Welcome back to Upcoming Comics!

So I’m ashamed to say it, but I have a confession: I hadn’t read an issue of Batman in about a year.

Yeah, I know, it was bad of me – but since my review of one of Tynion’s issues in His Dark Designs, I just fell off the title and never really got back onto it. I’ve kept up with reviews, of course, and the rest of the Batman News team isn’t exactly kind to the run… but I hadn’t had the chance to assess it for myself until the other day, when I decided to buckle down and read it all in preparation for Fear State.

Honestly? I didn’t hate it!

I don’t think it’s amazing – especially Joker War, which was so middling it made me appreciate City of Bane – but after Infinite Frontier and #106 in particular, I actually think the story picks up quite a bit. Suddenly, what felt like a bunch of the same content with the same characters started to fade, in the wake of new characters taking centre stage. Some of them are little more than edgy OCs (looking at you, Ghostmaker), but others, like Miracle Molly and Peacemaker-01, do feel like legitimately fleshed-out and distinct characters who carry a unique and refereshing presence to their stories. It’s certainly not particularly deep, but it’s entertaining to see Batman play with a proto-cyberpunk aesthetic, especially considering I’m one of those rubes who actually enjoyed Future State.

So, how do you guys feel about Batman? Anyone here liking it, or wanna talk about why they hate it? I’d love to have a good proper discussion about it after so long sitting on the sidelines.

With that out of the way, here’s what we got for this week!

Upcoming Comics

Robin #4

Damian Wayne versus his grandfather, the immortal Ra’s al Ghul! For years, Batman’s son avoided learning the ways of the Demon from Ra’s, but now that training may be exactly what Robin needs to win the League of Lazarus tournament.
Plus, Ravager follows the mysterious Respawn into the secrets of Lazarus Island!

Written by Joshua Williamson
Pencils and Inks by Jorge Corona
Colored by Luis Guerrero
Cover by Gleb Melnikov

Matina’s Thoughts: I will be honest, I have no idea what to expect from Damian and Ra’s interacting this month! It’s been a while since we’ve seen these two together in comics, so just about anything can happen and I’m looking forward to it. 

Teen Titans Academy #5

After launching their own investigation into the identity of Red X, Gotham City expatriates and new Titans Academy students Bratgirl, Chupacabra, and Megabat come face to face with the mysterious figure in the flesh. With the tables turned, this Bat Pack of kids must reveal their own secret origins to their masked captor!

Written by Tim Sheridan
Pencils and Inks by Steve Lieber
Colored by Dave Stewart
Cover by Alejandro Sanchez, Rafa Sandoval and Jordi Tarragona

Corbin’s Thoughts: Not looking forward to Teen Titans Academy, even a little. Though a part of me still holds out hope they might finally start fleshing out these new students.

Batman: Reptilian #2

Batman hits the streets in search of the creature terrorizing Gotham’s underworld-and hits them hard.
First stop is the lair of the Penguin, but Oswald Cobblepot is at death’s door (which is better off than the beast left many of his cronies). The mangled rogue has no answers for Batman, but his blood-and the surprising secrets that it holds-will send the vigilante ever deeper into darkness…

Written by Garth Ennis
Pencils, Inks and Colors by Liam Sharp
Cover by Liam Sharp

Brian’s Thoughts: I still haven’t read Reptilian #1, but I’m looking forward to getting caught up. Croc is one of my favorite Bat-villains, and Garth Ennis is a legend.

My Thoughts: The first issue to this series is one of my favourite Bat-books I’ve read in a long while. Reminiscent of Morrison’s Arkham Asylum and oozing personality from every crevice, we’ve got the potential for something truly great if the book plays its cards right – considering Ennis is writing this, it’ll be interesting to see if he can pull that off with a superhero he largely dislikes.

Harley Quinn #5

Did I miss something, or is there another new creep in a funny costume tryin’ to take over Gotham? Villains in this city are like that multiheaded hydra monster: blow a few up in Arkham Asylum, and 50 more pop up in ridiculous costumes thinkin’ they’re worthy of one of those fancy character variant covers. And here I thought bustin’ outta Hugo Strange’s new headquarters and savin’ the clowns was gonna be my biggest problem today.

Written by Stephanie Phillips
Pencils by Riley Rossmo
Inks by Jay Leisten
Colored by Ivan Plascencia
Cover by Riley Rossmo

Brian’s Thoughts: I still need to read the last issue, as I got busy at work and haven’t caught up, but I still believe in this book. Here’s hoping I still do on Tuesday!

Batman/Superman #20

The Man of Steel and the Dark Knight need time to recover from their manic melee through the Archive of Worlds, but the heroes won’t rest for long! Despite the efforts of new friends El Diablo and Alanna, Auteur.io, the cybernetic architect of these alternate realities, seems to have the upper hand! And to make matters worse, the Archive of Worlds unleashes its most horrific story ever put to magic-infused celluloid: the dark and twisted tale of that demon from the depths: Etrigan!

Written by Gene Luen Yang
Pencils by Ivan Reis
Inks by Danny Miki
Colored by Sabine Rich
Cover by Danny Miki, Ivan Reis and Sabine Rich

Casper’s Thoughts:This book is good. Really good. And Reis is doing art for this issue. I haven’t had this much fun reading a Batman-centric comic in a long time, everyone should be reading this!

