Another great week to be a Bat fan. There was some fun news from DC Entertainment in terms of what they are sending our way this October (and November) in creative team changes and new titles and directions announced. But there was also some great new books on the shelves. A significantly smaller week than I’m used to for Baturday, but still a great one. And my wallet enjoyed the nice break. So here they are, the reviews of all things Batman this week. (Spoilers. Duh.)
Writer Marc Andreyko and artist Jeremy Haun are joined by a second artist, Scott Kolins, for the next thrilling installment of their first major arc on this title. And if the Rafael Albuquerque cover didn’t give you a hint about the current state of the Batwoman universe, it’s about vampires. Neat! The opening sequence features a nightmare in which Kate attacks Maggie and her daughter while under the spell of Nocturna. To say that this scene is both believable and terrifying is an understatement. We then flash to Nocturna wooing some of Gotham’s eligible bachelors and Kate continuing to do the very not-Batman thing by talking about her problems with a psychiatrist. Andreyko has successfully captured what it means to be inside Kate Kane’s head with her inner monologues and commentary in a writing style that rivals that of Greg Rucka. Rucka is my favorite writer of all time, so this is the highest form of compliment available in the comic world. So when Nocturna gets a ring on her finger, further escalating her plans, Kate makes a phone call to Metropolis, a botched assassination attempt leads to a four-way fight between Batwoman, the would-be killer, the persistent Night-Thief, and Nocturna herself. Should be fun. Can’t wait to see how this one turns out. Keep up the good work, guys!
My Rating: 5/5
Batman Eternal #15
The series that just keeps on delivering and upping the ante continues to blow my mind each and every week. Writer Ray Fawkes and artist Dustin Nguyen (with an assist from co-plotting team Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, and Tim Seeley) focus on building the Batman world and tearing it down again. Jim Corrigan and Batwing further their investigation into Arkham Asylum and are slowly becoming a great lesser-tier Dynamic Duo. Red Robin and Harper Row do some bickering, Jason Bard and Batman come to an understanding of sorts, Batgirl and Red Hood are still hesitant about their forced partnership (especially now that Batwoman has shown up), and the Scarecrow and the Joker’s Daughter are absolutely terrifying… as per usual. The greatest strength of this issue, though, is it’s tying together of several loose plot threads. A huge majority of the issue focuses on Batwing and Corrigan’s “adventure” in Gotham’s favorite mad house, which is a stroke of brilliance. It’s scary and the fact that Batwing is outnumbered, trapped, and surrounded by “daddy’s little girl” and the Spectre refuses to show himself to Mister Bygone. I’m not sure if he’s a new character or just an extremely obscure one, but I find myself having difficulty containing my excitement either way. This book rocks. It’s how weekly comics are supposed to be.
My Rating: 5/5
Harley Quinn Invades Comic-Con International San Diego #1
Shenanigans. Look at that cover! I’ll just run down the creative team real quick for you, just in case you are still skeptical. Regular series writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner are joined by artists Paul Pope, Javier Garron, Damion Scott, Robert Campanella, John Timms, Marco Failla, Dave Johnson, and Stephanie Roux. Still not enough to sell you on the 4.99 comic book extravaganza? It’s a one-and-done, a one-shot, a single issue story. STILL not on board? Well, it’s hilarious, as the regular series usually is, and there’s a special note at the end from DC saying that it’s a preview of creative teams to come. So basically this is a bombastic free-for-all Harley fest for the ages. It’s inappropriate. It’s chaotic. And above all else, just like the main series, it’s fun. I mean, where else can you read about Harley Quinn going to Comic-Con and making out (and possibly more) with a bunch of Joker cosplayers? Nowhere. Buy this comic. It’s great.
My Rating: 5/5
Robin Rises: Omega #1
Of all of the comics for Diamond NOT to ship to my local comic shop this week, it’s this one. Really? SERIOUSLY!? Ugh. Anywho, we’ve got a full review from one of our newer staff writers up for your reading enjoyment. You can check that out here. In the mean time, just know that I”m super excited to read this when I get my very own copy with next week’s shipment. Peter J. Tomasi is one of the definitive Batman writers and really gave a lot of depth to both the Batverse and Damian in particular. And who doesn’t love some Andy Kubert artwork? Terrorists. That’s who.
My Rating: TBD/5
Red Hood and the Outlaws #33
Will Pfeifer is gone off the title (for reasons you will find out in about one paragraph or so) and artist R. B. Silva is joined by original Red Hood and the Outlaws scribe Scott Lobdell, who proves with this new issue that he is back where he belongs. A Starfire-centric issue shows Jason, Roy, and Kori in space doing what they do best: kick some ass and cause some problems. But the first half of the book is entirely focused on Starfire, which is not only a rarity these days, but a very welcome surprise. We get to see just a little bit more in terms of her past and what makes her tick, as well as her current situation and why she is always (usually, most of the time) angry and stuff. But we also get a chance to see her softer side, which is also good to see every now and then. Especially since the line-wide reboot that DC did 35 months ago. Roy gets violent. Jason gets into some trouble. And Man-Bat shows up at the worst possible time imaginable. So when shit really hits the fan, the team is divided and no one is exactly in a good position. High-octane action is most assuredly coming our way. And I can’t wait to see how this all plays out. This is by far one of the most unique Batman books on the stands. Possibly even one of the strangest superhero books available today. And it’s great.
My Rating: 5/5
Teen Titans #1
Something strange happened this week: Teen Titans was relaunched (though why it wasn’t called New Teen Titans sort of confuses me, but whatever) and it was… awesome. And though I loved the previous run’s writer (who doesn’t love Scott Lobdell?), it never really seemed like a team book before. It was basically just Red Robin and a bunch of caricatures. But now new series writer Will Pfeifer and new series artist Kenneth Rocafort have seemed to grasp the concept of something bigger than Tim Drake. An actual team that works together, fights together, and causes trouble together. Bunker and Beast Boy’s bromance continues, Wonder Girl is a little less angry (not much, but slightly), Raven is just as mysterious and intriguing as she was pre-Flashpoint, and, of course, Red Robin is still awesome. The New York City kidnapping by terrorists setting is a great first issue tale to tell, giving us a glimpse of things to come and a new team dynamic that was slightly absent in the previous volume. Rocafort’s artwork is dynamic and different, and Pfeifer brings both the funny and the action as our team works together to save the day (which they do. Yay team!). But we are also shown the villainous leader of said bad guys escaping and some caught-on-film rage of Bunker that has Beast Boy questioning the public’s opinion of the Teen Titans. This is a great premiere issue that not only acknowledges the previous series, but builds on it, without alienating potential new readers. Grab your copy if you are interested in any of these characters, this creative team, or just need a fun new title to read. You won’t be disappointed!
My Rating: 5/5
That’s right. All fives. Out of five. This was a fantastic “sleeper” week for me as a reader and fans of Batman and his pals. But enough about my thoughts. What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. And I’ll be seeing you next weekend for another thrilling installment of Baturday!