For fast feasters who want the slugline before their lunchtime grab and quick gab store run, this quips for you:
“While the loss of Shane Davis for the more “grounded” (ZING) Syaf pencil of realism over hyper realism, it’s an exact match of tonality for the plot of Straczynski’s third foray into the hardbound full-arc world of Earth One.
About a year after the close of Volume 2 (comic time), Clark is still;
- Career setting with the shit hours and anemic salary of a cub reporte
- Juggling the jealousy of the twenty-something love triangle with Lois and himself in underarmor
- Desperately seeking to dull his Kryptonian awesome so humanity isn’t a foreign species…
- The object of affliction for Team Luthor (now man and wife instead of traditional bro and sis). These were the good villains this time, the ones driving sense, reason and pragmatic world mechanics I need to make the entire landscape worth of abandoning my aesthetic distance. Their love is hawt, their genius total science-fiction bullshit plausible (only Neil Tyson would get assed up) and motivation for going after Supes appropriately new age sociopath induced. Shame we end the book with only one left alive. Pretty baller though it was the one I wanted for fun in Volume 4. After all the female of the species is more deadly than the male. Said Rudyard Kipling, lead singer of the one hit wonder group “Space.” (little lesson how the class of 2030 will actually search engine cull answers with that joke).
New threats come with:
- Zod. Not a fan here. I will admit I am suffering from Wilfred Brimley levels of home delivery insulin for Zodabetes thanks to all the damn resets over the past decade. He’s bad, he always will be bad, for fucks’ sake why Zod why are you a boomerang. Outside of Terrence Stamp chewing the scenery in pleather parachute pants I have always been tepid to the oneness of him. JMS sweetens the well to deliver my #2 favorite rendition of this 2-D staple by making him an active participant in the E1 deliberate destruction of Krypton versus the standard natural disaster. Zod was in bed with Tyrel. Joe wrapped it in pretty prose, but given my girlish squeals towards other Zod can basically go fuck himself, glad he’s gone too.
- World government cabal. Good call on taking a tip from New 52 Earth 2 on the inception of this pragmatic approach to governance with a populace that can cross borders literally by jumping. From the bible to Star Trek global unity will present itself when there is a sentient species different from us beyond skin color or proclivity towards hummus, weed, absinthe, communion wine or abstinence. A species gots to hate and Superman is a realistic target. Their use of the Luthors to devise a Superman stopper used the confrontation from volume one in well played comic continuity fashion (also Joe threw in some suggestive swinger ideas that were lady lady guy hawt). Only their acceptance of Zod when he offers a team-up made me lose respect. I really think he was an editorial force with the way the IQ points plummeted at the blind acceptance of an offer to side with a devil you don’t know versus a clearly powerful but innocent fresh doe. Yeah, Supes trashed Metropolis in Vol 1, but he was also grabbing kittens from trees and other good deeds soon after.
- I like Lisa, I really do. Awesome Clark found the Pretty Woman who is more attractive and less grating than Julia Roberts in ever way. I can live with the slow burn Lois build. I totally dig Rumspringa, ask my parents about me taking the 90s to ‘matriculate” college. I…swear I am not a prude. I am also not a complete romantic like Clark and I have had my heart properly weathered by the sharper sex. He and Lisa cross past the friend zone, a task made much easier when Lisa discovers Clark’s work clothes. Sorry, I just can’t imagine a world where I could sit there and hear my significant other blowing a guy for rent and not feel inadequate over I may not be tipping as much as he does.
Notice my ordering there? My narcissism always puts random orders in the control of what resonates and affects me most. I played slapsies above and bitch “slapsies” with my actual review of “grounded” in SUPERMAN, but faults with that series were editorial and timing – not execution. Editorial knew the end was nigh so “rock out with your cock out” trumped a planned out schedule. SUPERMAN EARTH ONE has all of those great elements of Clark exploring his feelings for Lois without the editorial dive bombs of, “Hey Joe, can you have Supes skip over to Max Lord’s secret lair pick up Ted Cord’s brain and then do a vertical lift up to the Tower for a very special bedtime story about how Sue Dibney was whacked because Dr. Light perpetrated a crime of unspeakable assault on the soul.” All my words, not Joe’s in any interviews we’ve done.
I meander because I know JMS cares about this craft, and really any fan of Superman has all they need with the concept of EARTH ONE: A-Listers running free. Quality is assured and if you have a modicum of fandom for the creators, the characters and/or faithful and clever refreshing of nostalgia any EARTH ONE title is a no brainer on a solitary read level. Light commitment so that the friend or co-worker who always goes, “wellll, I loved comics, but there’s so many, I don’t know where to start, my co-worker sits next to me and mumbles all day about mobile security and how his email box keeps flooding with poorly formatted emails every Tuesday at 4PM heralding marginal comic news for the next day…” Fine, parts of that are the poor data dude who sits near me, but any casual naysaying on commitment or confusion of continuity can be bludgeoned with EARTH ONES’ thick binding. SUPERMAN like BATMAN and TEEN TITANS also pays no lip service to its universal counterparts, so grab a Bat, Cape or Titan and don’t worry about missing any vital beats cause or cross sell performance objectives to feed larger KPIs.
Now let’s talk about EARTH ONE and CONVERGENCE
If you didn’t read MULTIVERSITY GUIDE BOOK go now. Convergence I believe will bring forth a world of 52 comics wherein the New 52 merely exists as the larger whole. EARTH ONE for the correlation challenged will be another sliver. Insert etc here for likewise on Capt. Carrot, tiny robot corpse toons, Batman Beyond and the Nazis triumphant universes.
