Tag Archives: Batman

The New 52: DC Comics Starts Over (Sort of) with Justice League #1

As you may know by now, DC Comics is scrapping (almost) all of the last 80 or so years of their Comics and starting over with a fresh batch of 52 different #1 titles, including re-boots of every character from Superman on down. It’s a bold move, a polarizing one, with the potential to cost the publisher as many fans as it awards them. I, for one, am exactly the kind of reader DC is trying to pick up. I’ve been collecting since I was 12, but for the last ten years only pick up a handful of books a year due to budget and continuity concerns. For example, I tried following the ‘Death of Bruce Wayne’ plots last year but got lost quickly and gave up. Now, with all new plots and clean slates, I will be (tenatively) checking out a  few titles to see if this is something I can get into. After reading Justice League #1 however, it’s no sure bet.

This #1 is officially the first title of the new Universe, the only one released this week before DC starts pumping them out a dozen a week. This is our first look at a new, younger, more current group of classic superheroes. With seven figures blasting off our cover, we delve into Justice League #1. And we get…cops chasing Batman.

Huh. That…that seems like pretty familiar territory. As the text tells us, it’s “Five Years Ago” and Batman is leaping after an unidentified figure, Gotham’s finest following in helicopters, ordered to “bring them both down.” Rough. So, yea, it’s very much Year One styled mayhem here, as Bats dodges the cops and keeps up with the creep. His first line of the new Universe by the way?

what you talking 'bout?

Here’s the thing about this new Universe that I didn’t really explain yet. It’s all new…sort of. See, the minds behind this move have chosen to keep certain things going here, and set up certain characters as they were at odd times. Best case in point. Barbara Gordon is again the original Batgirl, going back on the events in Killing Joke. But, Dick Grayson, the original Robin, is still Nightwing, his persona after he grew up. So, we are to presume that within the first few years of Batman’s existence, he had several Robins, a Batgirl, a Batwoman (don’t forget her) and a slew of other adventures that previously took him decades to accumulate? Does this Universe have a Jason Todd? Is he dead? Too many Questions to begin, and that’s only one character.

Anyways, Batman grabs his prey, an alien looking brute with glowing eyes, and proceeds to question this creature like it’s a regular street thug. “What were you doing at the docks?” Uh, there’s probably more pertinent questions here, Batman, like what Hell is that thing? After the alien bashes him around a little we are introduced to Green Lantern, who drives a truck through the bad guy, and seems positively stunned to find the Batman really exists. So now it’s clear what we’re doing here. Each and every member of the Justice League has to actually meet face to face. Oh man, you guys. This could take awhile. I mean, we spend the next dozen pages exploring these two beloved characters like we’ve never heard of them. Green Lantern can do what? How? Wow!

It’s totally necessary, I know, if you’re acting like no one knows each other. You gotta do it right, but this gets tedious quickly. Although I do love Lanterns reaction to finding out Batman has no actual powers.

Basically, both these guys come off as cocky, self absorbed power trippers. Lantern especially takes a cavalier attitutde to his power, much like Ryan Reynolds did this summer in theaters. Can’t help but feel like writer Geoff Johns isn’t really trying anything new as much as retelling an old tale with new dialogue bubbles. And really, that is what makes this #1 a fairly underwhelming read; it’s entertaining yes, seeing Batman do anything is entertaining. But, we are just meeting our old characters in new tights, I guess I need to know why.

So, the alien they’re kinda sorta going after as they banter (the cops are long gone threats) blows hisself up real good while Batman presumes rather than deducts everything and Lantern just acts all “I got this bro” showy and we get a brief cutaway to some high school football game outta nowhere. Well, this four page detour is all a set up to our token black hero, football star kid named Vic Stone who’ll soon com to be known a Cyborg when some crazy accident or something makes him get all bionic. I’m just guessing all that, all I now for sure is his daddy is too busy studying superheroes to come to his games, wah wah.

Anyways, the alien is dead, but he left a box. Batman presumes it’s a computer, and Lantern’s all, “hmm, it’s alien technology. You know who’s an alien? That guy Superman in Metropolis. Let’s go ask him about it.” OK, I guess that’s a good reason to go meet Superman. They do and yep, they find him, and Superman immediately looks for a fight. Typical Kal-El. And that’s where we end, with a young looking Superman ready to rumble with Batman and Green Lantern. At this pace, it should take about 8 issues to meet everyone and probably another 8 to get them to stop fighting each other and form a League of heroes. I just don’t know if this story is good enough to commit to yet. I figure that DC Comics is a pretty big beast at this point, being 52 titles strong. Surely, that’s a helluva load to get off the ground, but if Johns and crew can get it up in the air, we might get to see some interesting places. Just don’t hold your breath.

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Today in why I can’t take comic books seriously anymore

Exhibit A:

What in the Hell is this thing?

I mean. It’s just.

I’m stunned. Fucking speechless.

