, sort of. This month’s issue of Li’l Gotham is full to bursting with celebration as Mr. Freeze learns the true meaning of the holiday season (hint: it isn’t kidnapping children), and the Gotham Girls have a crime-free night on the town…depending on how loosely you interpret the word “crime”. Nyugen and Fridolfs deliver yet another adorable issue of what I’m not even beginning to hesitate to call my favorite thing from DC right now. Be sure to come back next month for another two installments, all for $2.99! As far as digital-to-print comics go, that’s bargain basement, baby!

So there were some panels floating around earlier this week of Billy putting a gun in his mouth. His reasoning was that if he was dead, all his spells would come undone, and Loki would no longer have his powers. I’m going to be honest, those panels sent me into panic attack mode. Why? Because this is Kieron Gillen at the typewriter, kiddies. He would do it. Of all the talent Marvel has in their stable right now, I doubt there’s a creator out there who is quite as good at causing pain to comic fans as this guy. I mean, his last big writing job for Marvel, Journey into Mystery, is commonly nicknamed Journey into Misery by the fans of the book. If that’s not a telling sign of a man who wants to make you cry, I don’t know what is. 

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Fuck you.
That being said! As far as closing issues to first arcs go, this one was quite the winner! While not quite destroyed, the Mother parasite has been beaten back to the point of nonexistence. This is a good thing! Unfortunately, in order to keep her that way, none of the Young Avengers are allowed to go back to New York City until Loki and Billy can figure out a way to eradicate her completely. This is a bad thing! So, parental distress, check. Suicide attempt, check. Constant reminders that Little Loki is not a good guy, nor looking out for the group’s best interests, check check. Um. At least Billy got a nifty new costume, the team is officially a team, and Kate is going to teach Noh-Varr the definition of ‘hot make-outs’ at some point in the future? Oh, and did I mention that the next issue is going to feature the return of Speed and, get this, David Alleyne?! Okay, this guy? He’s got my second favorite power, next to superspeed. Before the events of M-Day, he could absorb any knowledge from another person, though he’d end up forgetting it once they were out of range. His brain was later unlocked by the Stepford Cuckoos so that he’d be able to remember everything he’d ever learned. Granted, he’d never be able to learn anything new just by casting around for it, but still. I can’t even explain how excited I am for this guy to be in this book. Even more excited than I am about, say, Billy’s hot new costume:

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He is Donna Troy-ing this mother up. Gotta love a guy with the confidence to wear a galaxy on his hips.

The Flash was certainly a busy beaver this week. Aside from his guest spot in Justice League Dark and showing up briefly in the main Justice League title, his own book had more mystery, death, and intrigue than you could shake a Speed Force-imbued stick at! But first, an unpopular opinion that no one cares about: I really do like Barry and Patty together, as a couple. They seem to make each other happy. While Barry has literally crossed the ravages of time and space for Iris, their life together happened in a different world. A better world, most would argue, but not the world we’re going to be seeing for a good while. I’ve made my peace with this, to an extent. I’m still pretty damn mad about it, in some respects, but I’ve mostly made my peace. That being said: Barry, you’re living with your girlfriend now, who knows that you’re actually the Flash. This less-than-professional interest you seem to have in Iris, and that she seems to have in you, isn’t going to go unnoticed for long. Patty Spivot is one blonde you can not make dumb jokes about. The meat of this issue, despite rather misleading appearances on the cover, is about detective work. Investigations are in, brutal violence is out! Well, sort of. We do get a neat scene where Barry windmills a train into submission in pursuit of a super-powered suspect, but that’s about it. So! Four bodies went into the Speed Force, Marissa, Gomez, Albert, and Iris. Three developed powers, two are left alive. One is on the run, one is oblivious…and Barry thinks that now is a good time to finally go investigate Kid Flash?! Bubba, your priorities are seriously wonky. I will say, the dedication to Carmine Infantino was a nice touch. Memorial pages have been popping up in comics all month, but an actual dedication…didn’t think you still had that kind of class in you, DC.

That was this week in comics! If you’re able, be sure to also pick up All-Star Western for a taste of Booster Gold, and the second to last issue of Fionna and Cake! Things are really heating up there! Going to be honest, unless there’s something I’m forgetting, it doesn’t look like I’ll be getting any comics next week at all. Good for my wallet, bad for my soul! This may just call for a nifty little required reading list of my own…

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Dr. Langstrom, or how I learned to stop worrying and drink heavily to forget things that happen in Batman Incorporated.

