This Week in Comics: We need more female villains

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This week in This Week in Comics, I (Hi, I’m Andrew, I used to do all the reviews all by myself for two years straight, one or two of you might remember me) join the conversation just to make sure there’s enough content there for you to enjoy. And if this is your first time clicking on a This Week in Comics article, it’s basically a podcast that you have to read. Sound terrible? Of course it doesn’t, it doesn’t “sound” like anything! I said you have to read it.

Anyway, here you’ll find all of the Batman News reviewers discussing the week’s releases. We also have links to full reviews from the Comics portion of the website– it’s the best part of Batman News, by the way. Tell your friends.


Event Leviathan #1

The groundbreaking and always-inventive team of writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Alex Maleev (Jinxworld’s SCARLET, Marvel’s Daredevil) reunite on a mystery thriller that stretches across the DC Universe and touches every character from Batman to Superman to the Question to Talia al Ghul. With startling ease, a newly dangerous and aggressive Leviathan wipes out all its competition and now turns its sights to molding the world into its vision of order. Can the new threat’s growth be stopped…and who’s guiding its new agents of chaos?

Andrew: This issue featured Batman and Lois Lane rummaging around ground zero of some kind of terrible attack, but these catastrophes happen so often that neither of them seems that affected by it, so neither was I. Hell, Lois is trying to get answers and Green Arrow (who pops in later just in time to fire a taser arrow) cuts her off by saying “Hush nerd.” If the protagonists aren’t impacted by it and I leave the issue without a clear picture of what it even is, then why should I care? Even the flashbacks failed to make me empathize or understand. And shouldn’t there be a military or at least a fire department on site right now? Any DC crisis event that forgets to show me regular people ultimately leaves me uninterested in the world that the heroes are attempting to save.

Jay: Seriously, this was a pretty big disappointment.  I’ve loved all the buildup over the past few months, and the series proper kicks off with… a bunch of forced dialogue.  A bunch of forced dialogue.

Brian: And it leans on that dialogue, because nothing frickin’ happens. Bendis has basically handed Maleev a script that says “hey Alex, be pretty for 20 pages while I talk to my therapist.”

Josh: Yeah, the dialogue was bad. And to echo Andrew, our heroes do feel unaffected. It’s weird though, because the lead-up to this in Action Comics – which honestly should be considered the first act of Event Leviathan – is full of urgency! Every one of the lead-up issues feature massacre after massacre as each agency/hero desperately tries to escape and connect the pieces.

This felt more like a writer’s room full of staff writers throwing out potential lines that could be used. Literally. Just random lines.

Andrew: And it could’ve all been summed up like this…

Batman: What happened?

Lois: I don’t know.

Batman: We should do something.

Trevor: I know what happened.


Trevor: I don’t know what happened.

Green Arrow: Hi. What happened?

Batman and Lois: We don’t know.

Green Arrow: We should do something!

There. I saved you four bucks (not including tax). 

Jay: Don’t forget “‘sup nerds?!”  You know, that thing Green Arrow is known to say.

Josh: You also forgot this wonderful exchange:

Lois: Hi. How are you?

Batman: I’m Batman.

The moment I read this, I immediately thought of that news report where the reporter asks the kid if he’s enjoying the carnival, and the kid says, “I like turtles.”

Brian: And where the heck is Bobo?!?! We were promised the best detectives. WHERE IS BOBO?

Josh: Where are a lot of people? And why does Green Arrow pop up the moment they mention detectives? Also, I want to point out that Green Arrow’s inclusion here goes against what was in the Year of the Villain special. He didn’t get involved until Batgirl followed Leviathan to Seattle in that story… So… What gives?

Casper: I can’t. I really deeply dislike this comic. Steve Trevor threatens to shoot someone for treason. Lois pulls a gun on Batman. Steve Trevor pulls a gun on Batman and Lois. Green Arrow shoots his friends. This is so weird. I have no idea what Bendis is trying to do and Maleev’s art was lost on me because I was just confused the entire time. I have nothing more to say about it. This is bad and I can’t recommend this comic to anyone in good conscience.

