While DC may have let us down with Monday’s announcement about the pushback date for The Batman movie release (October would have been perfect, that Old Goth owns Spooky Season!!), the realm of comics is fairing quite a bit better. In addition to having tons of fun covers to choose from, Batman #100 is a massive issue, with bonus stories at the end! Batman: The Adventures Continue not only enters my monthly Pull, but we will likely see a Red Hood reveal (those are always fun, thinking on you Batman #637). Dead Planet is beyond the halfway point and so we should see the pacing really pick up. Justice League enters it’s second Death Metal tie-in issue, with Nightwing leading his own crew. And lastly, we begin to see the wrap up story for the final two issues of Young Justice. Gotham’s literally on fire, and Metropolis isn’t fairing much better… Not sure exactly where YJ falls in regards to continuity, but Tim and Conner have more pressing matters than running around with a group of teens, I guess.
Batman #99 saw all of our favorites (except Damian) come together for what is shaping up to be a spectacular finale with everyone.
Dick’s back in blue, Barbara’s working as Oracle, Steph and Cass each have a Bat symbol on their costumes, and so much more. Does it really get any better? (I mean I’d like to know where Damian went off to, but maybe that can wait).
Meanwhile, Joker was busy playing pranks on Batman. From the cruelty of a reanimated Alfred to a sick twist on Bruce’s own Batsuit. It’ll be exciting to see where Tynion IV leads us next!
SPOILERS AHEAD FOR BATMAN #100
Joker’s managed to surprise Batman in the warehouse… But what is with that garish costume?! Tacky. Batman #100 brings so much to the table in the conclusion to the Joker War: Gotham’s fate is fought for, Ghost-Maker introduces himself, Batman fights Joker, and some stories afterwards that lay the foundation for what’s to come!
Tynion IV gave this book some rapid pacing, but his quick clip matches the tone and action in this story. Barbara is back in the clocktower, working tirelessly as Oracle to help the city and keep everyone connected. While this is going on, we have glimpses of the Batfam kicking some serious clown butt! Clown Hunter is also watching and listening to Oracle’s broadcast; he’s all dressed up and ready to go. To follow up the Batfam’s fight, Tynion IV brings us to the streets of Gotham, meeting up with GCPD to be exact. They’ve been ordered to shut down Oracle’s system, but Bullock knows better. Gotham’s in crisis and he refuses to stand by. Batman and Joker waste no time fighting, and Bruce is somehow able to set aside the fact Joker has reanimated Alfred’s corpse and keep on going.
While Bruce and Joker are locked in fisticuffs, the action breaks to Punchline. Joker prematurely set off part of their plan, and it’s evident in more than her words that she is not prepared. Are those tears? Sure does look it.
Punchline’s plans are about to be further derailed because Dick’s returned and he is ready and revving to go toe to toe with her for a more fair fight. Oh, and he brought along his witty banter. Dick slams in a few great hits, but then more clowns come to help Punchline… No worries though, a few more bats and birds have decided to land. As soon as they drop down everyone’s wailing on the clowns that have been terrorizing Gotham.
In the blink of an eye the book shifts back to the most classic of Batman duels: Batman vs. Joker. Unfortunately for Bruce he is taking some nasty punches… Physically and emotionally. Joker is ready to tear down the Bat in more ways than one and Bruce is looking like he could use a tap out, especially after Joker twists that knife into his back. Luckily enough, the cavalry has arrived.
After Batman and Harley parted ways in #99, I was anxious to see where she would run off to, and what sort of plan she would enact. In regards to her (understandably) loathsome attitude towards Joker, Harley had been honest with Bruce. Without the prying eyes of any bats or birds, Harley decided playtime was over and if anyone was going to bring in the big guns it may as well be her. Joker’s waged war on the city too long, and Harley, frustrated with Bruce’s lack of a kill shot, decides to force his hand. Bruce has to choose: Harley or Joker. She takes two bombs, one for herself and one for Joker and tells Batman he must make a choice before sprinting as far and fast as she can. Tynion IV’s choice was an interesting one; I’m not sure who could have predicted such a selfless action on Harley’s part. Bruce makes a case for why he can leave Joker with a bomb strapped to his chest, and he makes haste for Harley.
