Reviews and the discussions they inspire are a big part of why you come to the Batman News comics section. So an article in which all of our reviewers engage in a discussion? Why, you’d think that would be a no-brainer! And yet it took several years for the idea to cross our minds… We missed the entire purple cape phase! Anyway, here’s the new plan: at the end of every week you can come back here and see what it’s like when all of your favorite reviewers let their hair down and talk about all the Wednesday Bat-books. And I mean all of them. The ones they reviewed and the ones they didn’t. Even that one that everybody hates! You know the one. Even if Batman News dropped a title from its review rotation ages ago, it’ll be lauded or lambasted right here. It’ll be fun. Should be, anyway. Some of the most well-versed Bat-fans praising or debating the merits of your pull-list? That sounds like a great way to cap off a week in comics! I might even join in if there’s demand for it.
So here it is: the weekly roundup. Think of it like a peek into the Batman News breakroom or, perhaps more accurately, as a copy/paste of a chain email or an overcrowded podcast that you have to read. Personally, I will be imagining Dan’s commentary in the voice of Dame Judi Dench and Elena’s as the great Sir Gilbert Gottfried. Enjoy.
Elena: I’ve made the bulk of my comments in the full review. Suffice to say I feel like King has worn out my patience at this point. I really did try to give him the benefit of the doubt, but there is so much silliness and overreaching in this book I dread the turn of every page.
Jay: Batman continues to be an immensely frustrating experience. I can’t even look at it and say I understand what King is trying to do and appreciate it on that level. This Batman is a sociopath and I hate his actions here.
Josh: Jay, it’s not that bad. (Reads issue.) Ok, it’s… pretty bad. I don’t know. I honestly don’t know where I’d start with this. For me, this just isn’t Batman, and that’s been my problem with King’s run for a while now. Batman #59 really threw me when Batman punched Gordon (I won’t even get into the art for that panel), but now we have Batman taking the word of someone who is known to manipulate (Penguin), and on that note, he’s brutally assaulting anyone he can get his hands on. It’s too much. This makes Batman no better than the criminals he’s trying to stop. It also puts Bruce back in the exact same mindset he tried to redeem himself from concerning freeze, so we’re moving backwards. I just… I don’t know…
Elena: There’s a scene in Carlito’s Way after Carlito and Kleinfeld take out the boat to “rescue” Tony T and Carlito says to Kleinfeld: “You ain’t a lawyer no more, Dave. You a gangster now.” That pretty much sums up the DCU for me at this point. These characters aren’t heroes; they’re thugs and villains.
Brian: I appreciate what King is trying to do with Penguin’s soliloquy near the end: “when love dies, reason dies. We die.” That said, it doesn’t make sense as an explanation for Batman’s behavior. Love died in Crime Alley. Reason died with “I shall become a Bat.” Yes, we’ve seen Bats lose control a bit in a moment of loss, but a broken engagement? Someone stood you up, but lives, and you’re going to nearly kill Freeze? He just seems like a selfish child. Maybe that’s the point, but if it is, I think it’s a big mistake.
Jay: Precisely. I get that he’s heartbroken, both because Selina left him and Dick was shot in the head, and there’s fertile ground there to tell a great story about grief. And even if that’s not the route taken, it might still work if Bruce’s supporting cast were there to keep him in check and balance him out. Instead, he punches Gordon (I don’t see how this relationship can be salvaged without years spent regaining trust), and Alfred is altogether too passive.
A scary realization I had was… are we supposed to be rooting for Batman? The Kite Man joke continues, and Bruce threw Firefly off a roof with an (admittedly kind of hilarious) quip. It’s such a jarring dissonance.
Brian: At this point, I think the only way King can redeem himself is by revealing that the last year and a half was all in Bruce’s head. He’s still in the hole on Santa Prisca, the mission failed, and Bane sits naked on a throne of skulls.
Elena: And then Bobby Ewing steps out of the shower.
Dan: How can King follow such an intriguing issue of Heroes in Crisis with such a dire issue of Batman? Does he hate Batman or just not understand him? I know Bruce has been through a lot, but there’s no excuse for turning into a mindless bully. And did we really need another ‘Hell yeah’?
Josh: Hell no!
Dan: I wasn’t enraged by every page of the issue. The inclusion of lines of Blake and Shakespeare was interesting; I do like it when writers inject the occasional high-brow reference into their work (though there’s a fine line between this and being downright pretentious).
