BatWatcher Says Goodbye

Thank you for all those that wished Mary Jane and I well on our wedding and honeymoon. Everything went great at the wedding, and on our honeymoon, we had a fantastic time staying in Pigeon Forge, Tenessee, a lovely tourist trap town skirting the edge of the Smoky Mountains. I apologize that I was not able to update BatWatch, but preparing for the wedding and enjoying bliss took up more time than I expected.

Sadly, I must announce that I'm ending BatWatch...at least for now. I'll explain the reasons for my departure and share some final thoughts on the current Bat books below, and you can read that if you are so inclined, but first, there are a few things I would like everybody to read. Before you go, please at least read this section.

I've known for awhile that I had to make a decision on what to do about BatWatch. I considered making BatWatch a collaborative project, and I even asked some fellow Bat fan friends to help me out. Everybody said they were willing to lend a hand, but they didn't think they could promise much since they have their own lives and own projects. I understand that, and though it was tempting to try to do BatWatch with a bunch of people contributing a little, I decided  that if people were only able to offer a little time, it would still require too much from me to coordinate contributors, edit posts and fill in the gaps. I could have let people just post when they felt like it and have an even more inconsistent posting schedule, but I decided I'd rather let the site end than do something halfhearted.

That being said, I'm not necessarily saying goodbye to BatWatch forever. Perhaps in a year or two if I find more time on my hands, I might return to BatWatch, but for the moment, it needs to take a break. Alternatively if anybody is out there who wants to start a Batman blog, I'd be willing to discuss letting you use BatWatch. If you are interested, send me an e-mail at BatWatch85@yahoo.com.

If you want to stay in contact with me, I'd suggest Looking Me Up on Comic Vine. I used to be pretty active there before BatWatch ended up stealing all my time, so I might become active there once more. You can also follow my BatWatch Account on Twitter, so that if I restart BatWatch, you can know immediately.  If I get any other social media accounts, like a personal Twitter, or start any other blogs, I'll be sure to mention it on @BatWatcher and my Comic Vine account. I could link you to my Facebook account, but I never use it, so what's that point?

I don't want to leave you hanging on your Batman updates, so I'm going to recommend some other sites. Over the past year, I've become very familiar with all the other games in town, and across the entire internet, there are only really three other sites worth mentioning if you want to fill that batarang shaped hole in your heart.

The best site out of the there is probably Batman-News. They are not nearly as in depth in the news department as BatWatch, but they have a professional and easy to navigate site, and they do a killer job at following Batman movie news and reviewing comics. They are light years ahead of BatWatch in terms of popularity, so they are actually getting some inside industry scoops now. They are also quick on the draw frequently posting movie related news within a couple hours of when the stories break. Their comic reviewer is Andrew Asberry whose reviews are at least as good an mine when I was being extremely in depth with them. Though Batman-News is not nearly as broad as BatWatch in the scope of its coverage, they do what they do extremely well.

DarkKnightNews takes the second place position by doing what Batman-News does not and delivering a broad swath of Batman related info. It still does not deliver quite as much as BatWatch did, but DarkKnightNews does do a great job of collecting everything from the quirky pop culture stories to interviews with comic creators and everything in between. DarkKnightNews has several contributors working with them, so it is updated frequently throughout the day.

Finally, GothamSpoilers comes in at a solid third place. It's not a bad site, but it has neither the extremely high quality of Batman-News nor the broad net of DarkKnightNews. What it does have is a nice mix of news updates and reviews from a smart Batman fan. GothamSpoilers does do a better job of finding Bat comic previews than any other site, and it has a unique feature where the blogger "spoils" or summarizes comics in his reviews, so if you ever miss an issue but want to know what happened, this site will help you out like no other.

Before I ramble further about why I'm leaving BatWatch, let me just say thank you to everybody who took the time to spend part of your day with me. I'm honored that you enjoy hearing my thoughts on Batman.

Why the Departure?

Well, time and money play a big role, but there are some more specific reasons.

1. I have bigger fish to fry.

BatWatch was an experiment from the beginning. I decided a little over a year ago that I was going to write a blog and see if I could get a following. I knew I had some talent with writing, and I knew I enjoyed it, but I didn't know if I had enough talent or enough enjoyment to pursue it further. I figured I had spent enough time licking my wounds over my disastrous teaching career and the time had come for me to try something new. I thought about starting a blog on a bunch of different topics, but eventually, I settled on writing about Batman because I love Batman, and there are surprisingly few sites out there dedicated to following Bat Family news and reviewing Bat Family comics. I saw a niche, and I decide to fill that niche.

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In my own mind, I succeeded in proving myself a capable writer. BatWatch peaked at an average of about four hundred visitors a day back in May, and I was gaining more and more traffic, but then a lot of stuff changed. I ran into some major computer problems, my personal life demanded a lot of extra time as did my job, and I kind of burnt out of the non-stop Batman action. I stopped most of the extra articles on BatWatch, and I stopped promoting BatWatch across Twitter and other sites because I felt I needed to spend more time on other things. However, I have no doubt that if I had continued at that speed, I would have reached my original goal of averaging a thousand visitors a day based on the snowballing effect I was getting. As cool as that would have been, I probably would not be married at this point if I had continued at my original pace because writing BatWatch as intensely as I was doing for the first six months took about forty or fifty hours a week. I suspect I made the right decision prioritizing my personal life.

