For years Detective Comics was always my go-to Batman title. I am not sure why it was my love, maybe it was the usually present side story which focused on the deeper story of a side character, or that it was the more noir title of the Batman Family focusing on the “detective” side of the Dark Knight.
The first issue stayed true to the role of quality you would expect from their flagship Bat title. The Dollmaker story was dark, mysterious and full of curiosity.
- Who was the new criminal?
- Is Gorgon dead?
- Why and how did he take Joker’s face?
- Is the Joker hiding behind a new face?
Like a good Batman story they answered what they had to and left more out there for our curiosity to build and develop. Unfortunately our curiosity built over two very poor follow-up stories that really did the Detective Comic title an injustice. The Casino/Penguin story to the mismatched timeline jump to the Owls and then the return to timeline disaster of the Poison Gas character who was a blatant rip off of the Joker’s Red Hood character. A story that just made to feel like it was intended for one of the less quality Bat titles like Legends of the Dark Knight or Shadows of the Bat. A place where poorly written Batman tales went to die, but made a few bucks on the way out. Now they seem to have slipped through quality control and made it into the premiere title. Continue reading
(in no particular order)
Peter Parker: Spider-Man
Vol 2, Issue #35 (Nov 2001)
“Heroes Don’t Cry”
Peter Parker: Spider-Man – A young kid believe Spider-Man visits him, his imaginary friend if you will. It’s the comic version of an after school special. The young boy uses his Spidey-Friend as an escape from his abusive house hold where his father hits his mom.
I am not really one for the softer-side of comic stories but this one really touches your heart. As the young boy tells Spidey he can’t be friends because it is time to grow up and move with his aunt after a terrible incident at home Spider-Man removes his mask. I have never fully understood the implication to be that Spider-Man is in us all or that Spider-Man is black (like the boy) because that this is how the boy imagines him. One of the best “un-Superhero” stories I have read. It was also released right after September 11th so a story like that in a time when the whole world felt horrible was a real change of pace. Continue reading
The DC 52 reset was supposed to clean the slate, bring in new readers, fix the confusion caused by a decade of tie-ins, crossovers and cross franchise epic storylines that they said was limiting growth.
For 6 months it was working. Titles stayed fairly to themselves, you could buy just one title and read what you enjoyed most, and from the feedback in numbers DC was selling again.
Then new-DC resumed to old-DC ways.
This past month we started with “Night of the Owls” and it will carry across all Batman related titles to tell a tale of Gotham’s long forgotten secret society. And now newly announced this will roll into the fall as such, than DC has planned for us, the “Prince of Gotham” another cross title Nightwing story that will bring Dick’s character into his own.
If I want to read Batman or Nightwing or Batwoman, let me read them. Don’t force me to read JLA, Red Hood and Dark Knight just to understand an issue that has invaded my timeline.
DC just couldn’t resist ruining a good thing. And they have lost a reader. Doubtful they will care, nor will they notice one less subscriber. But how many readers are thinking the same thing? How many people are realizing it is now business as usual? And when does DC announce the New 52s was all just Clark Kent’s big dream and we just read a giant 24 month crossover?
I give up DC, you have conned me for the last time. I am joining Comics Anonymous tomorrow.
Before we get to the only 2 Batman serials of the week I thought I would just drop my 2 cents on Damian. First, Dick Grayson growing up and out growing Robin worked, Nightwing is a great character and one of my Top 5 (Maybe even Top 3) characters of all-time. His attitude works, costume is cool, Nightwing works.
Enter Tim Drake, hands down he is the best little red. Also Drake was the first Robin I actually really liked. Tim Drake loved being Robin, he had sass and wit; I though he just worked perfectly as the sidekick for Batman. Red Robin does not work, maturing him and giving him individuality is just making him a red version of Nightwing. Tim works as Robin, he loses something as Red Robin.
