Detective Comics 954 – 957

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Detective Comics #954
Written by James Tynion IV
Art by Marcio Takara

I am not sure how I feel about Takara’s art but this was another magnificent issue. The League of Shadows are about to destroy Gotham City and Jacob Kane says no one could take them on and survive, not even Batman or Batwoman. Then Jacob asks who could? And we get a panel of Cassandra Cain ready to fight!!!! I love you as a writer James Tynion IV. I screamed with joy at that page.

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Detective Comics #955
Written by James Tynion IV
Art by Marcio Takara

This was a fantastic issue filled with badass Cassandra Cain moments standing up to her mother, even declaring that she knews her ability to fight and not kill has to impress her mother even if she says it doesn’t. Tynion IV undestands my favorite character – the best character DC has to offer and I am eating this series up. The final page had me cheering again!

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Nightwing 1 – 16

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Nightwing (Volume 4) #1
Written by Tim Seeley
Art by Javier Fernandez

How great is it to see Nightwing in that costume again? It’s been what ten years since he wore that beautiful – frankly iconic – Nightwing costume. DC….what were you thinking? He should have been returned to that immediately after he stopped being Batman. Speaking of that, Dick refers to his time as Batman. Does that mean Final Crisis happened in the New 52 universe or is this a result of Rebirth restoring the timeline? Interesting. This was a great start to this series but not exactly a good jumping on point for new readers for a first issue. We aren’t really told what is going on with this Parliament of Owls other than they are forcing Dick to work with them or they think they are and he is playing them. I don’t know much about the Court of Owls because they are a new 52 creation. Anyways, it is still weird to see Barbara Gordon in a Batgirl costume and not Oracle and looking so young. Is she still suppose to be the same age as Dick?  So far…this is good. Seeley seems to really understand Dick Grayson as a character and the art is perfect for a Nightwing book.

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Nightwing (Volume 4) #2
Written by Tim Seeley
Art by Javier Fernandez

This was a fantastic comic. I like how Seeley writes Nightwing’s narraration. It isn’t all action, there is depth to this story. I don’t like how the Raptor knows their have been different Robins. That is dumb. The general public in the DCU should not know that. Also, how is Barbara flying to Tokyo and back? Does Bruce bankroll her?

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All-Star Batman 1 – 7

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All-Star Batman #1
Written by Scott Snyder
Art by John Romita Jr. and Declan Shalvey

Scott Snyder wrote some good Batman comics before Flashpoint. But I never read his New 52 run he is praised for because well…it was the New 52. Of course I did not read that crap. So now after Rebirth he gets his own Batman series to play around with. In this first issue, Two-Face tells Gotham he is going to expose their criminal secrets unless one of them saves him from Batman…I guess that is what happened. I really did not like the art in this book. Was this Declan Shalvey or John Romita Jr.? It was confusing and the characters were ugly to look at. I could see it working in another comic but not a Batman comic. I am also very suspicious of any story that has Alfred betraying Batman. It also doesn’t help I find this new character of Duke Thomas hard to give a shit about. I am hoping Snyder turns it around and makes me understand the need for this character? We shall see. I can’t say that I was impressed with this first issue. The “stilling” technique was super gross.

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All-Star Batman #2
Written by Scott Snyder
Art by John Romita Jr. and Declan Shalvey

Why is King Shark referred to as Trixie in this comic? I don’t remember that ever being his name. Anyways, the art continues to bother me. I like Shalvey’s art better than Romita but still they both annoy me. They aren’t right for this comic at all. I want to get excited to look at Batman, not be weirded out by it. Also, the non-linear storytelling in this comic is beyond annoying. What the hell is even going on? I thought people said Snyder was a great Batman writer? He sure makes Zsasz scary but so far that is it for me.

