Bat Family Video Rundown

Hey everybody,  

As you might know, I've went to my best friend's wedding last week which kept me from updating very much during NYCC. I was hoping to get caught up on thing this week, but an extremely busy work schedule has kept me hopping more than I would have preferred with several labor intensive shows demanding long hours. Still, I did manage to get some work done on the News Page Sunday, so you can check that out for many pieces of Bat relevant news.

For the home page today, I thought I'd share some fun Bat Family videos you might have missed.

Batman Vs. Superman NSFW

This one is from the same team at College Humor that has been bringing the "Bad Man" videos to us for over a year. I'm not the biggest fan of these videos; the guy who plays Batman hams it up to such an extent that jokes move from funny to eye roll inducing, and they also let some jokes linger too long so that a good concept becomes tired by using it multiple times in the same skit, but still, this has some pretty funny moments as Superman tries to recruit Batman for the Worlds Finest...and Batman rejects him.  

I just wish College Humor would pare these down a bit and tighten up the series. If they would, these skits would be great instead of just okay.  

Superman 75th Anniversary Animated Short

I doubt there will be many who missed this considering how much this video has been hyped. Zack Snyder directed this short which debuted at NYCC. It features Superman being amazing throughout the ages from Action Comics #1 to the DCNU. I was a bit taken back at first because I had the idea that the finished product was going to be ten minutes long: I'm not sure where I got that idea, but when I saw it was merely a two minute video, I was greatly disappointed, but my disappointment evaporated upon watching the finished product because it is really well done.  

Batman - Arkham Origins - TV Spot

This is also a cool piece, but I can't quite say it's awesome as much as I wish I could. The motion capture on the face is great, the song at the end is haunting and I like that someone who never heard of Batman could see this trailer and totally understand Batman's motivation, but a couple of things annoy me about it. Admittedly, I'm totally nitpicking, and if you have not seen the trailer yet, you should probably do that before you hear my thoughts.

When Bruce's parents were killed, it was a mugging gone wrong, yet in this video, Bruce goes from being starry eyed happy to witnessing a murder in zero point two seconds. There is always a confrontation before the murder, and I don't think Bruce would be all sappy looking when a mugger had a gun pointed at his parents. Also, the pearls immediately go flying which makes no sense since the mugger clearly didn't grab them unless we are suggesting that the bullet snipped the line on the pears which is, I suppose, possible. Also, I found it rather anticlimactic that the big ending scene was Bruce facing down a generic thug. Facing a major threat or a recognizable face would have left a better impression I think...or saving another family's life. I get that in a thematic way, it all tracks. The point is to show Bruce's transformation in that moment, and we end with a moment of rage, defiance and battle, but I would have seen Batman as a fearsome hero at the end rather than Bruce as merely an angry warrior, but an angry warrior is what we are promised in this game, so...

I also found it interesting that we see Bruce in full Batman gear...minus the cowl in one scene. I'm guessing this is Bruce training with the League of Assassins, and I wonder if this will be part of the training days DLC recently revealed.  

 

Apologies for the Absence

Edit: I wanted to let everyone know that I did get a lot of stuff added to the News Page late last night, so make sure to check it out today.

I have a real knack for finding the worst possible times to be away from BatWatch. Back in July, I found myself working for ten days with nary a break during one of the biggest Comic-Cons of the year, SDCC. Now that New Your Comic-Con hit, I again find myself unable to update for a week. Such is life, I suppose. 

I'll tell you what I've been up these past several days in a second, but for those of you uninterested in my personal life, let me tell you what you can find of Batman interest on BatWatch. On the News Page, I'm going to go over this past week's biggest announcements and share my thoughts. My time is limited, so I'm just going to touch on the big things tonight, but by tomorrow's end, I'm going to try to get into the thick of things and bring to light some of the dozens of important Bat related announcements that may have been overlooked. In addition, I have a little more money now than I had a few weeks ago, so I'm going to start reviewing some comics again as my budget allows and you can be on the lookout for a review or two before the week ends. Finally, I had Batman Solicits for November: Part 3 written before I got caught up in all this past week's craziness, so I went ahead and posted that yesterday though a technical glitch kept the images from loading...a problem I've now fixed.

If you are wondering why I went missing for a week, I do have a good excuse. I was busy being the best man in my best friend's wedding. Matthew Slater (on the right) and I grew up in the church nursery together, so we've literally known each other our entire lives. When we were older, we both attended to a very tiny, very cheap church school. Essentially, we had no one but each other to befriend, so friends is exactly what we became, and this suits me just fine since I would hate to imagine my life without him.

He married Kyle Egan this past Thursday. Since it was a gay wedding and we all live in Arkansas, everybody had to drive to where gay marriage is legal, so we went up to Des Moines, Iowa. (easily the friendliest big town I've ever visited by the way) It's a ten hour drive, so I drove up after work Wednesday night and got there in the early morning. Thursday, my day was filled with wedding stuff. Friday, I just hung out in Des Moines for a day because I was, and still am, badly in need of a vacation. Saturday, I drove back (and stopped by some comic book stores in Kansas City Missouri and found some pretty good deals) Sunday and Monday, I worked most of the day and what time I had left I decided to spend with my fiancee sinceI had not seen for four days. Today, I spent most of the day working and running errands, but I've finally found a little bit of time to update BatWatch, so you are now up to speed on my life, and hopefully, that is sufficient justification to earn your pardon for my absence. 

I hope everybody's having a good week. The news page should really be hopping tomorrow evening, so stay tuned.  

October's Batman Solicits: Part 3

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The Dark Knight #25

"Time and time again, Clayface has proven to be one of Batman’s most elusive adversaries. On the loose once more, it’s time for the Dark Knight to call in some back-up! Guest starring Black Canary and Condor!"

