Connect with us

Comics

Detective Comics Digs Even Deeper

Griffin

Published

on

[Danny Elfman Theme Plays]

You know, a lot of people seem to think that nothing happened in Detective Comics #954. I find that rather strange, since to me, a ton of stuff happened. Sure, everything is subjective and I guess if someone’s not reading the dialogue and just looking at Marcio Takara’s wonderful inky shadows, then I suppose they’d have a point. But that’s not really how you read, uh, literally anything, since to read requires actual reading of text.

I guess my overall point is that I’m one of those people that loves feeling smart for paying attention. And that’s just how Tynion writes scripts for Detective Comics, so perhaps that means I’m also easy to please. Well. That’s certainly possible, but Kate wasn’t even in this issue and I still loved it. Bam, proof it’s not just Kate existing that makes me love this book.

Anyway, tons of stuff happened and just like my War Games theory back during The Victim Syndicate, I was right on the money! It’s all about an earthquake. But we’ll come back to that. For now, actual thoughts on other things. Not too many this time, (shocker, I know!) as this was super straightforward for how complex it actually is. Just what happens when you seed things so well.

Well, that, and when you trust your audience to come to the right conclusions.

The Batman Gambit: Demon’s Head Edition

It doesn’t matter what or who Bruce believes. Distrusting Jacob and locking him in a cell gets him screwed over with the League of Shadows. Trusting Ra’s Al Ghul with information about the League of Shadows and releasing him from a different cell screws him over. And that’s kind of great because in neither situation did he actually make the wrong choice with the information he had at the time. Ra’s played his hand perfectly here, as he almost always does, and got the Dark Knight to do exactly what he wanted him to do: shut up and think.

No, really. That’s it. That was the whole point. Take it step by step: he leads Bruce through the sequence of events that caused him to forget the League of Shadows—which by the way is an awesome subversion of Bruce not being aware of another ancient conspiracy; he was!—the how and why of it, lying just enough to convince him that he’s not up to something else. Bruce buys it, lets him out and is immediately paralyzed by something the anti-toxins in his system could not possibly counteract. See, the choice of paralytic is important to note, though. Yes, Ra’s mocks that he will still be able to think unhindered while unable to move, but…

That’s his entire plan. That is Ra’s Al Ghul’s last hope to beat Shiva. If he knew how to beat her, he would have. He doesn’t, but he’s willing to risk everything on the chance that Batman can figure it out if given just the right motivation and circumstances: a situation where he can’t fight back, but is forced to think of a way out with all of his knowledge of the League of Shadows restored.

It’s the perfect set-up.

But that doesn’t answer another question I’m sure many of you are having, and boy is this a fun one. You’re probably wondering, unless you’re a giant DC nerd and can somehow remember a 13-year-old polarizing mini-series and/or who Zatanna is (or her father Zatara), just what on God’s green earth this was supposed to be:

Oh, my friends. What we have here is one of the single gutsiest things Tynion could do. Rebirth’s all about bringing back the old and merging it with the new, but this? This is one of those things a lot of people would have rather forgotten about altogether.

Identity Crisis: Redux

Back in 2004, DC published a limited series called Identity Crisis centered around the mysterious murder of Ralph “The Elongated Man” Dibny’s wife, Sue. Those two were the heart and soul of the JLA for decades, and it was heartbreaking to see Sue murdered. And it was especially disconcerting that even Batman was having trouble figuring out who the murderer was! Yeah, long story short that tale is not as awesome as it sounds. It was super dark and depressing and weird.

Oh, sure, I know it sounds pretty freaking amazing to watch the entire superhero community of the DCU band together to solve and unsolvable murder of one of their dearest friends (Doctor Mid-Nite did the autopsy for God’s sake!) but that’s not at all what happened. To make a weird story much shorter: Ray “The Atom” Palmer’s ex-wife Jean Loring killed Sue because…she was jealous? It didn’t make sense then, still doesn’t. And also she killed her by stealing Ray’s belt and growing inside of Sue’s brain.

Anyway, at some point during this investigation, Captain Boomerang killed Tim Drake’s father for some reason (I told you this was weird and dark), and also it’s revealed that Doctor Light (the first one) actually broke into the JLA Watchtower years ago and raped Sue Dibny. Yup.

