- Title: Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts
- IMDb: link
Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts is odd to say the least. Cobbled together from a variety of Batman storylines over the years, Batman Unlimited cherry-picks pieces of DCU continuity to offer a new (but not really fresh) take on the characters involved. Set in the not-so-distant future of Gotham City (with a definite Batman Beyond vibe) the straight-to-video movie opens with Batman (Roger Craig Smith) clad in a Beyondish red and black costume before eventually donning his more classic colors.
The film centers around the a group of animal-themed villains in Silverback (Keith Szarabajka), Cheetah (Laura Bailey), Killer Croc (John DiMaggio), and Man-Bat (Phil LaMarr) all working together as “the Animalitia” under the leadership of the Penguin (Dana Snyder). The Penguin also has an army of robotic animals who range from nearly unstoppable to easily destroyed (in the climax our heroes easily dispense with a number of the creatures while they struggle to deal with even single one for most of the movie).
[click to continue…]
Damian may be dead, but he won’t stay that way if Batman can help it. Batman and Robin begins anew with Batman getting a different member of the Bat-Family filling-in for the recently departed Robin. That doesn’t mean you can classify Batman and Red Robin #19 as a team-up by even the loosest definition of the term.
Overcome with grief Batman has sought out Frankenstein Agent of S.H.A.D.E. in an attempt to learn what keeps the undead creature alive and find a way to resurrect his son. It’s certainly an unexpected cameo, and the first time we’ve seen the New 52 version of the Dark Knight driven to such extremes. That said, the story worked for me (especially as the New 52 has been vague about both the existence and Batman’s knowledge of Lazarus Pits leaving that option, at least for now, off the table).
Carrie Kelley, the young woman who would become Robin in Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns is given new life as a Gotham City College student who had been tutoring Damian before his death. Bruce is unlikely to forget his first face-to-face meeting with the spunky young woman as she opens her door dressed in a Robin costume.
[click to continue…]
Like pretty much every other issue of Death of the Family, Teen Titans #15 is a mess that makes less sense the more you read it. Once again we get the Joker capturing a member of the Bat Family (this time Red Robin) and torturing him by saying (but once again failing to offer a single piece of evidence) that he knows the identities of every member of the Bat brood.
For no reason that makes any sense, the Joker dresses Red Robin in his classic Robin costume before talking at him non-stop for the rest of the issue. Meanwhile, the rest of the Teen Titans reach out to Batgirl for help now that they are lost in Gotham without their leader.
Although Batgirl proves less than helpful (as she tells them, as nicely as possible, to fuck off and deal with their own issues), the team does run into Arsenal and Starfire, seeking out their own member of the Bat Family, as the issue catches up with the final page of Red Hood and the Outlaws #15. I’m so ready for this crossover to end. Hit and Miss.
Never a huge Teen Titans fan to begin with, I’ve stayed away from the New 52 relaunch of the title with the exception of the first issue or two. However, I was curious enough to see how Teen Titans #0 would tell the origin of Tim Drake as the third Robin.
Like most of the New 52 origins, Tim Drake’s story gets streamlined and simplified more than necessary. We still get the young detective who searches for Batman’s identity realizing Batman doesn’t work nearly as well without a partner. But how he eventually gets Batman to accept is damn awkward.
Scott Lobdell’s writing aside (which is clunky and has a couple of huge plot holes) the story works for the most part up until Drake puts his family in danger by stealing from the Penguin. Yes, this earns him his face-to-face with Batman, but it’s hardly the work of the genius the book espouses him to be. The comic also doesn’t explain how Tim is able to continue being Tim, and live publicly with Bruce Wayne, with his parents in witness protection and the Penguin still after him. For fans.
The Bat Boys come out to play as Gotham finds itself under siege from the threat of the new villain Termius. While Batman goes all Iron Man to fight the armored dying madman obsessed with destroying Batman and Gotham before he draw his last breath Damian gets assistance from the former Robins as Nightwing, Red Robin, and even the Red Hood, show up to stop Terminus’ hired mercenaries and odd mutated creatures.
Okay, Batman and Robin #12 isn’t great, and there are a couple truly groan worthy moments, but it’s certainly high on action (even if it never bothers to explain the reasons behind Terminus’ obsession with destroying Batman and Gotham).