Josh: You know, I was completely with Steve Trevor at first. I read it as he was disoriented to a degree, and I thought he was saying “I’m Leviathan. Lois is Leviathan. Batman is Leviathan.” etc strictly because that would be public perception. I immediately thought, “Oh… That’s good. Good on Steve for being that aware in this moment.”

And then he pulled out a gun and tried shooting Lois and Batman. No. Just… no.

Would you recommend buying it for $3.99?

Yes: Nobody

No: Andrew, Jay, Casper, Brian, Josh 

Brian’s full review of Event Leviathan


Batman & the Outsiders #2

Sofia Barrera is on the run from an enforcer for the Ark, the program that gave her powers—but in the process, she’s fallen into the hands of the mystery man called Kaliber! He claims he wants to protect her…but who’s paying his bill? And is Katana already questioning Black Lightning’s leadership on their very first mission? Or is she just pushing him in a direction he’s not willing to go?

Andrew: This comic makes a strong case for DC needing to implement a recap page. I do not remember what the last issue was about. I don’t recall who Sofia is and I don’t recall who Kaliber is, and those two make up the bulk of this comic. I did, however, like that when Bruce was in the cave he was not shown to be wearing the batsuit. I think he should only ever be wearing that when he’s out in the field or in the presence of someone who should not know his secret identity. It has to be sweltering inside that getup, and I bet he’s eager to take the thing off as soon as he gets home. After fighting summertime crime, especially.

Josh: Andrew, we learned from Batman: Damned that Bruce is eager to take that get-up off as soon as he gets home.

Someone please say: “Leave it to the gay guy to revert back to Bat-Wang.”

Andrew: *claps*

Jay: Funny enough, Young Justice has started doing a recap page, so hopefully other books follow suit.

My problem with this book is that– like a lot of these spin-offs and team books– there isn’t a solid reason for it to exist.  The original Batman and the Outsiders book came about because Batman didn’t like how the Justice League handled things, so he struck out on his own and made his own team.  This Outsiders team was put together because… Duke and Cass needed something to do? I guess?

Josh: The first issue tries to push the idea that Batman wants Jefferson to create the “team” so that Duke and Cass can get the training and attention they deserve. There was a line that hinted he couldn’t invest in them because of Heroes in Crisis/ Lex Luthor in Justice League… but it wasn’t handled well, nor is it a good reason. That also begs the question of, “Why have Katana?”

In general, the writers – and DC as a whole for that matter – need to make a stronger effort to create a purpose for these teams.

Andrew: Should just give them a two-part comic where the batfamily has a meeting to come up with better code names for this duo than “The Signal” and “Orphan,” and there’s also a twist in issue #1 that it’s actually an intervention for Red Robin as well. Then you create a fan contest with voting so we all get to pick new names for these three characters, and the winners are revealed in part two (we’re the real winners, though). The “outsiders” in this scenario are the characters with crappy code names. It tracks.

Jay: I… would read that.

Andrew: Also, Katana should be a villain. She wields a sword that can capture the souls of its victims, it’s wasted on a hero character.

Jay: What really threw me for a loop here was Kaliber.  Who is this guy and why on earth does Batman trust him?

Casper: No clue.

Josh: So, this was a big disappointment for me! Kaliber, based on previous continuity, is from the future and has ties to Superboy as a member of the Ravers. He’s blind, but has infrared vision, enhanced senses, and can grow or shrink in size. Last month, when he was introduced, I assumed he and Sofia were going to “go dark” where we’d get to see a number of these abilities… but then this issue just undoes that by having him say, “I’m not really from the future.”

What? Why? Editorial mandates? Probably.

Andrew: I had no idea who Kaliber is going into this, but he had some fun dialogue about superhero/villain code names. However, when he said the world has “enough villains,” it got me thinking about how there really aren’t that many female villains around these days.

