Spare thoughts on DC’s drops for January? Future State is going to be… Interesting. My Pull List might slim down a bit during January and February of 2021. Then again, it may not because I’ll read just about anything DC drops. Until that time comes, things on this blog should stay pretty regular, but I have no idea what will be in store when Future State’s issues finally hit shelves.

Really thought today was a four comic day, so I was pleasantly surprised with Robin King & Harley Quinn!!

BATMAN #101

King’s writing is well behind us and Joker War concluded last issue. Time for some all new Batman material!

If you’re not picking up Detective Comics, last week saw a new mayoral candidate rising up from the ashes of Gotham. Without a doubt, this character will carry over into the Batman comics.

Batman 100 introduced Ghost Maker, a character from Batman’s past who knows the Dark Knight well enough to call him by name. Batman and Bruce are about to have a tough time in the city. Bruce Wayne may have to watch out for Ghost Maker, while Batman will need to tread lightly through Gotham. GCPD and Gotham citizens seem a little less trusting.

SPOIELRS AHEAD FOR BATMAN #101

Not what I was expecting, but this was a juicy issue. Let’s break it down.

There was no mention or sight of Ghost Maker, so perhaps DC is saving that character for a later date. With all the other events taking place in Gotham, this is a wise choice. Tossing another character into the mix would add a complicated new element to a story that already has a lot happening. A new villain sounds exciting at first, but when everything else is taken into consideration… Well, the Batman comics just don’t need that right now. DC has so much to work with in regards to current continuity, I think we can all wait on the reappearance of Ghost Maker. While I’d like to see this character again because they’ve already been teased and given their own 1:25 variant cover, I’d like the next appearance to be more significant than a sad little one page special. But that’s just me… Moving on. The Bat & Cat mess has been wrapped up for the time being, with these two deciding to give each other a year of separation. Thank goodness. We could all use a break from that nonsense.

For a moment they consider what could be, but that is now left in the dust. [Batman (2016) #101]

Lucius Fox is still feeling the unfortunate after effects of the Joker War, but now he has Bruce’s billions behind him, which he plans to re-invest into the city. Considering Gotham’s been burned to the ground, Lucius is doing the city a favor and a huge kindness. Of course Bruce Wayne has found ways to give back to Gotham, but without any of his money to back him, maybe Lucius will do a better job.

Can I please direct your attention to Batman’s cape? That is all. [Batman (2016) #101]

Bruce Wayne might be finding himself in a spot of trouble now that Wayne Enterprises is about to be dissolved and transformed into something new. He will have to earn respect from the public, which won’t be easy as his name has been heavily tainted by Joker. Batman will be going through it too, don’t you worry. Without the money from WE to support Batman’s work on Gotham’s streets, it seems likely we will get a different sort of Batman. Something a little more old school. Don’t get me wrong, all of Batman’s high tech gear brings a ton of fun to the comics, but I’ve been missing the older Batman. Something with that gritty detective feel. Time to go back to basics. The money and tech backing Bruce Wayne has removed Batman as a somewhat relatable character. While Bruce has always had money, as the years have gone on, Batman’s tech is increasingly unbelievable. It removes Batman from the rest of us in the sense it no longer feels Batman could be any person trying to make a name for himself in the world of vigilantes.

Batman has always been a smart guy, that’s part of his whole “World’s Greatest Detective” nickname, but at some point it felt we lost a little of that. He has all the gadgets in the world to solve his problems, but who will he be without the money and gear?

ART TALK

While Bruce was looking a lil like a rough and crusty old man in this issue,

[Batman (2016) #101]

there is still a lot to love about the artwork seen throughout Batman 101. Bruce may have looked similar to the over baked crusty bread ends on a stale loaf, but everything else was pleasing to the eye.

[Batman (2016) 101]

This panel is simple, yet effective. Hoping to see a lot more of this classic Batman look, where his cape fans out and he truly resembles his moniker. Gliding over a dark and stormy Gotham on his way to solve a mystery or punch out some criminals.

