Posts tagged Death of the Family

The Batfamily is dead, long live the Batfamily

Ladies and gentlemen, the end has come at last. Five months and over a dozen related issues since it began, Death of the Family is finally freaking over. I could weep. Batman is the only book we’ll be looking at this week, sadly, but hey. I’m keeping to my pledge of not buying thing I don’t actually want to read! Who’s proud of me? Well…I’m proud of me, anyway. 

MASSIVE SPOILERS FOR BATMAN #17 TO FOLLOW

To the surprise of exactly no one, or at least, the people who understand the concept of marketing popular characters, no one actually died in Death of the Family. Yes, it may seem as though the Joker died, but the man survived having his face cut off. I think he can take a little fall off a cliff. However, he did succeed in what he’d been aiming to do. You see, a family can die in several ways. While Joker failed in his original plan, to kill all the outlying members of the Batfamily themselves, he did kill the idea itself. Bruce’s kids no longer trust him, after spending hours in the dark with Joker. He put thoughts in their heads, doubts, and in the end, causing the living mind to doubt can be more effective than killing the body.

Death of the Family was a flawed crossover arc, but the main story had a clear, cohesive plot that did exactly what it said it was going to. The Joker destroyed the Batfamily, without truly lifting a destructive finger towards any of them. Though their bodies may be mostly unharmed, their minds might never recover from the perceived betrayal at the hands of their patriarch. Only time will tell.

My apologies for the short review, but hey! Next week, we’ll be looking at Batwoman, Supergirl, Wonder Woman, and a special DC Universe Presents focused on Roy Harper! Have an excellent week!

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Someone hold my earrings, I’m about to do some jimmie-rustling.

I’m going to skip the intro and cut straight to the chase: I’m so sick of Death of the Family, I could hurl. Today, I went to my LCS looking forward to absolutely nothing, and you know what? Two doors down from the place I subscribe at, is a brand spanking new Alcoholics Anonymous rehabilitation center. I took it as a sign.

You see, in my experience, alcoholics are people with addictive personalities. They start out as folks who drink to take the edge off a hard day. Then they drink to forget. Then they drink because it’s the only thing that feels good anymore. Where am I going with this? I am an addict. I’m addicted to comic books and damn it, I’ve only been getting the bad shit, lately.

I bought one comic this week, and that comic is Batman. Do you know why? I still have faith in Scott Snyder to deliver an amazing story, even when everyone else he’s been collaborating with has failed. Sure, there have been decent individual issues (Suicide Squad #15 springs to mind), but the overall stories? In Batgirl, the Joker is obsessed with marrying Babs before he kills her. In Red Hood, Joker is angry that Jason didn’t stay dead. In Batman and Robin, Joker’s main goal was to have Robin die at the hands of Batman. In Teen Titans, Joker wants Tim to stop trying to prove that he’s better than everyone…by killing him. Detective Comics is filler, Catwoman has nothing to do with anything other than the Joker proving that he can still freak Selina out, Suicide Squad is less about killing and more about Harley finding herself definitively and breaking away from the Joker, whereas in Nightwing…shit, don’t even ask me to remember, because I honestly can’t. See where I’m going with this? The main Batman book, while frustrating, is the only one with a decently-penned, coherent story. And speaking of which…

There is a reason I only bought Batman this week. I flipped to the ends of both Batgirl and Batman and Robin in the store, and they ended the exact same way. Joker, standing before them in his purple suit, holding a platter. Now, all of the DotF books tie directly into Batman. You could not read a single one and still get the general story: Joker has beaten and kidnapped all of Bruce’s ‘children’, and he’s going to kill them unless Batman stops him. Keeping this in mind, I honestly cannot see a way for Death of the Family to end without Batman finally killing the Joker. I just can’t. He’s stabbed Dick, gassed Tim and Jason, and, to Bruce’s knowledge, beaten the snot out of Damian and Babs. And now he’s holding them all somewhere, somewhere that Bruce can’t get to. So he’s playing Joker’s game. He’s going to let himself be taken to where his captive children are, and then together, they will take the pale man down once and for all.

Going back to the epiphany seeing that AA center next to my comic shop gave me for a moment, I’m done. I’m so done. I read an article recently about not buying comics because they have your favorite characters in them when you don’t like the story or the way the characters are being handled. About not buying comics just because you’re so used to buying the series that you can’t remember a time when you weren’t buying it. About speaking to the comic companies with your dollar instead of your angry, ranting blog posts. So that’s what I’m doing. 

I’m not going to buy books out of habit anymore. I’m not going to buy books I hate. If I’m going to plunk down $3 or $4 a book out of my incredibly meager paycheck, I’m going to make sure I actually want it.

So I guess, this is my way of officially breaking up with Teen Titans and Legion of Superheroes. I’ve tried to adjust to the OL being back, but I can’t. They’re not my team. And I refuse to put another dime towards a book Lobell is writing. I may even start picking up Red Hood and the Outlaws again, as he’s off that book once DotF finishes. Blue Beetle ends this month, as well, which is another book gone from my pull list. Batman Inc is set to wrap up in May, or at least, that’s when Grant Morrison is leaving the book. Will it survive without him? It might, but I probably won’t be there to read it. My LCS was shorted Suicide Squad today, which is why I didn’t pick it up, but it has, amazingly, been getting better. I said once that I’d follow Deadshot anywhere. It’s a hard decision, especially considering my tumultuous relationship with the various artists that have cycled through, and Adam Glass’ less than inspired writing, but after last month’s excellent wrap-up of Harley’s personal DotF storyline, I think I can give Suicide Squad another chance. 