Josh: Amen to that!

Andrew: They all seem to turn into anti-heroes the second they become popular enough to blow up on the cosplay scene– so, again, make Katana a baddie. And while we’re talking about code names, I could have gone without this Ishmael guy actually saying “I am Ishmael.” like he’s making it his own. It’s never gonna happen, dude.

Casper: “I am Ishmael” seems like a reference to Moby-Dick’s first line, but I’m not sure yet how it fits in with the narrative presented in this comic. I have some of the same concerns as you guys, though. Why is this team together? But I do enjoy the art this time around. I remember not liking it that much last month, and I still need to warm up to the style, but I enjoy how the fight scene is put together. Looks pretty cool. However, I don’t really feel any excitement yet, no reason for buying the book, no reason to care. It’s almost like DC is taking for granted that these characters have fans and are counting on those fans to just buy these comics for the characters. But that alone isn’t enough for me. I need convincing, thrilling story, and so far this isn’t doing it for me yet.

Brian: See, I like Soy’s anime-influenced aesthetic, but I thought his storytelling during the fight was kind of disjointed, and at times confusing. Look at the page where he chucks Cass back at Duke—they’re in front of him, but in the very next panel, his shoulder is in Jeff, and then at the top of the next, his hand is on Jeff’s throat. I know you have to condense action in comics, but I think the wrong frames are missing from this sequence.

Josh: This is part of what I discuss in my review. It’s clear this is getting condensed quite a bit! Neither the script nor the art has a chance to breathe, and that desperately hinders the story. That’s not to say that it couldn’t have been handled better, but it’s a shame that the book was delayed to account for a crossover within the first arc, rather than letting Hill set up the book properly, then have Lex interfere.

Jay: And where is Geo-Force?!

Casper: Maybe he’ll appear later? I don’t think he needs to be on this team immediately. Story-wise, it’s probably a good idea to add new members to the team over time and not all at once, especially because we still don’t really know why this team exists. Also, adding in Geo-Force later might also be a marketing strategy so they can draw in more readers that are fans of the previous Outsiders stuff when sales drop.

Would you recommend buying it for $3.99?

Yes: Josh

No: Andrew, Casper, Brian, Jay

Josh’s full review of Batman & the Outsiders


Justice League Odyssey #12

Cyborg, Starfire, Green Lantern Jessica Cruz and Azrael journeyed halfway across the Multiverse intent on fixing the chaos created by the Justice League in “No Justice.” Now the team is forced to split into pairs to complete a cosmic scavenger hunt for Apokoliptian relics before Darkseid can gather them and bring his master plan to fruition. But while Darkseid is the clear and present danger, a growing distrust between each duo could doom them all!

Andrew: Despite its utter lack of inhibitions when it comes to concept, content, and a character roster that really makes me scratch my head, Odyssey somehow manages to do a fairly decent job of bringing someone who has never read a single issue (me, I’m talking about me) up to speed with two pages of exposition. 

And with Darkseid being at the center of this hasty quest for relics that somehow protect not just our universe (a concept already too big for my monkey brain to fathom) but every universe in the multiverse, the scope of this story should honestly be too big for me to like it. Not typically my thing. Especially when I’m entering this late in the game!

But Jessica Cruz’s desperation, resulting from a depleted power ring, got me to care about what was happening on those opening pages. Kory, Azrael, and Cyborg being so overpowered later on, however, took away from that. And Azrael’s “commanding voice” is a dumb new ability I can’t get behind, and it distracted me. If you’re going to change a character that much, just use a different character instead. Real mixed bag, this book. 

Jay: Kind of a bummer, because this series finally started to be about something (a quest for mystic items), and most of the hunt happened off-panel.  The “ticking clock” element of the depleting power of Jess’ ring could have been mined for some more drama too, but nope, let’s gloss over that too.

