Happy Baturday, friends! We are getting a few new Bat titles coming this fall, and Carol Kane joined the cast of the Fox show Gotham. This week was ginormous, so let’s not waste any time. Here are the books featuring our favorite Caped Crusader from the first week of July!
Batman Eternal #13
Not losing a single ounce of momentum from last issue, the creative team of James Tynion IV and Mikel Janin (with story assists from Scott Snyder, Ray Fawkes, and Tim Seeley) continues to take the world of Batman up a notch. The cover says it all, really: James Gordon Jr. gives his dad a “way out,” so to speak, explaining that they are more alike than dear old dad would like to admit. And, you know, that he’s powerful and can make things happen. Like an escape from prison, if the former Commissioner chooses to accept help from his sociopath son. Meanwhile, Vicki Vale is all sorts of Lois Lane, hunting down important secret stories, and Stephanie Brown is trying her best to “spoil” her villainous father’s plans, only leading to her friend being murdered. Then we see Jason Bard and Batman’s uneasy alliance becoming one that rivals the golden years of Dent/Gordon/Bats, arresting criminals, getting them off the streets, and, with the assist from a nosy Ms. Vale, ensuring that they stay behind bars this time. Red Robin and Harper Row exchange some witty banter, and we end with a defeated Steph and an angry Carmine Falcone. And by end, I mean are left hanging for another week. This is how you do a weekly. Good work, everyone. Keep it up!
My Rating: 5/5
Batman ’66 Meets the Green Hornet #2
Shenanigans. That’s my one word review of this comic so far. Writers Kevin Smith and Ralph Garman are teamed with artist Ty Templeton and cover painter extraordinaire Alex Ross yet again for another zany adventure teaming the Dynamic Duo with the secretly-not-bad-guys-at-all Green Hornet and Kato. They narrowly escape a trap set by General Gumm, only to be at one another’s throats. Batman and Robin are easily defeated by the Green Hornet (I call bullshit), and then we get a glimpse of Gum’s quite literal partner in crime, the Joker! Then we see Bruce and Dick awakening from their forced slumber, only to do some detective work (whilst Britt and Kato are doing the same), leading both pairs of heroes to the secret base of the clown and the general. But before they can decide who exactly to fight, their junior partners are placed in peril! This is all sorts of 60s fun and if you love the old shows, you’ll love this. And if not, you’ll probably at least get a laugh out of the antics. I can’t wait for the next issue! I wonder if we’ll get any more surprise guest starts? I sure hope so!
My Rating: 5/5
This continues to be one of the strongest titles that no one is reading, and it really saddens me to think that it might not come back after the Futures End storyline ends. Writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray and artist Eduardo Pansica tell a new tale of Luke Fox’s view of Gotham City, and it’s just as dark and gritty (not to mention terrifying) as that of his mentor. We get a new character this issue, the aptly named Gruesome George. He’s a brutal psychopath who escaped both Blackgate Prison (after going toe-to-toe with the monstrous and deadly Killer Croc) and just recently, Arkham Asylum. He’s now on the streets, causing some trouble and frightening the whole City. And that’s where we enter Batwing, who is simultaneously tracking the villain and arguing with his parents about his sister’s upcoming birthday party. When we finally see George, he’s wearing a makeshift Batman costume, proposing that he and the whole Bat family team up and beat up bad guys, talking about the “children” that let him live in his new hideout. Batwing loses it and pummels him into submission, leaving him for the cops. But the story doesn’t end there. We get a cliffhanger where the cops are ripped apart by the “children,” who turn out to be George’s mutated friends, who want nothing but the release of their new crazy buddy. Whoo boy… Buy this title!
My Rating: 5/5
Superman Unchained #7
This is by far the best issue of this series so far. The characterization is wonderful, the dialogue is fresh, and the artwork is unrivaled in not only DC Comics, but ALL current books on the stands. Scott Snyder and Jim Lee really are the dream team. Lois and Superman are teaming up against the forces of her father and his entire army, who want nothing but the complete and total surrender of Clark and everything within the fortress of Solitude, while we see W. R. A. I. T. H. fighting against Wonder Woman and Batman, but mostly Batman, inside the Batcave. Knowing he can’t defeat a literal Superman, Bruce uses all of his “toys” to fight the unstoppable baddie, throwing in a few jokes as he does so. The best line in the comic, after Bruce throws all of the various models of the Batmobiles at the trespasser: “Heh. Yeah, well… They’re insured.” Priceless. So when Lois harnesses the ancient Kryptonian crystals and quite literally stops her father from killing her ex-boyfriend (only after Superman dons an awesome set of Kryptonian armor and still manages to get his butt kicked), Wonder Woman shows up and smacks W. R. A. I. T. H. with a giant penny. He retaliates by hitting her with a giant Tyrannosaurus Rex. But it’s too late, because Batman has just alerted Superman. And when he arrives and instructs the series villain to “step outside…” He. Looks. Pissed! Can’t wait to see how this all ends!