So, after this month, that leaves me with a grand total of nine ongoing DC titles. Nine. When the reboot started, I was reading twenty-eight.

That really sort of puts this whole thing in a new perspective, for me. You see, these nine books? I truly enjoy. Because they hit that comics sweet spot by weaving decent to excellent art, interesting writing, compelling story arcs, and relateable characters into every issue. I’m reading them because they’re good comics. And you know what? My list should be a lot longer. Comics should be good.

DC has the potential for good comics at their fingertips, but they refuse to utilize the resources they have. Even with the reboot shenanigans, they’re still a widely respected comic company. Instead of reaching out to new talent that already have devoted fanbases that would follow that talent anywhere, they snap up writers and artists that haven’t been relevant for over a decade, and even then they were only relevant because people enjoyed complaining about them. I think we all know who I’m talking about.

In any case, I’m free! Ish. There are two more DotF books next week, but I’m fairly sure I can sweet-talk my way out of having to buy them. Aside from that, Batwoman! Minutemen! Blue Beetle! Supergirl! Wonder Woman! Ladies week returns, and with it, my happiness. I’m Touch of Grey, and I bid you a good night.

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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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Rottingly good comics!

Before I get to this week’s comics, I’d like to take a second to talk about what it means for Vertigo comics now that Karen Berger has left as an editor. Vertigo has been in a bit of a decline for a while. Not in quality, oh god no. American Vampire, which has just gone on a hiatus while Scott Snyder gets ahead on his other books, never fails to be one of my favorite comics to read all month. Sweet Tooth, which ends this month, has always been a fascinating read. It’s the main reason I was so excited to see Jeff Lemire on Animal Man! Punk Rock Jesus, the six-issue mini series I’ve been recommending (while not reviewing, because it would just be a paragraph of me flailing about how good it is), also ends this month. And then there’s Vertigo’s longest-running book, Hellblazer, which ends in March in order to bring John Constantine into the DCnU proper. While Fables and its spinoff Fairest are still going pretty strong, what else is there? I’ve read that the series Voodoo Child hasn’t been the best seller, but neither is The Unwritten. The Unwritten, however, has a very strong presence on bestseller lists as a collected trade rather than a single issue comic, the same may prove true for Voodoo Child. Still, Vertigo used to be a proving ground for new creators. If you could make it there, then by damn, you could make it anywhere! So, what happened? Well, if I’m going to be perfectly honest, my big theory involves money. Mainly, how non-cape books just don’t as well as cape comics. DC used to have an imprint called Minx. Graphic novels for girls! Yeah, that ended after 12 books, and a sequel to one of them, The New York Four, was published in single-issue format under the Vertigo banner. And now that many of the big character names are traveling into the DCnU, what will become of this formerly proud imprint? Something to think on.

It’s almost over! I’m not saying that happily, not really. Minutemen has been a pretty good part of Before Watchmen. The best part, really. After all, the original Watchmen book didn’t really touch on them at all. I don’t really have much to say about this fifth issue, other than, wow. Looks like we’re going to learn what ended up happening to Hooded Justice next issue.

Detective Comics is perfectly skippable. You’re not missing any important Death of the Family info. I just wish I’d known that before I blew $4 I didn’t have buying it.

The journey of Alec Holland continues! After fighting William Arcane, Alec loses Boston to the Rot…sort of. Deadman possessed William, giving Alec the chance to get away and head towards Gotham. Sadly, he’s a bit too late to reach Batman, though just in time to meet Barbara Gordon all Bat-serum’d up, a true Girl-Bat! The more interesting portion of this issue, to me, are the sections with Abby Arcane. What was her final fate in this world of the Rot? Actually, a better question would be, why is her uncle so determined to keep her under his control? He’s seen what her powers can do when she lets loose, and frankly, she’s more powerful than he is. It just makes no sense.

HOLY CROW! No, seriously. I’m sorry, Francis Manapul. I love you to death. But the opening pages of this month’s Animal Man were the best use of gorillas in the New 52, hands down. Aside from Grodd and his warriors, Mallah and Brain are used! They still exist! Oh, you’ve got no idea how pleased that makes me. I don’t know much about DC’s version of Frankenstein, but the second I saw him riding into battle with his patchwork army I thought to myself, yeah. That makes sense. The guy made of corpses is either going to be the most powerful Rotling of all, or completely immune. While Alec Holland is heading to Gotham over in Swamp Thing, Buddy and his Red Team are headed for Metropolis. And…they make it in one issue. Wow, go Team Red. Seriously, you get so much more done when you’ve got a necromancer’s army chauffeuring you around. I don’t want to spoil the big reveal at the end, but let me say this: I don’t recognize the guy. That means I’m going to be spending a bit of time on Wikipedia and Comicvine until I figure out just who our mystery hero is! On the flip side, we’ve got what could be the end of Maxine’s story. When last we saw Buddy’s Little Wing, she had just met up with William Arcane. Dang, that kid gets around! In any case, the little shit played his role quite well, leading her into a trap by the Hunters Two. What has become of her?! Well…let’s hope the world doesn’t end, because I’d like to find out next month!

And that’s this week in comics. On the Marvel side, the fifth issue of Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye is out today. It’s a great series, and I really do recommend it! Hope to see y’all back here next week when I tackle…well. It’s all Bat-books next week! Batman, Batgirl, Batman and Robin, and Suicide Squad for Death of the Family, and the new Ame-Comi Girls issue, starring Duela Dent!

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