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Batman Rebirth 1 – 17

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Batman (Volume 3) #1
Written by Tom King
Art by David Finch

In the first issue of this new Batman solo series, Batman prepares to give his life to save a plane full of people that almost crashes into Gotham. Spoiler Alert…he ends up not dying although he prepares to say goodbye to Alfred in a touching scene. The plane is actually saved by two Superheroes calling themselves Gotham and Gotham Girl. The idea of heroes showing up in Gotham with actual powers is an interesting thing. Would this make Batman feel useless? I guess we will see. I enjoyed the art in this. Finch knows how to draw Gotham City and its world well. Also, who is this new Batman protege Duke Thomas? I don’t know anything about

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Batman (Volume 3) #2
Written by Tom King
Art by David Finch

I love how Duke asks Batman if he trusts these new heroes of Gotham and Gotham Girl, and he says “I don’t even trust Alfred.” That made me smile. I thought this would make Batman jealous to have super powered heroes but I should have known better – Batman is a true hero and wants what is best for Gotham City. These heroes could stop things he cannot stop and he knows that. I loved how the Gotham Man is confused when Batman dissapears when talking to Commissioner Gordon. But who are these two heroes and how do they have powers that are almost Kryptonian in nature? I do not like how skinny Finch draws Amanda Waller. She is way too thin in this. But that is my only complaint about this issue.

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Detective Comics 934-950

This is it…I am returning to DC after a 5 year absence. Now that DC Rebirth has brought back the original continuity without throwing the New 52…will these characters be the same as the ones I loved. Most of all, for this book, I care about Cassandra Cain. She is my favorite comic book character and in my opinion the one true Batgirl. AND she is finally a regular in a book again. Will this be the same Cassandra I know and love? I know she got reintroduced but is she really just the same character with the memories of her time as Batgirl erased by the evil Dan Didio…I mean Doctor Manhattan. Let’s find out as I explore Detective Comics Rebirth.

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Detective Comics #934
Written by James Tynion IV
Art by Eddy Barrows

This was a great jumping back on point for old/new readers. I did not miss a beat. Batman discovers someone is targeting Gotham’s vigilantes and has recruited Batwoman to “train” them. (I do cringe at the idea that Cassandra needs training from Batwoman.) He finally reveals his secret identity to her and they are cousins. I always was annoyed the the Wayne-Kane connection was never explored pre-Flashpoint so I loved this moment. The first of the team we meet is Stephanie Brown former Batgirl and Robin but now back to her Spoiler idenity. The identity she should have remained. I like her, don’t get me wrong, but she should never have been allowed to take the mantle of Batgirl from Cassandra Cain.

After Steph, we see Tim Drake in a new Red Robin costume that evokes his classic Robin costume. Man it is good to see him look like that again. That was an amazing costume.

Finally, we get Cassandra and I love that her new costume evokes her original Batgirl costume but I am sorry it is not enough….she needs to have a bat emblem and be a real Batgirl again someday. As fan, we can’t just give up on that. She now calls herself Orphan. As cool as it is to have her full mask back, I still would prefer her pre-Flashpoint Black Bat identity than “Orphan.” Now besides this, Tynion IV writes her perfectly as the bad ass scary fighter she is but I just wish she could be that way in a Bat costume.

The final member of the team is Clayface which is an odd choice but okay we will see where it goes. Eddy Barrows’s art was beautiful…he has truly stepped up his game in five years and seems perfect for this book.

So ya….CASS IS BACK!

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Detective Comics #935
Written by James Tynion IV
Art by Eddy Barrows

In this issue, Batwoman continues the training of the younger vigilantes. Meanwhile, Batman tells Tim he has always been Robin to him. So in this continuity was Tim never officillay Robin? If so, will he remember his time as Robin whenever the missing ten years gets restored or whatever? I sure hope so. I hope the same with the other characters too.

Cassandra is bad ass in this. I love how Steph says he just shows up and gets blood on the floor and is almost never home. We truly are getting old school Cassandra Cain back and I could not be happier…except if she was Batgirl again. That would be better.