We have all been led to believe a “sort of” lie in that the New 52’s mentally handicapped heroes were supposed to be granted the closest parking spot as main continuity because they are what being reborn a hero is all about. I can now appreciate its existence as the guidebook describes it for heroes in their prime, but not beyond the definition of puberty. Sorry, but there are no fine lines between inexperience and incompetence. Awakening does not absolve being an asshole. Danger from within is sometimes more palpable than from galactic Giants. Also, get your upsells to trades, cartoons, movies and paying the salaries for unimaginative minds in WB Frog Tux’s to gobble market demographic reporting out of my comic universe damn it.
I’ve known these “truths” for awhile now because I read a
Fuckton of comics and I work in marketing (The devil’s second favorite profession behind my second career choice of lawyer). Your lexicons to this revelation have been laid before you. There has been a multi demographic play at multiple wallets since Batman Beyond told kids to come back, we have a world where BATMAN’s back got better and Superman is not in an extended coma. Yay, some more revenue until Superman wakes up and the rest of the world thinks we don’t know the definition of dead…kind of like a child…kind of like rest of 90s world sees comic books.
I don’t hate the New 52, but it is an arid play at introducing super-heroics when held against the weightiness afforded Earth One titles because of instant arc gratification and being able to deliver whenever your artistic big guns damn well say it has reached perfection (and puny editors actually can cower in fear without loss of share holder value). SUPERMAN, BATMAN and TEEN TITANS are all true awakenings and we can grow with them in real time as I once did with Kevin Arnold on the Wonder Years. Earth One can pace slow burn because it is not the testing ground for the best selling monthly<Trade<Cartoon<TV Show<Movie Fodder formula or da cheddar as douche bags would call the ultimate goal of money. Ultron went from comic to movie fast, go look at sales charts of comics than my fellow fools of non-paid focus grouping to see why so much expedience up the revenue chain. Good businessmen, even businessmice always double down.
Finally, with CONVERGENCE and now Marvel awakening to the continuity conundrum of forever people, we are blatantly being told instead of absolute certainty of pivotal numbered issue consequence, “just go pick a fucking continuity and we’ll fill it with titles based on eeny-meenie-miney-mo of gun shy retail preview picks based on zero information unless you buy into a value-add marketing program with the distributor (I’ll write a separate post on that cardboard news-stand revenue tie to premium order placement and ultimate sales, let me know if you want to hear it).
Well, maybe Marvel will be safe since this is their first time letting the universe asshole completely prolapse before trying to shove it back in. The first repack is usually factory seal fresh like CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS. It gets loser with each repack though and slips out more quickly and more often when abused. See how quickly we needed to have a CONVERGENCE tuck after the FLASHPOINT PROLAPSE. In
20 years Marvel too will just tell you to go read this new Earth 617 where X-Men now wheel chair race at the Xavier 55+ Community for Broke Ass Mutants.
Sorry for the rambling, but please see we are not only seeing story shifts we are seeing a dynamic sales shift affecting stories. The EARTH ONE in description in the guidebook is some nebulas shit about a newly forming earth that will cool with heroes who are new. In my mind this means they are amoebas waiting to become a multicellular organism…excuse me…a SUPER multicellular organism…or it’s a world every time Superman evolves Vandal Savage has already evolved and merely urinates in the life pool and keeps it all FOREVS EVIL by issue after issue of drinking and then eviling with his golden weapon of PH level off-setting.
See folks, when I can write that sort of off putting mental imagery about a story vehicle I adore at 3:00 AM in the morning when I have a 7:00 AM with APAC and I am still ready to hit the story in a zombie caffeinated fugue state, we and the companies have taken the demand for universal cross continuity beyond reality. Kennedy woke up America from la-la-land and WATCHMEN was our book repository of decloaking the tropes with too much clever irony to back to being able to ever believe in golden age ideals. Let’s remember simpler times in this new a la carte world before us instead of wishing for something we really can’t ever have again and probably wouldn’t want anyway. You know the shit would be polybagged with a cover where the artist can’t draw feet.
THE MULTIVERSITY 1
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Ivan Reis
Reviewer: Rob Patey (aka Optimous Douche – Ain’t It Cool news)
I have waited five years for MULTIVERSITY. I feel as though my dreams of what this title would be though, are a far cry from what it is in this iteration, but I hold strong promise for what it could become. It’s not that MULTIVERSITY is bad, it’s just starkly reminiscent of this:
An Ode to FINAL CRISIS 1-28-09
God bullets fired from the gun of Kirby shatter the illusions of shackling continuity for a new dawn of infinite confusion.
Darkened calculus suffocates hope; Salvation in face painting gives purpose To elementary school art teachers at last.
Horsedogs ride the night, Their battle armor under a red son,
A crimson beacon to warn the talking kitty cats That cough hair balls of justice.
Boobies and boots, A Marvel versus an El. If only they didn’t fly, Then Jello their battle would be bathed in.
The Rubik’s Cube of discord realigns the trinity And bleeds through the parallel universe lava lamp.
The death of the Bat, Resurrection by a naked aborigine.
The Monitor’s world goes white, All hail the 5th world. I think!?%
My pea size brain can comprehend concepts of math that destroys or grants life. I can also even understand and honestly truly appreciate Sci-Fi Silver Age goodies like spaceships made of frozen music powered by harmonic drives. If this was all the 5th age were, and I still had the option of 52 x 52 Elseworld story writers crafted by more grounded writers, all would be grand.
The 5th age though seems to be the final shattering of the 4th wall. Like the powers wikis and social media gave the common man’s voice on the media waves, MULTIVERSITY is saying WE, you and I, the readers are now literally part of this world beyond just our imaginations.
Why? Kurt Busiek pulled a similar trick recently within the pages of his ASTRO CITY relaunch as well. But Kurt has always played that line, and more broadly not once have his books been heralded as the salvation of an entire comic line. I find it interesting though that this is the evolution towards the definition of our next comic epoch. If you thought the Dark Age of 1986-2000 shattered the illusion of comic hero infallibility, I’ll tell you now the kimono was only open just enough to see the tip folks. MULTIVERSITY says there is no longer any veil, that we are one with fiction.
WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY???????
After reading MULTIVERSITY last night I have since: helped our APAC office build a powerpoint deck for a CIO conference in a few weeks, walked my dog, sang some “once more with feeling” with one of the neighborhood kids while they petted my dog, listened to my Father tell a fascinating story about the hunt for a beaver in their retirement community and finally banged out a review in a meeting where I shouldbe looking at % marks on the screen. I’M NOT IN THE COMIC BOOK. MY LIFE HASN’T CHANGED. LIES!!!!
It’s a cute concept in theory and I’m fine with it being a fun facet for the three year olds clamoring to read Morrison books, but this is the crux of a story that has been touted as salvation twice now. After I saw the grand and glorious multiverse map big bang out of San Diego, I honestly was waiting to see MULTIVERSITY come in and devour the New 52. However, with this clear direction of talking directly to me through the pages, I beg that my predictions never become reality. I don’t understand the shame in simply telling some cool freaking Elseworld stories where Superman is a rabbit or Aquaman has boobs.
The MULTIVERSITY plot is quite simple; this is the forming of JUSTICE LEAGUE E. The Earth 23 Baraqaman, a character named Thunder from Earth 8, a Flash here, and an Aqualady there, you have a team that’s ready to go off and fight the threat of the last Monitor (remember the days of Pre-52 when the Monitors were reborn, then died, but formed 52 worlds, earth, universes that we only saw like three of over the past five years. Sweet Judas’ nuts I just lost my train of thought). These are the story elements I find alluring. I was delighted watching President Supes drive the JLE’s Frozen Music ship to see where a small knowledge of jazz will take them. Hell I even liked Captain Carrot whose universe is all cartoon physics based, and Dino-Cop, the character I’m sure Eric Larsen will file a lawsuit over. I am even on board with the fact that each character is a comic book piece of fiction on the worlds of their fellow team members.
Given this strong foundation, given the fact Elseworld fangeezers like me will buy the 52×52 titles DC can pump out (not even counting the stories that could take place in The Bleed and other ethers of the grand cosmic map), why the sweet hell was there this need to destroy what is supposed to be escapism by drawing us back in?
MULTIVERSITY holds such promise, but this issue promised me last night I would wake up in some grand adventure beyond my imagination and instead I simply woke up to the same grand adventure I live every day. Perhaps I am not seeing the grand plan here, but I also don’t need one if the goddamn story didn’t insist it would be there.
Unless Morrison has a way of unleashing the forces of Brainiac on the world this Christmas, I am casting aside about 15% of MULTIVERSITY 1 from my brain juice because I read comics to escape the doldrums, not be told that my doldrums are going to be saved by a group of heroes we all know will never literally come.
To keep getting my dollars MULTIVERSITY, I need a lot less talking to me and much more Elseworlds entertainment.
Here are just some of the people I’ve helped already! Submit your questions in the comments or via email – because this is the face of caring!
I dunno if you answered this, but Grant Morrison recently revealed that he believes Batman killed the Joker in the final panels of THE KILLING JOKE. Obviously, DC disagrees as TKJ is canon and the Joker isn’t dead. But if you look at from an Elseworlds, are you for or against this interpretation?
Of course Batman ended the Joker’s life at the end of the killing joke. We’re all energy, you, me, The Joker, Batman, Joan Rivers, and the little wheelchair girl from Diff’rent Strokes Cathy. And this energy binds and swells as God breathes in the last inhalations of our dying universe’s flatulence. When Cathy’s wheelchair runs over Oprah Winfrey’s foot, cats smile at the thought of the Salem Witch trials precursors to OJ’s innocence. The Joker shoots Barbara Gordon, and elephant creates a symphony and Cathy’s wheelchair does donuts of delight in the parking lot of WaWa.
Is the Joker dead? Damian was a clone of Bob barker’s hairpiece so it stands to reason the entire universe dies at the end of the killing joke and we all became the dream of a sleeping giant with insomnia. Batman dies, the Joker died and when the giant finally awakens, Marvel Now will rewrite a universe ruled by Bronies.
How did your wife and you first meet?
Great Question Kate,
Well, a long time ago, another century in fact, I was exactly 2.37% more attractive than the withering middle aged husk that performed with you inn the BATTLE OF SHALLOWFORD (get your copy today on VHS and Betamax – all proceeds go to the Ed Simpson Home for Almost Septuagenarian playwrights and the Patrick Gallagher Fund for my Child’s College Education).
The first attraction between a man and a woman is always physical no matter what bullshit Dr. Phil shoves down your throat. When I saw Carly at an arranged meeting set-up by our mutual friends who were dating at the time, I was immediately smitten. Despite my extra 2.37% hunkyness Carly looked like she had just met a serial killer that smelled like burning dog feces wrapped in burning pubic hair.
I had to act fast. Fortunately, I have a patented trick to woo even the most physically repulsed woman in the world. A secret I am sharing for the first time this evening. In times of dire straits, basically from my sexual awakening until now, I have always relied on the mnemonic of: Rescind, Objectify, Obliterate, Fondle, Insinuate, Excrete, Sundown
I know this sounds like a bunch of gibberish, so let me illuminate for the obtuse of heart:
Rescind: any first chemical reactions that drew you to this other person must immediately be taken back. Nothing turns a woman off more than a man who is actually into her. If there’s another woman in the room you should immediately put your tongue in their ear.
Objectify: Nothing makes a woman swoon more than a man who pays homage to just the organs directly involved in the reproductive process. A good ole’, “Those will be more than ample to feed our offspring” as you measure a woman’s hips will go much further than, “I think I just lost the rest of my life in your eyes.”