Crappy titles unite!  

Is it just me or does The Dark Knight kind of feel like a dumping ground for all thing mediocre? I don't mean any of the people currently working on the title. They all have talent, but...it just feels like The Dark Knight is an afterthought barely worth mentioning whereas Batman, 'Tec and Batman and... are really doing everything of value while The Dark Knight tells origin stories for villains in ways we have seen countless times already. The dumping ground tendency of The Dark Knight was really obvious when it came to Villains Month where every Villains Month title connected to The Dark Knight (The Ventriloquist, Mr. Freeze, Clayface, and Joker's Daughter) underperformed or downright sucked. Now, The Dark Knight, the least of the Batman titles, is being used to boost up Birds of Prey. What does that say about the Birds these days?

Beyond the character crossover, we have yet another overly long villain story this time featuring Clayface. The Master Molder has already been defeated, but I guess he must escape to menace Gotham again so this story can drag on. Though I like Alex Maleev's (former artist for Daredevil) work, I can't help but feel this cover captures the generic feel of the book perfectly. It's just Batman Vs. Clayface...again.  

This issue will ship with two covers this week, and I don't see any reason for a secondary cover, so maybe something big is in store for this issue which is not yet revealed.

Damian: Son of Batman #2

"Damian Wayne faces the most important decision of his adult life after a dangerous confrontation with someone dear to him. Plus, a soul-searching journey into the madness of Arkham Asylum!"

Wait, is Damian an adult now? I was guessing mid teens in the preview art for issue #1, but is he already matured? Comic characters just grow up so fast these days.  

It appears that someone will kill the Bat in the first issue, so who would Damian need to confront that is dear to him in the wake of Bruce's death? Well, it could be a lot of people though my guess would be Talia. The absence of his righteous influence would be a great moment for Talia to restart her bid for power over Damian and Batman's empire. Ra's might also be one to watch though I'm not sure if I can picture Damian and Ra's being close.  

More interestingly, why would Damian take a soul-searching journey into Arkham? Perhaps after the the death of Bruce, Damian is looking for some guidance from his other mentor, Dick Grayson. If Dick were still in action, wouldn't he be the logical choice to fill Batman's shoes, yet he does not appear to be taking up the mantle. I wonder if the original Boy Wonder ends up in the loony bin. He certainly didn't seem to be around for any of the events of the Batman 666 universe. We even saw what appeared to be his Batman costume retired.

Detective Comics #25.jpg

Detective Comics #25

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

One of the best elements of Batman: Year One was making James Gordon a character just as important to Gotham as Batman himself. That is not something we've really seen in Zero Year, so maybe John Layman (current writer of Image's Chew, IDW's Mars Attacks and Detective Comics and The Dark Knight) will be able to retrace that sacred ground. I suppose a retracing is not what we want, but a retelling, a reexamining, an updated version of Commissioner Gordon's fight against corruption and vigilantism should be fun. Since James Gordon will soon have his own TV series, I can picture this issue getting a sales boost, and it's always nice to see those who've stuck by the Bat over the years get some love.

On the other hand, this seems a bit too familiar. James Gordon fights against police corruption and finds himself at odds with Batman? What else is new? 

The story can definitely be strong...perhaps even great, but the premise itself will not carry the tale. Hopefully, Layman find the way to make this fresh while retaining the long legacy of the Bat mythos.  

The Flash #25

 "A BATMAN: ZERO YEAR tie-in! What crucial part did Barry Allen play in the Zero Year saga, and how did it shape his future as The Flash?"

I always feel a bit like I'm cheating when I find myself thinking of Barry Allen as The Flash. I was raised viewing Wally West as my speedster, and it just seems wrong to see someone else in the crimson tights. That being said, I have seen almost nothing of Barry Allen, and this seems like a good starting point for me to get to know him.  

This solicit seems to be overselling itself though. Isn't Barry Allen just a CSI guy? I can see why he would come to Gotham; everything is falling apart there, so Barry, the noble soul, volunteers to help out the struggling city, but how does a single CSI guy play a crucial role in Zero Year? Aren't these all just extraneous stories in the first place? Is anybody even pretending that these stories are really going to make for a big change to the main Zero Year arc? They will not. We know this. I'm not even sure how these events could shape Barry's future as The Flash, but at least that one is plausible.

I do like the cover with Barry rushing into trouble and the beautiful background harkening to The Flash's symbol, but what the heck does Barry think he's going to do when he runs into those thugs? I hope he's trained in more than standard cop combat techniques or the world's fastest hero might come to the world's quickest end.  

FEVIL_Cv3.jpg

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."

Forever Evil continues to be intense. It looks like Lex Luthor will begin his mission to save the world in earnest in this issue which is one of the main draws of this series for me.  We also get to discover just what drove The Crime Syndicate to our world in the first place and what they intend to do now that the Earth is theirs.

The main cover is a bit confusing though. We know Lex and Bizarro are going to try and save the planet, but why are they fighting these other villains? Black Adam stood up against The Crime Syndicate in his Villains' Month title. Captain Cold and the Rogues are, as their title suggests, rebelling. I have no idea about Black Manta, but I believe he is shown standing alongside Lex on the cover of the first issue. I suppose this is just a villainous version of, "The heroes must fight each other before uniting against a common enemy," trope.

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!"

I've heard great things about Jeff Lemire's (former writer and artist of Vertigo's Sweet Tooth and current writer of Batman Black and White) run on Green Arrow. It looks like I'm finally getting the chance to try it out for myself.

