Tuesday’s my favorite day of the week now, and putting these posts together makes a Monday much more bearable. That said, welcome back once more to Talkative Tuesday where I share a recap on previous issues and dive into what my Local Comic Shop pulled for me this week. It’s the end of the month and DC delivered on some sweet goodies. Let’s have at it!

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This week’s pull! Not seen: LoS #7 & #8

The Red Hood variant covers have been beautiful throughout the entire run, and this week’s was no exception. Three Jokers has me obsessed and I went for the main plus four variants; my plan is to send the monocle and Barbara cover to CBCS (my Batman cover from #1 is already on it’s way there). Legion of Superheroes is a series I’ve just picked up, and as I am currently catching up you will not find a review for LoS #9 here. Same goes for Multiverse End… Though what I will say on that is this.

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Kyle Rayner is one mad lad. [Dark Nights Death Metal Multiverse End]

BATMAN SUPERMAN ANNUAL #1

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What a cover! All their foes have gathered together to watch these two duke it out! Ouch. Love Batman’s glowing kryptonite chain, such a nice touch!

Hopefully the guts are just as juicy as the main cover.

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SPOILERS FOR BATMAN/SUPERMAN ANNUAL #1

Gonna come right out and say it folks, this was not, under any circumstances my favorite pull of the week. Did I read it? Of course. Did I say to myself, “Man I am just not loving this?” Yeah. But this is a review and review it I will!

Batman vs. Superman fights have potential to go off in a couple different directions depending on the tone of the writing. Are Batman and Superman at odds because they disagree with each other, and are they completely unable to reconcile? Thinking about the Injustice comics, and a few other stories…

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This Superman was certainly one to remember… [Injustice… can’t recall the issue sorry folks]

Or is the tone a little different, filled with what if moments? Either way, we all know Batman and Superman would never fight. They’d come to some kind of agreement!

In this context, the fight turns out to be just for fun, and the story opens with two kids from the fifth dimension forcing Batman and Superman action figures to fight each other. Bat-Mite and Mr. Mxyzptlk show up quickly to pull the children a part, and they have their own ideas over who would win. This fuels a new narrative with a series of what if scenarios, presented by Bat-Mite and Mr. Mxyzptlk. Each character takes a stab at who would win, which divides this annual into two parts. Warning: The pacing of the story cannot survive this division.

Bat-Mite gets to go first, and his story was a headache to read. Riddled with plot holes beyond belief and enough scene changes to make your head spin, it is just bad. Now, 5th dimensional Bat-Mite has maybe made this intentional as his what if scenario is one giant slugfest between Batman and Superman. No plot necessary. Still, for the audience, Bat-Mite’s story is unenjoyable. The awkward pacing, unexplained scene changes, and numerous plot holes do this book no favors. The end of his story is hastily interrupted by Mr. Mxyzptlk, who is just as frustrated as we are in reading through this story. Bat-Mite’s tale comes across as lazy and unfocused. Oh, and while Batman wins in the end, he also dies with Superman. What’s the point, guys?

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The quickest way to start a Batman vs. Superman fight? Make Superman the reason Batman’s kids are dead (again). [Super/Bat Annual #1]

Up next is Mr. Mxyzptlk, and folks I have to warn you it does not get much better. Still, I give him credit for getting right to the point. In this regard, Willaimson wasn’t kidding around.

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Regardless of who your favorite may be, we have ALL thought of a Batman vs. Superman fight going exactly like this. [Super/Bat Annual #1]

Unhappy with his lack of storytelling, Bat-Mite forces Mr. Mxyzptlk to invent a narrative. Superman and Batman are at odds once more, and at the mercy of terrible storytelling. Mr. Mxyzptlk’s second attempt at creating a Batman vs. Superman scenario also involves wildly fast changes of scenery, awkward pacing, and a rushed ending. Batman is thrown into the sun. Yeah that will kill just about anyone, I suppose.