Elena: I don’t know; I’m calling it downright pretentious.
Dan: I liked that Fornes’ work calls to mind Mazzucchelli’s Year One. I also found it kind of funny that Gordon is totally ripped (still keeping up his regimen from the Superheavy days?) and that Batman was keeping Penguin in an oversized bird coop.
Josh: Dang it, Dan! Did you have to remind us of “Superheavy?” *Sigh* I agree with you though, I like the occasional inclusion of high-brow literature, and it’s something King has done quite often. I also didn’t know how much I wanted conversations between Alfred and Penguin until I read it. That ending though… I just don’t buy this entire thing with Thomas Wayne aligning with Bane. It doesn’t add up logistically. And why is everyone hellbent on making Thomas an awful person lately? It tarnishes his character and Bruce’s motivations. I mean, King could do something interesting here, but… I don’t know.
Dan: The ending is tantalizing but I don’t trust King with the character he’s reintroduced. It’s like Mr Oz all over again; leave the dead alone!
Casper: You know, I don’t completely hate this issue. I get why people might be angry or frustrated when they see Bruce reduced to this seemingly one-dimensional rage monster, and I recognize that this issue — and by extension, possibly, the series as a whole — is suffering from this. But at the same time I really love how the artwork is presented and edited here. It really looks like thought and care was put into structuring the book’s art. Although Janín and Fornes are very different artists, both are very talented and craft some good sequential art this week, so I actually enjoy this issue when I focus on that aspect. However, to go back to my earlier point about (not) hating this issue … for me it’s not so much hate as it is boredom. Seeing Batman doing the same stuff over and over without any progression, and seeing the predictable responses from GCPD people … that really bores me. I want to feel excited when I read a Batman story, but this one — aside from the great artwork — just puts me to sleep. It doesn’t do anything for me. I get that repetition is King’s style, but for the love of all that’s sequential, why not at least try something else for a change? Oh well. But on the flipside, I am actually really intrigued with Thomas being there. This is all I care about at this point. Why is he there? What is he going to do? I have no idea and I wanna know.
Brian: Maybe Thomas is just cheesed that he didn’t get an invitation to the wedding.
But seriously, I think the problem is that King on this series is less storyteller and more puppet master, and you can see the strings. And like you said, Casper, the movements are predictable. Batman punching Gordon, Gordon smashing the signal—it feels orchestrated. And not in a “Bane is just having his way” sense, either. It’s more that you can feel King in the story steering things, almost like a dim reflection on the page.
Casper: I think that about sums it up, Brian. If we’re constantly being reminded of a story being just a story, then it’s really hard to get immersed in it. This might just be Batman’s main fundamental flaw at the moment.
Josh: Definitely! I think a lot of this derives from the type of story structure King is approaching Batman with. He’s not really telling a full, linear story. All he’s doing is capturing moments – big moments, mind you – and leaving the rest to be inferred. While this approach has worked in other mediums and books, it doesn’t work here. And I think it fails to work for two reasons: 1. King is highly inconsistent with his plots or he’s purposely passing over details so he doesn’t have to explain it, and 2. We’re losing moments of reactions in this format – which is something we as readers need as well. While the second example is self-explanatory, the first point could use some context.
Think back to the issue where Batman went after KG Beast. That issue made a point to establish how far Batman traveled, that no vehicles could reach that house under those conditions, and that there were no forms of communication. We saw Batman basically leave the Beast for dead, but then this issue goes out of it’s way to inform the reader that Feds were watching this place the entire time, witnessed Batman’s assault, saved KG Beast, and implied that Batman knew all of this the entire time. It’s just too much. But it gets worse. Apparently, the Feds were watching the house because they were watching KG Beast, but that was his father’s house, and according to the book, he hadn’t been there for decades. So are we to assume this string of events were just sheer luck? It’s just too much. There’s no logic here… The more I talk about this book’s opportunities, the more angry I get, so maybe we should move on to the next title?
Josh: I have a confession… I was two or three issues behind on Doomsday Clock before we decided to do this…
Brian: Has Ace bitten the face off of Bubastis yet?
Josh: No… But it will be a mistake if Johns doesn’t include that! Anyway, despite my lack of urgency to read the book as of late – or, you know, the last two issues that were released over the past four years – I’m sad that I’ve let my interest slip because there are a lot of interesting plots in the book. I really enjoyed catching up, and I’m eager for the next issue. What year will that come out in, Jay?
