Damian: Son of Batman #2 begins with explaining the confusing ending of the first issue as a criminal-killing Damian is confronted by his father (a man the comic had told us was dead). Long story short, the Batman that died was Dick Grayson and not the long-retired Bruce Wayne who shows up to give his son (who he apparently abandoned for weeks after Dick’s death) a beating that leaves the old man hospitalized.
The rest of the issue deals with Damian’s guilt over almost causing his father’s death, his vow to be the kind of hero both Bruce and Dick would be proud of, and donning his own version of the Bat-suit (as seen in Batman #666) to become the new Batman.
The confusion aside, the comic does give us Damian donning the costume for the “first” time, but the moment lacks any real gravitas (although I liked the “nice coat” comment the new Batman gets while jumping into action chasing a sighting of the Joker later in the issue). Andy Kubert delivers some moments, but the entire issue feels like a train wreck. Hit-and-Miss.
Expecting an eminent threat from Professor Pyg, Batman, Alfred, and Katana split up to protect likely targets. Capturing the super-villains minions, the heroes are unaware that his true target is a vacationing CEO and his family.
I’ve never been a big fan of Professor Pyg, but the various misdirection employed by writer Matthew K. Manning works well here and the villain’s motives certainly fit his profile. I was also very impressed with the art by Dario Brizuela (who also did the awesome Scooby-Doo! Team-Up #1) who takes some liberties with the cartoon’s all-black costume by adding some much needed grey, and gives us some cool sepia-colored origins panels for each of our three heroes.
Brizuela’s panels make this one worth grabbing (even if it is a story about the ridiculous environmental terrorist Professor Pyg). I hope to see more of his work both here and on Scooby-Doo! Team-Up. Worth a look.
Here’s my look back at the ten best single comic issues from the past year. Including ongoing series, one-shots, and mini-series, the only limitations I put on this list was that the comic had to have been released in 2013 (no reprints) and I limited myself to only a single issue from any one title. Because I was focusing on standout issues rather than consistently strong comics every month several of my favorite series missed the cut, but, if time permits, I may work up my regular list of best comic series of the past year as well.
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The latest adventure set in the world of the 60′s Batman television show pits Batman and Robin against The Sandman who puts all of Gotham City into a highly suggestive sleep to complete the largest robbery the city has ever seen. After catching the Dynamic Duo in his trap as well the villain attempts to pry the location out the Batcave out of them by controlling Batman’s dreams (which include a couple of really cool panels by artist Ruben Procopio).
Despite nearly giving away the secret location of the Batcave (and with it his secret identity), Batman eventually realizes and takes control of the dream allow the heroes to wake-up and put the villain to sleep (so to speak). The Sandman falls very much into the D-list category of Bat-villains, but the tale is fun and certainly fits the style of the comic.
The issue also includes the first appearance of Batgirl in a back-up story, featuring some fun art by Colleen Ann Coover, when she takes on the Eartha Kitt Catwoman who attempts to rob the Gotham Museum of the priceless Tiger Topaz. Worth a look.
“The Big Burn” continues as Two-Face prepares to go to war with the entire city to get his hands on Erin McKillen for the murder of his wife and the acid facial that changed Harvey Dent’s life forever. Both the current storyline and the flashbacks deal with McKillen’s escape from custody, although this time around she’s got the help of Matches Malone.
The layout of the issue as it jumps willy-nilly from current to past events (all which concern the same characters and situations) isn’t as well-handled as I like. More than once while reading the issue I mistook panels for one part of the story which were actually related an entirely different series of events. That’s a problem.
On the plus-side we do get an appearance by Matches (which means the character, and Batman’s use of his identity, is part of the New 52). Despite the promise the issue will have big revelations about Carrie Kelley (which I believe I’ve already guessed) the character fails to make even a cameo here. Given the false advertising and confusing storytelling this one is very much Hit-and-Miss.
Okay, there are two things you should know about me before we begin. 1) I love me some classic Batman. And 2) I love me some classic Scooby-Doo. What happens when you throw these two things together for the first issue of Scooby-Doo! Team-Up #1? You get the most fun Batman comic I’ve read in more than two years!
