Title: Detective Comics #20
Author: John Layman
Artist: Jason Fabok
Publisher: DC Comics
Release date: May 1, 2013
Verdict: Lovin’ this book!
I know, I know! We just took a look at this book last month with the massive issue #19/#900, but after reading this latest issue, I just wanted to say a little word about it. This issue wraps up the story that we’ve been treated to since issue #13 when John Layman and Jason Fabok took over the series. Since that issue, Ignatius Ogilvy aka Emperor Penguin, has been taking center stage as Batman’s newest surreal villain-type psycho.
Ogilvy took over Oswald Cobblepot’s business is one hell of a hostile takeover. It has been a very entertaining read from the get go, and has acted as the perfect Batman story for the Batman fan who doesn’t want to get bogged down in all of the ‘continuity’ happening in the other New 52 Batbooks. This issue contained nothing about dead Robin…nothing about a possible new Robin…nothing about the origins of Batman. It was just a solid Batman story with a villain and a ton of ass kicking. This is not to imply that this story ignores what has happened before. It’s just not concentrating on Bruce’s psyche or the feeling of the other members of the bat-family. This is a Batman story through and through. It would have fit with the continuity that existed before the New 52, and to me, that’s the sign of things going back to normal for the readers. We can get the big epic stories still, but sometimes it’s nice to get a story that can be collected into one nice volume and not require other books to have it make sense. Think of Scott Snyder’s run on Detective Comics in the 11 months pre-New 52. My favorite kind of Batman story.
One other thing I liked about this 8 issue story was the fact that Jason Fabok penciled every single page of it. Over at Marvel we may get two issues a month sometimes, but artists aren’t doing more than 3 or 4 issues in a row before they need someone to come in as relief. Even at DC, where books are coming out once a month, it’s rare to have an artist pencil this many issues in a row. Jason is a terrific artist, and Detective Comics fans are all the more lucky to have him.
Oh…and Jason Fabok isn’t the only artist that needs to be recognized. Andy Clarke, known for his few bat stories from the last few years, as well as being one of the best to ever draw Judge Dredd, has been providing amazing artwork for the backup stories that have populated John Layman’s issues. Layman is also handling the writing on those backups. Each backup has been a perfect little addition to the story in the main body of the book. This issue featured my favorite one to date with the origin of Emperor Penguin and what happened to him after Batman saved the day. Fabulous artwork! I hope this also continues for the foreseeable future.
What did you all think? Are you reading the Bat-books? Do all of them make it into your subscription? Let us know which books are doing it for you, and which are falling flat. See you all next time J
This is a huge month for DC Comics and fans of their New 52 books. October has been dedicated to producing a bunch of ZERO (#0) issues that are being used to fill us in on the pertinent details of our favorite character’s origins for this new universe. We’re you wondering about Batman’s new background? …or maybe Animal Man? Swamp Thing? Superman? If so, then October is the time to start grabbing these issues. For the next few weeks, we’re going to take a look at some of these issues. There are tons of them, so we will be focusing on the ones that I really wanted to check out. Hopefully none of them are duds. First up is Detective Comics #0.
Title: Detective Comics #0; Author: Gregg Hurwitz; Artist: Tony Daniel; Rating: T; Release date: October 5, 2012
Detective Comics #0 starts us out 10 years ago somewhere in the Himalayas with Bruce Wayne looking for a legendary man known as Shihan Matsuda. A Zen-Buddhist monk warrior who is a master of mind control and has been trained by Tibetan magicians and martial-arts masters. A woman answers the door and tells Bruce that this “Shihan Matsuda” is nothing but a myth. Bruce waits outside in the freezing cold for two days, and then the door opens with a man standing there. Bruce has passed his first, and easiest, test.
From here, the rest of his time with Master Matsuda is spent, albeit slowly, learning everything he can. Matsuda is quite the task master, and it seems as though he is the one responsible for Bruce’s amazing mental focus. The only way for Bruce to pass his last hurdle is basically to go through what he had already gone through with the deaths of his parents.
Overall, the issue is a great read, and the insight into Bruce/Batman is invaluable. It seems like Bruce’s “travels” will be similar to the travels depicted in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy, which is fine by me. I loved the movies, and bringing the comic book version of Bruce into line with the movie one is a good thing. The back-up story by James Tynion IV and Henrik Jonsson is also quite good. It shows us how devoted Alfred is to Bruce and the length to which he will go to protect him. This issue is something I would highly recommend to anyone who likes Batman or the movies or both.
