After the events of Death of the Family, the dynamic duo of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo brings us a simple story involving one of Batman’s most persistent enemies, Clayface. While nothing really new has been brought to the table as far as the villain is concerned, it’s actually the fallout of Bruce’s recent loss that makes this story so compelling.
Clayface’s motivations are pretty standard supervillain fare. It’s never really stated exactly what Clayface needs the money for, but Basil Karlo has never been that complex of a villain. Suffice it to say, all that needs to be known for this tale is that Clayface’s plan is to lure Batman out to finally get rid of him once and for all. This issue is probably the closest he’s come to doing just that, but we should know by now that Batman is much too smart for the one-time-actor. For a more intelligent person with Clayface’s abilities, Batman would probably have much more trouble defeating him, since Clayface can transform himself into just about anyone, right down to their DNA. Fortunately, Karlo is no match for Batman’s mind.
Most of the story takes place in the Wayne Enterprises R&D department, where Bruce Wayne works on his Batman Inc. tech, such as the Bat-Bots or “RoBats,” which were pretty much all destroyed in Batman Inc. #10. The whole Batman Inc. concept has been a bit controversial amongst fans, with many feeling that it puts Bruce’s secret identity in jeopardy. This issue hardly does anything to prove the detractors wrong, since Clayface was able to find his lab so easily. As mentioned earlier, however, it’s a good thing Clayface isn’t exactly intelligent enough to connect the dots. Many fans have also pointed out that there should be more villains targeting Bruce, since he is Batman’s benefactor. Others have countered that argument by surmising that most of Batman’s enemies might fear retaliation from their foe, as Batman is the last person to be trifled with.
Regardless of any problems one might have with the simplicity of this story or the logic problems within (why didn’t Clayface practice more subtlety?), it’s still a great read. Particularly, during a certain part of the story where Clayface gets a bit too personal regarding the loss of Bruce Wayne’s son. The reader feels the punch in the gut about the same time Bruce does after Clayface’s crass remarks and wants nothing more than to see Batman tear him apart. Snyder does a great job in manipulating the readers’ emotions concerning young Damian’s death, as well as showing a rare side of the (usually) cool, calm, and collected Batman.
By now, it should be no secret that Greg Capullo’s art is nothing short of stellar. This issue is no different. His renderings of Bruce’s determined face and Clayface’s grotesque transformations are just perfect, bringing an almost Manga-like quality to the title. He’s easily taken his place as one of the best Batman artists of all time, right alongside the greats. He compliments Snyder’s storytelling the same way Neal Adams complimented Denny O’Neil or Norm Breyfogle to Alan Grant.
James Tynion and Alex Maleev’s backup story is pretty terrific, as well, if a bit short and maybe just a bit too easily resolved. However, it’s the depiction of the relationship between Batman and Superman that makes it so enjoyable. In recent years before The New 52, the duo often found themselves to be at odds. Here in The New 52, however, they are once again more of the World’s Finest team they were decades ago. Batman actually referring to Superman as one of his best friends in this story just might make your heart smile a little. Next month begins Zero Year, which promises to add a whole new spin to Batman’s origins that we’ve never quite seen before, according to Snyder. That’s where this particular title will be for the next 11 months. Until then, enjoy this simple, but fun, two-parter. Things may not be so simple again for a while.
Welcome everyone to DC Confidential and the RETURN OF THE NERD! That is right, Bryan makes is triumphant return to the show to put in his two cents about Zero Year, Constantine, and the finale of Young Justice and Green Lantern. JP meanwhile cries for the shows he has lost, and admits to a love [...]
Now that a of couple weeks have passed and I’ve recovered from a bout of sickness, as well as bouncing back from sheer exhaustion related to work issues and my own personal state of sanity (insanity?), I think it’s time I did a recap of Emerald City Comicon 2013. The second largest convention in Washington State following Penny Arcade Expo (PAX), ECCC has grown larger and larger over the years and, in its 11th year, has finally graduated into what can only be described as “kind of a big deal.” At least if you’re of the nerdy/geeky ilk. I have attended the convention for the past five years and in those five years I’ve seen it go from a casual celebration of comics and their creators to a sold out “you need to buy your passes now!” event. This was the first year, in fact, where con-goers had to buy tickets or they couldn’t get in, which I know disappointed many a casual convention attendee.
But aside from getting in, what still strikes me about the growth of ECCC is the loyalty it retains to comic book creators and artists. Yes, there are plenty of media guests and gaming areas, but ECCC, unlike San Diego Comicon, hasn’t become a Media Event. The only premiers in Seattle are for local filmmakers with plenty of comedy and art shows that complement the convention and its guests. It doesn’t shove all the comic book people into a small corner while waving the banner of attention over recent and not-yet-released movie franchises and television programs whose stars they managed to secure. Nope, at ECCC writers and artists are front and center along with vendors of every geeky variety. It’s a showcase and celebration of fandom and this year did not disappoint.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t secure any press passes (doesn’t mean I won’t try next year!), so there aren’t any interviews to put up; however, I have convinced a few creative teams to appear on future Word of the Nerd podcasts, so stay tuned for those! What I can do now is give a slight recap of the three and a half days I spent amongst my nerdy brethren and show a ton of pictures! Sound good? All right!