Batman leaves Joker to figure his way out of the mess he’s made, knowing full well Joker has the means necessary to escape, and makes a mad dash to save Harley. Joker’s not all too thrilled with Batman’s decision. Bruce is done with his games, Gotham has suffered plenty over the years. This illustrates that deep down, Bruce knows Harley is right. If he saves Joker, the message he sends is that no matter what, Joker will always be able to terrorize the city and kill innocents while getting off Scott free. Bruce can’t continue letting Joker believe that train of thought. Next thing we know, writers and artists have come together to treat our beloved Batman and the audience to a glorious sunrise over Gotham. Bruce and Harley share a touching conversation while she is in the hospital and we move on to yet another scene…
Tynion IV thank you for not taking the cheap way out and allowing Bruce to throw Alfred in a Lazarus pit. We’re all missing Alfred, but characters and fans alike need time to mourn the loss of such a great character. Bonus points for these words from Bruce… Alfred acted as a doting father figure to many people in Bruce’s life, but mostly Bruce. While burying Alfred a second time must have been difficult, we can clearly see the rest of Bruce’s family in the background. Reading Bruce use the word “family” to describe his gaggle of kids hits a soft spot in my heart, but actually seeing everyone gathered together is even better. If it were under happier circumstances, now that would be nice, but we can’t have everything that we want, now can we?
Tynion IV ends things on a high note for the Batfam (except Damian, like where is that mad lad?), and drops a little comic relief with Harley.
Ghost Maker has seen some hype in recent weeks. Forget about the character cropping up in conversation across the internet, many comic collectors and resellers were speculating on whether or not they should buy multiple issues. Would be be getting a glimpse of the character? A cameo? Some big reveal? All we can say for certain is Ghost Maker knows Bruce, and knows him well. He’s sure to be a leftover from Bruce’s days traveling and training before coming back to nest in Gotham and create The Batman.
This issue doesn’t end there, and Clown Hunter fans can rejoice! Bruce has found Clown Hunter (Bao Pham). A boy who was not only orphaned by one of Joker’s catastrophic plots, but also had to watch as Joker dug up and reanimated the corpses of his parents for a sick joke on Batman. Still, Tynion’s Batman is a welcome change of pace. While Batman has come to Bao’s home uninvited and unannounced, he is quiet. This Batman listens, is understanding, apologizes, and offers help. At his core, Batman was created from a place of compassion and a want to do good, and even though Batman does tell Bao he will stop him if he has to, he does not go out of his way to bring the kid in. Bruce knows Bao has killed, but he also knows Bao is a child, and a heavily traumatized one at that. Kids need help when they’ve been let down, not a beating from their heroes.
One last thing: Punchline and Joker.
Joker survived the bomb, and it seems Batman’s choice to abandon him has him feeling a little down. Now that Joker is somewhat back on his feet, he’s chosen to plant his butt in a city diner and catch up on the news. Not knowing who he is talking to, a customer at the diner offers conversation and then shows Joker Punchline’s video.
Punchline’s using tears and a sob story as a sympathy grab, guess she doesn’t want to have to view the world from a window in Arkham. Seeing the video, it seems Joker’s feeling a little more himself. He’s planning to take some time off from Gotham, but he needs a scapegoat. Joker wastes no time puffing toxin into this guy’s face, and makes quick work of dressing his victim to take his place. But where will Joker go from here?
The creative team has stayed the same since the last time I reviewed a Batman issue, and I don’t want to bore anyone by repeating myself, but this creative team is something else. Dynamic layouts, exciting poses, vibrant colors, lighting, attention to detail… The list goes on and these artists killed it. This creative team will surely be missed.
The above panel seems simple enough, right? Take some time to appreciate what’s going on here. This building is goin up in flames and this panel is all about the detail. While much of the interior is lost to the blaze, there is still much to see on the walls and floor. Even better, the intensity of the fire can be gauged in the light it casts on Batman’s dark suit. But this panel keeps on giving! The perspective adds to the tone of this story, Harley’s moving fast and Bruce is out of time to make his choice. Alright, that’s it, there’s enough on this issue already. Moving on.