Beautiful story and beautiful art. I feel Tynion IV truly gets these characters.

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Batman: The Dark Knight 3-5

 

 

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Written by David Finch
Art by Jason Fabok

Holy crap is Jason Fabok’s art here beautiful to look at! We learn more about Dawn’s past and Lady Blaze shows up! I always think she must be a fun character to draw and draw Fabok does! I think this was the best issue of this series so far because I know it has been many years but I remember not being too impressed with this before. I will have to go back and look at my reviews. I was truly blown away by the artwork in this comic.

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Batman: The Dark Knight #5
Written by David Finch
Art by Jason Fabok

This is the final issue of this series before it was relaunched in the horrendous New 52 DC Universe.  Fabok’s art is candy for the eyes again. I rather enjoyed how he makes the Batsymbol on Batman’s chest glow. It was a sad ending where Dawn actually is killed. It is always interesting when Batman fails. And this is one of those times. I guess this series storyline remained in tact after New 52 becauase this issue ends with a clifhanger. I wonder if it is followed up on. I will probably never read it because I have no interest in the New 52.

Detective Comics 875 – 881

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Detective Comics #875
Written by Scott Snyder
Art by Francisco Francavilla

This was very good. I was very impressed. Snyder is making sure that the stories here in Detective Comics are true detective stories as Commissioner Gordon tries to solve an old case involving missing children while at the same time thinking back on his young son’s possible murder of a teenage girl. It is dark but that is always fine in the Batman corner of the DC Universe. I wonder if this idea that James Gordon Jr. was a tad nutty is ever referenced in a comic before. You would think Oracle would have mentioned her friend going missing.

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Detective Comics #876
Written by Scott Snyder
Art by Jock

Snyder switches from Commissioner Gordon to Dick Grayson Batman for this issue when a dead killer whale shows up in a Gotham City bank one morning with a girl inside. One cant help but wonder are they bringing back the villain Orca? I always liked Orca but I am pretty sure she is dead. Anyways it was a really creepy murder. Snyder also mines continuity by referencing the murder of Dick’s parents; the bank owner is the daughter of Boss Zucco. Anyways, more Batman comics should be as cool as this.

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Detective Comics #877
Written by Scott Snyder
Art by Jock

Scott Snyder pulls a  Paul Dini this issue and creates two new Batman villains; the Roadrunner and Tiger Shark. I like when writes understand the world they are writing and don’t try to change it into something else. Batman fight comic book villains and Snyder get that. Jock’s art was incredible as well. You really feel the scale of Gotham City in his art.

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Detective Comics #878
Written by Scott Snyder
Art by Jock

The Tiger Shark is truly a classic villain. He wears the skin of endangered animals, has henchmen, and Killer Whales. It is awesome. Dick meets with James Gordon Jr. in this issue as well and realizes that Boss Zucco’s daughter may have been using him.I called it in my head that James Jr would go after Ben Wolff otherwise this was a great issue.

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Detective Comics #879

Written by Scott Snyder
Art by Art by Francisco Francavilla

Commissioner Gordon meets with Oracle to discuss her brother as they both want to find out if he truly has reformed. The shocking truth is that James Jr has created a pill that will turn people into psychopaths and is planning on giving it to Gotham’s Children. Francavilla’s art make the story doubly creepy – especially a scene with the Joker. The final scene brings things full circle and I won’t spoil it but it’s just good writing.

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Detective Comics #880

Written by Scott Snyder
Art by Art by Jock

After he escapes from Arkham, Barbara Gordon Sr. is brutally attacked with Joker venom. This issue ends with the shocker that it wasn’t the Joker at all (who Snyder writes perfectly) but James Jr. I hope Snyder doesn’t make Oracle a damsel-in-distress the next issue because we all know she can hold her own. Otherwise this was an amazing Batman story. I look forward to the finale.