I've got mixed feelings on this one. Green Arrow is a character than annoys me many times, but I think he's cool as a foil to other characters. Getting to see him become Green Arrow for the first time sounds amazing, and Gotham's overgrown urban jungle aesthetic seems like the perfect place for GA to use the lessons of the island and apply them to the problems of the city, but why can't he do this in his own home town? I'm not even a GA fan, but it rubs me the wrong way for Green Arrow's destiny to be mixed in with Batman. Such a momentous moment should be something tied more closely to Green Arrow's own legend; it should have nothing to do with Batman. Also, Killer Moth? You go to Gotham, the world capitol in crime, and the best you get is Killer Moth? Weaksauce, man.

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!"

Somehow, I missed the news that Anarky was going to be in this issue until now. I am a big fan of Anarky, and truthfully, I don't know why. I suppose it is just his close ties with Tim Drake. Also, I think his long necked costume looks wicked creepy, everything he says makes me want to punch him in the face and he brings politics into comics which is something I enjoy when it is not preaching an agenda, so altogether, this is a pretty big draw for me. I do wonder if it will be the traditional Anarky we see here or the Anarky represented in Beware the Batman.  

I was actually excited about this issue before I know Anarky was in it. I've just recently read The Sinestro Corps War, and I was quite impressed with the universe created (or expanded I should say) by Geoff Johns. (former writer of JSA and Teen Titans and current writer of Forever Evil) The brotherhood of the Corps and the nearly limitless potential of these very human characters appealed to me. Plus, I've never had the chance to know John Stewart very well in the comics, so getting a better insight into what makes Stewart tick should be a real pleasure.

That's it for now. More coming...soon enough.

October's Batman Solicits: Part 2

I'm going to be busy for the next couple of days. I might be able to update things; I might not. If I can't do regular news updates, I'll probably end up posting some links to things of interest, so make sure to check out the News Page.

Let's look at some more comics coming our way this November.

Click Here for Part 1

Batman and Carrie Kelley #25

 "As Two-Face continues his rampage through Gotham City, more light is shed on his past. Who is Carrie Kelley and how can her mysterious connection to Harvey Dent help Batman?"

It looks like the Battle for the Co-...make that the Pummeling for the Pixie Boots...is favoring Carrie Kelley as the new Robin. Peter J. Tomasi (former editor of Hitman and current writer for Batman, Detective Comics, and Batman and...) has confirmed that Batman and... will not be a team up book indefinitely which implies that a new character will don the domino mask in the not too distant future. With Carrie Kelley co-starring in the Batman and Robin book, it doesn't take a mad scientist to guess who might be filling the role.

I can't seem to shake the remembrance of the post COIE introduction of Jason Todd. Todd's father was killed by Two-Face, and his first adventure as Robin had him taking on his mortal enemy. Could we see history repeat itself here with Carrie Kelley having a similar tie to Two-Face?

The cover is interesting in its simplicity. It would appear that Two-Face has a grudge against Carrie since she is on the scarred side of the coin, or reading into it a little more just for fun, could it be that Carrie represents the side of evil? 

However you cut it, it's clear that Carrie Kelley is going to be playing a major role in Batman and... for the foreseeable future.

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."

If you like a more lighthearted approach to your comic book, then this sounds promising. If you prefer a little more realism, this might cause some problems because...I have no idea what any of this even means. What possible "element" could Toymaster include that would make video games come to life? Perhaps the answer lies in a more important question, who is the Toymaster? At first, I thought he was an established Superman rogue because of Toyman, but actually, Toyman has never used the name Toymaster, so I guess this is a new guy. Hopefully, this spontaneous character manifestation will come from magic because even a quasi-scientific explanation for this will not hold water.

Leaving apart the strange setup, this is a fun premise with some obvious real life commentary to boot. Kids all over the world (and adults) sync hundreds of hours into various video games where they kill each other. What if that killer instinct and training were to be harnessed for the real world and real murder?  

Brett Booth, (former artist on Wildstorm series Backlash and current penciler for Batman/Superman) of who I am a big fan, will be drawing this issue, and he will be drawing it "widescreen" which means you will have to turn the issue sideways. Sideways! Like to the side! Totally not up and down but SIDEWAYS! How innovative is that? 

I'm just getting you ready for the hype DC will try to spread as the issue draws nigh. They've already made big mention of it being widescreen, so you can bet DC will continue to try and impress you with this fact as the issue grows near.  

Oh, and Nightwing is attacking Bats on the cover? Is that a real Nightwing or perhaps some manifested avatar? And is that General Zod? This issue doesn't seem to be holding back on the action.

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!"

I imagine trying to make a two sentence solicit sound interesting without being over the top must be pretty difficult; I probably could not do it, but the use of "... VENOMOUS!" is about as subtle as a mack truck. Obviously, we are meant to conclude that one of Luke's classmates will be messing with the famed venom that gives Bane much of his enhanced strength. Perhaps the craziness of Zero Year led some of Luke's classmates to taking venom as protection and it got out of hand? That could be compelling.  

The real question here is whether or not this tie-in is the right move for Batwing as a series. Sure, Batwing needs a bump, but a one shot tie-in like this which is completely unrelated to the ongoing story of Luke Fox is likely to garner improved sales for only one month. In the meantime, this crossover will probably interrupt the ongoing story of Luke's battle with Lady Vic and cause that arc to lose a little steam. Maybe the crossover will do more good than harm by exposing people to a title they might never otherwise try, and if the writers can make Luke truly compelling, that could draw some new readers, but it's a risky move. I think a crossover just between one of the more established series, Batman or Tec', which actually dives deep into Luke's world and makes Batwing required reading would be better.

Batwoman #25

"The no-holds-barred battle between Batwoman and Batman threatens to kill them both!"

