To 700 More!

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Batman #700
Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Tony Daniel, Frank Quitely, Andy Kubert, Scott Kolins, and David Finch

 

Morrison returns to the main Batman book to celebrate the 700th issue. I am not sure why everyone around the blogosphere wants to rip on this book. I enjoyed it more then anything Morrison did when he was actually the writer of this series! I liked the look at Batman through different eras and it was awesome to see Batman Beyond and everything. I thought all the art was superb and it worked really well. This was a great anniversary issue.

Batman 698 and 699

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Batman #698
Written by Tony Daniel
Art by Guillem March

 

Unlike most bloggers, I am not opposed to the idea of the Riddler becoming a villain again. I just think the whole Riddler as detective thing was nice for a while but it has ran its course and its time to get back to the root of the character. So this was a great issue for me and I like how Daniel set it up so that Batman is solving a mystery for Riddler when Riddler is the one behind it all. Great to see such use of the Gotham cast – one of the things I have loved about Daniel’s run on this book. March’s art was great as always.

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Batman #699
Written by Tony Daniel
Art by Guillem March

 

I am not sure if I completely understand what Riddler’s scheme is here. Maybe I am not supposed to? I liked the issue and all just a little confused. I was expecting this to be the conclusion of this story…perhaps it finishes next issue along with Morrison’s new story. I don’t know hmm.

Madness

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Azrael (Volume 2) #7
Written by Fabian Nicieza
Art by Ramon Bachs

 

I am proud to say that I guessed that Michael’s psychiatrist was working for the order and I was correct apparently. This was another good issue of this underrated series. I never expected to like this book as much as I have. The creative team is changing but Hine is the perfect replacement for Nicieza, I can’t wait to see what he does with all this. You can see Michael is definitely going crazy from the suit and killing left and right. Will he succumb to the madness? We will see I guess.

What Will Happen Next?

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Detective Comics #863
Written by Greg Rucka
Art by Jock and Scott Kolins
Co-Feature by Rucka
Art by Cully Hamner

 

The main story has Batwoman defeat the Cutter and it is perfectly juxtaposed against the flashback with Batman. The art team did a great job of making sure that it was no confusing with the red versus blue colors. In the end, Bette reveals her Flamebird costume to Kate. I wonder what will come of this? I can’t wait to see but we may have to wait a bit considering Batwoman is taking a break from the title and Rucka is leaving DC. Darn. The Question back-up was good as Huntress and Renee find themselves facing Veronica Cale who leads them to Vandal Savage.

Red Robin 9 and 10

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Red Robin #9
Written by Christopher Yost
Art by Marcus To

 

The end of this issue is the beginning of Batgirl #8. They weren’t the same scene at all though! What the hell is wrong with the editors at DC Comics. If you are going to do a crossover shouldn’t this all be coordinated? Anyways Tim returning to Gotham is really awesome, loved about every panel of this issue. To draws Gotham fantastically.

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Red Robin #10
Written by Christopher Yost
Art by Marcus To

 

Former lovers Tim and Steph continue their team-up in their new personas in this issue and I am still annoyed that Tim has not asked what happened to Cassandra! Whatever the art was good and the mystery with Ra’s, Hush, and Vicki Vale is really interesting. I am still loving Tam Fox as a character. Good stuff.

Poison Ivy Does Not Believe In Love

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Gotham City Sirens #8
Written by Guillem March and Marc Andreyko
Art by March

 

First off, I will comment that Dini is not writing this book, just like Streets of Gotham, and this is a completely different comic then was solicited. I hope Dini comes back but still…this was a good comics. March and Andreyko did a good job filling in. I love that there are murders of eco-terrorists in Robinson Park and Poison Ivy is being blamed, and she is pissed not that she is being falsely accused, but because she wished she had been the one to kill them. Hahaha. Poison Ivy is a great character and this was an excellent showcase for her. I liked the establishment of Harley meeting Poison Ivy when she was a doctor at Arkham. I could be wrong but I think that is something that has never been revealed before. The ending is perfect, I won’t spoil it but Poison Ivy does exactly what I would expect her to do to stop the killer.