So, the JLA arrives and subdues Doctor Light, and Batman quickly leaves because he’s got stuff to do in Gotham. The rest of them, having realized that Doctor Light is totally aware of their secret identities, take a vote on whether or not Zatanna, the Mistress of Magic, should wipe his mind and basically lobotomize him into someone totally ineffectual. It’s not a unanimous vote, but it passes and Zatanna wipes Doctor Light’s mind.

Except this happens right at the very same moment that Batman returns to the Watchtower, as he was still concerned for Sue’s well-being. And he is not happy with the whole lobotomizing thing. So the JLA calmly talk to him and explain—I’m just kidding they mindwipe the last ten minutes from his brain.

Obviously, he eventually figures out that this happened, since he is a detective, and that paranoia and distrust nearly destroys the world since the spy satellite he created—okay, look just go read Infinite Crisis if you want that story. It was awesome, but this part wasn’t.

It’s all kinds of messed up, and for Tynion to bring it back, especially for Zatara-based magic to be the source—hooboy.

Thankfully, it makes perfect sense this time around! It was a supervillain that wiped Bruce’s mind from figuring things out he wasn’t supposed to figure out, not his closest friends and allies! So, yeah. That’s about ten thousand times better, in my opinion. Plus…right, yeah, Zatanna and her father Zatara are famous for their use of magic by saying the words backwards. In times long past, Bruce trained with Zatara in order to understand how to defend himself against magic when he was learning how to be Batman, and he and Zatanna kinda had a thing during that time. So that’s back! But, ideally, not the other part. Where she wiped his mind.

Everything make sense? Awesome. On to the Earthquake! Sort of.

7:03 To Midnight

After Jacob, Cooper (who is totally Shore Leave from The Venture Bros.) and Dom are rescued by Simon-sans-Garfunkel and The 90s Kid, along with the rest of the Colony. Jacob immediately asks about Kate’s body, and Simon tells her that Shiva took her.

And these two small moments are incredibly heavy. For one, Cooper, who gets pretty far into Camp Gay territory, has to be a clear and present reminder of what happened to Kate at West Point. This is a soldier he trusts, but I find it hard to believe that he doesn’t also hate him on some level for forcing him to think about the literal years that Kate lost due to what more or less amounted to bad timing.

There’s that, and then there’s the bit about the body.

Bad enough that Jacob thinks he murdered Tim, a kid not that much older than Beth was when she was taken from him, but now he’s got to focus on not making the same mistake he did almost twenty years prior: never finding Beth’s body.

If you’re wondering why Jacob isn’t chewing losing his freaking mind right now, it’s not because he doesn’t care or because he’s that hardened a soldier. We just saw him punching industrial super-glass until his fists were bloody in a vain hope to get to Kate. No, this is him trusting her to still be alive. Because if he doesn’t, then he’s making that same mistake he did with Beth. Giving up before confirmation.

Anyway, just before the Colony exfiltrates to their airship, The 90s Kid does something to Tim’s memorial display. I figure there’s a fifty/fifty shot that he stole the costume and is gonna run around in it. I don’t think he defaced it; he really seemed to like Tim even if it was as a rival. Maybe he left some tech there he always wanted to share with him, like he said way back in Detective Comics #937.

Moving on to the earthquake:

[tw_gallery type=”gallery,slider” height=”200″]

[/tw_gallery]

Fault line. Sink. He said swallow” back in Detective Comics 951. Yup, that’s an earthquake machine of some kind.

But who’s going to stop them? Oh, most certainly not Simon-sans-Garfunkel. Batman? I doubt it. He’s a little busy. Batwoman? Probably too preoccupied with the whole bleeding out thing. Even if they were still in the fight, Jacob’s right in his assumption that there’s no way they could take on this army on their own. Once again, subverting the Inverse Ninja Law. Even more than that, though, Clayface is goop while Azrael and Batwing are MIA.

So, that must leave…

I was actually going to say Midnighter since he has teleporter doors, but that works too! And it’ll be way more awesome. Those are ninjas are only mostly dead, by the way. Probably.

NEXT WEEK: BATWOMAN #2! And absolutely nothing else.