This issue marks the end of an era as Williams III,  (former artist for Promethea, Detective Comics, artist for Batwoman, writer for Legends of the Dark Knight and cover artist for Titans) Blackman (former writer for Batwoman) and McCarthy (former penciler for Nightwing and Batwoman and cover artist for Birds of Prey) depart as Marc Andreyko (former writer of Streets of Gotham and Manhunter)) takes over the writing and Jeremy Haun (former artist of Streets of Gotham and Top Cow's The Darkness and current artist for Batman and Batman and Robin) takes over the art. It's sad that one of the best creative teams of the DCNU is stepping off because of editorial interference, but Batwoman was great underneath the writing of Greg Rucka, (former writer of Detective Comics, Gotham Central and 52) so let's not give up on this title just because this team has left the building.

DC released a new solicit for Batwoman #26 which is not surprising since DC kept Williams and Blackman from writing their original ending for this arc, (most believe Batwoman was probably supposed to win the battle with Batman) but whereas #26 has been changed, #25 remains the same. Batwoman and Batman will apparently have a massive showdown...though we can pretty well bet who will be victorious in the end.

Beware the Batman #2

 "Professor Pyg has planned a series of heists—and Batman needs reinforcements! But even as Alfred and Katana take on two of Pyg’s targets, the Professor himself careens around the city, threatening the lives of a young boy and his parents. Will Batman rescue him in time?"

This series is getting so little buzz that I'm beginning to wonder if it's even still in production. Other than the announcement  that there will be a series and these solicits, I've seen exactly zero updates on it, and I find it hard to believe that such a successful TV series would get so little press when coming to a comic medium.

Looking at the issue in question, it looks like Professor Pyg is going to become one of the definitive Batman villains of all time...at least if Beware the Batman has anything to say about it. Pyg and Toad are making their second appearance in the TV show today, and they will be some of the first villains of the comic as well.  

In the show, Pyg and Toad are presented, surprisingly, as leftist terrorists; (to my delight since there are a lot of them which rarely get attention) their first appearance shows them motivated by environmental concerns and there more recent one seems to be an attack on the wealthiest one percent. Here, it appears that the leftist undertones might be absent since the duo are merely presented as doing heists and threatening people. The characters do not need a leftist cause for every crime, but I do hope this comic series is not dumbing down the material from the TV show. 

Birds of Prey #25

BLACK CANARY: ZERO YEAR?! Well, it’s definitely a BATMAN: ZERO YEAR tie-in issue as we look into a pivotal moment in Black Canary’s history! Don’t miss assassins, mystery men and an ancient evil in Gotham City!

I have soured on Birds of Prey really quickly as it has devolved into stupid drama, bland villains and brainless heroes really quickly after the betrayal of Starling was revealed. It sounds as if whoever wrote this solicit has a comparable level of enthusiasm. Just look at that phrasing. "Well, it's definitely a BATMAN: ZERO YEAR tie-in issue." Yep, it certainly is. Why should we give a crap? 

Honestly, zero interest here.

However, let's look at it anyway. Dinah appears to be wearing her Team 7 outfit though I'm pretty sure Christy Marx (current writer of Birds of Prey) said in an interview that this issue takes place before the events of Team 7. The solicit promises assassins, which are a dime a dozen, mystery men, which are also a dime a dozen, and ancient evil in Gotham City...which may be more like a dollar a dozen considering most of Gotham's threats are not "ancient," but still, who cares?

Catwoman #25

"An untold tale of Catwoman in this tie-in to BATMAN: ZERO YEAR! Journey back to Selina’s early days as a thief, and find out why she’s always worked alone!"

John Layman (current writer of Image's Chew and Detective Comics)  is set up for the possible redemption of pot smokers everywhere as he proves that Nocenti's (former writer for Daredevil and current writer of The Dark Knight) bad writing on Catwoman has nothing to do with her almost certain use of marijuana. John Layman, proud supporter of 4/20, will be writing this issue of Catwoman which makes this the only issue of Catwoman that should be bought this year. I haven't been crazy about Layman's recent work, but the worst I've seen from him has been better than what we've been getting in Catwoman recently, so this should be a breath of fresh air for the character.

As far as the issue, this appears to be set before Selina was Catwoman (when exactly she became Catwoman has never been particularly clear), and the cover art seems to be urging us to overlook that fact by pouring over a dozen cats on one page. Seriously, this is on the verge of creepy. Adding to the factor of creep, a man with a gun seems to be stalking the Feline Fatale.

That's it for now. More is on it's way...soonish.

 

The Rundown (10/9/13)

Monthly Issues

Batman #24

"Zero Year Part Four! In this amazing, double-sized issue, Batman is on the trail of the Red Hood Gang and their mysterious leader, secret origins are revealed, and a major surprise will change the course of Zero Year and Batman’s life!"

I thought last issue's use of the hologram in the cave was a an amazing scene in concept, but the way the mapping ball's ability to replay holographic images previously recorded was introduced without being previously seen really threw me for a loop, and it took me a long time to figure out exactly what happened when I first read it. For this reason, I found that otherwise amazing scene to be flawed since I was sure that others would have the same difficulty as me. However, I read many other reviews on this comic, and I've not heard a single person mention this as confusing, so I guess I was just the slow kid in class that day.  

Still, I have not been crazy about Zero Year. It seems more focused on this crisis in Gotham than it does on the beginnings of Batman, but presumably, Snyder is going to tie them together in a way that will make them seem like one inseparable event. I'm not yet convinced, but I'm willing to hold out some hope, and even if this story does not manage to be on par with Batman: Year One, I know Snyder will at least make it an entertaining ride with lots of awesome action and a Batman whose exploits are always fun to witness.