And so we send off the month of April! A rather tumultuous month, we’ve seen shakeups in the Super-family, watched Batman slip quickly into insanity, and cheered as Diana continued to be awesome. As far as consistent quality goes, April has been…well. I made the executive decision to drop Batman and Batman and Robin from my pull list, because I am very much done with this nonsense. Glory ended, the few Marvel books I read continued their way up my list of favorites, we lost Carmine Infantino…it was a very varied month. Still, we’ve got three more books to look at before I can put April to rest, so let’s get to them.

Batman Inc was cancelled earlier this month. The tenth issue never came out, and we will never get closure on this Leviathan story that’s been building for over four years.

Okay, I’m lying. Batman Inc has been cancelled as of the 13th issue, where Grant Morrison will be ending his chapter in the history of Batman. There are three more issues following this one. Ha. Hahaha. I don’t want to live anymore.
Now, I know what that sounds like, but I probably don’t mean it the way you’re thinking. Batman Inc is a book of various levels of quality. The entire first series of it was…not great. The transitioning book, Leviathan Strikes, was fantastic. The second series, the one we’re in now, has had its high points (the return of Matches Malone! Damian teaming up with Jason as Redbird and Wingman! Ranger/Squire!), and it’s low, low points. Damian’s death was the lowest it could possibly get. A child was brutally killed. Knight’s death in the previous issue, tragic as it was, just couldn’t compare. This book could go nowhere but up. And this tenth issue has proven that theory.
Sort of.
Azrael makes a cameo! Kirk Langstrom makes a cameo! Bruce is forced to go head to head with Talia! The woman Hood brought Jason to is..! Okay, I could be wrong about this (my friends call me Nostradamus), but I think it’s Kathy Kane. Look at how her girls are dressed, look at the Spyral symbol in the background of their lair:

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Kathy. Kane. 
There are other interesting parts of this issue, such as Talia exerting her control over the Damian clone, and her interactions with her father, as well as her punishment of the Leviathan followers who shot at Damian. Actually, forget about the other stuff that happened in this issue, Talia freaking stole it all. This woman is badass. She has a goal: Destroy the man who fathered her child and broke her heart. That’s it. Everything else she’s done with Leviathan is inconsequential to her so long as Batman goes down, along with the city he serves. I can tell that Morrison is trying to play up the crazy, insecure bitch angle, especially during her conversation with Ra’s, but I’m not buying it. Talia al Ghul is determined to drag the world down to hell…and I’m kind of rooting for her.

Hey, who wants to get their heart broken?! Now I know why a friend of mine called Journey into Mystery Journey into Misery. Kieron Gillen shouldn’t have this kind of power, he’s just using it for evil. Take for example, “How do you know you’re not just the result of your boyfriend’s latent reality warping abilities in their earliest form, Teddy?” Loki no. That’s not cool. Nothing about this issue is cool. Nothing. Okay, y’all caught me in another lie. Kate and Noh-Varr finally show up, and damn if they aren’t the coolest. Now, I was always rooting for Kate and Eli to work out as a couple, but this is good, too.
By the way, thanks for confirming that you never tapped Clint, Noh. That’s information we sorely needed.
Still, I’ve been a Marvel Boy fan for, uh, about as long as there’s been a Marvel Boy, honestly. I loved his mini series back in 2000, I loved his appearance in the Civil War crossover with the Runaways and the Young Avengers, I just really, really enjoy him as a character. Everything I’ve read him in has caused his character to grow and evolve, finally reaching what we see here: A music dork with a bangin’ booty. Excuse me, an awesome music dork with a bangin’ booty, my apologies. 
In this issue, pretty much everyone gets a ‘moment’. Noh-Varr beats up Mom’s people, Kate has her plasma bow, Miss America gets more than one great one-liner, Loki and Hulkling have their little discussion…unfortunately, Billy’s moment is the one where he fucks everything up. Kinda par for the course of this series, so far. So, Billy agrees to lend Loki his powers for ten minutes, and Loki gets the Hel out of dodge, leaving everyone else stranded there. I honestly don’t know what any of you were expecting, it’s Loki.

