Tag Archives: chris burnham

#OLDTRON COMIC BOOK PODCAST 5: DARTH VADER #14, NAMELESS #6, ART OPS #3, JLA #6, DARK KNIGHT III: THE MASTER RACE #2

Comic Book Podcast

What is Oldtron Podcast? Comic books, comedy…ish…yet another brand for this four year audio adventure across AIN’T IT COOL NEWS, POPTARDSGO.com and…that’s it really. We’re good, not that good. I’m Rob Patey. I’m hosting Mark Miller. We have been known as Optimous Douche and Ambush Bug, but we’re not proud of it. JD, our third member is ashamed of Bug’s past so he runs whenever he hears the bells of Uncle Drunkell Miller chime.

Sorry for the coughing, I’m sick.

STREAM THE PODCAST HERE 

DOWNLOAD THE PODCAST HERE

THE SHOW THIS WEEK

  • 2:30 Reader Comments, From the Web (shooting out Charlotte’s @$$hole): Alternate Covers, Your Review Requests Reviewed
  • 18:40 DARTH VADER #14 (w – Kieron Gillen, a – Salvadore Larocca)
  • 34:00 NAMELESS #6 (w – Grant Morrison, a – Chris Burnham)
  • 42:00 Uncle Drunkell Miller Christmas 1979
  • 54:00 History of the Grave Onion (Read about it here)
  • 57:35 ART OPS #3 (w – Shaun Simon, a – Michael Allred & Matt Brundage)
  • 1:05:00 DARK KNIGHT III: THE MASTER RACE #2 (w – Frank Miller & Brian Azzarello, a – Andy Kubert)
  • 1:18:00 Dr. Strange’s New Costume

BATMAN INC 12 REVIEW – Finally Retribution!

batman-inc-12BATMAN INCORPORATED #12

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?”

BATMAN INC. 10 Review – Get Your WTF Right Here

batman inc 10 coverBATMAN INC. 10
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Chris Burnham
Publisher: DC
Reviewer: Rob Patey (aka Optimous Douche – Ain’t It Cool News)

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 REVIEW – A True Requiem for a True Hero

BATMAN INC 9 CoverBATMAN INC. 9
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Chris Burnham
Publisher: DC
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.

BATMAN INC 8 – The End of “Tt”morrow

BATMAN INC 8 CoverBATMAN INC. 8

Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Chris Burnham
Publisher: DC
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.

damian wayneDamian Wayne, the 4th Robin, Apologizes for Forgetting to Die During “Death of the Family”

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.

Harold_AllnutWayne 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.

vicki-valeSurprisingly, 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.

BATMAN INCORPORATED 6 REVIEW – I’M GLAD I HELPED KILL JASON TODD

batman incorporated 6 coverBATMAN INCORPORATED 6

Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Chris Burnham
Publisher: DC
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).

bat-cow-awesomeVol 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.

bat cow funnyIt 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.