[Batman (2016) #1]

More of that classic Batman feel I was going on about earlier… Seeing Bruce back in the gray and blue suit, with that bright yellow sigil slapped over his chest just hit me right in the childhood. Perhaps the writers and artists are hoping to come together and set up something a little different in the coming Batman comics.

Necessary or Nah?

Batman, the character and the series, is going through a lot right now and that sure isn’t going to stop anytime soon. There are pre-Joker War loose ends being tied up, and there is a lot of new ground to cover as Batman makes the transition from a high tech hero to that creepy caped cryptid sleuthing around the shadows of Gotham’s alleys.

This issue doesn’t feel entirely necessary. There are no major plot points, just enough dialogue to lead way to speculating what’s to come for Batman and Bruce Wayne. If I didn’t buy this issue, I doubt I would have missed much. Batman and Catwoman are taking a break, Lucius Fox has Bruce’s money, Batman’s going to have to go stealth, and Wayne Enterprises will be sold brick by brick. Gonna have to go with the nah on this one…

JUSTICE LEAGUE 55

Last week left off with this new ragtag group getting ready to head into a valley full of slumbering Starros. Each of our heroes has been pulled into their own dream space, and so far only Nightwing has been pulled out!

Nightwing and Lex were left facing off against Hawkgirl, Starfire, Cyborg, and Detective Chimp the last we saw them… And while both are formidable fighters, going up against four others isn’t likely to be easy.

Hopefully these two will be quick on their feet and come up with a way to help their friends, because they really need to make moves in this universe.

.

.

SPOILERS AHEAD FOR JUSTICE LEAGUE #55

Lex Luthor was the one able to pull the rest of the group from Starros’ nightmarish grasps. Never before have I felt like rooting for Lex as much as I am right now. While the others (understandably) have problems when it comes to this unlikely team up, it is Nightwing who brings the group together…. Which is expected.

He’s just trying to help out. [Justice League (2016) #55]

Nightwing is the one true trustworthy constant in the entirety of the DC Universe. I don’t care which Earth you’re on or what you’re reading. Dick’s just that good. He can always be trusted, and he can always bring people together in a tough situation. Dick has looked at what has been going on around them, and after realizing maybe they should have listened to Lex before trying to go through a valley of slumbering Starros, decided it was time to ask the team to come together. Once they’ve made their way together, Lex surprises the group with a boat, and they’re ready to set sail to new heights. Hawkgirl is worried about Martian Manhunter, who is still going through it with villains from the Death Metal universe. As soon as she hears him, Hawkgirl throws caution to the wind and pretty much gives them all away. Lex and Nightwing try to sneak by, but are caught!

[Justice League (2016) #55]

With their position revealed to Perpetua’s Omega Knight, what’s the group to do? Martian Manhunter let out an S.O.S., but is the group powerless to help him? Sure hope not!

ART TALK

As with the previous issues of this Justice League arc, I’ve been fond of the art. Panel layouts are looking good, the colors are great, what’s not to love?

Starfire in all her Death Metal glory. [Justice League (2016) #55]

The concept art for these characters has been a pleasure throughout this tie-in. And I have to admit I’m much happier seeing Starfire looking like this than we saw her in the most recent RHaTO comics… She’s here to kick butt and she isn’t taking anything from anyone.

Even the background pieces are tons of fun. The Death Metal universe is it’s own wild landscape, and to find out there were many tiny Starro creatures just hanging out in the atmosphere was quite the surprise. Seeing them whirl together like this with that creepy giant eye in the middle was terrifying! Yet our heroes still managed to escape and live to fight another day.

NIGHTWING #75

HE IS BACK, FOLKS. OUR MAN IS BACK.

The Ric arc is over, the Joker War is over, and now it’s time for some classic Dick lovin’.

Nightwing now: Dick Grayson is working on regaining his sense of self. Even during the Joker War he was not entirely himself until the very end. Then he came in to kick some butt, seeing him take down Punchline was the cherry on top. Unfortunately, KGBeast is still out there and seems to be committed to finishing what he started.

While Nightwing is concerned with vigilantism, Dick Grayson’s personal life will likely need some mopping up.

.

