Reviews and the discussions they inspire are a big part of why readers visit the Batman News comics section. So an article in which all of our reviewers engage in a discussion about that week’s titles? Why, you’d think it’s 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 plan: at the end of every week we’ll post a lengthy conversation that illustrates 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 the Comics Section‘s 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!
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.
Justice League #25
The “Sixth Dimension” storyline wraps up in this oversize issue as Superman faces down the World Forger to save the Justice League! Can Superman withstand the might of a being that can create worlds from nothing?! Plus, with the Justice League away, Mr. Mxyzptlk’s been wreaking havoc! Can anyone on Earth stand up to the fifth-dimensional menace?
Jay: Alright, show of hands: who didn’t tear up like six times?
Josh: *Raises hand.* I… I teared up like eight or nine times.
Honestly, though, between the set-up from the previous issue, the symbolism of lanterns, and the role of friendship and family… This is easily the best issue of Scott Snyder’s Justice League.
Jay: Seriously, this issue was close to perfection.
Josh: Many moments were perfect. I even took screenshots of certain panels. I want to try and print them professionally to hang in my office. I’ll send Jorge Jimenez whatever amount of money he wants for them too. I mean, the panel with Batman and Superman shaking hands, the three generations of the Kents, the Justice League with the lanterns… Incredible. Seriously, incredible.
Casper: Everything by Snyder and Jiminez was great indeed, but I didn’t like the backup story as much. I think this issue is a fantastic conclusion to the 6th dimension arc (although I still think that establishing the 6th dimension as the final dimension is somewhat limiting), but I got bored reading the backup. It’s not that Luthor’s speech was badly written … I just didn’t care for it. It wasn’t very convincing to me. Stating that everyone needs to be villains because the Justice League broke the Source Wall … I don’t know. I’m not buying it. The things that Luthor is saying are so far beyond the everyday lives of normal people, why would anybody even listen to this raving madman on television? Why would anybody trust him?
Jay: The fact that Luthor is calling himself a villain is pretty silly, yeah. I’m rolling with it because, hey, I like silly, but it certainly takes away from the gravity of what he’s trying to say.
Josh: Yeah, I think if they’d edited out the word “villain,” the speech would have been much better. I get that they wanted the word because the event is “Year of the Villain,” but it would have read better had Luthor just said something along the lines of, “Your heroes. Your Justice League. They failed you. And they failed to tell you…” blah, blah, Source Wall, yadda, yadda, “Your heroes won’t save you, because they can’t save you. They can’t win. If we’re going to get through this, you have to save yourself. We, as a race, as a people, we have to fight for ourselves.” Then he could make his offer concerning weapons and whatnot. Anyway, the point being, just calling all people to arms – especially knowing that a large percentage of those people won’t be as morally driven as our heroes – is a scary notion. And knowing Luthor is going to corrupt and manipulate whoever he can only adds to that anxiety. It would be complete anarchy… but also, potentially, give us new heroes.
Casper: Yeah, I do agree with you there. And calling those peeps to arms is a scary notion. I just wish the speech was a little bit more convincing to me as a reader, because that would’ve made the story a lot stronger. That said, I absolutely love that the League recruited the World Forger instead of locking him up or punishing him. That’s really cool! You don’t see that too often in superhero comics. And this was a true celebration of Superman, too, which I really appreciate, because I consider Superman to be one of the most inspiring characters in superhero fiction ever. And lastly, I knew that Batman was playing the long game. That was so perfectly Batman — and of course it was: this is Scott Snyder, people!
Josh: Yeah, I like that they recruited the World Forger as well. I thought the issue left us in an interesting place, and I’m looking forward to future issues.
Brian: I failed to mention this in my review, but In surprised Batman’s position didn’t create more controversy. Yes, he was playing the Forger, but his play involved the potential that he—Batman—becomes Clark’s murderer. Thoughts?
Josh: Oh… Yeah… I didn’t really think about that.
Casper: Yeah, you’re right, Brian. But I think Bruce just has that much faith in his best friend. He was willing to take that risk because deep down he felt that Superman would make it. That’s how I’m seeing it, at least.
Casper: But I do think that Snyder could’ve written this more clearly. Now that you mention this, I remember being slightly confused when I read Batman’s explanation.