Day 1-ish: Technically this was an evening event, but it still counts as the official beginning of ECCC and it was the best way possible to open a comic book convention – a screening of the 1966 classic Batman movie starring Adam West and Burt Ward at the Cinerama! I owe a lot of my geekiness to my mother because, without her, I might not have seen this show. Luckily, it was one of her favorites growing up (plus she had a huge crush on Burt Ward), so when Nick-at-Night started showing reruns during the late 80′s and early 90′s, my sister and I would watch them along with her. The show, along with Batman: The Animated Series, made my love of Batman blossom.
The movie itself has a special place in my heart purely because of the opening sequence in which Batman fights off a shark. And while Arkham City (the game) paid homage to this most awesome of sequences, it’s something you have to watch to understand just how amazingly campy and wonderful the movie is. Friends of mine who’d never seen the movie were subjected to my re-telling of this scene alone, which I would start laughing through mid-explanation.
When I saw the announcement for the screening, I immediately got tickets for myself, my sister, and my mother because this was one of those few pieces of pop culture (other than maybe Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings) that we all share. Not only did we get a screening of the movie, but there was a little pre-movie interview with Burt Ward and Adam West, who were charming and hilarious. Adam West even received an honorary Adam West Day decree from the mayor of Seattle since West is from Walla Walla, Washington. It was a great start to an even greater weekend!
Day 2: I never really have a plan when I approach the convention. Don’t get me wrong, I look at the schedule and check out the programming available, but I always find that even when I try to make a plan for myself, I end up abandoning it because something else attracts my attention or I get caught up in an unexpected, but never unwelcome, conversation. Last year, I flat-out devoted my attention to the voice-over artists who attended, but this year was all about visiting as many artists and creators as I could. Since I started writing for Word of the Nerd, I’ve read and reviewed a lot of comics, which has also given me the opportunity to interact with many of the writers and artists involved, so my mission for this year was to meet as many of them as possible.
After trying to make any kind of sense of the main floor, which took up the entirety of the convention center in comparison to last year when most of the special guests and artist alley were in one section, it became abundantly clear that I was never going to make sense of it, so I just started walking around and looking at names. Sometimes it’s the only thing you can do. I have no ability to read a map, no matter how simple, but I have great muscle memory and a sense of awareness.
The first memorable moment happened within thirty minutes of the convention when I met Tony Parker. I’ve reviewed the recently concluded R.I.P.D.: City of the Damned and when I saw his name, I approached him and proclaimed that he was the one who drew R.I.P.D. If only my camera could have captured how much he lit up when I said those word. “Can I hug you?” was his response and I’m never one to turn down a free hug! We talked about R.I.P.D. and I looked at his originals for the comic, which were amazing! Like I said, his work has definitely grown on me. It was a great conversation and a great way to start off my comicon experience. He even did the inaugural sketch in the book I started passing around during the convention.
As the day progressed, I got to meet a lot of writers and artists who I was aware of either through works I’ve been reading or recommendations by others. I managed to meet Denny O’Neil, one of my favorite writers from the Bronze Age of comics. His book on how to write comics pretty much inspired me to write a comic of my own someday, so look out for that in the not-too-distant future! I also met Kyle Higgins, Scott Snyder, and Gail Simone. They each signed a little Joker bobble-head I got a few years ago and all of them were incredibly sweet, taking the time to at least listen to me gush and tell them how awesome they are while others waited to do the same. While Higgins and Snyder were great, I was most enamored with Gail Simone. Not only is she just an awesome person, but she’s been a tremendous source of inspiration to me as a writer. She’s one of many female creators who’ve set the bar high for some of us and I hope to meet it someday. Her husband was awesome as well, trying to figure out how my phone worked when Gail and I got our picture taken.
I spent the rest of the day meeting new artists and creators, many of whom were in Seattle for the first time or attending their first convention. Even if I didn’t end up buying something from them, the conversations had just by joking around while they did a sketch or talking about our favorite comics and creators was worth the price of admission. I’ve been lucky, so far, to have met very few assholes at ECCC. Maybe it’s the chill vibe of Seattle or the Valium we put in the coffee, but the first two days of comicon were absolutely fantastic. Though the next two days were guaranteed to have higher attendance, and therefore less room to breathe, I was just happy to be talking to and interacting with a cavalcade of comic book giants.
There’s more to follow, but as this article has gotten a bit long, I’ll leave you with the remaining sketches I got on the first official day. See you back here for part 2!
Welcome to another episode of DC Confidential. On this episode Sean is back, though he disappears randomly, Jack sounds like a robot, and JP and Sam argue about Batman Zero Year. Also the panel is saddened by the impending doom of Young Justice, and JP’s poor choice in comic books. Lastly JP introduces an arbitrary [...]