Jay: *checks notes*
*counts on fingers*
Brian: I’ll probably read it in trade. Too many books to read to keep up with such an erratic publishing schedule.
Dan: Although this series comes out at strange intervals, it’s the book I most look forward to and the it’s the best one I read this week. Issue #8 got me quite emotional; sometimes I felt sad, at others I felt angry but, somewhat paradoxically, I enjoyed myself throughout.
Josh: I’m right there with you, Dan! I’m actually a little mad that I let myself get behind because reading these last three issues really made me feel like I’d been missing out on great content and conversations. So, if you can spare the time, I do recommend catching up, Brian. Or… Anyone, really.
Dan: Superman is perfect when he’s in the hands of Geoff Johns and Gary Frank. When he’s written right, there’s a real innocence to him and I love how much he looks like Christopher Reeve here. Dr.Manhattan’s motivations are a bit harder to construe at this point. The variant cover suggests he’s being manipulated again but I can’t figure out how it’s being done.
The authenticity of the newspapers at the end of the issue really made me smile.
Jay: I loved pretty much everything with Superman in this issue. The rest wasn’t bad, but it left me a bit unsatisfied. The scenes with Firestorm were touching and the firefight was pretty heartbreaking, but the ending twist made it feel like a bit of a cheat. Like, we were supposed to sympathize with Ronnie, only it wasn’t him the whole time? I am very curious to see how Johns pulls it off, though.
Oh, and Lois and Clark gleefully volunteering to go to Moscow is my favorite thing Frank has drawn since Clark met John Corben in Secret Identity.
Josh: I started to interject when you said it left you a bit unsatisfied, but then you made your point and I completely understood where you were coming from. Anyway, I just want to second everything that both of you mentioned. I found this issue gripping, heartbreaking, poignant, relevant… Geoff Johns is outdoing himself with the narrative here, and it’s a shame that the main DC universe is staunchly shifting away from this direction. I’m looking at the fact that we only have four issues left, and I keep thinking, “No, that’s not enough…”
I enjoyed seeing Creeper, and I liked this whole Kandaq/ Black Adam scenario that mirrored Magneto with Genosha.
Casper: I guess I’m the only one here that isn’t blown away by Doomsday Clock. I was very curious about it when it was announced. But I kind of dropped this series a few issues back (I can’t even remember the issue number), mainly because of the schedule, but also because I got bored with it and because I don’t feel like I need a sequel to Watchmen. I think Watchmen is a complete story with a beginning, a middle and an end and very much a product of its time, something that worked then, in the 80s, but wouldn’t work out so well now. That doesn’t mean I’m against the use of the Watchmen characters in projects today, I just mean to say that if I personally want to read about them I’ll pick up the book where they originally appeared.
Elena: You’ve expressed my sentiments perfectly, Casper. Maybe I will go back and read this in trade once it’s done and if people think it’s great, but really nothing about it compelled me to start it and it still doesn’t excite me…yet.
Josh: I will say, I stopped reading because I also felt a little bored with the book early on, but Johns has definitely ramped things up! We’ve basically had a three-punch knockout with Joker, Manhattan, and Superman/the world with the last three issues.
Casper: I also feel like Johns is trying too hard to sound like Moore at times and it just doesn’t work for me, because there’s only one person who can sound like Moore and that is Moore himself. But maybe the series is getting better as it goes on? You guys seem really excited about it, so I might give this another chance when it’s out in its entirety and collected in trade. Or maybe I won’t. I’m not really feeling it yet. We’ll see. Haha.
Jay: It’s definitely a series I’m going to read all the way through in full once it finishes.
Josh: So… Nightwing. I mean, at the expense of sounding like a broken record, I’ll just say I hate Ric. If you completely abandon a character, then you no longer have that character. His characterization is all over the place. He’s a rebel at one point, hating people’s compassion, then he’s super compassionate and endearing to others. It’s just awful. I’ll stop. I have enough to say in my reviews, and I’m finding that I just repeat myself every other week. This is just a steaming pile of… I’ll stop.
Elena: This seems like stupendously bad timing to change happy “Pinocchio” Dick into “I’m a real boy now” Ric. Why do we need this?
Josh: We don’t.
Elena: Because the DCU isn’t already the bleakest corner of comicdom? The thick crusty layers of pop-psychology thrown around in Nightwing right now make this comic feel dated all the way back to 1980.
