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I’m going to do something a little different for this week’s picks. Because they were two comics that I couldn’t choose for my best pick, I decided that I would have two best picks no worst pick. Now I picked these comics as the best more because of what they represent to their respected series and place within their company’s line up. So here we go:
Detective Comics #871 – This is the first issue with the new creative team of writer Scott Snyder (American Vampire) and artists Jock (The Losers) and Francesco Francavilla, and if you read my pull list post for this week you’ll know I was very excited for this book. I wasn’t disappointed at all with this book, or the Commissioner Gordon back up (Francavilla). Detective Comics now follows the Batman of Gotham City, former Robin and Nightwing, Dick Grayson as he looks into the theft of supervillian items that are being used by a new big bad. The issue follows Dick and his new relationship with Gordon and is old school Batman detective style. This is the Batman that I favour the most, and Snyder and Jock nail down the tone with this comic. When you read a Batman book no matter if you are looking at Batman or Bruce Wayne, you always see Batman, but with this issue, you see Batman and you see Dick; the two coexisting as one. This is something I didn’t see during Morrison’s Batman and Robin, which was Dick in a batman suit. Snyder gets the Batman mythos, and he gets Dick Grayson. There were times when I was reading Batman’s dialogue to Gordon about various medical drugs, and he wrung them off like a season pro, and for a second I thought, this isn’t Dick, but then I realized that Dick has been around a long time, has been solo, has been a cop, he’s no amateur, he’s been tought by the world’s greatest detective, there is no way he wouldn’t know any of this stuff. What helps make Dick and Batman co-exist is Jock’s art; he draws a true to form Batman, and with Snyder’s writing it just works. Jock also has some stunning panels and he can really tell a story within the story; he’s pretty damned good. The back up, which I tend not to read, is also great and works on its own and within the main story itself, and add Francavilla’s ability to draw a realistic down trodden but never give up hope Commissioner Gordon, and this book is going somewhere special. This definitly goes to the top of my pile.
Amazing Spider-Man #649 – This is the second issue of new permanent Spider writer Dan Slott, and this was a better issue than last for the sole purpose of being ready to tell a story, a new Spider-Man story. The first issue was merely set up for this issue, which opens up with a bang, well a lot of bangs, and then throws in a surprise. I’m not going to give it away, but suffice to say it’s shocking. This issue is filled with a great Aunt May and Peter scene, which has a Ditko panel thrown in for good measure, that really demonstrates this book’s new direction, one that seem’s logical, but a direction that’s never really been travelled before. We finally get to see how Peter’s new job is going to create some great new, but classic styled, Spider stories. Let’s not forget the art though; Humberto Ramos has a very cartoonish style that really works for a Spider-Man book, which is evident in the action scenes of Spidey and the Black Cat mixing it up some two bit hoodlums. Ramos does a lot of little things in his panels that make them move or give them something to take in before you move to the next. While Peter is still Spider-Man, this book feels like something new when in reality it isn’t. I also love that this book comes out bi-weekly!
I chose these two issues because they both made classic books feels new without losing any of their classicness. Furthermore, these books pushed their respected characters forward without losing that classicness, and that is a rare thing to see with new creative teams on older properties. The fact that it happened twice this week, well you can see why I choose them as my best picks. If you do want a worst pick, I would give it to Captain America. It was a pretty humdrum story that I wasn’t too interested in, but that’s okay, these two picks certainly made up for it.
I’m most excited about Scott Snyder and Jock‘s Detective Comics #871; it stars Dick Grayson as the Batman of Gotham and sounds like it’s going to be a cross between CSI and a psychological thriller. I’ve read a lengthier preview and it got me really excited. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s my pick of the week for best comic.
Another book that I should mention is Invincible Iron Man #32. It’s the last part of the 8 part Resilient story line and the last issue before the series goes back to its original numbering with #500.
It was a DC week for me, as many of you know; there were lots of Batman in these books, including one, Batman: the Return, that I didn’t put in my list but got anyway because it lead into the first issue of Batman Inc, which proved to be a wise menouver. So let’s get into it shall we.
Batman Inc #1: Surprise, surprise, I know. But man, this book is a ton of fun! It’s equal parts serious, action packed, funny, sexy, silver age and post modern. It’s superbly writen and drawn, and as much as I inittaly thought that I wasn’t going to pick up this title, I am sure as hell glad I did. I even tried to convince myself not to make this my best pick of the week, but I couldn’t do it. I hope that the quality keeps up on this book, because this new status quo is going to be something that hasn’t been seen in a long time, and possibly at all.