This just might be the LAMEST cover of a comic book I have seen in my life. I just can’t even describe how awful I felt when I first looked on this monstrosity. Like Crap! That’s how I felt! Like fucking crap! This is a medium I take, or rather took, seriously for most of my life. This is an art form I grew up on and that shaped me into the nerd I am today. This is a character that I have spent countless nights reading after, following, sharing in the highs and lows. This is my nightmare.

Enter: The Flamingo!

What the Hell is wrong with your face?

For starters, all you need to know right now is that everything is wrong with Batman.  Bruce Wayne is dead.  Buried and Gone. In his place the original Robin and current Nightwing, Dick Grayson stepped in to preserve the Batman mythos. He knew that Batman could never “die.”

But Grayson is a poor substitute, and the current Robin, who is supposed to be Bruce Wayne’s flesh and blood child(!) is a complete jerk off. We also still have the Robin who was so universally disliked back in the 80’s, Jason Todd, that Bat fans voted TO KILL HIM.

So we have this “definitive” Batman stroy, sans Batman of course, following Dick Grayson and this kid fighting off even older throwback characters like the Red Hood (who originally appeared in motherfucking 1951) and these new henchemen who look like Wind in the Willows rejects.

Now you must be asking yourself, WTF? What’s the deal? Well, we can all thank Grant Morrison, the writer and ring leader in this freak show of a series. Morrison has been fucking with the dark knight proper ever since his seminal Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth graphic novel.

With that becoming a best seller and launching Morrison’s now prolific career, the creative mind in him keeps taking things in weirder and weirder directions. I already talked about him in my All Star Superman post, but here it just needs to be reinforced that this guy has a “do whatever the Hell you want ” pass at DC comics and he is fucking going for it.

But that brings me back to the Flamingo. Whips, tassles, pink jackets and all, this is one of the worst characters ever to pop up in a Batman comic. We’re talking 1960’s retro Adam West lunacy here. This overly colorful and flamboyant bore poses a threat to Batman, even a stand in?

I seriously could not stop gawking just at the cover. And then it hit me. Oh God. I have seen this man before. I know who this is supposed to be. It’s  so clear to me now! It’s him! It’s him!

Even down to the smoke in the background. The Flamingo is … Prince!?!?

This is why I can’t take comic books seriously anymore. Here’s the most telling thing. When Annie looked at the cover featuring the Flamingo, she immediately asked, “Is that Alfred?” She couldn’t believe what she was seeing.  It’s an embarrassment.

But Wait! There’s more.

Exhibit B:

Now, wait a minute. Just wait. Stop and look at this picture. I will explain.

That’s Bruce Wayne as a Cave Man.

He’s coming back, people. Bruce Wayne wasn’t dead at all! And that’s not even a spoiler because DC has been telling us this almost since Bruce bought it earlier this year.

In the move that proves NO ONE DIES IN COMIC BOOKS, Bruce Wayne is simply “Lost in the timestream.”

Please, DC could you expand on that nugget for just a sec?

“Blasted by the mysterious and powerful Omega Effect in the pages of FINAL CRISIS during a deadly battle with the malevolent New God Darkseid, Bruce Wayne must battle back through the waves of time to reclaim what was his – his city, his life…his cowl?”

His cowl? His cowl? Why is the cowl part a question? Is Dick Grayson seriously not going to give it back? Is Bruce really going to get back to his own time, fighting throughout history, to give up the cowl? Fuck are you talking about DC? You don’t really think we’re hanging on to every one of these little clues do you?

We know how these stories work. We’ve seen it. Superman died, remember? How did that go? He came back. Even Marvel knows this formula. They killed Captain America a few years back. Get how this worked. He died, his sidekick Bucky took over as Captain America for some time, and then Cap came back. It’s pretty played out by now guys.

And guess who’s helming this return of Wayne? Why, it’s Morrison, the man who brought us the Flamingo is also the man who will be giving us Cave Batman, and this guy!

That’s a pirate Batman. I know. I know.

Some of you might be thinking, wait, this is kinda cool. Batman as a pirate? I like it! I want to see this! Yea, this could work.

No people, this does not work. I will tell you why. The most bankrupt period in Batman’s history occurred in the late 50’s and 60’s where the character had gone from a dark crusader to a kid friendly stooge. The writers constantly had Batman turn into a number of mutations or characters. You may not know it, but there were issues featuring Bruce Wayne turned into a super smart baby, or a zebra, or a martian. This really happened.

And now, it’s happening again. Pirates and cave men are cooler than babies and zebras, but still. It kinda kills the mood for me. Bruce Wayne is a detective, a crusader, he’s not Bill and Ted’ excellent adventure. He’s not H. G. Wells. He’s not Jack fucking Sparrow over here!

I don’t really know how to end this ramble except to say I am really sad to see my Bats in such a state. Please stop destroying my Batman DC. Now when the dust settles and Bruce is back, I will start to pick up the book again. Until then, take your Flamingos and pirates and shove ’em. I wash my hands of you.

-Charlie

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