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Detective Comics #881

Written by Scott Snyder
Art by Art by Francisco Francavilla and Jock

This is the last issue before the New 52 reboot but this series is not ending as the original numbering is coming back this month. Yay! I won’t be reviewing crap New 52 issues though and will skip ahead to Rebirth. Anyways creeper James Jr puts knives into Oracle’s arteries. I can’t help but wonder why the Birds of Prey aren’t in on this case. I love that Snyder chooses to have Red Robin help Batman here instead of Damian. Tim is the real Robin in my book. This was a tremendous finale to what has been a tremendous run on Detective Comics.

 

 

 

Batman 709 – 713

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Batman #709
Written by David Hine
Art by Guillem March

In this issue we learn that Dick let a boy he was jealous of get beat up back in his trapeze days. Dick acts so guilty about it but he was just a kid…what was he going to do? He hadn’t been trained by Bruce yet. Azrael realizes that he is being duped by Ra’s Al Ghul and the day is saved. I liked this comic although it was a little too convenient that the guy ended up bringing up “his friend Dick from childhood” to Batman.

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Batman #710
Written by Tony Daniel
Art by Steve Scott

I often forget that it is Dick and not Bruce in these comics sometimes. But Daniel did a good job of reminding us of this when he has Dick just standing around as Batman near reporters. Bruce would never do that. Meanwhile Dick and Selena try to convince Katrina Falcone aka Catgirl to leave Gotham and Two-Face is looking for his missing coin.  Daniel is really mining continuity for his run on Batman and I love it. Steve Scott was an excellent substitute for Daniel’s art too. The issue ends with a surprise return character.

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Written by Tony Daniel
Art by Steve Scott

This was another fun issue of Batman. Yes sometimes things can be both dark and fun. Daniel has had a way of balancing that in his run. I love that he mines Batman’s history and his supporting cast. Here we get Riddler’s Daughter, Catgirl, Riddler, and Two-Face plus the Falcones and Gilda Dent. I am not sure I understand why Gilda is with Mario Falcone but I am sure that will be cleared up in the next issue or something.

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Batman #712
Written by Tony Daniel
Art by Steve Scott

You can tell Daniel is wrapping up his run now. Catgirl leaves Gotham, I think the Riddler just killed his own daughter, and Two-Face killed Mario Falcone. Lots of death in this issue. So why would the Riddler shoot his daughter to “restore” himself?

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Batman #713
Written by Fabian Nicieza
Art by Steve Scott, Daniel Sampere, and Andrei Bressen

Here it is the final issue of a series that began in 1940! I hate when they renumber things and hope Batman goes back to its original numbering some day. Why is Cassandra Cain not in the splash page that shows the Batfamily! I mean come on! It shows the Huntress. Cassandra is way closer to Batman than the Huntress ever was! What is it with writers in this period and ignoring the greatest of all Batgirls. It ends up just being a a sweet story about how Dick teaches Damnian an important lesson. But that is so underwhelming for a finale of a comic book this important in history that it is just sad. Plus no Cassandra Cain so I obviously hated this.

 

 

Azrael 15 and 16

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Azrael (Volume 2) #15
Written by David Hine
Art by Cliff Richards

 

This was a good issue as Batman investigates Azrael’s suicide and Ra’s Al Ghul expects him to rise on the third day. I have no idea where this is going but I am loving the ride and the creepiness of it all.

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Azrael (Volume 2) #16
Written by David Hine
Art by Cliff Richards

Azrael rejects Bruce’s offer to join Batman Incorporated but Bruce still accepts him as an ally after seeing a vision of him either becoming a sinner or saint – I think Bruce wants to keep him around so he can lead him on the path to good. We shall see.