BATMAN THE ADVENTURES CONTINUE #5
This was a series I newly picked up after hearing some of the hype, so I read like a Speedster and blasted through #1-#4!
#4 introduced us to Azreal and brought us through Gotham on a wild chase for a magic shawl. The mystery of the missing shawl concluded with the detainment of Mr. Freeze (and hopefully the re-interment of his wife’s body as well).
Yet there was one last page with a Joker tease. Seeing as how Jason’s been stealthily creeping on Bruce, Barbara, and Tim, it seems safe to say we can expect him to make his big reveal in #5!
Can’t wait to see the surprise on Bruce’s face!
SPOILERS! BATMAN THE ADVENTURES CONTINUE #5
Jason Todd… I am so pleased to see that white streak in your hair, but it seems your eyebrows were the cost of something so great. After stalking Bruce, Barbara, and Tim through the streets of Gotham, Red Hood has finally made himself known. Joker’s on the cover, how could we not have expected this outcome in this month’s issue?
With a title like Red Son Rising, it seals the deal on a big reveal.
This issue opens with Jason moving on from stalking the Batfam to following Joker. This chase between Jason and Joker works more as a set up for what’s to come in the rest of the issue. Batman finds bullets from the scene and matches the fingerprints to one Jason Todd, whom he and Alfred assumed dead. But you know what they say when you assume something… Tim, who knows nothing of the second Robin or what happened to him looks to Bruce and demands answers. Bruce tells Alfred to give Tim the details and heads out to find his son.
The origin Alfred relays is a little different from what many of us Jason fans are used to, but I’d argue that the work put out here by Alan Burnett and Paul Dini was still somewhat tasteful. Jason has an older brother and they’re in a bad spot, working for a group that preys on the newest members to use as decoys. These new members to the group wear a red mask and alert the rest of the group to approaching police. Sadly, Jason’s brother is killed, but Batman finds Jason and brings him back to the cave to train as the next Robin. And maybe work on improving some of those anger issues.
Without Bruce’s permission and before Bruce thinks Jason is ready, Jason steals the Robin suit and finds Batman to fight some crime. Alfred goes on to tell Tim that Jason was a violent Robin, often acting out and without approval from Bruce. Eventually, Jason’s behavior as Robin became such a problem, that he was tarnishing the good and respectable name of Batman.
This was problematic to Bruce for obvious reasons; he was losing the trust of people (good and bad), perceived as violent by association with Robin’s poor behavior, and had to deal with concern from the Gotham City Police Department. Jason was becoming a major liability.
In real time, Jason’s lured Bruce to an empty old bar… Not before filling the whiskey bottles with gasoline. Batman hasn’t noticed and when the conversation goes south, Jason pulls out the guns and starts a big fire to make his escape.
Bruce is aware of exactly who has been on his case, but there’s not much he can do to pursue Red Hood when the building explodes. Batman gets himself to safety, and we’re left wondering where Hood’s gone and what Batman will decide to do next!
When it comes to the art in Batman: The Adventures Continue, I find it has this endearing quality to it. Of course the story is supposed to be a callback to the animated series. The art is kept simple, and sweet, and reminds us all of what’s probably one of your favorite childhood shows. Not sure about you, but I picked this up because as a kid I loved the animated series… Could use more Nightwing, though.
DCEASED DEAD PLANET #4
That horrifying interpretation of Plastic Man swam through my mind when I remembered today was the day I’d be typing this review.
Last issue focused on unifying the remaining forces, and numbers sure are dwindling. Still, our heroes remain hopeful (thank you Cyborg).
John Constantine, fully aware of his reputation in all circles, asks Wonder Woman for her lasso of truth. Together with Detective Chimp, Constantine sets out to find Mister Miracle, who has managed to keep himself alive and isolated. At first, Mister Miracle is reluctant to listen to John, but upon hearing the positive news and seeing the lasso of truth, he decides it’s time to fight back.
