Robin has two Batmen…

What are your gut reactions and more finely honed thoughts on the news that Dick Grayson and Bruce Wayne will be wearing the cowl?

At first glance, I think WTF? On reflection though, we’ve got this happening all over the DCU already. In any given month there are as many as 4 Flashes running around with a couple of ancillary speedsters to boot. Green Lantern has an entire Corps spanning the Universe. Batman himself has effectively been building an army of mini-Batmen since the first Robin. In recent years it’s become hard as a reader to believe there could still be that much crime in Gotham. Huntress is running around, Catwoman frequently combats crime; Dick Grayson is in and out of Gotham. The Birds of Prey, Azrael, Slam Bradley, Tim Drake all fight Gotham’s crime too. How is Gotham not the safest city in the DCU? With so much caped activity and so many “legacy” characters in general, why shouldn’t there be a couple of Batmen running around?

I’m not going to spend time speculating the logistics of it, but it might be confusing having two guys called “Batman.” Do we go from THE Batman to A Batman? Maybe it does take something from the character. We’ll see.

In the mean time, head over to ComicsAlliance; Chris Sims examines the history of Bat-imposters and the probable meaning of a Dynamic Duo of Batmans or Batmen.

This Week’s Comics

Well, this is somewhat disappointing.  I’m only picking up one comic this week — GORILLA MAN #3 — which wraps up that mini.  There’s not much more harping on Jeff Parker, Agents of Atlas, or Gorilla Man I can do at this point.  I haven’t gotten to read last week’s comics yet, focusing instead on working my way through Joe Casey and Ashley Wood’s Automatic Kafka, which I’ve been trying to complete for several years now.

Since I have the opportunity (and it worked so well last time), I’ll throw today’s post open to comments: what should I check out?

The last time I did this I got some killer recommendations from Friend of the Blog Larry, who suggested DMZ and Nightly News among others. I’m on the 6th DMZ trade now and it just gets stronger with each collection.  I’ve only been able to track down the first issue of Nightly News, but so far it’s incredible: everything Brian Wood’s Channel Zero promised to be but didn’t deliver on.

I say this every week, but what are YOU looking at?  All suggestions will be considered, but anything coming out this week that has a $3 cover price will probably get picked up. Fire away!

Random Links For Your Weekend

I’ve apparently been sitting on a bunch of links for a while now.  Enjoy!

Lesser known enemies of man: THE LIST

The wizard Shazam is charged with protecting mankind from the Seven Deadly Enemies of Man. Being so deadly, these occupy Captain Marvel and Shazam’s attention and time. What aren’t they watching? Which enemies of man have slipped by to plague our society?

438th Deadly Enemy of Man: Passing Gas in a Crowded Elevator

1927th Deadly Enemy of Man: High Fructose Corn Syrup

38th Deadly Enemy of Man: Over-relliance relience use of Spell Check

9.34 * 10 ^56th Deadly Enemy of Man: Earworms (songs that get stuck in your head, not like in Trek II)

299th Deadly Enemy of Man: Confusing They’re/There/ and Their

19th Deadly Enemy of Man: Dressing Pets in Clothing

13th Deadly Enemy of Man: Furniture Royalty

142nd Deadly Enemy of Man: Toyota-thon

9th Deadly Enemy of Man: Insisting That Dane Cook Is THE Comic Genius of Our Time
93rd Deadly Enemy of Man: The Sudden and Needful Urge to Pee in the Middle of a Movie

45th Deadly Enemy of Man: Reshelfing Library Books in the Wrong Place So That No One Can Find Them.

34920th and 34921st Deadly Enemy of Man: Gluten and the Gluten Free

34th Deadly Enemy of Man: Krumping

11th Deadly Enemy of Man: “Humorous” Lists

1298th – 1312th Deadly Enemy of Man: All Seinfeldian Concepts: Low Talking, Regifting, Double Dipping, Unviting, Referring to One’s Self in Third Person, etc…

916th Deadly Enemy of Man: Yellow #5

73rd Deadly Enemy of Man: Read-Only Memory

981st Deadly Enemy of Man: Rocktober

1000th Deadly Enemy of Man: Pageants for Small Children

Game Tape: Another forced hiatus

It’s been a month since I reviewed books. I’m told that this is mostly due to incompetence and misunderstandings on the part of UPS. Books were shipped to Los Angeles instead of LA; boxes with tracking numbers disappeared and magically reappeared in Mississippi. Suffice it to say, my LCS has not been getting books regularly. I’ve been playing catch-as-catch-can trying to keep up on weekends. This was the first week in a while that I could walk in on a Wednesday and find new books. Not much out this week specifically though. Still, let’s take a look at the game tape and see how it turned out.