Though I discovered that I can indeed connect with people in my writing, it was even more important that I found how much I really love the process. I find myself crafting sentences and arguments for fun in my spare time. When I write something, I feel a real sense of pride about it. It takes a lot of work, but its a work that invokes my passion.

You might reasonably be thinking, "If you love writing and do well with it, then why stop this semi-successful blog?" Good question.

The first answers is money. I'm currently working as an audio/visual tech, and sadly, I'm not particularly gifted at it. I've done if for many years now, and though I hopefully do a good job with it, I am not great at it nor am I passionate about it. The work bores me and high level skills escape me. To keep it brief, I don't think this field holds a future for me. I know professional writing is not an easy field, but if I'm going to be spending twenty plus hours a week (or fifty when I was really pushing BatWatch) then I may as well be working towards something that could earn a paycheck. BatWatch could probably earn a few bucks if I pushed it hard for a couple years. If I was able to create a popular discussion board centered on Batman, I might even be able to make a living wage off of it, but that's a big gamble, and it would take many, many years before there was even a chance of that happening. I could, on the other hand, start looking for a writing job that actually exists tomorrow.

The second part of the writing issue is that I feel very burdened for my country. I feel the United States is in a very precarious position right now, and I want to make a difference. I'm not sure exactly how to make a difference, but I know I have some skills with writing, and if I can use those skills to guide the country in the right way, to help people see things in a fresh and clear way, then I want to use those skills even if it only makes a small difference.

One of the things that really opened my eyes to this need was a recent story from my hometown. Some woman stole a car from a guy, and when the guy caught up to her, he confronted her in the middle of a middle class neighborhood. He shot at her and thankfully missed, took out a knife, stabbed her a couple of times, sliced her guts open, knocked her down and continued to beat her as she lay bleeding out on the ground. A man who lived in the neighborhood called the cops, told them what was happening, and then said, "I've got a gun, and I'm going to stop this." The police operator responded that if he stepped outside with the weapon, he would be arrested, so the man stood by and watched as the woman was beat senseless in front of him for another ten minutes before the police arrived.

Clearly, the attacker's actions were abhorrent, but what struck me as equally disgusting is that a man who had the power to stop the brutalization of this woman was told that he would be punished for trying to intervene. He could have stopped the beating and the unknowable pain and horror that accompanied it, but he was told that his only option was to either rush an armed man or stand by and watch. It's sickening. Most people will agree with that old quote, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing," yet somehow we convince ourselves that it is righteous for a good man to see evil happening and allow it to continue? Good people should act, and yet we punish those among us courageous enough to be heroic. Even though this is clearly wrong, these sorts of stories happen constantly, and they go overlooked because few people talk about them.

I could talk about them, and I believe I could get people to listen.

I'm not sure what exactly I'm going to do with my writing, but I know there are important things I can do. Regardless of what exact route I choose, I need time to dedicate to learning even more about the problems the world faces and to refine my words not only to be interesting but to be convincing and educating without being contentious or condescending, and that takes practice...practice that I will not really get with BatWatch. As fun as Batman is, he's ultimately trivial when compared to real world issues.

2. Too much Batman makes Jack a dull boy.

Ironically, the more involved in comics I became, the more of a chore it was to keep up on them. I love comics, but one of the things I love most about them is the surprise. Following Batman comic news as much as I have the past year takes most of the suspense out of things. Rarely do things come out of the dark. Rather, a story's development is often limited to a couple of potential scenarios, and the only surprise is which of the scenarios plays out. Also, it's kind of like eating your favorite food all the time. I love myself some pizza, but if I ate it three times a day, I probably would be ready to vomit at the sight of it within a week. I don't feel like vomiting over Batman, but it has definitely started to wear on me. I've literally found myself thinking things like, "Oh, Batman's going to punch a bad guy in the face again? That's original!" Great comics are still great comics, and I have no angst towards the great ones, but all the mediocre comics begin to kind of meld together when you consume this much Batman.

Basically, Batman is meant to be an escape, and when you work with him every day, he becomes a job. Batman is a currency, I've over inflated it, and as consequence, the Bat has become weaker in my heart.

3. The DCNU sucks!

I'd be lying if I didn't admit that the DCNU itself plays a role in my desire to leave the world of modern Batman comics.. The new universe just frustrates me. We've lost a lot, and we've gained nothing we could not have gained without the reboot. Granted, the reboot helped DC's sales, but Marvel Now did the same thing without destroying anything that came prior. I'm a continuity hound. Every time I see a character in a comic, I look them up to find out who they are and how they tie into the universe around them. It's those convoluted past interactions and developments that add so much character to the universe, but most of that's gone now...and I just don't care as much. The elimination of my favorite character, Tim Drake, as a worthwhile entity is also an unpardonable sin, and unless and until they retcon his new origin and personality, I'm just kind of ticked.

Which Series Are Worth Reading?

Now that I'm no longer obligated to read all the ongoing series, I can finally address with complete honestly what I feel is worth reading. Before, I tried to be a little more objective and see if it was a good story for the market, but now, it's all about what I like. I'm looking to shed most of these titles because I'd rather spend my money on back issues where I can buy more that I like for less money. I make a low middle class income, and it cost me $81 a month for all these comics not counting taxes or annuals, so I'll be happy to cut my comic budget. We have a lovely Books-A-Million here, and I have no problem sitting in the store and reading these tales in trades a year from now. In about five years, I can pick up the good arcs for a fraction of the price.