Josh: I thought the issue felt dated as well. And the therapy sessions with Scarecrow didn’t help the “pop-psychology” bit either.
Elena: The sad thing is that there’s a kind of interesting story going on here. It’s just 100% wrong for Dick Grayson or Nightwing.
Josh: Yes! YES! That’s what I keep saying! I’d totally read a book about a dude who is a cab driver and becomes a vigilante… I just don’t want DC to make Dick Grayson that person.
Dan: I find that I’m much more interested in the copycat heroes than anything Ric does. Their story is worth telling; I’d prefer it if Dick was in a coma while they did their thing. I have no time for Ric; aside from anything else, he gives me Chris O’Donnell vibes.
Jay: I’m the opposite: “Ric”’s story at least has some good ideas, whereas the copycats just feel like dead weight. Dick’s amnesia isn’t something I want to read, and I don’t really love how it’s being handled, but the idea of a superhero losing his memory and trying to figure out the person he wants to be is an interesting one.
Josh: Mmm… I like the copycats more than I thought I would, but I find their arc inconsistent. I’m with you though, I’d rather focus on these other people. There’s a chance to create a great supporting cast for Dick by letting people take the spotlight while he heals.
Dan: I’m not sure Conrad and Brown are a sensible pairing on artwork. Conrad’s clean lines make Brown’s work look scruffy. I do like how Brown gives Gruidae a Scarecrow shadow. Using a synonym of ‘Crane’ as a secret alias is hilarious and adds to the feeling you mentioned of reading an old comic.
Brian: I haven’t read this book in ages—since the Raptor stuff early on. Sounds like now isn’t the time to jump back in…
Josh: Definitely not… And I’m so jealous of you. Haha!
Casper: This book just makes me want to put it away and watch Taxi Driver instead. I am not really interested in the Nightwing cops, nor Ric. If only the art was handled well like in this week’s Batman, but the art feels all over the place. I don’t mind either artist, but the switches in style are too abrupt and too different. This entire comic is very incoherent and all over the place. I could go on but I don’t think I have a lot more to add.
Elena: I don’t like the Nightwing cops either. I already dislike team dynamics in comic books generally, but I’ve especially never understood the need to have a whole army of “x” type characters (Supermans, Batmans, Harley Quinns). It’s just a silly and unsustainable concept.
Josh: Like superheroes getting amnesia? Yeah, I think we’ve been loud and clear about this one. NEXT!
Josh: Oh God…
Elena: Ironically, the character who they’ve always pushed to be an anti-hero (Harley) is the least reprehensible of them right now (though the thing this week with the doctor was pretty ridiculous). I’m glad that Humphries has tried for the most part to maintain a sense of continuity with this book, though I’m still turned off by all the cosmic flights of fancy. Still, I like a holiday story and this one was heartfelt, even if it was absurd.
Josh: I haven’t read Harley since Humphries first issue. It has nothing to do with Humphries or his writing, just that I’ve had no interest to read the character lately. I’d do the same thing with Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner’s run. I’d go for a few months without reading the book, then binge it just to stay caught up. I… might do that here. Actually, I might read this issue since you said it was a holiday story and heartfelt. Maybe.
Elena: I wouldn’t go so far to say it’s a great issue. Maybe I’m just a sucker for holiday family dysfunction with a happy ending.
Josh: You’re not supposed to sell me on an issue, then walk back your statement! Now I don’t know if I should read it or not! Haha!
Dan: This was such a strange read. Harley Quinn having a family is very weird, and it’s ever weirder to see her playing the straight guy to all their various quirks. The sudden drama towards the end of the issue felt like it belonged in a daytime soap opera instead of a comic. I just kept wondering, ‘Who is this book for?’
I wasn’t crazy about the art either. The final frame teaser is messy and a lot of the background characters throughout are little more than stick men. At one point, Catwoman shows up looking bizarrely disproportionate, and she’s wearing her costume. Why is she wearing her costume to a family meal?!
Casper: Actually, Dan (and this is something I neglected to bring up in my review so I’ll do it here), I’m okay with Selina showing up in her costume. What I really want to know is where Ivy is at?
Josh: DEAD!… I’m sorry. Too soon? I’ll be quiet. Carry on, Casper.