Ths month, we get to see Bruce Wayne become Batman, and there is so much entertainment happening in this one issue that DC made it extra long for us. It should be great to see Bats in action...at least until Riddler turns out the lights. Then, we will have to untangle just exactly what this means for Gotham.

Arkham War #1 

"As FOREVER EVIL hits the world, no corner of the DC Universe is in worse shape than Gotham City! Madness and mayhem hit the streets as both Arkham Asylum and Blackgate Prison unleash their prisoners upon the helpless citizens of Gotham. And with no Dark Knight to protect the city, what horrors will follow?"

After months of speculation and following interviews closely, I still don't know the dynamic happening between Scarecrow and Bane in this issue. I suppose it's a good point that the creative team has kept things for us as a surprise, but I cannot figure out the nature of the conflict between Arkham and Blackgate. I get that Bane is making a play for the city, and the city is currently divided up among the residents of Arkham, so there is a definite point of contention, but both parties are supposedly working for The Secret Society, so which side defects from the Society to start the war? 

I suspect it will be Crane who rejects the fascist rule before Bane; Bane has always had a bit of a militaristic feel. I think he could be satisfied with his own kingdom to rule...at least for a while, but Crane, as was highlighted in his own issue, can never truly be sated, and his tendency to kill and torture random civilians cannot be constructive to whatever eventual structure the Society will establish to rule the world.  

It has occurred to me, however, that there might be another way for events to play out. Perhaps the Society does not care who runs Gotham. Maybe their plan is to allow any forces that might oppose them to whittle themselves down against each other. If that is the case, then they would have no reason to intervene with the battle between Bane and Crane even if both groups stay loyal to the Society. Whoever survives the War can rule Gotham under the Syndicate's thumb. It's all the same to The Crime Syndicate.  

Nightwing #24 

"Who gets the last laugh? The Prankster vs. Nightwing!"

It looks like Nightwing's Prankster arc (which has been amazing) will finally wrap up this issue. The solicit gives us little more to go on beyond that. However, Arkham War did show us Prankster in the background standing on Arkham's side of the cover. Could Prankster end up across country in the loony bin? Is he even crazy? We did learn from Tony Zucco that there was something more going on with Prankster than what meets the eye, but we have no idea just what that something is. I guess we will find out tomorrow.

Keep in mind that just because the Prankster arc is ending, that does not mean that Tony Zucco is leaving the picture. We still have him, the mayor, and the Cape Killer running around Chicago, so Dick has more than enough to keep him occupied even if Prankster is out of the picture.  

Batgirl #24 

" 'Batgirl: Wanted' part two! Chased by her father and the police, and ravaged with guilt over the death of her brother, Barbara has given up her Batgirl identity! But tonight she is forced to take to the streets—with deadly consequences!

Is it just me or does this sound like the exact same solicit from last month?  

Even if the solicit does not tell us much, there is a lot happening in this month's Batgirl which might be worth checking out. We saw Ricky get shot last issue by Commissioner Gordon, and it appeared as if the wounds were fatal and Ricky had been fridged, (reverse fridged? Baked? Microwaved? Ovened?) but the preview added some ambiguity to the situation. Ricky may not be as dead as he first appeared.

More important than who lives or dies, I was delighted to see that Alysia actually continues her two month trend of playing a worthwhile role in the story and having a little character development. The family drama between Babs and Commissioner Gordon is also pretty engaging even if it smacks a bit of soap opera.  

Catwoman #24

 "It’s time! Catwoman vs. The Joker’s Daughter deep in the Gotham Underground!"

Aaaaaaah! Aaaaah! AAAAAAAAHHH!

You know The Wrath of Khan earworm scene? Well, that's kind of how I feel about Ann Nocenti's work on Catwoman these days. It's just...no. No, no, no. You know when Rick's from The Walking Dead TV show found out his wife died. It's kind of like that too.  

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I know some people have taken me to task on my harsh criticism of Ann Nocenti, (probably druggies since they only complain on the Catwoman's Drug Problem commentary article I did a while back)  but actually, one of the first commentary articles I did was a defence of Ann Nocenti's take on Catwoman. She laid down some cool ideas such as Selina having a mysterious past that she herself did not know,which I thought would be cool to see explored, and I thought people's criticism of the "resurrection" scene was off base.

However, those that condemned Nocenti from the beginning were right. Every bit of faith I've put in Nocenti has been wasted. I tried to give her the benefit of a doubt up until the Annual, and then I just snapped. What? The crap. Are you even...DOING?  

Worlds Finest #16 

"Can Karen go on after she loses her powers while trying to defend Huntress from DeSaad’s attack?"

Can Karen...yada, yada nobody cares. This series sucks. Everything but some of the artist who have worked on the series, sucks. At least with Catwoman, the idiocy is fun to mock at times, (I mean, Catwoman was traveling so far underground she encountered lava last issue, but now she's fighting in an underground lake? What?!!!?) but everything in Worlds' Finest is just so cookie cutter boring. The writers of Gilligan's Island would look at the overarcing plot structure of this series and said, "Why don't you try something different?" Nothing ever happens of consequence and we are given no reason to have any investment in these characters.

I started to say that the only way I would be excited to read this series is if Desaad captured and devoured the girls because it would be weird and the series would make me happy by ending, but honestly, even that would not make me curious enough to read because Desaad would just be like, "I like torture because I'm evil. Let me say generically insidious things."

Digital First Issues

Li'l Gotham #7  (BatWatch Rating: 8/10)

"During Japan’s Month of Waters, Aquaman calls upon The Dark Knight—so get ready for a battle of GIGANTIC proportions as the Bat-family faces robots, sea monsters and more in “Minazuki.” Then, on Independence Day, Uncle Sam implores his villainous friends to steal all the fireworks for one explosive celebration!"

