about_faces: (Two-Face... FOREVER!!!)
Since real life has once again become far too real to allow free time for the usual in-depth bloggery, I think it'd be neat to post a gallery of Batman villains as drawn by a single artist of note, someone who has an amazing style of their own who also brings something unique to the Rogues. Today, I'd like to dedicate this post to Chris Samnee.



Before he became the artist of such celebrated titles as the late, lamented Thor: The Mighty Avenger, Mark Waid's current Daredevil run, and The Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom (which I haven't read but obviously must), Samnee first caught my attention with the above Two-Face piece, which instantly became one of my very favorite portraits of Harvey. It doesn't hurt that Two-Face is Samnee's favorite Batman villain, something I learned from over at his blog. From there, I scoured through his archives, and quickly fell in love with his artwork.

Like Alex Toth, David Mazzucchelli, and Michael Lark, Samnee's style is elegantly minimalistic, able to say a lot with a little. As I've said many times in the past, I'm a sucker for artists who can pull that off, especially when it comes to characters. Samnee's portraits shine with personality, and combined with his clear affection for the Bat-Family and Rogues alike, I would dearly love to see him take on a character-driven Gotham Underworld maxi-series.



To get a taste of what that might look like, I've assembled every single villain portrait of Samnee's that I could find over at his blog and Comic Art Fans, an invaluable resource for rare original art. Thanks to those sites, I could easily have also included another thirty portraits of the heroes as well, but eh, maybe I'll just put my favorites in the comments or something. Here, it's evil ahoy!

Over thirty more portraits of the bad, the worse, and the ugly behind the cut! )

A great assortment all, but definitely a few notable absences, especially the Riddler and the Mad Hatter. I'd also love to see how Samnee would tackle Killer Moth.

Note: one Two-Face portrait by Samnee that I cannot include is the one which might just be the best of them all, but as you can see there, the image is teeny tiny and won't enlarge. Blast! I left a comment on Samnee's blog asking about it, but no reply has come yet. If one does and I can find a better version, rest assured that I shall post it!
about_faces: (Two-Face... FOREVER!!!)
Welcome to the final part of our triple-feature review of Harvey taking a supporting role in the show to pal around with his "fellow miscreants" in episodes of Batman: The Animated Series.

In the show's second and third seasons, when it was retitled The Adventures of Batman & Robin, there were a lot of episodes which felt like sequels, follow-ups, or spiritual relations to classic episodes from the first season. For origins like Two-Face and Feat of Clay, and Heart of Ice, you got sequels in the form of Second Chance, Mudslide, and Deep Freeze. In that sense, I've always felt like today's episode, Trial, was akin to Almost Got 'Im, partially because of a couple winks by writer Paul Dini.

And so, hot on the heels of that classic episode, let's see if Dini can recapture the same magic as he examines the fandom-old question of whether or not Batman's mere presence "creates" his own rogues gallery. And while we're at it, let's also examine just why it might not be a smart idea to put all of Gotham's worst insane criminals under one roof.



Wherein the Arkham inmates take over the asylum, put Batman on mock trial, and force the new bat-hating D.A. to defend him. Watch it here!

We got some legal business to settle first, behind the cut...! )

Next time, I shall tackle the second-best Two-Face story in all of B:TAS, which shall finally allow me to get us back to reviewing the DCAU comics by the likes of Dini and the great Ty Templeton. I'm really looking forward to getting to those after all this time.
about_faces: (Two-Face... FOREVER!!!)
Welcome to the next installment of my three-part review series which I have dubbed "Harvey and pals!" Why? Because calling it "Harvfield and Friends" probably wouldn't have flown with anybody. That said, now the theme song is stuck in my head...

The first uniting of the Unholy Three ended, unsurprisingly, with defeat and arrest, but this doesn't prove to be the only time that Harvey, the Joker, and the Penguin decided to hang out in their downtime away from schemes and deathtraps. Maybe the events of the previous episode taught these rogues to enjoy (or at least tolerate) one another's company? To paraphrase a character from the wacky cannibal movie Ravenous, "It's lonely being a supervillain. Tough making friends." Perhaps that's what led to the scene of villainous socializing that occurred in one of B:TAS' best-ever episodes:



Wherein several of the rogues play cards and trade stories about how they each almost killed Batman, but there's more going on than meets the eye. Watch it here!

