Less than a year since Detective Comics celebrated its 900th issue with New 52: Detective Comics #19, an anthology issue which brought together several different creators, we have New 52: Detective Comics #27, which celebrates the landmark issue of the original series that first introduced Batman to the world as Bat-Man, the caped crusader and dark knight of Gotham who solved the city’s crime with acts of vigilantism. And again, we have an anthology issue bringing together different creators, and telling some really different stories while also giving some bonus art to fans.
I was really excited for this issue. I kind of missed the whole lead-up to Detective Comics #19 since I wasn’t reading the series at the time, but I am now. And one thing that happened this afternoon was that I was massively disappointed. This issue, in its first half, basically retells classic tales and does a hack-job. The second half, with original stories that will be carried over in future issues, is actually good. But the first half definitely bothered me, and it was the writing far more than the art that bothered me.
Damian Wayne, the son of Bruce Wayne and Talia al Ghul. One of the most annoying young characters I’ve read in comics to date. I came across him for the first time in Scott Snyder’s Batman #1 and since then I’ve seen him around in various books, especially Peter J. Tomasi’s Batman and Robin Volume 1, where he was extremely irritating and angsty like hell. Grant Morrison killed off the character earlier this year, ending a long arc that began when he first introduced him a few years back and in the wake of that… tragedy, DC first announced and then began publishing this “what if?” mini-series that takes a look at what and who Damian could have been if he had survived.
I read the first issue last month and I was extremely disappointed with it. The story was quite weak and the art followed suit. I’ve read some of Andy Kubert’s writing before, and he’s quite an unimpressive writer, fairly mediocre from my experience. This issue, and the previous one, both show that Kubert’s strengths are definitely not in telling a story with words, or even basic plotting, because both issues are seriously out of whack with what’s happening in the New 52, and even in terms of internal consistency.
Note: This contains some major spoilers about the issue.
Growing up, my television entertainment was defined by Cartoon Network. And in those days, the 90s, no program was as popular or as timeless as Scooby-Doo Where Are You? Or that’s what I like to think. CN ran a ton of reruns in those days and this program was one of them. It was all cheeky humour, over the top situations, excitable plots, lots of goofy-creepy and a talking dog with a bunch of teenagers/young adults who solved mysteries. I used to love it, and still do. You hand me an season of SDWAY today and I’ll watch it straight without taking a break.
Which brings me to this comic, the first in a new ongoing (hopefully an ongoing!) from DC that pairs up the talking mutt with Batman and Robin in a match that is almost made in heaven. SDWAY originally debuted in the mid-60s, roughly around the same time as the goofiest and most hilarious Batman live-action series ever, so it makes sense to pair the two of them together. Sholly Fisch, who’s worked on numerous animated projects over the years, especially DC ones, makes for an almost natural writer for this, and she delivers the goods in full.
Over the years, Batman has had several sidekicks, three of them being Robins, and a Batgirl. At least, that’s what I knew until I began reading the New 52 branded comics. And suddenly, as I started to read more comics and read the wiki-lore, I understood that Batman even had a son, and that there have been two more Batgirls and even a Robin in the far future when Bruce is all old and retired. The one thing that really stuck out at me was that Batman had a son, Damian, from Ra’s al Ghul’s daughter Talia.
Despite my interest in the character I didn’t really read any of the comics related to him, except for the first volume of Peter J. Tomasi’s Batman and Robin for the New 52, which I found to be mediocre at best. Damian just didn’t work for me as a character.
Earlier this year, Damian was killed off in the pages of Batman, Inc which was written by Grant Morrison, the man who had created the character several years ago. In the midst of all the hype surrounding the death, DC announced a 4-issue “what if?” mini-series that would bring the character back. I was mildly interested. After reading it, I’m just completely disappointed.
Note: This contains some spoilers about the issue.
I’ve long been a fan of DC’s various animated projects. Whether we are talking about Batman or Superman, Justice League or Batman Beyond or what have you, I’ve enjoyed each and every series. Growing up, the first two series that I mentioned were a large part of my childhood. I watched (or rewatched) several of these series during my college days and I was reminded of why I loved them so much. They presented some definitive versions of the heroes in question, and each and every episode served only to draw me in further. It shouldn’t be a surprise really for you when I mention that I consider Kevin Conroy and Tim Daly to be the definitive voices of Batman and Superman respectively.
Since those good old days of the 90s, DC has put out several more animated series. One of those is Young Justice, which features the young sidekicks of many of the big-name DC superheroes. With an initial line-up of Robin, Aqualad, Kid Flash and Superboy, the show starts off rather well, although there are a few negatives that prevented me from really enjoying the first two episodes.
A few days ago I was talking with fellow TFF reviewer about how DC could, and should, revamp its “Young Justice” comics. To clarify, I realise that there was an animated show of the same name and that there were accompanying digital comics as well. However, I use that term as a catch-all to describe all the second generation superheroes in the DC universe for the purposes of this discussion. This includes heroes like Superboy, Supergirl, Batgirl, Red Hood, Nightwing, Teen Titans and so on.
We did some preliminary discussions around the idea and it gave me the idea for this post, since our discussion was held on a forum where the comics discussions are extremely limited. And I wanted to explore the idea in greater depth and provide a much more visible platform for it as well.