DETECTIVE COMICS #954

Writer: James Tynion IV

Pencils/Inks: Marcio Takara

Colors: Marcelo Maiolo

Letterer: Sal Cipriano

Images courtesy of DC Comics

Griffin is an Entertainment Writer operating out of the Chicago area. He likes puzzles, deconstructing other puzzles, and talk show branded ice cream flavors.

Advertisement
12 Comments

12
Leave a Reply

avatar
 
3 Comment threads
9 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
2 Comment authors
Detective Comics And The Last Crusade - The FandomentalsBatwoman Is The Best Kind of Trippy - The FandomentalsGriffinSoapDish Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
SoapDish
Guest
SoapDish

I sincerely hope they HAVEN’T had Cass kill a whole bunch of ninja folk here. Cass’ character has been through enough.

Griffin
Guest
Griffin

If Cass killed those ninjas I would be beyond surprised. Tynion just made a huge deal of her refusing to kill, so that wouldn’t make sense.

SoapDish
Guest
SoapDish

Oh yeah I forgot that was this book!
I hadn’t read a single DC book until like 3 months ago, where I started at Gotham Central, then 52, then all of Batwoman and DEC 944 onwards,at which point I went back and read a huge amount of stuff including all the old Batgirl stuff, Birds of Prey, etc etc.
I now have no money, fewer regrets, and a VERY spotty memory of what character points come where chronologically.

Griffin
Guest
Griffin

Hah, wow you’re certainly dedicated! And that’s understandable; it can be easy to mix this all up. Surprised you didn’t go all the way back to No Man’s Land, honestly. That’s where Cass first showed up.

SoapDish
Guest
SoapDish

I read Gotham Central after seeing an article on here raving about it actually, and then went from there to 52 following Renee Montoya, from there to Batwoman following Kate.
The Batgirl thing happened solely because Comixology was having a sale on Batgirl one weekend and I figured I may as well!

No Man’s Land is pretty much next on my list of things to read actually – I just need to get around too it!

Griffin
Guest
Griffin

Oh, you mean Kylie’s “I Just Comic’d”? Yeah, Gotham Central is amazing. Which Batgirl stuff did you read?

NML is a tricky one, though. Make sure you do a little research on which trades to buy, since some of them are ordered wrong or are missing like half the issues.

It’s SO GOOD, though. I hope you enjoy it!

SoapDish
Guest
SoapDish

Yeah, that’s the one!

Started off with the 2011-2016 run, so Gail Simone’s run through the pre-Rebirth Burnside stuff.
Then went back and read the 2000-2006 Cass as Batgirl book and the 2008 limited series. Most of the stuff that happened to Cass inbetween these I’ve picked up from wiki’s and hearsay rather than reading the actual stuff.

I have the Steph Brown Batgirl books as well, but I haven’t read them yet – that’s something else on the list!

Griffin
Guest
Griffin

Steph’s Batgirl run is the best, imho. She managed to do what no one else could: associate the Bat with true hope and optimism. Sure, Dick tried but he always got sucked back into the darkness no matter how much he smiled.

Really not a fan of the Burnside run, since they tried to make Babs into Steph despite Steph already being there… >_>

SoapDish
Guest
SoapDish

Yeah the Burnside run struck me as odd straight away, and literally everything else I’ve read has me given me more context to explain WHY it seems odd.

There’s a whole wealth of Babs character development over the years, and Burnside seems to strip it all away.

You’re definitely selling me on the Steph-as-Batgirl stuff. I REALLY need to read those!

Griffin
Guest
Griffin

Sadly, there isn’t a whole lot of it to read. She had 24 issues of her solo, a side-story in a trade of Batman Inc, and a cameo or two in Teen Titans at the time. Oh, and also featured in The Road Home. But what little there was…it’s all gold.

trackback

[…] Detective Comics Digs Even Deeper – April 14, 2017 […]

trackback

[…] Zatanna has done wipes Bruce’s memories in a panel that looks almost exactly the same as that other one I mentioned a while back. Remember […]

Comics

Saga: True Colours

Published

on

By

It’s a fine line that which divides nature and a zone of comfort; so fine it’s sometimes too easy to confuse one with the other, or think them to be interchangeable terms. But the differences are there, however subtle. For one, a zone of comfort is often a treacherous foe against personal growth. It may even render you numb before coming adversities and leave you unprepared to resist them. Am I being obnoxiously specific yet? Well I can take it up a notch. A zone of comfort can also blind you, delude you into mistaking someone’s nature. Make you see a foe as a friend when the tide is calm.

