Tag Archives: Titus

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.

ROBIN APOLOGIZES FOR FORGETTING TO DIE

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 Kenendy clan.

BATMAN & ROBIN ANNUAL 1 REVIEW – Rise of The Cute Crusader

batman and robin annual 1 coverBATMAN & ROBIN ANNUAL 1

Writer: Peter Tomasi
Artist: Ardian Syaf
Publisher: DC
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.

BATMAN & ROBIN 15 REVIEW – A BOY AND HIS PSYCOPATH

Batman and Robin 15 ReviewBATMAN & ROBIN 15

Writer: Pete Tomasi
Artist: Patrick Gleason
Publisher: DC
Reviewer: Optimous Douche

So good and gory I almost threw up in my mouth. Gleason get the creep award in this week’s “DEATH OF THE FAMILY” offering through the unraveling of a young Boy and the most grotesque puppetry since the recent news about Elmo.

This is Damian’s story all the way and takes place a very close heartbeat away from the moments of BATMAN 15 when the family turns against one another. You can read one book without the other, but some of Damian’s motivation and inner dialog will be lost.

In three distinct acts, Tomasi gives us one of the best portrayals of Damian to date.

Confined to monitor duty, in usual fashion Damian gives a resounding “F this noise” and begins the hunt for Pennyworth. Great moments abound as Damian and Titus, the Batdog, begin their sleuthing for clues. A boy and his dog story are Americana at its finest, Titus is Damian’s Robin and the interchange between them is exactly what you would expect from a ten year old. Damian truly believes Titus understands him, and it as endearing as it is sad when set against the atrocities in the rest of the issue.

In Act II Damian’s clues lead to Alfred’s whereabouts at the Hyena cage in the Gotham Zoo. “I hate the zoo” are the only words Damian mutters throughout his battle with the Joker venom carrying hounds and with that Tomasi unpeels another layer of the Damian mystique, the boy who hates being a boy.

Of course the Joker finally gets some alone time with Damian after an inventive knock-out and here is where I truly almost lost my lunch. You know that face the Joker has strapped on and probably should have rotted off by now? Well, it’s finally starting to show some of the gummy elasticity of necrotic wear. The Joker molds, stretches and contorts the face in a macabre puppet show as he unhinges Damian in a game of verbal cat and mouse. Especially creepy was the complete inversion of the face where the Joker’s beady pupils are in the mouth. This is also the part where Damian shines as the true son of Bruce Wayne. When he makes a solemn vow to kill the Joker, you can see and hear honest-to-God fear from the Joker towards this new Robin. He is more than a sidekick, he is a true successor to the throne of the Bat. Given the newfound revelation of the Joker’s adoration for Batman, you can imagine how far off the edge this sends the putty faced price of crime.

Steely calm, petulant annoyance, and snippets of an innocence not completely lost are the essence of Damian. Tomasi hit every chord in this issue with pitch perfect execution. This is more than worthy of the DEATH OF THE FAMILY die-cut cover, it is an essential entry.