08 Jun, 2011

Thoughts on the New DCU: Bat-Family!

Posted by Raphael in Blog|News|Opinion|Previews

Midtown Bloggensteiner! I’ve got another look at DC’s new #1s, this time, we take a look at the Bat-Family!

BATMAN Transition

Dananananannanannaaaaaaa

From DC’s Source Blog
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In the first BATMAN #1 since 1940, New York Times bestselling writer Scott Snyder teams up with superstar artist Greg Capullo in his DC Comics debut! In the series, Bruce Wayne once again becomes the only character taking on the Batman name.

RAPH’S THOUGHTS: What??? Dick is not Batman anymore??!?? Well, if you’re going to do a NEW DCU… it might be confusing to still have TWO Batmen. While I enjoyed Dick’s run as the Dark Knight, we all knew that Bruce is the one, true Batman… until he’s like 80 and Terry McGuinness takes over. Or Tim. But not Damian. Never Damian. I’ve enjoyed Scott Snyder’s run on Detective Comics IMMENSELY, so I’m glad to see him stay with Batman. I wonder what changes he’ll make, as Dick is a very different Batman from Bruce. Let’s find out! Should be fun. It’s also kind of cool to be getting in on the first Batman #1 since 1940… but I do hope that DC acknowledges the legacy of their characters and puts out a Batman #800 when the time is right…

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DC Comics’ flagship title is relaunched for the first time ever in DETECTIVE COMICS #1 by acclaimed writer/artist Tony Daniel. Marking the first time Batman will appear in a debut issue of Detective Comics, the series will find Bruce Wayne on the trail of a dangerous serial killer known only as the Gotham Ripper.
RAPH’S THOUGHTS: Sigh… I’m going to miss the numbering. I’m a traditionalist. I’m a fanboy. What can I say? This one is a little hard to take. Tony Daniel is fine as a creator, and I don’t mean to short-sell him here. I believe in sacred cows, and Action Comics and Detective Comics were very sacred to me. I’m still going to read this book, but it just stings a little. The Gotham Ripper story sounds interesting, and Tony has been doing Batman since he and Morrison blew people’s minds away (good or bad? Up to you) in Batman R.I.P. I’m more excited to see Scott Snyder’s Batman, but Detective is a legendary series, and I might be on board for at least the Gotham Ripper storyline.

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In BATMAN AND ROBIN #1, the acclaimed creative team of Peter Tomasi and Pat Gleason will explore the family dynamic of the Caped Crusader as Bruce Wayne battles the Gotham underworld with the help of his son, Damian, in the role of Robin.

RAPH’S THOUGHTS: Tomasi and Gleason! They were responsible for the GL Corps run I enjoyed so much! I’m happy to see Tomasi isn’t leaving “B&R”! And we finally get to see the pairing we’ve been waiting for: Bruce and Damian as the Dynamic Duo! I kind of feel bad for Tim, but he’s moved on to other things. It looks like Damian Wayne is this generation’s Robin, much like Tim Drake was mine. It’s good to change things up, and it wouldn’t have made sense to have the NEW DCU take such a step backward. I’m looking forward to Bruce and Damian particularly because Damian has humanized a bit under Dick’s tutelage. DC is getting a lot of my money so far…

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In BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT, superstar artist David Finch writes and draws a twisted adventure that pulls Bruce Wayne deep into the halls of the famed Arkham Asylum, a jail for Gotham City’s most dangerous and criminally deranged. Finch will team up with collaborator Jay Fabok on pencils.

RAPH’S THOUGHTS: This should be a fun series, as David is one of the most talented artists in comics today. Honestly though, I may just read this at work (benefits of working at a comic shop: reading comics on lunch break!). I like David and all, but I can’t buy EVERYTHING. I don’t think DC wants everyone to either. This book seems to be the non continuity adventures of Batman, meaning that while the other series will probably be considered mainline Batman, this book is just a fun tale on the side. If you’re not going to commit to Batman, but want to read a Batman story, “TDK” might be the book for you. I could be wrong, as this is just the impression I get from two sentences, but having been a heavy comic book reader for 15 years, it makes sense.

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The highly-anticipated new series from the multiple award-winning creative team of J.H. Williams III, Haden Blackman and Amy Reeder begins in BATWOMAN #1.

RAPH’S THOUGHTS: They’re making an entire new universe JUST FOR BATWOMAN?!? Kidding, of course. DC announced this book ages ago, but they may have jumped the gun a little. I’m looking forward to this very much. J.H. Williams is one of the best artists (his run on Elegy? BEEEEEYOOUUTIFUL!), and I’m eager to see his writing chops. Amy Reeder was excellent on “Madame Xanadu”, and I’m looking forward to seeing her take on Kate Kane.

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Batgirl’s going to have to face the city’s most horrifying new villains as well as dark secrets from her past in BATGIRL #1, the stunning debut issue from fan-favorite writer Gail Simone and artists Ardian Syaf and Vicente Cifuentes.

