Archive for Batman and Robin

Reading 2011’s Batman

Posted in Comic Books with tags , , , , , on December 2, 2010 by pbiris

Batman Incorporated J.H. Williams Cover

Interesting things are afoot in the realm of the Bat, dear reader.

(Side note: did you know that most of my blog’s traffic comes from Batman-related content and links from comic blogs? These things are important to me, insofar as that little counter in the right-hand column counting up to “30,000” is important to me, like some real-world Galaga score accrued in direct proportion to my writing output — sorry, I’ve been reading this.)

Yesterday, Comic Vine posted a rather good (though purposefully incomplete, as of right now) article that aims to “break down the secrets of Grant Morrison’s Batman.” It’s a worthy read, especially if you’re interested in Morrison’s veritable Batman epic, spanning (gulp) four years now, but not the sort of fanatical interested, yet, that has you literally foaming at the words “ZUR EN ARRH.” Also, the always-worth-listening-to David Brothers wrote a nice little guide on the new Batman books for Comics Alliance that should serve well as a sort of road map for comic book readers that want to jump in but are kind of intimidated by the fact that there are 10 monthly Batman-related books right now, not counting specials and upcoming books like David Finch’s Batman: The Dark Knight ongoing.


Anyway, I’ve had bats on the brain, and in the spirit of a now somewhat embarrassing post I made two and a half years ago (“Reading Today’s Batman“), I wanted to weigh in on some of the goings on in this massive corner of the DC Universe.

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Aaaand fuck yes:

Posted in Comic Books, Journals, Quickies with tags , , , , on November 16, 2009 by pbiris

DC. February.

Frank Quitely: I yearn to bloat with your writhing manspawn.

Looks like Brucey’s going for a little dip in a Lazarus Pit? But isn’t Batman disembodied and on some sort of cosmic not-death trip after Darkseid blasted him with the Omega Sanction? (Prediction: might this “revived” corpse be nothing but a shambling aberration while the essence of the Dark Knight is still elsewhere, lost in time and space?)

… I love comic books.

Another fuck yes: I’m on the Prague Monitor today. Links here, to an oddly Czech-ified and trimmed version of the original article, but still.

Batman: Reborn and Fixing DC Comics (UPDATED 07/02)

Posted in Comic Books with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 25, 2009 by pbiris

(Writer’s note 12/03/10: You may find this piece to be somewhat more relevant now that Grant Morrison has concluded his stint on Batman & Robin. Feel free to read both, and thanks for visiting!)

Batman comics are just about all I buy anymore. Marvel forfeited my business – completely, irrevocably – after the plodding mediocrity of Secret Invasion and unimpressive early entries to Dark Avengers (“pick up Invincible Iron Man,” they coo, vainly). DC, unable to unify its disparate brands after the brilliant psychedelia of Final Crisis (ultimately insignificant, save for DC’s predictable “Final Crisis Aftermath” schlock and Batman, but more on that later), pretty much has me in the bag for this summer’s “blockbuster event” Blackest Night, but has me less and less interested in some of my previously favorite books like Justice Society of America, Action Comics, Green Arrow/Black Canary, and The Outsiders; they’re just too all over the place. Will I pick them up on occasion? Sure. But can I really find it within myself to actually care about the supposed importance of, say, Deathstroke’s most recent dip into the bleeding rumps of the Teen Titans? Not really. Because half the time, these stories aren’t even fun anymore, and they almost never have any impact whatsoever on the rest of the “DC Universe,” which now seems a collection of galaxies with light year upon light year between them.

It’s cynical, but it’s also mostly true. DC understands how to provide excellent standalone stories, based on the preview material for Wednesday Comics – which looks stunning – and their major events like Grant Morrison’s Final Crisis (mentioned above) and Geoff Johns’ Sinestro Corps War (which, despite spanning several issues across a number of series, is collected in two very digestible trade paperbacks), yet its monthlies exist in some sort of horrible limbo between those and the admirable cohesion of the Marvel Universe. The monthlies share characters, vague references to “big ideas” (Martian Manhunter and Batman getting incinerated are about the only two things that DC’s writers seem to be getting out of Morrison’s sprawling opus), but generally fail miserably in attaining any sort of dramatic weight. The Spectre can suffer and rampage all he wants in the Revelations mini-series, but then a seemingly different character altogether is featured a few months later in Justice Society under the same name, which makes both exercises seem pretty insignificant. Similarly, Mary Marvel, forced to change her look and become an insane force of lust and violence after being possessed by an evil God in Final Crisis, should, presumably, be back to sorts after Darkseid is crushed and good prevails, but she’s strangely present in her S&M form in Johns’ recent JSA arc; is this supposed to take place during Final Crisis, when all of these characters were united against a force beyond all reckoning and the skies were raining fucking blood, or is it set afterwords in a DCU that is seemingly – bewilderingly – unaffected by the cataclysm, save for Mary Marvel’s ass-hideous haircut and exposed Shazam-boobies? Readers can’t enjoy these stories on their own, as they would be able to with the aforementioned events or Wednesday Comics, because the editors insist on pushing the concept that these threads are all connected when they just aren’t.

It’s difficult territory to navigate, I’m sure. Marvel’s Universe feels like a cohesive whole, but that can make it kind of boring and one-note from time to time. And we wouldn’t want DC to forget continuity completely, because then the comics would feel less essential and the science fiction tapestry would collapse altogether. So what should they do?

If the last month of Batman is any indication: reboot.

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“Battle for the Cowl” graciously ruined

Posted in Comic Books with tags , , , , , , on March 10, 2009 by pbiris

It’s perfect; DC Comics takes a great leap forward and simultaneously ejects ill-timed feces into its own drawers.

Tomorrow, the “Battle for the Cowl” event will finally launch, a culmination years in the making across the Batman books, beginning with Grant Morrison’s 2006 – 2008 run on the flagship title. The concept is simple; blasted into oblivion by archvillain Darkseid in Final Crisis, Batman needs someone new to take up his mantle. For the next three months, DC Comics’ “Cowl”, which extends beyond the primary event book and into mini-series like “Azrael,” “Oracle,” and “Gotham Gazette,” planed to show readers the birthing pangs of a new Dark Knight. Will it be Dick Grayson, former Nightwing and reluctant heir to Bruce Wayne’s solemn avenger? Tim Drake, young gun and recent Robin? Jason Todd, dickbag? The suspense is, for all intents and purposes, the primary reason to pick up this event which seems little more than a drawn out cash-in.

It’s all moot now, as IGN just revealed that the new dynamic duo, making its first appearance in June’s new “Batman and Robin” series, will be Grayson as Batman and Damien Wayne as Robin. Fans expected it, but hey, this is from the company that saw fit to rape and kill Sue Dibny in Identity Crisis, so an ill-conceived curve ball was always a possibility. 

It’d be a little disappointing, frankly, if not for the fact that the team behind the new series was revealed in tandem: Grant Morrison as writer and Frank Quitely as artist. Take a look at these images for the first taste:

Batman and Robin, Morrison Quitely


It’s a fantastic team; they’ve been responsible for some of the best and most influential comics of the past several years (We3, All-Star Superman, Flex Mentallo, New X-Men), and I can’t wait to see what they’ll do with the fresh start to the Caped Crusader. (Especially if it’s not delayed to the point of no return, which it will be, undoubtedly.)

Still, shoot yourself in the foot much, DC? What’s going on with the leadership over there, exactly?