Title: Action Comics #0; Author: Grant Morrison; Artist: Ben Oliver; Rating: T; Release date: October 5, 2012
Out of all the non-Batman New 52 books, this is the series I had been most excited about. Grant Morrison made me fall in love with the Batman books again, so when I heard he would be tackling Superman in Action Comics, I knew that he would intrigue at least. I loved the beautiful hard cover collection of the first 8 issues, and I’m guessing I’ll love the next one as well.
This issue opens to Superman as Clark Kent getting his first gig with the Daily Star newspaper. From here we get to see a bit of Jimmy Olsen’s origin and how Clark and Jim were pals for awhile before they worked together at the Daily Planet. From here it moves to Clark’s first appearances as Superman, and a few cool tie in’s to characters we’ve seen in the book so far. I was kind of surprised to not see any of Lex Luthor, but overall, he wasn’t really missed.
I really enjoyed this issue, but not on the scale of how much I liked Detective Comics #0. This could be because the first arc of Action Comics was already an ‘origin’ of Clark’s beginning’s in Metropolis, and Detective is one of the first insight’s into Bruce’s past (there was one other in Batman & Robin), but as I said, I still enjoyed this issue. Grant Morrison is always a delight, and the art by Ben Oliver was beautiful. A must read for anyone enjoying the New 52’s Action Comics.
Next week we’ll do our best to look a few more issues. Most likely more Batman, but hopefully some Green Lantern, Animal Man, Swamp Thing, or Nightwing. You never know! Enjoy Zero month everyone J .
Title: Batman: Court of Owls
Author: Scott Snyder
Artist: Greg Capullo
Publisher: DC Comics
Release date: May 2012
When DC Comics announced that they would be rebooting their entire superhero line of comic books, I was not pleased. Scratch that. “Not pleased” is the nice version. I was royally pissed off! I had been enjoying Geoff Johns’ and Peter Tomasi’s take on the Green Lantern books since the “relaunch” from a few years before, and the Batman books, which I had always had an interest in, were the best they’ve been in as long as I can remember. Not only was Grant Morrison hitting it out of the park, but the whole bat-office was pumping out stuff I was really into. Dick Grayson as Gotham’s Batman with Damian Wayne as his Robin was my manna. Scott Snyder’s Detective Comics finally had the book deserving its title. Everything was moving along exactly how I wanted it, and then it all went away. I was heart broken.
Cut to the actual reboot, and I swore off DC Comics. Even books I had collected for over 10 years were now off the pull list. Now, it seems, II may have jumped the gun. At least on a few books. Specifically, Batman.
Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo were the creative team announced to launch Batman, and as I was a big fan of Scott’s American Vampire as well as the aforementioned Detective Comics run, I promised myself that I would check out the first collection upon its release. Well, the beautiful hardcover collection of the first 7 issues, The Court of Owls, came out last week, and it was one of the best Batman stories I’ve ever read! This is saying a lot as Grant Morrison’s run (that is still going today in the pages of Batman Incorporated) was amazing and Snyder’s previous run is one of my favorite hardcover collections on my shelves. It seems Batman is in good hands.
There is still a myriad of questions I want answered about this new Batman like: How long was Dick Robin #1? How about Jason Todd? Tim Drake? What about Damian? He’s 10…has Batman even been Batman for 10 years? He’d have to be if Bruce Wayne met Talia al Ghul when he was Batman. What about Batman’s origin in this new universe? Is it still Batman: Year One? I really want to know these answers, but after reading this book, I’m in no hurry. When you break it all down, I think the most important thing to a comic reader like myself is that the stories stay good and stay fresh. The little things don’t matter as much when you are fully engrossed in a specific tale. That’s how good this story was. It made me not care about continuity at all! Which is saying a lot…
This storyarc shows Batman meeting his physical match against near immortal assassins, called Talons, who have been haunting Gotham for over a century. These assassins are linked directly to the founding of Gotham as well as directly to the Wayne family, and are the anti-thesis of Batman, both in appearance and modus operandi. Scott Snyder has made sure we realize that this may not all end well for Bruce and his family. It truly has me on the edge of my seat waiting for more.
This storyarc leads directly into the “loose” crossover event that is “Night of The Owls”. The story spreads from Batman into Detective Comics, Batman: The Dark Knight, Batman & Robin, as well as the other Gotham books like Nightwing, Batgirl, Birds of Prey, and even All-Star Western, which is set in the past of the current DC Universe.