RAPH’S THOUGHTS: WHAT???!!!!???? WHAT????!!!!!??? WHAT???!!!!??? REALLY???!!!??? This one was a SHOCKER! I did not expect this. Bryan Q. Miller had done a SUPERLATIVE job on Batgirl with Stephanie Brown. I really liked Stephanie’s wit and youthfulness. Where is Cassandra Cain too??!?? She was my Batgirl, and I think DC under utilizes her WOEFULLY. It always seemed like Barbara being in a wheelchair (and being Oracle) was going to be her identity from here on out. It had just become accepted by most fans… this is a really bold move, and I’ll credit DC for that. I’ll also credit DC for putting the excellent Gail Simone on this book. I’ve been a fan of Gail’s, she’s an excellent writer. She’s written some of my favorite comics (“Secret Six” “Birds of Prey”) and I look forward to her new direction with Barbara… still shocked about this one though.

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Meet Catwoman. She’s addicted to the night. Addicted to shiny objects. Addicted to Batman. Most of all, Catwoman is addicted to danger. She can’t help herself, and the truth is – she doesn’t want to. She’s good at being bad, and very bad at being good. Find out more about what makes Catwoman tick in CATWOMAN #1, written by Judd Winick and illustrated by Guillem March.

RAPH’S THOUGHTS: Interesting. There hasn’t been a Catwoman series in a few years now. This could work out, especially with Arkham City coming out and Catwoman being a playable character/major player in the game. Judd’s had his ups and downs, but when he does the Bat-verse, he does it good. Guillem March comes over from “Gotham City Sirens”, to me he’s become the main cheesecake guy for DC. Not a bad thing, by any means, this is a good title for him to be working on.

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The Birds of Prey are Gotham City’s covert ops team, taking down the villains other heroes can’t touch. Mystery novelist ands comics writer Duane Swierczynski teams up with Jesus Saiz for BIRDS OF PREY #1, the first issue of the hard-hitting new series.

RAPH’S THOUGHTS: Gotham covert ops? No Lady Blackhawk or Huntress? Hmm… is this because Dick is no longer in Gotham? Does Batman need a whole team of women to watch Gotham while he’s recruiting? That’s a bit sexist… and maybe off the mark. Considering the writer, it makes sense that this group is Gotham based (Duane is a good fit for street-level, grim and gritty type stories). I like the books that put together a bunch of characters that aren’t so familiar, because it gives them an underdog appeal and it also allows me to get to know more of them at the same time. That was the appeal of  “Outsiders”, “Guardians of the Galaxy” and so many other similar books. Worth a look at.

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Batman’s former sidekick had put his past as The Red Hood behind him, when the reclusive Jason Todd finds himself unwillingly elected as the leader of an all-new team of outlaw vigilantes.

As The Red Hood once again, Jason Todd will lead this new team of antiheroes, including Green Arrow’s rejected sidekick Arsenal and Starfire, a former prisoner of intergalactic war.

RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS will be written by Scott Lobdell and illustrated by rising superstar artist Kenneth Rocafort.

RAPH’S THOUGHTS: Scott Lobdell is a long established talent, having carried the X-Books through the 90′s. Rocafort was another talent that came from Top Cow (Cyberforce/Hunter-Killer), and this is a book I might be buying…. that sound you hear is my wallet groaning. The characterization of Jason Todd has been all over the place, so I wonder what DC is going to do from here on out. In the hands of Winick, he was a tragic anti-hero, in “Battle for the Cowl” and “Batman & Robin”, he’d been turned pyschotic by his experiences and was very much a dangerous villain. We’ll see. I like that he skirts the line, but I prefer him to be on the side of angels… dismembering the demons.

 

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This September, join with us in this historic moment when the first black character to wear the Batman mantle will be the first to star in his own ongoing series. BATWING will be written by Judd Winick and illustrated by Ben Oliver.

RAPH’S THOUGHTS: Multi-racial Batmen? All for it! I wonder what kind of storyline we get out of it though… is it a crime story or a story of this Batman’s war on a dictatorship? Is he fighting against entire armies or independent warlords?

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After a tenure as the Batman of Gotham, Dick Grayson resumes his mantle as Nightwing! As Dick embraces his identity, Haley’s Circus, the big top where he once performed with his family, returns to Gotham – bringing with it a history of murder, mystery and superhuman evil. Nightwing must confront friends and enemies from his past as he searches for the source of an even greater evil.

RAPH’S THOUGHTS: I can get behind Dick being Nightwing again… the image of Dick as Batman that resonated with me most was the one from “Batman and Robin” #1, drawn by Frank Quitely, where Dick has the cowl off. He’s sitting on these stairs, and the caption for the image should’ve been “Heavy is the head that wears the cowl”. It always seemed to be a burden to inherit Batman. No indication on the Source as to who the creative team may be. Then again, they may update again after I’ve posted this.

PHEW! That is all for now! Next time, I should have more coverage on the other DC projects announced. Things look like they’re going to be fun come September.

…stupid de-numbering of Action and Detective grumble grumble…

 

GO LOVE SOME COMICS!

- Raph

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