Adventures of the Super-Sons #11
Superboy and Robin have been chased through the galaxy by Rex Luthor and his band of murdering minors…and at last the final battle has begun! Using the Dimensional Cube and a brand-new, shiny army of prison planet escapees, Rex has opened the portal to Earth to start his invasion! But Jon and Damian have an army of their own, and when you’re backed by a cybernetic cowboy, an intergalactic ride-share program and several hundred “planeteers,” how could you not put up an epic fight?!
Jay: This was light, frothy fun. I’m just kind of waiting for this series to end now, but a nice, breezy action packed issue like this is a pleasant trifle.
Josh: Yeah, I agree. I won’t lie, I skipped through certain pages though. I’ve gotten to the point that I can’t stand Rex Luthor, so if he’s on the page… I start flipping. I’ll read bubbles here and there to get an idea of what he’s saying, but that’s all.
Jay: He’s definitely an obnoxious pest by design, but not endearingly do like Damian.
Josh: As always though, I like the interaction between Jon and Damian, and I especially like the older version of themselves. I actually started getting into the action of the book towards the end. It was fun. Were there cheesy lines? Yes. But, these are two kids so I’m fine with it. The ending made me roll my eyes a little though.
Casper: I didn’t read this yet. I’m still waiting for the trade to drop, and then one day I’ll read all of it back to back.
Josh: Mmm… I’m not going to say, “You don’t need to read it.” I mean, it’s fine. It’s fun. There have been moments I’ve really enjoyed from this book, but it’s not nearly as good as Super Sons. So, if you have nothing else to do, then by all means.
Jay: As much as I hate to say it, I agree. If you want to eventually catch up then go for it. I get the feeling that the initial plan for this book was a casualty of a lot of the other stuff that’s going on in the Superman titles, though, so it just kind of exists without purpose.
“The Fall and the Fallen” part three! Is this the end of Gotham City? Bane’s army of villains is taking over the city, and Batman’s back is against the wall. With all the things Bane has done to him over the last year—from breaking up his wedding to trying to assassinate Nightwing, and then invading Batman’s mind to expose his most terrible fears—could this be the worst hate the Caped Crusader has ever encountered?
Josh: I’ll be honest, I didn’t put my full effort into my review for this, because I honestly didn’t know what to say without sounding like a broken record. Regardless, I stand behind my thoughts and opinions, I just couldn’t bring myself to really get into the details of this issue.
Jay: Ha. Been there.
Casper: Hmmm. Well. Speaking of details. So Selina and Joker are old friends and she’s always listened to Joker? I had to put down the issue after reading that and take a moment to process what I was feeling. It was mostly confusion. But I also admit that I found myself laughing out loud because it sounds so unintentionally hilarious. I don’t mean to disrespect Tom King as a writer in any way — I actually love some of his work a lot (that includes some of the Batman issues) — but this line here. Dude. I don’t know where King got that from. Had he referenced an actual story where something like that happened, and written it like it was a one-off thing, then, you know, okay, I’ll buy that. But, honestly, in the moment, all I could think was: “Well, well, well — it’s the long-awaited return of Drunk Captain Kirk!” (Shoutout to the one and only Dan Cheeseman!)
Josh: Dan Cheeseman!!! Haha!
Speaking of laughing, in the comments for this review, “Just A Comic Fan” scored the issue a 10/10 for being a good comedy. His list of reasons were also quite funny.
Casper: Haha! Yes. “Just A Comic Fan” is a cool dude. I used to post here as “A Comic Fan” before I joined the review team, and, you know, great minds have similar usernames! I’ll make sure to check out his post. (By the way, the shoutouts are real this week — lol!)
Josh: So, before we delve any deeper into this issue, I just want to share some info. After I wrote my review, Tom King replied to someone on Twitter stating that the dialogue for this issue takes place on the day of the wedding, while the visuals take place after “Knightmares.” Does this change the story for any of you? And how does King expect us to know these things if there’s no editor’s note?
Casper: To be fair, King does explicitly write in the comic: “And that brings us to today. To the wedding” (pages 14-15, if I counted the pages correctly). And the fight scene between Batman and Bane does look like a continuation of last issue’s events, what with it taking place in Wayne Manor. I still think that it should have been made more clear by an editor note or by the narrative itself, or even by a caption that says: “NOW. Wayne Manor”, or something, to indicate the continuity. That’s definitely missing. But I can see how the monologue takes place in the past and the fight scene in the present. It is in the story.