SPOILERS AHEAD FOR NIGHTWING #75

DC really stepped up with this issue. Dan Jurgens managed to tie up loose ends (did that scene with Alfred have anyone else crying? Just me?), while bringing us back to the present.

Dick’s been through a lot and we’re quickly realizing that while many of his older memories have returned to him, his time as Ric Grayson is still a bit clouded… Which makes sense when you consider the fact he was apparently being mind controlled with that rainbow crystal for some of that time. His brain probably feels like mush right about now.

Some friends from Dick’s past make appearances, reminding Dick of the good ol’ days when they were all a bunch of kids running around in spandex (oh wait, you mean they still do that?). Dick’s feeling a little down and these two help remind him that he was a leader and someone they could all rely on, even if he is having trouble remembering that aspect of himself. Taking a break from comic talk, having friends like this in the real world is so important when you’re struggling with your sense of self. So be kind and keep your friends close. Robin may have been Batman’s sidekick, but when Dick took on his own title he really grew as a person… Even if that transition was a little rocky to begin with.

This panel was just too sweet not to share. [Nightwing (2016) #75]

Still, Dick Grayson has yet to put on the Nightwing suit. He is seen running around with Batgirl as they clean up Gotham’s streets from the leftovers of the Joker War. Some clowns still see it fit to dress up like crazies and causing trouble, and these two have to be around to stop it. While Barbara tries to use this fact of life as a reason for Dick to return to wearing his old Nightwing suit, Dick makes a point to say that he is still struggling. He had a different life for a long time, and he is no doubt feeling confused regarding that split in his personality and personal life outside of vigilantism. Dick and Barbara part ways and the scene moves to him and Batman flying over Gotham.

Lad just got his memories back and everyone is really going to force him back into the old suit just like that. [Nightwing (2016) #75]

Bruce has never been someone who is good with words, but leading Dick to the site where Joker forced him to fight Barbara was a bit much… To add insult to injury, Bruce even takes the trouble of hanging up Nightwing’s suit where it had previously been flying on stage. Holy yikes, Batman. Dick’s not happy about Bruce’s actions, but is as graceful about it as could be expected, and he puts on the suit. Good for him.

Big ol’ yikes from me, Bruce. Way too forced. [Nightwing (2016) #75]

After Nightwing’s chat with Batman, he moves on and reunited with all the other Nightwings… Those who helped out when he could not. While he thanks them for their work, he asks that they do not pursue working in the shadows as vigilantes. He reminds them that they could have easily lost their lives, though that is a little hypocritical considering everything Dick has been through in the last 20 or so issues (or just in general since his debut in the 40's). They agree to stay away from Dick’s line of work, but just how certain can we be that they’re true to their words?

Detective Comics #38, Robin’s first appearance!

KGBeast has been peppered throughout this issue, and the ending is all about his confrontation with Nightwing. Dick and Bea have met up at the bar for a conversation about where everything leaves them, but their chat is cut short as KGBeast decides it’s time his presence was known. Why finish the job on Nightwing when he can go straight for Bea and hurt Dick even more? We’ll just have to wait until next month to see how Nightwing finds himself out of this tough situation. Will be be alone, or is it possible someone from the Batfam could show up to help out with this formidable foe?

[Nightwing (2016) #75]

ART TALK

Gosh golly god does Travis Moore kill it or what? He kills it.

Going to get the ball rolling with some more familiar poses. We’ve seen these two leaping across Gotham’s rooftops for decades, but Moore’s work on layouts for that kind of work is fantastic. Batman and Nightwing break out of their panels as they jump from one space to the next, and Moore also gives us an perspective not often seen. Might that be how these two look from the eyes of your average Gotham citizen? Or maybe from the eyes of a criminal, hiding out in the alley below. These two certainly look formidable as they make their way across Gotham.

[Nightwing (2016) #75]

Moore delivers on intense action throughout this issue, but it really comes to a head at the end of the book! KGBeast blasts his way through the windows, and we really get a sense for the shock and quick thinking that must take place if Dick is going to fight back and defend not only himself, but Bea as well! The page below has everything. Dick’s motions and the layered layout give his page a movie-like feel.

[Nightwing (2016) #75]

Necessary or Nah?

