After last month's issue seeing the glorious New 52 debut of Ragdoll, Barbara is back to facing her biggest foe in Gotham: Charise (Knightfall) Carnes. Charise is essentially the Moriarty to Barbara's Sherlock. They're antagonistic towards each other in a much more cerebral way than, say, Batman and The Penguin. Charise has a very twisted sense of justice and she plans on delivering it by force, regardless of who might be killed along the way. Naturally Barbara can't stand idly by and let that happen. She calls on one of her closest Birds of Prey allies to help fight for the cause, and the final page has a very special, very surprising appearance from another DC character who makes the third leg to a fan-favorite trio.
Detective Comics #32
The third part of the ongoing Icarus saga is one of the most interesting Batman-centric stories that DC is publishing right now. I know the entire DC universe is fresh off of the Forever Evil storyline, meanwhile the standalone Batman book is reliving the past, and Batman Eternal is taking a look at a potential future, but Detective is happening right now, and it is a solid book with solid art. Not to mention a Mexican Standoff at the end. If you haven't read this series, start with issue #30 and keep going.
Birds of Prey #32
Since I mentioned earlier that Dinah was making an appearance in Batgirl #32, I figured I'd suggest giving BoP #32 a read as well. The character crossovers do not denote tied-together story lines, but Birds is still fairly interesting, especially given the (very small) appearance of the Suicide Squad. Birds is an ensemble book, but it's very much Dinah's story. She has been working through a lot of personal problems during these last few arcs, and this issue is no different. I expect that the next issue will be the official last appearance of this current incarnation of the Suicide Squad, since their book is getting a reboot later this summer.Follow @harveywalkerFollow @ClosetCaseRoman
OH BOY. Today's picks are really good. I mean, I'm generally happy every Wednesday when new books arrive on the shelves, but today's top picks had tons of great "ooooh and ahhhhh" moments.
GAIL, YOU SLY DEVIL. Last issue was a bit of filler. It was good, but it wasn't written by Gail. Intelletually, I know other people are capable of writing Barbara, but emotionally, if it ain't Gail ... I'm not thrilled. Welp, not only is Batgirl back in the proper writer's hands, but Simone is pairing her up with another character she writes oh so well – RAGDOLL! Gail gained a passionate fan base from her run on Secret Six, the team of which Ragdoll was a member. A bendy bastard with a flair for the flamboyant, seeing him square off against Babs – in a tight stairwell no less! – is a real treat. Definitely pick this issue up. If you don't currently have Batgirl on your pull list, add it now. Just as Simone herself said earlier today:
Seriously, just put Batgirl on your pull list for a bit. Fun stuff is coming.
— Gail Simone (@GailSimone) May 14, 2014
Superman/Wonder Woman #8
I'll admit it, I've never been on the Superman bandwagon. I see tons of dudes (especially in gay porn, it seems) with the "S" emblem tattooed on their bodies and I don't get it. I mean, Clark is nice enough. He seems like a swell dude. But he's just not for me. The New 52 reboot has attempted to direct everyone's favorite Kryptonian into a more hard-lined badass, but 75 years of goody-goody can't be wiped away that easily.
That being said, I have been reading the Superman/Wonder Woman series since its inception, mostly just for Diana. Her relationship with Clark is another thing that I don't really love, but I'll tolerate it. This all seems to tie into some arc called "Superman DOOMED" that I don't really care to involve myself in, but it does make for some good fodder. Kal & Diana have squared off against some big bads, notably General Zod & Faora and Doomsday himself. This issue pits an infected Superman against Wonder Woman, and it is nice to see her kicking his ass if I'm being honest. Also, there's an awesome panel where she needs Batman's assistance so she lands on the Bat-jet, mid flight. Tony Daniel's art throughout the issue and on the cover is a treat, too. If you liked Marc Silvestri but just wished he was grounded in reality as opposed to inhumanly proportioned breasts, Tony Daniel is your man.
The Walking Dead #127
And so begins another chapter in the days of the lives of the survivors. I won't spoil too much here other than to say it's a super-sized issue and there's a time-jump. If you read the last issue you know how the "ALL OUT WAR" was resolved. This doesn't takes place the next day. It takes place a whole bunch of days after.Follow @harveywalkerFollow @ClosetCaseRoman
This week, I'm highlighting 2.5 bats & a zombie. Specifically, Batgirl, Batman Eternal, last week's Detective Comics (I'm only counting it as half since it's a week late) and Walking Dead.
Detective Comics #30
The series that launched the Batman is returning ever so slightly to its pre-New 52 noir feel. It's the first time in a long time that the book has felt like it's own entity instead of a panel-tested what's what of the Batman universe.