Josh: Ah, that’s my bad then. I definitely missed that. Apologies all.
Casper: Nah, I’m sure you’re not the only one who missed that, Josh, seeing as King actually felt the need to tweet about it.
Jay: The fact that it’s there but the writing is still so abstract that you kind of gloss over it speaks more to the story than to you, Josh.
Josh: Yes, Jay… That’s exactly what I told myself… To make myself feel better. Haha!
Casper: What did you guys think about the art in this issue? I liked Janin’s stuff well enough, but I was talking to the guy at my LCS (whose name, fittingly, is Alfred!) and he pointed out how some of the perspectives/compositions seem to be rather wonky in Fornes’ work. For example, Bane lifts up a tiny Batman to then break his back. And there are other panels where the proportions of Batman and Bane don’t seem to work out. On the one hand I think that it does make Bane more intimidating and menacing, but it also doesn’t look like it’s entirely on purpose. Or maybe that’s just me. I think the sequential aspect was fine, though.
Josh: You know, I did notice that, but for whatever reason, it didn’t take me out of the story. Maybe it’s because my mind was already racing with various thoughts concerning the script. I will say that I don’t think I’ve noticed it before though. Or, perhaps Fornes’ sequential work is good enough that I just embrace that.
Jay: I did like that one sequence of Fornes’, with Bruce rising to his feet in front of his family portrait. The horizontal panel breaks were a nice touch, with Batman going from floored to standing defiant over the sequence.
Thomas Wayne is totally Jim “Big Tuna” Halpert, though.
Casper: That sequence was pretty cool, yeah. I don’t know who Jim “Big Tuna” Halpert is, though, but I’ll take your word for it!
Jay: You need to watch The Office, it seems.
Casper: Oh, no, trust me, Jay, I’ve tried to watch that and … I’ll just leave it at that. And by the way, if King reads this, or anyone at DC — please, please stop breaking Batman’s back. That visual, by now, has lost all of its power and it’s become redundant.
Josh: Haha! I’ve said this a few times now.
Brian: I surprised one of our readers a few days ago when I said that I stopped buying Batman. I don’t think I’m going to start again until January.
Josh: You know, Brian… I don’t blame you. I don’t want to say, “If I weren’t covering the book, I wouldn’t be reading it,” because that’s a lie. I’m a glutton for punishment. But, if I didn’t have review copies, I wouldn’t be reading it for sure. I absolutely would not pay for this. In fact, King is the first Batman writer that I haven’t bought trades for. I opted to purchase select issues here and there, and that’s it.
Millions are dying every minute. Heroes and villains alike are falling. Can the Justice League unite to find a way to stop the spread of death? Can they save humanity from extinction? Can they even save themselves? The key to survival may hinge on the last moments of one of the World’s Finest Heroes…
Jay: As a huge fan of Hal Jordan, this is my favorite comic book ever of all time for real.
Josh: HA! That is so wrong.
I don’t even know where to start… I just experienced a range of emotions, and all I want to do is read the next issue! Is there a way we can get advanced, advance copies? Anyone?
Also, if DC doesn’t place Taylor on Batman following King, they’re crazy. I’m certain they’ve already got King’s replacement working on their run, but if it isn’t Taylor, they need to change their mind.
Casper: Yes, Taylor writing Batman would be really nice! But, really, I just want him on the main Superman book. This guy just gets Clark, and he’s said himself that Supes is his favorite hero. Alternatively, a Green Arrow/Black Canary book by Tom Taylor would also be more than welcome. But, hey, if DC actually puts him on Batman, I’m not going to complain. (But let him write Superman, too, please?)
Josh: I can’t see DC taking Bendis off of the Superman books yet… Unless they’re going to put him on Batman.
Casper: I don’t care. I know this is Batman-News, but I want Taylor on Superman!
Josh: Well then, Casper has laid down the law. Haha!
Well, Jay mentioned this being his favorite Hal Jordan book of all time, and it’s because he doesn’t like Hal, and Hal dies. That’s not the shocking part though! Heroes are dying in this book right and left, so that was kind of expected… But then… His ring went to Dinah! Wwwwwhhhhhhaaaaaaattttttttt!?
