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.

 

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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The Dark Knight Daughter

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Detective Comics #953
Written by James Tynion IV
Art by Christian Duce

I recently asked Phil Jimenez on twitter if Linda Danvers could show up in his Superwoman run. His answer made it seem like all of the Rebirth creative teams will be changing soon. I hope he is wrong because DEAR GOD DC DO NOT TAKE TYNION OFF THIS COMIC. He is the best writer of Cassandra Cain in years. The only way I could be okay with that is if they said she gets to be Batgirl again. In this issue, Cassandra has to deal with the revalation of Lady Shiva being her mother. In the flashbacks to her training, Cassandra is able to speak some words. This was not true pre-flashpoint and it bothers me but perhaps it is a key to DC Rebirth and the missing ten years? Maybe she subconsciously remembers learning the language before the timeline change. That would be cool. The cover to this comic is not deceiving, she does fight Batman when he tries to stop her. She even goes as far to reject the name Cassandra because she wants nothing to do with her parents. Who could blame her? This is a character with murderous parents who instinctively knows murder is wrong. But Batman trying to calm her down made me so happy. It was the father-daughter relationship they had in Cassandra’s early days. Before DC stupidly had him abandon her during 52. There was no reason why she couldn’t have gone with them on their trip in 52 or Bruce would have put her in charge of Gotham and not Harvey Dent. It was years ago but I am still pissed about it. Cassandra finally confronts Lady Shiva who challenges her to fight her to the death, she wants to see her daughter try to kill. Cassandra refuses being the one true Batgirl and is beaten unconscious and left in the sewer by her mother. I hope we get to see Cass get her revenge for that soon.

Pandora Pits and Creative Teams

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Trinity (Volume 2) #7
Written by Cullen Bunn
Art by Clay Mann and Miguel Mendoca

Ra’s Al Ghul, Lex Luthor, and Circe are all called to “the Pandora Pits.” and fight a creature that comes from the Pits that is a fusion of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman; a representation of their greatest fears. In the end, they beat the creature and realize the power of the Pandora Pits is here. How this relates to the Pandora killed in DC Rebirth is unknown to me but this was an intersting start to this tory arc. Is Manapul now off this book or is Bunn just a guest writer? Is it always going to have rotating creative teams like Superman/Batman had? I really enjoyed Manapul’s work on this series before. I hope he is back.

The Real Batgirl Meets Her Mother (Again)

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Detective Comics #952
Written by James Tynion IV
Art by Christian Duce

In this issue, Tynion IV once again shows me that this is without a doubt the best comic book DC is publishing. He consistently hits it out of the park with the team dynamics, characterization, and the exploration of what makes this Bat-family tick. Because yes despite what some writers have acted like the bat-family goes way beyond Dick Grayson and Damian Wayne. And as any reader of this blog knows the best bat-family character in my opinion is the one and only Cassandra Cain which this issue so wonderfully focuses on as Cassandra meets her mom Lady Shiva for the first time in this new timeline (or at least in her memory if this erased memory thing turns out to be true) and she is devastated by it. Lady Shiva acts completely evil to her, calling her refusual to kill pathetic, and saying she wish she had never known about what happened to her daughter. It was the final pages of this issue where Cassandra cries and Batman holds her that I knew Tynion understands the father-daughter relationship between these two characters. Like I said, Cassandra is the real Dark Knight Damsel and I hope this moment blooms into him once again adopting Cass in this continuity. Oh and the art is fantastic as usual.

Titans Tower is Back

Teen Titans (Volume 6) #5
Written by Benjamin Percy
Art by Khoi Pham

This was another incredible issue of Teen Titans. I am beginning to think this is going to be a really great run in the way Geoff Johns, Marv Wolfman, and J.T. Krul had (although Krul’s was abbreviated) – there is a lot of hope already and a feeling these people will become close friends like the Titans always were. I still don’t like Damian much and I don’t think he should be there “leader” but even I am warming up to him. The art was fantastic in this comic I got to hand it to this creative team they are kicking it out of the park. I was so happy to see at the end Titans Tower is back!

Teen Titans Rebirth 1 – 4

Okay this is it…. I am returning to the DCU after a five-year absence. I have caught up with all pre-flashpoint stories. And now we are here in the world of DC Rebirth. Will I recognize these characters I have loved so much? How much has the Teen Titans changed since I last saw them in Volume 3. Let’s find out.
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Teen Titans (Volume 6) #1
Written by Benjamin Percy
Art by Jonboy Meyers

