Gotham Victims

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Batman (Volume 3) #26
Written by Tom King
Art by Mikel Janin

Ok what the hell Deathstroke is NOT a Batman villain. Why is he pictured with the Batman Rogues Gallery all of a sudden and showing up possibly in the next Batman movie – he is a Teen Titans villain who sometimes fights other heroes! But anyways the second part of the War of Jokes and Riddle was decent but I was surprised at how quick a read it was. It was good to see characters like Carmine Falcone and it looks like Batman has now joined the Justice League in his first year as a crime fighter which I don’t even think that was the case before Flashpoint so that is an interesting continuity change. The theme that I took away from this issue is that Tom King seems to be focusing on the innocent victims of the Batman villains and how Batman remembers their names to keep his crusade on crime going. I like that.

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Birds Continuity

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Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #11
Written by Julia Benson and Shawna Benson
Art by Rogue Antonio

So the Rebirth Continuity has slowly been restored to the Pre-Flashpoint timeline but in this issue Barbara Gordon describes her time as Oracle leading the Birds of Prey and fighting the Calculator in the past – which seems to mean the Gail Simone run is back in continuity or at least the characters remember it but the Huntress is still suppose to be new to the Birds in this series therefore she wasn’t around for that arc – so who was their third member back then? I guessed in my head the bad guy behind Gus would be the Calculator but I am happy that we are seeing the Birds’ Pre-Flashpoint history returning. The cliffhanger ending has Catwoman being the person who paid Calcultor for intel! Now that makes me happy. To be honest, Catwoman works best as a thief instead of the borderline hero she has been since Ed Brubaker wrote her solo series. I kike that the Bensons are bringing the cat burglar element of Selena’s character into play.

 

The War of Jokes and Riddles Begins

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Batman (Volume 3) #25
Written by Tom King
Art by Mikel Janin

This issue begins a flashback story called the War of Jokes and Riddles. It begins with many violent hard to watch/read murders by both the Joker and the Riddler and ends with a great panel of a naked Batman looking pretty great next to Catwoman in bed as he tells this story. We still don’t know if Catwoman said yes to his marriage proposal last issue but who cares – we got to see Mikel Janin draw a great naked Batman! Yay! Jokes aside (no pun intended), this was a great start to what looks like a very cool past-Batman story which if done right looks like it could be on the level of something like the Long Halloween. Tom King is really good at dissecting these characters and his explanation of why the Joker and the Riddler do what-they-do (as told by the Riddler) is fascinating.

All-Star Batman 9 and 10

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All-Star Batman #9
Written by Scott Snyder
Art by Jock and Francesco Fracavilla

For a split second I thought that the woman posing as Batman was really Cassandra Cain because of how Jock drew her – but sadly no it was just Catwoman. That being said the main story was just beyond awesome as we think everything is completely hopeless and it turns out Batman had everything in control the whole time. I rather enjoyed Bruce’s speech about stories and how stories about heroes are better than stories about villains. Could this by Scott Snyder’s rather dark way of giving his support to the Rebirth’s hope and optimism? As for the back up story – I am not exactly sure at all what happened.

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All-Star Batman #10
Written by Scott Snyder, Rafael Albuquerque, and Rafael Scavone
Art by Albuquerque and Sebastian Fiumara

Wow I did not expect Scott Snyder to use Hush in this series, and I loved how Alfred and Batman worked together to scare the crap out of the villain. I am not fan of the Jeph Loeb run that introduced the character, but I do like the character and I am glad to see him again. I even had forgotten he had made himself look like Bruce with plastic surgery. The crazy Pirate fort was beyond cool as well and I wonder how this will all have to do with Alfred’s past. The backup story written by Albuquerque was interesting but it is too early to judge.

 

I’m Batman Because I’m Batman

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Batman (Volume 3) #24
Written by Tom King
Art by David Finch, Clay Mann, and Seth Mann

Tom King writes one of the greatest lines for Batman in this issue. Gotham Girls asks him if he likes being Batman and he says, “I am not Batman because I like being Batman, I am Batman because I’m Batman.” This was one of my issues with the Dark Knight Rises movie. The real Bruce Wayne is Batman, Bruce Wayne is just a character he plays. It is the opposite of Superman, where Clark Kent is the real Superman.  I won’t go into how often the Superman comics have gotten this wrong in recent years by overly focusing on Krypton, but I think Tom King understand this facet of the character of Batman. The entire scene in this comic where Batman and Gotham Girl discuss superheroics is almost required reading if you truly want to understand the character of Batman. I like how he admits he is scared and it is his fear that motivates him. It is true if you are not somewhat scared of the world you must be insane. And yes, I am sure you have heard by now, this issue ends with Batman proposing to Catwoman. And it fits and it was natural and I love it. I especially loved that it is with the same diamond Catwoman was going to steal when they first met all the way back in 1940’s Batman #1. Incredible use of continuity!

I Think You Forgot…I’m Batman!

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Batman (Volume 3) #20
Written by Tom King
Art by David Finch

Bane tells Batman in this issue how all of the Robins have died at some point including Dick. When in the hell did Dick Grayson die? Is he referring to a faked death or something? Anyways, besides that point, this was an entire issue where just a fistfight happened between Bane and Batman. But unlike say Bryan Hitch’s Justice League, this did not feel decompressed because of the emotion and character study that Tom King puts into it. The whole fight is narrated by Bruce’s mother from beyond the grave…and while that might sound cheesy reading this here, it works in the comic because of the emotion behind it. In the end, Bruce tells her he doesn’t save people because of his parents, he does it because they should be saved. It was beautiful. Hats off to the creative team on this comic book. Also, what a great line when Bruce says, “I Think You Forgot…I’m Batman!” and knocks Bane out.

Bane, Venom, and Good Art

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Batman (Volume 3) #18
Written by Tom King
Art by David Finch

It occurred to me for the first time while reading this comic that Bane using venom was completely absent from Dark Knight Rises. That is a pretty important part of his character…it’s almost like Batman without the batmobile. How did I not notice this till now? Maybe because Bane was off venom for a long time in the comics before that movie came out. He never used it during his time on the Secret Six that I can remember. I have to say that what made this comic book from merely okay to being very good was David Finch’s incredible art. Until I read this issue I never really thought about how awesome Bane’s original costume is. Finch even mimics Frank Miller and other artists from Batman’s history as we do flashback to the history of both Batman and Bane. (I wish there was Cassandra Cain though!) I was a little bit confused by the ending, Batman seems left for dead but then it seems like Batman and Catwoman have a plan for Bane after all? We shall see next issue I guess.