Even the kids from the beginning are less than thrilled with the turn of events, leaving Bat-Mite and Mr. Mxyzptlk to their arguments. The fifth dimension is a funky place which allows for some wiggle room, and so they move on to ask the Batman and Superman action figures what they think of all this. True to character, Batman and Superman admit they would never fight each other, not for keeps anyway. They are best friends, with level heads. The pair, even when at odds, always try to understand the other’s angle and work towards compromise. A solution.

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A highlight. [Super/Bat Annual #1]

Still, the “Anti- Boy Scout” protocol Batman had worked up in Superman’s Fortress of Solitude had me in stitches for a minute there.

Let’s talk art, though. While I was disappointed with the writing from Joshua Williamson (which I don’t think happens all that often), the artists really saved the day. I’d argue the art is the redeeming quality for this issue. Annual #1 had three pencillers working on it: Gleb Melnikov, Dale Eaglesham, and Clayton Henry. Alejandro Sanchez had ownership over the colors, and also worked on the cover (along with Gabriel Rodriguez). While there are no pages listed for the artists (as books tend do when they are different), they are listed in order of appearance. Each artist brings something different to the table, and while the changes in style are sudden, they are in no way jarring or unwelcome.

Melnikov opens strongly with excellent depictions of expression, both on characters’ faces and through their body language. Nothing is missed here and his work adds to the dialogue in all the right ways.

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Bat-Mite is ready to FIGHT. [Super/Bat Annual #1]

While the art done by Gleb Eaglesmith had a darker feeling to it, the amount of shadows in the inks never took away from the story. The highlights were laid out in all the right places, given the light sources (or lack thereof) in the setting, a dimly lit Hall of Justice. Eaglesmith created an incredible amount of movement in each panel as well. Of course there are your run of the mill action poses (these two hugely built heroes are brawling, after all), but he gives us a feeling for how the characters are moving through the story. Eaglesmith’s pencils play out like a movie, and even simple things have a real feel, such as the flow of Superman’s cape while he’s flying through the air.

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If you want to see more, scroll up for the near full page pull… [Super/Bat Annual #1]

Last up to bat was Clayton Henry. I’d probably read anything if I knew he was drawing it, so there was no disappointment for me in that regard. Still, Henry did not have the same opportunity as Eaglesmith when it came to dishing out panels of wild brawls. Mr. Mxyzptlk’s story lacked a lot of those fighting moments in Bat-Mite’s story; this was all about the chase… And a few moments of conversation where this Batman and Superman were starting to get the feeling that something was very wrong because they would never fight like this. Still, Henry delivers on dynamic art to match the tone of the story. That close up on Wayne Manor when Superman tells Bruce to run, that he can hear Batman’s heart racing? Oh so devilishly good.

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This just goes swell with the writing. [Super/Bat Annual #1]

The facial expression Henry draws on his characters always have an intense lifelike quality to them, personally I find his abilities to be somewhat unmatched in that regard when it comes to stylized art.

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Don’t mess with the S. [Super/Bat Annual #1]

Still, great art just was not enough to save this book for me. It’s bagged, boarded, and put away for storage… But unlike many other stories I think I’ll leave this issue in the box. The annual is something you won’t mind missing from your collection.

If you want to read a fun Batman vs. Superman story that took whatever was trying to be done here, but knocked it out of the park, let me recommend Batman/Superman (2003 run) #78. While I won’t spoil it, I will say that it’s another Super/Bat fight, driven by the imagination of two children, but one where Superman invites Batman to listen in. They have their own commentary on how the kids have decided a fight between their heroes would play out, and it has an overall light hearted feeling. And instead of being a $5 issue, Super/Bat (2003) #78 is like $2.99 or thereabouts.

BATMAN: THE JOKER WAR ZONE

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This very special issue is more a tie-in than a standalone and deals with the gruesome events on the ground in Gotham. The city is a outright mess. People are being killed everywhere you turn, Gotham is literally burning, and no where is safe…

But we do have that interesting Clown Hunter kid running around. I think some of us (okay, just me) were hoping it was Damian in disguise, especially after he returned the “R” to Batman, but that just is not the case.