The last chapter in the current arc of Warren Ellis’ Astonishing X-Men is a major let down. After such an interesting and slow set-up with genetic monstrosities stolen from Beast’s secret files, the pay off wasn’t there. In all honesty, I should have seen this coming. Ellis has made it abundantly clear that he hates superheroes. He uses issue #35 to spew bile in the direction of the X-Men. Through the villain, Ellis rants for five pages (non-stop) about why the X-Men are hypocritical at worst and phony at best. It’s boring, and as Hannibal Tabu at CBR points out: the argument doesn’t make sense in a world where the Morlocks or guys like Beak have been X-Men. As offensive as the (lack of) story is the fact that nearly every other page is a house ad. Presumably this is part of the price we must pay for books to remain $2.99.

Batman #702 filled in more gaps between the fight with Dr. Hurt and Batman’s “death” at the hands of Darkseid.  Given Batman’s drugged and abused mental state at the time, we do not get a cohesive narrative. For the most part, think of it as getting deleted scenes from Final Crisis. It’s not bad, but outside of the the confrontation with Darkseid and the following pages, it’s nothing really new. At best it’s sort of… meh.

Action Comics #892 continues Lex’s lust driven journey for a black ring. The story isn’t so great here, but we get some cool ideas and some great character moments for Lex and a couple of his flunkies. Cornell makes this worth picking up.

Sadly, no Muppet books this week, and I still have not read the all ages Infinity Gauntlet series.

Cassandra Complex, Or: How Much Is Too Much, Part 2

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about cover prices, asking “How Much is Too Much?” to spend on a new issue.  At that point I imagined it would be something of a round number, $5 or $10, that would be what set most people off, but because standard cover prices now are $3-$4, I thought it would take a while to see how it all shook out.

Well, I was a little more prescient than I would have liked.  Fables makes it to its 100th issue in November that will be a whopping 100 pages, but the cover price for that book is $9.99. Compare that to Amazing Spider-Man #600 last July, which was 104 pages for $4.99.

(I’m not sure that this is relevant to anything, but I find it interesting: Fables is one of DC’s few books that are still 32 pages for $3.)

Now, the price per page may be down (depending on the number of ad pages), but now that we’re seeing $10 comics hit the stands, what do you think?  Or could we simply be seeing an inevitable drift to the manga format of thick  books at $10 a pop?

Let me know what you think in the comments section.

Archangel — Secrets!!!

I've often thought about the kids Jean and I would have. With their red hair, blue skin, and enormous trust funds...


After I shoot them, I have to go and pick up each flechette and reload it. Stupid Scott counts them, too.


For a while I thought being a horseman would be the worst my life ever got. These X-Writers seem to get off on topping the crappy things they do to us.


Harvey Birdman thinks being a lawyer is so great? He should try accountancy!


Dream Team… LEGION!

I tend to hide the fact that I am mildly Legion-curious, and Jesse works hard to rag on them and or out me. True, I followed the Waid run with great excitement. Here was a writer that I liked and respected writing a team that he expressed great love for. Throw in art by Barry Kitson and I couldn’t help but give it a try. Jesse on the other hand is much more discriminating; all sorts of walls go up and alarums go off when you hint at the suggestion of reading a LSH story. All of this got me to thinking about what it would take to get Jesse to follow the team with regularity… or at all. For me it was Waid… for Jesse the bar is set a bit higher.

The Legion has had at least as many reboots and incarnations as I’ve had birthdays. For the purpose of this discussion, let’s take it back to the original concept: rebellious teens inspired by Superboy and the Justice League to combat evil. They don’t grow up; they don’t get married; like Bruce Wayne they remain perpetually a certain age, + or – four years. The trick for any writer here then is to remember that these are kids; some of them are just hitting or are right in the middle of puberty. They’re not going to react to an adult situation in the same way as the JLA or the Science Police.

So who can hack it writing teenagers in such a way that Jesse would willingly pick up the book? Sure, Jesse’d read anything Grant Morrison wrote. I’m not sure he’d capture the right feel for the book though. The closest he’s probably come is his work on Doom Patrol. Hmmmm… Maybe not Mr. Morrison then.

On the other hand Jesse’ll read anything by Jeff Parker too! Here’s a guy with the right pedigree. His X-Men: First Class was pitch perfect. Each member had a distinct voice and it wasn’t watered down adult voice either. Specifically I’d point to any page where Iceman opens his mouth or the scenes where Angel sits in class daydreaming of flying. I don’t know how he did it, but Parker wrote a teen team book where everyone was enjoyable, realistic, and unique; hell, we rarely get that in TEEN Titans much less the LSH. Further, Parker has ample experience writing team dynamics (see: Marvel Adventures: Avengers, Agents of Atlas, and the above mentioned X-Men: First Class.

Who can bring Parker’s Legion to life? Jesse’d read it if Rob Liefeld drew it, but few others would. I’m thinking Mike Allred for this job. There aren’t many artists that spring to my mind when I think of fun art. It’s fluid and elegant in a simple way. Perfect for a book about teens in the future.

At any rate, I’d buy the book, and I’d make sure Jesse had a copy of the first trade. Still though, it’s just my imagination running away with me…