The GeeksverseREVIEWS OF THE BAT: WEEK 1

REVIEWS OF THE BAT: WEEK 1
Published on Wednesday, June 20, 2012 by

REVIEWS OF THE BAT: WEEK 1

 I am a Bat-nerd. Batman has always held a fascination for me and though I have enjoyed immensely other comic titles at various times throughout my geekdom, I have inevitably always returned to the Caped Crusader time and time again. I guess I just love tragedy. There isn’t a writer (you know who I’m really talking about) out there that has ruined him for me.

So I have decided starting this week to do reviews on the Bat-related titles to go along with the standard reviews I do from eon to eon. Every week I will review each book tied to the Dark Knight, what I liked, what I didn’t. What I think works, what doesn’t. Will I review Batman Incorporated? Yes. Yes I will, it’s Batman and if I can’t keep an open mind to a writer who I think is the worst thing to happen to the Batman franchise since the 60’s and give an honest unbiased review, then I am not doing my job. So yes, I will review the Bat-Inc.

But that’s neither here nor there: On to the Reviews

 

BATMAN #10

 

Scott Snyder is bringing the saga of the Owls to a close with this penultimate issue featuring a reveal shocker that many will be talking about for the next 30 days. I have to say that the man behind the Court’s actions didn’t surprise me; I assumed he was involved fairly early on. However, the reveal of who he actually may be took me totally by surprise and gave me my first “OH COME ON!” reaction in this series since it started.

Ignoring that knee jerk reaction and taking time to think it over; I’m okay with who he is if he does indeed turn out to be who he says he is.

The artwork is as impressive as ever. Dan McCaig’s wonderful continuation of warm colors of browns and reds for the areas where the Court members roost is a wonderful contrast to the bleak, cold grays, blacks, whites, and blues that are ever present in the world of Batman. The subtle shifts away from the backgrounds of the Owl colors gives a nice physical image of the Courts power slipping under the unstoppable march of the Bat.

Scott and artist Greg Capullo are one of those creative teams that come along every once in a while. In tune with each other and sharing a unified vision on where they want to take the Bat within their universe; they have consistently brought one of the best stories to come out of any DC title since the Blackest Night descended several years ago.

James Tynion’s backup tale “Fall of the House of Wayne” is a wonderful dessert to the main course of Court of Owls and Rafael Albuquerque’s pencils are very well served by Jonathan Glapion’s dark and disturbing inks. The coloring is superb under the work of Dan McCaig, bringing home the disturbed tale being told.

 

BATMAN AND ROBIN #10

 

Issue ten sets off the next story arc for this book and it’s looking pretty good. It seems Damian wants to show the older brothers that he is the best Robin that there will ever be so he’s set out to take them down and steal the most valuable thing they have from them. While all this is going on, a new villain known as Terminus has brought together a small army of those that have been injured in one way or another by Batman together to take him down.

Since it’s re-launch within the New 52 universe, Batman and Robin has been one of my favorite Bat titles to read. I love the approach writer Peter J. Tomasi has taken in dealing with the relationship between the newer Dynamic Duo not only as it relates to the Cowl and Mask, but also the impact it has on father to biological son.

It’s been fun to see how Bruce handles his youngest and him trying to change how he handles training and teaching this one. It seems Bruce has learned from the mistakes he made with the previous three in how he treats his young partner. One has to believe, that a big part of this change is the knowledge of his sons other lineage. Dick, Jason, and Tim are very good at their job but that comes from Batman having the main hand in training them and instilling them with the code and morals he lives by.

Damian came to his father as damaged goods. A killer raised by killers, Damian is now trying to prove himself to his father. This is the situation that Batman and Robin should have been exploring back in the first volume of this story. The drama inherent and the storyline possibilities as Damian struggles to suppress his inner demon (yeah it’s a pun) all the while learning and working with his notoriously strict and disciplined father will and is making for a gripping book that leaves a reader demanding for more in the next month. It doesn’t surpass the Owl story over in the Batman title, but it doesn’t need to. It’s telling it’s own tale and doing a fantastic job at that. The interesting part of this book is that as the story has progressed in such a way that it’s not only Damian that has to relearn those ingrained thoughts and impulses he was raised to nurture, but Batman himself also has to change and adapt in his teachings and training to his own son. The story of Nobody that ran through the first seven issues of this book has helped to lead Bruce to realize that he himself has to change in order to keep this kid on the side of the angels. What results in this is establishing an interesting dynamic between this duo where each is the others teacher in what they need to learn in order to improve. Batman cannot toss Damian out as he did Stephanie because this is his son by blood and that blood contains a lot of Ra’s in it as well.