I love Nightwing. Period. That said, this issue is a great re-introduction to his character after everything we’ve seen Dick struggle with over the last couple years worth of issues. If you’re looking for the return of Dick Grayson, you won’t want to miss #75. Jurgens starts off slow, but gives Dick time with the people who love and care about him, all while giving us insight to how he feels in regards to his current situation. Naturally, he is struggling a bit with what choices to make, but seeing our heroes face deeper personal conflict is part of the fun, right? The drama can keep things interesting and give these superheroes that real, down to earth feel. If you’re into comics for the art, Moore’s work on this issue is another reason to pick it up if you haven’t already! Definitely necessary!

DARK NIGHTS DEATH METAL: ROBIN KING

Robin King Regular Cover

SPOILERS AHEAD FOR ROBIN KING #1

We’ve seen a lot of the Robin King prancing his way about the Death Metal universe, but where did this character get his start? Wonder no more because Peter J. Tomasi has shed some light on this crazy kid.

Rain falls heavy on this grim, gray day. Bruce Wayne stands with those mourning the death of his parents as their caskets are being laid to rest. Young Bruce is lost in thought about robins, and Alfred gives him a concerned look.

This story is wild from start to finish. [Robin King (2020) #1]

Not too much time passes before Bruce admits to building up a sinister utility belt, made for taking down all the do-gooders of the DC Universe.

This kid is a true nightmare beyond belief, but at least he is thorough. [Robin King (2020) #1]

From here, the pace picks up and we see this tiny gremlin running around Gotham’s rooftops taking down anyone who dares approach him. He’s not half bad either, completely successful in his gruesome battles against all others.

He’s a menace, but he keeps things interesting. [Robin King (2020) #1]

Eventually, he is approached by the Batman Who Laughs, deciding to go with him on his quest for glory and evil.

This Robin decides to join the Batman Who Laughs, but this union comes with a price. He is led to a chamber where the Batman Who Laughs creates his robin army, and not wanting to become as brainless as these other gremlins, the Robin King decides to take a special pill. This preserves some part of his original self after taking a dip in this glowing green pit.

Arguably, he becomes one of the more sinister characters in the robin army, having retained some sense of self. As he goes about causing grievous bodily harm and killing off characters, he becomes a true leader among all the other robins. This robin changed the nature of the pit once he took his dive, and allowed the other robins to hold onto the smallest shred of free will… And with that came the choice to cheer for the Robin King!

ART TALK

Riley Rossmo and Ivan Plascencia were a team up we saw back in Detective Comics 1027 and they are definitely the perfect pair when it comes to this story! They work well together and set a tone that has a twisted sort of fun to it. While the story is grim, this art will bring a smile to your face!

[Robin King (2020) #1]

The panels are so fluid and fun, which match the pace and tone of the story. DC could have gone with a much darker tone, especially with this kid being a murderous menace, but all the bright colors and fast lines make this story an absolute trip. To me, this style really adds to the appeal and takes nothing away. While he is going around killing people, the Robin King is still a Robin (of sorts), and Robins have always had quick movements and bright colors attached to their name across all DC Comics. Here, it feels the artists dial that to eleven and run like hell with it!

Just check out some of these poses! You can feel the flow. The inks are excellent and give way to bright colors that really pop! However, colors aren’t the only feature that stand out in this comic, Rossmo’s penciled in some wonderfully theatrical and exaggerated expressions on these characters.

[Robin King (2020) #1]

This issue doesn’t stop there. The artistic team really delivered on every aspect of this book. Check out some of these wild backdrops.

[Robin King (2020) #1]

Color, composition, texture… They really accomplished everything in this book!

Necessary or Nah?

So, going back to that post where I reviewed all the Death Metal one shots that were released last month between Dark Nights Death Metal #3 and #4… I would say this is essential. This absolutely picks up where #4 left off, as you can see by the last page I shared in the Art Talk segment. Our heroes have fallen and the Robin King has risen, and he has an army to back him on any and all future conquests! If you don’t care for the story (which I can’t understand, this was wild from start to finish), definitely grab an issue for the art. From linework, to colors, to the composition of individual panels and pages, this book really had it all. Rossmo’s style is a little more cartoonish than some of the realistic looks we see in comics these days, but it was just what this story called for! Definitely necessary!