Casper: Yeah, you know, I haven’t been keeping up with this series, either, but I did read (most of) this issue. Like Andrew I appreciate that the comic did such an excellent job of recapping what came before. But I was expecting more adventure, more questing for the relics, and more struggle, and it kind of just started dragging really quickly for me. The art was quite nice, though! And the first couple of pages are my favorite, where we see Jessica really struggling and then overcoming that struggle. That was really good.

Andrew: Agreed, the first few pages are by far the best. As Jay said, they glossed over the rest of the adventure and now that the desperation of wielding a depleted power ring is over and done with, and all the characters reunited so very easily, I can’t imagine the next issue maintaining my interest. It needs to stretch out its tension longer, make these B- and C-listers earn it.

Colors in this book sure as hell pop the whole way through, though. I can give it that. The visuals were consistent, even if the storytelling wasn’t.

Brian: The art was excellent, better than anything else I’ve ever seen from Sampere, which may be to the credit of Albarran. Lots of awesome ink textures, particularly in the first half of the book.

Story-wise? I could take it or leave it. A single quest would have been better than the parallel tracks, and the whole affair is filled with too much jargon—Sepulkore, the different monster names, etc. I’m not sorry I read it, but I’ll never read it again.

Josh: Sorry, I gave JLO a chance, and have no desire to read it again. The book was dead on arrival, and DC let it go for too long before actively making a change. I get the comics industry is all about support, but at some point the best support you can give someone – especially if you’re an editor or an executive with a company – is to say, “This doesn’t/ isn’t working. We’re not going to launch the book.” (I’m looking at you Ric Grayson Nightwing.)

Would you recommend buying it for $3.99?

Yes: Nobody

No: Casper, Brian, Josh, Jay, Andrew


The Batman Who Laughs #6

True happiness begins in the heart. Our memories and emotions can play tricks on us, though, and divert one’s reality into something completely different. The Batman Who Laughs has based his entire worldview on this very concept, and it is in this moment that he must finally confront the one man who stands in his way, the one man who could complete or halt his plan…the last Bruce Wayne. It is here, on the home turf of Wayne Manor, that Bruce relives the happiest moment of his life—the moment he became the Batman Who Laughs. Will Batman be able to outthink the Dark Multiverse version of himself and stop his most sinister end? Or will the original Dark Knight succumb fully and let go of his morality? While good almost always wins, this issue is the start of something more…setting up a larger plan based in the ultimate betrayal of infection, loyalty and true happiness. This is not the end…it’s only the beginning.

Andrew: I know Brian is usually our go-to guy for commentary on comic book lettering, but I have to say that whoever’s idea it was to set scratchy, bright red letters against a gray caption box deserves two to three good, hard slaps across the face with a glove (gravel-filling optional).

Josh: Agreed.

Andrew: What were they thinking?

Josh: They weren’t.

Andrew: Was it part of a bet? Do they have stock in magnifying glasses?

Josh: Again, this goes back to people not having the backbone to say, “This doesn’t work.”

Andrew: And they messed up its/it’s once for good measure.

Josh: *Sigh* I didn’t even notice… I was too irritated with other aspects of the book.

Casper: I don’t have the same problem with the font. I can read it just fine. But I’ve received some feedback on that from one of our readers, and now hearing it from you guys, it does hammer home to me that for other people the font is really problematic.

Brian: Comic book text shouldn’t just be readable—it should be incredibly readable. That’s the problem with this motif. I’d be willing to bet it was an editorial choice and not Cipriano, but in the end, does it matter? DC shouldn’t ship a book with text looking like this, period.

Jay: Some of the story is pretty silly, but man if I didn’t love Jock’s work at certain points.  The red sky above Wayne Manor, streaked by lightning? The scene where Bats and BMWL lunge at each other?  Stunning.

The Beyond suits were cute, but total fan service that doesn’t really make sense if you think about it at all. I did enjoy seeing the two work together while the Grim Knight played mind games with them, which could have been accomplished without future tech.