Casper: Josh, bro … haha! Anyway, Dan, I agree with you about the book’s tone. It is very inconsistent. If you were to ask me who this book is for, I am not even sure what to say, and I’m reviewing this book. Basically, they take a villain who has murdered people and who used to run with Joker (arguably the biggest and meanest psychopath in the DCU) and now present her as this super cool young woman that everyone can look up to. In my opinion, this is a fundamental flaw. I mean, at least give Harley a proper redemption arc to transition from super-villain to superhero. If DC really wants to change the character in that way, I think she’d deserve that at least. That said, I do appreciate the Christmas spirit in this issue, and I was genuinely entertained by it. I don’t think it’s a good comic, but then again I also don’t think it’s a bad comic. It kinda sits somewhere in between. But at least it made me laugh a few times, so that’s a good thing!
Josh: You know, you mentioning redemption reminds me, going into Rebirth, DC blatantly stated that Harley would go through a form of redemption, so I’m wondering why they ultimately abandoned that idea. I think they may have realized that if she regained her sanity and went good, then there’s not a reason for her to want to go by “Harley Quinn.” I’ll assume they realized that would not bode well financially for them.
Also, back when Sam Humphries took over for Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner, there were interviews stating that this run would be tied more closely to the main continuity of the DC universe. Now, I haven’t been reading the book, but just based on covers, solicitations, etc, that doesn’t appear to be the case.
Casper: With regards to Harley’s sanity, I don’t think she needs to regain it in order to become a hero at all. Insane heroes can be a lot of fun if they are written and drawn well. I think that is what DC has been trying to do: make her kind of a hero character that is still insane. And this could work. But again, at least do something to have her transition from villain to hero. It’s not even a gray area at this point. I’d say that — within the context of her own ongoing series — Harley is a full-fledged hero already. Or at least someone that people look up to. And, just to be clear, for me it’s not about whether or not she deserves it, it’s more about whether or not she has earned it. Without a proper arc, I don’t think she has earned it yet. She could earn it. But it needs to be handled well in my opinion. Not just shoved down our throats.
As for continuity, that is really vague right now. I think some of her Squad adventures were referenced at some point, but if we compare Humphries’ version of the character to, say, King’s, I think that King’s version is more villainous and more of a jester/trickster type of character, whereas Humphries seems to be trying to establish her as a hero type of character. It’s confusing, though. I still think DC wants her to be a kind of hero, but it also seems like different people over at DC have different opinions on what she should be really like.
Brian: There needs to be a fundamental change in DC’s approach to this character for me to read this book. Give me Animated Series Harley, or Dini ‘Tec Harley (or Harley Loves Joker). Or even give me White Knight’s two-pack. Harley as DC’s Deadpool doesn’t really appeal to me as much. There have been some cool ideas recently (heading to Apokolips), but the details still don’t work for me.
Casper: Exactly. Actually it’s really simple. Harley deserves to be her own character that’s awesome for her own reasons. Seeing her reduced to a Deadpool knock-off is just a bit sad.
Elena: I honestly feel like the Conner/Palmiotti team had a good handle on her as her own character and even made fun of the Deadpool comparisons (which is why we have Red Tool). At this point I would rather Humphries took her off the rails in a completely new direction instead of straddling this weird middle line where she’s not what she used to be, but also not actually something new.
Jay: I love Humphries, but Harley is a hard sell for me. I haven’t read anything since issue 50.
Brian: This one is better than the last, but the book still isn’t back in its groove. The artwork is good, and Lokus is the best I’ve seen at coloring Woods besides Woods himself.
Dan: It’s good to see the series getting better but I’d still advise a wavering reader to skip this issue; it’s mostly made up of rushed, indistinguishable fight scenes played out against empty backgrounds. I also found the dialogue strangely clipped and curt; it isn’t very natural. I did enjoy Jason’s insistence on calling the villain ‘Pie Lady,’ though. Also, now that Kate’s own series has ended and she’s absent from Detective Comics, it was good to see her again and I appreciated how Lobdell highlighted the similarities between ̶S̶h̶r̶e̶d̶d̶e̶r̶ Red Hood and Batwoman.
Brian: Come on, Dan—you’re leaving money on the table! Shred Hood! Shred Hood!
Dan: Haha! I can’t believe no-one has called him that yet!
Josh: We should make it happen! Let’s start a hashtag!
I’m with Brian on this. I thought this issue was better than the last, but I didn’t walk away excited for the month’s chapter. I think my biggest problem here is that I feel like DC needs to commit. Decide whether you want Jason to be a hero or anti-hero, stop straddling the line. Lobdell is falling into a bad habit of treating Jason like a murderer, having characters refer to him as a murderer, but he’s not actually murdering. I personally prefer Jason as an antihero, outside of the Bat family, btu that’s just me.