Arkham War - The first issue of Arkham War seemed to promise an entertaining if fluffy story of villain vs. villain. The second issue took that premise and bored me to tears. I know I read it, but I'd be darned if I could tell you what happened. There were talons, I remember. I think I saw Scarecrow at some point. Bane was definitely there doing nothing interesting. Anyway, it's an easy drop for me.

Batgirl - This series has warmed up a little recently, but it still has some serious problems. Overall, I've found Simone's run a bit subpar. Since this month's issue should be the end of the Batgirl: Wanted arc, I think I'll pick this up one more month and then drop the series.

Batman - I know what I'm about to say is anathema to a lot of people, but I'm going to drop Snyder's Batman. I've enjoyed most of what has come previously in this series, but I just can't get into Zero Year. I don't like the younger version of Bruce, I don't like the eccentric take on Batman's origin, and I don't like the big action set pieces which seem to distract from the more important intimate moments with Bruce. Unquestionably, this arc is brilliant in parts, but overall, I'm just not feeling it. This very well might be Year One bias, but I think I'll wait for a trade on this one.

Batman '66 - Batman '66 has astounded me with the way it has taken the spirit of the original series and pushed it to new levels. I didn't think it would work at first, but it has grown on me. That being said, I think it is great for people who want a campy Batman adventure, and though I'm not opposed to it, I'm not so enthralled by it that I want to spend a dollar a week. So long, Sixty-Six!

Batman and... Tomasi has done some great things with Batman and..., hasn't he? He's also done a lot of mediocre things with it. Again, we have moments of brilliance for this series, but it's accompanied with some really rough patches. If I enjoyed the first issue of this Two-Face arc, I might stay on board, but I was disappointed in it, so I'm jumping ship.

Batman Beyond 2.0 - Terry McGinnis's adventures have been surprisingly quality tales. I barely got started on 2.0 before Mary Jane broke her leg and my money dried up, but I enjoyed what I saw, so I'd like to at least see this arc through to its conclusion.

Batman/Superman - This series has been a bit disappointing, but it's not been bad. If all I had to base it on was the first arc, then I'd probably let it go, but I really enjoyed the last issue with Brett Booth's pencils adding more detail that Jae Lee's beautiful vagueness. It's doesn't look like an extremely thoughtful arc, but it does look promisingly fun, so I think I'll finish the arc before making any long term decisions.

Batwing - I know this isn't an exceptional series in most ways, but I've enjoyed every issue I've read. It's probably a breath of fresh air just because I've read so much doom and gloom in most of the Bat Family books, but whatever the reason, I don't want to let go of this series. Perhaps I'm just rooting for the underdog since Batwing looks destined for cancellation, but I'm going to stay with Luke for the moment and hope that it keeps its fun beat while adding a little more substance to its pages.

Batwoman - Batwoman has been one of my favorites since the first time I read an issue, but the team that made it so memorable has thrown up their hands in defeat and moved on to greener pastures. From what I hear, Marc Andreyko did not impress with his first issue, but it was a mandated, last minute rush job, so I don't think it's fair to throw this new creative team under the bus just yet. I'm definitely going to finish the current arc of Batwoman, and I'll probably give Andreyko an issue on the new arc to see where he wants to take Kate before I make a long term decision on the series.

Black and White - This series promises to collect the best Batman stories out there. That promise has been broken. In each issue so far, we've had one or two great stories, one or two mediocre stories and one or two bad stories. The art is almost always good, but for five dollars an issue, it's not worth it.

Birds of Prey - Birds has been, as a whole, massively disappointing. It's had moments of promise, but it just hasn't had a good run. This is an easy cut.

Catwoman - The fact that this series has ran with Nocenti at the helm for this long is a black eye for DC. I'm dropping it like it's hot...which its not...because as I've said a time or to before, it sucks...really bad.

The Dark Knight - The Dark Knight has been consistently subpar and frequently bad. I would like to see Ethan Van Sciver's art again as he returns to the series sometime soon, but I don't want to see it bad enough to stick around. Cut.

Detective Comics - This is a tough one. I loved Layman's first arc and hailed it as my favorite out of all the Bat books, but this last arc was largely a disappointment. I think I'm going to get this first issue of this new arc and see what I think of it. If I'm not a fan, I'll drop it.

Damian: Son of Batman - I know a lot of people thought this was crap, but I really enjoyed the first issue. The art was obviously great, and though the scripting erred on the side of being a little goofy, I still thought it was fun. I do admit that Kubert is butchering Damian's voice, but I can overlook that for the sake of another Damian story. I'll give this one at least one more issue.

Forever Evil - This is a tough one. Each issue has promised greatness and delivered entertainment which fell just short of expectations. They've been a good ride, but it feels like something is hindering it from rising above the crowd. Still, it's been interesting and itt will clearly be a big deal, so I think I'll give it one more issue and go from there.

Legends of the Dark Knight - This is probably the series I'm most torn over. I love Legends because you never know what you are going to get with it, but the problem is you never know what you are going to get with it. Often the stories are great. Often the stories are bad. I think I'll keep up with the series for the moment, but it might be wiser to see if they release these in trade. I'm still up in the air about it.

Li'l Gotham - Li'l Gotham is fun and funny. It would be nearly a crime to drop this series. Keep.