Damian has been handled so far in this book extremely well in walking that fine line to where he’s not as abrasive and arrogant as Jason Todd, but hasn’t lost that edge that made him a favorite when he debuted all those years back. His challenging of the older Robins is also a stroke of genius. We finally get what I think every Bat-fan has wanted to see: all four Robins coming together to battle it out.

As for the battle between the boy wonders; it’s been a long time coming and it’s about time. It looks to be interesting watching Damian take on Dick, Tim, and Jason (the brother he is the closest to in all respects; a spiritual brother if anything). If the first altercation that takes place in this book (for sake of no spoilers that’s all I’m going to say) is any indication of what’s to come; than the following issues will be providing some amazing Robinny goodness.

 I’m hoping that by the end of this story arc the brothers will end up closer together or at least have a grudging respect for the youngest of the brood and vice versa.

All four share a singular distinction, they were each chosen by Batman to work with him and he does not allow that to happen unless he sees some greatness and ability within them  

Likewise, I’m hoping this will bring Jason back into the Bat-family a little more. The prodigal son bit is great and all, but I would love to see all four united together. It’s been noted more than once that Damian and Jason have a lot in common with each other and I think it would do the youngest of the bird bunch if Jason was to Damian what Dick was to Tim. Plus, you can’t tell me that the portrait they were trying to take at the beginning isn’t a foreshadowing of how the story will end, only with all four brothers and a little more familial harmony.

The downside to this issue is down to artist Patrick Gleason’s apparent inability to draw Bruce and the three sons as distinctive from each other. Whenever the perspective to the reader isn’t where you can see the varying heights of each Robin, there is no clue who is who. Is Tim the one chastising Damian for sullying the Robin legacy or is it Dick? Reviewers can’t really seem to agree and the art isn’t helping a bit. Yes, they are all three dark haired males. But none of them have the same haircut. You couldn’t distinguish them in some respect?

Ultimately, there needs to be a unique template for each character in situations like this. A variation in all parts, otherwise the reader will be left confused, if the writer isn’t brilliant at establishing the different personalities in each boy to make them identifiable. Fortunately, writer Peter J. has done this very well but, it doesn’t excuse the lazy drawing of the artist toward Bruce and his sons. Improve on this aspect and Batman and Robin will pull a straight five stars and be able to hold its own against the amazing Batman title by Scott and James.

 

BATGIRL#10

 

Gail Simone is a national treasure. Until, Scott’s Court of Owls tale fully took off, Batgirl was the best written book in the New 52 and it’s still one of the best books out there. Gail hit the ground running with Barbara and hasn’t slowed down yet.

Similar to Batman and Robin #10, this issue sets up the next big story arc for Gordon’s youngest and it seems it’s going to feature Knightfall. Yep, the story arc that recalls to mind the moment Batman had his back broken will be working within the book of the woman who was shot in the spine and paralyzed. As names go it’s rather odd. However, the story the name reminds one of has to play apart in the adventures of the once similarly paralyzed Ms. Gordon. It seems our Batgirl will be facing the lingering trauma of her injury fairly soon and with a cast of new villains, Barbara may have her hands full. The first issue was a great start as always from Ms. Simone, leaving several questions to go forward and wrapping Barbara in what may be a very traumatic tale for her.

The villains’ reasons and actions are still unknown but their boss seems a might interesting and vaguely evil. There are hints to her past and some questions as to her involvement with those events, as well as, the biggest question: Who the hell is in that cage?

Gail has done Batgirl a treat and those who are angry about losing one of the more popular handicapped characters in Oracle are missing out on an even better story: How does one deal with the trauma of an injury that left you so very helpless while throwing yourself again into a lifestyle that may leave you paralyzed again if not dead. Gail has done a wonderful job showing Barbara facing her fears and the Post Traumatic stress that it has left. Oracle may be gone but Batgirl has never been better. I say don’t count Gail out yet, I’ve enjoyed Barbara’s time back in the cowl.

4 Responses
    • I kind of like the way that Snyder has retconned the Court Of Owls into Gotham’s history (Snyder and Brubaker should give lessons on how to do retcons right) and the identity of Owlman is good as it relates to history and the Owlman character.  Good way to get him into the DCU.

      That being said, I’m still not sure I like the introduction of Owlman’s secret identity.

    • Did you not pick up Batman Beyond Unlimited #5? That is the Bat title I love the most. Pointy ears is currently in Young Justice #17 too right? He was in 16 along side of some of other Justice Leaguers. I can’t wait to pick those up this week. 

      • I’m keeping to in the main DCU present line. Young and Beyond, though both stellar, are just two I can’t pick up at the moment. My pull list is full to bursting at this point. seriously, someone may get hurt

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