Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later. Unfortunately, this wasn’t a very good week for Batman fans. Though I’ll be reviewing six books from this week, let me just start out with a disclaimer: Everyone has a bad week. Even Batman. And, by that token, apparently even Batman writers. Sigh. Let’s get on with it and hope for a better set of books next week.
Batman Eternal #10
John Layman’s last issue features artwork from Riccardo Burcheielli, someone I’m not familiar with and after this read, someone I don’t intend to seek other work from. We are introduced (officially) to Alfred’s daughter in a soulless script that advances the plot along achingly slow and misses several crucial emotional opportunities along the way. Not to mention several editing errors throughout. Pick it up, DC. Professor Pyg’s reign of terror is short-lived, Jason Bard and Vicki Vale exchange some banter, and Stephanie Brown starts “spoiling” her criminal father’s plans online for everyone to read. Batman stops Pyg, Catwoman is saved, Falcone gets away clean, and while we are treated to the most cliche-filled and completely unbelievable or unsympathetic relationship between Aflred and Julia Pennyworth, Catwoman drops the bomb that Falcone is not the Big Bad. But who is? Find out next week, with better art and no more Layman nonsense.
My Rating: 1/5
Worlds Finest #24
Paul Levitz (a writer far past his prime) is joined by one of my favorite artists from growing up reading Nightwing, Green Goblin, and Batman, Scott McDaniel. Unfortunately, good artwork can only carry a title so far. There is a completely ridiculous hostage situation involving the Huntress that makes no sense no matter how you many times you read it, while Power Girl is floating around and testing out her theory that she might be invulnerable to nuclear radiation. Which, duh, she is. So in short, there is no sacrifice, as the cover promised. Helena saves the hostage. Karen saves the reactor personnel. They meet up, hug, and declare today a spa day. The next issue is titled “Farewells,” which will hopefully be more exciting than this one. Going back to Earth 2 is not the solution to the sales and quality of this book. Getting rid of Levitz is the first step. And building actually believable character relationships between the two female leads is the next. Good luck. Until we see those two things, we’ll just have to anxiously await a miracle.
My Rating: 2/5
Futures End #6
The whirlwind week of disappointment continues. Futures End is a mess, pure and simple. A fantastic writer like Brian Azzarello and a wonderful artist like Patrick Zircher are bogged down by fellow creators Jeff Lemire, Dan Jurgens, and the king of the has-beens, Keith Giffen. Batman Beyond continues creeping on villains as they plan to break into Terrifitech. Amethyst, the Atom, and Frankenstein plan to investigate Stormwatch’s murder and are ambushed by Parademons and Black Adam in space/time. And Tim Drake beats the crap out of a drunk Ronnie Raymond, only to be interrogated and have his cover blown by Lois Lane, who is kicked out of the bar and being watched by King Faraday, who is being watched by a masked man wearing a Kryptonian “Superman” symbol on his chest. He warns Faraday that Lois is off limits. The story continues to move at a glacial pace, but hey, the cover is awesome, it’s finally starting to connect, and you really can’t beat Zircher’s interiors. Count me in for a few more issues. Let’s see if they can start to pick up the pace now that we’ve established a few more connections between the seemingly infinite plot threads.
My Rating: 3/5
Detective Comics #32
First off, get both covers. The regular cover is sweet, but so is the “bombshells month” one with Poison Ivy. Secondly, I’m glad that Francis Manapul is main series artist now, and I’m actually quite pleasantly surprised at how much fun this title is now that Brian Buccellato is writing it. A few highlights of this issue include: Batman’s heart-to-heart with Annie Aguila. Dynamic and beautiful artwork throughout. A (surprisingly cat-ladyesque) glimpse into the private and lonely life of Harvey Bullock. And, of course, Batman fighting a giant squid. Yes. You heard me. The cover is not a hoax or a lie. It actually happens. And it’s awesome. So with all of those things combined and culminating in a standoff between Batman and various bad guys at the end, you can rest assured that the finale of the “Icarus” storyline is going to be a doozy. Keep it up, guys. You’re making this a fun read well into your first storyline together taking over the Dark Knight’s adventures.
My Rating: 4.5/5
Birds of Prey #32
This series, much like it’s cover, is full of lies and anger-inspiring moments. It’s poorly written. All of the characters are one-dimensional. The artwork is very basic, but nothing out of the ordinary. And now we get yet another misleading cover. It only makes sense that Black Canary would lead her team on a revenge mission against her former Team 7 ally, Amanda Waller. Her husband was kept alive and not exactly treated very well by old Wall. And a Birds of Prey VS Suicide Squad storyline is certainly something that would spice up an otherwise boring run by Christy Marx. But we’ll have to wait and see that until next month apparently, because it only starts at the end of this issue. They really should just get rid of the team aspect of this book and be honest with themselves. It should be a solo Black Canary comic. None of the other characters are even recognizable if you don’t look at their costumes. Batgirl doesn’t seem like herself. And the others are simply, well, not interesting. Maybe I’ll be surprised by the next issue’s supposed brawl. But I doubt it. This is one title I think needs to go. Or, at the very least, be given to Gail Simone to handle.
My Rating: 2/5
Speaking of Simone… Batgirl’s life is in shambles. And when a former (and supposedly dead) friend kidnaps Barbara Gordon, recruiting her to her elite group of super spies, it’s all put out on the table for her. Her father’s in jail. Her brother’s a serial killer (whom she thinks is dead, but hey, he’s not. He’s just evil’ing around in the Suicide Squad.). Her roommate is a terrorist. Her boyfriend’s a thief. She has a lot of terrible going on in her life, so why wouldn’t she join the cause against the villainous Knightfall who almost killed her last time they fought? Well, because she’s not a bad guy. She keeps telling herself that and you know what? I believe it. Simone’s found her voice with Barbara Gordon throughout the years and the excellent of artwork of Fernando Pasarin is an excellent aid to this believable storytelling. So when she calls her friend Dinah to have an impromptu Birds of Prey team-up, and the Huntress shows up out of the blue to lend a hand, what’s not to love? Can this just be the new Birds of Prey comic already? Kudos, Simone. You’re adding a little pre-Flashpoint goodness to this New 52 title and I, for one, could not be happier. This is easily my pick of the week.
My Rating: 5/5
What do you think? Too harsh? Not harsh enough? Sound off below and see you all next Baturday!