Nightwing - I'm loving Higgins' Chicago arc so far, but I wasn't crazy about early issues of Nightwing, and I thought the Zero Year issue was incredibly bad. I want to see how things play out with Chicago and Zucco, and it looks like there will be a natural jumping off point soon since Higgins is probably going to leave Nightwing to be replaced by James Tynion. There's also a good chance that Dick Grayson will be replaced by Calvin Rose based on the Bats Giving teaser, so I want to stick around for the end of Higgins' Nightwing run assuming the next couple issues are at least okay.

Red Hood and the Outlaws - I haven't enjoyed this arc at all. I'll gladly drop this one.

Talon- Talon has been fantastic and it's probably ending soon, so I'm going to finish this arc no matter what.

Teen Titans - I've actually enjoyed the last couple issues of Teen Titans, but I didn't enjoy them so much that I forgot that the series as a whole has sucked and serves as a constant reminder of how DC screwed over Tim Drake fans. I'll drop this with only a hint of regret that I'll have to wait until a trade arrives to see what happens with the new Superboy and Kid Flash.

Worlds' Finest - Take a couple of DC's best superheroines and defile them with a poor continuation of the legacy of Batman and Superman, and you have Worlds' Finest. This series is painfully bad, and I'll gladly drop it.

Well, that's it. One post and I end BatWatch and cut my current Bat reading in half with an eye to cutting it even further. It's a bit sad since I spent so much time with BatWatch, and given an extra twelve hours in every day, I'd love to continue it, but I feel confident this is the right move. I appreciate everybody sticking with me for a year. Hopefully, I will meet you all in a time when BatWatch will live again, but if this is the last time you hear from me, then simply let me wish you the best.

Bye.

BatWatcher Is Getting Married!

So I'm not getting married quite yet, but the wedding will be this coming Saturday on the 23rd, and I have a feeling that I'm going to be pretty busy for the rest of the month with random wedding odds and ends and then a honeymoon, so I don't think I can really deliver on the News like normal. However, I hate to leave you without any Bat Updates, so here is what I'll do. I will continue to keep up on the News Page in a very bare bones sort of way. Rather than post in detail on my thoughts on the latest Bat revelations, I'll just give you a brief summary of the pertinent information and provide a link to the article so you can check it out for yourself. If I find myself with time and inclination to do something more in depth, then that will just be a bonus. Sound good?

As far as reviewing comics go, I haven't had time or money for them, but the money part should clear up after the honeymoon once my bride to be can return to work. In case you don't recall, she broke her leg and ankle right after I proposed several weeks back, but she's been mending quickly, is walking without aid again and should be almost good as new by the time the honeymoon ends.

I will not update today, Friday, because I'm about to have a get together with a couple of friends, but I should be able to link to some articles tomorrow.

Have a good weekend!

Busy. I'm Tired. I'll Update Tomorrow, But First...

A truly bizzaree and moderately disturbing Batman tale. I figured it's the least I could do considering I haven't updated BatWatch for a couple days. Anyway, this is a fan fiction Batman comic story from Gerardo Preciado and Daniel Bayliss. Neither one are comic veterans, but they put together a story you should definitely check out by clicking the image to the right.

Also, I may as well mention all the comics coming out today even if I can't go into detail about them.

Regular Issues

Batman #25

"BATMAN: ZERO YEAR reaches a new level as The Riddler sends Gotham City into total darkness! 'Dark City' begins in this issue that features an embossed cover."

Arkham War #2

"As Scarecrow tips the balance of power between Arkham and Blackgate, The Penguin is made an offer he can’t refuse. Who will be Gotham City’s protector now? One word: BANE!"

Nightwing #25

"A BATMAN: ZERO YEAR tie-in! Dick Grayson frantically tries to find Haly’s Circus—and his parents—as Gotham City is plunged into total darkness!"

Green Lantern Corps #25

"A BATMAN: ZERO YEAR tie-in! When The Riddler throws Gotham City into total darkness, a young Marine named John Stewart is deployed as part of the peacekeeping measures. But he gets much more than he expected when he must deal with the costumed chaos known as ANARKY!"

Batgirl #25

"A BATMAN: ZERO YEAR tie-in! Barbara Gordon is forced to protect her brother and her homestead in anticipation of the upcoming storm—but it’s here that she learns the true meaning of 'home' and 'hero.'"

Worlds' Finest #17

Power Girl tries to restore her powers to full strength with the super hero equivalent of sunbathing…in space…with disastrous results!

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Digital Firsts

Li'l Gotham #8

It’s August, which means no holidays! But Alfred thinks Bruce could use a break, so he sends The Dark Knight on a strange and wonderful trip: a vacation! And while the Bat’s away, the villains come out to play, and the rest of the family has a hot time in Gotham City!

Arkham Unhinged #20

Bruce Wayne debates Mayor Sharp over the true purpose of Arkham City. Meanwhile, Catwoman provides a valuable clue to the identity of the Bookbinder. Batman may finally have his man—but will he be able to do anything about it?

Guest Appearances

Suicide Squad #25

A FOREVER EVIL tie-in! A villain from the early days of The New 52 has taken over Belle Reve, and he’s formed the Reverse Suicide Squad! But who—or what—is the Reverse Suicide Squad? Harley Quinn is about to learn the hard way that Power Girl is one of its members…

Injustice Squad Annual #1

"Lobo invades the world of Injustice in “The Main Man Among Us.” When Superman’s world was cruelly taken from him, his retribution was swift. But one of the perpetrators is still out there, and her freedom gnaws at him. But The Man of Steel can’t spend time tracking down one person—not when the entire world needs him. So he enlists the help of Lobo, one of the greatest bounty hunters in the universe, to track down a now super-powered Harley Quinn!"