I also feel like DC missed an opportunity with Batwoman here. They tried to make the two characters relate to one another, but I don’t think they can.
Casper: I never really liked Jason and I never got into his solo stories. I tried, but I just don’t think the character really is for me. But I do agree with Josh: DC needs to commit. Interestingly, that sounds somewhat similar to the problem that I’m having with Harley at the moment. And I guess we can apply this to Batman as well: is he a hero or anti-hero or villain (especially when we compare different versions of the character across different books)? There seems to be a pattern here…
Anyway, #shredhood. Ya’ll saw it here first, folks!
Elena: And this is why I haven’t touched this book in months.
Jay: “Wingman. Neat” pretty much sums up my thoughts on the last few issues.
Brian: There are some moments where the dialogue gets a little wonky—Tynion would often benefit from a synonym to avoid repetition, and some of the speech doesn’t pass the “read out loud” test; but overall, this is a highly-entertaining showdown between the Joker and Lex, and Guillem March’s artwork is ridiculous.
Dan: Agreed! Though I found the issue a little anticlimactic, I was fairly engrossed throughout. The Hall of Doom hijinks put me in mind of Justice League: Unlimited and I’m always happy to see a Joker balloon (a la George Perez, Batman ‘89 and The Lego Batman Movie).
I found it a little strange that Joker chose this point to act, and I didn’t like him referring to the Batman Who Laughs as ‘wrong’ (nothing is too ‘wrong’ for the Joker!) but oh man is he horrifying under March’s pencils!
Brian: Good point about Joker’s “wrong” comment. He would see BMWL as an absolutely delightful abomination. And then he would try to kill him. Or maybe he sees BMWL as wrong because a Batman who gets the joke isn’t actually that fun, after all.
Josh: Oh… I like that.
Casper: My first thought was that the issue was kinda overwritten. There is just quite a bit of talking. But then on second thought, it actually seems to fit, considering that both Joker and Lex are constantly trying to one-up each other. It’s really their egos debating each other. But nonetheless I am with Brian on some of the speech not passing the “read out loud” test. The dialogue gets kind of clunky at times.
That said, I usually enjoy March’s work. I really like his work here too. I actually just read the Aquaman/Justice League issue, the final chapter of Drowned Earth, right before reading this, and the difference is striking. In my opinion the panels were too cluttered and chaotic in the Drowned Earth comic; it was a case sensory overload, and as such I had trouble focusing and keeping track of the story. But here in Justice League #13, even though there’s a lot of chaos and explosions and it features a ton of characters in the background, I was able to follow everything just fine. March found a good way to balance that out. I hope to see more of March in upcoming issues. And I agree that his Joker is awesome.
Josh: I’m agree with you on the transition from Drowned Earth to this being a little jarring. I also had to catch up with the final issue of that story before jumping into this one… I prefer this though. And I’m actually finding myself more and more excited about the Batman Who Laughs mini now.
Elena: I’m looking forward to reading this in trade. I just haven’t had the bandwidth to keep up with it lately, but I always try to read everything with the Joker in it eventually.
Josh: I think you’ll appreciate him here, Elena. He’s a good mix of the qualities you like, and he’s maddeningly scary under March’s pencils.
Jay: You know, I remember enjoying this issue fine enough, but don’t remember much about it. I’m going to chalk that up to just the sheer volume of comics I read each week, though, rather than anything indicative of the quality.
ADVENTURES OF THE SUPER SONS
Josh: I love this book. I have so much fun every time I read it!
Brian: The original Super Sons title was one I dropped for time’s sake, and hearing fans of that say that this one was just okay—I don’t think I’m going to be drawn back in.
Elena: Ditto for me.
Josh: Fair, and I wouldn’t disagree with them. That being said, most of the issues of the original Super Sons I’d give a 9/10 or 10/10, so saying this one isn’t as good – while I agree – isn’t really saying that it’s bad. There isn’t necessarily any urgency to read this because there aren’t any impacts or ties to the greater continuity, but it’s easily the most enjoyable book on DC’s roster at the moment. There’s just so much heart! And with all of the dour books at the moment, it’s nice to have something fun and light-hearted.
