Welcome back to Upcoming Comics!
Before we continue, I want to take a moment to address some comments that were particularly frustrating to me last week: namely, discourse around Tim Drake.
I’m not going to pretend I’m enjoying Tim’s writing in the world of Batman right now. Much like comments about Jace in I Am Batman, there’s plenty of valid and thoughtful criticism to give towards these books, and it’s why I haven’t spoken about this matter yet. But, much like discourse around Jace, it’s my responsibility as writer of these articles to make sure you keep your comments in the right direction. Not everyone here has been behaving appropriately.
The decision to make Tim Drake bisexual has been a controversial one – and as a bisexual person myself, I feel like I have a valid say in the matter. I’ve long since been outspoken about my desire for more inclusion in the Bat family, and so you won’t catch me being frustrated with the decision – though I understand the irritation fans have in ending a pre-established relationship for the sake of it. But plenty of comments here have been pushing that criticism into territory that I think is deeply inappropriate: making the complaints about his sexuality itself. I’ve read plenty of things here recently that got me on edge, but the one that outright pissed me off was a comment saying that the character was “ruined” when they made him bisexual. A character kissing boys does not make them tainted! I’m not here for that language, and I don’t want to read it in my comments section. You cross that line, you get banned.
I’m about to go on a 25 hour flight (to New York Comic Con!), so I won’t immediately have much time to read through responses to this. If you disagree with my assessment, please at least acknowledge that a low-quality Tim book would not get this much blowback if sexuality wasn’t at play. If you’re going to tell me you’re frustrated with the writing and not the “gayness” of it, then fine, but know that if that’s the case, this isn’t about you. I don’t like the writing myself, though I also really don’t think that should matter. Criticism of a book for its quality is one thing, and you can very well say why an attempt at diversity rings hollow – but if you’re arguing it’s bad for diversity’s sake alone, then please reassess your beliefs and take your comments elsewhere. Inclusion is not the destroyer of comics you think it is.
Whew. Sorry, everyone! Just needed to get that off my chest. Now, where’s what we have for this week:
Gotham City: Year One #1
There once was a shining city on the water, a home for families, hope, and prosperity. It was Gotham and it was glorious. The story of its fall from grace, the legend that would birth the Bat, has remained untold for 80 years. That’s about to change. Superstar creators Tom King and Phil Hester team up for the first time to tell the definitive origin of Gotham City: how it became the cesspool of violence and corruption it is today, and how it harbored and then unleashed the sin that led to the rise of the Dark Knight. Two generations before Batman, private investigator Slam Bradley gets tangled in the “kidnapping of the century” as the infant Wayne heir disappears in the night…and so begins a brutal, hard-boiled, epic tale of a man living on the edge and a city about to burn.
Written by Tom King
Pencils by Phil Hester
Inks by Eric Gapstur
Colours by Jordie Bellaire
Thoughts: I feel like Tom King is very hit or miss in the Batman world, though I like his work more when it’s allowed to be its own thing, like this.
Batman News Critic: Jackson
The blockbuster arc continues! Failsafe has taken his family, his allies, and now his city…Broken and beaten, Batman retreats to the last place on Earth he can hide…but nothing can truly hide from Failsafe! In the backup…Batman has prepared his mind for anything, or so he thought. We go back to his early days and a chilling case that led to…Failsafe!
Written by Chip Zdarsky
Pencils and Inks by Jorge Jimenez and Leonardo Bastos Romero
Colours by Jordie Bellaire and Tomeu Morey
Thoughts: I like the way that every member of the Bat-family has swiftly been put on display in this book, and I like Superman coming into play – reminds us that Bruce is deeply connected to people both in and out of Gotham.
Batman News Critic: Casper
The Joker: The Man Who Stopped Laughing #1
The world once again holds its breath as The Joker strikes again! But how far is he willing to go this time? From the twisted minds of Matthew Rosenberg (Task Force Z, What’s the Furthest Place from Here?) and Carmine Di Giandomenico (Batman: The Knight) comes a violent, mind-bending new series that picks up from the cataclysmic end of The Joker and follows the mayhem across the United States. With the Clown Prince of Crime setting out on his most bizarre caper yet, will a fan-favorite vigilante be able to prevent certain tragedy? Or is he in on the joke? In the back-up—Joker’s got a hot date but he’s going to need a mirror to make sure he looks nice. Maybe Mirror Master can help.
