Archive for the ‘Batman’Category

Quickies: Batgirl 9, Batman 9, Batman & Robin 9

Good evening Gotham! I didn’t get to write about my pull file last week, but the comics were so good I thought I’d just share a few quick thoughts and pictures from the three issues. The Night of the Owls is in full swing and the Bat-family spreads through Gotham city, protecting prominent citizens from the Talons’ attack. I’m not going to recap what happens in each issue, since you should be reading these comics already, but spoilers will definitely occur.

Batgirl 9, written by Gail Simone, art by Ardian Syaf and Vicente Cifuentes.

I especially liked the art in this issue. Check out the colour and the way the panels are designed on this page:

It was a good story, so I’m sorry, but I have to say it. Why do they have to team up Batgirl with the only female Talon? Boys and girls can’t mix and fight each other these days? Once I got past that, however, I was definitely drawn in to the story and enjoyed this issue of Batgirl.

Batman 9, written by Scott Snyder with art by Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion, and Rafael Albuquerque.

This book had one of those Batman-makes-you-want-to-cheer moments that we all know and love, and I just couldn’t resist sharing it.


Damn straight! As Batman says, he gets to “play rough” because the Talons are not only incredibly strong and unnaturally regenerative, but they’re also undead (so he doesn’t have to worry about killing them). As such a strong and brilliant warrior, Batman would have to be holding back when fighting against the average Gotham criminal, so I can only imagine that in a way it would feel great to let loose a little. I also wanted to mention that I’m into the backup story, both for the story and the artwork. It’s been interesting to read about Alfred’s father Jarvis and I look forward to the revelations that come with the conclusion of his story.

Batman and Robin 9, written by Peter Tomasi, art by Lee Garbett, Andy Clarke, Ray McCarthy and Keith Champagne.

As much as I’ve enjoyed the father/son focus of this book, it’s also exciting to see Damian get the focus of the issue and really lead the action. Damian’s mission is to protect an army general who’s overseeing night training, so Damian gets to display his skill at commanding several units of trained soldiers, which is pretty amazing for a ten year old. Also there’s this – what happens when the Talon says that tonight he finishes what he started:

I know real owls’ heads turn all the way around, but even for a Talon that’s gotta hurt – from Batman’s son, I would expect nothing less.

That’s it for me today. As always I’d love to hear what you think about the Court of Owls or anything else going on in the Bat-world right now, leave a comment or send me a tweet!

14

05 2012

Court of Owls (Batman 4 – 6)

Batman 4 – 6

Writer: Scott Snyder

Artists: Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion

Hello dear readers! Today we continue our look at what we’ve learned about the Court of Owls, moving on to Batman issues 4, 5 and 6. If you missed the first part of this discussion check it out here!

In Batman 4 we get a surprisingly deep look into the dark time in Bruce’s life shortly after his parents’ murder. He became convinced that Thomas and Martha Wayne were killed as part of a larger conspiracy, but despite searching obsessively then and at later times through his life, Bruce never found any evidence of the Court of Owls.

I know I’m supposed to be concentrating on information today, but the artwork here is just so beautiful. There’s a distinct change (as you can see in the picture above) when we enter Bruce’s memory: details get fuzzy, contrast is high. As Bruce finishes telling Dick this story about his past, we learn not only what he discovered but also how it shaped him as a detective.

Batman had been examining Alan Wayne’s bones, and found that Alan was probably stabbed to death in a manner very similar to the unidentified man at the beginning of issue 1. He heads into the sewers searching for the source of a residue he found on the bones, but while he’s there Talon finds him and traps Batman in the Court’s labyrinth!

We know all about the labyrinth from my closer look at Batman 5, but there are a few details I didn’t mention that definitely help us know our enemy, I want to look at two particular things here. The walls covered in photos tell us that the Court of Owls has been around for a very very long time, and have been using their labyrinth to drive people crazy for just as long.

Of course, it’s also possible that they just built the labyrinth recently, and it’s all a very elaborate trick to make it appear old. Then there’s the room full of coffins, which tells us that they’ve either been keeping their Talons after they die, or new Talons are being prepared to fight. Neither one of those options sounds good to me!

Finally, we have Batman 6, where our hero fights back against the maddening effects of the labyrinth. Here’s where we really get the goods. First Batman and Talon fight, and it turns out Talon’s quite the talkative little guy.

Now that’s a lot of information! Who else has been forever entombed in the labyrinth? Will we ever find out? I love Batman’s answer when he’s offered last words. They fight, and when Talon thinks he has the upper hand, he asks the Court what he should do with Batman. We finally get a good look at the Court of Owls in action, and it is chilling.