So, even though I want the old DC universe back, and I want all my lingering questions answered, for now…I’m fine with no answers. As long as the story continues to kick serious amounts of ass, I’ll be a happy Batman-fan! So…what did you all think? What do you think of the whole new DCU as a whole? Have the stories lived up to their hype? Do you want answers like me? Let me know by sounding off in our handy comments section below..
Title: Batman: Gates of Gotham #1 (of 5)
Author: Scott Snyder & Kyle Higgins
Artist: Trevor McCarthy
Publisher: DC Comics
Release date: May 18, 2011
Writer Sc ott Snyder has been making a name for himself of late over at DC Comics, and their adult content imprint, Vertigo Comics. Snyder first popped up co-writing, and then solo-writing, the new vampire-centric series American Vampire, which has been nominated for a bunch of awards. He also took over Detective Comics, along with artists Jock and Francesco Francavilla, for a fantastic run that started about 9 months ago. And now he is co-writing again, but this time on a mini-series. Batman: Gates of Gotham. From what I can tell, this new 5 issue mini-series will fill in some of the gaps in the history of Gotham City.
It seems I wasn’t mis-informed. This mini-series starts with three big time Gotham City bridges all being blown up at the same time with semtex explosives. The names of the bridges; Trigate, Madison, & 22nd Street; are, of course, not the original names, and this plays a big part of the overall story. You see…the original names were Cobblepot Pass, Wayne, and Elliott. The namesakes of The Penguin, Hush, and the boys of the Bat-family.
So far, the series stars Dick Grayson as Batman, where he’s working directly with Tim Wayne (Red Robin) and Black Bat, otherwise known as Cassandra Cain, the Batgirl from No Man’s Land up to last year. The series is also set concurrent with the rest of the Batbooks and is not disjointed the way many of the mini-series tend to be over at DC. I don’t know why this story isn’t being told in one of the monthly books, but either way, it looks like it will be enjoyable all the same.
The goal of this book seems to be the Batcrew, minus big papa, will tackle this mystery and at the same time uncover some previously unknown history of Gotham City. The Waynes, The Elliott’s and Cobblepots are all big Gotham families, and the tagline at the end of the first issue for issue #2 was… “The Four Families of Gotham”. I can’t wait to find out who family #4 is, and how they tie into the other families. What secrets do these families hold? Is it a coincidence that of the three families that we are aware of have either supervillains or superheroes as their leaders? Who is Alan Wayne? Who was the guy in that funky steam-punk suit? The head of family #4? Soooo many questions. Look for issue #2 in a few short weeks. I know I will J
Title: Batman Incorporated #2
Author: Grant Morrison
Artist: Yanick Paquette
Publisher: DC Comics
Release date: December 22, 2010
Let me preface this review by saying that I currently love the direction the Batman-family of books have taken in these last few months. When Bruce Wayne disappeared almost two years ago, we all knew he would be back. Afterall…we all knew that he wasn’t truly dead, just lost in the timestream, with little hope of coming back. This, of course, actually meant that he was for sure coming back; it was just up in the air as to when that would be. Now that Bruce is back and he’s re-introduced himself to the world as Batman’s benefactor and the leader of a new Bat-army, if you will, things are truly changing for the Bat-family in ways that we haven’t seen before. Things changed after Knightfall…after Contagion…after Cataclysm…and after No Man’s Land. But none of them ever advanced the story of Bruce’s family like Grant Morrison’s big sweeping changes have done.
There is no more Nightwing. Tim Wayne isn’t Robin anymore. Bruce Wayne isn’t Gotham City’s protector anymore. And Bruce Wayne is no longer a stuffed shirt with no depth. This is one of the most important things that people really haven’t been talking about. Bruce Wayne finally seems like he’s letting his superior mind shine. He’s not hiding like he always used to. The last two annual issues of Detective Comics and Batman show Bruce in Paris letting his head muscle flex for the Paris police commissioner. The story of Bruce Wayne is becoming very interesting indeed…
I read and really enjoyed the first issue of Batman Incorporated, and now the second issue is in my hands. The first thing that grabs me, as it did last issue, is the beyond gorgeous cover by Batwoman writer/artist J.H. Williams III (or JHW3 for short). JHW3 is really in a league of his own. No one can touch him…anyways…back to Batman, Inc. #2. This issue continues where the last one left off with Bruce Wayne recruiting a Japanese Batman, but his choice, Mister Unknown, has died. Mr. Unknown’s sidekick, Jiro Osamu, is the next logical choice. In a very Japanese thing to do, Jiro fakes his own death in order to make it seem like his mentor, who he had been splitting the duties of Mr. Unknown with, had died honourably instead of simpering like a baby in his own basement. The “death” was seen on television, so the Mr. Unknown identity had to be retired. The last page actually shows Jiro in a Batman costume, reminiscent of Bruce’s new uniform, while above the Tokyo skyline.