Saving the best for last, aw yeah. But am I? Am I really? No, I totally am. The Flash was awesome this month, and not just because it was the second issue of the two-part Trickster story. Basically, the premise is that Barry has to navigate Iron Heights without his speed, aided only by weapons that formerly belonged to his Rogues. And here’s the kicker: he doesn’t actually know how to use most of them. Oh, and the reason he’s even in Iron Heights is because he’s trying to prove that the Trickster didn’t kill anyone and get him released legally before Axel’s friends break him out of prison.
How has this comic not simply materialized in your hands from the sheer want of it? Come on, now.
Okay! So, watching Barry try and figure out how Mark’s, sorry, Marco’s weather wand works is about an eight on the scale of hilarity. He proves to be pretty good at working Axel’s stuff, though. Instructions: pull pin. Throw. Run away. Oh yeah, and I should probably mention, Albert, one of the guys that was in the Speed Force for several weeks, is in this issue, too. He’s on the cover, actually. Anyway, his power is to amp things up to eleven by touching them. Um. AHEM. Well, I have about fifty different ways I could turn that into a dirty joke, but I think I’ll go the classier route and just shut the hell up. So, what do you call a speedless Flash and a kid named Turbocharger when they go up against an entire prison, as well as a few dozen desert-dwellers? An ambulance…for the other guys! Turbocharger saves the day by boosting up one of Len’s old cold guns for Barry, which actually leads to Barry discovering who really committed the crime Axel was jailed for…another Speed Force-powered civilian named Marissa! Of course, Barry gets his speed back in the end, and learns about where it probably went via the Watchtower computer, but the story isn’t over yet. In the last two pages, drawn by Francis Manapul, we get our first real look at the new Reverse Flash! Aw, and we also say goodbye to Turbocharger. I liked the four issues you appeared in, guy.
This issue of Flash was worth its cover price and more. Especially because Axel, bless his apparently white cotton socks, actually took the time to go, “Hey, I know this guy. The bartender. What are you doing here?” and not drop the subject. Ladies and gentlemen, Axel Walker grew a brain. And is probably the height he used to be billed as (5’7″), if his height next to Barry is any indication. Hm, y’know, it just occurred to me. Did Axel ever get out of jail? That was never really made clear. The guys who were trying to break him out got jailed, and Marissa probably got arrested, but what about Axel? He was pretty determined to not leave without his stuff, so…maybe he’s still in there? Oh honey, you’re too pretty for jail, now.

And that was this week in comics! If you would kindly direct your attention to the past, Booster Gold is currently appearing in All-Star Western. Superman Family Adventures ended today, Flash guest-starred in Justice League Dark, Avenger’s Arena came out again (?), and. God, this is something I actually have to yell about, hold on.

NONE OF YOU CAN COMPREHEND HOW FUCKING ANGRY THE FIRST PAGE OF THIS MONTH’S TEEN TITANS IS MAKING ME

I LITERALLY BOUGHT THE ISSUE TODAY BECAUSE I’M NOT PUTTING IT DOWN UNTIL I CAN FIGURE OUT WHOSE LIMBS AND TORSOS GO WHERE, AND THE COMIC SHOP WAS CLOSING

LOOK AT THIS SHIT, WHAT THE HELL

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WHAT IS THAT

FIRE THIS ARTIST, WHAT THE HELL. I’m Touch of Grey, I’m irrationally angry over things, goodnight.

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Reading the feels away.

The last week of the month is usually my favorite. Business tends to pick up at work, I’m that much closer to flipping to my new calender picture, and two of my favorite books come out. Yes, Young Avengers has officially made it onto my top five currently running favorite books (along with Saga), dropping Animal Man and Hawkeye to spots six and seven respectively. And I need these books today, as my boyfriend has gone up north for the next few months, and I am sad. So let’s get right to it!

Ugh, didn’t I just say that I was already sad? It’s like I never want to be happy again. Thankfully, the funeral of Damian Wayne takes up but a few pages, after which we turn to…oh, goddamnit. There is a part of me that believes that Grant Morrisson didn’t create Beryl to eventually become Knight, but that part is very small. I know the game you’re playing now, Grant. You create or revitalize characters, make us love them, and then in the blink of an eye and a snap of a neck, they’re gone. If you’ve been picking up the various Bat-titles with the Requiem logo on them, know this. You’re only going to get any sort of feeling of closure from Batman and Robin, and now Batman Inc. That’s how important Damian Wayne is to the Batfamily, folks. This is the sendoff he gets.

Ah, Young Avengers. What would I do without you and your fantastic sense of snark and timing? Kieron Gillen and Matt Fraction are, in my opinion, the most on-the-ball writers in Marvel’s talent farm right now. I feel like they personify the statement, “comics should be good“. Damn it, DC, if you’re planning on stealing writers from Marvel, why not these guys? Ahem. In this third issue of Young Avengers, Miss America Chavez kicks some serious frost giant ass, Billy has lost his mojo, the babies go clubbing, and I’m officially past the point of terrified of Teddy’s mom. If I need to say anything other than that to get you to go buy it, I’m obviously not doing this right.