Andrew: I hate the fan-service behind having the Beyond suit(s) show up. If Bruce had that tech (he does, btw, that’s exactly what Batwing is) then he would wear it. He’d be stupid not to.

Josh: Yep.

Casper: Yeah, honestly, that reference to Batman Beyond was totally unnecessary. A little bit distracting, even. It was a moment that shattered the story’s magic, but once I continued reading I readily accepted it for what it was and it didn’t bother me anymore. Still, if this had not been in the book, the story would’ve flowed better, probably.

Brian: The Beyond suits would fit in Snyder’s Justice League, but this book is a lot more “classic Snyder,” and it seems like a tonal mismatch.

But speaking of suits, were those guard bats that the Grim Knight took out basically robot versions of the Thrasher suit from Court of Owls?

Josh: I think so… Isn’t this what Batwing did for Batman back in Detective Comics? Didn’t he make all of these automatic mech-suits?

Andrew: I… kind of remember that, yes.

Casper: But I really love this story, guys! I’m just really into this kind of horror stuff, mixed with superheroics. It just really depends on the final issue, the story’s outcome, whether this will be an overall successful run. I also like that BMWL conveyed an actual idea behind what laughter means and what it does to people. It’s not deeply philosophical or anything, but it’s just a nice touch that makes the character make a bit more sense.

Brian: To its credit, this reads very quickly, as I’m wondering what’s going to happen next. But overall, this just isn’t my cup of tea. Glad you dig it though, Casper.

Josh: I’m with Brian. This isn’t my cup of tea. I thoroughly enjoy the horror aspects of this story, but this is all way too dramatic for my taste. The whole percent aspect concerning Bruce’s sanity, and counting it down throughout the issue… I rolled my eyes…. More than once. It just feels as thought Snyder is trying too hard.

Andrew: Snyder basically turned Alfred into the old man from Batman Begins, “If that train reaches us, it’s gonna blow! We’re right on top of the main hub, and when that train reaches us–” WE GET IT, OLD MAN!

Josh: Then there are the recurring “Bat-God” moments (Batman surviving or enduring things that should kill him or drastically slow him down), a multitude of decisions I could never imagine Batman making, and fan service/ moments strictly there for shock value. If this were an elseworld story, fine. It’s not though. This is continuity. That makes this a huge no for me.

Andrew: I’m in agreement that it’s not the sort of Batman story I would typically gravitate to. Too much sci-fi stuff. And I’m already tired of seeing TBWL everywhere (he’s the latest Bane, Hush, Court of Owls character that they’re going to keep throwing at us till we’re utterly sick of seeing him). But it’s definitely a page turner. It’s got me curious to see how Batman is going to get out of this one. I just hope it’s better than the group hug that somehow cured the effects of Joker venom in Death of the Family’s finale… But that’s the power of love. <- Did I link to a Celine Dion music video? You’ll have to click to find out.

Also, I think Jim Jr. might die at the end of this story. I think he’s getting set up for a redemption arc. Could be wrong, we’ll see.

Would you recommend buying it for $3.99?

Yes: Andrew, Casper, Jay

No: Brian, Josh

Casper’s full review of The Batman Who Laughs


Red Hood: Outlaw #35

Last time he was in Gotham City, Jason Todd pretended to be a master criminal in the underworld. This time it’s for real! With Suzie Su scared of what her new boss at the Iceberg Lounge might be capable of and Bunker questioning his own loyalty to Jason, the Red Hood’s house of cards could be headed for a collapse. And if that isn’t bad enough, Jason comes face to face with the teacher who taught him everything he knows about death and life, and Ducra isn’t at all happy about this latest twist in Jason’s story…