I threw a r... well, you know the rest. )

As a bonus, I am delighted to present to you something which I found whilst scouring for rare B:TAS/Two-Face memorabilia, especially limited edition collectibles from the late, lamented Warner Brothers Studio Store chain of shops. That store would often carry animation cels, lithographs, and other cool works of Batman art, and it's so hard to find good-quality scans of them anywhere online. Thankfully, I found a fantastic scan of this, one of my very favorites:



Man, forget dogs playing poker, I want this hanging in my den whenever I play cards and smoke cigars with the boys. Not that I play cards nor smoke cigars, nor do I even have boys anymore. Whatever, I still want it anyway. That and the other WB Studio Store sericels of the Rogues:



There is not a single one of these that I don't love. There were at least two others in this particular series of character line-ups, including one of the heroes (like Robin, Commissioner Gordon, Renee Montoya, and even Harvey Dent!) and a second one for the villains! Sadly, I haven’t been able to find the first one at all, and the only scan I’ve found for the second is this grainy, teeny one here:



So yeah, if you know where I can find better quality images of these awesome works of art, let me know.
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In 1996, trading card company Fleer decided that they wanted to release a different kind of card set for Batman. Inspired by the loose narrative of Topps' classic Mars Attacks! cards, the Batman Master Series set was the first series of cards to comprise a complete, original Batman storyline. The more cards you collect, the more parts of the story you'd have to piece together. And it was all written by none other than our old favorite, Doug Moench. Oh yes, we're in for a treat. :D


Source


The plot was simple: after the Joker once again escapes Arkham, Batman goes missing and is presumed dead, with the Joker being the likeliest suspect. Everyone posits their reactions and theories, including the Joker himself, who can't be sure whether or not he actually did it at all! This offered plenty of opportunities to hit all the big beats of the previous card series (major and minor characters, important events) plus create all-new settings for cards (scenes from the plotline, bizarre wacko takes on the rogues, the Joker popping up in classic Elseworlds). Along the way, we get TONS of cards dedicated to rogues, some of whom pop up several times. Visually, it's a feast of portraits, and that alone would warrant a master post here.

Except it gets even better, because apparently the cards had enough of a cult following amongst collectors that the entire deck was given its own coffee table art book:



Not only are all the cards lovingly reprinted along with Moench's text, but the book's editors actually included commentary from the artists, thus giving a rare insight into the creative process! The combination of characters, art, story, and commentary make Batman Masterpieces a must-have, and to show you what I mean, I'm going to post just the villain pages, almost all of which are by the painter Dermot Power (Batman/Judge Dredd: The Ultimate Riddle, and concept artist for Batman Begins).

Who's Who (could have possibly killed Batman?) behind the cut! )

So what did you guys make of the art? Were they indeed "museum quality" as the ads touted, or merely a dated and grotesque assortment of 90's-tacular artists? I lean more towards the latter, but I love the collection of the cards nonetheless, and I very much recommend checking out the whole of Batman Masterpieces if you can find a copy.
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Back in the awful days of the 1990's--the era which DC, Marvel, and Image now seem hellbent on reliving in their own ways--superhero trading cards were prevalent, fitting in with the "EVERYTHING WILL BE A COLLECTIBLE INVESTMENT GOTTA CATCH 'EM ALL" mentality that nearly sank comics as a whole. As with all things, most of these were crap, but there are a couple sets for which I still have affection, largely for how they introduced me to the greater world of comics. Yeah, I have nostalgic love for my gateway drugs.



For example, Skybox's Batman: Saga of the Dark Knight single-handedly introduced me to Batman's Post-Crisis mythos from Year One through Knightsend. It was a great idea to focus on Batman's history, big storylines, key moments, and major characters, and while it's largely dominated in the whole Knightfall mythos, it still holds up as a great overview of an entire era of Batman comics.