They’re like ghouls! Or owls, I guess; I may never trust owls again (put them on the list with cats!).  I love how the top and bottom panels spill out over the edges of the frames, it really emphasizes that the Court is outside of the labyrinth they’ve put Batman into and brings out that overpowered feeling. This is probably my favourite page in the book – what is up with that child? She is extremely creepy, I like it.

Batman, of course, is not defeated, although he ends up in quite a tight spot and I’m a bit worried about him. The last page I wanted to share is the second-last page of the issue, and although we don’t get any specific information about the Court, I think it shows something very important.

The person (I hesitate to call her a “lady”) in the wheelchair seems to be in charge. Someone else, possibly the younger woman, is sentimental and wants to give Talon a chance to heal, but he’s “disposed of” in the river that Batman just escaped to, and that’s that. Besides, there are other Talons ready and waiting…

I hope that this look at the Court of Owls and what we’ve learned about them in Batman so far has been helpful, I know it was for me! Now I feel ready to take on the whole Court myself, as long as I’ve got Batman and his family on my side. In the next couple weeks we have wrap-up issues of Detective Comics, Batman and Robin, and other titles, as those story arcs conclude, and then on March 21st Batman 7 comes out. That issue will bring the Court’s first full assault on Gotham city, and apparently many secrets will be revealed – I can’t wait!

03

03 2012

The Court of Owls (Batman 1 – 3)

Batman 1 – 3

Writer: Scott Snyder

Artists: Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion

Since issue 1 of the DCnU, Batman has been focused on the Court of Owls, a mysterious group of Gotham’s elite whose motives, while unclear, are sinister. So far they’ve limited themselves to Batman himself, but in coming weeks the Court will attack Gotham City and spread to other comic titles including Batman & Robin, Detective Comics, and Batgirl.

I’m sure Batman is preparing for the Court of Owls’ attack by learning everything he can about his enemy, and we should do the same thing. Here’s what we’ve learned about the Court of Owls in Batman 1 – 3; issues 4 – 6 will be coming soon, but you can also read my overall thoughts on the excellent Batman 5 here.

Batman 1 gives us the first clue that the Court of Owls exists, when an unidentifiable man is found stabbed to death. The knives found inside the man are decorated with small owls.

As you can see, Batman’s not interested in the Court of Owls, he doesn’t want to even consider them. This issue also sets up the general theme of this book being about Gotham City itself, and Batman’s place in it.

With Batman 2, we learn much more about the Court of Owls. Three hired goons steal ten statues of some sort from the Hellenistic wing (of Gotham City Museum, I assume), tying the Court to Ancient Greece (and not for the last time). Later, Batman and Jim Gordon CSI the stabbing victim, finding an implant in his tooth that also has the Owl emblem on it.

That nursery rhyme will be repeated many times over the coming issues of Batman, it’s so ominous! We don’t learn much more about the Court in this issue, but the next day when Bruce is meeting with Lincoln March (who’s campaigning to be Mayor) they’re attacked by Talon, the Court’s assassin. Our first view of this new foe is intimidating, he’s as big as Batman and has a wide array of knives and other weapons.

At the end of issue 2, Bruce still denies that the Court of Owls exists, but he won’t be able to maintain that for much longer. Batman 3 is where we really start delving into the historical aspect of things. The book starts with Alan Wayne, Bruce’s great- great-grandfather, the man who built Wayne Tower. In the later years of his life, he grew obsessed with owls and convinced that they were living inside the walls of his own home.

We learn more about the Court of Owls in the second half of this book, when Batman realizes that they’ve been developing ‘nests’ in the 13th floors of buildings funded by an Alan Wayne memorial trust. Here inside Wayne Tower itself he finds what may be their very first nest, with a photograph dating back to 1891.

From there Batman goes from nest to nest, I’m not sure if he’s just collecting information or if he’s destroying them as he goes. We can see their weaponry, different setups but all involving a fascinating array of swords, knives, axes, and other bladed weapons. Each nest has a different Talon uniform in it, and there are nearly twenty likely buildings.

So what have we learned? The Court has remained hidden, even from Batman, for at least the last hundred years, and possibly several times that. They’re well prepared for all sorts of aggressive and illegal activities, and are invested in maintaining control of Gotham City behind the scenes.

I’m especially curious about the Ancient Greek connection, though maybe they just liked the symbol because it represents wealth and power. In issues 4, 5, and 6, we’ll see what happens when things get a little more real for Batman — issue 3 ends with Batman triggering a tripwire that explodes the building, and as the story continues the Court of Owls really brings the fight to Batman in new and exciting ways.