Batman Eternal #1
This weekly - yes, weekly - series is an attempt to jump ahead into the future of Gotham and tell grittier stories that don't mesh well with the current continuity. It is actually a pretty promising premise, and it's attracting a who's who of creators to give Gotham a punch to the guts on a more frequent basis.
This one is an in-betweener. Written by Marguerite Bennett - the same writer who filled in for the Zero Year issue of Batgirl - this issue seems to set up another future supernatural threat to Gotham all while memorializing Richard Grayson. Now, this is pure speculation, but my guess is that the Editorial Board brought her in to write this issue to further fuel speculation that Dick actually died at that hands of Lex Luthor in Forever Evil #6, but I'm still not convinced that they're going to write Dick out that easily. Especially so soon after Damian's death. It's possible, but I think highly unlikely.
Walking Dead #125
I gotta say, after the mindfuck that Robert gave us at the end of issue #124, I'm happy to report that I predicted Rick's workaround. I don't want to spoil anything, because it is really good serial storytelling, but I do feel a bit smug after reading through the response letters to issue #124. People were freaking out, but I'm still cool as a cucumber. Oh, and this is a very satisfying issue. Check it out.Follow @harveywalkerFollow @ClosetCaseRoman
It was just a month ago that I was writing about Batgirl & Batman & Walking Dead in a single post, and I'm at it again. I did pick up a few more books today during my outing, but these are the stories that have really kept me captivated lately.
This issue wraps up Barbara's tangle with the villain known as Silver. I mean, I know he doesn't see himself as a villain, but rather as some righteous crusader against creatures of the night, but let's be real, he's a psychotic villain. Batgirl has been having some pretty awesome story lines lately and not just in her self-titled book. The Gail Simone-created Movement saw a two issue appearance of the crime fighter, Birds Of Prey has been pretty interesting as of late (and luckily its involvement in Gothtopia was minimal) and coming up in issue #30, Babs will be going up against a New 52-revised member of Secret Six, Simone's fan-favorite book from years past. The ending to this one is particularly good. It's the perfect combination of shock & awe + a wee bit of Gail having fun.
Batman #29 - Zero Year Conclusion
Well, Zero Year (and the actual year it took to tell the story) has come to a close. Initially set to wrap up in issue #28, as I mentioned last week, #28 became a preview for a new weekly series launching next month. Now we're back on target. Revisiting & reinventing scenes from Bruce's past for the New 52 universe has been a way for Scott Snyder to fully invest himself & artist Greg Caparullo into the character of Bruce Wayne. I can only guess that the DC Editorial board plans to keep Scott on the book for the foreseeable future, because this entire year truly has been an exercise in "creating" a Bruce Wayne with a very specific narrative. At this point, it would just be cruel and unusual to take him off the book (like they oh-so-unceremoniously did with Gail Simone & Batgirl just shy of the 20th issue -- before listening to fans and reinstating her.) By the end, we discover what the major disaster was that essentially set Batman, Gordon and the whole Bat-family-in-waiting on course to be the heroes Gotham needs.
Walking Dead #123
The war with Negan is not relenting in the least. There have already been casualties, displacement, hostage situations, walkers-as-weapons attacks and more since Rick decided to stand up to the latest dictator in the post-apocalyptic world. Clearly Rick & his team are the underdog here, but since he's the hero it seems like things are looking up for a victory for his side... but this is Robert Kirkman writing the narrative. Things could just veer to a hard left and you'd never have seen it coming. Even right up to the last page of this one, you have no idea what's going to happen next. And that last panel of the book... oh boy it's a doozy. Issue #124 is going to be CRAY.Follow @harveywalkerFollow @ClosetCaseRoman
This week I'm taking shining the #nerdjizz spotlight on two DC books and one from Image.
Detective Comics - #29
The Gothtopia Finale is here. Finally. Now, listen, I understand the necessity of a filler storyline like 'Gothtopia', but I do wish it had been executed with a bit more finesse. The name itself is a bit uninspired, but considering they needed a story arc to placate a few of the peripheral Bat-Family books while Forever Evil is going on in the DC Universe-at-large, I am in fact willing to forgive even the name. One of the highlights of the series for me was the opportunity to see a bright color scheme applied to the Bat-family. The names were only slightly off-putting. Batgirl became 'Bluebelle', Batwoman became 'Brightbat', Black Canary became 'Warbler' and so forth and so on. Catwoman had my least favorite alternate codename: Catbird. Sounds like a rejected mid-Nineties nickelodeon cartoon, but I guess there are only so many variations of animal names to use and stay true to the theme. ANYWAY. This issue wraps up the mini foray into a utopian Gotham, and while I didn't love it to pieces, a part of me is sort of glad it happened. Clearly we're never going to get to see the gang in happy circumstances ever again, so it was neat while it lasted.