The first story is a great one that all Batman should enjoy. Aquaman, Damian, and Babs fans also get warm fuzzies fromthis story. The second one, however, is just okay. Joker has a contest to see what villain can steal the most fireworks, but it's a medicore premise in the first place that never manages to rise above it's moderate goals.

Arkham Unhinged #19 (BatWatch Rating 4/10)

"Mayor Sharp is furious when low-level criminals are ordered out of his new Arkham City facility. But Councilman Groves has a plan to send them all packing. Meanwhile, Batman gets an unexpected new ally in his quest to uncover The Bookbinder: Catwoman!"

This one's crappy. Catwoman does nothing interesting in it. If you've been following this, then you should have taken my advice and stopped reading months ago, but if you've been enjoying it, I guess you may as well finish it out.  

Trades

Batman Vol. 2: The City of Owls 

"'NIGHT OF THE OWLS' continues here! Batman must stop the TALONS that have breeched the Batcave in order to save an innocent life ... and Gotham City! In the backup story, learn more about the PENNYWORTH family and the secrets they've kept from the Wayne family!  Collects BATMAN #8-12 and BATMAN ANNUAL #1."

The City of Owls is getting another release. This one is $17 which is not a particularly great price though it is fair.

Guest Appearances

Superman/Wonder Woman #1 

"Beginning a bold new series that details the relationship between The Man of Steel and the Warrior Princess as rising star writer Charles Soule is joined by fan favorite artist Tony S. Daniel to tell the tale of a romance that will shake the stars themselves. These two super-beings love each other, but not everyone shares their joy. Some fear it, some test it—and some will try to kill for it. Some say love is a battlefield, but where Superman and Wonder Woman are concerned it spells Doomsday!"

Tony Daniel (former artist for Batman, Teen Titans and Detective Comics and current cover artist for Batman/Superman) has done a lot of work on a lot of Bat Family comics, and I'm sure he would love some support on the launch of Superman/Wonder Woman) Besides, it's a new series. It's practically your obligation as a comic nerd to pick up the first issue before forgetting about the series forever more. 

Seriously, I've liked some of what I've heard about the series, and Daniel does do quality work, so if you have any curiosity and some extra money, this might be worth checking out.  

Suicide Squad #24

 "A FOREVER EVIL tie-in! Belle Reve has been turned to rubble and the inmates are on the loose! Alone, Amanda Waller must fight her way out and form a new Suicide Squad! Or is a new team already in place?"

Harley Quinn has her usual role in Suicide Squad, but it sounds like she might not have it for long. Could the Suicide Squad truly be refreshing the rosters or is this just a marketing ploy to get people to check out this issue? I tend to think that it's just a ploy, but Harley is going to be out on her own soon, and it's hard to imagine how she could do that while being a member of the Suicide Squad.  

That's it for this week.  

October's Batman Solicits: Part 1

 I bet you thought I was giving up on doing solicits, didn't you? Well, I haven't. I probably should because I'm still two months behind, but I haven't given up yet.

Rather than try to make one or two massively long posts, I decided to put the solicits into more bite size pieces, so there will be much more to come hopefully in the near future.  

Before we get to all that, remember to check out the News Page for the latest and greatest Bat Family news including a first mention of an upcoming sci-fi futuristic Batman story written by none other than Scott Snyder.

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...

This month is when DC has decided to swamp us with Zero Year crossovers including this Superman tie in. This issue of Action Comics will be the first written by Greg Pak, (former writer of Hercules and current writer of Batman/Superman) so if you've been looking for a good place to jump on the series, this might be it. Pak has promised that a character with the initials L.L will make his or her DCNU debut in this issue, and surprisingly, there are a lot of characters in Superman's life that can fit that description, but my money would be on Lana based on her popularity, her lack of appearance in the DCNU and the fact that there will be a woman from Clark's past in this issue.

As far as what we can expect relating to Zero Year, it's really hard to guess. We are told Superman will battle the forces of nature, and the cover shows a giant tidal wave incoming. How would this tie in to the happenings of Zero Year? Did Riddler create this wave? Could this be some unexpected consequence of a villain's plans or is this just a coincidence that led Clark to visit during Zero Year? We will find out soon enough.

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?"

Why? What did I ever do to you, DC, to make you treat me like this? (other than rip apart  your comics on a semi-regular basis?) 

I read much of Arkham Unhinged as it came out digitally, and this current Bookbinder arc which started off with so much promise became a real downer as it dragged on far too long, included some truly idiotic notions on fighting crime (let's just pay the poor people to leave the city) and ended with a giant cliffhanger and a promise that the series would continue soon. I'm delighted that I have not had to shell out the cash for this crappy series for the past nine months, but the wait for the conclusion has been frustrating to say the least. Now that the story will finally catch up to that cliffhanger moment...the series is solicited to end. This is the final issue, and unless they added a few pages at the very end, then the conclusion to this series is no ending at all, but a "To be continued..." Where is the end of this crappy story?

If you've been reading this series up to this point, I can at least assure you that the identity of the Bookbinder is revealed, but unless they changed the ending, prepare to be annoyed.  

 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!"

It looks like Bane somehow removes Cobblepot who, we learned in Scarecrow's recent issue, is acting as mayor of the fallen Gotham. From what we saw in Bane's one shot, I'm thinking Bane is going to be portrayed as mostly a straightforward brute, so I'm guessing Penguin's grip on the city will be taken by force rather than by bribery, trickery or manipulation.  