Clown Hunter is on Joker’s radar because he’s causing big problems in his master plan. Thankfully, DC is giving us a closer look at what makes this kid tick.

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SPOILERS FOR BATMAN: THE JOKER WAR ZONE #1

This will go story by story.

Whew. That first story was a doozy. The stage is set with Bane locked up in prison, post City of Bane arc, the man is not having a good time. Arkham’s got him locked up good, but as everyone knows, Joker can always find a way in and meddle. Joker has always been out to get under Bruce’s skin, that is nothing new to the Bruce, the Batfam, or the DC readers, still Joker takes the time to remind us of his intentions. And he does it in a very Joker fashion.

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He makes a good point. [Joker War Zone #1]

Just writing this gives me chills, but we all know this to be true. If you’re going to go after the Batfam, at least have the decency to cause the most trauma. Harming any member of Bruce’s family is a surefire way for the Joker to sink his teeth into some nasty plot. We’ve seen (New 52 era) Joker pulling some wild stunts.

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Not only was the story wild, Capullo killed it on the art. My stomach was having a hard time the day I read this. [Batman (2011) #17]

While Tom King may have made us forget (or enraged those of us who know better)… Bruce cares about his kids. He cares about his family. Targeting those closest to Bruce (or any hero, let’s be honest), is a surefire way to get under his skin. Not only did Bane have Gotham, not only did Bane have Damian, but he also had Alfred. Bane had the man who has loved and cared for our beloved Bat even before that fateful night in Crime Alley. Bane had the man who raised Bruce, the man we have seen help Bruce along every step of the way, no matter how insane he felt Bruce’s crusade to be. Alfred stole our hearts with his compassion (and his sarcasm, man is a legend), his understanding, and his willingness to help Bruce through everything. Alfred is the pillar of that family.

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Joker made an excellent point, and you know the writing is good when you agree with the Joker. Why kill Alfred in front of the Baby Bat when he could have saved that (albeit awful) moment for Bruce’s own eyes? Or, y’know, at least have the common sense to pick up a phone so Bruce can listen in? As Joker notes, it truly could have been a deeply traumatizing moment for Bruce, not that it was not so for Damian. My only comment here is that perhaps it had more to do with some over-arching plot on Damian’s behalf. If you’ve read my Damian rant from a couple weeks ago, you’ll know what I mean. Perhaps that moment really was meant for Damian, and not Batman… And Joker just does not understand. Or maybe there is nothing behind it at all. That’s the fun in speculation, I guess.

Things end on a solemn note for Bane. Something unsettling and deeply concerning for him surely lies ahead, per Joker’s warning. Tormenting Batman is Joker’s true love, it is his be all and end all. Bane had the chance to do so and squashed it, and Joker feels he should pay.

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NEXT: FAMILY TIES

The second story focuses on the family of Lucius Fox, and just like every other Gothamite, they’ve been put through the ringer. While hiding out, Lucius and his family realize they now have tens of billions of dollars in their name. This was thanks to Catwoman’s work.

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The family is divided on what to do. [Joker War Zone #1]

Still, a question remains, “just who does this money belong to?” Some members of the family say it belongs to Bruce, it was his money before it was stolen, after all. Still, Lucius insists they use the money for the greater good, to help those in Gotham.

Lucius words it well, everyone in Gotham is stuck in the middle of someone else’s war. After what he has been through, can you blame him for wanting to keep the money? It isn’t as if he wants his family to take it all and run. He wants to funnel it back into the city…

But that will have to wait because Joker’s got wind of their hideout and huge Hummers bust through the walls of Fox’s home, eager to take down the family and take their newfound extreme wealth. Fear not, for Luke has a suit of his own and he takes down these clowns with ease! This short ends with the family coming together, and with the agreement that something must be done.