My Rating: 5/5
A comic that just reeks (in a good way) of the return of the multiverse, this issue shows that series writer Greg Pak really knows what he’s doing. And, more importantly, that he gets both of the title characters, never once focusing too much on Batman or Superman. It’s easy to focus on a favorite and let the other one suffer, but he has yet to do that with his run. Which is nice because he’s doing so well with the other Superman titles that it would be super easy to just make this a Batman book that happened to have Clark in it. We get a nice bridging of gaps, featuring events from Worlds Finest, Earth 2, and, well, Batman/Superman issues past. Artists Tom Raney and Ken Lashley give us a fun romp through space and time and reality thanks to the Chaos Bringer, Kaiyo. She gives our Earth’s versions of the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel several chances to save their respective counter-parts worlds, but they illustrate heroic restraint and let things happen the way that they were meant to. We see heroic deaths, discouraging ends, and even some great cameos from Wonder Woman, Lois Lane, Ma and Pa Kent, Alfred, and, of course, Supergirl (Power Girl) and Robin (Huntress) of Earth 2. Upset by the outcome, Kaiyo yet again wipes the minds of our heroes. But who knows just what (and more importantly, when) they will remember. All in all, a good closing issue, paving way for a “clean slate.” And check out that beautiful Jae Lee cover! Good stuff.
My Rating: 4.5/5
The New 52: Futures End #9
A slight step up from last issue, we are shown quite a bit this issue. Series writing team Brian Azzarello, Jeff Lemire, Keith Giffen, and issue artist Patrick Zircher deliver a significantly more cohesive story this go-around, but there are still plenty of lingering (and even some nagging) questions. Lois is snooping. Grifter is inducted into Deathstroke’s Cadmus Island team, who is currently housing a prison of all of the Earth 2 heroes, guarded by O. M. A. C.s. The mysterious “Superman” saves some folks from a would-be breakout in Metropolis. And Mr. Terrific ponders aloud with Brother Eye. We finally get to see Batman Beyond (still arguing with A. L. F. R. E. D.), but the one page he’s on isn’t quite enough to satisfy this Bat fan. Stormwatch is dead, but Hawkman lives and joins the rest of the S. H. A. D. E. team, consisting of Amethyst, Frankenstein, the Atom, and, without their knowledge, the all-seeing Father Time. Apparently everything depends on the success of their top secret mission. So there it is. Lots of questions asked. Not a lot answered. And plenty of acronyms to shake your head at. But the artwork made it almost worth the purchase. I remain hopeful that things will pick up now that we at least have somewhat of a direction. Hesitant, but hopeful. Don’t let me down, guys.
My Rating: 3/5
Justice League 3000 #8
The cover says it all, unfortunately. The “twist” ending is led up to so slowly, so painfully, that it comes as absolutely no shock whatsoever when the final pages reveal that “Teri” is resurrected as the new Flash. The Justice League continues their path to be the heroes they used to be and the bad guys could not be more clueless as to their new plans to save the world from itself. There is no real characterization in this issue, showing that Keith Giffen and J. M. DeMatteis are just phoning this one in. The artwork of Howard Porter is rushed and comes off a little bit lazy, showing lumpy facial expressions along the way and a lack of energy in the action sequences, which are few and far between. All in all, this was nothing more than a transition issue, which is fair because the last issue was a game-changer. I hope that the next part of this story leads us back in the direction that issue seven put us on. Because other than the 22 pages of that comic, this series has been one of, if not THE biggest disappointment in the third (or was it fourth?) wave of the New 52. Step it up, guys. Or you’re going to lose me.
My Rating: 3/5
Earth 2 #25
The “new” Superman is going to be a hero that will save the world of Earth 2, whether you’re on board or not. Maybe he’ll die in the process, but I highly doubt it. We hear about his origin this issue, which basically says that Val-Zod was the adopted son of Lara and Jor-El, and he was sent to Earth (2) when Krypton blew up. He, Superman, Supergirl (who becomes Power Girl when transported to Earth 1), and… another. Batman (who is essentially a really cool dark version of Hourman) rallies the troops after Flash kills Beguiler (maybe) after a surprise helpful ambush by Atlantis. Green Lantern decides to take on Superman (after Clark murders his own father at the most uncomfortable and disturbing family dinner I’ve ever read in a comic book), Dr. Fate gives Val his helmet to “see the light,” which he does, leaving to save Green Lantern from his namesake, Jimmy Olsen plans on telling Batman that he gave a bad ass speech to inspire the would-be hero, and the two Mr. Terrifics, Mr. Miracle, and Bedlam ready Earth 2 for the arrival of Darkseid. The next issue is called “Death of a Kryptonian,” so I’m assuming only one of the Supermen is going to walk away. And as far as I’m concerned, writer Tom Taylor and artist Nicola Scott can kill, introduce, or ruin any character they choose and I’ll still be a faithful reader. This is one of my favorite monthly reads. It always keeps me on my toes and it is not afraid to embrace brave storytelling. Read this book!
My Rating: 5/5
Well, there you have it. Thoughts? Share ’em in the comments section! See you next week!