 

 

19

02 2012

Dressing Dick Grayson

I’m rereading the new Batman comics and noticed a detail in the artwork that I thought was very smart, so I had to take a quick break and share it with you. The artists are Greg Capullo for pencils, Jonathan Glapion as inker and Fco Plascencia doing the colours; Scott Snyder is the writer.

Here’s Dick Grayson in issue 1, all dressed up and ready to go to a fancy fundraiser:

Now here he is as Nightwing, in Batman 2:

His tuxedo matches his costume! Now that is smart Bat branding.

18

02 2012

Batman 5

Batman 5  (March 2012)

Writer: Scott Snyder

Artists: Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion

Good afternoon! It’s a freezing cold but beautiful day here in Gotham City, and I’m taking a break from my whirlwind of household chores (joy) to share some love for Batman 5. There will be spoilers, so please go read the comic before reading the rest of this – it’s definitely worth it. I’m not even sure that I can explain how much I love this comic, but I’ll try. The story structure and art design work together to really make the most of the comicbook form, it’s art that couldn’t be done with any other medium.

A mysterious group called the Court of Owls is messing with Batman; now that I think about it, I’m not actually clear on what their ultimate objective is but they’re definitely up to no good. Maybe they want to control Gotham, and stop Batman from cleaning up the city and protecting the citizens? What do you think?

The issue opens with Gordon shining the Bat signal, not because he thinks Batman will show up (he hasn’t made an appearance in days) but because the signal has meaning for Gotham’s criminals and other vigilantes as well. Here’s how Gordon explains that to Bullock:

I love Damian, such a little bad-ass

We then move to Batman himself, trapped in the Court of Owls’ labyrinth. As he gets more and more lost he also begins to lose his mind! As Yanick Paquette commented on Twitter, the art traps Batman just as effectively as the storyline, he’s caught in all these tiny boxes and can’t get out. I also love the choice to have Batman’s right mask lens broken, exposing his eye, this definitely adds to the crazy look. I mean, more than being dressed up as a giant bat already did. The fact that some of the boxes connect with each other adds to the labyrinth nature of the art

The other thing that I really loved about this issue is a bit hard to show here. As Batman gets more and more turned around and mixed up in the maze, the comic itself turns around on itself. We start reading with the standard orientation, left to right, top to bottom, but then we turn the page and the entire book is sideways, requiring the reader to actually turn the comic to read what’s going on. A few pages later and we’re flipped again, upside-down just as Batman’s entire world is turned topsy-turvy by the people he meets in the labyrinth.

This page was upside-down in the comic book

Any time Batman laughs like that we know something’s gone wrong. The art isn’t the only thing that mirrors and emphasizes the labyrinth theme, Snyder’s writing does as well. Phrases like “Get back in the dark, where it’s safe”, “I know all the tricks” and “I’m not listening” come back over and over as Batman moves through the labyrinth but finds himself always returning to the same room (unless there are many rooms all made to look the same? Either is possible!)

Are those all photos of people who were trapped in the labyrinth?

Look at his hands! I won’t give away how this issue ends, but Snyder has me on the edge of my seat waiting for Batman 6! With Batman delving deep into who Batman is and what is role is with Gotham city, and such beautiful and innovative artwork, this is one comicbook that does not disappoint.

21

01 2012

Love It or Livid – Justice League 3, Teen Titans 3, Batman 3

Good evening Gotham! It’s an in-between week for comics, so there are no new Batman books to talk about today. That gives me a chance to share some favourite (love it) and not-so-favourite (livid)  moments from recent issues. Here we go!

Justice League 3, by Geoff Johns, Jim Lee and Scott Williams, gave us this page scoring points for love it. I enjoy stories about people from other places coming to our world, and seeing Wonder Woman getting to know the better parts of America is so much fun. Somehow I always knew she’d go for ice cream.

I love Wonder Woman’s kick-ass attitude! There’s a great Batman moment a bit later on in the issue, as the Justice League fights demons that are attacking the planet.

Vampire Batman, telling Green Lantern how to use his ring? How could I not love it?

Next up is Teen Titans 3, by Scott Lobdell, Brett Booth and Norm Rapmund. @VenPixel pointed out a livid moment in the issue, when Kid Flash cracks a four-digit code to unlock a door. I’m not an expert, but I don’t think the switches on the control panel could keep up with his Flash-enhanced typing skills (see ‘switch debouncing‘)!

Silly speedster, keypads are for humans. Another thing in Teen Titans that makes me livid is this scene, in which Red Robin is disguised as an old man ‘riding the rails’ to accompany Skitter across the country. When he reveals his superhero identity to Bunker, there’s a moment when Tim’s face is entirely bare – anyone as paranoid as Tim wouldn’t allow that.