No, it won’t replace Batman’s origin story. Instead, it will fill in the gaps of how Batman became the hero he is! It’s an 11-part story called “The Zero Year,” and it will begin in June.
On Monday, Scott Snyder told the Associated Press the following: “It’s time for a new story showing how Batman became who he is in the New 52.”
“It’s not ‘let’s redo the origin,’” he said. This decision was based on the success of the New 52 since it began a year and a half ago. Fans will see how the crime fighter found his calling and what challenges he faced when first donning the mantle of the Dark Knight.
“We tried to preserve as much of Batman’s history as we could and keep what we could of this history intact,” Snyder said of this event he’s creating with ongoing artist Greg Capullo. “It’s ‘The Zero Year,’ the one that no one has told the story of before. We see how Bruce became the Batman, built the cave, faced off with his first super villain.”
“We’re not going to take apart ‘Year One,’” Snyder said, referring to the Frank Miller/David Mazzucchelli four-issue tale. Instead Snyder, an Eagle Award-winning writer, will give readers new glimpses into the Bob Kane-created character who made his first appearance in the pages of Detective Comics #27 way back in May, 1939.
“It’s time for a new story showing how Batman became who he is in the New 52,” said Snyder. “It builds up the mythology.”
Of course, not everyone is happy to hear about this. Some feel that many of the New 52 stories have gone on too long, including the Court of Owls tale that took a year. Also, others think this story shouldn’t interrupt the current tales being told in Batman.
But I think Mr. Snyder and Co. have known just how long a story will take, such as the Joker’s recent battle with Batman and family. So I’m willing to let the gang tell the stories they want to tell.
And as a long-time Batman fan, I couldn’t be happier! I’ll be ready for to June arrive and for “The Zero Year” to get underway!
On this week’s episode of DC Confidential, Hilton makes his triumphant return to the show. Find out what he and Sam think of Damian’s untimely demise and why JP thinks the other death of the month had a great impact. They the crew debate whether Warner may get too much of a good thing should [...]
Understand one thing, DC Comics: I’m not angry. I’m disappointed. Do I really need to link Max Landis’s video about “The Death and Return of Superman” to this article? Because I’ll do it. Don’t believe me? There! Done and done! Ya wanna know why I did that? Because everyone knows that death is meaningless in comics. It’s a stone cold fact. The only deaths that have ever, in the history of comics, remained fixed points in time are the deaths of Thomas and Martha Wayne and Ben Parker. Why? Because they are necessary for the creation of Batman and Spider-Man. That’s the only reason why deaths even occur anymore. It’s a means of creation, a motivation that drives heroes to fight for justice or pushes villains over the edge. But as a storyline, as an event to shake up the universe (even though it just gets us back to the status quo), death is the laziest plot point in comics. It serves no purpose other than to sell books. So, yes, well done. You’ve made a lot of money at the expense of a character who was showing tremendous growth and had nothing but potential.
Damian Wayne was one of the best things to happen to the world of Batman in a long time. He monumentally shook up the status quo of the Bat-family in the best ways possible because he was so different from what we’d seen before. His motivations were different, his upbringing was different, and his personality—a snotty, bratty, entitled, and elitist sociopath—made him the perfect foil for everyone in the Bat universe. But he was also the heir to two warring dynasties, which gave him a fantastic starting point from which to begin his journey. For Damian, everything was about family. He craved Bruce’s love and respect, despite his aloofness, and he begrudgingly began to respect and accept his surrogate brothers (even Tim). War of the Robins was one of the best mini-arcs in Batman and Robin because it solidified the relationships between Batman’s many sidekicks while reinforcing the importance of the Robin legacy. Damian sought to prove himself the best Robin because he saw the title as one deserving of respect and the next step towards donning the cape and cowl as Batman, a mantle he believed himself heir to as well.
Oh, wait, I forgot! Silly Sam! This is DC Comics! You guys hate legacy even though you have the longest and richest history of characters in comic books! God forbid that seven years worth of stories matter to a character or seventy plus years (condensed into five) of history affect the relationships amongst your heroes. Nope, we can’t have a kid hanging around who could potentially grow up the way his predecessors have. That would be ridiculous! Oh, look, he’s growing as a person, he’s changing under the guidance of his family… better kill him before he becomes even more interesting!
And the worst part of it is that Damian’s death is extra meaningless because the death of a Robin has already been done. Jason Todd and Stephanie Brown both “died” while wearing the red R and both of them eventually came back from the dead. In fact, Jason’s death still defines him in the New 52, the one thing that separates him from Dick and Tim other than his prickly personality, which is a trait he also shared with Damian. Re-treading old ground with the loss of not only a partner but a son for Batman is actually a bit mean-spirited when you consider the progress Damian’s made since his introduction in Batman & Son (2006). However most people feel about Grant Morrison’s run on Batman, Batman and Robin, and Batman, Inc., his greatest contribution was, and always will be Damian as well as the partnership between Damian and Dick during Batman and Robin. That being said, Morrison doesn’t own Damian, and by giving him the go-ahead to kill him off in a book that was only eight issues in—compared to the year-and-a-half worth of stories post-reboot—shows you really don’t know your readers very well.
