The War of Jokes and Riddles Begins

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

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

All-Star Batman 9 and 10

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

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

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

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

 

Not the Best Visit to Arkham

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Batman (Volume 3) #19
Written by Tom King
Art by David Finch

Bane fights his way through Arkham Asylum taking on some of Batman’s most famous villain in the process, some of whom I was surprised to see in Arkham since they seem to be out of Arkham in other books. I guess it depends on when this exactly takes place. Copperhead shows up and he is suppose to be dead! I guess we have to assume this is a different Copperhead than even the one who showed up in All-Star Batman recently? Come on DC you have been so good at keeping things consistent lately do not let me down. Speaking of let down – David Finch was incredible last issue but I coudn’t get excited by his pencils this time around as it is all just kinda blah and this was suppose to be a showcase of him drawing the different Bat-villains. Listen, I like a romp through Arkham Asylum just as much as the next person but this time Tom King offered us nothing more than Bane just beating people up.

Barry Allen 1 – 18

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The Flash (Volume 5) #1
Written by Joshua Williamson
Art by Carmine Di Giandomenico

I liked that this issue acted as a true #1 and introduced new readers to The Flash’s origin and everything and starts to fill out his supporting cast but I am not a huge fan of the art. I mean it is not bad but I am not sure it is right for a Flash comic. Also, I am unsure of what Barry and Iris’s relationship is now. Does she know he is the Flash? Why does Kid Flash not know Barry is the Flash? I guess I will find out. It also looks like the lightning has struck Barry’s friend August and gave him powers of some sort.

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The Flash (Volume 5) #2
Written by Joshua Williamson
Art by Carmine Di Giandomenico

In this issue, Barry trains Detective August Heart about his new speed force powers. He suspects he missed having Wally West (The original and real Flash) around and maybe the Speed Force chose August to be his partner. Meanwhile, the Black Hole is a gang of people working for Dr. Carver and causing Havoc for Barry and August. I am confused why young Wally (Can they just change his name?) says he is not a hero. Didn’t he debut as Kid Flash pre-Rebirth? Also, didn’t the lightning strike Barry after he had a bunch of chemicals on him. I didn’t think lightning alone gave him his powers? At the end of this issue, it looks like the lightning struck a whole bunch more people. This is getting interesting but I am still not a huge fan of the art.

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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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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.