To give an idea of what I mean, let's take a look at the Harvey-related cards! )

Of course, those are just the Two-Face cards. I've found scans of the whole set over here, but be warned, they're of varying quality. More than any of the others, I really wish I had high quality scans of Rick Burchett's Year One cards, as well as the villain profiles. Thankfully, I've managed to find some great scans across the internet, including the original artwork for a few!



I'd hate Ponytail!Joker as an awful remnant of 90's-ness, except that his one story by Dixon and Nolan is fantastic. It is the ONLY good story to come out of Knightsquest. I defy you to name a better story, or even a decent one. But even if I didn't like that story, I'd still like this piece. He's just got flair, damn it.


MOAR VILLAIN PORTRAIT CARDS BEHIND THE CUT, INCLUDING AWESOMENESS FROM MIKE MIGNOLA AND MATT WAGNER! )


Since we're on the subject of villains (and when are we not?), this brings me to my other favorite cards: DC Villains: The Dark Judgement, a tie-in for the subpar Underworld Unleashed crossover event.



These cards were decidedly more grotesque, and much of the art is not to my tastes, but I still love any celebration of villainy for comics. Once again, you can find the entire set scanned here, which can give you a fascinating who's who of characters from the mid-90's, including forgotten villains from Fate and Guy Gardner: Warrior, as well as an astonishing number of heroes turned evil. Like Raven from Teen Titans. That's her up there between Mongul and Bane. What in the name of god is she wearing? I mean, she's nearly naked, so must clearly be evil now, because sex is bad, but still.


But of course, what interests me most are the Batman villains, whose own portraits run the gamut from awesome to WTF. )


That wraps up the Batman villains, but as always 'round here, it always comes back to Harvey Dent. If you read that promo sheet above carefully, you may have noticed something about a very rare "Two-Face Skymotion Card" which featured "cutting-edge technology" to show Harvey turning and shooting... AT YOU!



So what the hell IS this card? Quite simply, it's one of the coolest bits of Two-Face merch in existence... )


These images can't quite give the same effect as seeing it in person, but you get the idea. It's pretty damn cool all-around, and by far the most detailed lenticular effect that I've ever seen. I wish I knew who drew it so I could them proper credit, but information about these cards is scarce enough as it is. And that's a damn shame. Maybe it's just my nostalgia talking, but I love these cards, every last one: good, bad, and ugly alike.

Just like Who's Who, they were a wonderful sampler platter for the world of comics, and sometimes, the way I ended up imagining the characters and stories turned out to be better than the comics themselves! I do miss when everything was new and awesome, when possibilities felt limitless, and there was a wealth of stories out there for me to discover. At least with back issues, I know the last part is still true when it comes to superhero comics. Maybe someday I'll be able to feel that way about new comics again too.
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So here's something that I forgot actually existed until I found it hidden in a comic box. The first issue of Alan Grant and Norm Breyfogle's Shadow of the Bat was released in the full 90's "ZOMG COLLECTORS ITEM BUY TWELVE" treatment, sealed in a polybag along with other assorted goodies. These included two mini-posters, full blueprints to the then-new Arkham Asylum (wish I still had those), a bookmark, and this:



Huh. Well, that's... something. Okay. Here's what was on the other side of this thick, flat paper:



Oh! Okay, a list of the inmates. Well, that's nice. Heh, "Dishonor Roll," I see what you did there. Wait, whose heads are those supposed to be? Joker, Hatter, and Harvey? Wait, hold on, I think this thing folds out and OH MY GOD:



To thirteen-year-old me, this was one of the coolest goddamn things ever. And not just because my three very favorite rogues at the time were featured at the top!

I like how Penguin and Catwoman (in her gray Batman: Year One outfit!) are there, but on the outside of the building. It’s like, “Hi guys, we’re in this rogues gallery too, but we're not insane! Can we join in?” Also, I love you, Jervis, but honestly, what the heck are you doing up there alongside Joker and Harvey? Silly Jervis. I blame Grant Morrison. Finally, I love Croc peeking up over the roof. I’m not sure what the hell he’s supposed to be doing there, and I don't care. I approve of roof!Croc.

I was so glad to see that I still had this, even though I have no idea what I can do with it. I want to display it somewhere, but that's impossible. I guess it's just one of those little geek pleasures that must hide in a box until it's nearly forgotten, only to be rediscovered and dusted off every now and again.

