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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.
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.
I’m going to be talking a lot about comic books, and while I have said I am going to focus my blogging to this topic, this topic is still a pretty broad one. A good portion of the comics I read are of the superhero persuasion. I am though working on building a pull list/library of non-superhero titles, but I find this to be a slow process as my Local Comic Book Shop (LCS) primarily stock superhero comics, and of the non-superhero titles that do come, only a few are available. What I am trying to say is that most of the discussion I will have on this site will be about superheroes, and these will be heroes from Marvel and DC. But please note, I am reading comic books from companies that are not the big 2 and that are not about superheroes, and I will talk about any comic book related material, and if you have a recommendation, please give it here.
I guess then I should tell my blog readers (those of you who are going to read now, and for those who will back track my posts at a later date, that is if I keep this blog up and running) what books I am reading.
I’m mostly reading ongoings: Uncanny X-Men, Secret Avengers, SHIELD, Thor, Thor: The Mighty Avenger, Invincible Iron Man, Fantastic Four, Captain America, The Flash, Green Lantern, Batman and Robin, The Walking Dead (in trade paperback), Skull Kickers and American Vampire. As you can see, that’s a lot of Marvel; it’s what I started on, so it only makes sense I keep reading them. There are also a number of mini and maxi series that find their way in and out of my pull list: Avengers Prime, Astonishing X-Men: Exogenesis, Astonishing Wolverine and Spider-Man, Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne, Nemesis, Young Avengers: Children’s Crusade and Brightest Day.
So I guess I read about 20 books right now, though I am looking to drop some of these soon. I’m struggling to get through Uncanny X-Men, Batman and Robin and Thor: The Mighty Avenger. The last one is a shock to me; this is a critically acclaimed series with amazing art. Chris Samnee is a great artist and story teller, but I can’t seem to get on board with Robert Lethridge’s writing. This book is old school superheroes, and for some reason, it doesn’t do it for me. Dropping Batman and Robin would mean for the first time in a long time I wouldn’t be reading a Batman book, and that’s somewhat disappointing.
But there are a few books I am looking to pick up, and one is a Batman title; Detective Comics with Dick Grayson as Batman. As I mentioned in my pull list for this week, Superboy starts up this week. I’m getting this solely because of Jeff Lemire, who’s Graphic Novel Essex County is fantastic. The only other book I am considering picking up right now is Amazing Spider-Man. It has been a long time since I picked up a regular Spidey book, and with all I’ve heard Dan Slott say, and all the Humberto Ramos preview art I have seen, this is easily the book I am anticipating the most.
So there’s what I am reading; like I said a lot of superheroes. Though please, if there is anything you would like to recommend, please, I’m all ears, and eyes I guess since we are talking comics. And as for posts go, this one is pretty boring, I know, but I think it is important none the less. Helps you get to know me. Next week I will have an actual discussing something comic related, I promise