The sequel to 2014’s Son of Batman inserts Batman‘s (Jason O’Mara) contentious relationship with Damian (Stuart Allan) into a streamlined version of the Court of Owls arc from DC’s new 52 featuring a secret society of zombie ninja assassins and their 1% overloads all clad in an owl motif. Oh, and they’ve been around ruling Gotham from the shadows unnoticed for decades and have a giant maze in their basement. Yeah, it’s as ridiculous as it sound.
Truncating the unwieldy long arc and motivation of the Court of Owls helps sell the story but the real meat comes not from the new villains but from the struggle of Bruce and Damian to properly connect both as father and son and as Caped Crusaders. Building on events from Son of Batman, Batman vs. Robin may not be as strong as the former but it does continue to develop the relationships set-up in the first film, offers some visually interesting fight sequences, and is a far shade better than DC’s other attempts to turn problematic New 52 stories into features.
By throwing together various past and present versions of DC charaters together Convergence continues to be a bizarre mix of intriguing to truly awful. Convergence: Batman and the Outsiders #1, which gives us Batman‘s team of heroes from the 80s, is the first issue of Convergence to show us all the heroes still in costume. Despite most of the team being without their powers that hasn’t stopped the Outsiders from following Batman’s example and continuing to suit-up to do what they can for a city trapped under a dome for a full year. It’s also the first issue to really deal with the reality of diminishing resources of a city completely cut-off from the rest of the world for month.
Given how many characters the comic has to introduce it does a pretty good job (although once the dome falls, like most every Convergence title, things get less interesting very fast as Mortal Kombat begins). One odd note: Although the cover of the issue gets Batman’s look right the art inside makes a major mistake not arming the classically-clad Caped Crusader in his classic utility belt of the time. Considering the look of the old characters is the major selling point for the series it’s distracting. Worth a look.
Standing in for Robin, who is in no condition to travel with the Caped Crusader (complete with slapstick walking into walls) on a transatlantic crimefighting trip, Batgirl tags along on the latest adventure.
Batman ’66 #21 is a niche issue in an already niche title. Fans of the character and the idea of Batman Incorporated (such as Batman having a special Japanese Batmobile made just in case he ever needed to work in that country) are likely to enjoy the story more than I did.
That said, there’s still fun to be had given how much Batgirl we get in this issue, Batgirl getting her own (slightly sexist) version of the Bat-Signal, and the chance to see Batman and Batgirl take down a group of ninjas. For fans.
I’ve seen Batman Unlimited Toys on shelves for over a year and been confused as to what unseen version of the Caped Crusader they were for. Well now we know (and knowing is half the battle!). The toys are tied to a new straight-to-DVD film (and eventual series?) hitting stores on May 12th. Apparently aiming for a younger audience, I have mixed feelings about the design of the characters. I appreciate the cartoon keeping the classic blue and gray look of Batman, but the enlarged and distorted Bat-symbol on his chest just seems odd. I’m pleased to see the show has gone with Red Robin’s pre-New 52 costume, and Green Arrow is passable enough, but what’s up with the anime-influence design of both Nightwing and Flash? With the movie finally hitting shelves on May 12th you can expect to see more toys including Batman’s robot dinosaur who eats criminals. Yeah, that’s a real thing.
In honor of Batman‘s 75th Anniversary we turn out attention back to the Dark Knight’s more memorable moments on the big and small screen with the first episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold. Although it would take the show a few episodes to permanently embrace the Silver Age style which would become its trademark, “Rise of the Blue Beetle!” does feature an odd space story and a super-hero origin setting up the show’s premise of Batman teaming up with a different hero every week (as was the concept of the comic from which the show took its name).
Widening the cast of villains, as the show did in the 1960s, to allow more variation unfortunately sometimes leaves you will bad guys like Lord Marmaduke Ffogg who arrives in Gotham City with his Londinium fog to plague the Caped Crusaders in the older sections of the city.
As expected given its guest-villain, Batman ’66 #19 is a mostly forgettable affair. There are a few bizarre touches like FFogg’s ridiculous giant pipe (which somehow steals Time Lord technology as it appears far larger on the inside), but I found the art of Leonardo Romero very inconsistent throughout the issue. Given that the story (with a villain whose motives are questionable at best) can’t stand on its own that leaves the reader with a very mixed bag. The villain’s henchwomen, and their obvious attraction to Robin, are actually more entertaining than the main villain.
Batman ’66 fanatics may want to pick it up as it does still capture the feel of the series and highlight one of the show’s lesser-known villains. Hit-and-Miss.
After Batman saves Wayne Tower from exploding, the Anarchy storyline continues as the villain decides to enlist the people of the city to help create the chaos he so desperately wants to achieve. It’s hard not to think about V for Vendetta (the so-so movie not the terrific graphic novel) as Anarchy somehow leaves blank masks on every doorstep in Gotham enlisting others to redefine themselves and fight back against the system. The derivitive plot twist isn’t helped by the final panel where the police gun down an innocent kid… which somehow becomes Batman’s fault? Um, what?
On the plus side Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato offer some beautiful panels, but even the tease of what the Mad Hatter‘s story has to do with Anarky isn’t enough to keep my interest once the masks are put in the hands of the people of Gotham. As I’ve already seen this story maybe I’ll take a break from the comic for a few months to see what it might have in store after the Dark Knight Detective after this arc runs its course. Hit-and-Miss.
In honor of Batman‘s 75th Anniversary we continue to look back at the more memorable moments of the 1966 Batman TV-series starring Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward as Robin. Based on a 1964 comic story, “The Thirteenth Hat” would introduce fans of the show to another Batman villain with David Wayne making his first appearance as the Mad Hatter. Despite offering the show a menacing villain with a different bag of tricks and motives (which work despite not being at all tied to Alice in Wonderland), the character would only make one more two-part appearance later in Season Two.