Obliterate: Any other male in the room. Seriously there can be no other male with in pheromone range. I killed three men the night I met Carly, my friend, a bear cub and a rabbi who was also employing Rescind, Objectify, Obliterate, Fondle, Insinuate, Excrete, Sundown
Fondle: Obvious one, I touched myself while singing I touched myself.
Insinuate: Nothing entices a woman like outlandish accusations about her character. It’s a sign of male dominance as the top thinker in the room.
Excrete: Any fluids will do, you simply show on a primal level that your body is made of more parts water than Ensure. It shows the lizard brain that you are a favorable mate. Fortunately the night I met Carly I had pink eye, so nature simply took over.
Sundown: Even if the fumbling Lothario screws up all the other steps, singing Gordon Lightfoot’s 70’s classic Sundown causes an instant Pavlovian response of wanting in anyone packing a XX chromosome. It is like whale song.
And now every day for the past 13 wonderful years I give Carly her daily dose of Rescind, Objectify, Obliterate, Fondle, Insinuate, Excrete, Sundown so she stays in a love induced catatonic state.
We sold the salt water boat this year. I miss fishing and crabbing. I have fish in the freezer but I did see crabs at Redners for sale. One week they were 1 dozen for $10.98 but the next week it was 2 dozen for $15.00, should I be concerned?
Great Question Rita,
You should definitely be worried and buy your boat back, the end is nigh these are our last days. With a boat you could at least stave off the flood portion of the apocalypse. After all, without a salt water boat, the next four generations are going to be forced to live solely on the Great Lakes and lesser bodies of water.
Kevin Costner’s Water World tells us that salt water travel will indeed be necessary if we hope our children’s children will develop water breathing vaginas behind their ears.
Now as for the crabs, we should look to Revelations to once again see the end is nigh.
Revelations 32:675states “The crabbeth shall die, the fisherman weep and the grocer profit. The end is nigh.”
Revelations 32:896 states “Woe unto the frequent buyer card, today is not a double points day nor shall any day be double points herein for the purchase of crab. The end is nigh.”
Revelations 32:8675309 states “Jennimiah Jennmiah who can I’est turn to. You gaveth me crab to hold on to. But the number of the beast was on the bathroom wall. The end is nigh!”
Oh don’t look for these in your bible, I have a password to MosesLeaks!
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Chris Burnham
Publisher: DC Comics
Reviewer: Rob Patey (aka – Optimous Douche Ain’t It Cool News)
I was seeing a deeper red than this cover last month. Instead of holding in my hands the onslaught of Mecha-Manbat-Batman, we were taken to a land far away from Gotham for another box down on the BATMAN INC. org chart. Don’t get me wrong; it was a fine issue, but I’m bothered by the LLCing of superheroes and I wanted to see vengeance exacted on Damian’s killers. Morrison created one of the most enduring mythos in Bat history with this family consummated by blood; anything else simply can’t measure up.
I really don’t need to write this review other than the need to release a welling of geek. If you’ve been reading this series, missing these final issues is the equivalent of having a climax choked off by your mother walking in the room. No one should self-inflict such an intrusion on themselves. If you haven’t been reading this series, don’t start now – it would be just stupid. Kind of like going to a buffet and coming back to the table with a gob of whipped sweet butter. Delicious, but you missed the point of your journey.
No exposition, no getting up to speed–page one picks up exactly as we left issue 11 (excuse me, I meant 10 – passive aggressive off), with a wrath of rage coming straight at Talia Al Ghul’s slinky body and skeletal black mask. But Bruce’s first business is to take care of the man…thing…that was the guillotine operator in Damian’s demise, Leviathan. The architect will wait until next issue (better be next issue). Much of the issue was once again seeing the ingenious fight choreography that has become a staple of this team. BATMAN and Leviathan work the levels of Gotham City, making it a truly 3-D brouhaha. I won’t spoil the surprise of what’s under Leviathan’s mask after Bruce metaphorically and actually cracks through the clone’s armor, but it sits on a level of creepy that could only be devised by the madness of Morrison. It’s disturbing, but not nearly as disturbing as the fate that ultimately awaits the clone when it reports its defeat to “mommy.”
This will be a short review, because there’s no need to sell anything about this title, and it is only a small small fraction of the whole and enveloped joy that’s been BATMAN INC.
Next, “have you ever danced with the devil in her slathered skin tights?”
All right comic fans here’s one where the WTF pays off. How fandom will feel about Bruce’s self-inflicted transformation into literal Bat will no doubt resonate from loathing to loving, but none the less you will be surprised.
Honestly, the cover only portrays 1/3 WTF, Bruce doesn’t just gear up for his final battle with Talia by visiting Dr. Langstrom. There are a few other stops that happen in-between filled with end-game dialog as Morrison once again implodes the Bat-Universe.
This issue actually opens with Bruce visiting his old friend Azrael. We don’t quite know the end-game yet, but this moment resonated for the simple reason Morrison finally calls to light the corporate and logical fallacies of Bruce Wayne officially funding BATMAN. Azrael mentions being part of BATMAN INC. as Bruce explains the liquidation of this Kimono opening entity. I don’t know if this was the end game all along for the concept, or an acknowledgement of fan-boy decrying. Either way, I wasn’t expecting it and I applaud either Morrison or DC for hearing our voices and not playing ostrich. Just so you don’t feel bad for Azrael, he does get deputized.
Next stop, Lucius Fox. Here we see Lucius poorly handle the public embarrassment of BATMAN INC. slush-fund like corporate provisioning and then equip Bruce with some battle tech with s much aggressive torque it has injured every other operator.