Dan: This was a fun read! It was great to see Robin and Superboy interacting with their older selves! I expected this issue to merely deal with the four of them fighting their way through a series of generic fantasy world challenges (which would have been entertaining enough in the company of these characters) but the direction Tomasi went in instead was much more interesting. Unfortunately, our trip to the possible future is only a fleeting tease; I think another issue spent exploring that world would have been worthwhile.
Josh: I completely agree! I wanted more. At first I wanted more because I thought it was true versions of their older selves, but when I found out the older versions were manifestations of their deepest desires… That was interesting. And both want families and kids, but both want them for very different reasons. I loved it.
Casper: I love these characters! They are awesome. The reason I’m not reading these monthly is because I’m patiently waiting for this to be collected in trade so I can binge it all. I also have a ton of other things to read so I can wait.
Jay: Jon and Damian could just bicker back and forth and it would make a compelling issue. The art on this title is consistently impressive, and I simply adore Rob Leigh’s lettering choices. I just wish the story was tighter. It’s Tomasi, though, so I have faith he’ll pull it off.
SUICIDE SQUAD: BLACK FILES
Josh: I feel like my review sums up my general thoughts for this book, but I’ll go ahead and say that if you’re not reading this, the Suicide Squad: Black story is quite fun. The characters are interesting and unique, the plot is solid, and the story itself is engaging and exciting… Barr’s Katana story is unfortunately as crappy as its predecessor was (Suicide Squad Most Wanted: Katana).
Elena: Maybe if it’s fun I’ll get to it eventually, but Suicide Squad in general has always been low on my priority list.
Josh: Yeah, I fully support trade waiting this so you don’t waste your money on Barr’s Katana. It pains me to say that, but you would be wasting your money.
Brian: I thought the first arc or so of Rebirth Suicide Squad was a lot of fun, but like so many other titles, I dropped it because I couldn’t keep up. I don’t care enough about the property to make time for it.
Dan: As soon as I opened the issue up and saw Kobra, I had terrible flashbacks to Bane: Conquest. This was entertaining, if a bit confusing (two Katanas feature…and I didn’t read issue #1). Halo is a cute addition to the cast.
Casper: I’ll be honest. After reviewing the main Suicide Squad ongoing for a while, I think I need a good long break from Task Force X. I doubt I’ll ever read Black Files, too. It just doesn’t look like something that I want to get invested in, especially with there being better and more interesting books on stands today (and I’m not just talking about Big Two comics!).
Josh: I don’t disagree with any of these sentiments, but if you have time, I recommend Suicide Squad: Black out of the two stories. It really has a fun, fresh vibe to it while also harkening back to things that made Ostrander’s run so good.
Jay: Gentleman Ghost got me interested enough to flip through the first issue, but I didn’t read it. Same here.
Josh: I’m going to be honest, I haven’t read Deathstroke since the “Batman vs Deathstroke” arc. It’s not that I don’t want to read it, but I tend to feel that I enjoy Priest’s arcs better when I can read the issues back-to-back.
Brian: I got my fill of Priest’s schtick while reviewing his mercifully-short run on Justice League a little while back. This is a hard pass for me.
Dan: The cover is cool so I had a flick through but there was nothing there to draw me back into reading this series. Also, this issue features Two-Face wearing casual clothes, which just looks really wrong to me.
Casper: I haven’t been keeping up with Deathstroke. I wasn’t even aware he was in Arkham until I checked just now. It’s not that I dislike the character, the creative team, or the series, I just have a lot to read and Deathstroke just isn’t the first book I think of when I want to check out something new. This looks pretty interesting, though. I might go back and read this when it’s out in trade.
Josh: I guess my take is that I’ve never viewed Slade as leading-man material. I find him interesting, and I think he can be a huge asset to books… But not to the point that I want him in his own ongoing title.
Elena: I’ve never liked this character. When people ask me what kind of comic books I don’t like, this is an easy thing to refer to.
Jay: Ha, I’ve never been a huge Deathstroke fan either, Elena. When Rebirth started, I read this one just because and actually found myself intrigued. Since then it’s been an onslaught of convoluted plotting and wacky characterizations. Frankly, I don’t know why I still read this other than morbid curiosity.
And there you have it. We don’t really have a way to wrap up this article in a way that makes it feel like a natural conclusion just yet… so here’s a drawing I did of Catwoman on a Post-it note. I think it’s pretty good.
Until next Friday, everybody. Same Bat-time. Same Bat-site.