Forever Evil - 6 of 7
The primary arc taking place in the central DC universe is almost coming to a close. The editors at DC's top have been all about unifying many of the primary books into a central story ever since The New 52 took hold. I'm a little mixed on it. On one hand, it makes sense on paper to have a unifying narrative. On the other hand, the creative freedom for the writers to explore their own story lines is stifled, and ergo, the overall storytelling suffers. Early last year we saw all three Justice League Books – Justice League, Justice League of America & Justice League Dark – converge for the Trinity War. Trinity War was in fact a precursor to Forever Evil. The Crime Syndicate - the über-evil version of the Justice League from Earth 3 - has invaded and nearly incapacitated the whole roster of heroes. There have been ...a lot... of characters thrust into the story, and really, every single page feels a little too crowded. Not to mention the fact that every 7 pages there seems to be a new solution to the Crime Syndicate problem, only to be thwarted/replaced/retooled or revamped. It's a classic case of trying to do way too much in far too little time & space.
Saviors - #3
Now here's an original story to refresh the ol' mind palette. Illustrated by an artist I admire very much, j.bone, Saviors is the tale of a sleepy New Mexico town where nothing actually is as it appears and an invasion is taking place right under everyone's noses! It's a sendup to classic alien-vs-human comic book capers of the 50's & 60's but set with a very modern vibe. The protagonist is an unwitting party to the whole shebang, and longs for the days when he was blissfully ignorant of the conspiracy that lurks in every shadow and around every corner. Could you blame him? God knows I'd wanna just smoke a doobie and zone out the world if something that major happened to me. Self-preservation manifests itself differently in everyone. It's definitely a book to keep up with for as long as it runs. The art truly is great. If you're not familiar with j.bone, you might very well recognize this paper doll version of Colby Keller he drew a few years back:
Click the image to go to his personal sketch blog. He takes periodic breaks whenever work hits, as it's doing now, but he'll update again soon.
If you feel so inclined, pick up the comics above at your local comic shop or via Comixology on the iOS App Store.Follow @harveywalkerFollow @ClosetCaseRoman
The New 52, born out of The Flashpoint Event, hasn't exactly been loved by the masses, but I for one rather enjoy the current Bat-family. Sure, the practicality of it all isn't quite up to snuff – long story short, in this current generation, Bruce has only been Batman for about 5 years, and somehow he's still managed to cycle through all of the Robins? One Robin per year, I guess? – but nonetheless, the storytelling until recently has been about the now, and not the past. The Zero Year arcs have attempted to bridge those gaps slightly, but it's still rough at best. Right now, the current major event that's happening across most books, Forever Evil, is apparently going to have even more repercussions for all of the DC heroes.
Originally, issue #28 was going to wrap up the Zero Year arc from the Batman book. A switcheroo was pulled though, and #28 became a preview book for a new weekly series that will be launching soon entitled Batman Eternal. Things are about to get even grittier, again. Scott Snyder tweeted this teaser on Twitter back in December:
Pictured is Harper Row in her coming role as Bluebird. The most recent Robin, Damian Wayne, was murdered at the command of his own mother, Talia al Ghul, and Bruce has been a little unhinged ever since and reluctant to replace him. Since the issue is a preview of what's to come though, it would appear he's ready to move and and Harper will be filling the Robin role. Oh, and all you Stephanie Brown fans? Read this issue.
Babs has a new deranged villain on her tail in this issue, and to be honest, Gail Simone has created a pretty good one with Silver as he's called. He's a slight bit demented, literally viewing the Bat-family as "vampires" via hallucinations, and he sees himself as a righteous savior with his mission to destroy them. Barbara has to call in a favor from an old enemy in this issue, and she also kinda, sorta gets identified outside of her bat-suit. Simone is currently the writer on a growing handful of books, but her attention to her most successful book hasn't suffered as a result. Batgirl also makes a two-issue appearance on an unrelated matter in Simone's The Movement.
Coming soon from Gail is the official Tomb Raider series that will lead into the new game.