So let this be a heads-up to Marvel, DC, and anybody else who is seemingly hellbent on reliving the dark 90's: if you're gonna seal up your comics in polybag, at least throw some cool swag inside. That would almost make the pathetic sales-desperate practice worthwhile. Because this? This is awesome.
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Whew, made it! And just in time for Twelfth Night, too!

Doing this series of posts has been one of the most exhausting, draining, frustrating, and goddamned fun projects I've ever done on this blog. It's a shame that it has to end this way, with an assortment that largely covers some of my least favorite Batman eras and characters.

That's not to say there isn't anything I love about Batman from 1997 to 2006. Sure, the days of the great Bat-trio of Moench/Grant/Dixon were starting to wind down, with many good stories hindered by one big crossover after another after another. The fact that they were all fired to make way for the next big crossover would haven been bitterly misguided if that crossover hadn't been No Man's Land. Far as I'm concerned, NML the highest achievement for Batman since Batman: Year One, since it was an event that was mostly focused on character rather than... well, events. It wasn't perfect, but it was better than any other major Batman crossover I have ever read, and thus I was greatly excited with the prospect of NML mastermind Greg Rucka continuing to write the ongoing Detective Comics.

While I loved Rucka's run, as well as Brubaker's Batman and Devin Grayon's Gotham Knights, the changes they made to Batman's character and supporting cast led the series down a path that I didn't necessarily like, but stuck with because I trusted the creative teams involved. And then they were all gone, with Loeb and Lee giving us Hush. After that, new writers followed the threads left by Rucka, Brubaker, and Grayson, and it all went to hell. The stories that followed left me cold, and much as I rag on Grant Morrison's run, I think I might honestly prefer it to the era of Black Mask. Don't force me to choose, please.

So now, at the end of a project that I started to celebrate the characters I love, I shall see if I can muster any of the same kind of enthusiasm for some of my favorite and least favorite eras alike.


Rassum frassum get off my lawn behind the cut )


So here's to another year for about_faces. The output will be infrequent, but I'm not going anywhere. There are too many stories left to look at, too many stupid things to rant about, too many comics and characters and ideas worth celebrating. Hope you'll stick around, and as always, keep the comments coming. You're the smartest damn bunch of fans I know, and that's no lie, no flattery, it's the damn truth. So thank you, and be seeing you.
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One thing I neglected to mention in the last post is to give credit to the DC-Whos-Who Tumblr feed, where I've found the majority of these images. If you like character profiles and great art, I HIGHLY recommend checking scouring through his entires. There is so much greatness to be found there, and far beyond just the Bat-Villains.

But of course, the Bat-Villains are what mainly interest me, so shall we continue?

Too bad, because I'm going ahead anyway! )
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By 1990, I suspect that DC was tired of the increasingly-crappy printing quality they were giving to their Who's Who books, and probably wanted to step things up for the collector's market. This is pure speculation on my part, just going by the fact that the new editions of Who's Who were a much higher quality, with better coloring and slick, glossy paper. The biggest change for these profiles was that they came in looseleaf tear-away binding with holes so you could organize them in a three-ring binder any way you wanted: by character name, by heroes and villains, by all Batman/Superman/cosmic characters, etc.

While we had snazzy new updated Who's Who profiles, very little actually happened to most of the characters since they were last written about in previous entries. Aside from the art, the written entries (many by Mark Waid!) were largely identical. Bear in mind, this is just before Batman: The Animated Series, Knightfall, and other stuff which would have greatly affects the biographies of the Batman villains. If DC had waited another year or three, the many profiles would have had more to say rather than pretty much rehashing everything we know already.

Nonetheless, the new art makes the lack of new information plenty worthwhile. Many of these portraits and stellar and timeless, perfect for use in your average wiki entry as a definitive take on these rogues.


A spiffy new bunch of Who's Whos, plus a couple new Who's Thats, behind the cut )

Man, I didn't intend to begin and end this part with Grant/Breyfogle creations! Maybe it's a sign that I need to finally collect that entire run and read it through, as well as the early Shadow of the Bat stuff. Grant's work is rarely what I'd call stellar, but it's proving more interesting, remarkable, and entertaining than I used to believe. If you folks have some favorite Alan Grant stories, let me know if the comments!
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The response to the first part was great, guys! Keep 'em coming! So far this is damn fun, although I may kill myself trying to get them all out once a day! In the meantime, MOAR BATMAN VILLAINS!

