Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Great Bat-Review!

This week I review the big Bat-books that have come out in the last few weeks. Enjoy, discuss. I didn't review Batman & Robin because the review for Batman & Robin is simply this; AWESOME!

Red Robin #3
- Red Robin is the worst comic book I've ever read. Sure, it doesn't involve tiny feet, big patches or mullet haircuts, but that's beside the point. The point is this; Tim Drake deserves better. He deserves better than to be considering work with the League of Assassins, he deserves better than being painted as a closest misogynist and he deserves better than the anti-life equation making sense to him. This is the only detective on the face of the planet that Bruce Wayne honestly thinks may surpass him some day, so why does Christopher Yost insist on writing him as such a dense, reactionary young firebrand? There are really bad comics, but perhaps none of them treat such a rich and wonderful character with such blatant disregard. That disregard makes Red Robin the worst comic book I've ever seen.

Batman: Streets of Gotham #3 - I'm a pretty big fan of what Dini and Nguyen have done in Gotham City over the last couple of years. Paul Dini and I share a love of many of the same Bat-family characters, so I tend to really enjoy his stuff. Streets of Gotham has been no different. While I hate that Black Mask is back, thus negating the work Brubaker did to put him away for good in Catwoman, Dini's use of the character is satisfying. I'm enjoying watching the relationship between he and the Penguin develop. I'm certain Cobblepot will not be a slave for long. Dini also seems to really hear the voices of his main characters, as his treatment of Dick Grayson and Damian Wayne is spot on. Streets isn't just about Batman and Robin fighting crime, it's about Dick and Damian ensuring that the world the Wayne family has built isn't laid to waste in Bruce's absence. Also, Zsasz is terrifying. The device Nguyen has created for Zsasz, showing us the death he projects over every moment of his life, is brilliant. As good as all this is, I do have a couple of complaints. First, Damian looks older and acts older than he really should. While I'm not certain of Katana's age, I'm reasonably certain she is much older than young Master Wayne. Second, streets may be the book at DC that most brazenly ignores continuity. John Stewart is one of the people keeping an eye on Thomas Elliot? Isn't he currently fighting an undead planet on the far reaches of space? Still, continuity not withstanding, Streets of Gotham is a solid Bat-book.

Batgirl #1 - Batgirl was actually holding my attention, then this happened; "Maybe I should take up a sewing class." Good idea, Stephanie. You really aren't cut out to be a superhero. I mean, really you're just some girl with a bad case of hero worship. You'd probably have better luck with home economics than heroism. On a more positive note, I did enjoy that the new Batgirl title is as much about Barbara Gordon learning to be whole again as it is about Stephanie Brown learning to be a hero. And I do like the potential for a Buffy/Giles-style relationship to blossom between the two women. However, if this "sewing class" nonsense continues, I'll be checking out.

Blackest Night: Batman #1 - Regardless of whether you believe DC made the right move greenlighting Blackest Night, you have to admit that the quality of the writing has been top notch. That continues here, as Deadman makes his way to Gotham to warn Dick and Damian about the Blackest Night. The art isn't much better than a Tony Daniel-helmed book, but the story is strong. While the story here is certainly the return of the Drakes and the Graysons from the grave, what's more important are the moments of interaction between Dick and Damian. It's evident in these moments that Dick feels he must be more than a leader to Damian, he must also be a father. Of all the Blackest Night tie-ins, this is easily my favorite. I can't wait to see how Dick, Damian and a returning Tim Drake deal with this tragedy. I suspect they'll do better than we might think. After all, the Bat-family is at home in the night.

I'll be back later with this week's pull list.

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