Posts Tagged ‘Batman’

I need a break from thinking about politics and our corrupt social order for a little while, and so I’m going to spend a little while writing about Batman, in a way that is inspired by current events.  In particular, recently I was trying to imagine how some editor at DC might be like, “Oh, we’ve got to tie the Batman comics into what’s going on in Ferguson and around the country right now,” in some misguided attempted to be relevant to modern politics.  I think this is a terrible idea, for reasons relating to my interpretations of Batman, and I may get to those reasons at some point, but first I am going to lay out some of my theories about how to look at a fictional character LIKE Batman.


AKA, “The Comic Where Batman Doesn’t Know How To Use Similes”

Detective Comics, Vol. 1: Faces of Death

I’m glad I waited to read Tony Daniel’s Detective Comics before writing up a full review of the Batman books, because initially I was going to include a section on some of the awkward dialogue found in Peter Tomasi’s over-earnest but generally entertaining Batman & Robin. But then I got through Daniels’ opening run, and…hoo-boy.

Let’s start with the positive. I’m always impressed by how much Daniels strives to improve his art. Since he debuted in the mid-90’s, he’s worked steadily, first at Image and then at DC, and you can really see him taking on different influences and trying to incorporate them into his own style. Here, he’s developed a hybrid of Frank Miller, Neil Adams and Jim Lee, and it mostly works (even though, as with most of the New 52, he’s done no favors by the overly busy costume redesign).

But as a writer, he’s far less adept. Clearly, he’s trying to channel both the tough-guy Miller narration AND the goofy thrills of Grant Morrison’s “All versions of Batman are valid” interpretation, but he lacks the requisite skill and it ends up coming off like bad karaoke.  (more…)

I am going to discuss The Dark Knight Rises at length, now, and I am of no mind to be careful about what I reveal — like I’ve said before, I don’t really “review” things, like, “Should I go and see this on Saturday?”  Yes, you should go see The Dark Knight Rises.  That is my review.  What follows here is a discussion of the movie, and to that effect you must understand that there will be Spoilers, and this entire opening paragraph before the jump is actually just an extended Spoiler Warning, and I don’t want to hear any of you punk suckers crying to me if I reveal that Hulk punches Thor or something, all right?




You cannot justify the existence of a thing in a story by arguing that it is a necessary consequence of other elements in that same story.

Why not?


I am going to get back to my monster posts soon, I have still got more don’t worry. But I read Justice League #2 and I wanted to just follow up with it. I thought to myself, “Well, I thought #1 was kind of inane, but maybe they’re just getting some stuff out of the way so they can get work, or something you know?”


I don’t think I have to review Batman #1: It was Good. But really, just read the Comics Alliance review, I concur with everything Sims said over there.

So I want to focus on one of the odder results of The Flash screwing up time-travel and remaking the universe (or whatever the hell reason we’re using to explain why Green Lantern hasn’t undergone any changes and yet there never was a Justice League International):

Jim Gordon is smoking again.

And not cigars, or pipes. That there is a cigarette he’s gesturing at the dark knight with. Which is, I guess, a slightly more modern tobacco intake device for a cop to smoke than the others, but nevertheless. In the Nu52, James Gordon still smokes.  (more…)

A friend of mine mentioned that her co-worker was starting to read Batman comics for the first time in his life, and that got me thinking about how I would approach reading Batman if I’d never done it before, and what I’d recommend to an adult new-reader (we are going to call him Seamus, because I am sick of typing “new reader”).

Which is to say, if Seamus were just buying collected editions that were readily available online, rather than going to a comic store every Wednesday in the 90’s and early 2000’s.

I’d like your help on this one. Because while I think I’m on the right track, I’d like to see what everyone else considers “essential” Batman reading.

But also keep in mind the rule here – Seamus has NEVER READ A BATMAN COMIC BEFORE, and is probably going to hit Amazon before he visits his LCS. This is the audience you have to consider.

That said, I’m all for hearing about some “deep cuts” (good runs that you can only find in the back-issue bins – or more likely and the like) that will give Seamus that treasure-hunter feeling we all get when we dig around a little.

For this experiment, I’m using the format of the AV Club’s “Gateways to Geekery,” which means starting with one essential book, then some next steps, and a few advisories on what to avoid:

To me, the obvious place for Seamus to start – since the majority of Batman comics written in the last 25 years has used this as a tonal template – is Miller and Mazzucelli’s Batman: Year One, both for its status as the “modern” origin story, and for investing Seamus in James Gordon as much as he would Batman.

NEXT STEPS  (more…)

What is DC Comics up to these days?  Perhaps this helpful screencap from the DC Comics TV show will clear things up.

DC Comics

Posted: June 3, 2011 in Braak, comic books
Tags: , , , , ,

You may have heard by now (and if you’re Carl, heard and complained by now) that DC comics is doing something daring.  Starting in September, they’re going to restart all of their titles at #1.  This is generally referred to as the DC reboot, but I’m not sure if that’s a completely accurate descriptor.


Against Canon

Posted: February 7, 2011 in Threat Quality
Tags: , , , ,

I’m a recent reader of TQ, and I’ve been extremely impressed by the consistent quality and clarity of both Mr. Braak’s and Mr. Holland’s writing. The piece “Against Purity” particularly spoke to me, and thought I’d write up a response of sorts.

– Elliott Harwell

Reading the opening lines of Chris Braak’s “Against Purity,” I felt pretty certain I knew where the piece was headed. If the tags “Batman” and “Dracula” weren’t enough, the mention of Kurt Busiek’s asinine comment on continuity clinched it: Braak was going to talk about Batman & Dracula: Red Rain, using it as an example of how non-canon, “alternate universe” stories held a special and important place in the pantheon of comic genres. That reality and my expectations did not perfectly jive shouldn’t be taken as a rebuke of Braak’s work — his post was an excellent, thoughtful read, engaging one of the defining and most vexing two-part questions of nerdom: how do we judge the purity of an interpretative work? And just what does purity give us?