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Everyone’s got a bone to pick with someone in this issue. [Joker War Zone #1]

NEXT: Spoiler and Orphan!

A story featuring some lesser known Batfam members was unexpected (for me)! Still, I was happy to see some girl power on the streets of Gotham, all things considered. Steph’s talkative nature matches up well with Cass’s near silence as they plow through villains! Though the story begins on a quieter note…

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Everyone’s gotta eat. [Joker War Zone #1]

Unlike the previous story, this addresses matters in Gotham’s streets; we see what our heroes are trying to deal with. Of course, there are rad as heck moments when we see our ladies beat up bad guys, but Joshua Williamson gives us just a bit more. Gotham is lacking the symbol it’s citizens are used to. While Batman may strike fear in more than villains, the Dark Knight is still a hero and the city is aching to see him again. With Gotham’s buildings in flames and it’s people bleeding, Steph and Cass recognize the importance of a stable symbol.

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[Joker War Zone #1]

Steph reveals that, back in the day, her father stole a Bat signal. Kinda ballsy, but way to go, dude. Retrieving that signal becomes their goal. If they can grab that and light it, they can instill some hope and reassure the citizens of Gotham that, while things are not alright now, there are heroes working to make the situation better. There are people trying to clean up the mess, help, and bring down Joker. If you’re a fan of either of these two (or both), this is an issue you’ll want to pick up!

ASHES OF EDEN

Remember sometime around Batman #97 when Harley brought Bruce down to Eden for a good time (rest, recovery, and a massive amount of drugs)? And then Punchline came in and the place was torched? Well, Ivy’s back in town and she is none too pleased that her garden has been overrun with Joker’s clowns.

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Nothing Ivy can’t handle. [Joker War Zone #1]

Poison Ivy makes quick work of the intruders, literally blasting them away until nothing remains. She turns them into fertilizer, can you blame her? They’ll help her grow what’s to come. When Eden is cleaned up, Ivy sits upon a throne of her own making, coaxing the undergrowth to forge a path up through Gotham. And we are yet again reminded that nothing and no one can keep down the citizens of Gotham. Ivy may be a rogue, but the city is her home, too.

And she is ready to reclaim what’s been taken.

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Looking forward to seeing more with Ivy as the Joker War continues on in Batman. [Joker War Zone #1]

AND LASTLY: Clown Hunter

I said it earlier and I’ll say it again (mostly because I have some friends who were thinking the same thing), I really thought Clown Hunter might have been Damian. Clown Hunter is proudly forging a path through the streets of Gotham. He’s not just ready to fight, the kid is all out brawling. No holds barred, the lad is killing. Unless your morals align tightly with Bruce Wayne, can you blame the kid? Seems he has a bit of a beef with Batman.

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Arkham has security so bad and that’s recognized by all, can’t blame the citizens for letting a kid kill clowns. [Joker War Zone #1]

Clown Hunter is a clever kid who has seen more than his fair share of grief. With the streets aflame, killer clowns (I’m sorry, is it 2016 again) abound, and the lack of a Batman… He has taken matters into his own hands. He is speaking a language everyone knows: lethal force.

Similarly to Damian, Clown Hunter feels Batman has been inefficient. Arkham Asylum’s lax security has irreparably damaged his home and family life. Clown Hunter reveals that he lost his parents to Joker’s shenanigans. While he arguably is not the only one in Gotham who has lost a lot due to Batman’s moral code, he is one of the few who has decided they have what it takes to take a stand and make a difference in the status quo.

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We’re all rooting for this kid, right? [Joker War Zone #1]

Now for something a little different on the Clown Hunter story… I’d love to take a moment here to give praise to the artistic team. (names). These folks worked together to give us something downright fantastic!! When it comes to Gotham, we’ve seen the streets from the perspective of every Bird and Bat, but Clown Hunter’s story still gives us more. Gotham is gritty, grim, and dark, yet in this story we see so many fine details, and so much color. There is a liveliness to it. Of course, the liveliness comes from flames licking buildings and cars, from the explosions of Joker plots gone well, but still there is a definite spark here.

