This Week in Comics: Wayne. Bruce Wayne.

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Hi! If this is your first time clicking on a This Week in Comics article, it’s basically a podcast that you have to read. Or a printed, multi-party interview that you have to read instead of listen to. Or something.

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.

Batman Beyond #33

Credit: Rick Leonardi, Ande Parks, Chris Sotomayor, and Travis Lanham

“Lost Daze” part three! Defeated at the hands of the Splitt, Batman radios for help. But Bruce Wayne doesn’t seem to have the same knowledge and experience Terry has relied on over the years from his mentor. Meanwhile, Melanie Walker tries to get to the bottom of everyone’s strange behavior by breaking into Arkham Asylum. Will she make a shocking discovery that will help Terry the way Bruce seems unable to?

Brian: So…anybody read this?

Casper: I didn’t.

Josh: I didn’t either. I mean, for me, Batman Beyond isn’t a bad book, it just isn’t very interesting. There were some really interesting plots setup early on, but they never seemed to really take advantage of them. Even now, it doesn’t feel as though the creative team is fully committing to ideas, but more so testing ideas. On top of all of this, the whole Bruce body-swap bit just doesn’t capture my attention at all. Maybe I’ll swoop back in for the next arc. Maybe.

Jay: I read it.  It’s perfectly serviceable.  The new villain with the split/combine gimmick is kind of neat, and it’s cool that Jurgens is using False Face.  But really, there’s nothing here that’s so great that, if you weren’t reading it already, you’d want to pick this up.  One of those books that’s fine, yet I wonder how and why it’s lasted this long.

Would you recommend buying it for $3.99?

Yes: Nobody

No: Brian, Jay, Josh

Batman: Damned #3

Credit: Lee Bermejo and Jared K. Fletcher

The stunning conclusion to the groundbreaking miniseries by the critically acclaimed team of writer Brian Azzarello and artist Lee Bermejo is here! Batman’s most baffling case brings him face to face with his worst nightmare in this highly anticipated finale!

Brian: So, I didn’t read it, but I did flip through the artwork. Bermejo is clearly talented, but his work usually leaves me a bit cold—no exception here.

Jay: This may be one of the worst Batman stories I’ve ever read.  Juvenile ideas about “mature” storytelling and technically impressive but emotionally distant art.  Had the whole “Batawang fiasco” not happened I don’t think anybody would even be talking about this book.

Casper: I didn’t dislike this at all. I think, in hindsight, I agree with you, Jay, about the whole “juvenile ideas about mature storytelling” thing, but as I was reading this, and rereading it, I found myself moved by the incredible artwork and to me the mystery was really intriguing. I’m not entirely clear on the meaning or the ending of this book, and I like that. I like stories that linger on my mind because I can’t immediately figure them out after reading them. Yes, the story is convoluted, but sometimes I just like convoluted. So, no, didn’t hate this at all! But to each their own, I suppose.

Josh: It’s hit or miss with me. I definitely liked certain aspects. I loved the question that the ending posed. “If Batman knew he was dying, would he still try to save the Joker or not.” I think it’s a valid question to a degree, and I thought it was handled well. Batman went for the save, but then pulled back knowing that he wouldn’t survive the night. He knew that if he saved the Joker, he wouldn’t be there to stop him. And that’s kind of always been Batman’s M.O. He’s always been pretty confident that he would be there to stop the Joker. And since he doesn’t have an established batfamily here, I can see him doing this. I also appreciate the regret he had at the end. It was some good stuff, even if it wasn’t for everyone.

Casper: Yeah, I agree, Josh. The twist with Joker at the end was chilling and clever, too. Several of our readers shared their interpretations in the comments section under my review. Definitely worth checking that out!

Jay: I don’t begrudge anybody liking it at all, of course.  And yes, Bermejo’s art is impressive, at least on a technical level, but his “hyper-realism” leaves me cold.

Casper: No worries, Jay! I totally get that this book is not for everyone. It’s a bit of a weird book, and I can see how this might not be your cup of tea.

Josh: I think it may have been his color choices, honestly. Had there been a little more “light” in this book, with actual tones, it probably wouldn’t have left you so cold. Not sure if that makes sense.

Casper: I don’t know. I actually like almost all of his color choices. The story looks hazy and psychedelic and dreamy and nightmarish because of the colors. I just didn’t like the weird blood splatters because they didn’t match the rest of the color art in my opinion.