While checking out rumors of an man-sized bat-creature in the area, Scooby-Doo and Mystery, Inc. run into Batman and Robin who are chasing down scientist Kurt Langstrom who has transformed into Man-Bat. Fans of Scooby-Doo Meets Batman will enjoy the lighthearted tone and fun of the all-age comic that delivers plenty of action as the Scooby Gang help the Dynamic Duo take down a group of masked robbers as well as the creature himself. And I can’t tell you how much I love seeing Batman back in his classic costume (although with better art than in those Scooby episodes).
Both young and old fans should find something worth picking up here in a comic I couldn’t help but smile through as I turned every single page. Best of the Week.
The latest issue of the Batman black-and-white anthology series is highlighted by a tale of Alfred‘s tale of Batman and Robin battling aliens written and drawn by Rian Hughes hearkening back to the odd 60s adventures of the Caped Crusader and Boy Wonder. The art is fantastic (including a detailed plan of the Batcave) as the Dynamic Duo call on the help of Tal-Dar to take on a villain warping language and reality.
Batman: Black and White #3 also includes Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy forced into the role of heroes when a scared little girl fleeing a kidnapper crosses their path in a tale from Paul Dini and Stephanie Roux, and Marv Wolfman and Riccardo Burchielli team-up to offer a tale of Batman trying to save a man on death row.
There’s also an opening tale by Lee Bermejo about Batman’s team-up with a young Jason Todd, and a beautifully rendered (if ultimately kinda empty) tale from Damion Scott featuring Batman chasing various members of his rogues gallery around a hall of mirrors. Worth a look. Worth a look.
No matter how you look at it, Damian: Son of Batman #1 is an odd comic. Written and drawn by Andy Kubert, the first issue of the four-issue mini-series is set in a parallel world that seems to have more in common with the pre-New 52 version of the DCU than the current state of things. In this reality it’s Batman, not Damian, who is killed in action, forcing his partner to go on without him.
Kubert makes several interesting choices including choosing to clad Damian in his original Robin costume from Grant Morrison’s run that introduced the character rather than the version he wore as Dick Grayson‘s, and later Bruce Wayne’s, partner. Kubert also takes the opportunity to chip away a bit at Morrison’s clone origin (and embracing Mike Barr’s original story) by suggesting Damian was more of a test-tube baby than a true scientific experiment.
With Batman vanquished, and Ra’s al Ghul and Talia washing their hands of Batman’s son, and no other member of the Bat-Family in sight, Damian is left to his own devices which leads the young man to brutally work his way through his father’s rogues gallery (mostly off-panel).
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Hitting comic shops the same time that Cartoon Network announced they have shelved the cartoon its based on for the rest of the year, the first issue of Beware of the Batman should please fans of the show and give younger audiences a new Batman comic to read.
The writing by Ivan Cohen is better than many of the episodes of the half-hour cartoon as Batman uncovers the latest scheme of Simon Stagg who takes advantage of his new high-tech locking mechanism that actually leaves most of the city open thanks in part to the meddling of Anarky and an Occupy Wall Street-ish group. And there’s also an explosive plot timed for the Fifth of November.
Artist Vecchio does a fair job in trying to adapt the show’s sleek CGI-animated look to the printed page. The comic’s continuity is a little perplexing as Katana seems to be Batman’s fully-fledged partner (something hard won on the series over several weeks) but is still in possession of the Soultaker Sword. Small continuity issues like that aside, the first issue does a good job is selling the all ages Bat-book. Worth a look.
The second issue of Batman ’66 sends Batman and Robin up against the formidable team of the Penguin and Mr. Freeze who have constructed a enormous iceberg in the middle of Gotham Harbor that somehow the Penguin has been able to get legally recognized as its own sovereign country.
Trespassing on Penguinia, Batman is thrown in the icy dungeon leaving Robin to find a way out of the pickle as Emperor Penguin and Ambassador Freeze blackmail ships needing passage in or out of the harbor. With the help of the Bat-Sub, the Boy Wonder comes up with a plan to free the Caped Crusader and save the day.
The back-up story we get isn’t as entertaining but it does feature a pair of the more ridiculous TV-show villains fans of the show should enjoy in Chandell and Lorelei Circe. The story is also notable for the cameo by Kathy Kane who even gets to dress up as Batwoman (although only in Batman’s Siren-caused hallucination). Worth a look.