A swashbuckler, a muddy legacy, a patchwork failure, and more profiles behind the cut! )



To be continued!
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Happy Halloween, Face-Friends!

I'm not sure if that's what I'd really wanna call you folks, but eh, I've got a little alliteration-lovin' Stan Lee in my heart.

This is a post I thought I wouldn't get to for many more months to come, so we have the intrepid [livejournal.com profile] cyberghostface to thank this time! Over at Scans_Daily, he's taken it upon himself to post Doug Moench and Kelley Jones' Batman: Red Rain trilogy, the Elseworlds saga of Batman versus vampires, which becomes Batman AS a vampire versus vampires, and then, finally, Vampire Batman versus everybody! Including Two-Face! As written by Moench at his very Moenchiest! Ohhhh yes, it's gonna be crack. But much of it is also legitimately great!

If you haven't read the trilogy, I urge you to check out the following links before reading this post. It's not necessary to enjoy the crack I'm about to bring you, but you don't wanna be left out, do ya? Course not! At the very least, check out the first part, which is deservedly something of a minor classic of alternate reality tales:


Must... end life... in classic Lorne Greene pose... from Battlestar Galactica!


The first part, Batman/Dracula: Red Rain is pretty goddamn fantastic all-around. It doesn't hurt that Dracula himself is pretty much, as a rule, awesome. I don't like vampires, but Dracula is always a magnificent villain who just happens to be a vampire, and the threat he brings to Gotham (and what Gotham, in turn, does it him) is the kind of thing that can only be done in an alternate continuity.

EDIT: I just realized that [livejournal.com profile] cyberghostface was unable to include the page where Dracula reveals that, just as birds drinking from a contaminated stream will sometimes go insane, so too has the blood of Gotham drove Dracula mad and thus turned him into an even worse monster. I love that detail of the city itself being able to corrupt even someone as already-evil as Dracula.

It's not only a great Elseworlds--an achievement unto itself from a genre that too often falls back on "Plug X character into Y setting"--but it's also a sterling achievement from both Moench and Jones, two creators whose work is often plagued by excess and bad ideas gone awry. Which, not coincidentally, brings us to the sequel:


Holy god, what the hell is wrong with you KNEE, Vampire Batman?


Batman: Bloodstorm is my least favorite of the three, although it's not technically the worst. There's a lot of good in it, mainly derived from the fun of seeing the Joker become the non-vampiric leader of the vampires, but otherwise, it too often wallows in the posturing melodrama inherent in most vampire stories. This tale of Conflicted Vampire Batman too often struck a tedious balance of hand-wringing angst and grotesque violence, with the usual dose of Selina Kyle T&A thrown in, what with her being a naked purple were-cat and all.

Taken as a whole, it's still a pretty powerful tragedy, and by all accounts, the story should have ended there. There was absolutely no need for another sequel, and yet, we got the third and final part five years later:


JAZZ HANDS!


Now Batman: Crimson Mist--which I bring out today--IS technically the worst of the trilogy. It indulges in Moench's propensity for overwrought and, yes, hilariously melodramatic posturing and shouting, while Jones' art pushes the characters and the extreme graphic violence to levels of grotesqueness that simply do not belong in Batman comics. It takes all the intense excellence of Red Rain and ratchets it up to cartoonish levels. But just like similar works in that respect, particular the late-period work of Frank Miller and Neal Adams, there's something entrancing about seeing a creator given free reign to crank their bad habits up to 11. It's that trainwreck quality.

And again, this is Moench writing Two-Face at his Moenchiest. There are few writers who depict Harvey as this much of a ranting, raving madman, like Tommy Lee Jones' Two-Face from Batman Forever but entirely devoid of humor. So just resign yourself to that knowledge that Harvey finally enters the trilogy just in time to become the second-worst villain of the story:




Welcome to DARK KNIGHT! ...For REAL. )

If you'd like to read these stories in full, they've been collected in this handy-dandy single volume, Batman: Vampire. The only downside is that it was published as a result of the idiocy that was Countdown, and so they've replaced the classic Elseworlds branding and logo with the short-lived "Tales of the Multiverse." Blah. Bring back Elseworlds, dammit! And Harley Quinn's old costume! And Matlock! And get off my lawn!