Andrew: “As if anyone would want to lay claim to this concrete toilet.” Jason, we get four comics a week about characters who want exactly that. Anyway, this was my first time reading the book since the transition to the Mortal Kombat design and shedding of fun characters like Bizarro and Artemis, and I enjoyed about a quarter of it. The material at the front end that takes place in Gotham had me intrigued: the operation of the Iceberg Lounge, talk about Jason’s father, and seeing that Suzie Su and Isabel are back in the book and their relationships with Jason have grown was a real surprise. But then the junk that I hated from the New 52 run resurfaced: The All-Caste And Jason’s Magic All-Blades dominates the rest of the comic and killed my interest. And it’s worth saying that Jason seems to be more insufferable than he’s been in years

Josh: The only problem with Jason’s relationship with Suzie Su is that there never was actually any growth. She just suddenly appeared as one of Jason’s employees when he took over the Iceberg Lounge, and there was a throwaway line to explain it. And like you, I’m completely against this whole resurgence of all of these New 52 elements. They’re soooooo bad.

Jay: His whole “I’m not good or evil” spiel was… eh.  Like Andrew, I’m much more interested in Jason’s dealings at the Iceberg Lounge.  

Josh: This just further proves that DC has no idea what to do with him. Which is a shame, because three of us have now pointed out that the whole approach with Jason running the Iceberg Lounge – and therefore crime in Gotham – is actually interesting… But they’re not doing anything with it really. This entire book reeks of Lobdell fondling his jollies for his own amusement.

Brian: The good or evil BS didn’t even make any sense! Essence’s weapon is supposed to trap her if she takes the blood of an innocent. Even if I grant that Jason is neither good nor bad, it does not follow that he is “innocent.” He most certainly is not. And magical blades don’t just take your word for it! And if drawing the blood of an innocent is the trigger, why is Jason unaffected by the chest stab?

The best thing in the issue is Woods’ battle choreography. All of the words during the battle are a waste of good ink.

Josh: I’m also annoyed that Lobdell finally addressed how insane it is that we/ Jason have no idea who Wingman is… And then follows that acknowledgement with an equally ludicrous “answer.”

Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve returned to Scott Lobdell’s finest… And yes, this is sarcasm.

Casper: Here we go again … I think I’ll just pass.

Josh: Smart man.

Would you recommend buying it for $3.99?

Yes: Nobody

No: Andrew, Brian, Josh, Casper, Jay

Brian’s full review of Red Hood


Catwoman #12

Chaos reigns in Villa Hermosa as all the bad guys in town rush to fill the void left by the Creel family’s ouster. But as Raina Creel’s dark plot to resurrect her son comes to a gruesome crescendo, Catwoman may finally be able to put her foe down once and for all. That is, if she can reconcile her own past and find her footing again.

Andrew: This comic is on another level (visually) from the previous comics in this post, and it actually has two artists who switch off duties throughout the comic. That’s usually a recipe for disaster, but this looks great. Environments feel lived in. Action is kinetic. The car chase was thrilling. The nonlinear narrative even works, and the storyline about a theft and the flight from authorities that follows was reminiscent of the Brubaker days. Unfortunately the comic also has two pages of POV panels gawking at a noseless lady who’s behaving evil as hell and cuddling a zombie kid or something. Those moments were jarring and totally out of place in the middle of all this. And the magical properties of the MacGuffin? I could do without that. Overall though, this seems like an entertaining, well-drawn, and briskly paced book. Had the series not kicked off with a Catwoman impostor storyline, I probably wouldn’t have dropped it.

Jay: I give negative craps about the creepy nose-less lady and her zombie son, neither of whom I can be bothered to look up their names.  Honestly, I’ve considered dropping this book for a few months, but they’ve been leaning into heists and robberies and stuff lately. That’s what I want to see in a Catwoman book.

Josh: Agreed! On one hand, I’m happy that Catwoman doesn’t feel the need to have an over-the-top, the world is ending, we have to save everyone plot, and is, instead, letting Selina be what she is: a thief. That being said, while this issue’s use of a non-linear plot worked, we’re multiple issues into this arc, and we’re just now getting clarity. The previous issues – which used the same non-linear approach – didn’t have the clarity this issue has, so I kind of don’t care anymore.