Novembeer Batman Solicits Part 4

Well, I seem doomed to never catch up on my plans for BatWatch, but I'll be darned if that's going to stop me from trying. Let's take a quick look ahead at the comics coming up later this month in Batman comics, but first, let me remind you to check up on the News Page where I added about twenty news articles from the past few days. Also, I'm back to having no money, so I will not be buying any new comics for a little while, but I did manage to review some I bought two weeks ago, and I'll put those at the end of this post just in case you feel like checking them out.

Nightwing #25

 "A BATMAN: ZERO YEAR tie-in! Dick Grayson frantically tries to find Haly’s Circus—and his parents—as Gotham City is plunged into total darkness!"

As I recall from what I've read in interviews, Dick Grayson is going to be out to see a movie with some friends when the blackout comes, and he has to make his way back to the circus among the chaos. It's not a bad idea, but it does beg the question, "Why does he need a mask to go across town?" Furthermore, why do his buddies? Also, seeing this cover reminds me how ridiculous it is to think that nobody would make the connection between Dick Grayson and Nightwing when Dick essentially adopted The Flying Grayson's design for his Nightwing suit.

Red Hood and the Outlaws #25

 "A BATMAN: ZERO YEAR tie-in! There’s a dark force of nature that’s forming in Gotham City...A face laughing in the dark that will one day tear Jason Todd’s life apart. What are his plans for the Red Hood Gang? And who else will rise out of the shadows to guide Jason Todd one step closer to his destiny?"

Out of all the Zero Year tie ins, this one probably has me most intrigued. Lobdell created a couple of impossible to solve continuity problems with Joker and Jason between the Death of the Family and Zero Month issues. Tynion is going to revisit this problem, but will he attempt to offer a partial fix to the conundrum or just weave more confusion into this tapestry. Also, who will guide Jason to his destiny? Batman would be obvious, but I can't help but wonder if Talia might appear given the importance of her picking Jason to lead the League of Assassins. Perhaps she's had her eye on Jason longer than we first thought.

Talon #13

 "Sebastian Clarke’s endgame for the Court of Owls is unleashed upon Gotham City, with thousands of lives in the balance. How can Talon stand up and finally become the hero he never wanted to be?"

I'm super bummed that Talon is almost surely coming to an end, but at least the series will get to finish the vision Tynion originally had for the series. On the cover, we see Talon battling the Butcher in what appears to be the Labyrinth that both Calvin and Bruce successfully navigated. (well, Bruce kind of cheated, didn't he?) We never saw how Calvin escaped; maybe that will at last be revealed before this bird flies on for bluer skies.

Teen Titans #25

"  A FOREVER EVIL tie-in! The Titans’ fall through the time stream is stopped by Echo! But is this the help they’ve been looking for, or are things about to go from bad to worse? Plus: The secrets of Kid Flash’s origin begins here!"

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There's too much to say on this one. It should be very interesting to learn more about Kid Flash, a character whose past was teased in the very first issue. The recent revelations from the Teen Titans Annual just builds my curiosity. In his original origin, Kid Flash was educated through virtual reality; I wonder if the apparent brainwashing on the cover is meant to echo that?

Speaking of Echo, the only Echo I was able to find who seems to fit the criteria for this mysterious new character is a member of the Legion of Super-Villains who frequently menaced, no surprise here, the Legion of Super-Heroes.  He has sound powers that allow him to produce Earthquake level tremors.

On top of all this, Eddy Barrows seems to have been replaced by Tyler Kirkham  (former artist for New Guardians) He's not my favorite, but I guess he's alright. For the most part, I'm just surprised that I had not heard about Eddy Barrows departure form the series before now. Perhaps he's just taking a one issue break.

Worlds' Finest #17

 "Power Girl tries to restore her powers to full strength with the super hero equivalent of sunbathing…in space…with disastrous results!"

I find it kind of funny that DC tries to be so progressive by making sure to give women leads in comic books, and then they tell stories about how the Worlds' Finest go shopping, clubbing and sunbathing. Maybe this is what female fans want to read. What do I know?

Regardless, I'm not a fan of the series, so it would take a lot to interest me. I do like the look of the blue flames coming off Power Girl, oddly enough. I'm also curious what is in the background of the cover. Is that a spaceship? A skyscraper?

Worlds's Finest continues it's almost constantly rotating artistic streak by using R.B. Silva (former artist for Superboy) this week. Does DC just dump any unassigned company artists to Finest?

Now, it's time to start on December's solicits...now that February's are about to come out. Sigh.

 Batman and Two-Face #24 - First Strike

Detective Comics #24 - State of Shock

Batgirl #24 - Dragnet

Batwoman #24 - Plots

Nightwing #24 - Buyer's Remorse

Red Hood and the Outlaws #24 - Shakedown

 

News On Its Way

Social events and weird work hours have kept me from updating the last few days, but I have been keeping up on the news. I have about fifteen links saved at the moment; I just have to find time to type them up on BatWatch. I have a little bit of time before I meet up with some friends, so I thought I'd go ahead and get started, but I doubt very seriously I'll get all fifteen posted in the next hour. Still, I'll get some up on the News Page tonight, and I should be able to get the rest up tomorrow on Sunday.

Enjoy! 

The Rundown (11/6/13)

I hope you've been saving up your pennies because this week's crop of comics are set to break your piggy bank.  