But when the tide grows restless, leaving that zone of comfort is quite the rude awakening. Hope you like those, lovelies.

Issue #52
“Not when we were so close…”

The “Jetsam Holiday” arc has been a lovely time so far, comparatively speaking. For every dark development unfolding within or without Hazel’s immediate (and extended) family, there has been lots of sunshine and fucking. And of course, there has been plenty of wholesome entertainment for the whole family to enjoy also. If the image of Hazel waging sea war against Petrichor and Ghüs while atop Sir Robot’s shoulders isn’t heartwarming, her wishing Sir Robot didn’t have to leave absolutely is. And furthermore, Sir Robot even reciprocates it.

Old foes may turn dear friends in time – just like my dad used to say… not really, but let’s pretend he did.

In the meantime, Marko and Upsher have a thoughtful conversation while frying fishies. Beyond the perennial dynamic of the journey, one of Saga‘s thematic signatures is the encounter between worldviews. Sometimes this occurs through future Hazel’s introspection, and sometimes through calm moments like this. By learning of how Upsher and Doff learned about the fugitives and their daughter, Marko finally realises something we’d long known by now. There is no action that goes without consequence in this galaxy. Whether it’s some nameless mook who becomes a villain’s motive for revenge, or a grunt left behind who’s see too much.

Their conversation migrates then to the topic of accountability when it comes to one of the most traditional roles in war: killing. Having been a soldier, Marko has obviously taken on a very active role. But Upsher isn’t entirely clean either, despite never taking a life himself. Being a journalist, his business is all about information, but its reception always risks a response, which sometimes involves violence. This is, Marko argues, the reason he will be sticking to writing fiction. Nevertheless, Upsher’s response is a banquet for thought, and I’ll quote:

“Putting new ideas into another person’s head is an agggressive act, and aggressive acts have consequences. Face it, you can be a writer or a pacifist, but you can’t be both.” The written word, to communicate or to inspire, is necessarily a political act. We’ll take this morsel with us home to mull it over, as something else comes up, demanding all heads and hands. Alana enters the scene with the news: Squire is missing. The young Robot has followed through with his plan to leave.

Cut to Ianthe, wandering the wilderness of Jetsam, and adding a touch of danger to Squire’s stunt. Her concern over The Will, now free, angry and deadly, reaches a high point upon seeing a note pinned against a tree with a knife. Menacing even when written in cursive. The note proper says they’re even; him having killed her fiancé, and she having skinned his dog. I’d hardly call it even myself – Ianthe is still in debt, but I digress. We’d be delusional to think this warning would dissuade Ianthe – too proud a villain to heed common sense.

Meanwhile, the grownups at the beach camp find Squire’s farewell note, charmingly written in crayon. His message and how he addresses himself as Princeling make his intentions clear. Sir Robot’s son intends to return to the Robot Kingdom; maybe his ways of chivalry had an unexpected, unintended side effect on the kid. Overtaken by shame, Sir Robot insists on handling this himself, then declaring this to be his fault. He then reveals the ugly incident of hurting Squire last issue, earning Alana’s anger and Hazel’s disbelief. Before Alana can unleash a (well-deserved) fist upon Sir Robot’s face, Marko walks in full-clad in armour, bearing… mushrooms.

Ah, but these mushrooms are special mushrooms. They don’t grace soups with supreme delight or allow you to summon Frank Zappa in Bloodborne (which I’ve been playing a lot of lately). These mushrooms function as flares bright enough to see in daylight or when penetrating deep in the forest. Hazel demands to come with, but her mum won’t allow it for good reason. Upsher offers to stay with Hazel, as he’s also confident his partner Doff has already found Squire.

If only he knew…

The pinky oath between Alana and Hazel marks the beginning of the search.

