Monday, March 11, 2013

Comic Book Reviews: Detective Comics #18 and Damian Wayne thoughts

I would be the first to freely admit that I completely forgot Batman Inc. was still a thing.

I haven't read very much of Grant Morrison's run, mostly because the thing is about as easy to follow as Lost if you don't start from the beginning. But what I have read is very clearly quality work.

That said, I was against his Batman Inc. story being a New 52 canon book. It doesn't work in either direction.

It doesn't work for Morrison's story because characters like Cass Cain and Steph Brown get cut out after using them in key parts of the story. And it doesn't work for the main continuity because while everyone else has to acknowledge his ultra-complex story, he's not acknowledging anyone else's.

Thus we have a book that is operating seemingly outside any rational DC Comics timeline (seriously, when the hell is Batman finding time to do all this?!) and yet is somehow affecting everything.

The point of this rant is that this month's Batman books pretty much now have to deal with fallout because Damian Wayne died in Batman Inc. #8 last month.

First off, when Batman and Robin #18 comes out on Wednesday, I'm very interested to see how the book deals with the backlash more than any other. The character that made the book worth buying is gone and I really need to see how Peter Tomasi handles the loss of his Robin.

In terms of Morrison's story, I get why Damian Wayne had to die. I've read enough of it to understand his logic, but it's a shame that it's happening in the main continuity where all these books will have to deal with the backlash.

Detective Comics #18 is the first book to try to deal with it, and in all honesty it's only casually touched on. It's clear that Batman is fighting angrier and there is a nice two-page spread where he grieves over Damian's grave, but John Layman pretty much keeps things on his Emperor Penguin storyline.

I notice that a lot of people are hating on this story because they think Emperor Penguin sucks as a name. While it definitely does, it's not as bad as people make it out to be and this story has been incredibly well executed.

The scene where Cobblepot realizes what Ogilvy has done is both hilarious and badass. Ogilvy has made quite the name for himself here and I hope that he eventually grows out of the Emperor Penguin moniker and becomes a unique rogue all his own.

The biggest issue with this book is that it calls back to like five different comics outside of its own title. It makes the story feel like it's missing a big part of itself. Then again, if this is supposed to be the flagship title of the DCU (DC does stand for Detective Comics, after all), then it should feel like where the action centers.

This is where Layman's "mesh various plotlines together into a coherent, long-running story" style actually works well. He's not going to create an epic like Scott Snyder does, but you're guaranteed a good read each time you pick up his work.

I'd firmly recommend this one. The story flows well and the twist at the end is finally going to open the Bat-books to a threat so far unseen in the New 52 (if Batman Inc. isn't considered).

Oh, and before I go, the back-up story with Victor Zsasz was a nice way to give his New 52 backstory. I usually don't care about Zsasz, but this was nice.

I'll see you all Wednesday for Batman and Robin (which is really the most important book in the DCU next week), the return of Harper Row in Batman (who NEEDS more print time, by the way) and Ray Fawkes' (hopefully) final guest appearance in Batgirl.

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