And whatever you do, have a safe and happy Halloween!





You're so cool, Brewster!
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Someone (forgive me for forgetting who or where, but the baby stole my brain... was it [livejournal.com profile] yaseen101, maybe?) was wondering if there has ever been a female Two-Face.

Appropriately enough, there have actually been two! Naturally, they both appeared in Elseworlds stories, the first in 1998 and the second in 1999, so I guess there was just something in the air at that point. The first, Jenna Clark, is an oddball of a half-baked character from Mike W. Barr's Batman: Dark Knight Dynasty, whereas the second, Darcy Dent, is a magnificent trainwreck courtesy of Moench and Jim Balent in Catwoman: Guardian of Gotham.




A Tale of Two Female Two-Faces behind the cut! )


Oh, Moench. Oh, Balent. Oh, god. It's definitely in keeping with their work on Catwoman, so I can't fault them for playing to their strengths. Nonetheless, I just find Balent's idea of sexiness to be so... obvious. It's about as clever as making your female Two-Face a smooshed-together version of both Sugar and Spice from Batman Forever. Ultimately, when it comes to a female Two-Face who's both awesome and hot, I'd prefer the likes of Meagan Marie any day. Funny how a cosplayer did it better than any actual comic writers to date!
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While DC's current Flashpoint event is apparently being met with complete apathy now that it's been entirely overshadowed by the impending don't-call-it-a-reboot-reboot of DCnU, there's one thing that's caught the attention of the whole comics community. It's one thing that everyone--from the biggest news and gossip sites to fan communities to even the critical folks at scans_daily--can agree upon.

And that is that Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso's Flashpoint: Batman--Knight of Vengeance is great.

No, not just great. Google reviews for the third issue, and every single one you'll find save for maybe one is glowing. Flashpoint: Batman is universally considered to not just be the best of the Flashpoint tie-ins by a *wide* margin, but legitimately, A+, best-of-2011 "instant classic" great great GREAT.

I understand where they're coming from, and y'know, I can almost agree.

But something holds me back, and I'm getting increasingly annoyed that it's something that no one else seems to notice or care about. They seem to be focusing less on the story and more on the twist, which has now been plastered so many places by now that I'm hoping I won't be spoiling any of you by posting it right here. Because for me, the moment I actually became interested in the potential of F:B-KoV wasn't when the twist happened in the story itself. No, it was when I saw Dave Johnson's cover art for the final issue:





Hoshit. When I saw that cover last month, a dozen ideas and possibilities popped around in my fan-brain. That image alone tells a whole story without a single word. In this reality, Bruce was the one who died, and so Thomas became the Batman while Martha became the Joker.

It inverts and plays with the idea of Batman and the Joker being mirrors and/or polar ends and/or two sides of the same coin and/or whatever their dynamic represents, depending on the fan and writer. How would that grief turn the noble Martha Wayne into the Joker, and more importantly, what kind of Joker would she be? How would Dr. Thomas Wayne, a full-grown adult without any of Bruce's years of rigorous training and childhood trauma, become a vigilante himself? Even in this alternate reality, why is it so tragically inevitable that there be a Batman and a Joker?

I think that these kinds of questions were what so intrigued everybody who loved F:B-KoV. Perhaps all the more so because they go completely unanswered. I suppose that, for many, that open-endedness is brilliance. For me, it's a half-baked non-story of pretension, posturing, and bullshit. And it's made all the worse by the three or four useless, boring subplots that go nowhere, add nothing to the story as a whole, and take up space that could be better used looking expressly at the Thomas/Martha story, which is all anyone cares about anyway. And even still... it doesn't work for me. Not like it should.

So in a rare case of striking while the iron is only-recently-cool, let's take a look at Flashpoint: Batman--Knight of Vengeance and see if maybe I'm not missing something.