And with all respect to Mr. Morrison, your explanations for why Damian had to die are complete bullshit!
“He saves the world. He does his job as Robin. He dies an absolute hero.” (Source: The New York Post)
“In many ways this has been Damian’s story as much as it has been the story of Bruce Wayne, and it’s a story that had its end planned a long time ago – for what son could ever hope to replace a father like Batman, who never dies?” (Source: DC Comics)
Really? I’m pretty sure Dick, Jason, Tim, and Stephanie all saved the world at one point or another. They did their jobs, so why does that mean Damian has to die? How does taking down your own genetically enhanced clone become a prelude to death? And that whole bit about the futility of replacing a seemingly immortal father? Hmmm, let’s see… Nightwing, Red Hood, Red Robin… pretty sure all of Bruce’s sons have found a way to do that! Ya know what? I think you just had it planned out, and when Damian became popular, you just said “fuck all!” and kept your story going the way you wanted without bothering to account for what other writers like Scott Snyder and Peter J. Tomasi were doing with Damian.
That’s another thing, DC. If your whole schtick about the New 52 was to get new and younger readers, why the hell would you let the only Robin they’ve known die? And in the pages of the lowest selling book amongst the Bat-titles that’s so far out of sync with the others that it might as well be its own universe? Why does Morrison get to dictate the shape of Batman’s world when he’s had nothing to do with it since the reboot? Damian will be back, we all know it, we all anticipate the “event” that will resurrect him, but going this far to finish one man’s story and shake the foundations of the already crumbling Bat-family is just low.
“I HATE nothing more on this Earth than you, Joker. NOTHING.”
Here’s the description for Batman #17: “This is it: The stunning conclusion to ‘DEATH OF THE FAMILY!’ Who lives? Who dies? Who laughs last? Find out as Batman and The Joker face off one last time!”
The initial paragraph is a direct quote from the Dark Knight as he discovers just what the Clown Prince of Crime has been saving for him in this issue. It takes a lot for Batman to react that way, and the Joker has accomplished it in spades!
First up, some broad strokes from me. “Death of the Family” will be the gold standard by which all other Joker stories will be measured. I’ve always felt that the Joker’s appearances should mean something, be something important when they happen. Too often, he’s shown up just to be silly or stupid and to sell more issues than the average Batman family comic. This story kept me on the edge of my seat until the very last panel, and even then has me wondering what might happen next.
Scott Snyder’s script is fast-moving and shocking, making us think certain actions have taken place. If you think you know what’s going on, just wait until you turn the page! There are stunning developments on nearly every page of this last chapter of “Death of the Family,” appropriately titled, “The Punchline.”
Greg Capullo’s art matches the script, at times revealing just what’s going on instead of using word balloons. I love that! And the cover (which you can see above) is creepy to the max, with the Joker dancing with a blood-stained Bat-costume.
This story, like the “Night of the Owls” hardcover that also came out today, needs to be collected into a big volume as well! Wow!
If you don’t want to be spoiled, now’s the time to bail out!
Several sequences simply took my breath away, including:
The “first course” showing the faces of Batman’s allies after we saw their heads wrapped in bandages. I could see the Joker doing that to them as he did to himself! And the resolution to that portion of the book also had me gasping.
Alfred appearing in Joker-like pale skin. On some levels, I was reminded of when he became The Outsider back in the 1960s.
The Bat-family attacking each other, with Alfred coming to their rescue.
Batman taunting the Joker, trying to whisper the Clown Prince of Crime’s real identity into his ear, calling him “Darling,” something the Joker has called Batman many times in the past. Chilling!
The explanation for why Batman wasn’t worried about the Joker knowing his secret identity.
The family needing time apart to recover from whatever it was Joker told them.
Finally, the name and element symbol for the isotope Joker used on the family. And the fly inside the Batcave. I still get chills thinking about that!
Really, if there was a way to give this a higher grade, I would, but the best I can do is:
Rating: 5 out of 5.
I simply can’t wait for more from Batman’s newest dynamic duo, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo!
This Week’s “New 52” Reviews:Batgirl#17 shows the character’s role in the DCU after the “Death of the Family” event. Batman and Robin features the duo having toprotect Gotham City in the week leading up to the 300th anniversary of the city’s founding. Demon Knights shows Vandal Savage trying to rescue Jason Blood. Katana #1 has the former assassin on a noble quest to restore the Outsiders to their former glory. Superboy continues the “H’el on Earth” event. Threshold #2 has renegade Green Lantern Jediah Caul fighting the Blue Beetle. Deathstroke is hired by a corporation to track down an attacker. Suicide Squad has a dangerous surprise from Yo-Yo’s past awaiting the Squad.Team 7 shows the secret history of the original Cyborg program. The Ravagers #9 has the team wondering if Caitlin is helping Thunder or killing him.