SPOILERS AHEAD FOR DCEASED DEAD PLANET #4
We are the better part of halfway there with this issue and our crew is running out of time to find a cure for the Anti-Life equation. Cyborg’s got the answer though…. Or he will once the crew can pin down Metron.
Everyone has gathered back in Ivy’s sanctuary… Everyone except for our new Green Lantern, Dinah. Jon and Mary leave to find her and bring her back, but she is safeguarding the undead corpse of Ollie. Understandably, Dinah has been told she cannot bring Ollie into their sanctuary. Her decision to remain in a perilous position outside their established safety net is undoubtedly irrational, but it is hard to believe someone can make a levelheaded thought immediately following the loss of a loved one.
Once they’re finished talking and arrive back at camp, Superboy, Wonder Girl, Cyborg, and Mister Miracle decide it’s time to head to New Genesis. Cyborg may have the cure to the Anti-Life Equation, but he needs help with accessing it. Thanks to the efforts of Constantine, the group will be able to bribe Metron for a few minutes in the Mobius Chair.
Together the group travel to what is left of Apokolips, and instead of approaching Metron with their bribe and beginning a conversation… They go straight for violence and an ambush. After a few panels, tensions ease up and there’s a switch. Cyborg parks his butt in the Mobius Chair for a few minutes, working out the solution to the Anti-Life equation. Meanwhile, Metron is peering into the future with the help of Madame Xanadu’s Crystal Ball. Still, he doesn’t like what he sees and hightails it out of their current position in space as fast as possible. And for good reason…
Darkseid is undead.
JUSTICE LEAGUE #54
Last issue kicked off with a Death Metal tie-in, to be continued here!
Nightwing, Hawkgirl, and Detective Chimp found themselves in the crumbling Hall of Justice… Waiting on Lex Luthor to come out of hiding from behind a fallen statue of Superman.
Lex revealed the regrets of his wrongdoing, but mostly it seemed he was just upset Perpetua chose the Batman Who Laughs over him. Gee Lex, you can’t imitate Superman in regular timelines… Or make a proper villain in this one. Ouch.
SPOILERS AHEAD FOR JUSTICE LEAGUE #54
Nightwing’s added to his crew and we’ve got ourselves a Titans team up in this tie-in. Starfire and Cyborg have entered the ring and they’re ready to rumble! Meanwhile, Lex is still pallin’ around with the group as everyone catches up with each other, even though the group is clearly not ready to trust anything he has to say. As the group begins to argue with Lex, Williamson changes the location and the scene shifts to Bruce Wayne and J’onn J’onzz.
Martian Manhunter and Mindhunter are battling for keeps, and J’onn is doing all he can to keep the mental link between him and his team as secure as possible. We are given a glimpse of the battle between these two before being brought back to the original group.
They must cross a perilous valley of massive Starros. Seemingly sleeping they look much less treacherous than they are. Tender moments are shared amongst the group, and Koriand’r takes immediate notice of Dick’s new scar. Nightwing reveals what transpired with the KGBeast back in the regular timeline and Starfire is ready to kick some serious tushy. I’d give anything to see that fight, Starfire is one rad lady, but I believe the reunion of Dick and KGBeast is being saved for the late 70’s issues of Nightwing.
Dick, great detective he is, begins to notice something is not quite right, and soon we see various dream sequences take place. In every instance he is back in the Batcave, recovering after a fight. Alfred is always there, but that doesn’t make sense… Alfred is dead. His costume continues to change, too. Dick battles with his mind before Lex wakes him from the mess they’re involved in. Turns out passing through a valley of Starros wasn’t exactly a walk in the park. The creatures are out for blood and Willaimson leaves us on a frightening cliff hanger. The Starros are angry and have control over the others. Lex and Nightwing will have to work together if they have any hope of rescuing the others. But that’s for next week, folks!
Yet again, we’ve got some great art in this issue.
The illustration team paints a stunning view. While the colors are beautiful and the detail is impressive, they do not fail to portray the treacherous road ahead for our heroes. If they can make it past the Starros, there is an ocean to cross and then an island aflame. If the dialogue made you feel like this would be a breeze for this group, the image painted above definitely gave you second thoughts.