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Quick, someone adopt him before Bruce can!!! [Joker War Zone #1]

The amount of detail is unreal. Given the nature of Batman and Detective Comics, we hardly see Gotham well lit. It’s why I loved that last panel from Batman Beyond #47 (we saw the sun rise over Gotham). While there is no sunrise over this Gotham, we are given more than the shadows we’ve grown used to when we watch Batman and Robin go about their nightly patrols in the streets.

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This page is brilliant and it is not even the opener! [Joker War Zone #1]

Batman: The Joker War Zone was a fantastic read from start to finish. Comprised of four stories, the pacing was just right for each character and DC gave us some delicious plots. While I would not nail this down as essential reading, it was informative and enjoyable. If you are a Clown Hunter fan, pick this up. If you are a Poison Ivy fan, you bet you should have this one. Wondering what became of Bane? You’ll wanna see this. While not a necessary read, Joker War Zone is enjoyable, informative, and gives us a deeper look into the atrocities caused by Joker’s clowns.

BATMAN: THREE JOKERS #2

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This is all I’ve been thinking about for a month straight, and if you have too I can’t blame ya.

#1 was wild; solid story from beginning to end. #1 gave us a look into the lives of those heavily effected by the Joker’s horrible actions: Bruce, Barbara, and Jason. They’ve arguably had it worse than the others.

The story focused on the physical and emotional scars left over by the Clown Prince of Crime, and the struggles of these three who have worked to overcome.

We were all left amazed as Jason took action and killed one of the Jokers, but that still leaves two more… And what of Bruce’s reaction when he discovers Jason’s deed?

SPOILERS AHEAD FOR BATMAN: THREE JOKERS #2

What in the fresh heck. This is an issue that will have DC’s audiences all over the place. Geoff Johns does wild work in general and this issue is no exception. I’ll take a second here to say I was a little disappointed with Johns writing Babs to play some Bat Boy Bingo, but I can forgive the transgression because of how it was written, and how emotion can lead into action. Still, maybe they try hugging it out next time instead.

While no more Jokers meet their maker in #2, the story is no less riveting than the last. Barbara is on Bruce’s tail after witnessing Jason’s actions back at the aquarium, yet Bruce tells Barbara to drop it, and in more ways than one.

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I hate to say it, but Bruce’s reaction made me laugh. [Three Jokers 2]

Meanwhile, Jason’s gone off alone in search of the two remaining Jokers, unfortunately for him a grim trap has been laid and he walks right into it. This is Jason though, he knows what he’s doing. He battles his way through an old, grimy, unused athletic club.

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Get ready for one wild pool party! [Three Jokers #2]

As if we had not already seen Jason go through enough torturous moments during his last few runs in the DC Universe, Johns adds in one more. After Jason battles his way through all those seen in the pool above (they reanimate later), Jason finds himself in a hard spot. Joker has tied Jason up and stripped (odd choice, but alright) him. To make matters worse, he’s verbally tormenting Jason over his choice to call himself the Red Hood and don a red helmet. Jason, snarky character he is, remarks that it is a joke. Joker’s response? Place the helmet over Jason’s head (freshly painted with a sinister smile, too) and beat him with a crowbar. Forehand or backhand, folks. We’ve seen this before, all those flashbacks as Robin? Sit down because this moment is a heavy hitter. Thankfully, Bruce and Barbara are on the case and arrive to help Jason. But not before he’s been through the ringer both physically and emotionally. This isn’t a night on patrol Jason can just sleep off.