This week was DC-intensive for me, but the book that stood out for me, a long-time fan of the Dark Knight, was the first Batman and Robin annual.
Here’s the comic’s description: “Robin leads Batman on an unrelenting hunt across the globe for family secrets that promise to change them both forever. If you think you know Bruce Wayne … think again!”
I’ve read stories about Batman and the various Robins for years. It’s really rare when a story tells me things about my favorite hero that I don’t know.
This comic does that, in spades!
Damien proves his detective skills by showing his father elements of the Wayne family’s past that Bruce has either forgotten or never knew. He also understands his father enough to know that it won’t do to simply show what’s been discovered. He has to lead his “dad” on a merry chase around the globe to make them worth something.
This is the very first appearance of Damien where I actually believed he truly is Bruce’s son. What Damien has in store for Bruce, and us as well, adds a lot of interesting facts to the Wayne family history. It reminds me a lot of the Gates of Gotham miniseries in that there’s still a lot of mythology around Gotham and the Waynes that has yet to be told.
Peter J. Tomasi has crafted a powerful, dynamic story that features Damien wearing a Gotham by Gaslight-style costume, another fascinating thing for those of us who are long-time fans to enjoy.
Ardian Syaf’s art matches the tale with powerful, clear graphics that propel us along quickly.
Everything wraps up with a wonderful Alfred moment that made me laugh! Nicely done!
I hope all the “New 52″ annuals are as good as this one! Wow!
Rating: 5 out of 5
This Week’s “New 52” Reviews:Batman: The Dark Knight #16 introduces new artist Ethan Van Sciver, who joins Gregg Hurwitz in a tale about the Mad Hatter. I also really enjoyed The Flash, in which the Scarlet Speedster fights Gorilla Grodd with the help of the Rogues. Teen Titans continues the “Death of the Family” event, squaring Red Robin off against the Red Hood. Aquaman takes us deeper inside the “Throne of Atlantis” event. Talon #4 has Calvin Rose trying to survive an attack by the Gotham Butcher. Next, I enjoyed Superman #16, which draws us closer to the end of the “H’El on Earth” story. Green Lantern Corps Annual #1 concludes the “Rise of the Third Army,” and also leads into the “Wrath of the First Lantern.” The Savage Hawkman shows Hawkman wrapping up his battle with Shayera! Justice League Dark has the team back on their heels, and Deadman back as a ghost again. The Fury Of Firestorm #16 has more greatness from Dan Jurgens. Batman, Inc., continues Talia’s all-out war on Batman. All-Star Western shows Jonah Hex being driven mad as he recuperates at Dr. Arkham’s house, where he meets more of the Arkham family than anyone would ever want to! Red Lanterns #16 sees a significant change happen to the Manhunters. I, Vampire reveals the true origin of vampires in “The New 52″ through the life and times of Cain!
Hey Nerdites! On this week’s episode JP and Sam are joined by Jack and Wayne to talk Dark Universe and its many implications. They also discuss the disaster that is Cartoon Network and the impact it is having on our favorite shows. Make sure to tune in to this Justice League Dark spectacular!
As a “seasoned” reader of comics, I’m pretty used to change. Characters get new costumes or die, writers and artists come and go, titles are renumbered, etc., etc., etc. I’m actually surprised when things that are good actually stay that way!
That said, I’ve always been a big DC Comics fan. I like their heroes and villains, I prefer their perspective on comics, and I applaud creators who take chances. (I think the “New 52″ is a prime example of taking a risk and having it work out, especially financially.)
This doesn’t mean they’re perfect or always right, though.
One of the biggest criticisms of DC in the last couple of decades has been that they can’t (or don’t) keep the great creators on their books long enough. Often a team will be going for a year, then a new group of folks will come in, which happens again a year later, and again and again until the comic has lost all of its energy and disappears from comics shops. Sadly, this is a valid criticism from my perspective.
Marvel, on the other hand, seems to be able to keep their successful teams together for decades at a time. (To be fair, DC used to be very good at this in times past. For example, how long did Curt Swan draw Superman? A very long time!)
I recently heard some good news, and that focuses on J.M. DeMatteis joining Phantom Stranger as a co-writer. As much as I like Dan DiDio, Mr. DeMatteis is one of the greats when it comes to writing “extranormal” characters, as I like to call them. This will make my buying Stranger a lot happier! Good call!
Sadly, the other end of the spectrum is exemplified by Gail Simone and Batgirl, as was recently reported and discussed by Samantha Cross here on WordoftheNerdOnline.com.
I have to say that I have appreciated Barbara Gordon as Batgirl since the very first time she donned the black, yellow and blue back in the 1960s. She even used a red purse at that time, in that unenlightened era. (Yes, I’m that old!) I was thrilled when I heard she’d be back in her tights again!
And I was very happy to hear that Gail Simone would be writing her comic. I’ve long been a fan of Ms. Simone’s writing. Besides the fact that she can spin a yarn with the best of them, she’s a woman, and I often say that we don’t have enough female comics characters OR creators in the industry.