Immediately off the bat I have to say this felt more like Young Justice than Teen Titans to me and that is probably because of the art style which I enjoyed I guess…and it fits the tone…but I like my art usually less cartoony. I am willing to give Meyers a chance. I thought this was an okay start if a bit simplistic. Damian Wayne has gathered a new team of Teen Titans and plan to restore the team to greatness it has been missing the last few years which I suppose is how this book incorporates the Rebirth aspect. I love that Beast Boy says Damian is no Time Drake because hell ya he is not! Damian is still an annoying brat to me and always will be. I have to ask how of the Pre-Flashpoint Teen Titans history is now back. Dick is mentioned by Alfred as having grown up with the Titans but Beast Boy and Raven are much younger than they were pre-flashpoint it seems. Did they have the history with the Titans before?  Damian briefly joined the Teen Titans back in Volume 3. I had thought he was turning 13 then too. Is that story out of continuity or taken away by Dr. Manhattan? These are the kinds of questions I would like to see answered eventually.  Are Connor Kent and Bart Allen ever going to come back? I am new to this new Kid Flash who I wish they would just change his name to something besides Wally. Let’s see if Benajamin Percy can bring the Titans together again…

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Teen Titans (Volume 6) #2
Written by Benjamin Percy
Art by Diogenes Neves

We learn the real reason these specific heroes have been picked by Damanian to be the Teen Titans is because they were all chosen by a group of young assassins working for Ra’s Al Ghul as targets. The assassins show up and the team has to work together in this issue to fight them. It was a good issue. I enjoyed the art and the writing much more than I did the previous issue. Still waiting to find out how much of Titans history is still in tact.

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Teen Titans (Volume 6) #3
Written by Benjamin Percy
Art by Khoi Pham

In a flashback scene in this issue, you see Damian training with the assassin Mara and man oh man he was a little dickhead then wasn’t he? Scarring her so she will remember he is a better fighter. This issue balanced out the last issue by being more about getting in the heads of the characters. I really enjoyed it and I think I am already impressed with Benjamin Percy as a writer. This book has had 3 different artists in 3 different issues but they all have been good.

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Teen Titans (Volume 6) #4
Written by Benjamin Percy
Art by Khoi Pham

I was very impressed by this issue as well. Damian nearly sacrifices himself to save the Teen Titans and the team finally gets behind him. I like how this adventure is really building this group into a cohesive unit. I have to say it is making me feel that “Titans family” feeling you got from the Pre-Flashpoint Teen Titans. Keep it up!

Red Robin 22-26

red_robin_vol_1_22Red Robin #22
Written by Fabian Nicieza
Art by Freddie Williams II

This was another issue of the Azrael Batman crossover. It was good and for once I wasn’t bothered by Williams’s art for some reason it seemed less cartoony this time around. I don’t quite buy the idea that Tim Drake would not believe in God because he is a member of the Teen Titans he has fought Gods and knows that there is Angel that used to be in the Justice League, etc. I think Nicieza should have said he doesn’t believe in the Christian version of God or something else besides this because it doesn’t work in the DCU.

red_robin_vol_1_23Red Robin #23
Written by Fabian Nicieza
Art by Marcus To

I wonder if the scene where Lucius Fox means with a Hong Kong businessman named Lau is a homage to the similar scene in The Dark Knight. It sure seems like it. Anyways, this was a decent issue where Red Robin is lead into a trap and an assassin’s tournament. Tim acts like he has heard of this tournament before and I wonder if it was in this book or in his time as Robin.

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Red Robin #24
Written by Fabian Nicieza
Art by Marcus To

I like how Marcus To draws Tim’s Red Robin costume when he is surrounded completely with his cape, which is surprising because I am not a big fan of the costume in general. The ending of this issue actually made this interesting after all as there is an occult angle to this story line that I was not expecting. Also Tim may be forced to impregnate someone but I am sure he gets out of this next issue? Let’s see!

 

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Written by Fabian Nicieza

Art by Marcus To

Tim and Cassandra Cain fighting together again at last! Despite the misleading cover, Tim and Cassandra – now in her new guise as Black Bat – a rather awesome title for her I think. The only thing better would be what she truly is – Batgirl! Anyways, it was great to see the two of them working together. To me and people my age, they are Batgirl and Robin. That being said, Nicieza only briefly mentions Tim going to Hong Kong to help Cass fight Cricket. Which sounds like an awesome villain. Why can’t we see that story instead of what I assume the next issue will be. I bet he originally wanted to include it but it was cut because of the stupid New 52.

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Red Robin #26
Written by Fabian Nicieza
Art by Marcus To

In the final issue of this series, Tim sets up a death trap for Captain Boomerang – the man who killed his father, but saves Boomerang at the last second. Batman is disappointed in Red Robin and even though he made the right choice the issue ends on a darker note with a darker Red Robin. I question why they would go in this direction at all? It doesn’t really fit the character although I do think there is room for Tim to kill more than Cassandra Cain whose whole character was about not killing but still…it’s a bit strange.

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.

bat711Batman #711
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.