Hate Crimes

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Azrael (Volume 2) #3
Written by Fabian Nicieza
Art by Ramon Bachs

This issue was probably the weakest so far, but in no way was it bad. We delve into Michael Lane’s military past as he begins to deal with someone who is murdering Muslims, a man who he was in Iraq with. In the end, it looks like Azrael murders the hate-filled bastard or maybe we are just lead to believe that? Is this a symptom of the Suit of Sorrow or simply revenge for the murders on Michael’s part? Either way this was an issue that dealt with hate crimes in a very powerful way so I give it props. I think the art could use some work though, Bachs can do better.

Detective 859 and 860

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Detective Comics #859
Written by Greg Rucka
Art by J.H. Williams III
Co-Feature by Rucka
Art by Cully Hamner

As a gay man, I definitely shed a tear reading this issue. I know that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is something that many gays have had to deal with and Batwoman’s courageous and powerful resignation from the military was a beautiful, touching thing to read. I also loved that her Dad was proud of her too. The ending was beautiful as well as Kate finds herself lost in life and is saved by Batman – and is inspired. Great origin story for the new Batwoman. The Question back-up featured Huntress – it was okay. Hats off to Rucka for dedicating this issue to Dan Choi!

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Detective Comics #860
Written by Greg Rucka
Art by J.H. Williams III
Co-Feature by Rucka
Art by Cully Hamner

Batwoman gets her costume in this chapter as Kate’s vigilante activities are discovered by her father who agrees to get her advanced training and help her out. I loved the explanation for the costume and the Kaballistic stuff – very nice and shows that Rucka really gets this character and he is bringing her to life. The revelation that Alice is her sister was expected but it was a good reveal. The Question back-up was actually pretty good with Question and Huntress talking about Vic Sage.

Journey Into Devil’s Square

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Batman #693
Written by Tony Daniel
Art by Daniel

Daniel once again shows he has what it takes to write Batman, there was more story to this issue then in all three issues of his Battle for the Cowl. It was good to see the Bat Family working together (Although I wish we could have seen Cassandra Cain!) during the party and we check in on everything that is going on in Gotham. I am dying to know who the Black Mask is. Is Devil’s Square a new concept? I don’t remember that area of Gotham being mentioned before or am I wrong? I am excited to see Riddler returning to his old criminal self. The Riddler as detective thing has been fun for a while but I mean who didn’t think he would be a villain again? And the way he switches back is so comic bookey I love it. I was excited to see the Barbara-Dick-Helena love triangle again. I forgot that he slept with Huntress back in the day. Plus, I may be in the minority here, but I have never bought the Dick and Barbara relationship. I always felt like they should be close friends and not lovers.

Blood Thirsty Huntress

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Batman: Streets of Gotham #5
Written by Christopher Yost
Art by Dustin Nguyen
Co-Feature by Marc Andreyko
Art by Jeremy Haun

During Gail Simone’s run on Birds of Prey, if I remember correctly, Huntress grew as a character and now rarely goes for lethal force on villains. So why in this issue is she unnecessarily blood thirsty? I get that she is more willing to kill then any of the other Gotham heroes but she seems to want to kill Man-Bat in this issue. It is just over the top. That being said I did like the story and the idea of the crazy priest. The Manhunter co-feature was pretty damn awesome as we look at Dylan’s histoy and Two-Face being up to no good. I did enjoy the issue although the Huntress was written strangely.

The New Azrael Has A Great First Issue

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Azrael (Volume 2) #1
Written by Fabian Nicieza
Art by Ramon Bachs

This is two books in a row that I didn’t expect to enjoy but instead actually thuroughly enjoyed. I did not read this new Azrael’s mini nor the annuals leading up to the (heck I didn’t even read Jean Paul Valley’s series) start of this series but I still found that I could follow this debut issue and enjoy it. I already can tell you that I like the new Azrael – and the idea that in six months the character is going to be dead or possibly dead makes it all the more interesting. I like the fact that there is a person murdering those who were silent about sexual abuse by priests. I think that is some interesting territory to cover. It is dark but it fits the tone of the book. Bach’s art is different from his work on Red Robin but it fits the tone of this book. Good stuff for a debut issue. I hope this series is a sucess and it will be if it continues with this quality.

