Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Comic Book Reviews: Batman #10, Batman & Robin #10 and Batgirl #10

A year of Bat vs. Owl action is drawing to a close in these summer issues of Batman, and I honestly hope that the follow-up will be just as amazing as what I've seen. After the 11-month trek ends, Scott Snyder is going to end the first year of the New 52 era by doing a one-shot story, and then it's the big #0 issue month this September.

For more information, Snyder did an interview here about what he's planning for the one-shot, the #0 and the newest long-running arc, which will start in October.

Anyway, it's really late, but here are my thoughts on the three regular comics I review:

Batman #10

I have a lot of problems with the DC Universe right now, many of which will be in a future blog. How has Batman had four Robins in a SIX-YEAR timeline? How could the Wolfman-Perez Titans exist (as established by Red Hood a few months ago) when Cyborg is founding the Justice League and Beast Boy appears to be operating in an entirely different continuity? Do Cass Cain and Stephanie Brown even exist?

Scott Snyder is providing one of the few truths I can decipher in the Post-Flashpoint world: This. book. is. AMAZING.

Much of this book is expository, as Bruce sorts out all that has happened over the storyline and uses his brilliance as a detective to figure out who was responsible for the attack on him and where to find them.

(Sidenote: Why is it that Batman is doing more detective work in this one issue than in the entire Detective series? Take note of this, Tony Daniel.)

Anyway, the big reveal as to who the villain is has most likely gotten everyone talking about what this does to the Bruce Wayne character. Some are excited (like me), and some undoubtedly feel like this has to be a fake-out or else the character is devalued.

I'll admit, I can see why having this character exist would make the Batman origin far more convoluted, but to be honest, it's really not that bad. The explanation as to why this character was in this clinic is pretty odd, but given the many, many flaws in continuity that LEGITIMATELY make the timeline of the universe nearly logistically impossible, this is pretty harmless and within reason for a comic book.

The reveal was a big surprise and set up for an excellent finale. I'd have preferred the Owls remain faceless so as to make them a force to be feared in the future, but that hasn't been completely killed and, once again, the reveal gave a good shock to the reader without grossly destroying the timeline, so I'm satisfied.

The Owl story has been absolutely great in that it is well-written, has great action and story structure, adds to the backstory of both Bruce and Dick and doesn't do anything that makes it obviously retcon-able.

Oh, and I almost forgot Part 2 of the side story that caused this book to be an extra dollar. That was well-drawn and surprisingly has held its own with the main story. It serves as an excellent supplement and I look forward to its conclusion (unlike Two-Face's in Detective).

Batman and Robin #10

A new arc finally begins in this book as well, and to this point, it's a really fun read.

While Batman has been a serious ride, this book shows the three Robins that Bruce doesn't have trying to kill him being painted for a family portrait.

(Another sidenote: If these kids were adopted/appeared so closely together in time, does Gotham look at Bruce as the Angelina Jolie of the town? How has no one figured out he's Batman? With this weird record of adopting nearly full-grown children on a nearly yearly basis, and new heroes emerging with a similar frequency, Gotham must be run by those idiot adults in South Park.)

Returning to the review, Damian calls out all the Robins after the Night of the Owls (even Jason) and tells them he plans to best them at something.

His first bout with Tim is fairly interesting and shows that the latest Robin is a true tactician. While this storyline isn't really making much of an impact in terms of the universe, this was by far the most fun read of the three books I read this past week.

This story provides fans with the clash of Robins most probably would beg to see, and it's apparently leading into something bigger. For the time being, the villain's part of the story isn't making much sense, but it's clearly setting up and it's serviceable, so I'll give it a pass.

It's not the strongest book in terms of storyline, but it doesn't require you to keep track of months of storyline and is a fun read. Definitely worth the $2.99.

Batgirl #10

I've defended this book quite a bit, and once again I'll be fair that the story that is being set up looks like it could be something awesome.

But holy crap, was this an annoying book!

First, Batgirl just leaves a kid for dead after his leg gets caught in a freaking bear trap. Why she wouldn't wait next door after being asked to leave is beyond me.

Sure enough, the kid ends up losing the leg because she didn't stay vigilant.

I will say, I'm not sure if the interviewer was actually Lois Lane, but if it was, that was just brilliant.

The backstory for the new villainess isn't bad, but the whole "woman goes psycho after traumatic incident" thing has been done now for three straight arcs. It's becoming cookie-cutter for Gail Simone.

Overall, I was just frustrated with the clear step backward Barbara's overall hero work has gone with this issue. I'm basically just waiting now for the storyline with her brother to start back up again.

I will have my reviews of Red Hood and Nightwing tomorrow night for sure. Be ready!

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