Am I the only one who found this to be super epic, and kind of want to see a canon run of this with Dinah on the Justice League? Seriously, the amount of power she has now between the ring, her canary cry, and her hand-to-hand skills… I can’t wait to see where Taylor takes this!
Casper: Dude, what makes you think you are the only one? People are going wild, cheering about Dinah becoming a lantern! Just look at the comments section of my review, or pretty much everywhere online! Having her join the League as a Green Lantern might be overkill, though, haha!
Josh: Overkill? Never. Hahahaha!
Casper: But now that you’re bringing this up, Josh, as much as I love Dinah becoming a Lantern, I kind of dislike the way that Taylor executed it. Because in the process, the creative team as well as the characters in the book end up ignoring Hal’s death. He dies, and although Dinah and Ollie both wear shock on their faces for like one panel, they also just leave and don’t look back, and not a word is said about Hal. Superman doesn’t even acknowledge it! It’s like Superman is completely oblivious or careless about Hal’s death, even though Hal’s body is lying right there in front of Supes. While this doesn’t piss me off (because I don’t get pissed off because of a comic book), I do really, deeply dislike this misstep. Taylor is better than this. I wasn’t expecting him to just leave a character like Hal Jordan rotting in the dust like he doesn’t matter. This is sloppy writing.
Josh: I don’t think it’s sloppy writing. You could make the same argument about Dick. I think the address this too when Batman reveals he’s been bitten. Superman tries to say something, and Batman himself says there’s no time for sentiment. I think the heroes also understand that something this global – especially something that happened this quickly – they can’t take time to deal with the emotion. You’ve got to keep moving now or you’re going to lose more… Also, Taylor only has six issues.
Casper: Oh, yeah, for sure. Maybe calling it “sloppy writing” is a bit too harsh. I don’t want to make it sound like I dislike this issue. I actually think it’s quite good, overall. I actually wrote that in my review, that you could argue that Dinah and Ollie have to focus on the bigger threat. But what I’m saying is that there is barely any reaction to Hal’s death at all, while Hal is supposed to be Ollie and Dinah’s buddy! I would’ve liked to at least see some more emotion. Something. Anything. These characters are human beings, after all. Should they really be capable of completely not reacting to the death of their best friend and only focusing on the threat, even after years of experience as superheroes? To me, they’re kind of like the three musketeers, they should always have each others’ backs. What if Hal’s death really shocks them, and then Superman comes in to be their voice of reason and snap them out of it? I don’t know. Maybe this is just me. Anyway, I’ve ranted about this one specific thing enough. In fact, I gave this issue a 7.5/10 and I have lots of positive things to say about it in my review!
Josh: I love this book for many of the reasons that I loved Taylor’s Injustice. There’s nothing holding him back since it isn’t cannon, and you know he’s going to go hard and heavy since the run is only six issues.
I also want to say that I loved the Batman scenes! So, unfortunately, Batman was infected thanks to his sons, and in an effort to save the world, he uses one of Mr. Freeze’s suits to slow the infection so he can research it. Once he has answers, he calls Superman to tell him what needs to be done… And has Alfred waiting in the background to shoot him the moment he turns. While brief and quick, the moments – especially the quick exchanges between Bruce, Damian, and Clark, were quite emotional. Good stuff.
Harley Quinn #62
Harley’s life has been turned upside down, and her best friends have turned against her. Now, trapped in a magically changed Gotham City, Harley Quinn is put on trial to do something she’s never been capable of: prove her sanity—or die!
Josh: I didn’t read this.
However, after having a discussion with some friends of mine in LA, I’ve decided that DC needs to do a Batman: Flashpoint film with Olivia Coleman as Martha Wayne/ the Joker. Thank you. That is my contribution for Harley Quinn, and, as you can tell, it has absolutely nothing to do with the book.
Casper: Um. Thanks for your contribution XD. But I understand why you didn’t read it, Josh. It was bad. It was really bad. There were some things that I liked about it (which you can read about in my review), but I really do not recommend that you read this issue. The ending was quite amazing, I’ll tell you, but everything before that … not so much. It was hard to keep track of the story, and rather than making Harley the hero of the story and have her defeat Enchantress — Enchantress just exits the book because she’s scared! Such a cop-out. Oh well.
