Pull List Review: Batman #5 & Daredevil #8

Here are some reviews from the comics I read from the third week of January, AND two of my favorite characters from the Big 2 publishers.

Batman #5, “Face the Court”

By Scott Snyder (writer), Greg Capullo (penciller), Jonathan Glapion (inker), FCO (colors), & Richard Starkings (letterer)

What a trip! I had heard the buzz about this issue well before I had a chance to read it (there’s that problem again with my getting comics once a month…), and the hype was well deserved, though I still have some issues with it. The issue starts off with a bang in that instead of seeing Batman descend towards this possibly drug-induced paranoia, he’s already at that point, effectively rendered artistically by the one “wild eye” that keeps getting the focus in many panels. Plus, the disheveled look of Batman’s costume, especially the cape, contributes to the “madman” effect. And then things get really wonky. I loved loved loved the tilting pages, as if we’re witnessing the spiraling descent that Bruce is experiencing. Using the medium in this way to tell story is just wonderful, but the creators need to tread this ground lightly and not overdo it. The scene with Bruce’s parents was brutal, particularly the part where the owls crawl out of their bodies and attack Bruce. Finally, the conclusion of Bruce’s descent, which I won’t spoil here–whether it’s real or imagined, certainly has me waiting breathlessly for issue 6. As an epilogue, the scene where Robin shows up on top of Gotham PD’s roof imploring Gordon to get a new bat-signal was just heartbreaking, especially when Damian said, “Now . . . please”.

However good this issue was for what it is, I still kept thinking, do we really need another Batman goes crazy story, especially so soon after the Grant Morrison run a few years back? Why do bat-writers like to push Batman as far as they can, to nearly break him (or even apparently so), but then show that the Batman can never really be broken and/or he has contingency plans for such things (à la Zur-En-Arrh)? Actually, why do we need that story every few years? I don’t mean to downplay this storyline because it has been so good (and surprisingly so for me because I hadn’t liked Scott Snyder’s work on Detective Comics). It just comes across as familiar territory, though the terrain is different, if I may extend that metaphor. Another problem I have with this story is the surprise of the Court of Owls to Batman. How can this organization have gone unnoticed for so long by Bruce and his operatives? If this turns out to be well explained, all the better and I will sing its praises, but if it’s just a convenient plot excuse, well, that’ll seriously detract from a pretty good yarn thus far.

Daredevil #8, “The Devil and the Details”, part 2

By Mark Waid (writer), Kano (art), Javier Rodriguez (colorist), Joe Caramagna (letterer)

The first thing that caught my attention was the issue with Matt’s dad’s grave site. It immediately grabbed me because of some other story that also featured a superhero’s dead parents’ graves, but I didn’t place it until I watched Justice League: Doom the other day and then I remembered what I was trying to think of: the part in “The Tower of Babel” storyline in JLA #43 where Bruce discovers that his parents’ coffins are missing. And guess who was the writer of both stories? Mr. Waid, but I happily forgive the self-echo since these issues are 12 years apart. As to the team-up, granted, I don’t know the current characterization of Black Cat, but has she always been shown to be so flirty? Or is she merely trying to make Spider-Man jealous? But that doesn’t hold much water because she still flirts with DD even when Spider-Man isn’t around. I continued to enjoy the interplay here between DD and Spider-Man, as shown when DD finds the hologram phone inventor locked up in his safe room. Also, I love that the creators constantly remind us how things we take for granted affect Matt, such as the very loud noise that is a mere sound effect word on the page, as Matt prepares himself for the screeching metal by covering his ears before Spider-Man rips the door off. Speaking of DD’s senses, just how does Matt know about all these chemicals (such as the Tellurium-meth compound that was mentioned)? I’ve read stories in years past where he correctly identifies chemicals based on their scent. What did he do, intern at a chemical factory or something?

Matt may be trying out this whole “I’m ignoring my disastrous past to have some fun” thing, but does that mean he needs to be a dick? He knows there’s something between Spider-Man and Black Cat, and Matt still makes out with her. Spider-Man sees this of course, and utters the best line of the crossover: “I think this is my super-villain origin.” How odd that I feel more sympathy for the guest-star of the book, instead of its lead.

The other comics I read from that week were:

  • Avenging Spider-Man #3
  • Birds of Prey #5
  • Blue Beetle #5
  • Catwoman #5
  • DC Universe Presents #5
  • Legion of Super-Heroes #5
  • Nightwing #5
  • Star Trek #5
  • Supergirl #5
  • Thunder Agents, vol 2 #3
  • Wonder Woman #5

Let me know what you think about the issues I reviewed here. Now go read some comics!

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