Walking Dead #121
Rick & Co. are in the middle of a war. If you're a fan of the show, you'll no doubt remember how the end of last season lead up to the war between the prison & the Governor. This war is bigger & badder. Negan, the current antagonist of the series is a bad mofo, but he's a morally interesting person to read. Kirkman has done a pretty good job in creating an evil person who makes interesting unexpected choices. I mean, he's not a redeemable man by any stretch, but props to his unpredictability.Follow @harveywalkerFollow @ClosetCaseRoman
It was revealed last week that one of the downloadable characters for DC Comic's recent fighting game "Injustice: Gods Among Us" would be none other than the original Batgirl, Barbara Gordon herself. Today, gameplay footage was released of Babs in action. I have to admit, she's a bit more gimmicky than I expected. Nonetheless, she is one of my all-time favorite comic book characters, so I'm just happy to get a chance to control her avatar in a pretty decent game. She'll be available to players who purchased the "Injustice" DLC season pass soon.
Follow @harveywalkerFollow @ClosetCaseRoman
As many fans of DC Comics and Saturday morning animation are keenly aware, one of the better animated series of late just aired its last-ever episode this past Saturday. Young Justice never quite caught the stride it should have with viewers, and to be fair that was of no fault to the series itself.
When it premiered in 2010, Cartoon Network was doing something kind of amazing: airing a primetime bloc of animation on a Friday night. It felt very much like "okay, kids, you can watch these cartoons, but we want you to bring your big brothers & sisters and your moms & pops into the room to watch them with you." At the time they were airing (if I'm not mistaken) an iteration of Ben-10 that was very much a young adult version of the popular kids' series; as well as the Star Wars: The Clone Wars series that was in its prime of presenting some heavier subject matter for new fans and old fans alike. The network hyped the upcoming Young Justice series pretty heavily, with adverts hailing the hour-long movie that would kick it all off. As an evening series, it seemed to have held a little more gravitas than it later would as a Saturday morning cartoon, even if the subject matter would indeed grow more mature.
Taking place on Earth-16 (a fact that isn't exactly alluded to in the series, but that most DC fans would understand), Young Justice presented three core members starting the team, joined quickly by two more, and eventually many others. Robin (Dick Grayson), Kid Flash (Wally West) and Aqualad (Kaldur'ahm) were the trio strike team initially tasked by the Justice League to take care of business and infiltrate a Cadmus base. There, they rescued Superboy (Kon-el) who had a chip on his shoulder for being a clone of Superman and began thereafter struggling with his own identity. Rounding out the "first five" was Miss Martian (M'gann M'orzz, aka Megan Morse.)
In many ways, Young Justice evoked the same types of emotions that typically was left to properties like the original X-Men cartoon from the early 90's, and really, utilized the same themes that have been unique to X-Men since its inception. Young Justice capitalized on that same "outsider" mentality that made the X-Men so universally relatable. Identity was a huge issue for many of the characters in the first season. Superboy wanted to prove himself as his own person, often trying to be more than Superman himself. Miss Martian was not in fact the niece of J'onn J'onzz as she was initially introduced, but in fact a White Martian posing a Green Martian, stealing her backstory and personality from an early Earth adolescent TV show. Robin was handpicked by his elders as the leader of the team, but decided he wasn't ready to fulfill that destiny. Artemis, who joined a few episodes in, claimed ties to Green Arrow (and he obliged the cover story) when in fact she came from a line of criminals and was trying to prove something to herself about her own nature. The typical isolating journeys of self discovery that most teenagers experience in their later teens – and in college especially – these teammates were experiencing during puberty, and at the same time saving the world. No pressure.
Personally, I think it was that universal appeal of struggling with ones identity that resonated so deeply with the viewership. Cartoons have long been playgrounds for writers to infuse adult themes and humor into a medium aimed at a young demographic, but it just so happened that the topic of identity, which teenagers can identify so easily with, is a topic that sticks with a person throughout his or her entire life. No matter how adjusted you become, questions of identity never fully go away.
A slew of DC Animation series (good ones, too) will be making their way to Netflix Instant streaming at month's end, so that will hopefully ease some of the pain viewers have from losing this young team too soon. Artist Christopher Jones who worked on the Young Justice series has been asked via Twitter and his personal Tumblr page if he forsees a possible return of the series, but due to licensing the DC characters and having the Warner Brothers studio loosen their grip, not to mention the difficulty of relaunching any series after cancellation, he seems to think it won't be possible. However, Veronica Mars was a Warner Brothers property, and they just found success with Kickstarter in launching a movie project. It is not an impossible feat, but it is most definitely improbable.
In the meantime, I do hope that Warner Brothers will bundle the series at a much less expensive bundle for sale on digital storefronts like iTunes. I'd certainly like to digitally own both seasons, but papa's gotta eat too.
On a quasi-related note, I want to jump into the "BluePulse" shippers that became a staple of season two especially on Tumblr, but that is an entirely different article. So for now, just take a look at the #bluepulse tag on Tumblr.Follow @harveywalkerFollow @ClosetCaseRoman
converting floppy disks into hard drives since 2011