Perhaps more interesting, Bane is shown to be taking on The Court of Owls on the cover. We saw in the Court of Owls one shot that the Court was trying to figure out the best response to the usurping of their hold on Gotham. It's nice to see they will not be sitting on the sidelines in the Arkham War. However, there is a lot to consider from this one reveal.  The Court was shown to be on Bane's side on the cover of Arkham War #1. Has something changed or was the cover just for show? There are two talons staring up blankly laying on what appears to be an altar or an operating table. What's up with that? Could Calvin Rose be playing a role in this story since he has a significant history with both the Court and Bane? Will the big reveal from the end of the Court one shot come into play during Arkham War?

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.'"

Solicits that remind me a trailer for a lifetime movie always send up red flags, and "She learns the true meaning of home and hero," sounds full of sap, but I really liked what Marguerite Bennett (former writer of Batman) did with Batman Annual #2, and she's the one handling this issue of Batgirl, so I'm more than willing to send a little optimism her way.  

I find is suspicious that Gail Simone (former writer of Birds of Prey and current writer of The Dark Knight) is not writing this issue. She was fired and unfired not long ago, and now she's been bumped off her regularly scheduled issue for this new DC hotshot? That sounds like the kind of thing that could easily rub someone the wrong way, but what do I know? Maybe Simone wanted Bennett to take this issue. Maybe.  

  As for the content of this issue, it seems like it is going to be a straightforward, "Things fall apart but hero learns to be defend herself and her family," sort of thing. That's not a bad premise for a story, but I'm hoping it does something to make it stand apart from the typical coming of age superhero story.

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."

Apart from the now old revelation that Riddler turned out the lights on Gotham, there is nothing to go on here, but I do find it interesting that the title echoes the fantastic Riddler story of 1990, Dark Knight, Dark City. (which includes one of the few pre-Morrison appearances of Dr. Hurt and that weird Bat monster that appeared at the end of The Return of Bruce Wayne. Nobody ever talks about this connection for some reason) When I first heard that Riddler was the guy who turned out the lights, I figured he was the man behind the Red Hood, but considering we have now seen a cover where Red Hood falls into an acid pit, I'm thinking Red Hood will end up being a possible origin story for Joker.

One thing you can say for Scott Snyder's (former writer of Vertigo's American Vampire and current writer of Batman) work, he keeps you guessing.  

Batman Beyond Universe #4

 "The Justice League makes a desperate move to save Superman from being trapped in the Phantom Zone forever. Don’t miss the shocking revelation in the final pages of this story arc! Meanwhile, in Batman Beyond, Rewire raises the stakes! Can anyone stand between this dastardly dynamo and the destruction of Neo-Gotham?"

Well, I do not think there is a darn thing I can say about this one relating to Batman Beyond.  

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."

Woo! Paul Dini (writer for Batman The Animated Series, Batman Beyond, The Batman Superman Movie, Detective Comics, Streets of Gotham, Gotham City Sirens, Arkham City and Countdown) is working on this issue. Dini did a great job on TV for which he is well known, but he also did some truly great work on 'Tec a few years back, so I'm very excited to see another Batman story from him.

Looking at the writers a little more in depth, we get stories form Lee Bermejo, (former cover artist for Checkmate and Hellblazer) Rian Hughes (former artist for Rebellion's 2000 AD) and Damion Scott (former artist of Robin and penciler for Batgirl, DC Special: Raven, Detective Comics and Batman) who are all great artists but seem to have no writing background. Artists who try their hand at writing always make me nervous because we often see less than stellar results, but we would certainly be amiss to write these stories off before they arrive. To make up for the lack of writing experience, we have Marv Wolfman, (former writer of The New Titans, Tales of the Teen Titans, and The New Teen Titans) the very talented and experienced writer who wrote all the classic Teen Titans stories.

That's it for today. Part 2 should be coming soon.  

Two Week Old Batman Reviews Are Up

I finally had a chance to do the reviews on issues from two weeks ago. Better late than never, right? They are shorter than usual, but hopefully, you will still enjoy them.  

Of course, the News Page is also updated daily. 

Have a great weekend.  

Batman 23.3 - The Penguin  

Detective Comics #23.3 - Scarecrow 

Batman and Robin #23.3 - Ra's Al Ghul 

The Dark Knight #23.3 - Clayface 

Teen Titans #23.2 - Deathstroke  

Batman '66 #12 - The Clock King Strikes 

Legends of the Dark Knight #66 - #68 - I...Robot 

The Rundown (10/2/13)

Hello Batman fans,

I've been super busy with personal stuff, but I have been keeping up with the News Page, and I thought I would do a super fast Rundown for you. Remember, I'm on comic hiatus until I get some more money in the bank. Also, no images today because I'm having some technical issues. Think I got a string of code in this doc which is fighting my image embedding, but I know how to fix that for future posts. Also, I'll make sure to continue bringing you the best news stream even though I have to forgo reviews for the moment. .

Monthly Issues

Forever Evil #2

"The villains have taken over the world! The Teen Titans fight back! Can the inexperienced teen heroes do what the adults could not? (Answer: Nope. It goes very poorly.)"

Do you hate the Teen Titans? Do you think the reboot of Tim Drake has been the worst thing DC has ever done? Then you should definitely pick up this issue because The Crime Syndicate is going to turn the Teen Titans into the Terminated Titans.  

I'm looking forward to tomorrow's issue because it seems like a solid tale, but I can't understand why they thought the Teen Titans going up against The Crime Syndicate would be a good move. It sounds like a blowout to me. Still, Lex Luthor is getting a starring role, The Crime Syndicate is an awesome alternate universe version of Justice League and we are primed for some major villain vs. villain action. Sign me up! 

Detective Comics #24 

 "Batman’s final confrontation with The Wrath is here! Can Batman stop his evil counterpart from claiming any more victims as an epic battle bursts onto the city streets?"