And things have been going very well in the title since it started over a year ago, in my opinion.
I was very sorry to hear the news that she’s no longer going to be writing Batgirl.
All this leads to two questions: Will I stop buying Batgirl? Will I stop purchasing Ms. Simone’s work in the future?
The answer to both is, succinctly, no. I’m a fan of each, and I will thus continue to buy Batgirl and will be happy to support Ms. Simone in her future endeavors, wherever they take place.
Sometimes comics are like television in that what happens behind the camera influences what we see on the small screen. I have no idea why Batgirl is being handed to another writer, and I’ll likely never know exactly why.
But I’m too big of a fan of both ladies to give up on either of them.
However, if I have one suggestion to make to DC, it would be, when you find a team that creates a great comic, PLEASE do whatever it takes to keep them on it! I mean, Superman has been on a merry-go-round for his entire time since the “New 52″ started.
And whatever Scott Snyder and Jeff Lemire want, for pity’s sake, just give it to them, okay?
Let me just get this out of the way right now…Scott Snyder is a god. That being said I can now get into the meat and potatoes of this review. It seems that Snyder can do no wrong as far as Batman is concerned and he has proven it once again.
After a rather cruel and lengthy advertising blitz leading up to this anticipated story arc, we finally get thrown full-force into the story as Joker reveals his plans for the Bat Family to Batman. Now I wanted to make this review as spoiler free as possible, so if you have not read Batman #14 yet, you better hurry up because I have a feeling this will be a highly talked about issue.
The Joker is back and appears to be more dangerous than ever. After killing nearly 20 Gotham police officers as Commissioner Gordon helplessly looked on, Joker has now set his sights on Bruce Wayne and members of the Bat Family. Batman narrowly escapes a trap set by Joker and Harley to later find that Joker is already one step ahead of him. Now see? That wasn’t so bad and practically spoiler free.
There was a time for me as a comic book fan, I would find a Batman/Joker story arc to be all “been there, done that”. Perhaps it is the New 52 relaunch that has me all nostalgic for some of those classic confrontations from the 70s and 80s. I think mainly it’s because we haven’t hardly seen Joker in the New 52. Add to the mix that he going after Batman’s allies and then remember his past with Barbara Gordon (Batgirl), Jason Todd (Red Hood) and then Damian Wayne. How will Batman react if Joker got his hands on his very own son?
When you think about it on several levels, this is all somewhat familiar territory. The past incidents with Barbara and Jason. The unknown factor of Damian thrown in and it all reminds me a little of Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker. Joker and Harley capture Robin (Tim Drake), torture him and turn him into a little mini-Joker. It was all pretty horrifying at the time I saw it and it drove Batman to put an end to Joker once and for all…or so he thought. Watch the movie, you’ll be glad you did.
Since the first issue I’ve had nothing but adulation for Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo‘s work with Batman. They have really become one of DC Comics’ dynamic duos. It’s almost as good as having Snyder and Jim Lee work together…oh wait, that is coming too. But I cannot say for certain whether this book would be as good if one of the two weren’t working on it. Snyder seems to have the Midas touch when it comes to writing these days and his services are highly sought after.
“Don’t think about it Bruce. Don’t think about how quiet it is on the road tonight. Quiet because you’re supposed to be talking to Alfred right now. It’s when you always call him, on the way to battle.”
Writing and art are both top notch again in this issue (as if you expected less) and I think we’ve only scratched the surface of this story arc. I am eager to see what Gail Simone, Peter Tomasi, Ann Nocenti, Adam Glass, Kyle Higgins, John Layman, Scott Lobdell and James Tynion do with their books as this arc continues. Yes it is truly a great time to be a DC Comics fan with all the big events going on.
New York Comic-Con was the highlight of the week, and attention-getting announcements came aplenty.
Highlights from the Big Two include:
January’s new Superior Spider-Man series WON’T feature Peter Parker, but whoever’s going to wear that mask is locking lips with a startled Mary Jane in a cover for issue #2. This new Spidey is supposed to be darker and more aggressive, which hasn’t sat well with a lot of folks on the Comic Book Movie comments board
A new Secret Avengers #1 comic is due February, by writer Nick Spencer and artist Luke Ross. This team of undercover Avengers has parallels with the movie version. Members include Hawkeye and Black Widow, and Agent Coulson and a very Sam Jackson-looking Nick Fury will appear
Brian Michael Bendis and Steve McNiven are relaunching a new Guardians of the Galaxy series in February, with Iron Man as a member
Black Widow’s past comes back to haunt her in Avengers Assemble #12 & #13 in November
The next turning points in the “Rise of the Third Army” Green Lantern storyline sees Guy Gardner teaming up with new Lantern Simon Baz, who seemed well-received by the con audience
Scott Snyder and Jim Lee will launch a new Superman book next year
Artist Paul Pelletier will begin penciling Aquaman with February’s issue #15
In New 52 news, fans clamoring for the returns of Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown were urged to “keep reading”
The upcomingJustice League of America series will make Martian Manhunter the most dangerous DC superhero, according to series writer Geoff Johns
Rumors out of Toronto this week are that comic artist Jim Lee and writer Scott Snyder will launch a new Superman comic titled Man of Steel. O Canada, please don’t be a tease!