Checkmate #2

The heroes network-the secret technology that connects the Batcave, the Hall of Justice, and Superman’s Fortress of Solitude-holds all the secrets of the DC Universe. The growing evil called Leviathan is trying to get it…and Checkmate are the only people standing in the way. All this and Leviathan versus Talia al Ghul in a fight to the finish, not to mention someone has kidnapped Lois Lane! And you never, ever, ever kidnap Lois Lane. Plus: Who is the Daemon Rose? From the Eisner Award-winning team of Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev, this all-new story ties directly into the events of Justice League!

Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils and Inks by Alex Maleev
Colored by Dave Stewart
Cover by Alex Maleev

Cam’s Thoughts: After a bit of a rocky first issue, I hope this series starts to find its footing soon. There’s a lot of potential here, and I’d hate to see it be wasted on “Event Leviathan 2”.

Detective Comics #1040

When the cops brought Bruce Wayne in for questioning last month, a giant money-man with a bazooka and a mustache for days blew the place up. So what’s that mean for Gotham’s ex-favorite son? Well, it means Bruce Wayne has to spend a weekend in lockup! Can Batman’s alter ego go the weekend without getting stabbed? (I suppose to be fair, he’s stabbed on the reg as Batman anyway…)
PLUS: A major Batman villain meets his death in a story that will rock the world of Gotham City in a monstrous way! Do not miss: The Night [REDACTED] Was Killed by Dan Watters and Kyle Hotz!

Written by Mariko Tamaki and Dan Watters
Pencils and Inks by Dan Mora and Max Raynor
Colored by Jordie Bellaire and Arif Prianto
Cover by Dan Mora

Casper’s Thoughts: Tamaki’s first arc started out well, until it took a dip in quality, and only got worse as the series continued. The first arc also lacks a strong conclusion. With this issue, a new arc starts, so I’m hoping that Tamaki can get back on track. At least Dan Mora is back on art duties, so we know the comic is gonna look great!

Batman Secret Files: Huntress #1

Huntress returns in an all-new one-shot adventure! Gotham’s Violet Vengeance lived through a lot in the last few weeks…including her brain being invaded by a violent parasite bent on sending her on a deadly slugfest bender. Not fun, amiright? Well, Helena Bertinelli is no one to mess with-and when the villainous Vile’s parasite gives her the ability to see through the eyes of his victims? You best believe she’s gonna track him down and pop an arrow in that slimeball. Look out, Batman, Huntress is on the prowl…

Written by Mariko Tamaki
Pencils and Inks by David Lapham
Colored by Trish Mulvihill
Cover by Irvin Rodriguez

Josh’s Thoughts: If you’ve frequented the site any over the past seven years, then you know I’m a huge fan of Huntress. So, naturally, I’m excited for this. While I will admit the solicitation doesn’t do much for me, I’ve enjoyed with Tamaki has done with Helena in Detective Comics. I’m crossing my fingers!

RWBY/Justice League #4

While searching the harbor, Blake, Yang, and Clark Kent come face to face with a trident-wielding boy who can command sea life. But is this princely boy the one taking control of people all over Remnant? And what is his mysterious connection to Clark? Later, the gang comes back together, but each team was unsuccessful in cracking the mystery surrounding the missing huntsmen. As they discuss their findings, Team RWBY is ambushed by their brainwashed friends! They’ll need a savior from above in order to surmount these odds!

Written by Marguerite Bennett
Illustrated by Aneke
Cover by Mirka Andolfo

Matina’s Thoughts: So far this book has mostly just been okay. But in a short series like this, I feel like it needs an injection of something exciting this month to really make it stand out for me.

Beyond the Bat

Welcome to Beyond the Bat! Here you can see everything else that DC is releasing this week, beyond the scope of the books we cover on the website.

The Other History of the DC Universe and Strange Adventures are starting to wrap up now, so I’d suggest you guys jump on these books now while they’re still hot off the presses! Meanwhile, be sure to check out comics like Static and Icon and Rocket, comics from DC’s reemerging Milestone line, which was created by the legend Dwayne McDuffie.

Ratings

Most Excited: Robin #4. It was either that or Reptilian, but my sleep-deprived brain wants to see a teenager beat things up. I also just read the Robin-related backups in Batman and Detective Comics, so I’m in a Damian mood.

Least Excited: Checkmate #2, mainly on principle of its content having seeped into my Justice League reviews.

Wild Card: Batman Secret Files: Huntress #1. I really enjoyed Tamaki’s Dark Detective, but recent Detective Comics issues haven’t really spoken to me – so it’ll be cool to see her hyperfocusing on a character she really likes, and how that impacts her work.

Poll

No poll this week – last week’s results were somewhat disappointing, and it’s made me think about the role of this section within the article. Are you guys enjoying the weekly polls? While I like making and promoting them, they aren’t exactly driving much traffic between my social media account and this one. I’d like to introduce new ways to bridge the two platforms together, and if the poll isn’t working for you guys, I’d be happy to change gears and try something else. Thoughts about what you might like to see added to this column?

Anyway, best wishes, and see you in the reviews!

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Author’s Twitter: @ObnoxiousFinch