The Auction Of The Black Mirror

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Detective Comics #872
Written by Scott Snyder
Art by Jock
Co-Feature by Snyder
Art by Francesco Frankavilla

 

The main story was just fantastic and creepy as the Dick goes undercover at the Black Mirror auction. From the Dealer’s talk about evil being humanity’s divine spark to the creepy gas masks to the surprise ending it was fantastic. Jock really sets the mood with his art too. I hope this creative team stays here for a while! There is great characterization of Dick and Babs too. Everything about this makes the perfect Bat-book. The co-feature sees more of James Jr. as Commisioner Gordon and Barbara discuss him and apparently they suspect he committed murder in the past. Interesting stuff.

Finch’s Gotham

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Batman: The Dark Knight #1
Written by David Finch
Art by Finch

 

And so debuts another new batbook this time the sole work of David Finch depicting Bruce Wayne dealing with darker, more occult side of Gotham City. I really enjoyed it and I was surprised how much I liked Finch’s artwork here. I loved how he drew the Batmobile like the one from the Burton films and the mystery of Dawn Golden is intriguing (Even if her name and retconnedness is a little hokey). Not a bad start at all.

Surprise Guest Star

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Batman #705
Written by Tony Daniel
Art by Daniel

 

I almost didn’t like this issue…this whole mask of the beholder thing doesn’t really interest me. I think Daniel works best when he plays with the Gotham cast and didn’t want to read about this Peacock and her brother — until the very end when he saved it all by bringing in a character not seen since Geoff Johns’s Teen Titans. I wasn’t expecting her to show up. Awesome!

Little James

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Detective Comics #871
Written by Scott Snyder
Art by Jock
Co-Feature by Snyder
Art by Francesco Frankavilla

 

Snyder begins his run with a great mystery – someone is selling weapons based on Gotham villains – and with an artist who knows how to set the mood for it. I am not the biggest fan of Jock’s art, but it works here. This was a great debut for the team. The Commissioner Gordon back-up had quite the shocking ending! I don’t know when was the last time we saw James Jr, but I have never read a comic with him except for flashbacks set when he was a baby – and now he is committing Gotham Crimes! Interesting!

An Offer To Azrael

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Azrael (Volume 2) #14
Written by David Hine
Art by Cliff Richards

 

Um holy shit has Michael Lane gone off the deep end?? I mean the character has always been anything but sane but wow does he lose it here – ending in well let’s just say I highly doubt this is a permanent state. I mean he has to be around for this series after all right? Good issue. I just am finding the main character less and less likeable as time goes on.

The Dollmaker

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Supergirl (Volume 5) #58
Written by Sterling Gates
Art by Jamal Igle

 

Damn I hate that Gates is leaving this book now especially because this issue rocked! Seriously we get a new menace, creepy as hell, called Dollmaker! (Is he Toyman’s son?) Finally some confirmation that Lana’s son is still in continuity. Cat Grant’s great commentary on how Supergirl dresses (I love how she mentions that belly shirts haven’t been in style in a decade…cause seriously it’s like the artists at DC don’t look around) all with Igle’s superb art. Oh and a great cliffhanger featuring Superwoman! I can’t wait to see what Lois wants to talk to her sister about.

Detective Comics 867 and 868

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Detective Comics #867
Written by David Hine
Art by Scott McDaniel

 

I am not the biggest fan of McDaniel’s art and is it can be too zany and cartoony and take away from a story – but it worked pretty well here I’d say. The Jokerz are the kind of thing that McDaniel can do well. I never read a story about them before except I remember them from Batman Beyond as the imposter Joker gang. Here it seems like they have been in Gotham before so hmmm I wonder if they are not new to the comics. What makes this interesting is that was once a gang of practical jokers and vandals has suddenly become violent like the real Joker himself. Good stuff.

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Detective Comics #868
Written by David Hine
Art by Scott McDaniel

The war between Guardian Bats and Jokerz become bloody and violent and things are getting crazy out of control. We learn the origin of the imposter Joker – a young man permanently disfigured by Joker venom years ago. He makes an interesting villain as he seems to be angry with Batman for never permanently getting rid of the Joker ala Jason Todd. This arc continues to surprise me with how good it is.