Better Back-Up

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Harley Quinn (Volume 3) #23
Written by Amanda Connor, Jimmy Palmiotti, and Paul Dini
Art by John Timms and Brett Blevins

Harley and Goat Boy takes Harley’s parents on a dinner cruise when the cruise is invaded by Clock King and Sportsmaster. Outside of the stuff with spoonsdale, I actually found this issue a tad boring and tedious. It seems like Conner and Palmiotti are being too wordy in each panel. Let the story breathe a bit. The backup Paul Dini was more fun with Harley overspending on her new headquarters for the Joker.

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.

Bond-ish Batman

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All-Star Batman #11
Written by Scott Snyder
Art by Rafael Albuquerque

This was a high stakes issue that took Batman from fighting alligators to teaming up with Penguin, Black Mask, and Great White to nearly bleeding out in a casino submarine. Snyder does know how to write a good James Bondish Batman story. I have no idea who the big bad of this issue is or what he has to do with Alfred’s past but I enjoyed this comic and look forward to seeing where this story goes. I can’t say that I really like the way Alfred was betrayed in the entire issue though. I don’t buy that Alfred wore a punk rock hair cut in his teen years but maybe that was just a poor artistic choice.

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.

DC’s Best Writer and Best Ongoing Series

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Detective Comics #958
Written by James Tynion IV
Art by Alvaro Martinez

This was another incredible issue of DC’s best series. Cassandra Cain takes a break from being the lead now as this story arc focuses on Azrael and takes a look back at his origin, beautifully drawn by Alvaro Martinez. Of course being the Cassandra Cain fan that I am it was Cassandra’s small moments that made me smile. She is learning Shakespeare with Clayface, her understanding that someone who teaches children to kill must be a mother.  Those were great moments. The surprise guest at the end was something I did not see coming and I am glad to see her because she hasn’t been around much in DC Rebirth. Martinez draws a beautiful Gotham City. He needs to stick around. Tynion really loves Gotham City, there are so many easter eggs including naming the basketball stadium Dixon Stadium which has to be an homage to Chuck Dixon whose work on these characters inspired Tynion’s incredible run on this book so far. Tynion is by far the best writer and this is the best book that DC is putting out right now.

 

Purple Boring Girl

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Batgirl (Volume 5) #9
Written by Hope Larson
Art by Chris Wildgoose

Ugh she does not deserve to call herself Batgirl! She is no Dark Knight like Cassandra was. She walks around in a purple costume in broad daylight. Call her something else or make her Oracle. Why does DC insist Barbara Gordon has to be Batgirl? This issue just annoyed me. Barbara is still dating Ethan Cobblepot and in the end runs into the Penguin. Woot. Boring.

Babs Gordon Rebirth 1 – 8

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Batgirl (Volume 5) #1
Written by Hope Larson
Art by Rafael Albuquerque

Ugh. I hate that here I am reading another series titled Batgirl not starring the one and only Batgirl named Cassandra Cain. Instead we had these purpley Batgirls Stephanie Brown last time and now we are back to Barbara Gordon. Don’t get me wrong I love Barbara Gordon…as Oracle…where she made sense. Why do we need a purpley Batgirl who has a costume that could not scare a fly. In this issue, Barbara Gordon heads on a trip to Japan to meet a former hero named Fruit Bat and I guess the old lady can still fight. She also meets an old friend from Chicago while in Japan. It was well-written and everything but I miss Cassandra as Batgirl so much. This was too bright and happy and purpley for a Bat story. Also, with so many Golden Age heroes around….why did Larson make one up for this story. Come on if you are a writer in the DC Universe sandbox…utilize it’s many toys!

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Batgirl (Volume 5) #2
Written by Hope Larson
Art by Rafael Albuquerque

Okay so Barbara keeps mentioning Burnside and it has been mentioned in other books. What is it? A town or a neighborhood in Gotham? A quick google search made me realize it is a Hipster neighborhood in Gotham. Ha, like Logan Square or Wicker Park in Chicago. Babs’s new boyfriend Kai is a hunk! She should not be so worried about being with him.

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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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Red Hood 1 – 7

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Red Hood and the Outlaws (Volume 2) #1
Written by Scott Lobdell
Art by Dexter Soy

I am one of those people that Jason Todd is a character that should be dead. He was a much more powerful character when he was dead and memorialized in the batcave and I think DC bringing him back was a mistake and too easy. That being said, I like this comic. I think it mainly had to do with the beautiful art of Dexter Soy who draws Gotham City like it should be drawn. The cover is a little misleading, Bizarro doesn’t appear and Artemis is in one panel. This was a Red Hood comic primarily where he goes “undercover” working for Black Mask. It seems Jason’s relationship with Batman has improved since I stopped reading comics because Batman is at least talking to him and asking him to do stuff. I love that Lobdell brought back an obscure DC character from the 80s named Ma Gunn who is an interesting Bat-villain. Yay continuity! I look forward to seeing what will happen when Bizarro and Aremis are explored further.

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Red Hood and the Outlaws (Volume 2) #2
Written by Scott Lobdell
Art by Dexter Soy

Artemis and Red Hood go from fighting to allies in this comic book while Red Hood is still pretending to be working for Black Mask and his gang. It was a great comic. Who is this Dexter Soy and why does he not do more art for DC?! He should be drawing higher profile books than this because he is incredible. I wanted to learn more about Artemis’s back story. Does she remember her time as Wonder Woman or was that erased by Dr. Manhattan or whoever is manipulating time in Rebirth.