The scene then changes to Squire/Princeling’s point of view. He has definitely taken a shine to Hazel’s Ponk Konk, who now accompanies him as a friend to “talk with”. And it’s just as well: Squire is terrified. He roams what appears to be an abandoned amusement park, which is a creepy setting in any galaxy. According to a conversation he overheard between the grownups, the magical ingredients for the “body swap” are transported through pipes that run through these unsettling parts. Therefore, his course to take appears obvious, quite unlike the strange creatures following his movements, concealed in the overgrowth.

The worm-like creatures lunge forward, ensnaring Squire to be devoured by a nightmarish mouth spreading wide across the grass. Amidst the horror of the moment, he drops Ponk Konk, possibly into the maws of this hideous creature. Someone makes the save in the nick of time with a few well-aimed shots, however. Thankful, Squire hugs his unlikely saviour: Ianthe. Could it be he has managed to survive one beast only to end up in the maws of another?

Elsewhere, Sir Robot spots a strange jellyfish-like ship while searching for his son. The Will gets the drop on the former Prince, skewering his arm-cannon with his spear. Sir Robot doesn’t quite recognise his attacker, but The Will him well enough; not as the disgraced noble, but as the killer of his former love, Spider woman extraordinaire, The Stalk. A vengeful intent is clearly approaching. And though Sir Robot frets over being interrupted from his search and disarmed, he keeps his cool to talk with the reinstated Freelancer.

The Will is back on the job to catch the fugitives, but not before killing Sir Robot. Knowing that an ordinary, desperate plea won’t do the job, Sir Robot presents another possibility as a bargaining chip to secure his and his son’s safety: to surrender Hazel to The Will.

Seems old foes turn into friends dear when the tide is calm… otherwise, they’re only placated foes, only for so long. Treacherous asshole.

 

Saga Issue #52 Credits

Writer: Brian K. Vaughan

Artist: Fiona Staples

All images are courtesy of Image Comics

Continue Reading

Comics

Batgirl is Getting a New Direction And a New Look

Published

on

By

Can I say that I, for one, am glad that we’re finally getting a new author for Batgirl? Because I am. Now this is no disrespect to Hope Larson; she is a competent writer who has told some really good stories over the last two years, but for me she just wasn’t a good fit for one of my favorite DC superheroes. Now I’ll probably get backlash from the community of fans who like to criticize the whole DC darkness thing for this but you know what? Yes, it should be dark and gritty, that’s always been associated with the “bat” name. Should it try to be a little more light hearted? Sure, but it’s a balance. My issue with Hope Larson’s run was that it was way too “tweeny” considering the kind of comics we’ve seen in the past with Barbara, Cass, and Stephanie.

Now, I also get that heroes need to evolve in order to meet their targeted audience. Hope Larson in retrospect did something that I very much like. Like the political nature of Green Arrow, Hope managed to construct her stories centered around the criticisms of overuse of technology, freedom of the internet, and the use of personal data. These are topics that remains very relevant this year and will be for some time to come. The fact that she was able to use this to tell stories that no matter what I say, were still entertaining, is a testament to the fact that she was a very good writer.

However, it is still time for a change. Despite the great motivations behind her stories, they were still cringe-y sometimes. Seeing Barbara juggle her nightlife with her student life is a common theme among younger heroes, and her friends in the LGBTQ community offered real understanding for audiences, but it still felt like a teen drama.

Don’t get me wrong though, I love her supporting cast, especially Alyssa who was created by Gail Simone in her well loved Batgirl New 52 run. The author was very outspoken for gender identity and the over sexualization of females in comic books. To see Hope Larson treat characters created by Simone with love and care was really something. By now I probably sound like I loved Hope’s run on Batgirl. As I said before, it wasn’t a bad run and I enjoyed reading it for the most part but I need something a bit more than that.

Starting with issue 24, we’ll be getting a plethora of new authors for the next few issues. Like with Green Arrow, finding a new permanent author takes time but with the Benson sisters spearheading that comic, Mairghread Scott will be taking over exclusively come August and issue 26. Now, I haven’t read anything by her save the most recent Green Arrow title, which I liked hell of a lot more than the previous two. So, I’ll be seeing her writing without bias and without former convictions. I’m really excited to see where she leads Barbara in her new adventures, but hopefully she focuses more on Batgirl and Barbara rather than love interests and overly cringe worthy situations. I get Barbara is awkward but that was just painful.