Casper: I’ve really appreciated the series since the beginning, especially on a visual level. I love how this book has been consistently pretty and how the sequential storytelling has remained so strong. The writing has had its ups and downs, but I’m with Jay that these heists are really cool and are just what this book needs. Where before I was always interested in reading this and mostly buying these comics for the artwork, now I find myself excited to read the next issue because the story becomes more focused and Selina is starting to live her own life. There’s a new love interest, too… I’m not sure how that will conflict with King’s Batman, and I’m not sure yet if I like this new love interest because I know next to nothing about him yet, but I think it’s interesting how she walks away from Bruce and then meets this new guy. For the Catwoman series itself this could be a good thing. I just hope that it won’t be a forced romance because editorial or whatever demands a few panels of Selina kissing somebody for clickbait.

Brian: I don’t think I’ve read an issue in this series that I didn’t like, and this one is no exception. It’s an entertaining book, and the dialogue and artwork tend to be very natural. It’s just missing that special something that makes me want to stay current.

Josh: I can’t help but feel that part of that “special something” that’s missing is direction. I still feel as though Jones has no idea where she wants to take this book, or Selina for that matter. So many stories and plots have been set-up, and have essentially been abandoned. I mean, what happened to the people who were coming after Maggie? Why did they suddenly stop when they work for Creel? What is Selina’s plan with/ for Maggie?

Then there’s the Creel family… They were stopped. People were arrested… And now we’re acting like it never happened. Same with the detective. He played a huge role, got arrested, then randomly reappeared without an explanation, and is now gone again. There are too many details that aren’t being tended too carefully enough, and that’s pulling me from the book.

Would you recommend buying it for $3.99?

Yes: Andrew, Jay, Casper, Brian

No: Josh


Detective Comics #1005

The finale of the Arkham Knight saga arrives as the Knight’s surprising cult within Arkham Asylum unleashes its full power! Will Batman be swept under by the madness? Who is the Knight, to have inspired so much loyalty? And is there any way of stopping them that won’t just cause their legend to grow?

Andrew: Astrid’s plan to show Gotham the light was a lot more literal than I figured it would be.

Josh: No joke… Not to mention, it doesn’t really do anything to help her accomplish her goal… So… Why do it?

Andrew: And that panel where we see an Iron Man-inspired (cheap knock-off) closeup of Bruce screaming at a holographic HUD when he’s not even in a full helmet… I flat-out hated that.

Josh: Ditto.

Casper: I didn’t hate anything here, not even that panel that you’re talking about, Andrew. However, I did think it looked really weird and I don’t understand why Walker drew that. It was definitely out of place and not fitting for a Batman comic, and seemed a little bit like an Iron Man rip-off.

Brian: The HUD sucked. HUD suck. HUD sucker. Hudsucker Proxy.

Jay: Hey, I thought it was fun.  

Josh: *Looks at Jay and Brian.* I don’t recall mom and dad ever disagreeing over something. Haha! Kidding!

As much as I dislike the HUD, I thought the thing that really didn’t work for the issue – and, unfortunately the arc as well now – is Arkham Knight.

Jay: Arkham Knight ended up being a lot sillier than I thought she would be, and in an age where we get way too many overly pretentious villains, it was kind of quaint.

You know, even when she had Doctor Phosphorus burn her disciples to death.  

Josh: Yeah, I felt that the threat ended way too quickly and easily. And it honestly didn’t end since Arkham Knight broke out at the end, which is something I appreciated, but we’re now moving on to another story. I’d rather this continue for a bit to unfold naturally, not get shoe-horned into six issues or so for the sake of a trade. I am excited to see the Spectre though!