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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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Harley Quinn 1 – 14

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Harley Quinn (Volume 3) #1
Written by Amanda Connor and Jimmy Palmiotti
Art by Chad Hardin

I knew that Harley Quinn seemed to be way more popular since I stopped reading comics just by looking at dccomics.com once in a while the last few years. At first I hated that they sexified her costume and everything but after reading this comic I can see why she has become so big. This is hilarious stuff! Connor and Palmiotti write Harley as if you can hear her accent and funny quips in your ears. The way the zombie outbreak gets started is so morbid but funny. And all of these side characters are intriguing – the gang of Harleys, Red Tool, etc…

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Harley Quinn (Volume 3) #2
Written by Amanda Connor and Jimmy Palmiotti
Art by Bret Blevins and  Chad Hardin

I did not enjoy this issue as much as the last but this is still a fun book. In this issue, it is mostly just Harley fighting the zombies in various ways and some of the jokes felt flat to me. But I loved the part in the bathroom.

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Secret Six 32 – 36

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Secret Six (Volume 3) #32
Written by Gail Simone
Art by J. Calafiore

The Secret Six travel to hell in a fantastic issue. I forgot how much I missed reading this book with it’s hilarious but dark characters and it’s beautiful artwork. I loved how Bane seemed shock that he might be damned to hell because he considers himself to be good. I loved that Ragdoll doesn’t want to return to earth because he is going “sane.” I loved it all.

 

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Written by Gail Simone
Art by J. Calafiore

In this issue, Catman goes to make sure that his father is in hell where he deserves to be only to find that his mother is in hell too – she eats his father every day as a lioness to torture him. Etrigan tells Catman this is heaven for his mother. I guess his Dad got what he deserved! That is some dark humor there and I love it. We even get to see the personal hells of all of the Secret Six. Some were sad like Bane’s but then Gail Simone – the master 0f writing comedic relief – shows King Shark’s hell as a vegetarian restaurant. Anyways, Lady Blaze tells Scandal her other girlfriend’s soul will soon belong to her in hell. I can’t remember who Scandal’s other girlfriend was.

secretsix34Secret Six (Volume 3) #34
Written by Gail Simone
Art by J. Calafiore

Did Jeanette quote Julian of Norwhich in this issue? Scandal sure did lie to her girlfriend in this issue didn’t she? Anyways, this was a heartwarming issue in a dark heartwarming disturbing way only the Secret Six can bring. Bane goes on a date and gets in a fight. Jeanette seems to have decided to turn good? And it was just a lot of fun.

 

 

Secret Six (Volume 3) #35secretsix35
Written by Gail Simone
Art by J. Calafiore

In this issue, Bane decides to lead the team in another assault Batman after realizing that he never got to really break the Batman like he wanted to back in the day. They start by drafting the Penguin to join the team. I enjoy the way Simone writes Penguin…it reminds me of Batman Returns a bit. And that is my favorite Batman movie. This was a fantastic issue.

 

Secret Six (Volume 3) #36 secretsix36
Written by Gail Simone
Art by J. Calafiore

This is the final issue of a great series that I will miss. Gail Simone is a creative genius. You writes complex characters who are so well-rounded it is like they are real people. She is truly a gem in the comic book world. Also, she has a scene in this where they feed a man to King Shark on a fishing hook. So she is hilarious too. The part where Scandal decides she wants to marry both Knockout and Liana was a tad strange though but hey these are crazy people this book is about. The only problem I had was it is really hard to believe all of those supeheroes would show up to fight the Secret Six like they are Darkseid or something. But they sure got their asses handed to them and this villain team went out in a blaze of glory. What a fitting finale to an amazing series!

 

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.

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.

Penguin’s Nose

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Batman: The Dark Knight #2
Written by David Finch
Art by Finch

 

That was a quick read for a comic book that is so incredibly late but whatever, it was still good. Finch’s artwork is fantastic and the story is interesting even if I have no idea on how it all connects just yet. Who is the Ragman-like monster killing homeless people and what is with this amulet? Oh and Finch draws a big nose on Penguin doesn’t he?

Streets of Gotham 19 and 20

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Batman: Streets of Gotham #19
Written by Paul Dini
Art by Dustin Nguyen

 

The House of Hush storyline seems all over the place here filled with time jumps but I don’t mind cause it has been a good story so far and I loved the Joker stuff in this.

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Batman: Streets of Gotham #20
Written by Paul Dini
Art by Dustin Nguyen

This was even more flashback to the Waynes and this time includes the Justice Society with Hippolyta on the team!! Despite comments by Didio and DCU Legacies, I knew she was still the Golden Age Wonder Woman! It is weird how Nguyen draws her here though.

Birds of Prey 8 and 9

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Birds of Prey (Volume 2) #8
Written by Gail Simone
Art by Guillem March

Black Canary is in trouble and as always the Birds are in a terrible situation. That is one thing that is great about the Birds – they always seem to be in these situations where I have no idea how they are going to get out of them but they always succeed. That is what makes them great to read about. Huntress’s reaction to seeing Bruce was great too!

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Birds of Prey (Volume 2) #9
Written by Gail Simone
Art by Inaki Miranda

I like these Inaki Miranda’s art. I know she or he is not staying on this title but DC should put him or her somewhere. Anyways, this was a good issue as Dinah proves too strong for Mortis and Calculator believes he has killed Oracle (But we all know he hasn’t.)