Bland As A Bat

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Batman #684
Written by Denny O’Niel
Art by Gulliem March

Denny O’Niel finishes his short story this issue that began here. Unfortunately, there really isn’t much to say about this. Nightwing is missing Batman, and so are Gordon and Bullock. Especially when they have to deal with a Two-Face copycat. THere really isn’t much story here and we are introduced this new mysterious woman who we will probably never see again. I don’t think the failure of this little arc is due to O’Niel’s writing. I don’t think DC just gave him enough information to work with. They were probably like Batman is missing, write a story for two issues. I guess you can make an argument that you can have a satisfying story in just one issue – and certainly O’Niel is capable of this – but I guess he just wasn’t given enough time to do such a thing. I don’t know, maybe I am just defending him because it is hard to believe O’Niel could write such a bland story.

A Ride On The Way Back Machine

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Detective Comics #851
Written by Denny O’Neil
Art by Guillem March

Denny O’Neill starts his two part Last Rites Batman story with this issue. This was something I was definitely excited for. And while I was slightly underwhelmed, it was still a good read. The art is fantastic and O’Neil reaches as far back the Gotham Quake, which is what got me into comics at the mere age of eleven in the first place, so this was a ride on the way back machine for me. It brought back a lot of good memories. Once again, Alfred doesn’t mention Cassandra Cain as a possibility in stopping this fake Two-Face and just calls in Nightwing. I expected at least a mention from O’Neil who was around during the time she was created in the world of Batman. This kinda pissed me off, but it was a minor complaint. I am intrigued by this new actress character. At least I am assuming she is new and I look forward to the next part of this story.

Robin 164 – 180

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Robin #164
Written by Adam Beechen
Art by Freddie E. Williams II

Meh….this issue was just a waste. Dodge recruits a bunch of Gotham Metas I don’t care about to take out Robin and Robin gets asked to be on the tennis team. I really don’t care.  Williams’s art, while I liked it at first, is kinda getting on my nerves. I don’t like how cartooney it is and how everyone’s mouth looks so strange.

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Robin #165
Written by Adam Beechen
Art by Freddie E. Williams II

Now this was more like it. Robin fights off Dodge and his goon in the hospital. I like how Beechen is great at explaining how Robin can take out these guys who at first glace seem so much more powerful. He uses brains over brawn. I knew there was no way Dodge would want to kill Robin, but I wonder how this girl knows Robin’s real name or if she even does.

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Robin #166
Written by Adam Beechen
Art by Freddie E. Williams II

While this storyline took a little long, I must say that I really enjoyed this finale. I hope Dodge comes back again. There is something so sweet about his flamebird-like wannabe attitude. I also must say that I was not expecting the whole Zatara/Ravager twist at all. This was a good issue.

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Robin #167
Written by Brandon Thomas
Art by Freddie E. Williams II

This filler issue was very very good and a nice story about a boy who misses his father. Sometimes these mourning stories can get a little tiresome but there hasn’t been that much focus on the death of Jack Drake in this series and this issue make up for it. The best part has to be when Batman tells Jack “That he will take it up from here.” Meaning of course that he will take care of Tim.

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Robin #168
Written by Peter Milligan
Art by Freddie E. Williams II

This is part of the Ressurection of Ra’s al Ghul crossover and is one of the better issues in this crossover. I totally understand why Robin is freaking out on Damian. I hate that little brat and I don’t trust him either. And it’s not like Damian is being subtle about wanting to replace Tim, I mean he runs around in a Robin shirt! How old is Damian supposed to be? Just curious.

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Robin #169
Written by Peter Milligan
Art by David Baldeon

This is another part of the Ressurection of Ra’s al Ghul and in it we see Tim tempted by the idea of joining with Ra’s if it means he can bring back those he has lost. I was shocked at first that Robin would consider it, but then I thought about it and realized….this boy has lost his parents, his girlfriend, and his best friend. I think it is very human of him to be tempted to do that, but I trust he will make the right decision in the end. Oh and I like Baldeon’s art better than Williams’s art.