According to previews, we will see the return of Barbara to Gotham and of another character, or rather villain, created by Gail Simone called Grotesque. In this version, he plays a murderous art thief who moves to create his own vile art gallery with the pieces of his victims. He ends up getting the jump on Babs and setting the device in her spine off, effectively taking away her ability to walk again.

It looks like we’re going to be seeing a lot more continuity from the Gail Simone days and either the nostalgia will hit long time fans or Scott will be taking us in a whole new direction. So many questions, the main one being: could this be the end for Barbara as Batgirl? As much as I love Babs, I am part of the group who feels she needs to pass on the cowl to someone new. But that’s a topic for another day.

Speaking of getting a new author, we also have a revamp of Batgirl’s look, which is also a huge plus for me. If you’ve read Batman: White Knight you’ll no doubt recognize this costume from it. Sean Murphy, the genius behind that story, must have allowed the costume to be used as main canon. I’m happy for this because I really, really like the new look. I was never a huge fan of the purple zip up jacket-like outfit she was sporting in “Burnside,” but that just comes down to aesthetics.

The new look is sleek and more “batty” adding more to her own persona. Batgirl and Nightwing were among the first to leave Bruce behind and create their own identity and damn if this is not screaming that she’s the best “bat” out there.


All Images Courtesy of DC Comics

Continue Reading

Comics

DC Is Relaunching Vertigo, Doubling Down On Millennials

Dan

Published

on

By

It’s been 25 years since DC Comics launched perhaps the most successful imprint in comics history: Vertigo. Since its foundation in 1993, some of the biggest graphic novels ever have come out under the Big V. Its initial run of titles made a splash on the shelves of comic stores and would cement their authors as comics royalty: Neil Gaiman, Garth Ennis, Brian K. Vaughn, Brian Azzarello. Old properties (The Sandman) and old legends (Alan Moore) found new life at Vertigo. These new comics were no longer the whiff! bam! pow! of the past, but they also largely avoided the hyper-violence and darkness of the 90s. They handled adult themes like alienation, religion, feminism, and, yes, violence. But they handled these themes with more nuance and variety than ever before.  For the first time in the medium’s history, comics were becoming literature.

But all of the original titles have ended, with Hellblazer being the last of the old guard, closing in 2013. After a few years on the down low, DC is planning a massive relaunch of the classic brand for a new generation.  With it comes a clear emphasis on the political power of comics. They aim not for the Gen-Xers who made Preacher, iZombie, and Fables bestsellers, but for millennials. Titles will deal with the topics its readers care about: immigration, white supremacy, sex work.

Just like in 1993, the creators taking part in the relaunch are a vibrant mix of rising stars and new faces in the comics world. Eric M. Esquivel (Roberto Roberto) will bring us a tale of demons run amok in a border town while Ben Blacker (The Thrilling Adventure Hour) will spin a tale of brainwashed witches reclaiming their power. Bryan Hill (Postal, Batman) will put a biracial cop in harm’s way as he investigates a white supremacist group. Frequent Nine Inch Nails collaborator, Rob Sheridan, is sending a smuggler on an impossible quest, and Mark Russel (God Is Disappointed In You) pits Jesus against “Superman”.

The group of writers and artists are a nice mix of diverse voices, with two women serving as writers their own titles, both of which will no doubt invite controversy. The first, Goddess Mode, takes place in a cyberpunk VR hellscape where tech support involves a huge neon sword. Its author will be video game developer Zoe Quinn, perhaps most famous for being the internet’s biggest scapegoat and the original source of the “Gamergate” controversy. The second comic, Safe Sex, will be a dystopian book focusing on sex workers who dare to love in a world where all sex is under government control. Its author is sex-work advocate and LGBTQ+ journalist Tina Horn, who will no doubt bring an expert opinion to a topic that comics really, REALLY has never handled very well.

The new books start in September of this year, with Border Town,  and the rest will follow month by month right through into the new year. They will join the pre-existing raft of Vertigo titles, as well as Neil Gaiman’s brand new Sandman Universe line.


Image courtesy of DC Comics and Vertigo

Continue Reading

Trending