What I’m really liking about this whole Batman Incorporated idea is the fact that all of these new vassal Batmen are either going to be wearing a Batman uniform or their previously worn uniforms are going to be altered to look like a Batman uniform in some way. A hint of individuality in each is also pretty cool. This issue wraps up the first mini “arc” of this series, and if each recruiting session takes 2 or 3 issues, then this series is going to have plenty of stories to tell. I really thought that Grant Morrison was winding down his stay in Wayne Manor, but it looks like he’s just getting started.
What did you all think of this first story? As of now we have Bruce Wayne as the uber-Batman; Dick Grayson as Gotham City’s Batman; Jiro Osamu as Japan’s Batman, and the Nightrunner as the Batman of France. Next up for Bruce Wayne is Argentina and its protector, El Gaucho. It should be fun. Sound off in our handy comments section below with your comments J .
Title: Batwoman #0
Author: JH Williams III & W. Haden Blackman
Artist: JH Williams III & Amy Reeder
Publisher: DC Comics
Release date: November 24, 2010
This will be just a quick(ish) review as the actual #0 issue was really quite slight. JH Williams III, W. Haden Blackman, and artist Amy Reeder are bringing Batwoman back into the lime light this February as a new ongoing Batwoman series launches. This week we got a sneak peek with a #0 issue, but as it basically says in the first line of this piece, the issue wasn’t much more than a primer. Last year when Bruce Wayne seemingly died and Dick Grayson took over as Batman, Detective Comics was the only Batman book to change from starring Batman to starring another character altogether. Batwoman, a character with no real ties to the Bat-family of characters, was the new star, and series writer Greg Rucka and artist JH Williams took the opportunity to really flesh her character out.
This new Batwoman, whose real name is Kate Kane, was seriously KICK-ASS. Her skill set was right, her motivation was right, and her supporting cast was interesting. JH Williams drew a seven issue run that explored some of Kate’s past including her “dead” twin sister, and that arc was followed up with a three issue story penciled by Jock. After that, the stories starring this new Batwoman dried up. It was announced that Kate Kane would get her own series, it just wasn’t clear when it would come out, or if the same people from Detective Comics would be working on it. Cut to a few months later and DC made the big reveal. JH Williams would be back, but not only as the series artist. He would also be co-writing the book with W. Haden Blackman, a video game writer who is new to comics. It was also announced that in order to keep the book on schedule, JH Williams would be joined on art by Amy Reeder (Madame Xanadu), who would be penciling every second storyarc. There is no sign of Greg Rucka, and no word on why he isn’t along for the ride…
The actual issue itself is penciled by both JH Williams and Amy Reeder. They decided that JH would handle all the Batwoman sequences while Ms. Reeder would pencil the scenes with Batwoman in her secret identity, Kate Kane. I suspect that this was done in order to give us a taste of both series artists. JH Williams has said that the series will feature both the artists rotating between storyarcs and not both penciling in the same issues.
This issue itself read just like one of the Batman one-shots from last month where Bruce was skulking about as “The Insider” evaluating his entire “family”. The issue follows Bruce as he tries to figure out if Kate Kane is indeed Batwoman and as he evaluates her skills and motivations. For anyone who read the run on Detective Comics from last year this issue won’t really provide any new information about Batwoman. In fact, if you read the run, you actually have a leg up on Bruce Wayne. This is really the first time that Bruce has observed Kate in action. Overall, the issue was worthwhile but all it really did for me was whet my appetite for more Batwoman. She is a character that hasn’t really showed up anywhere else since her debut (52 & Detective Comics), so there are some big holes about her history that need to be filled. The future looks bright for Kate Kane, and with someone like JH Williams steering the ship, it can’t go wrong. What did you all think of this #0 issue? How about Kate Kane/Batwoman in general. We want to hear from you in our comments section below J .