YOUNG JUSTICE #19
Young Justice is wrapping up, that’s no secret. Last issue wasn’t exactly essential to the storyline, and all we got was a date night out between Robin (reminder: it’s Timbo) and Spoiler.
Together, they battled her father and his goons, and then wrapped things up with a bit of help from the rest of the Young Justice crew.
Still, there were a few pages left of this issue and we were surprised with a sudden and shaken Wonder Girl! Zeus is back and he’s ready to rumble.
SPOILERS AHEAD FOR YOUNG JUSTICE#19
I’d just really love it if some of these adult Villains could take their fights to some of the other adults in DC, it’s not like we’re lacking in Heroes aged 20+. Still, the Greek Gods are unhappy with Wonder Girl’s life choices and have decided now’s the time to make their grievances known. Cassie’s got spark; she’s got something to say and she isn’t about to back down. Still, she calls on the help of the rest of the Young Justice crew to help her make her point.
This has to be one of the most dialogue heavy issues of anything I have ever read. While I understand the importance of all that narrative text, but it made the issue feel slow going and bogged down. Not Bendis’s fault. YJ is down to one more issue, so there is an ocean of information and conflict to cover before any fighting can begin. So let’s get to it.
Zeus has arrived and he’s here to tell Cassandra she is Wonder Girl, she shouldn’t be living among humans such as she is. The Pantheon disagrees with her choices and actions, so Zeus has come to meddle. If he cannot convince her with words, he will do so in actions (or at least try to). After an unsuccessful conversation with his granddaughter, Zeus forces her hand. When a massive monster erupts from beneath the city, Cassie finds herself leaping at the beast with a brand new, powerful sword in hand. In just a couple of panels, the threat is no longer, but Cassie was still in her civilian clothes. In the day and age of smartphones, any hope she had of maintaining a civilian identity is dwindling fast.
Upset, she moves to find her friends, and bring them up to speed on what’s transpired in her world. She relays her disinterest in being involved with the Pantheon, and puts into words why she finds that aspect of her life uncomfortable. The analogy Bendis wrote created an easy to understand perspective on what life as a demigod must be like, and made her struggles easy to understand.
Still, before the conversation can move on, Cassie and the rest of Young Justice are hit with a bigger threat: Poseidon. And poor Bart, he just wanted some lunch. Speedster’s gotta eat!
When it comes to Young Justice, the art is all about the team’s time together! Seeing a group of heroes just hanging out is always a lot of fun, and we don’t get that same fun feeling with it’s… say… The Justice League or other heroes sitting together in their downtime. Still, when the team needs to get up and moving, they’re always in exciting action poses (or sneaking away eating, if you’re Bart).
AND THAT’S A WRAP!
Thank you for another great week, and hello to any and all newcomers to my blog! Other notable pickups from this week that didn’t make it into this review: Legend of Swamp Thing Halloween Spectacular #1 (which I have not read yet) and Firepower #3 (I haven’t read #1 or #2 yet). Next week will see at least five more DC comics being reviewed, and maybe I’ll make a callback to Swamp Thing’s Halloween Spectacular after I’ve had a chance to read it. One of these days I might review some of the comics I have picked up from other publishers, but today is not that day. Stillwater #1 and Firepower #1–#3 still sit unread on my filing cabinet. Trying to keep from putting them into a long box where they may end up forgotten.
If you’re looking for something else to occupy your time, here are a few other posts I’ve made that don’t revolve around my weekly pulls…
Not Enjoying the Current Run? Give a Miniseries a Go!
Not sure about y’all, but sometimes I find myself so fed up with current runs (Tom King, why). During these times I…
The above post was all about finding a different Batman series to read after I could no longer take the writing from Tom King or the constant chase of Bat & Cat around Gotham’s rooftops.
Now that one up there is about a team up between Superman and Shazam! While this four issue series has been out for a while, it was something I never knew about. Nothing is spoiled inside, and instead you’ll just find my thoughts on why you might want to read it. If you don’t, no harm, no foul, but those four issues made for a great story with a feel good ending.