TEEN TITANS #46

The Teen Titans are still dealing with the aftermath of Damian’s disappearance… And now it looks like they’ll have to answer to an aggressive Superboy. Or maybe Jon is more worried and upset than he is angry.

Either way, when we left off last month, Superboy had shown up at the end of the issue, demanding the whereabouts of Damian. Unfortunately what he does not realize is that the remaining Teen Titans are also unaware of Damian’s hiding spot or his next moves.

Where Jon and Damian had once been close friends (see Super Sons), will Jon be able to find Damian and bring him back from decisions he may regret later on? I sure hope so! But who knows what DC has planned…

SPOILERS AHEAD FOR TEEN TITANS #46

There is just one more issue of this to go and folks, I don’t know that I’ll be reviewing #47 when it drops next month. To me, this issue felt like a let down of massive proportions. And that cover? Way too similar to the last panels of #45. The Teen Titans series has been hit or miss (for me), but I’m too stubborn to let go, hoping for any inkling regarding Damian’s whereabouts and future plans. Sadly, none of that here.

Jon Kent shows up for what feels like all of five minutes. He helps the team wipe out the bad guys before searching for Damian. All he finds is a note left in an empty room, addressed to him.

[Teen Titans (2016) #46]

Upon reading the note, Superboy sets it aflame and leaves for the remainder of this issue. Seemingly, there is no hope of locating Damian or knowing what it is he is getting up to. While Jon Kent is still young with powers developing, I doubt he would have such a hard time locating Damian. After all, if Clark Kent has memorized Batman’s heartbeat (I’ve posted about this before), why hasn’t Jon been able to use some of his super powers to locate his bff? Instead he just finds a note and calls it a day, seemingly ready to give up just like that. The contents of the note aren’t revealed to the audience, and so we are completely in the dark. Arguably, this is more frustrating than any other outcome. At least if the writers keyed us in we could have some speculative fun, but DC took “fun” off the table. We’re just as (if not more) frustrated than Superboy.

Clark hasn’t taught this trick to Damian? Useful when trying to locate a rogue bat. [Death Metal (2017) #2]

The remainder of the book moves on to the rest of the Teen Titans, who seem to be divided. Kid Flash and Red Arrow are on a date in the park while Crush and Roundhouse are hanging out and playing video games together. The Teen Titans are splitting up, which proves to me that this book just could not stand alone. These characters didn’t seem to get chances to grow separately or together; they haven’t been fleshed out enough to stand on their own without Damian. Had things been different, this series could likely have continued without having a Batfamily member leading the way. Sadly, this will be one book I’m fine saying “goodbye” to. Get it off my Pull List please.

The book leaves off on a cliffhanger to be wrapped up in the final issue. Either the Teen Titans will have one last battle with a villain from their past, or they’ll succumb to the will of the bad guy and that’s that. With the direction (or lack of) in the most recent Teen Titans comics, it is easy to see why DC has canceled this title after #47. This team can’t hold their own.

Necessary or Nah?

This is a big ol’ nah for me, folks. I’ve been putting up with Teen Titans for a while now, really hoping it would improve… Then just hoping for more issues with Damian because of the inner conflict surrounding his choices… And now all that has gone. This series wraps up next month, and I can’t be sure I’ll buy the issue. Or I might, just with one last hope we will get some idea about where Damian could be headed… but with the way this issue left off, I am not too hopeful.

And that is a wrap!

Thanks for following along this week for another round of weekly reviews. Worth mentioning is that I did not review one item pictured at the beginning, the Harley Quinn story from the White Knight Universe. The goal is to re-read a little of that series before diving back in with this new book, so I’ll be diving into this one next week!

See you all soon with a more in depth article later on this week! I’ve had some questions about reviewing and recommending some other runs and older series that have already been released and printed in trade paperback form. For anyone not keeping up with purchasing weekly comics, I may have something else for you to read about towards the end of the week. Catch you later!

Passionate about many things, blogging about comics.

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