Josh: I will admit that I saw some of the art and thought it looked interesting, so I almost read the book… But then I saw your score and thought, “Nope!” Haha! I’m sure I’ll circle back to read the trade at some point, but I just don’t have the energy for this now.
Casper: You know, the art isn’t bad … it’s just that I think that there’s too much going on in the pages that it becomes a case of sensory overload for me. I find it hard to follow the story with so many colors, movements, weird panels and page layouts. Toward the end of the story, the art becomes more steady and grounded, and it’s a lot easier on the eye. Oh, and there’s a really cool page where Schmidt uses a different art style to illustrate how Catwoman and Batman’s romance falls apart. It’s a really cool style, and I’d like to see an entire comic in that style.
Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III #2
Kevin Eastman, co-creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, joins series artist Freddie E. Williams II as guest artist for the second issue of BATMAN/TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES III! Krang’s true power has been revealed, and now it’s up to Batman and the Turtles to stop him, but their only hope may lie with the strange, yet familiar, visitor from another world.
Jay: I’m so glad this book is off to a good start. I considered passing on reviewing it at all after the disappointing second mini, but this is a lot of fun.
Josh: I agree! I held off from reading last month’s issue because I was slightly confused at first – you just get thrown into the story – and I had some dread after Batman/ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II. But this is a lot of fun. I’m enjoying it.
We even get an origin scene in this issue that takes me back to the old movies… (Go turtles! Go turtles! Go!)
Casper: I still haven’t gotten around to reading this. If your reviews stay positive, Jay, maybe I’ll revisit all of this in trade.
Josh: You know, they’re doing some really interesting things with this story that might make it worth your while to read the monthly issues. I was extremely hesitant to see Williams’ and Eastman’s art mixed, but the way they’re doing it works out incredibly well. Like, the different styles actually play into the story as different universes come together. And while there is a distinct difference in their style, it’s the contrast that really makes the narrative work here.
Even from a technical standpoint, I’d love to see how Eastman and Williams plan and execute this. I think it’s pretty incredible. We see two artists share books, maybe even pages, but sharing panels? That’s a tall order, and these two do it incredibly well.
Casper: They share panels? Hot dayum, I think I’ll just go and check out the monthlies asap. I need to see that.
Young Justice #6
The secrets of Gemworld begin to unlock themselves for the newly reformed members of Young Justice—Tim Drake, Conner Kent, Jinny Hex, Wonder Girl, Impulse and the new Teen Lantern—but is it too late for the teen heroes to help Amethyst bring some order to her chaotic realm? Fan-favorite artist Elena Casagrande also joins the team as she delivers a look at Jinny Hex’s origins and how she came to be in Metropolis on the day the new Young Justice formed.
Josh: So, I’m just going to come out and say it. I love seeing these characters together, but I can’t necessarily say that I’m a fan of the book. I want to be… but I’m not. Hopefully we’ll get back to Earth soon, because I think that will help a little.
Casper: I didn’t read this, to be honest. I started reading it, but then kind of stopped and never opened up the issue again. I guess, all things considered, I’m just not interested in this title.
Josh: I think it’s the plot. I find the characters captivating and engaging, but the plot feels like filler, and it’s the opening issue.
Jay: The pacing is weird, yeah. It’s almost like Bendis knew where he wanted the characters to go, but it took longer to get them there than he thought, so we’ve had an opening act that feels like it’s gone on forever.
Josh: Yeah, I thought it was weird that we’re six issues in, and we’re getting introductions here.
Jay: Saying that, I’m loving the team and their individual personalities. The writing for the characters is pretty strong, if the plot is a little long in the tooth.
Josh: Oh yeah! And I know I tend to focus in on opportunities when discussing books, but I still thoroughly enjoy the title because of the characters. I’m just ready to see the team get integrated into the main universe.
What did you think of this week’s books? Let us know in the chat below. And don’t forget to go to twitter and join me in my campaign to get Matt Reeves to give us a mustachioed Alfred in the new Batman movie. I’m tweeting at the man every day until I get a response and I want you to do the same, or at least retweet my incessant pestering.
Oh, and if you want to be a reviewer, tryout info can be found HERE.