Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly DC Comics Review – Part Two

Batman: Battle for the Cowl 1

by Tony Daniel and Sandu Florea

Tony Daniel gives us a cool cover, and it’s great to see he gets a shot at writing too. Tim Drake is the narrator for the entire issue, and it’s actually a little awkward when the scene cuts to Dick in the Batcave, but the angles and the panel choices are all good. The story is simple to start with: Gotham is falling apart, and the Black Mask has sprung al of the villains and drafted them. There’s a Batman imitator out there, and Tim is still trying to convince Dick to take up the cape.

The feel of the issue is good, and I only have one complaint. Damian has reverted to some scared whiny-baby, and it’s quite a change from his attitude before. Granted, he was always kind of a brat, but the sudden caring for Nightwing, and the disappearance of his arrogance is a little sudden. Can there be any other outcome besides Dick taking up the mantle?

Superman/Batman 56

by Michael Green, Mike Johnson and Rags Morales

It’s the final installment of the power-swap, and the JLA is convinced something is warping Batman’s perceptions. Bats has gotten a clue from Nightwing and gone to “charge up” in front of the sun, so he’s feeling good just in time to fight all of his teammates. They stall him just log enough for Zatanna to help Superman track down the pendant and position themselves to reverse the change.

Morales is great on the art, and the introspection of each character as each examines his own motives is cool; we usually don’t get too see very much soul-searching in a power-swap story. This was a nice, solid read. If this title could be this consistent all the time (and published in a timely manner), I might even be able to recommend it as a steady title to buy.

Titans 11

by Judd Winick and Joe Benitez

Welcome to a whole lot of nothing going on. Dick has quit the team, so we just cut back and forth to the different members of the group. See, Garfield suggested they all take a break from each other, so what better way to show that than to have each one of them hanging out with another member of the team for the entire issue? Why, that’s not a contradiction at all!

Jericho is still around, and despite Cyborg getting hit with the Jericho-detector just a little while ago, evidently it doesn’t do anything to prevent Jericho from invading his body right after he wakes up from the shot. Jericho is making use of his time by spying on the Teen Titans. Here’s an idea: when you’re trying to find someone who could possess any body, maybe you should have maintained the lockdown until you found out how he disappeared. It is hard to believe both the Titans and the JLA could be that naïve. The rest of the comic is blown on Roy getting booty calls, Raven breaking up with Gar, and hinting that Donna will take command of the team, as if it was ever in doubt. Boring!

Top 10 Season Two

by Zander Cannon, Kevin Cannon, and Gene Ha

The police drama continues, and not every cop is a good one. Pete finally goes over the edge and pays for it. The alternate-world commissioner spends his time berating Top Ten, but his own area gets overrun by resistance fighters. Officer Phoenix acts a little weird about not giving credit for a break in a case, AND they still manage to include an action scene. Can we mandate that the creative team for the Titans has to read this comic, to see what all you can have happen in 22 pages?

Actually, more than this happens in the issue, but I hate to spoil everything. The whole comic is heavy with great art, tons of developments, and a frenetic pace that helps the TV cop-drama atmosphere. Pick this up already!

Trinity 41

by Kurt Busiek, Mark Bagley, Fabian Nicieza, Tom Derenick and Wayne Faucher

The tables have turned, but Morgaine doesn’t want to leave. She is so impatient! Xor and Enigma know better, and Xor actually clocks her one. As soon as they leave, the rest of the good guys make short work of the villains. Heroes who get close enough to the big three actually transform back into their real forms.

The backup story has impressive art, but the story is all about the Void Hound, and it does not feel close to the rest of the event. Krona grabs him and directs him toward Earth. The pace is picking up, but it does leave the reader wanting more immediately, since each section of story is only half a comic. Can you imagine if we had to wait a full month for the rest of the story? It feels like we’re turning towards home plate now, but the villains still have a chance, and Lex Luthor is definitely up to no good again. Oh, and the cover of Batman reminds me of Replikon from Green Lantern #108.
Tpull is Travis Pullen. He started reading comics at 5 years old, and he can't seem to stop.

I have to say how disappointed I was in issue #1 of Battle for the Cowl. It feels like a return to the latter-era Bob Shreck Batman comics. Batman's "family" is without Batman and struggling (again). There's a gang-war afoot (again. And Robin JUST put one out in his own title). Someone has blown up Arkham (again). And Black mask is using the chaos to seize power (again). Police are being killed and the siggestions of bodycounts are completely ridiculous if you see the headlines on the newspaper clippings. The US Army would be in the middle of Gotham with armed patrols. Oh, and, of course, Gordon is under pressure. Again.

Throw in Tony Daniels' horrendously off-key characterization of Damian, and the issue and storyline seems... pointless.

And, lastly, what feels like a throwback to the excesses of the 1990's, with Gun-Blazin' Batman (which seems like Azrael. Again.). Not to mention the ridiculous posing is those opening pages.

If some folks wonder why I've tolerated Morrison's bizarro take on Batman, its because I can't honestly tolerate the "fill in the bubbles" approach so many writers take to the Batbooks. Its impossible to take these scenarios seriously anymore when they've been done before in bits and pieces, or all together, such as the pre-Crisis gangwar storyline.

Mike Marts should be taking a nice, long look in the mirror right now, because this just isn't bringing his readers anything remotely new or useful.

June can't come fast enough for this Batfan.

-- Posted by: Ryan at March 15, 2009 7:54 PM

Aww, come on, give a poor artist a break. Maybe things will get better with issue #2.

...Okay, it's not likely, but the guy's gotta start somewhere if he wants to "star and direct" for comics, yeah? I'm going to cut him slack for an issue, if only because his issue was still better than Titans. heh


-- Posted by: tpull at March 15, 2009 11:45 PM