I have a horrible confession to make: I spent the extra money and bought both the regular cover and the variant cover of this month’s Flash. Yes, it’s the same picture, but wow, the detail in the shaded version?! Are there official modern art deities, because Francis Manapul deserves to be one of them. This issue, however, was not drawn by Manapul. In fact, the cover was the only thing he had any part in. Flash #18 was written entirely by co-writer Brian Buccellato, and drawn by Marcio Takara, whom you may remember from Blue Beetle. And, if I just may? Wow. I’ve gotten into hour-long arguments over why Barry is better when written by anyone other than Geoff Johns and, yup. My stance holds its ground. But enough about the creators! This issue starts a two-issue arc focusing on one of my personal favorite Rogues, Axel Walker, the Trickster. The Trickster has been framed for murder! But why? Well, if you haven’t been paying attention to the solicitations for the next few months, I’m going to spoil it for you: Reverse Flash. That’s this arc, really. Oh, and we get to see the effects of the Speed Force on more normal people who spend a lot of time in it, with Gomez and Albert, also known as the newest wannabe vigilantes in Central, Sprint and Turbo-Charger. But honestly, the person I’m most focused on here is Axel. Not because he’s one of my babies (he is) or because I’ve been waiting forever to see more of his New 52 personality (I have), but because his new personality is actually pretty similar to his old one. DCU Axel was certainly louder, more abrasive and, quite frankly, meaner than New 52 Axel has been shown to be so far, but they both have one thing in common: they’re both kids in a grown-up’s game, looking for a family to call their own. And New 52 Axel finally found it. Now, I think he may have chosen that family because of their similar taste in hair styles, but whatever makes him happy.

That was this week in comics! I’m…actually very tired. Incredibly tired. I just want to go to bed right now. But I’ll be back next week with…uh. Hm. This is embarrassing. Animal Man seems to have be missing from April, and since I dropped Swamp Thing after Scott Snyder left the title, there aren’t any regularly reviewed titles for next week. So, uh. Vacation?

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Breaking News: The news is broken. Earth-shattering events to follow.

You ever have one of those days where you feel like you should be happy, but you know you won’t be before the day is out? If you haven’t been reading the New York Times, watching the Yahoo trends, or visiting basically every comics website out there, spoiler alert: Damian Wayne is set to die today. So you know what? Consider this my version of going on strike. Flash and Young Avengers, both awesome books, also came out today, but so what? DC has decided to kill yet another prepubescent child.

Still, the show must go on. The Grodd story finally ends this week in Flash, and hoo boy, what a finale! It’s the ape in a cape versus Flash in the Speed Force! Okay, I’m gonna be honest, the dialogue was a little cheesy during their fight. It’s like Barry did a sudden 180 spin and decided to take his cues from JLU Wally. The result is…more than a little embarrassing. Still, he saves the day, gets the girl (gets two girls, actually, but shh, don’t tell Patty), and, hey! What’s that there?

…really? Okay? Okay. I’m not going to pick. But it looks like Metron left his chair and tried to cosplay as the Black Flash using a reference image that was shot through a mirror. But it’s not a bad costume. It just looks like a mish-mash of other costumes that weren’t currently in use.

So, while issue two of Young Avengers did kind of turn into The Billy and Teddy Show featuring Loki, it’s still essentially the best thing I’ve ever read. Mrs. Altman has remade the universe! Which makes me wonder if she was pulled into their universe, or if Billy accidentally transported them into hers. According to Loki, she’s a parasite that…yup, remakes universes. For some reason. Well, that’s vague. Still, it’s the dialogue that really makes this issue for me, especially the diner scene. Also, hey, if you’ve got the $10 to $20 comic shops are charging for the Stephanie Hans variant cover (I didn’t, and my shop wanted $15), go nuts. Because damn honey, is it pretty. I mean, look at it:

Holy wow, am I right? Young Avengers get all the good variant covers.

 

Long-time readers might remember a similar style of reviewing I did for the quiver of manure that was Rise of Arsenal. I call it, rant’n reaction reviewing. It’s not fun to write, mainly because you, the reader, are essentially watching my mental state degrade. It’s fun to read, though, after a draw off your bottle of what have you. So without further stalling, I’m currently completely unaware whether or not I’m proud to present to you, Batman Incorporated issue eight.