Josh: I really enjoyed seeing Bermejo draw Swamp Thing though. I wouldn’t mind him doing a special or a limited run with the character… I’d just want him to make Swamp Thing a little more green.

Jay: No surprise, I thought the sequence with Swamp Thing was the best part of the entire series.  All those vines and the dirt and moss looked great, and I liked how Swampy was literally rooted to and a part of the ground.

Josh: Yeah, that was some good stuff. I also liked the design of the Enchantress. They incorporated some cool horror elements into her.

Jay: Frankly, my favorite design was Deadman. Kind of loved the grossness of his musculature extending to the high collar of his “costume.”

Josh: The Spectre felt a little lackluster though. With so many unique and interesting character designs – let’s not forget about Etrigan in the second chapter – having the Spectre just be a guy in a hoodie felt a little uninspired.

Honestly, each time I think of something good, I also think back to Harley using Bruce, and that just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I’m going to try and focus on the ending…

Casper: I loved the part with Swamp Thing too. That was excellent. A Swamp Thing run from Bermejo would be amazing for sure. That Harley-using-Bruce thing, though. Yeah, that was totally unnecessary. If that had been part of this third issue, I think I would’ve lowered the grade because it just comes off as needlessly edgy to me. The ending, though. The ending is freaking awesome!

Would you recommend buying it for $6.99?

Yes: Casper, Josh (for the art alone)

No: Brian, Jay

Casper’s review of Batman: Damned #3

Detective Comics #1006

Credit: Kyle Hotz, David Baron, and Rob Leigh

Detective Jim Corrigan has been shot on the streets of Gotham City—and the Spectre must reach out to Batman to help him find the secret assassin!

Brian: I really enjoyed this. The missing-persons case is good, but even before that, Corrigan and his partner working the scene. Hotz has some striking shots, too—love the cover and the credits spread especially.

Jay: All due credit to guys like Mahnke and Walker, this is what I want a Batman book to look like.

Josh: Oh… See, I had a love/hate relationship with the art. There were times that I loved it, and then there were times that I wasn’t a huge fan. I liked the mood of the art though. It definitely felt like there were Kelley Jones influences here, just with much cleaner, less blobby characters and lines. I enjoyed that drama quite a bit… Ok, now that I’m talking about, I actually enjoyed the art more than I realized. Carry on. Haha!

Casper: Dude, this was great! The writing and the art. I think Tomasi found a good reason for Spectre asking Batman for help. I also dig the focus on detective work. All in all, a fun and well-crafted setup for a new arc. I’m really into what Tomasi has been doing on this title. In this issue I particularly liked the moment where Spectre and Batman are on the crime scene and Gordon and his crew can’t see them. And then when Spectre leaves, everyone can see Batman. Some of the CSI folks act surprised, but Gordon’s just like, “Oh, hey, there you are!” It’s a nice subtly different take on Batman appearing and disappearing out of nowhere: nobody knows how Batman shows up or how he manages to vanish, it’s just what he does. It’s a nice little detail.

Brian: Completely agree, Casper.

Josh: Yeah, that really was a nice moment. It was also quite humorous too because Batman didn’t realize he was visible in that moment. I thought it was a good play all around.

Casper: Yeah, exactly!

Josh: I find this Spectre cult kind of interesting too. I’m not too familiar with the Spectre, so I’m not sure if there’s a history here, but I liked the idea of it, if only for the fact that the Spectre is such a hidden presence from the world… I’m curious to know who or what these people really are, and how the know about Corrigan’s more judgemental side.

Casper: So many questions. I also wonder what this cult is about exactly. It’s very strange and mysterious, and because we know next to nothing about them yet, also kind of eerie.

Josh: I did find odd that Bruce doesn’t know that Corrigan is the Spectre though. I mean, both Batman Eternal and Gotham by Midnight are technically in continuity, so… That seems like a miss. Unless this is supposed to be from Batman’s early days. Either way, this is honestly my only negative about the entire issue, so that has to say something.

Brian: Jay and I were talking about this on the show last night, and I love the scope of this issue. This is Gotham. It isn’t a call for the Justice League. It isn’t Joker taking over an entire city and then nobody steps in. It’s a creepy, challenging case, but it stinks of Gotham, and it’s Batman’s case to solve (with a little help from the Spectre, of course).

Would you recommend buying it for $3.99?