We'll run through this week's Bat books in just a second, but first let me take care of some other business. As always, check out the News Page; it has the latest and greatest Bat happenings and is updated every day. Also, I've been wanting to post a link to a couple of links at the behest of some BatWatch collaborators for quite a while, yet I kept forgetting. Time to fix that. Arnoldo Acosta wrote a very well done article on The Destruction of the DCNU that you should check out. Also, John McCubbin has a site where he writes reviews on a bunch of comics along with a few TV shows and movies. You can find his site, Imagination Centere, by clicking the hyperlink.

And now...More Batman Than Your Body Has Room For!!! 

Forever Evil #3  

"The first universe-wide event of The New 52 continues to explode across the DC Universe! With the world under the rule of the mysterious and deadly Crime Syndicate and our greatest heroes dead, it’s up to the unlikeliest of defenders to rise up to save us—humanity’s only hope—Lex Luthor?! Plus, a startling revelation about the dark secret of the Syndicate’s mission on Earth—and what it means for the future of the DC Universe and its heroes and villains."

The solicits for Forever Evil seem determined to keep things as vague as possible for fans giving us the most generic tease for the issue. The only thing of real interest here is that we might learn more about The Crime Syndicate's mission, but it seems pretty clear already that The Crime Syndicate just fled Earth 3 to escape...that thing they were shown to have escaped in Justice League #24 which I will avoid spoiling, so unless there is another wrinkle to that plot point, it seems like this issue has not promised to reveal anything new. However, the hooded figure the Syndicate brought from Earth 3 might be playing a big role in their plans for Earth Prime, so could his identity be revealed?

Batman/Superman #5

"When the new Toymaster uses a secret, potentially deadly element in his new video game, the characters created by players manifest in real life! The ultimate fighting game results—and a world-wide network of players must team up to create the most powerful, skilled Super Heroes imaginable with one goal: To kill Batman. Can Superman come to the rescue before the game claims its victim? Find out in this amazing issue that’s printed in a special horizontal storytelling format."

Why did DC move Batman/Superman to the first week of the month? They already had a bunch of heavy hitters in this week including Detective Comics and Action Comics. Why dilute their Batman and Superman sales by oversaturating the market?

Ignoring the odd time slot change, there's nothing here I haven't already discussed, we have an apparently new villain, the Toymaster, we have a fun if ridiculous premise, we have the return of Brett Booth to the Bat verse, and we have pages we will turn sideways. I think there is potential for a great story here with some commentary on gaming culture, but it will all depend on the delivery and how Pak tries to justify the ridiculous video game machine.

Batman Black and White #3

 "It’s another spectacular selection of adventures by some of comics’ top talents, with tales of The Dark Knight by Lee Bermejo, Marv Wolfman and Riccardo Burchielli, Rian Hughes, Damion Scott, and Paul Dini and Stephane Roux."

The solicits never reveal anything except the contributors for this series, so there is not much worth saying. I'm always happy to see Paul Dini's work on Batman; the master behind Batman: The Animated Series will always receive my attention. I'm a bit curious to see the classic writer of Teen Titans, Marv Wolfman, take on the Batman as well.  

Detective Comics #18

 "A BATMAN: ZERO YEAR tie-in! James Gordon confronts the corrupt elements in the G.C.P.D.—and the vigilante known as Batman!"

I think there will always be love in any true Batman fan's heart for Commissioner James Gordon. Seeing the Bat step aside to give time for James to dish out his own brand of justice is a treat well worth savoring. Of course, this will not be Commissioner James Gordon but Lieutenant James Gordon as this is yet another Zero Year tie-in. Considering we have very little idea what the blackout even means for Gotham, it's difficult to guess what's in store, but we do know James will be targeting Batman. We also know that Batman has a bone to pick with Gordon at this point in the New 52 due to something that happened the night of the Waynes murders. Will this animosity from the Bat come into play?

Harley Quinn #0  

"This bombastic debut issue features art by award-winning illustrators including Darwyn Cooke, Sam Kieth, Tony S. Daniel, Paul Pope, Walter Simonson, Art Baltazar and others—but will any of them measure up to the exacting standards of the Clown Princess of Crime? Don’t miss the thrilling return of Harley Quinn in her own monthly series!"

Harley Quinn has arrived! I'm not sure any series debut has filled me with so much anticipation and dread. I would love for this to be a great series, and it has some strong points going for it. Palmiotti and Conner are a solid and established creative team, and most of what they have revealed as having in store for Harley sounds promising. On the other hand, most fans want to see the old version of Harley and they feel that this DCNU Harley lacks the flighty and fun spirit that drove the original version of the character. Trashy clothes seem to have accompanied a new trashier, harsher, darker view of the character, and nobody wants that. The suicide scandal also looms large over this series; people with sticks up their butts are already poised over their computers ready to tweet about how the mention of people considering suicide will destroyu the hapless depressed of the world, so if DC wants to have any dignity, it will have to either run the suicide page as originally envisioned and take a firm stand on the integrity of their creators' visions (yeah right) or scrap the controversial scene. As another looming negative, we have Harley mass murdering a bunch of kids just two months ago in an event that desperately needs to be explained away. (they were just paint bombs!)

All together, it's a mess, but I want to believe it will turn out well in the end.

