Thursday, August 9, 2012

Comic Book Reviews: Batman #12, Batman & Robin #12

It's nice to be back on a regular schedule again, as it's time to review Batman #12 and Batman & Robin #12.

I was going to do one on Batgirl #12, as I've been keeping up with the arc in the store, but I'll save that for a separate post since it's two issues now that I haven't reviewed.

These issues today conclude the first year of the New 52, and in these two books' cases, they conclude an arc in time for next month's #0 issues to come into play.

Batman #12

This is the first post-Owls issue of the Batman comics, and it is a standalone piece that provides backstory on Harper Row.

For those who are just getting into Batman after the conclusion of the Owls storyline or The Dark Knight Rises, Harper Row appeared in Issue #1 and #7, and actually saved Batman from drowning in the time between Issues #6 and 7 (off-screen).

Harper is actually quite the badass girl, supporting her younger brother, who is apparently gay, financially by working on underground power lines.

She attends Bruce Wayne's benefit in celebration of his remodeling of her run-down neighborhood, only to find that bullies/hate criminals have annihilated her and her brother's home.

This leads to one of the scenes that makes Batman such a likable character. He finds the two cornered by these jerk-offs and beats the living crap out of them, and finishes by warning them he'll be back if they mess with Harper or her brother again.

I absolutely love this. It shows that no crime is considered to be beneath Batman. One of the things I love about DC's iconic heroes like Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman is that they really are heroes someone can look up to. They epitomize helping anyone with problems and holding to a set moral code - something that might not be the most realistic, but something that fans expect from their heroes and serves as a goal that fans can aspire to attain in their own lives.

Anyway, Harper is done brilliantly in this book. She uses her own strong detective skills to figure out how Batman does what he does, though the fact that she seems very unaware of Bruce and Batman's connection leads me to believe that Scott Snyder has not been writing with Batman Inc. in mind (not the worst idea, actually).

This book introduces a character competently and gets the reader emotionally invested in the story, something that so few people can execute properly. This is a great jump-on point for new readers. Also, with Snyder looking to explain this six-year Batman history next issue, and a big Joker storyline after that, this will be a good next few months for Snyder's Batman.

Batman and Robin #12

The last three issues of this book have been one REALLY good storyline tied into a REALLY bad storyline. Both come to a head here.

Evidently, Terminus is now in the fight, and he has a countdown clock for the moment he is going to die. He demands revenge on Batman (for something that is STILL NOT EXPLAINED!) and has made him fight in broad daylight.

This of course causes Batman to go under his car to dawn a second Iron Bat suit (because Bruce has to prove he's richer and better than Tony Stark), which proves completely useless in battle until the very end.

While this is happening, all the former Robins come to aid the Duo, showing that they're all in this together. Why we couldn't at least get a token Jason-Bruce conversation is beyond me. Maybe Scott Lobdell and RHATO's crew have dibs.

Ultimately, Batman is left to do what he seems to do best in every medium the past few years: manually ride a doomsday bomb with his death being a very realistic possibility.

The artwork for this book is great, and Nightwing's conversation with Damian really serves as the best end to the "Damian VS." arc. The problem is that it was surrounded by a main plot that made very little sense and was really not that interesting.

I seem to recall that this is leading into a mega-event in a few months. I hope so because this has been utterly painful to sit through. Damian was the only thing keeping me interested in this book the last few months. Maybe there should be a lesson taken in that, Peter Tomasi!

Well, keep up with the blog, as I have Batgirl reviews coming this week, and next week is Nightwing and Red Hood's turn at bat. Also, be ready for my comparison of Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy and the three films Tim Burton worked on. I guarantee you there will be debate!

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