Yes: Brian, Casper, Jay, Josh

No: Nobody

Jay’s review of Detective Comics #1006

Justice League Dark #12

Credit: Alvaro Martínez Bueno, Raul Fernandez, Brad Anderson, and Rob Leigh

Newly powered up by Mordru, the Justice League Dark have become the Lords of Chaos to stop Doctor Fate before it’s too late! But will this deal with the devil cost more than Wonder Woman and her team bargained for?

Brian: Anybody?

Casper: Nope, sorry, nothing.

Jay: Yes, but for the life of me I can’t remember what happened.  I… think they contained Nabu? That’s it.

Josh: I read it. I thought it was decent. If I’m being completely honest, the conflict felt too grand to happen this early. It may have been due to how high the stakes are, but this almost felt like the end of a book rather than the end of a chapter. I mean, while there are places to go, so many conflicts ended here, in this issue, that I can’t help but feel that the book has now lost a lot of momentum.

I also feel like everything happened too easily. The Lords of Order were so unstoppable, and here they’re beaten within half an issue. It let me down a bit. I wanted and expected more. Had there been another issue so this conflict could breathe a little more, then I probably would have found it more satisfying. And that’s not to say that I thought it was bad by any means, just that the conflict itself was a bit hollow.

Now, I did like the exchange between Wonder Woman and Batman from the past. That was a nice moment for both characters! Again though, this story needed one more issue to provide a more satisfying conclusion.

Would you recommend buying it for $3.99?

Yes: Jay (same reasons as Josh), Josh (I’ve enjoyed everything up to this point, and I wouldn’t want to go without the ending)

No: Brian

The Silencer #18

Credit: V. Ken Marion, Sandu Florea, Mike Spicer, and Tom Napolitano

Honor Guest was the greatest assassin you’ve never heard of—but now the secret is out. In the month since Smoke’s devastating attack, the Silencer is on the lam from Leviathan and trying to piece her family life back together, and this is a challenge unlike any Honor has faced before. Will Honor’s past continue to plague her, or has she at last earned a peaceful respite from her life of murder and mayhem?

Brian: It’s over now, and I’m sorry to see it go, but I think this was a great finale. Abnett kept the quality high for most of this book’s 18 issues, and Marion was great in the artist chair here at the end. Hoping we see Honor again really soon.

Jay: Agreed.  It was a very satisfying ending.  Knowing that she’s showing up in Event Leviathan takes away from the mystery a bit, but it ended the way this book needed to end.

Josh: Definitely! Silencer deserves a lasting presence in the DC Universe, even if it isn’t in her own title. I mean, I kind of want her to just have a happy life with her family, but I jealously want to see her in action again.

I also want to point out that this was an incredibly solid and engaging conclusion – with decent levels of suspense – and there wasn’t a single fight in the entire issue. That’s a sign of good writing. Abnett maintained a solid pace and infused enough paranoia into the script that I actually suspected they might try to pull a quick one on us before the end. Let’s be honest, who thought, “No. She’s an assassin.” when the neighbor showed up to watch Jellybean?

Brian: Oh, I totally thought that! I’m like “they waited till the end, but now Blake and/or Jellybean are toast.” I’m glad they’re not toast, but as you said, the solid foundation that Abnett has laid puts us in a very paranoid headspace, so there was “free” tension and suspense. Good stuff.

Casper: You guys have mostly been praising this book, and I feel like I missed out on something good. I fell behind a while ago, and never managed to catch up, but I’ll check this out at some point for sure. I’m very curious about this book.

Brian: Casper, I think the best way to sum it up is this: it’s its own thing. Most superhero comics are an endless cycle of retreads, but The Silencer—it managed to exist in the wider DC Universe without stinking of it. And it felt entirely fresh without seeming out-of-place.

Casper: That sounds good. Sounds like the kind of series that I would enjoy.

Josh: Yeah, I agree with Brian’s assessment. The Silencer is part of the DC universe without being consumed by it. Plus, the characters here are great! Particularly the relationships developed between Honor and her family. They’re real, and their interactions are believable. It’s just good, quality writing.

Jay: Good, quality writing is right.  Honor is one of the best new characters in years, and Abnett’s a big part of that.  He successfully created someone who is tied to so many other aspects of the existing universe, yet she slips in seamlessly.  It doesn’t feel like she was shoehorned into Leviathan’s ranks and history.

And even better, her life outside of the action is just as interesting, if not more so.  That is truly impressive.

Would you recommend buying it for $3.99?

Yes: Brian, Jay, Josh

No: Nobody