Scott Snyder is currently working on Batman andSwamp Thing. He has said before that he would like to work on a Superman title but not at the expense of his work on Batman, so I don’t think we have to worry about him leaving Gotham for Metropolis.
Jim Lee is currently working on Justice League but will be leaving the series around issue #16. Some believe he could be leaving due to a revival of his first title for Wildstorm Comics – WildCATS.
If true, Man of Steel would be launching sometime around the middle of 2013, coinciding with DC’s Comics Fifth Wave. This also would conveniently be the same time as the release of the upcoming Man of Steel movie.
Saying that it would be awesome for these two to combine their talent would be an understatement. With the art of Jim Lee and the creativity of Scott Snyder this collaboration is destined to be one of the most popular titles in the Superman stable. This is definitely a story to follow as any more information becomes available. I’ll be watching Lee‘s and Snyder’s Twitter feeds closely for any hints that this is more than a misheard conversation in a Toronto bar.
Canada is often called the True North Strong and Free, so here’s to hoping that the news of this pairing is the truth and we’ll be drawing a big red S shield on our calendars in June 2013 very soon.
Vertigo’sAmerican Vampire #30 seems simple enough. Rafael Albuquerque’s stylistic scratchings have become synonymous with period dressed vampires for me and as I set down to read the latest issue I am instantly at home. The first several pages go on, seemingly of mild note, building character history. The entire issue seems to be expounding on the character drama that is plaguing our heroine, Pearl, as her husband lies broken in a VMS hospital bed. She and our favorite bad guy, Skinner Sweet, move steadily down the black list that provides the inspiration for the story arc, and as a reader you are just excited to see Pearl rip some vampires to shreds.
The entire issue seems to be lulling you into mid-arc complacency, selling itself as a story mover, with some action. And then things change. I will not say that Snyder throws a curveball. What happens with Pearl and Sweet are not necessarily unforeseen, but the pacing and timing of the book still makes the event shocking. Additionally it seems as though something that readers have been waiting to happen is just there, and at least for me I had to take a moment to process the ramifications. Pearl has always struggled with her conflicting lives, always teetering on the edge both psychologically and morally, this issue sharpens that edge and by the end will have your heart racing.
While Snyder may have had to write a song to complete this issue (yeah a song), Albuquerque should be getting a Grammy for orchestrating this book. In a book that has moments of true character interaction, a great action sequence, and an even more important and passionate ending, Albuquerque’s art never misses a beat. The way he balances the vampire and the person in the final panels makes them brilliant in a way that you will have to see to truly understand.
This book continues to be amazing month in and month out and this week is no different. This issue may not be my favorite of the series, but it is easily one of the most important as it will be the launching point for the roller coaster to come. And as if that was not enough, Jock‘s cover this month is just stunning, hitting on all the right notes. So please do yourself a favor and pick this book up.
Another chapter in the Rob Liefeld story has been written in the most literal sense as Rob took it upon himself to attack the success of Scott Snyder and his Batman series on twitter saying “It’s not you. It never has been. It’s Batman.” From what I have heard, Scott tried to keep this a private matter but Rob decided everyone should know.
I am by no means taking sides or judging anyone, I am just doing my best to report the facts as I am a fan of both of these guys and it’s a shame that all this went down like it did.
I don’t know what will happen next in this comic drama but it goes to show you how the internet has turned what were personal matters that no one would’ve known about into a public dirt slinging contest that is very unfortunate because, as I said, I am a fan of both parties and admire their work very much.
Ok, I’m going to put a couple excerpts from this conversation and I use that term lightly. So brace yourself because it’s kinda raw.
September is going to be another big month for DC Comics. The New 52 will see a month-long release of #0 issues expanding on the back stories of each title. I will admit, the regular covers themselves are quite impressive (at least to this fan) but today we were treated to a peek at Andy Clarke’s variant cover for Batman #0.
Chalk this one up to poorly timed and bad marketing. With all the carefully placed spoilers DC has put out for the reveal of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo‘s new Joker, DC may have ruined all the hype by revealing the new Joker sooner than Snyder and Capullo may have wanted.
When DC Comics released solicits for their November titles today, three images have some more than subtle clues to Joker’s new look. While the biggest spoiler of them all isn’t Greg Capullo’s actual version of the Joker, it was clearly taken from his design. Capullo posted his disappointment and frustration with the leak on his Twitter page today.