As for the issue itself, it will still feature multiple artists and Harley will still criticize them and try to find the perfect artist for her style. I think this is an inspired idea. The issue will also, if Palmiotti's tweet to me six weeks ago holds true, still feature a fan created page, but Palmiotti did not know whether the original pitch would hold or if they would need something new.  

Action Comics #25

 "This BATMAN: ZERO YEAR tie-in features the reintroduction of a major character! A cocky young Superman battles the forces of nature to save Gotham City, while a woman from his past tries to do the same thing on a smaller scale. But both are headed for a collision course..."

Greg Pak has taken the reigns of Action Comics for the first time, and Superman is heading to Gotham City for a Zero Year tie in. Apparently, Supes will face some sort of storm crisis in Gotham? It's a bit weird, and I don't see how the storm has anything to do with the lack of electricity in Gotham, but the art looks amazing, and Greg Pak has done well enough with Batman/Superman to earn his place in Action. 

Beyond the new creative team and Zero Year, the big hook for this issue is the DCNU debut of a character with the initials L.L. Most bets are favoring the return of Lana Lang.  

Green Arrow #25

"A BATMAN: ZERO YEAR tie-in! He’s just returned from the island and must try to find his place in the world! Now, Oliver Queen becomes Green Arrow for the first time as he battles Killer Moth in Gotham City!"

Nothing says you've arrived as a superhero until you've beat someone as tough as Killer Moth!

I've talked a couple times about how odd it is that Green Arrow is getting his heroing start in Gotham, but I'm not going to retread that ground. Instead, let's think about Killer Moth. He's become something of a joke villain, but his original conception was kind of cool. He was a bit like the anti-Batman. Just like criminals were supposed to fear the wrath of the Batman, Batman was supposed to fear the wrath of the Killer Moth. Moth promised protection from capes in exchange for money from the underworld, and he actually did a good job of protecting the criminal class for awhile until Batman finally caught up to him. After that, he was just kind of a punchline along the lines of Calender Man until the Underworld Unleashed event came about, he struck a deal with the devil (more or less) and became a real killing, creepy,crawly monster named Charaxes. Last time I saw him, Tim Drake and Nightwing took him down, but he was having all sorts of little baby Charaxes. Very weird.

Anyway, I'm curious how the character will be rebooted in the DCNU. However he is treated, I hope Killer Moth will not be a man monster having babies. 

Batwing #25

"A BATMAN: ZERO YEAR tie-in! As Gotham City descends into chaos, young Luke Fox is the only one who can stop one of his classmates from causing more destruction—but he didn’t count on his friend being so… VENOMOUS!"

Is this series still in production? Don't get me wrong, I actually enjoy it, but it has such lousy sales that it's hard to imagine DC keeping it afloat...even with a desire for ethnic diversity. 

We are taking a look back at Luke's Senior year of high school during Zero Year where we will encounter one of Luke's classmates who will be messing with Venom, that steroid substance that hulks up Bane. The creative team has stated that a villain introduced here will come back to haunt Luke in the future. Beyond that, there's not much to say except that Batwing is in desperate need of a sales boost. Hopefully, Palmiotti and Gray can find some way to hook readers into the next issue. If not, Batwing has got to be toast.

Trades

Batman: Night of the Owls

Night of the Owls is coming out again. This is the collection that has all the tie in issues for the Night of the Owls event. Quite frankly, these issues were not very good as a whole, but the collection does have twelve issues for twenty bucks, and that's not a bad price. It might be worth picking up if you already have the main story line and just want this as supplemental.

The Judas Coin

I've heard that The Judas Coin is a classic, but I've never actually read it. Apparently, it centers around one of the thirty pieces of silver that Judas was given to betray Jesus Christ and the role that coin has played in the DCU. The story hits a bunch of different eras, but the main story centers on Batman and Two-Face. I'm assuming the coin Two-Face flips is supposed to be the Judas coin, but who knows? The story also takes a trip to the future. It sounds interesting, but at $15 got s 100 page book, you are not exactly getting a deal. The story and art is by Walter Simonson (former writer and artist for The Mighty Thor)

Guest Appearances

Earth 2 #17

"Batman fights to keep Brutal and the forces of Darkseid from taking complete control of Earth! Beginning a new story by Tom Taylor (INJUSTICE: GODS AMONG US)!

Earth 2 has apparently decide to make alternate Earth Batman the star of that book as well...at least for the next couple of months.

Scooby-Doo Team-Up #1

 "Rumors of a giant bat-creature bring Scooby and the gang on the run—but Batman and Robin are already on the trail of their old foe, the monstrous Man-Bat. Before long, the crooks behind a fake bat-creature will come face-to-face with the real thing…with the good guys caught in the middle! Don’t miss the start of this new, bimonthly miniseries"

The only series cool enough to deserve two hyphens. Scooby-Doo Team-Up will feature the Scoobies teaming up with various members of the DCU. Starting off the series is none other than the Dynamic Duo and the villainous Man-Bat.  

That's it for this week.  

Blah, Blah, Blah, Yackity Smackity

Hey Batfans,

I'm still slowly catching up on reviews. I'll link to a few more that I managed to get done over the weekend here in a minute. Though I have not had time to do all that I would like to do with BatWatch, I am proud to say that the News Page is running as designed; I've been able to update it every day, and BatWatch easily offers the most comprehensive stream of Bat Family news you'll find anywhere on the net, so that's just a little reminder that if you are not checking in on the News Page, you're missing out.  

As for reviews, I reviewed the following over the weekend. I have some more that I've read, and I'm just looking for a few extra minutes to type up some thoughts on them.

