Batman: The Return: I was told by my LCS that I should read this before I read Batman, Inc., and it is a nice prelude to Incorporated, but not totally necessary. I really enjoyed the opening sequence with the old bat that became the inspiration for Bruce Wayne to become a bat himself. I also liked the bit in the batcave where Bruce speaks with his family. How odd to see two Batmen together (although I thought it was really cool when Bruce and Dick appeared together in Batman & Robin #16–maybe it seems odd because they aren’t fighting someone?). And what is up with the 3D batlogo on Bruce’s costume? First they did that with Green Lantern, and now Batman. Unless the 3D logo serves some practical purpose, it makes no sense for Batman. Also, it seems to glow. WTF? I’m waiting for an explanation DC.
Also, given Bruce’s new outlook on fighting crime, I have to wonder what the rest of the DCU heroes, especially Clark and Diana, will have to say about it, given how they reacted to Bruce’s use of Brother Eye and the whole contingency plan to take out the Justice League members (from JLA: Tower of Babel). But maybe because Bruce is doing this more or less out in the open will make all the difference, however, this could easily turn dark if Bruce’s viewpoint shifts.
The middle of the issue shows us that his son cannot work with his father, i.e., Dick somehow knows how to control/use Damian better than Bruce is willing to try. Finally, the newest big bad–Leviathan–is introduced. I was put off by the lack of a reaction by Bruce when a brainwashed child murders his own father. It seemed bizarre and out of character, but maybe Bruce’s recent experience through the time stream has altered him in some ways (or, it’s just convenient, if lazy, plotting).
The back part of the issue was 16 pages of “behind the scenes” stuff. While I appreciate these extras, I would have preferred paying $3.99 for no extras. Anyway, I did like the page showing the Gene Ha variant cover, which is really nice. The six pages of script with a few rough panels was 3-4 too many. Finally, the last extra page shows all the possible Batman, Inc. logos. While I appreciate the one they decided to go with, I really liked the next to last one.
Batman, Inc. #1: I love that J. H. Williams III cover–much better than the variant cover by Yannick Paquette. Grant Morrison and Mr. Paquette starts off with the crazy cool by showing a gruesome image involving dissolving hands that will stick with me for a bit. I think I’m going to like this Lord Death man story arc. I liked how relaxed Bruce was with Selina, though he’s still shown as very focused on the mission–I like this portrayal of Bruce. I also love how the issue ends in a Batman the television series way with a “voice over” style narration asking what will happen in the next issue. The Paquette/LaCombe art is just fine, but the only problem I have is that when Batman and Catwoman appear in the same scenes, Catwoman is rendered quite well (especially her face), while Batman is more angular and rough. I wonder if the penciller or inker (or both) wanted to spend more time on rendering Catwoman (for whatever reason) than the star of the book. Or maybe the difference is intentional? (But why?) It’s a good start to an interesting new(ish) take on Batman.
Brightest Day #14: C’mon, admit it, that’s pretty cool cover. Being how Batman is on the cover, there’s some great Batman lines in this issue. When Deadman finds Batman, he wonders how Batman knew he was Deadman, considering that no one could see him. Batman responds, “I’m Batman.” Deadman: “Touché.” Hah! Also, when Deadman comments that Batman was also resurrected as he was, Batman says, “I wasn’t dead. … I was lost in time.” I love how matter of fact and open Bruce is about it. I also love the comments Deadman makes about Batman:
- (Why should Batman get the white ring?) “Because Batman is the smartest person on the planet. There’s no one else on Earth anyone would trust more with this kind of power.”
- (Deadman telling the white ring to go to Batman.) “It’s Batman you want. He’ll know what to do. He always knows what to do.”
I question Deadman’s assertion that Batman is the one person everyone would trust–I would think that would be Superman. Or even Dick Grayson. :)
The rest of the issue is a take on It’s a Wonderful Life for Deadman. The issue ends with an eww moment for me: Deadman and Dove kiss. I understand that Dove may be developing some feelings for Deadman considering her connection to the White(Life) and his, not to mention just the intimate nature of their journey, but it still seems out of character to me for Dove to be reacting this way. I hope this is addressed at some point, but otherwise I question (don’t like) it.
Green Lantern #59: So last issue I thought it was interesting that Barry Allen was coming to Hal to question Hal’s association with the other colored lanterns, and by interesting, I meant out of character a bit in how aggressive Barry was portrayed. This issue addresses this somewhat in that Barry said he was there because he was the fastest of the Justice League and beat the others that were coming, and that he is concerned about his bull-headed best friend.
Ever since Blackest Night ended and Black Hand was taken by the Indigo Tribe, I’ve been waiting for Hal’s reaction when he found out about that. What is shown was a bit disappointing, but then Parallax shows up and possesses Barry–and what a creepy last page splash page.
JLA #51: The only interesting thing in this issue is the what happens in the end: the dark Supergirl is back. I’m not sure how this Omega Man affected the change in Supergirl however. I am interested in what happens next, but I’m afraid I will be let down, yet again. I keep saying this, but this is most likely my last story arc of this book.
LSH #7: Finally! Mon-El shows up in the comic, but I still don’t now what happened between him and Shadow Lass. I loved that when Earth Man says that he has Mon’s powers and that he could take Mon easily, Mon-El shows that having power isn’t everything. I might be crazy, but I’m wondering if this whole Earth Man relationship is some sort of ruse. Shadow Lass was an Espionage Squad member, right?
Superman #705: Considering what happened in the previous issue where Superman was attacked and property damage ensued, I love how when Supes arrives in a Chicago park, the people tell him that he shouldn’t be there. They compare him to being a gun, which understandably upsets Clark. Lois is getting all the best lines in this story arc. When Superman leaves quickly from Lois’s motel room as she’s talking about smooching for a while, she says while getting undressed to take a shower, “Someday he’s going to learn that he’s missing a lot by not waiting until the end of a sentence.” Although I found the whole abuse angle to be without any nuance (the final words at the end are just too preachy), I did like how the artists portrayed the anger on Superman’s face when he goes to confront the abusive dad, not to mention the threatening look Supes gives the dad at the police station.
Zatanna #7: Does every other Zatanna story have to do with Zee’s dead father? We just saw his ghost on the previous arc, and he sort of shows up again in this one-off story. Enough with the dead Zatarra! Besides that, I did like this little tale involving the accessories of dead magic-powered people. The image of the accessories (glasses, turbin, cloak, etc.) forming a human shape was kind of cool, but again with this title, the resolution was really anticlimactic. But I can excuse it a bit because the focus was really on the effect of Zee’s dad’s glasses had on her, despite the fact that she sees his ghost every other story arc. :) Whoever’s writing this book now (Dini didn’t write this issue) really needs to amp up the next few issues, or I’ll be done with this title by #12.