Why isn’t he wearing the domino mask under the old man face? Wow, that was a weird sentence. I liked the comic overall, but I feel like they’ve been too lax with Tim going around unmasked. If we accept the idea that a tiny little mask protects his identity, we have to also assume he’ll be extremely diligent about wearing it.

Last for tonight we have Batman 3, by Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo and Jonathan Glapion. I haven’t really been talking in detail about storylines, but I definitely love the current story in Batman. ‘The Court of Owls’, a group of men who have been “ruling Gotham from the shadows since colonial times” attempted to kill Bruce Wayne. Bruce turns to Alfred for help, and Alfred shares this story about Bruce’s great, great grandfather Alan Wayne, and his terrible fear of owls.

I love the idea that Alfred’s father was butler to the Wayne family before him! And how he tries to drug Bruce with “medicinal” tea, now that’s a butler! The art is also beautiful, on this page I especially like the top panel (we’re inside the Batman cowl, watching Bruce and Alfred) and the use of colour.

That’s it for me! It’s been fun taking a love it or livid look at comics – I might do it again! Let me know what you think of these or any other Batman comics in the comments, and have a great night.

 

30

11 2011

Arkham Asylum Breakouts

One of the great things about a relaunch is that we can start tracking all sorts of fun things, because we have a distinct starting point. So in the spirit of good fun and classic Batman action, I’m going to try to keep track of all the Arkham Asylum breakouts. It seems to happen every other week, but that can’t be right, can it? They must learn how to keep the bad guys secure eventually… So far in the first month of the DCnU we’ve seen two breakout situations at Arkham Asylum.

Batman 1, written by Scott Snyder and with art by Greg Capullo and Jonathan Glapion, opens with Batman facing off against some familiar faces in the hallway of Arkham:

After the fight he meets up with Gordon on the roof of the GCPD, it turns out this wasn’t actually a breakout. I’m still going to count it for these purposes, all the inmates were set free and chaos ensued, so it’s close enough.

Then we have this week’s Dark Knight 1, by Paul Jenkins, David Finch, and Richard Friend. This breakout is of the more explosive and bloody type, here’s how it starts:

Batman shows up in his classic dramatic way, and takes charge to save as many guards as possible.

I wonder if we’ll find out how he knew to go for Two-Face? This makes two breakouts so far, and hopefully it’ll keep happening and keep us all well entertained in the future!

Arkham Asylum Breakout Score: Batman 1; Dark Knight 1.

 

03

10 2011

Batman 713, Justice League of America 60

Batman 713

Writers & Artists: Fabian Nicieza, Steve Scott, Daniel Sampere, Andrei Bressan, Walden Wong, Rich Perrota, Rodney Ramos

This is the wrap-up issue leading into the DCnU reboot, and it’s written as a retelling of the Batman story. It opens with “This is the story of a boy who lost his parents, but through that loss gained a noble purpose in life. He grew up obsessed with fighting crime — with the idea of never letting any other innocents suffer as he had.” Our narrator describes Bruce first taking on the cowl, then working with Robin, and as the story progresses the artistic style changes to match the era depicted. Here’s a panel I really enjoyed, I haven’t seen Batman looking that cheerful in years.

As the tale continues we realize that the narrator isn’t Batman himself, and I started to wonder if it was Joker. He refers to the first Robin as “an incredibly annoying child”, after all. But, the level of detail and care for the characters showed it couldn’t possibly be Joker telling this story. Who else, then, would give only one brief mention of all of Jason Todd, as though the only important parts of his involvement with the Mission were when he showed up and then when he died?

And at the same time, criticize Tim’s Robin as a “mistake”? I was so upset by that! But once you read it and figure out who the narrator is, it makes sense. As a wrap-up story I did like this issue, especially the way it’s drawn and the suggestion at the end that the Bat-cave needs a Bat-pole – it really really does.

Justice League of America 60

Writers & Artists: James Robinson, Daniel Sampere, Wayne Faucher

This issue also tied up loose ends – specifically, the entire Justice League. Over the course of the story as they remember old battles and think about their own futures, everyone on the JLA decides to quit! It’s a pretty good way of opening up space for the new JLA, since at least nobody has to die.