Then finally Bruce gets spot o’ Langstrom’s gene splicing juice. I wondered months ago why Langstrom was the Batman second stringer anointed for resurrection and here’s the answer. A final panel of Bat-Bat-Azrael-Mechadroid swooping straight at the mouth of Leviathan. Uhhh…I should mention Burnham’s visual is far more enticing than my description.
Before we get to that scene the rest of the book is all Talia all the time. Talia tormenting her son, her imprisoned Father and herself as Ra’s raises a possible chink in her grand plans’ armor.
Morrison is never afraid to crank things to 11, sometimes it’s wonderful like BATMAN INC. and sometimes it’s not. No matter what though, he takes to the limit. You can’t sustain a supernova forever of course so while I’m sad to see his star go dark, Bruce has already earned a break and we still have a few issues to go.
BATMAN INC. 9
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Chris Burnham
Reviewer: Rob Patey (aka – Optimous Douche, Ain’t It Cool News)
Now THIS is a Requiem. We have an honest-to-God funeral, angst, conversations about Damian, you know…all the stuff you do to honor our flesh meat once it has expired. I wasn’t sure how we would get more action than Damian’s demise last issue, the kid had more shit shot at him than Sonny Corleone in a Jersey tool booth – and that’s not even counting the brutal beat down delivered by his clone self. But through some imaginative backwards and sideways storytelling we get just as much action and as I mentioned a second ago, a book worthy of the Requiem moniker.
The more I read this title; the more I realize how truly integral Burnham has been to its success. It may seem like an obvious statement, but I disagree. Sometimes…many times in comics these days, writer or artist can go on autopilot because of the immense talent of their counterpart. Normally I give all props to Morrison, as a comic writer myself, I get that the author is usually telling the artist what needs to be drawn. Burnham goes above and beyond those brief descriptions though. Whether Bats and company are laying Damian to rest or fighting their way out of the Leviathan occupied Wayne tower, this issue is very sparse on words. Instead Burnham aptly does the heavy lifting to show the disbelief, then fear and finally the ultimate rage Damian’s death has brought to the family. The escape from the tower is equally sans dialog, but rife with action as the Bat boys leverage some VERY heavy artillery to clear out a hole and bring Damian’s body back to the cave. Also the fight scene between Bats and clone Damian had some very very clever moves.
I also loved this issue because it looks like the concept of BATMAN INC. is about to be dismantled as the Gotham PD decides to kowtow to Leviathan’s demands. I won’t rehash it here, but I’ve droned on for thousands of words in the past about my issues with Brue Wayne publically funding Batman. It’s akin to Clark Kent doing advertisements for Pearl Vision. Don’t call attention to something we have all decried in the past as a comic contrivance that would never fly in the real world. Also, we see a final toe tag being put on Great Britain’s Batman, The Knight…sorta. Knight will return and I like the direction much much better than the Eliza Doolittle tropes of yore. There was true emotional weight to Britain’s mourning.
As for the family, the relationships are more tenuous than ever before. These events compounded with Death of the Family is pushing Bruce to a brink of solitary no return. If you don’t believe me look at the interchange between Bruce and Alfred. You seriously want to give the old limey a hug after Bruce rails on him for letting Damian leave the cave.
You know who else I wanted to hug? Bat-Cow. I’ve loved the animal additions to the cave from day one. Titus became Robin’s Robin and Bat-Cow was a symbol of Damian’s desperation to live some of the magic childhood should be rife with. Finally Bat-Cow has her true moment in the sun as a final remembrance to everything Damian was before Bruce ends the issue in a barbaric yawp of emotional agony. I will say this final panel could have used a word bubble though. Without a high level of imagination one might think Bruce is having a wicked back spasm.
Since the launch of the new 52, BATMAN INC. has been more a second issue of BATMAN & ROBIN each month. That’s a compliment. It’s also a sign of what’s to come in my opinion. Without Robin, without a huge amount of support both in story and in the real world for a publicly funded Batman and finally without Morrison, I think BATMAN INC. is bankrupt. It’s been a great ride though, and everyone involved should get their own Bat-Cow for a job very well done.
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Chris Burnham
Reviewer: Rob Patey (aka Optimous Douche – Ain’t It Cool News)
BATMAN INC. is beyond a praise worthy book, but I’ll be damned if I can figure out what to say. Simple platitudes like great story and art have become givens at this point – Morrison and Burnham’s respective prowess is well known. Also, my other reviewer’s trick of riding the spoiler wagon had its wheels thrown off a few days before the book launched – Robin dies again, in case you lived under a stalagmite the past few weeks.
This final BATMAN INC. arc, which I will call issue 8 the climax of, has been Shakespearean in delivery (even if the following isn’t): A family blood cursed and curdled, by a mother of maniacal means. A Father seeking intimacy with a son he’s barely seen. On friendship’s throne true love doth lie, before the final sword bids a young life good-bye.
Chide the New 52 all you want, in some cases it’s deserved. What is undeniable though is the clarity and focus The New 52 brought to BATMAN INC. I have hated this series’ mantra since its inception. Pre New 52, I enjoyed the title in execution alone. The idea of Bruce Wayne publically funding Batman is the equivalent to Clark Kent becoming a spokesperson for Pearl Vision. DO NOT call attention to the white elephant in the room guys – ever. Perhaps someone woke up to this fact or maybe they read my constant barrage of articles against this path – either way – post 52 this became more about Robin and less about Batman “it’s a small world.”
BATMAN INC. has served as a wonderful compliment to Tomasi’s work in BATMAN & ROBIN. B&R focused on Damian’s redemption from little psycho killer to real boy, while BATMAN INC. would push Damian two-steps back for every one step forward on his journey to redemption. I’ve always likes Damian’s arrogance, but BATMAN INC. made us all actually see beyond the “TT” to uncover the Wayne heart of gold that is tarnished each generation by tragedy.