 

 

5 Years Later and I am back baby! So here is Gotham City Sirens 22-26

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Gotham City Sirens #22
Written by Peter Calloway
Art by Andres Guinaldo

It has been five years since I read the last issue of this book and I don’t remember what happened but I think this was a Batman crossover issue and therefore it doesn’t much matter. It sure as hell was a good one though. Calloway really played with Catwoman’s history here with her sister which shows he understands the character. Always interesting to hear Selena quote Jesus of all people. I missed the DCU! It is good to be back in Gotham.

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Gotham City Sirens #23
Written by Peter Calloway
Art by Andres Guinaldo

Look how old this comic is ! The Ryan Reynolds Green Lantern movie! Ew! Anyways, Harley tries to break Joker out of Arkham again and Batman sends Catwoman to stop it. I love that the Joker knows that there is more than one Batman running around Gotham and mentions it here. They really never had Joker and Harley together in the mainstream comics all that much. It is refreshing (and psychotic) to see it in this issue.

 

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Gotham City Sirens #24
Written by Peter Calloway
Art by Andres Guinaldo

This was an action-packed finale to this arc that ends with both Harley and Ivy locked up in Arkham but not before the Joker goes on a murdering spree. It is fun to see the Bat and the Cat fighting together again. This was a great issue. Violent. I had forgotten how violent these comics can be. But I don’t mind violence as long as there is still hope and optimism in the end. DC Rebirth restored that for me. Let’s hope the Didio doesn’t screw this up!

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Gotham City Sirens #25
Written by Peter Calloway
Art by Andres Guinaldo

Hats off to Guinaldo for choosing to make the borders between panels in this issue be actualy plant vines as it mainly stars Poison Ivy who breaks out of Arkham with Harley Quinn (I love that she goes between wanting to actually kill Harley and calling Harley her best friend throughout the issue) and with the help of the Penguin the duo traps Catwoman in Robinson Park. This is the perfect way to end a villain book, even sympathetic villains like these ladies. I look forward to the final issue.

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Gotham City Sirens #26
Written by Peter Calloway
Art by Andres Guinaldo

This is the final issue of the Gotham City Sirens as it ends before the New 52 disgusting no-good horrible reboot. So glad it is turning out to not have been a reboot at all.  I have to say it had some great character moments but I was a bit confused if Batman was really behind the entire Sirens “team” or if Catwoman was lying. It also ended abruptly. I wonder if the other titles do this before Flashpoint or if this was unique. The last panel was just blank. Sad.

The Return of the Crusader

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Batman #708
Written by David Hine
Art by Guillem March

 

This is the first part of the Judgement on Gotham crossover that was lead up to from the now cancelled Azrael series. You don’t have to read the Azrael book to get this but it certainly helps. It was great to see the Crusader back as he was definitely the best villain to come out of that book. March’s Batman is drawn differently here, but not in a bad way. I guess Devil’s Square has replaced the East End as Gotham’s “bad neighborhood” now. I hope we get to see the East End again eventually as it was Catwoman’s stomping grounds for so long. No idea what is going on with Dick after being stabbed with the sword but it’s an interesting mystery and this was a good start to the crossover.

Azrael 17 and 18

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Azrael (Volume 2) #17
Written by David Hine
Art by Cliff Richards

Azraek travels to Afghanistan to defeat a metahuman called Fireball who is also called Azrael. Interesting stuff. I wonder if Batman would still be talking to Azrael if he knew he was offing people like this.

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Azrael (Volume 2) #18
Written by David Hine
Art by Cliff Richards

This series comes to a close with Azrael officially losing his mind and becoming incredibly violent under Ra’s Al Ghul’s orders. I loved this book after Hine took over it really took off, but I can’t say I ever grew to like the character of Michael Lane…but I do not know if we were supposed to.

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.

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 Missing Daughter Saga Continues

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Red Robin #12
Written by Christopher Yost
Art by Marcus To

 

Okay if Ra’s took the time to track down people like fucking Julie Madison, then why the fuck would he not go after Cassandra Cain – Bruce’s adopted daughter daughter and the former Batgirl! Is it because DC’s editors are asshats?! I think so. But anyways, this was a great way to end Yost’s run on the title and bring Tim full circle. This began as the story of Tim going in a direction too dark for the character but Yost has brought him back to Gotham and back to his old self. Hell they even made the costume more his. Yost’s run was great. I am certainly glad To is sticking around but I will miss Christopher Yost on this book.

The Missing Daughter

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Red Robin #11
Written by Christopher Yost
Art by Marcus To

 

So Ra’s Al Ghul and his League of Assassins are going after every member of the Bat family…except for Cassandra Cain!!! Seriously pissed off after DC apparently lied to Cass fans in their DC Nation column and what’s his face at Wonder Con said there are no plans for Cass any time soon. Why does the Bat Family not care where she is? What the hell is going on here? Why is there no mention that Bruce’s adopted daughter is missing? I am going to fucking scream! AHHHHH! But anyways this was a pretty awesome issue.

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.