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Does the pain ever end? No, this is DC and we all signed up for this. Strap in folks. [Three Jokers #2]

While Jason was busy getting his ass beat, Bruce was headed for a ghost from his past, Joe Chill. Not a character I was expecting to play an important role, but it will be interesting to see where this leads us. We are given the obligatory slideshow of the events that lead up to Bruce becoming the sad lad he is today, and then we’re brought back to the moment at hand. Batman standing in front of Chill’s cell. Johns’s writing choice here was interesting in that it was unexpected. Batman, seemingly forever calm, cool, and collected even when striking fear into the hearts of others, has a moment where he falters. Memories of his past flicker before him and he forgets to use his gruff, gravelly “Batman” voice.

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This moment with Bruce hurt my heart. [Three Jokers #2]

Unfortunately for Bruce, Chill isn’t doing so well and is on his way out the door. Cancer is killing him and it’s impossible for his fingerprints to be on a gun when he is laying on his deathbed. And so the detective moves on…

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Guess he can sleep it off. [Three Jokers #2]

Jason rests up in Barbara’s apartment and wakes as Bruce takes his leave. We learn a little more about the pain in Barbara’s life, as well as Jason’s. In this moment, they’re both emotionally vulnerable (though I’d argue Jason much more so than Barbara) and they share a rather… intense moment. As soon as the deed is done, Barbara shares her instant regret for her actions, saying it will never happen again. While I don’t disagree with the upset surrounding this moment, I find the writing to be somewhat believable for what has just transpired likely only hours ago in universe, and what goes down. Adult lives can be messy, especially in this universe. And when someone is coming down from a serious traumatic moment, and is emotionally vulnerable, and people are lacking some serious judgement… Well what we see in this set of panels is not entirely unbelievable. In fact I’d argue it is supposed to make the audience uncomfortable, to force us to dig into our thoughts on just why this is upsetting (or not, if you didn’t hate it). In a moment of heavy emotions and vulnerability, their shared sad kiss isn’t out of the realm of possibility…. But hug it out next time, will ya? A hug or a well meaning hand on the shoulder would have been so much more preferable to… that. These panels are so cursed but you’ll find them below anyway. I have so much more to say on emotional vulnerability, poor judgement, and (dare I say) manipulation, but I’ll save that for later.

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Ugh this is just cursed. I hate it, thanks. Feel awful just posting them. [Three Jokers #2]

After that awkward moment, the book only has a few more pages left, and they are dedicated to Batman’s pursuit of the Joker and Joe Chill. Bruce is alone in the Batcave, pouring over files and on his computer. Joe Chill has something to do with the Three Jokers, but perhaps not in the way we were lead to believe! It’s chilly up there in Alaska.

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Are we going Clown Hunting in ALASKA? [Three Jokers #2]

As serious a story as Johns gives us, the issue is not without some good comedic timing.

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Fabok reminds us to put on a happy face before Jason gets going. [Three Jokers 2]

Just as in the last issue, Jason Fabok serves up some delicious art. Before I pull panels for art, I feel the need to say the layouts Fabok uses work very well for this story. These days, we see a lot of panel breaks, funky angles, and massive splash pages all in the same book. Fabok keeps things simpler and it adds to the story by forcing your focus. Without the distraction of fancy panels, Fabok invites us to read the story. Yes, there is the dialogue from Johns, but Fabok is a superior artist when it comes down to facial expressions and body language; the range on this man’s talent knows no limits. Don’t know about you, but when I looked at Barbara and Jason in the following panels, I felt their sorrow.

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We’re all sad lads today folks. [Three Jokers #2]
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Catch me ugly cryin’ in the club. [Three Jokers #2]

Fabok’s art is wonderful in that it evokes strong emotion from the audience. There is no way a reader can pass over these images and feel nothing whatsoever, unless that reader is heartless. It’s no secret that when people see someone expressing a certain emotion, it is easy for us to feel that emotion too, on some base level at the very least… That is if the emotion is buyable and doesn’t feel forced or fake. Fabok must also recognize that aspect of human psychology because his characters will make you feel a wide emotional range. If you aren’t cold or heartless, that is.