They reminisce about a few huge fights, I had a hard time getting into that and understanding the impact of those battles on these heroes, possibly because of how it was written and possibly because those situations happened in books I haven’t read. There were also some great moments and beautiful art, like Supergirl killing an evil robot bare-handed:

I love that she wears super-shorts under her super-skirt! Helps protect the super-modesty. We also have a really interesting moment where Congorilla brings up Batman Inc and African superheroes in general (I stuck two pages together for ease of reading, it didnt look exactly like this in the book):

He makes a good point, I think — Africa is a big place and I’m not surprised that there are already superheroes working there. But why is that the only person who sees this is a Scottish man-turned-Gorilla? It reminded me of how white the JLA is, and the whole superhero world. One thing I really hope to see as the DCnU launches and then grows is more diversity, both in terms of creators working at DC comics and also in the characters portrayed. There was that great image showing other heroes posed like Wonder Woman (Batman’s awesome!), that’s such a prime example of how women are represented differently. I think the comic world in general, and DC within that, has a lot of room to grow and this relaunch is a great opportunity to bring in a wide range of characters. I hope they live up to the possibility.

20

08 2011

Batman 710 and more!

Today I want to try something new, and talk about a few different comics. There’s so many to choose from!

Batman 710 (Jul ’11)

Writer & Artists: Tony Daniel, Steve Scott, Ryan Winn

This could be a standard, boring “Two-Face loses his coin” story, but it’s saved by an interesting twist in terms of who stole the coin (don’t worry, I won’t give it away). Instead it’s tense and Two-Face is compelling, clearly over the edge and furious.  This issue is all about when past and present meet, and my favourite part is when Dick takes a moment – in the midst of a fight – to think back on his years of caped crusading:

Batman & Robin 23 (Jul ’11)

Writer & Artists: Judd Winick, Guillem March, Andrei Bresson

Bruce and Jason, reunited at last! I don’t understand why Jason suddenly has red hair, but I’m also not complaining. We start with Batman (Bruce) visiting Jason where he’s being held at Arkham Asylum, having been caught as Red Hood. Is my favourite part when Jason asks after Damian’s mom? (We all know both Bruce and Jason were romantically involved with Talia.) Or is it the tiny little  towels they seem to provide in prison showers? No, my favourite part is the three new guys who show up at the end. I don’t want to spoil it, so let’s enjoy Jason’s shower:

On a more serious note, I am interested to see how they reconcile Bruce and Jason’s close familial relationship with Jason’s apparent embrace of his homicidal tendencies.

Gates of Gotham 1 of 5 (Jul ’11)

Writer & Artists: Scott Snyder, Kyle Higgins, Trevor McCarthy

In Gotham’s history, three bridges are built dedicated to three men – Alan Wayne, and men identified only as Edward and Theodore. In Gotham’s present, those three bridges are destroyed. The second one leads back to Penguin, and you’ll never guess who the third one was! There’s a wonderful Batman & Gordon moment in the middle of the story. Sometimes I forget that the Commissioner isn’t in on the whole Secret, because he’s just so awesome.

Remember, you can click on images to see the bigger versions. Let me know what you think about these or any other Batman comics from this week!

31

05 2011

Batman 707

Writer: Tony Daniel

Artists: Tony Daniel, Ryan Winn

Date: April 2011

My Rating: Holy Classic Capers, Batman!

This month’s Batman was action-packed and felt very classic to me. Even though Batman and Robin themselves are different, Dick and Damian instead of Bruce and Dick, I was strongly reminded of old-school 60′s Batman — and yet it was also more realistic!

I love the cover of this issue, and although my plan had been to show covers in the Pull File posts, there’s no reason not to include one here! The colours are great, Batman is Badass, and I really like the text at the bottom. I’m also fascinated by the tears in his costume – you can see the mesh of the armor he wears under the grey cloth of the suit, and I think I remember other issues recently where tears in the shirt show flesh. Did he upgrade the batsuit?

So this bad guy The Sensei is searching for an evil mask (“The Beholder”) that gives amazing powers. Batman and Robin are on the job, as are The Peackock and her kid brother Luki Lo, who have spent their entire lives dedicated to finding and destroying The Beholder. Meanwhile, The Riddler and his daughter Enigma (someone write a story for me with Robin and Enigma, k?) are also messing with Batman and seem to be involved in a larger plot of their own.

There’s a great two-page spread, where Sensei has just donned the mask and got all powerful, and Batman attacks. I wanted to share it, but my scanner only fits one page at a time. So, this image isn’t awesome, but it’s better than nothing :)

Triumphant in the end, Batman sees Peacock (Miss Lo) and Luki off as they return home. Pretty sure the kiss here is a memory, rather than actually happening at the airport, but still – Dick gets around, eh? Awesome. I am going to make a point of watching for further Dick Grayson Kiss Moments (TM) and will be sure to keep everyone updated!

OK, that wraps it up for me. Leave a comment with your thoughts on Batman 707 or any other Batman comic, and have a great weekend!

19

02 2011