As careful as I’ve been to save revealing our new Joker, the powers that be have let it out ahead if our book. Stay tuned fir MY pics
In my younger days, I’d have punched several holes in the walls of my office by now. Rest assured, I will give you terror when I draw him
When I draw it, THAT will be it
Try not to look at it. Wait for ours if you can
The more I’ve thought about the Joker leak, the more I began thinking that it may have been for the best. The fact is, the way Scott and I.. will give you the Joker may have been too much for some with out this diluted sample hitting the web. DC, rightly so, had concerns about- Our images and story. Perhaps they leaked this intentionally to test the waters or to acclimate your minds to what is coming from us.
Team Batman knows how to do one thing. Destroy. So, even if you do see the leak, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Trust me
The three images in question are from the fourteenth issues of Batman, Catwoman and Batgirl. By this writer’s standards the fateful image (from Batgirl #14) doesn’t completely give away Joker’s new look; however I can see where this slip up on DC’s part may have disappointed Snyder and Capullo as well as fans who have eagerly been anticipating the reveal of Capullo’s image.
Both Snyder and Capullo have been blowing up Twitter today reassuring fans to wait until their image is released.
Wait til you see @GregCapullo’s work on this one…Best yet by far. Joker looks terrifyingly new and classic all at once.
I’m still not going to reveal my sketches. I won’t let this incident blow the works. Be patient. Terror is heading our way.
So what do you think? Ultimate spoiler spoiled by DC or is it just a marketing ploy?
I really liked the Court of Owls story that was told in the first 11 issues of Batman. No really, I mean my son’s name is Talon, and I happen to have a steampunk owl tattooed across my ribs (five straight hours people), that I got to represent my son. So needless to say when I saw that Scott Snyder was taking something I clearly already loved and mixing it with my favorite hero, I was excited. But as much as I loved those other books, issue 12 has to be one of my favorites, if not my actual favorite.
In the “epilogue” to the Court of Owls story, we follow the adventures of Harper Row and her brother, two emancipated teenagers trying to make their way in Gotham’s seediest neighborhood. I have to start by saying I love the way Snyder writes young people in these situations. As I was reading the book I was drawn to Harper in much the same way I was drawn to Travis Kidd from American Vampire and Sam from Severed. There is just an honesty to the characters that makes their small triumphs feel like your own. The entire story feels very sincere and oddly relatable for a Batman book. The abuse and hate taken by Harper’s brother, Cullen, can easily be that of any child deemed an easy target by their neighborhood bullies. And the small hints of correlation back to the reveal of Court of Owls are both subtle and well received. All I will say is that Harper seems like someone we will want around for years to come, and while Batman may have the highly contested Damian as his current Robin, there is an opening for the position of Oracle in the Batverse.
If you do not know the work of Becky Cloonan yet, then you should, she is amazing.I have always been a fan of how she can use bold blacks in her work to actually soften the images. Harper really benefits from Cloonan’s touch here, and her personality comes through in the art just as much as in the dialogue. I also think Snyder’s story is sculpted to accentuate the facial expressions that I think Cloonan does so well. Part of any set of sequential art is allowing the reader to become entranced in the images even though their brain is in the process of reading words, and I can get lost in the eyes of Cloonan’s characters. Greg Capullo does the scary stuff well, and his cover for this book is amazing, but you will love that they switched it up for this story. Well played DC.
The last several pages are actually done by James Tynion writing and Andy Clarke on art. You can tell they did not want to mess with a good thing because to the average reader they will not immediately pick up on the switch. This book could just be a nice little one shot, or with any luck the beginning of an awesome character, either way it is worth your dollars. Pick it up and let us know what you think!
Scott Snyder’s run on Batman has constantly been the best book to come out of the New 52 (which isn’t so new anymore) and it has relied a lot on the artwork of Greg Capullo. Now, the Joker is returning to the Bat-universe this October, with a new look.
This new story is going to be so intense, so violent, that Capullo has recommend any readers with health issues, either steer clear, or check with their doctor before reading Death of the Family.
The Joker hasn’t appeared in comics since Detective Comics #1, where he had his face cut off, and this has given Capullo a chance to really experiment with the character.
Capullo told Newsarama in a two part interview: “Scott and I are working on the details now of how we want to handle that. We’re putting together some visuals for the story now. It’s going to be very different than what people have seen with The Joker prior.
“Let’s put it this way. I would have put my own slant on the way the Joker looks traditionally anyway.
“It amplifies it. We’re turning the Joker up a notch, you know? If you can turn the Joker up any higher.
“I would say that if you have any kind of heart conditions, or any kind of medical issues that could cause seizures or what-not, that you should check with a doctor prior to buying this story arc, because we don’t want to be responsible. DC does not want to be responsible for any fatalities or hospitalization or young or old people who may encounter this story and it just simply be too much for their system.”
Death of the Family, a play on Death in the Family where Jason Todd dies, will run for five issues starting with Batman #13. It all comes to a head in an oversized book with Batman #18 and could possibly be the biggest book of next year.
As well as this, the new look Joker will seep out into Batgirl, Batman and Robin, Suicide Squad, Nightwing, Red Hood and the Outlaws, Catwoman and Teen Titans. It seems only Batwoman will go untouched once again.
Batman #13 goes on sale this October – probably best not to miss it.