Despite the epic event in this issue, this is only the climax to Morrison’s DC swan song. Even though Damian has had his final wonderful moments, especially his closing exchange with Dick Grayson, we still have four more issues to see the impact of this event. And no clone impalement on a sword can thwart a publishing schedule. I will continue this journey, but with a heavy heart. Morrison has always had a reverence for comic history and BATMAN INC. is no exception. He knew even back when conceiving this character he was going to kill him. In doing so he has successfully placated and instigated modern day comic fervor in one fell swoop. We all want lasting consequences in comics except when it’s a golden calf. As sad as I am to see Damian go and as crestfallen as I am to also lose Titus and Bat-Cow in this equation, Morrison and DC played this hand quite well. Could another Damian be grown tomorrow? Yes. Should there be? Fuck no!
Burnham made me once again fall in love with the visage of Damian, something I hadn’t experienced since Frank Quitely’s rendering. Burnham is dare I say a Quitely light – cascading only slightly into realism before it gets too real and thus ugly.
Now thankfully, it wasn’t just all of us who caught wind of Damian’s death. When he picked up USA Today last Monday and learned of his demise he called together a press conference to discuss his impending fate.
Gotham City, uhhh NY (we think) – On the steps of Wayne Industries’ headquarters in downtown Gotham today, Damian Wayne, the heir to Wayne Enterprises and sometime superhero (all the time brat), expressed his moderate sorrow for forgetting to die during the Joker’s recent slaughter spree some in the press dubbed Death of the Family.
“Tt,” Wayne said as he took the podium. He continued, “I’m not sure exactly why I’m lowering myself by justifying my existence to the troglodytes of Gotham City, but Father’s PR people said it would engender good will from the street. Tt.” At this point Wayne Industries’ director of PR, Harold Allnut, rushed the microphone and whispered in the petulant young man’s ear.
Wayne continued, “Apparently I was supposed to let Pennyworth or the street urchin, Jason Todd, shiv me in the Batcave as Father danced with the devil in the pale moonlight. However, Titus needed to go out for a walk and Bat-Cow required a thorough brushing.” “Honestly if we could get better help than a waifish octogenarian, I would feel far more comfortable shuffling loose this mortal coil.”
“My plan right now is to allow my Mother to be my undoing sometime tomorrow afternoon.” Wayne said with surprising little fear or remorse.
Surprisingly, Gotham’s favorite son and Father of Damian, Bruce Wayne, was not present as his son announced his impending doom. Reporter Vicki Vale however was “somehow” able to issue this statement by Wayne from an undisclosed location, “Look, his (Damian) Mother and I had an affair like twenty years ago. I can’t help it the Al Guhl family has a gestation period longer than a prehistoric elephant.” Wayne brazenly continued, “I’ve had fun with the kid, but I’ve had fun with every small boy I’ve brought in my house and if Gotham is lacking in hope, it ain’t lacking in small young boys for me to live with and put in mortal danger.”
Wayne shocked the world a few years ago after return from a sojourn to a methadone clinic in Arizona when he announced that he was Gotham’s famous caped crusader Batman. Even though the announcement was merely meant to announce Wayne’s funding of the Batman, since the audience wasn’t occupied solely by Helen Keller, most put two and two together. This led to a wide depression across Gotham city for our collective mass stupidity and blindness over the years.
The conference concluded with the same little fanfare that began the event, “That is all, thank you, I guess, for your time. Tt!”
With this death of Damian Wayne, Gotham is left to wonder whether the Wayne legacy can prevail given it’s clear that God has a bigger vendetta against their survival than the Kennedy clan.
Writer: Peter Tomasi
Artist: Ardian Syaf
Reviewer: Rob Patey (aka Optimous Douche – Ain’t It Cool News)
Here’s a novel idea, “Let’s make comics fun again.” Don’t get me wrong, I love the facial puppetry and emotional turmoil embedded in Death of the Family. My Gen X cynical sensibilities are also all about the deconstruction of the superhero mythos. I like my comics dark, but even I sometimes require a brief respite from doom and gloom to renew my faith that the world is not just an exercise towards entropy and that life is something to revel in, not just get through.
BATMAN & ROBIN ANNUAL 1 has no dissent amongst the bat-clan, there are no heady moments of distrust towards Bruce, nor silver platters dripping with blood. Whether this is canon or not, (and I do have questions in light of Death of the Family), I don’t really care. Because when a comic takes my favorite Robin and infuses it with a little John Hughes Home Alone action, the result is soul-lifting comic gold.
Damian Wayne won me over day one. His petulance, emotional baggage and haughty attitude made him a damaged youth you couldn’t help but love. When he came on the scene, Daddy was finding his way back home from his seeming one way ticket to nowhere at the end of FINAL CRISIS. Damian became Dick’s problem, and for a year or so Damian tested Dick’s patience and decisions at every turn. Any character becomes dull without growth, Snyder did a bang up job in DETECTIVE by making the wall of aggression between the two Robin’s slowly erode and form some semblance of respect and dare I say love. The dynamic between the two was so delicious; I’m on record in quite a few reviews requesting DC never bring Bruce back. Dick and Alfred couldn’t rear the young lad all the way though, Damian’s arrogance would only truly allow for Bruce to guide and instruct him. Especially since Bruce wasn’t a living being, merely a specter of myth and legend as told by Talia and…well…the world.
When Bruce did come back, I was worried that he would put the young lad’s head through plate glass after one well misplaced “tt” of annoyance. Especially since the moments before the DC Reboot, Morrison had portrayed Batman at his darkest. It looked as though Father would shun his responsibilities in favor of a life in the literal and emotional shadows. Damian would have no hope of ever going beyond his surly and homicidal ways.