So there was this time when Batman's wife, the Joker, kidnapped Harvey Dent's twins... )


And yet, I say again, this story has stayed with me. I'm STILL thinking about it, and I'm still thinking about Martha most of all. I just read another comic that mentioned Martha Wayne, and I found myself still thinking about Joker!Martha, as if that's now her defining appearance. I wonder and worry that I'm not alone. Let's face it, this story is probably the most prominence that Martha Wayne has achieved in comics history as a character since her creation, just by default of the fact that no one ever does anything with her. I just hope that this doesn't stain the character in anyone's minds, not even my own.

And so to cleanse the palate, I offer up both Ming Doyle's Martha-centric fancomic Lady Gotham, as well as this wonderful piece by Yasmin Liang entitled, "Trinity Mothers":





Ahhh, that's the stuff.

Oh, wait, aren't they killing off Martha Kent in the DCnU? Well, fuck. Thanks, DC!
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Disclaimer: this post was written over several exhausted days, in increments averaging two sentences at a time, between feeding and changing and burping a baby. Rambling, tangents, and incomprehensible gibberish may occur.



With this weekend comes the biggest comics event of the year, Comic Con! And with Comic Con, comes news and hints of upcoming stuff like comics from the DCnU reboot and Batman: Arkham City! And with that news, comes... many questions. Important, strange, nagging, bothersome, deeply annoyed (and perhaps annoying!) questions.

Why, why, and WHY OH DEAR GOD WHY, behind the cut )

So what do we know about the state of the Batman characters in the DCnU? Still pretty much nothing, but I'm decidedly more annoyed now than I was before, when I was just aggressively apathetic and mildly concerned about the immediate future of these characters I love. If these comics and this game are the current state of Batman stories, I get the feeling I'm not going to enjoy any new Bat-related stuff for some time.




*I've heard nothing but amazing things about Scott Snyder's current work on Detective Comics, especially the James Gordon Jr. storyline, but I'm afraid to read it. Everything I've heard makes it sound far too bleak for my enjoyment, especially considering that someone's finally remembered that James Jr. exists only to turn him into, what, a sociopath monster? Is that what happened? Has anyone else been following 'Tec, and can you tell me if it lives up to its hype?
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In my huge Batman: Face the Face dissection post, I lamented the lack of continuity between the maxi-series 52 and the One Year Later books which took place immediately after the events of 52 were to end, both of which were released at the same time. I understand why it couldn't all work out. 52 alone was such a massive undertaking, and it's still amazing that those four very different writers managed to pull off something that cohesive, much less great. And yet, I'm still very sad that 52 didn't include even a mention of Harvey as Gotham's Protector, focusing instead on the new Batwoman (whose role was, I believe, rather pumped-up due to media attention), but it was far from the only OYL development to not get any mention in 52.

Thus, near the end of 52, DC published a tie-in mini-series called World War III, which served no other purpose but to fill all the gaps between 52 and OYL that the former left unaddressed. Amongst these gaps included addressing how Aquaman was turned into a tentacle-bearded amnesiac sorcerer, why J'onn J'onzz decided to trade his silly classic costume for a stupid new one, and why the hell Cassandra Cain inexplicably became an evil "Dragon Lady" stereotype League of Assassins leader, as zechs80 has been chronicling over at scans_daily in the wake of my B:FTF post. Jesus, Beechen. And here I thought your Batman Beyond series was bad.

Tangent: I mean, really, Beechen... you seriously want me to believe that Batman sees Tommy Elliot as a threat on the level of Joker or Ra's? Like to have Bruce talk about Tommy in exactly those words? HAHAHA no. Okay, tangent over.

So World War III addressed Cassandra's seduction to the dark side in a scene which also, finally, gave us a brief look at Harvey's vigilante career. Which isn't to say it's a GREAT look, but it's better than nothing. ... Right?


Harvey versus Crockers behind the cut )


If you'd like to read the whole WWIII mini, it's been collected here, but it seems to be out of print. Honestly, considering how many of the OYL changes have been retconned or forgotten, you're better off just reading 52 on its own. I'm still surprised at how good that turned out to be, especially considering how cynical and ugly it was at the start.

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