Teen Titans #24 - Caught Up in Circles 

Detective Comics #23.4 - Man-Bat  

Batman and Robin #23.4 - Killer Croc 

Hope everybody has a good week.  

Yesterday's Batman Reviews

I finally had a chance to do reviews of all the biggest comic books I've missed over the past month due to financial constraints, so you can check those out if you are so inclined.  I did not shell out the cash for Teen Titans Annual #2 yesterday, but I do have reviews for Son of Batman #1 and Nightwing Annual #1 from yesterday's comics, so I hope you check those out. Also, as always, the News Page has some fresh Bat goodness for you. Have a good day everybody.  

Recent Reviews: 

Check Out the Video: First Person Batman

It's taken half a month, but I'm finally all caught up on the News Page. I added twenty news articles just Sunday, so make sure to check them out.   

I must apologize once more for being away from BatWatch, but work has been killer. A couple extra hours at work every day and wedding/fiancée projects on my days off have eaten up most of my time. Still, it means a lot to me that so many of you take the time to check up on BatWatch even though I know I've been woefully inconsistent. Thank you.

I still have not had a chance to review any comics, but since I'm no longer behind the 8 ball on news, I think I should have time to catch up on some of the biggest issues that have come out since my fiancée broke her leg and I had to go on reviewing hiatus.

In the meantime, I have this cool video. These guys put together a fight scene all shot from the perspective of Batman. It's not going to win any awards, but I thought it was a pretty cool video for a no budget fan film. It made me think about Batman from a new perspective, and that's no small feat to perform on someone who writes about Batman every day.  

Bat Family Video Rundown (10/23/13)

I'm going to babble about myself for a minute, so if you are not interested, just check out the videos below and make sure to check out the News Page.

I'm just going to come out and say it; there's too much Batman crap on the market right now. I'm not clamoring for a decrease in Batman comics, games and movies, but I am just pointing out that there is a crap ton of Batman and Batman affiliated products out there...more than any mere mortal can possibly track and report.  

At least that's the excuse I'm going with today. A more honest assessment would be that a mere mortal probably could do quality reporting on all the Bat happenings if only that mortal did not have a busy  job and an upcoming wedding. I'm afraid that I just can't seem to get ahead of the curve enough to truly bring what I want to BatWatch these days between nuptial plans, random errands and overtime. Please be patient with me as I try to find a system that brings the best possible service to Bat fans.   

Speaking of weddings, many of you shared kind thoughts when I announced my engagement a month or so ago, and I meant to say, "Thank you," to each of you, but instead I got caught up in trying to run BatWatch, and I forgot to respond, so let me now express my appreciation for your congratulations and concern over Mary Jane's injury. You might recall that she broke her leg in two places the day after I proposed. It's been a tough month (month and a half?) as we've had to pay two set of bills with one income and Mary Jane has had to deal with the frustration of being largely immobile and dependent, but we are making it through. Mary Jane is just now beginning to walk, very lightly, on her leg without a walker. She wanted a short engagement period, and a short engagement period is exactly what we have. We will be wed exactly one month from today on November 23rd.

That's enough about me. It's time for important things like Batman! 

Batman The Dark Knight - 8-Bit Cinema

I've never come across this series previously, but apparently, it's an ongoing thing where 8-Bit's creators take famous movies and redo them as if they are an old school video game. This one borrows quite heavily from The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. If you've ever played that, get ready to see pieces of objects you've seen hundreds of times reassembled for Bat purposes. I was really impressed by this though it did agonize me when something happened differently in the game than in the movie, but clearly, over thinking this one is missing the point entirely.  

Batman: Arkham Origins -- Launch Trailer

I was not overwhelmed by Arkham Origins TV spot, but this one totally set the mood for me. After watching this, I wish I had the money and time to rush out this Friday and buy myself a copy, and really, isn't that the point of a trailer? 

We get reminded in this trailer that Black Mask is the chief baddie. In light of all the speculation and the revelations of assassins, (still nothing conclusive on whether Killer Croc is assassin #8) Black Mask has become nearly an afterthought, but this trailer embraces him in all his ruthless glory. Interestingly, we see someone who appears to be Black Mask without the mask, so I guess we are going for a post-Flashpoint version of the character since pre-Flashpoint's face was permanently stuck to the ebony wood from his father's grave. (a weird little tidbit for anybody who didn't know Black Mask's original origin. It's a long story)

Beyond that, we get an amazing action sequence stringing together many of the games boss fights. I believe every assassin is represented...except for the Electrocution and assassin #8. I've heard rumors that you can see Killer Croc in the video, but I haven't laid eyes on him. The only other recognizable villain is Penguin, and it seems unlikely he will be moving on Batman directly.

Also, every single assassin has had a video debuting them except for Shiva and assassin #8. There is still tomorrow and launch day to go. Could there be two more assassin videos on the way or one more with both assassins revealed, or is Origins saving the final reveal for the game itself.  

Speaking of Shiva, we can see her in action for the first time in this video. One is obvious as she tangles wtih some thugs, but there is also a much shorter scene where she goes up against Batman.  

All together, things are looking promising for Arkham Origins.  

Make sure to check out the News Page. I did a lot of work on it Wednesday. I do have enough money to start reviewing many of the Bat books again, but I'm prioritizing the News Page, and that's still keeping me busy, so I'll post reviews...whenever I find the time. 

Hope everybody has a good one!