The Wrath run has not been Layman's best work, but I am going to cross my fingers and hope this issue redeems it a bit. One of the main things I disliked about this arc is that Wrath and Batman have gone three issues without actually mixing it up with each other. It looks like this issue is going to finally show the two coming to blows.

Batman Black and White #2 

"The Eisner Award-winning series continues with a second amazing issue! Don’t miss new takes on the Dark Knight from legendary creators including Rafael Grampá, Dan DiDio and J.G. Jones, Rafael Albuquerque, Jeff Lemire and Alex Niño, and Michael Uslan and Dave Bullock! Plus, a cover by the amazing Jim Steranko!"

The Eisner Award-winning series continues with a second amazing issue! Don’t miss new takes on the Dark Knight from legendary creators including Rafael Grampá, Dan DiDio and J.G. Jones, Rafael Albuquerque, Jeff Lemire and Alex Niño, and Michael Uslan and Dave Bullock! Plus, a cover by the amazing Jim Steranko! - See more at: http://www.dccomics.com/comics/batman-black-and-white-2013/batman-black-and-white-2#sthash.BJd9LXKs.dpuf

If you like anthology books and Batman, it's hard to believe that you wouldn't like Batman Black and White. The first issue did not dazzle me as much as I would have liked, but it was still a very fun read and well worth the price of purchase. The previews for this one looks like its going to incorporate more of the rogues gallery including Joker, Man-Bat and possibly Mr. Freeze. There is also what appears to be a really cool tribute to old school silent movies. If it sounds up your alley, check it out.

Batwing #24 

"At Batman’s direction Luke Fox takes off for Italy to compete in a Mixed Martial Arts tournament. He’s about to come face to face with Lady Vic and Charlie Caligula, so let’s hope he brought his newly modified Batwing armor!"

I fear Batwing might be getting the axe soon, but despite its simplicity, I rather enjoy it as a high octane, straightforward adventure. We get to see a promise realized in this issue. The writers have long said that Luke Fox will be a character who modifies his equipment to deal with challenges, but this will be the first time we get to see Luke put his engineering skills to the test as he modifies his Batwing armor. He's going to refine after getting his butt handed to him by Lady Vic in the last issue.  

DCE Essentials: Batman #1

 "A new era began with this first DC Comics—The New 52 BATMAN issue, as the superstar team of writer Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo set The Dark Knight ohttps://batwatch.squarespace.com/config#collectionId=509beccde4b058edb8f2e2c3&module=content&statistics-subpanelName=popular-contentn the road to discovering the deadly Court of Owls!"

I don't really know what the point of this is. The issue description claims it has 64 pages, yet it only sells for one dollar. I'm guessing that the idea is to give people the first two issues for a song in the hopes that they will buy the trade, but it certainly does not seem like a worthwhile purchase to me.  

Trades

Batman: Odyssey

 "Legendary Batman artist and comics pioneer Neal Adams returns to Gotham City with an electrifying new story that pits The Dark Knight against villains and allies old and new! Now, all thirteen issues of BATMAN: ODYSSEY are collected in trade paperback!"

I've heard pretty great things...and pretty insane things about Odyssey, but I can't say I've ever checked it out for myself. It has Neal Adams handling the whole project, so if he's your cup of tea, you will definitely want to consider this because twenty bucks for 400 pages is an extremely good deal.

 Batman: The Court of Owls Book and Mask Set

"The best-selling epic that introduced Gotham City’s dread Court of Owls is back in this amazing book and mask set! Along with a trade paperback copy of THE COURT OF OWLS, collecting BATMAN #1-7, this set includes the PVC Owl mask with white elastic band that created a sensation at comics conventions in 2012!"

The description pretty well says it all. We've seen this particular package released a couple times, so it's nothing new, but if you've been pondering jumping on the Court of Owls bandwagon and somehow have held out until now, I guess you could pick this up though I don't see the addition of a mask to be worth ten dollars. 
 
I'll catch everybody later. Check the News Page every day for the latest.  

The villains have taken over the world! The Teen Titans fight back! Can the inexperienced teen heroes do what the adults could not? (Answer: Nope. It goes very poorly.) - See more at: http://www.dccomics.com/comics/forever-evil-2013/forever-evil-2#sthash.TAYI3lGT.dpuf

Catching Up on News Today

Hey Batwatchers,  

Sorry I've been absent the past three days. I had two work double shifts both Friday and Saturday for the Legends Balloon Rally. It was a long day filled with a lot of "Hurry up and wait," on Friday and a lot of rain on Saturday which is a problem since the event was outdoors. Monday, I spent the lion's share of the day moving, but today, I should finally be able to get caught up on the News, so you can expect quite a few articles to appear on the News Page as the day progresses.

I hope this week proves less hectic for you than the last few have been for me. Have a good one, guys. 

The Entire Dark Knight Trilogy...in 10 Minutes

In case you missed the memo, I'm on a comic reading and reviewing hiatus until I have more money in the bank. If you missed my recent financial woes, you can read about it in BatWatcher's Big News down below. However, I am keeping up the News Page which has been really busy as DC and Warner Brothers seem to constantly expand the Batman universe in every direction.

I do have comics I purchased last week that I plan to review briefly at some point. They were purchased before I cancelled by subscriptions, but I have not had time to review them yet. In the mean time, I've linked to Andrew Asberry's reviews on most of yesterday's issues, and he does an excellent job. You can find links to his reviews on the News Page.

Before I go, I thought I'd share this awesome video called, "The Dark Knight Trilogy - Epic Retrospective" It is amazingly well done and will give you chills. As best as I can tell, this video is fan made. Enjoy!