Also, am I the only one who felt like Akham Knight’s threat and skill set was decreased tremendously after she was revealed to be Astrid? She beat the snot out of Batman when they first met, and now he treated her like a chump. I’m fine either way, I really just want consistency. And this goes for all comics.

Andrew: Exactly, she was introduced as a major threat in every regard! Then we get the reveal that she’s a troubled teenager and suddenly Batman out-thinks and out-fights her in no time at all. How much time even passed in this story? Two days? Was it the same night?

I never even viewed the light bomb/projector/whatever as being a legitimate threat of causing permanent blindness… And all Batman had to do to stop this “weapon” was break the light by falling on it from one or two floors above. He could’ve dropped a bowling ball from the Batwing and saved himself a lot of grief. In fact, the ray of light didn’t burn him and Astrid up, so could have have just thrown his cape over it?

I do hate that we are moving on to a new storyline after the villain escapes in the final panel. We’re not done here… Astrid could totally redeem herself as a formidable foe here, but now we’re getting a Spectre story. Unlike you, though, I don’t care about seeing the Spectre. Too powerful. Never cared for his stories because he has zero chance of failure. 

Casper: But, guys, Batman and Robin! I’m really hoping that Damian will be a recurring character in Tomasi’s Detective Comics. I love how father and son are a true dynamic duo. They used to argue and fight in the past, but Tomasi is writing it in a way that it seems like they set aside those differences. They really care about each other. Their relationship seems healthy. It’s amazing. How does Tomasi’s version of Batman even exist alongside King’s Batman in the same continuity? These are two completely different characters. King’s is broken, whereas Tomasi’s is confident and powerful and just so perfectly Batman.

Andrew: It’s best to just ignore King’s Batman.

Brian: Tomasi’s is a lot more Animated Series—the hardness of his formative years is not ignored, but neither is it used to turn him into a miserable tool that nobody can get close to.

Josh: It also shows acceptance to a degree. In the past, both Bruce and Damian wanted the other to be something they inherently weren’t. Bruce has shown Damian a different path, but they both seem to understand that they’re both their own individuals and will do things differently than the other, and that that’s okay. They’ve learned to trust each other, and have built a bond that’s strong enough for each of them to acknowledge when the other person’s approach is effective.

But yes, I love seeing these two together. I’d love for Tomasi to incorporate the rest of the batfamily.

Casper: As for Astrid and the whole story … I think that her breaking out at the end of this book is kind of smart. Yes, it’s a loose end now, but I think having Batman deal with a different villain not only gives us some more variety, but it also covers the time that Astrid needs to lick her wounds. Of course this has been done many times already across many different genres with many different villains, but I don’t see that as a bad thing necessarily. I think Tomasi has some cool idea for that character and I’ll gladly give the character another chance.

But most of my enjoyment really comes from seeing Batman and Robin interact. That’s the main draw for me. Not the villains or the struggle.

Brian: I think I agree. This was the weakest issue in this arc. Still enjoyed it, but I thought the earlier issues were just outstanding.

Andrew: The earlier issues were good comics, but they built to something that, in my opinion, wasn’t very satisfying. Sure, the Batman and Robin interactions are great, but that doesn’t equate to a fulfilling payoff for everything else this story has been leading up to. Earlier in this pow wow of ours I mentioned what I perceive to be a dearth of quality female villains (real villains, not anti-heroes) and Astrid was a terrific opportunity to introduce a new one. I don’t think they stuck the landing because here we are praising the Batman/Robin dynamic when I think the final page was intended to get us gabbing about Arkham Knight’s future. And if she would have figured out a way to escape on her own rather than having a nameless henchman intervene, maybe we would be.

Would you recommend buying it for $3.99?

Yes: Casper, Brian, Josh, Jay

No: Andrew

Jay’s full review of Detective Comics


Let us know in the comments below what you read this week and tell us if you liked the addition of the poll after each comic discussion. And if you think what you have too many opinions about this week’s books for the comments section to contain, why not submit your resume to be a reviewer here at Batman News?

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