I’ll give them this: I like Chris Burnham’s Damian better than I like Patrick Gleason’s Damian. Gleason draws Damian’s head a bit too round for my taste, whereas Burnham’s Damian is reminiscent of the version by Frank Quitely, except here, he doesn’t look like a little old man in a Robin suit. None can match Marcus To’s Damian, though. I’m distracting myself. Hey look, Tim’s actually useful! There’s something you don’t see every day. Certainly not today, in Teen Titans. Don’t read that, by the way, it’s really bad.
You know what I’ve been missing for a year or so? Dick and Damian working together. It’s like DC forgot that they were partners for uh, over two years. Oh no, I’m crying. “So far, I’d say you’ve been my favorite partner. We were the best, Richard. No matter what anyone thinks.” Why the fuck would you do that, Grant? I know we’re not really on a first-name basis, but I think I’ve been following your work long enough to not have to call you Mr. Morrison. God, kill the kid if you must, but don’t remind us of the thing that was retconned by letting it slip that it wasn’t retconned. Oh no, here comes that which could have been Ibn al Xu’ffasch. Oh god no, you’re doing it again, Grant. That thing, where you’re reminding us how good Dick and Damian were for each other, to the point where Damian thought of him as something more than a friend. More than a brother. Dick was his partner, the person he trusted to keep him alive. Why would you do this? “Touch him again, I’ll kill you!”

I…I can’t do this. I can’t. I can’t do this again. I’ve done this twice now, I can’t do it again. They only kill the ones I love. They only kill the ones I love. My introduction to Robin was in Batman: The Animated Series and the Batman movies, but my introduction to comics Robin was Jason Todd. Jason was my Robin. And the comics I was reading, the ones I could get my hands on, didn’t go up as far as Death in the Family. So flash forward, from 1995 to 1997, my first time in a comics shop. There’s a Robin comic, but that’s not Jason. That isn’t Jason at all. So I go up to the guy behind the counter. He’s a pretty young guy, maybe in his early 20s. And I say to him, who is this? Where’s Jason? And I’m so lucky, I’m so damn lucky that the person I talked to that day wasn’t a dick, else I wouldn’t be here now. He explained that the Joker had killed him, and gave me this copy of Death in the Family that had seen many better days before it. The first time I went into a comics shop was the day I learned that superheroes could die, especially if they were just kids. Like me.
Then, in 2004, they did it again. I’d liked Stephanie Brown since I first decided to get over my anti-Tim Drake sentiments and start reading the Robin comics in 1998, when Young Justice started. I liked Tim there, maybe I’d like him in his own series? Y’know what? I did. But I liked Steph better. She was plucky. She never gave up. Being a hero meant a lot to her, and she made it work. And then she got to be Robin. She got to be Robin for such a short time…and then they killed her. They killed her. And now Damian? No. I can’t do this. I can’t.

Call me stupid, call me weak. Say I’m overreacting. But just like with Lian Harper, and Adam Grant, and Cerdian, and Arthur Jr, and Josh Mardon, and Robbie Long, and all the other children unfortunate enough to be born to parents who live in the DCU…I can’t do this anymore. I can’t watch kids die. They’re not realI know that. They’re not alive. But they’re given life on the page, given life in the hearts of the people who read about them. They have thoughts and feelings and personalities. That’s what comics are. Imaginary people that we, the fans, take home every week. Fall in love with. Share with the people we care about, to let them into our world. I cared about Damian Wayne. He was a little shit, but he was my little shit. In the end, he was just a kid, a very well-trained kid, who wanted his parents to stop fighting. Goodbye, Damian. I will remember you smiling, and fighting, and being a pain in the ass to everyone, until you wormed your way into their hearts. You were a good kid, Damian Wayne, don’t let anyone ever tell you different.

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And with that…I need to go cheer myself up. If anyone wants me, I’ll be watching Captain America with the boyfriend. Next week, we’ll have Animal Man, Swamp Thing, and me pregaming for my birthday on Thursday. See you there!

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At last! The long-awaited origin of Damian’s Batman 666 costume!

DC, we need to have a chat.