The New 52 changed everything though, and one of the greatest changes was a Bruce Wayne ready to be Batman and a Father. Wisely, writers didn’t have Damian just jump in Bruce’s lap and snuggle. Their maturation process together has been long and slow as each learns their role in a new family dynamic. Bruce has worked diligently to wipe away the killing machine to make Damian a true purveyor of justice and an actual 10 year old boy — very akin to the life of Dick Grayson in the silver age; Robin by night, normal kid by day.
BATMAN & ROBIN ANNUAL 1 is the perfect culmination of this Father/Son evolution. Of course a kid that runs around fighting crime will never be “normal.” But between Bruce’s love and patience, additions of four legged bat-friends Titus the dog and Bat-Cow (oh sweet sweet Bat-Cow), and a fair amount of work on Alfred’s part, Damian has now become what I will Grandfatherly call a feisty little scamp. His ability to go from fierce to adorable in one mere panel makes him simply one of the most unique and endearing characters in comics. Especially to Fangeezers like me who stand on the precipice of procreation.
So anyway Home Alone. In a clever turn of selfish altruism, Damian concocts a scheme to get Alfred and Bruce out of the country – and it actually works. Once Bruce and Alfred are following clues across Europe with Damon green screening himself one step ahead of them updates, we finally get to meet Bat-Boy, Bat-Brat…oh hell with it…Bat-Mite!
The new Cute Crusader starts to hits the street of Gotham in pursuit of a gas eating monster and his ultimate master. Honestly this isn’t what stuck with me. What I remember are the moments of Titus as acting Alfred confidant. Damian’s pint-sized frame harnessing the horsepower of the Bat-Mobile. The sheer joy in seeing a young man unfettered from the constant lessons that come with any Father and Son…engaging in anything.
Bruce’s story also pulls at the heartstrings when we discover Damian’s mystery is a step-by-step journey chronicling the courtship of his Grandparents. Alfred’s no slouch here either as he abandons the chase in pursuit of a little thespian time with some ole’ mates at The New Globe.
Morrison may have spawned this relationship, but Tomasi is the right writer for now. Morrison is a master for hooking fans with his trippy ideas, but eventually his weirdness overshadows his characters. Tomasi knows humanity, not trip above it. This isn’t a judgment on either man, just a fact. Also, Syaf does an amazing job with this book, particularly Titus and European locales. Both were equally majestic. This story deserved nothing less.
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Chris Burnham
Reviewer: Rob Patey (aka Optimous Douche – Ain’t It Cool News)
“You know what Jason Todd? I helped kill you 25 years ago. I was one of the legions who dialed 1-900-KILL-TOD and felt my parents’ wrath when the bill came so my voice could be heard. I felt a modicum of guilt for the decision and then felt the weight of that guilt subside with your return. All of my remorse went away when you found a good comic book and true direction in RED HOOD. However, after BATMAN INCORPORATED 6, I take it all back. I’m glad you died and I’m pissed you got to bang Starfire, because anyone who messes with BAT-COW will feel the wrath of Damian Wayne and Optimous Douche.”
OK, that feels better.
I chided Vol 1. Of BATMAN INCORPORATED. While I dug the idea of a bunch of Batman’s running around and once I got past the Knight & Squire issues I felt the execution was top notch, I just could not get past Bruce Wayne’s public declaration of financing BATMAN. I felt it was akin to giving Clark Kent contacts and still expecting us to buy his ruse. Essentially it opened the kimono WAY TOO far for comfort (and stretched the believability that comic denizens are really that obtuse).
Vol 2 though has completely shifted gears. Instead of Bruce travelling the world recruiting, all of his BATMAN’S have come back to the aerie in Gotham to battle Leviathan and their seductive mistress, Talia Al Ghul. Without the public declarations, trite cultural tropes, and Batman especially acting like an Amway salesman to get people on board, BATMAN INCORPORATED took on a persona I could get behind with the fullest of support.
The series also introduced BAT-COW, probably my favorite character of the NEW 52. I have no bovine fetish, what I adore is what BAT-COW symbolizes in my favorite Robin to date, Damian Wayne. Raised by assassins, spoiled beyond belief, and smarter than the average bear, Damian the little prick is easy to portray. And before you give me a petulant “ttt,” think about it. I’m right. For issue upon issue people wanted to beat this kid as he sassed off to Dick Grayson while Batman was on his sojourn through time. Since the return though, Robin the scared and is this issue reveals truly unwanted little boy has never been explored. Morrison rectified this with BAT-COW. In the adoption of this doe eyed creature we see the sad and all too often plight of only children befriending and anthropomorphizing animals for friendship. And it doesn’t hurt that the adoption took place in perfect juxtaposition with his killer side in BATMAN INCORPORATED 1.
Another reason I’m fully enamored with this volume, and this particular issue, is that Talia gets the best of all the worldly Bats and it’s up to the OB (original bats) to save their foreign asses. Squire, my least favorite of the international crew is hanging on the precipice of death at the end. I give a big Bally Ho to any writer that’s willing to off cockney stereotypes; with Morrison leaving DC I would pay him personally to rewrite My Fair Lady with Eliza turning to prostitution and heavy drug use at the end.
It wasn’t all shits and giggles for me this issue though. First there’s Jerk-Off Jason who takes a direct stab at BAT-COW in the Bat-Cave as the four Robin’s monitor Batman’s progress towards Talia in her abandoned warehouse maze of doom. Then there was a further blow to the fragile Robin ego. Hands down, Burnham draws my favorite version of Damian, making him look like a true little boy with a chip on his shoulder. What we hadn’t seen before in Robin though, was pain. In the past any emotional scars were firmly scabbed over with attitude. With Morrison’s words and Bunham’s art, my heart broke a little when she said the only reason for Damian was to have spare parts for Ra’s. It’s an epic blow to the little scamp that Talia then pours lemon juice on in the form of an epic cliff-hanger of danger to Damian or all of Gotham. I’m not going to say what it is, but the Judgment Scales on the cover will give you a clue and it’s a perfect swan song before Morrison he says sayonara to DC for a while.