Batman: The Return One Shot: This seems counter-intuitive to everything I just said, but i do have a reason, and it comes down to art. Every book i picked up this week was beautiful drawn, and this book was no exception, but i found it was terribly coloured. there were a lot of pages that were really dark, and they featured these great Batman and Robin type Iron Man suits, and a fight with this crazy looking baddy that i couldn’t really make out. And this was a shame, cause this book sets up Batman Inc really well and ultimately makes that book so much better. As Connor Kilpatrick in his review at iFanboy.com that this book does all the heavy lifting, and for that it is good, but the colouring brings this book down too many notches for me.
It’s Monday, so it’s time for my pull list! It’s another DC week for me; lots of Brightest Day stuff, including Brightest Bay. It’s nice to see The Flash back; Francis Manapul is one of my favorite artist right now. He makes his pages really move, and you know I love that in my comic art. This issue is also the last in the first arc by Johns and Manapul. The other Brightest Day title is Green Lantern#59. This title has been okay since the end of Blackest Night. I’m really waiting for Hal to get back to being a space cop, which I hope is soon. The last title I am picking up is the first issue of Batman Inc. I wasn’t initially going to get this book, as I noted earlier, but after Batman and Robin #16 and the final of the Return of Bruce Wayne, Batman’s new status quo seems to interesting to pass up.
So it’s been a day since the big reveal in Batman and Robin #16, a reveal that has massive changes in store not only for Batman and his related books, but for the DC Universe as well. I’m going to spoil the end of Batman and Robin #16, so please if you don’t want to know what happened, please don’t read this post. I’d like to add that one website spoiled the end of this issue for me by putting the spoiler in the title of the article; you couldn’t miss it. I was not impressed and sent them a tweet about it, but have failed to receive anything in response. Anyway, you have been warned.
The issue ends with the return of Bruce Wayne to Gotham City, and in a public news conference announces to his city, and what is sure to be the world, that he is responsible for supplying the Batman with, as Jack Nicholson’s Joker states, “all those wonderful toys!” Yes Bruce Wayne tells everyone know that he bank rolls Batman. It’s as close you can get to Batman outing himself. So what’s next for the Bat family? Well that would be Batman Inc; Batman world wide. That’s a Batman like hero in all the major parts of the world, but most of us knew this was going to happen, we just didn’t know that Bruce Wayne would be funding them publicly.
So what does this mean eaxctly? a hundred guys in Batman suits running around? I don’t think it’s quite that; it seems that Batman will fund or inspire similar styled heroes. Those men or women, who have suffered loss through the injustice of society and its criminals, and who take it upon themselves to right these wrongs by honing their bodies and minds to the best of their abilities. See the cover for Batman Inc. #2, where Bruce goes to Asia for some recruiting as a possible example of this. The recruits into Batman Inc will proabbly be exisiting heroes. I don’t believe that writer Grant Morrision will have Batman looking so everyday people to mold, but people who have already made the choice of being a hero. Another example of this is Knight and Squire, who can be considered the Batman and Robin of England.
While I said that there probably won’t be a hundred Batmen running around, but there will be more than one. Dick Grayson, who had taken over Bruce’s mantle while he was lost in time, will remain Batman and be the Batman of Gotham City, and Bruce’s son, Damian, will remain Robin. Part of me wonders if Bruce will have a Robin sidekick and if said sidekick will be former Robin, now current Red Robin, Tim Drake. When did Batman get so confusing?
But again, a lot of this we already knew. What I’m curious for is what going public with his involvement in the Batman is going to do to Bruce. New E-i-C Bob Harras Stated in an interview at CBR that Bruce’s decision will move him away from being thought of as Batman, and having Dick as Batman will solidify that. I really hope Morrison tackles this idea. Will everyone think that Bruce isn’t Batman after this? I can’t see how they would; at least one person will have to question, and what will happen if that person does it publicly? I will probably have to pick up Batman Inc. just to find out, which I wasn’t going to do. There are other interesting notions here too. Can Bruce be charged with aiding a vigilante, and in the case, multiple vigilantes? What happens to his personal life now? Will Batman’s Rouges go after Bruce to get to Batman? How much has Wayne Enterprises gone up now that he is tied to the public?
As much as I dislike this idea of Bruce being paritally public with his Batman persona, there will be some interesting stories and possible new mythologies that will come out because of this. What’s also interesting about this is that the Big Two of the DC Universe, Superman and Batman, have had role reversals. Batman is watching crime globally while Superman is walking around America. The next few Batman stories are going to be different, and I wonder how long they will last, and what else Grant Morrison has up his sleve for the Dark Knight.