Okay, I know this is a comic review blog, and that I should save my opinions on shows I don’t even watch for my Tumblr, but come on. As you may have heard, Young Justice and Green Lantern were cancelled, and are being replaced by a new Batman cartoon and Teen Titans Go, a semi-continuation of the Teen Titans cartoon that ran a few years back. This is a stupid move. You see, cartoons take time to make. Instead of cancelling two cartoons with a fairly large fan following, both of whom were famous for their constant hiatuses, why not renew them for more seasons, then take your time airing them, as you already do? That way, you can still have your Batman cartoon, your SD Teen Titans cartoon, and whatever else you wanted? Heck, maybe we could have gotten that third season of Legion of Superheroes that was planned, then cancelled, or a Super Best Friends Forever cartoon. Ahh, but what’s done is done. Actually, no. What’s done is done, but the fanbases of both shows are trying to raise support to have it undone. Personally? I don’t watch TV anymore. I’ll probably never get to watch these shows as they air, because I have work at that time. But if you are reading this, and you enjoy the shows in question, let your voice be heard. Sign petitions, buy episodes on iTunes, tweet creators, email DC! Maybe, if enough people speak up, some higher-up will take notice. And now, back to our scheduled comics.

I am very, very mad at Grant Morrison. As much as I’ve disliked some of his creative choices in the past (such as how he handled Jason in Batman and Robin pre-reboot), I think I get angrier with him when he creates something I love dearly, and then takes it from me. While Grant wasn’t the one to originally create Cyril, he is the one who formed him into what he is today, and gave us Beryl, to boot. And now Cyril’s gone. I know that his death happened last issue, but this isn’t a fakeout. He’s not coming back this time, he’s dead. And I…I don’t want to deal with that. So instead, hey, who remembers Damian’s clone from that one pre-reboot arc of Batman and Robin? Well, he’s a big boy now. A fully grown boy. Which, okay, kinda saw that coming, but at the same time, damn! I owe at least one person money, because I kept insisting that he was going to grow up to be Ibn al Xu’ffasch. Sigh. We could have had it all, folks. We could have had it all.

So, um. Remember when I said I was done with Batman and Robin? Well…okay, hear me out. Despite Peter Tomasi’s depiction of Bruce having me in literal pain whenever I read it, he doesn’t do a bad Damian. He’s got the kid down to a pretty basic science; he’s willing to do anything to get his father to like him, and to trust him as a partner. This being said, the Batman and Robin Annual was awesome. It was half a cute story about Damian sending Bruce on a scavenger hunt to find out things about his parents that he either didn’t know or didn’t remember, such as seeing the place where his father proposed, or visiting a place where they had their picture taken on their honeymoon, and half a story about Damian solving a case on his own. Also, he dressed up as Batman to do it! Ugh, this adorable little shit. I don’t understand why so many people don’t like him. So anyway, it was an issue with very little Bruce in it which, as it happens, turns out to be my very favorite kind of issue. The art was just, wow. Ardian Syaf, please draw Damian from now on. At 38 pages of comic (and 8 pages of ads), the annual was certainly worth $4.99, and I can honestly say that I was satisfied with it, and the content.

What has 20 pages of comic, 10 pages of ads, and the best, most creative layouts in the DC proper right now? Well, that’d be the Flash! I’m going to level with you, folks. It’s 2 am, and one of my friends took me away from my computer to get vodka’d up earlier this evening, so I’m only just coming off of that. But I can say, with some degree of certainty, that I think we’ve found yet another rebooted Rogue. It’s been speculated by fans that Turbine is the reboot version of the Top. They even share the same first name! Well, say hello to Albert, one of the Central citizens sharing a tank with Iris West. He may or may not be the reboot version of Doctor Alchemy. I’m honestly only going on the fact that he started to glow and then somehow managed to get the tank to shoot a mammoth (I know, right?). For all I know, he could be like Mob Rule, a completely new character. In any case, I’d like to see more of him. This issue further outlines the whys and hows of Barry and Iris not getting together. See, she asked him out right after her brother was jailed, leading Barry to believe that she was only trying to get him to help free her brother. Which, I mean, she kind of was, but she felt scummy over it. Thought I did like Daniel’s line: “What’s the matter?! Did I mess up your big chance with Barry Allen?!” Oh, honey. You have no idea.

And that’s this week in comics. If you’d like to save $4, don’t buy the tie-in comic to Injustice: Gods Among Us. Not worth it in any way. (Spoiler alert: if you like literally anyone related to Superman, they die. They just fucking die.) Glory and Hawkeye also came out this week! But I, uh, sort of grabbed the wrong issue of Hawkeye, as both the reprint of #5 and #7 came out at the same time. So, nuts. That was this week in comics. Next week, we tackle Animal Man, Swamp Thing, and, uh, possibly that Valentine’s special DC’s doing. Possibly. 

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