DC Black Label titles aren’t necessary for understanding overarching plots in the DC Universe because these titles stand on their own. That doesn’t make them any less enjoyable than titles running along DC’s (currently whacked out) continuity. If you’re a sucker for Jason Todd, or a twisted Joker tale really gets you going, the Three Jokers is a series you will want to have. Obviously #2 is essential if you picked up #1 last month, but I’d argue Three Jokers is essential reading for any big Batman fan.

I’m biased though, and have 5 different covers.

JUSTICE LEAGUE ANNUAL #2

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Another annual, meaning no summary necessary, so let’s just flip that cover and immerse ourselves in some sweet action!

To me though, that cover art screams “death in the Hall of Justice,” yeah? We’ve got the Hall, a sword, the outline of a body, and it’s all done up in red!

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SPOILERS AHEAD FOR JUSTICE LEAGUE ANNUAL #2

Our heroes have been bamboozled!!!

The Annual opens strong with a crisis in the Hall of Justice. Sure, the place is also a little like a museum and they do see a number of guests… But someone having the guts to drop a dead body there? Now that is crazy. Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash (Barry), and Green Lantern (John) must all work together to figure out the missing piece of this story and just how someone managed to slip past their defenses.

Unfortunately for them their defenses are a little too strong in some regards. As is well known by everyone in the DC Universe and any audience member to ever read a DC comic, Batman has a plan for everything. In the event of a crisis, so does the Justice League, thanks to Batman’s help. After discovering a naked, bloody, dead body in their super secret basement, this Fab Five decide to put their heads together and work. Visiting hours are over and people are kicked out. The gang’s got a mystery to solve! But another mystery crops up quickly… Who locked down the Hall of Justice? Because it wasn’t any of them…

Justice League comics have always been about the crew putting aside personal struggles and using their communal braincell to get work done. This issue is no different, except these Fab Five have to work just a little harder. Their defenses in the Hall of Justice are just a tad too strong.

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Supes is out of the game pretty early on in this issue. [JL Annual #2]

In trying to create a trustworthy line of defense in the event their greatest foes infiltrate the Hall, they have also ensured their own impossible escape. That’s because their strongest enemies share extremely similar (or the exact same) powers. Who was the green light for such a project? Did they not think this one through? I’ll let the writer have this one because the story is fun. Clark is the first to lose his powers, Barry soon realizes he can’t vibrate through walls, John’s ring is essentially powerless thanks to the high defense against the emotional spectrum of light, Diana can’t just use her godlike strength to bust them out, and Bruce… Well we all know he is just human so really he just has to outthink himself, I guess. So, these Leaguers put their heads together and figure it out. That dead body? Yeah I forgot about it too. It disappeared, turns out it was just a ruse.

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This isn’t a plot hole though, we get an explanation later. [JL Annual #2]

As our heroes move their way through the Hall, they realize things are quickly turning sour. They’re in real danger if they can’t figure out how to disarm the Hall, which is literally flying into space. When the Hall of Justice self destructs, it somehow lifts itself from it’s place and makes a plan to fly out to space where it can safely blow up into tiny bits. Luckily, the team is able to stop disaster before it happens. Clark is able to recharge in a yellow sun chamber, and then he and Diana make quick work of landing the Hall back where it belongs. This issue is a lesson on the powers of teamwork and the fact you should trust your comrades. Short, but fun.

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Crisis averted. [JL Annual #2]

Was this a must read title? Given that it is an annual with no real link to what is currently going on in the Justice League run… Nope. Did I still find it enjoyable? You betcha. Obviously the art looked good, but what did it for me this issue was the writing. Plenty of moments brought a smile to my face thanks to good comedic timing and character interactions, but the overall message was great, too. Diana talking about the power of teamwork and nodding to Bruce for agreement, only for it to be revealed Bruce decided to depart from that conversation? Priceless. And so very Batman of him.

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Bruce had other pressing matters, like locking up the villain of this tale. [JL Annual #2]

Sweet story, not necessarily something you need to drop $5 on.