Onto the son, I really like the character of Damian Wayne. Aside from Bruce Wayne, Gotham does not have any other character so deep with damage and baggage that is not killing people for a hobby. Though from time-to-time you question if Damian does kill for hobby. As Robin, Damian is too much like Batman in personality sense, Robin gave Batman humor and humanity. Damian just makes the room darker and makes you wonder if Batman can keep the leash on him short enough before they both implode. It’s like putting peanut butter cups in your peanut butter flavored ice cream, there is a point of overkill.
This week, even without a Detective Comics issue is a great week, and many great issues overshadowed the very minor poor productions.
As Mr. Haley said, let’s get down “to the heart of it.” Nightwing was awesome, while not overly exciting it just set up a killer story that has Dick Grayson hunted for his past and will bring him back to his childhood and finally explain what brought down his family.
Nightwing takes on a hitman who has obviously read too much of Marvel Comics, but somehow got ahold of Nightwing’s Origins issue and knows more than an enemy should about the Original Robin of Gotham. Clearly the story is going to delve into what caused the murder of the Flying Graysons, but I am also hoping with the gifts that the son is about to have bequeathed to him bring him an independent place. My first thoughts on the warehouse were all the toys stored away and that the Batcave has much of the same artifacts randomly lying around… could this be his future home?
Last issue of Batman and Robin I voiced a lot of discontent for Damian as Robin and how his attitude and parallels to Batman and their deep pit of hatred, and difficulty with positive emotion. Number 2 is one of those “After School Special” issues with limited action and a strong focus on character struggles, for a guy like myself who studied psychology in college it is interesting to see the writers dig into more than the surface of the subjects.
Alfred, always the fatherly figure is working as hard on Bruce as Bruce is trying to develop Damian. It is interesting to see how far Bruce still has to go before he could actually begin to make strides in his own life before he can begin to, as he puts it, “heal” Damian. The ending sort of reminds me of Twin Peaks with its odd and put of place setting that just happens out of nowhere.
Wow, I am speechless.
Still reading? Sorry I was trying to digest The Penguin: Pain & Prejudice Part 1.
Do you remember the movie Big when Josh Baskin is brainstorming about the faux-transformer that went from building to robot? He went on to complain how utterly useless it was, I had similar views on the Penguin. For a supervillian he always came off as pathetic. How can anyone fear a little fat and slow-moving bitter man? Well I will tell you, read Gregg Hurwitz tale on the Birdman, he is more than a late in life Marlon Brando.
Red Hood and the Outlaws
I will either really liked this book or really hate this book.
First let me vent. I can’t tell if the Red Hood is a great invention or absolutely the worst. On one hand, dead is dead and if you are going to kill people off, stop bringing them back. On the other, the whole Pet Semitary-Effect of a more evil and sinister rebirth is interesting and works.
The idea of a “cross the line into criminal almost villainish” group of Outlaws is compelling to read. Watching a character that has no line for morality and wondering if they are essentially good or bad is always a discussion type book. Jason Todd who is grey leaning towards darkness pairs with Arsenal who I really think tries to be a good guy, but is reckless and Starfire who as an alien does not see any value in humanlife I would say is the farthest into the evil spectrum even if the intent is not really there to do harm, but without a conscience she is the true definition of a sociopath.
While in the whole of it all I consider Detective Comics the greatest comic book conceptualized to date, past and current, this particular issue also set forth to reach a benchmark quality by which comics are judged perfect in my opinion. As a writer and artist for the debut Tony Daniel was able to not only write a great story, but also visualize for us the image he envisioned for his dialogue and storyboard.
While I did not find the art exceptional, I found the story and the ability for the author to relay his mind’s eye more than overcompensated for a slight lack in artistry. I would take a strong story with marginal art any day over the inverse of great art and poor writing. This is not to say the art is poor, it is a mid-to-high 7 on a scale of 1 to 10. Daniel has a great artistry for background, structure and tones, but I found his faces, particularly the mouths rather flat.
Enough with the creative talk and onto the meat of the issue.