I’ll buy anything with BAT-COW and receive a modicum of enjoyment from it, but in the hands of Master Morrison every BAT-MOMENT is Kobe instead of ground chuck including BATMAN INCORPORATED 6.
Oh, and fuck you once again Jason.
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Artist: Kenneth Rocafort
Reviewer: Rob Patey ( aka Optimous Douche – Ain’t It Cool News)
“You take the old, you take the new, you take them both and you have the glue for Supes’ facts of life, facts of life.”
No, it’s not just my lingering boyhood crush for Lisa Welchel that made this old Alan Thicke ditty pop into my head. After a year of utter confusion for the Man of Steel I think RocLobster has finally been able to find the secret sauce to make SUPERMAN work in the context of the NEW 52. H’EL on earth is not only a great read from a solitary story perspective, but it’s the first true signs of cohesion amongst all DC titles allowing for some true honest-to-God universe building.
I applaud Perez’s and Morrison’s early efforts on both ACTION and SUPERMAN, but they were working under some crazy editorial mandates for Big Blue. I “think” the plan was to have ACTION be the introduction to “Superman” the character, where SUPERMAN the title was supposed to establish the world of Metropolis and all of Clark’s pals. But the “five years before” mandate and no consistent voice for SUPERMAN in any title made for decent solitary issues, but a messershit of confusion for Supes’ place in the DC Universe. I’m not even going to bring JUSTICE LEAGUE into this conversation because that was a whole other grab-bag of Super doldrums for Clark (me blue, me punch, me sulk).
Here’s the thing though, SUPERMAN’S world isn’t that interesting without SUPERMAN. Learning that media outlets are dying and Lois Lane will prostitute her integrity to the first media mogul that comes along will only carry a comic so far. I don’t care about Lois, Jimmy or Perry without Clark, no matter how many Lois-Nazis write me about the importance of Lois Lane in the DC Universe (yes, they exist by thousands, I would be happy to share the hate mail from my SUPERMAN EARTH ONE review).
Now, I was able to follow these stories and confusions because I’m older than Moses’ balls. At 38 I have lived through several iterations of SUPERMAN and read thousands of books that let my feeble mind easily fill in gaping chasms of logic and feeling. New readers had my deepest sympathy and anyone who asked me over the past year, “what book should little Johnny or Sally read if they like SUPERMAN?” immediately received my endorsement for ACTION, and ironically not SUPERMAN. Not because Morrison is a great child writer, but because that was closest to the essence of Supes.
H’EL on earth finally ends the confusion. With this first Super Crossover, RocLobster and the others have been able to bring clarity by not abandoning the past year, but consolidating it quickly and concisely. Yes, Lois is still an integrity whore to the whims of Morgan Edge, but there aren’t entire issues focused to the decline of print media and sacrificing real news for infotainment. Clark recently quit the Daily Planet because of this moral conundrum and all you need to know about this is plain as day in the opening panels of SUPERMAN 14. Lois is trying to bring Clark back into the media fold until their visit is interrupted by the appearance of Supes’ cousin Kara-El. Now, I will say that Clark’s former red-panties getting into a bunch about Lois shacking up with her boy-toy seems out of place since he has shown no romantic interest in Lois up until now (NEW 52 not old continuity), but I’ll let it slide, again because I know this will be an inevitable pairing…perhaps. Also since he’s smooshing face with WONDER WOMAN now, which is wonderfully alluded to in this interchange, I have to wonder why he truly does care. But the super heart wants what it wants I guess. I’ll also say the moment when Kara entered left me conflicted. On one hand it was hilarious. On the other hand, I think Lois has lost her nose for news immediately assuming the woman standing before her is a Cosplayer instead of the exact replica of the chick who’s been tossing tanks on the news. Considering this a fan-boy nit though, and a bygone since it was executed so damn well.
I had an issue with the heavy BOX OUT bubbles in SUPERMAN 13. What has worked so well in RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS felt like lazy exposition to me in the context of SUPERMAN. That’s corrected as well this issue, with only a few scant thought bubbles to draw new readers into the crossover.
The rest of the issue plays out as a knockdown drag-out between this new third Kryptonian, H’EL, and Supes. Kara sits on the fence, still not loving Earth, but certainly not feeling the disdain H’EL does. In very Zod like fashion, H’El, a former disciple of Jor-El and one of Krypton’s first astronauts (that’s how he got to Earth), thinks anyone from Krypton should be in charge of Earth and also has a real disdain for the hybrid clone SUPERBOY. It was actually kind of fun to see SUPERBOY tossed around like a Ritalin baby’s Stretch Armstrong. Apparently, like in the Star Wars universe, Clones only spell bad news and caused a lot of trouble in Krypton’s distant past.
The family dynamic between Kal and Kara is all New 52 while still holding on to ghosts of the past. It’s refreshing to see this commitment to what worked before and not abandoning it. Kara has to grapple with her younger cousin now being older and not remembering Krypton. While Kal must try to babysit a superbrat to ensure she doesn’t cause bad PR for Kryptonians everywhere.
No idea where this series is going to end up and frankly I don’t care. For one reason, I really like surprises. The other reason being I already have Tweeted confirmation from Scott Snyder that his run starting in January will take the series in a new direction. I will also give leeway to any book Rocafort draws. His abandonment for traditional panels and flair for cinematic moments are bar none. He makes the books move even if you don’t read one word bubble.
H’EL on Earth is exactly what the doctor ordered to redeem the Man of Steel, bind the DC universe together, and whet appetites for the when the new DC Golden Boy takes the reigns next month.