RED HOOD OUTLAW #50

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#48 was a Joker War tie-in, so let’s recap a little further than last month.

Jason & Co. have had it rough, Jason arguably more than everyone else. Joker killed him though, and he is always having a rough day.

Stuck in the Chamber of All, will our heroes make it out alive?

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SPOILERS AHEAD FOR RED HOOD #49

Please, oh please, can I just see Jason Todd happy? No? Okay.

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We are all crying this week. [Red Hood Outlaw (2016) #49]

#49 wraps up what’s been transpiring since before the Joker War tie-in interrupted current events. Jason and Jason are running around and working together, and Outlaw Jason has a few moments where he has to handle seeing his (now dead) best friend. Roy’s alive, well, and cheeky, per usual. Jason’s not really ready for that. Fortunately, the world is crumbling around them and Jason doesn’t have time to dwell on his feelings, he has to be efficient.

Meanwhile, Bizarro is off battling Trigon, though what he did not realize was that they were playing for keeps. Bizarro’s been given a lot of interesting characterization in this run, and I’ve been loving nearly every second of it. We’ve been clued in to Bizarro’s capacity for critical thinking, and he has been fleshed out much more in this version of Red Hood and the Outlaws. And so Bizarro has a choice to make upon defeating Trigon. Leave and let these demonic creatures run amok, or take a seat on his new throne and maintain power. Should he choose the latter, he will likely never see his friends again.

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At least he can still watch over his friends, even though he is forced to part ways. [Red Hood Outlaw (2016) #49]

With Bizarro on the throne, that leaves Artemis and Jason working with other Jason, Kory, and Roy to put things back together so they can leave in one piece. Jason and Roy share a heartfelt moment (I’m not crying, you’re crying), okay mostly Jason being said because he can’t tell Roy what happens… And then everyone parts ways, for better or worse.

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I can only handle so much sad Jason Todd and DC just really did us all in this week. [Red Hood Outlaw (2016) #49]

This issue is supposed to be the end of an era for the Outlaws, and (writer) wraps up the story quite nicely. Admittedly, I was worried this issue would be a set up for 50, and that 50 would end the run completely. Luckily, that isn’t the case, but we are turning the page on this chapter of Jason’s adventure. Can’t wait to see what they have in store for him!

The Art:

Paolo Pantalena. I always have trouble reading an issue he’s been on. His style has some questionable features about it, usually in regards to the way he draws people. They don’t always seem to have bones where they should. And in regards to his women, as someone with a sizeable pair of tits, I can confidently say they Do Not Work Like That.

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My neck and back hurt just looking at this. Don’t yours? [Red Hood Outlaw (2016) #49]

Sometimes his women remind me of Michelangelo’s marble statues; the women look like they’ve just had some oranges slapped on their chests. When someone doesn’t know how to draw something, it’s just painfully obvious. Or maybe that’s just his stylistic choice. Who am I to say.

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As I said, PAINFUL. [Night, by Michelangelo]

Anyway, I digress.

While I may disagree with the portrayal of women (and the men suffer, too), Pantalena puts forth some stellar work on imaginary lands. Anyone can reference your more basic backgrounds. A little extra detail and imagination never hurts when breathing life into a cityscape or the batcave, but Rocafort was presented with the challenge of giving life to a world which does not exist. At least in our reality. And he does a phenomenal job of painting that picture for us and giving the Outlaws hell to run through.

Red Hood Outlaw #49 is an essential issue in your run of this series. Don’t leave yourself with a gap on this arc, especially as it puts a close to what’s been going on. Looks like #50 will pave the way for a fresh start for Jason Todd.

THAT’S A WRAP!

Thank you for joining me through another weekly recap and review of DC’s newest publications. DC is releasing nearly FIFTY titles next month, and a pretty decently sized chunk of them are on my pull list.

While there was not as much to recap this week, there was plenty to say on reviews. Thanks for reading and see you again real soon!

Passionate about many things, blogging about comics.