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Robin #170
Written by Chuck Dixon
Art by Chris Batista and Jamal Igle

Chuck Dixon is  back on Robin and it looks like he is fixing DC’s biggest mistake in the bat-books of this decade, the death and mistreatment of Stephanie Brown. Dixon wsa the writer of Robin when I first got into comics (writer of most of the batbooks actually) and I have tremendous respect for him as a writer even if I don’t agree with his politics. This is a fantastic issue and a great start to his new run. I can’t wait to see Stephanie again. And I loved the mention of the memorial (or lack of) in the cave.

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Robin #171
Written by Chuck Dixon
Art by Chris Batista

This was a good issue, Dixon is back in the game like he never left. And I love how he is seeing Spoiler jumping across rooftops. If she is alive, was that issue of Batgirl where she talks to Stephanie in a near-death-experience just a hallucination? Anyways, Violet has an ugly costume. I wonder what is going on with Ives.

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Robin #172
Written by Chuck Dixon
Art by David Baldeon

Robin busts up an illegal casino led by Maxie Zeus this issue, all the while trying to stop Violet. God…I hate her. I hate her costume and I hate her attitude and I HATE those stupid goggles. All and all I have got a lot of hate for her. I question since she isn’t the Spoiler, what the point of her character even is? I guess just to throw people off thinking she was Stephanie. But Stephanie is back in her old Spoiler this issue! But Tim doesn’t know it yet.

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Robin #173
Written by Chuck Dixon
Art by Chris Batista

Spoiler shows up but Robin doesn’t believe it is Stephanie behind the mask. I liked how he gets angry that someone is impersonating her as I think I would be too. I almost feel like Dixon should have waited to not show the readers Spoiler was back until the moment Robin saw her, it would make it more dramatic.

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Robin #174
Written by Chuck Dixon
Art by Chris Batista

Well Stephanie is back and Dixon has fixed one of DC’s worst mistakes, her brutal death. He even makes Batman look like less of jackass by saying that Batman knew that she was still alive and that is why there was no memorial in the cave. She apparently faked her death with the help of Leslie. Now I would like to see Batman and Leslie reconcile. It was really awesome to see Tim give her a big hug and kiss when he saw her. I know DC will try to play it off as if this was there plan the whole time, but we all know it wasn’t. I am just happy it is fixed.

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Robin #175
Written by Fabian Nicieza
Art by Joe Bennett

This issue begins a crossover with R.I.P and more so of a crossover then Detective or Nightwing is (They are not really crossovers at all) but around the same level of crossover as Batman and the Outsiders. Dixon left DC before this issue and his remaining stories were chronicled in the Robin/Spoiler Special. I am not going to get into that whole dabacle, but I will say that this is good stuff. Nicieza is always good and is a perfect replacement for Dixon. I don’t really care for the flashbacks to 52 with Dick and Tim though. It just doesn’t interest me. Robin searching for the missing Batman does though and his strange relationship with Spoiler.

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Robin #175
Written by Fabian Nicieza
Art by Joe Bennett

The R.I.P storyline begins and it is revealed that the Spoiler has been trying to steer Robin away from finding out what is going on with Batman because Batman asked him to. R.I.P is turning out to be an awesome storyline, and this crossover is really exciting as we see Tim dig deeper and deeper to find out what happened to Batman. Still don’t care much for the flashbacks but it works in the context of the story. The art is fantastic as well.

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Robin #177
Written by Fabian Nicieza
Art by Freddie E. Williams II

I didn’t expect to see Ragman in this issue but I guess I forgot he lives in Gotham. As for who the new Red Robin is if it isn’t Jason Todd, I have no idea but I have always liked the Red Robin costume. I doubt Stephanie is actually paying Lynx to kill Robin. If she is that would be stupid and Nicieza is a better writer then that. The writing is good that I wasn’t even annoyed by Williams’s art.

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Robin #178
Written by Fabian Nicieza
Art by Freddie E. Williams II

I am confused. I don’t know who that guy was at the end or what is going on with Spoiler. I really don’t care about this gang war, it bores me. This was kind of a dull issue and this time around I did notice Williams’s art.