I like seeing the Robins together in this issue and if DC is looking for another Bat-title to replace one of the underperforming New 52 books may I suggest something along the lines of Robin Team-Up (featuring Robins current and past teaming up for short arcs – which would allow for the inclusion of Stephanie Brown, too). Worth a look.
With DC Comics reboot of their entire universe with 52 new first issues looming ever closer I continue to take a look at what I would do if I rebooted the DCU.
Where I could I kept ideas DC wanted to explore in the relaunch (when not incredibly stupid like Voodoo), and even included titles I’m personally not all that high on but characters I know have a devoted fan base. You’ll find I’ve also kept far more of the current titles than DC’s proposed reboot, and brought back a few personal favorites as well.
[click to continue…]
It’s all lead up until this moment where Tim Drake decides what kind of a hero, and what kind of a man, he wants to be. He’s taken on Ra’s al Ghul and the League of Assassins, an evil Internet, Catman, and even had time for a little romance, but nothing has prepared him for what happens next. Red Robin comes face-to-face with Captain Boomerang, the man who murdered his father.
In a logical manner Tim has left breadcrumbs for Captain Boomerang to follow, with each selfish decision further closing the noose around his neck and putting him in harm’s way. Red Robin actually carefully orchestrated Boomerang’s death at the hands of Mr. Freeze, only to have second thoughts at the last minute, deciding he needs to do the job himself.
In the end Red Robin can neither allow Mr. Freeze or himself to kill Captain Boomerang. He skates a thin line but still comes out the hero. The issue ends with short conversations with Dick Grayson and Batman receptively, which showcase how closely each was watching Tim’s methods.
[click to continue…]
There’s much to recommend in the second-to-last issue of Red Robin. We get an appearance by Cassandra Cain (the former Batgirl who has been absent from the DCU since Stephanie Brown took over the role) who helps stop the latest group of assassins from killing our hero, and attempts to “kill” him herself.
Aside from surviving the attack by the sister of Ra’s al Ghul and uncovering a mystery opponent behind all of the attacks on his life, Red Robin must also deal with the fallout of his lies to Tam Fox about her father, help out Cain take on a ten year-old martial arts genuis who wipes Hong Kong with both of them (I want more of this story).
The real shocker comes in issue’s final panels where we see Red Robin’s impressive new base of operations as well as learn that our hero has “assassinated Captain Boomerang.” Like most of DC’s current Bat-titles I’m sorry to see this one going away, but it looks like the final issue will be a doozy. Worth a look.
A new mystery unfolds for Red Robin as attempts are made on the lives of both Bruce Wayne and Lucius Fox (who is “killed”), as well as several other prominent figures including Dr. Light.
His search leads him to ask help from both Batman and Jim Gordon as well as spening a little kissy-face time in mid-air with Lynx. The assassin appears to be wearing the armor of Scarab, an assassin Red Robin knows all too well. Getting him released from prison so she could lead him to her secret cabal seemed like a good idea… but if the last panel is any indication it’s going to cause far more trouble than he could have imagined.
It’s nice to see another appearance by Lynx. I’d actually like more of her but Red Robin’s life is chaotic enough just fitting her in for a couple of panels (like this one). The storyline begun here should give us quite a few action-packed issues as the league of Scarab (Scarab League?) sets their sights squarely on a single hero. Sadly, Tim loses a couple of cool points for only seeing Raiders of the Lost Ark three times? Worth a look.
Enter the Catman. The first issue of a two-part crossover with Teen Titans begins here as Red Robin battles with Catman who has been hired by the Calculator to keep the hero out of the ubernet. His solution is simple, and deadly – he puts Tam Fox in danger.
I’ve got to say any comic can be helped by a little Catman, and the fight between the two is pretty good. I’m also glad to see how seriously Drake takes a threat like Thomas Blake. You’ve come a long way, baby (thank you Gail Simone!).
That said, the best part of this issue is the second-half where Red Robin reconnects with the Teen Titans (and Damian). The Empire Strike Back reunion scene is pretty good, as is the chemistry between Drake and his former teammates is enjoyable as well as telling on how much Drake has grown into his own character. Now if they can just survive the daunting task of taking out Calculator’s base of operation protected by an army of robots made in his own image. (I wonder if he calls them Doombots?) Definitely worth a look.