Written by Matthew Rosenberg
Pencils and Inks by Carmine Di Giandomenico
Colours by Arif Prianto
Thoughts: More Joker! Great! Ugh. I don’t even dislike Rosenberg’s writing, I’m just checked out.
Batman News Critic: Theresa
Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths #5
CRIMSON SKIES FALL ACROSS PLANET EARTH! After the shocking events of the last issue, Pariah has won. And now his Dark Army is poised for the invasion of our world. It’s up to the Titans to rally the remaining heroes to defeat Deathstroke’s ever-growing forces and avert total destruction! An epic war starts on the steps of the Hall of Justice, and only a miracle could help the heroes now. But all hope is not lost, as the worlds without a Justice League have begun to loosen their grip…but can they return to Earth if it means one member of the Justice League could be lost forever?
Written by Joshua Williamson
Pencils and Inks by Daniel Sampere
Colours by Alejandro Sanchez
Inks by Daniel Henriques
Thoughts: I hope this book does anything with this new “Infinite Earths” reveal. What does this mean, relative to the other characters? Anything at all?
Batman News Critic: Myself
Poison Ivy #5
Hello, sweetie, you’re absolutely pathetic. You know that, right? Luckily for you, Daddy’s home and he’s here to make all the bad feelings go away. As Ivy prepares to go international with her mission to save the Earth, there’s only one thing standing in her way-the brave man whom Ivy stole her powers from.
Written by G. Willow Wilson
Pencils by Marcio Takara and Brian Level
Inks by Marcio Takara, Brian Level and Stefano Gaudiano
Colours by Arif Prianto
Cover Art by Jessica Fong
Thoughts: I don’t know about the book, but wow do I hate that description! Get it away!
Batman News Critic: Theresa
Sword of Azrael #3
Jean-Paul Valley’s path to righteousness continues as he uncovers the antediluvian crucible that gave shape to the first Azrael centuries ago. Buried deep within the heart of an active volcano, its halls hold the secrets of the Order of St. Dumas…and the great beast who lived through it all.
Written by Dan Watters
Pencils and Inks by Nikola Cizmesija
Colours by Marissa Louise
Cover Art by Nikola Cizmesija and Romulo Fajardo
Thoughts: Dan Watters’ content is just dripping with atmosphere, and he has a great understanding of what artists help fulfill his vision! Easily the dark horse of Batman writers right now.
Batman News Critic: William
Batman – Knightwatch #2
When Penguin saves people from a mugging, Batman is certain he’s up to no good.
Written by J. Torres
Pencils by Marcelo Di Chiara
Batman News Critic: Won’t be reviewing this one guys, sorry!
Multiversity: Teen Justice #2
One of Earth-11’s bravest and boldest heroes makes the ultimate sacrifice to save one of their allies in Teen Justice! But can even that selfless choice turn the tide against the Core, whose plans involve the wholesale slaughter of tens of thousands of people? And what will survivor’s guilt do to the teen champion who didn’t want to be saved at such a heartbreaking cost? There’s only one issue left, but we’re not slowing down on the way to the finish line!
Written by Ivan Cohen and Danny Lore
Pencils and Inks by Luciano Vecchio and Marco Failla
Colours by Enrica Eren Angiolini
Batman News Critic: Jeremy
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. Technically, The Deadly Green is Dark Crisis-adjacent, so I may mention it in my review for #5.
Most Excited: Batman #128. It’s far from perfect, but the book has enough momentum to keep me excited for what’s next! My, it’s been a while since this book was on the “most excited” spot.
(It’s Dark Crisis #5. No, I’m not using the full title when I can’t help it.)
Wild Card: Gotham City: Year One #1. I’m always a sucker for a classic noir, though I’m curious about how a DC period piece like this will work out.
Best wishes, and see you in the reviews!
Author’s Twitter: @ObnoxiousFinch