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Robin #179
Written by Fabian Nicieza
Art by Freddie E. Williams II

Okay everything is spiraling out of control for Robin who is trying to keep Gotham safe, Spoiler is acting weird, and there is a guy running around as Red Robin who seemingly wants to kill Robin. This is a lot to take in, but the annoying thing is that Tim mentions him and Dick are taking care of thing in Gotham, but so is Cassandra! Why no mention of Batgirl, damn it.

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Robin #180
Written by Fabian Nicieza
Art by Freddie E. Williams II

I am sure Robin escapes the explosion at the end….but I was very underwhelmed by the reveal of who Red Robin was. I was expecting someone way cooler then that, some former Robin villain now a little muscled up. At least it looks like Anarky is coming back, although he sort of disappeared from comics around the time I started reading them so I don’t have that much of a connection with the character as some people do. Hmmmm…..not sure where this is going exactly but I guess I am along for the ride.

Justice Society 3 – 5

Justice Society of America #3
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Dale Eaglesham and Ruy Jose

Eaflesham’s art is perfect for this series. I just can not get enough of it. There were so many great moments in this issue. From Cyclone finally finding her new costume (although Alex Ross’s cover drawing of it is horrible), to the massacre of the Heywood Family, to the end where it is revealed that Wildcat’s illegitamate son is some kind of werecat. I wonder how that happened?

Justice Society of America #4
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Dale Eaglesham and Ruy Jose

The conclusion to the first arc of this series was just fantastic. A lof of great moments and foreshadowing of what is to come. It looks like no one knows how Tom Grant ended up a were-cat but hopefully we will find out soon. I like how Johns writes the thoughts of the characters to give some insight into who each of them really are. This is the best team book that DC is putting out right now.

Justice Society of America #5
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Fernando Pasarin

 

This is the second part of the JLA/JSA crossover that began here. It is so awesome to see these two teams work together. I loved all the moments of this issue as well. Cyclone and Red Tornado’s conversation, Batman and Starman together. Oh and Superman’s revelation that he knew the Legion when they were kids was great. Highly recommended. I don’t have much else to say, just that it was great.


Who Is The Ventriloquist?

Detective Comics #827
Written by Paul Dini
Art by Don Kramer and Wayne Faucher

This issue marks the debut of the all-new ventriloquist and I hope she stays around for a long time to come. Dini continues his line of great one-shot stories of Batman too with this issue. So far Dini has not failed me and I do not suspect he ever will. Kramer’s art is fantastic and almost perfect for Detective Comics. Although Morison’s Batman run is getting more attention, this is the better of the two series. The new ventriloquist, Sugar, still has scarface but she is still very different from Arnold Wesker. She is confident and more violent. She is not so much afraid of scarface as Wesker was. Albeit, I suppose she is just as nuts as he was. I hope she sticks around. It is hinted that we are supposed to know her from somewhere, or at least Batman is. I wonder wonder who she truly is.

Tim Drake, Adoptive Son of Bruce Wayne

Batman #654
Written by James Robinson
Art by Don Kramer and Michael Bair
Cover by Simone Bianchi


Hmmm….I don’t know what to think of this issue. On one hand, I loved the ending when Bruce Wayne adopts Tim Drake. This is a great step forward for them. I wonder what Dick will think of it. When Tim started crying when Bruce told him it was such a heart-felt moment, it was really the first time we had seen Tim show emotion about this. We have not seen him cry about his parents or Stephanie’s deaths. I am glad this has been rectified. But on the other hand, the mystery of this whole 8-issue storyline was who framed Harvey Dent and it turns out to be some guy called the Great White Shark! Who is this guy? I have never heard of him. The ending just seemed so uneventful and too much of an easy wrap-up to the storyline. It was very anti-climactic. Also, this storyline was way too decompressed. Eight issues was just too long to tell this story. So in the end, I liked that Batman and Robin are taking the next step but I find the whole mystery of the storyline bland. I look forward to Grant Morrison next month.