Death of the Family review

DC Comics did it right when they began the New 52 with the Joker having his face cut off……and then keeping us in suspense for a year!

Along the way, Gotham policemen pranked each other with it, Harley Quinn tried to steal the face, and had a twisted moment with it and her new boyfriend, Deadshot.

And then the Joker returned, and he didn’t disappoint!  Right away he kills an entire station of Gotham policemen.  When we see him, he has his face horrifically strapped to his head, and stretched into a gruesome smile.  He spends no time catching up with Batman, and having some famous dialogue about how his “bat-family” makes him weaker.

This was also a cool trip through the New 52 origin of the Joker, (and Harley Quinn, too.)  DC portrayed the Joker as remixing his original crimes.  All of this echoed stuff from the old DC universes. Now it seems there is a solid origin story.  Batman knocked The Red Hood into a vat of chemicals, and it made him into the Joker.  That whole bit about him being a chemist also still seems to be true.

The Joker slowly picks off each Bat-Family member.  He does the biggest number on Batgirl, capturing her mom, removing her finger, and using it to propose to BatGirl.  Of course, she has to play along, or her mom will get blown up!  NightWing has his circus scared away because one of the clowns was killed for resembling the Joker.  Red Hood, Red Robin, and Robin (Damian) all get captured and thrown together in a cell.  (Damian’s book was really gruesome.)  Also, Alfred was attacked and Joker Gassed.  Every Bat Family member’s story ends with a suspenseful panel of the Joker holding a giant dinner platter about to open the lid….

The Bat Family is disenfranchised because apparently Bruce knew that the Joker might have figured out his identity, and thus was able to figure out everyone else’s.  It is never clear exactly how he figured out all of the personal details of how to get at the family members.  But Bruce seems to think that the Joker doesn’t want to know, and also blinds himself to what must be obvious to someone as brilliant as him with his insanity.   This detail is reinforced a couple of times if you think back.  In “Red Hood and the Outlaws #0” the Joker quickly cuts off someone who is trying to point out Batman’s identity, etc.

I suppose that the Joker really does need Batman and Family to keep him busy.  Otherwise he could have easily killed them all off in the end.  Instead he “plays a joke” on Batman by presenting their severed faces on a platter.  (not their real faces)

How is he defeated?  Of course Batman had no trouble saving the family members.  Then when he chases down the Joker and threatens him that he has figured out his identity, Joker won’t hear of it and throws himself down into the sewer, dropping his face in the process.

So far, the Bat Family members are rather irked at Bruce.  It is a wonder they won’t answer his calls and stuff….Damian was just killed.  They are not helping their mentor mourn.  They are THAT MAD.

Where will this go?  I wonder about the Joker’s face.  Is he going to appear as someone else, with a healthy face next?  The future is wide open on the part of the Joker.  He kind of always comes and goes, and now this won’t be much different.  I wonder if a whole “Joker in disguise” storyline might be coming up.  Or maybe he will grow his face back?  Or something else?  Anyone else out there have any theories?

I think maybe DC was trying to create some space around Batman.  Give him more room.  Isn’t this kind of process always going on?  Now he doesn’t even have an official Robin.  Batman is working alone for the most part.  It won’t be long though before the family is close again, so…..

So what do you think, Hub City Geeks?  Comment!  Join the show!  Make my little blog grow!  Increase the traffic flow!  Come on nerds Disco! (DISCO, DISCO DUCK!)

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Robin Laid an Egg follow-up…….

A friend recklessly spoiled who the new Robin is to me….before I got my book in the mail.  And my guesses were entirely wrong.

I should have seen this coming, though.  Didn’t they recently release “The Dark Knight Returns” on video?  I haven’t seen it.

So welcome to the New 52, Carrie Kelly.  I suppose that wasn’t too much of a spoiler for anyone.  It is Thursday, after-all.  Maybe if ANYONE OUT THERE EVER READS THIS, I might receive a comment, even a complaint!

 Follow up to the follow up, I read some more news…..It seems that Carrie actually MIGHT NOT be Robin after all.    I guess we gotta keep reading.  I can’t wait until my issue comes in the mail!

Robin Laid an Egg…..

So who is the new Robin going to be?  We know that there WILL BE a new Robin…..after all, they haven’t announced a cancelation of the Batman and Robin title.  Lots of speculation flying around.  Here are the leading theories, in no ranking order, but starred for clarity.  Pro’s and cons after each one.

*     Tim Drake.  Lots of fans love Tim!  He was Robin for like, 20 years!

Pro.  Lots of fans like Tim.  Pro.  The current Teen Titan’s is a crappy title.  Keep Tim around.  reassign the others.

Con.  Same ol’  Same ol’.

*     Stephanie Brown.

Pro.  The writers have pretended to forget Stephanie.  It’s like she hasn’t happened in the New 52.

Con.  I don’t see a con to this one.  A blond girl Robin…..I LOVE IT!

*      Harper Row

Pro.  She’s “current….”

Con.  Is she really a “fan favorite?”  Or is that a load of hype?

*     Harper Row’s brother  (Andy?  Don’t have the book handy for reference)

Pro.  Once again, he’s “Current”

Con.  I see no appeal so far.  He hasn’t done anything except be a victim.

*     Damien Wayne

Pro.  I miss him already.  So do other people.

Con.  Can the story grow?  How soon?  Will the rest of Batman and Robin for the next year be devoted to his resurrection?  That would be fitting for Damien.

Con.  The writers say they don’t have current plans to bring him back.

*     Jason Todd/ Red Hood

Pro.  This would be interesting.  It would be a way for Batman and Jason to BOTH get one over on the Joker.

Con.  Would we lose the Red Hood?

My thoughts.

Of the above, I hope the whole Harper Row and her brother thing becomes it’s own separate story arc.  But neither of these seem to be Robin worthy.  I hate Harper’s design.  I don’t care for the Bull Nose Ring she has adorning her boogers.  Hey, I had pink hair once.  But her purple hair (his too) just detracts from the character.  It is distracting.  An even worse move would be to make her brother into Robin.  This would SURELY grab headlines.  A gay Robin.  Oh yeah.  This is EXACTLY what I am afraid they are going to do though, for shock value, and publicity.  They are going to hurt Harper, or kill her, and Andy will step up and avenge her by becoming Robin.  He has been a victim so far, so they have plenty of room to develop him.  Think I am being unfair?  Just look at what happened with Miles Morales.  They chose an “ethnic” Spider-Man for the headlines.  But the Gay angle might not even work out as well.  We already have a gay Green Lantern in Earth 2, and a Batwoman. (Look how well these two are loved…they aren’t) Harper has a real Lesbian vibe, this hasn’t been explored, but so far the brother has been confirmed homosexual.  I like their two stories.  I even like their characters.  I just don’t want to see either one of them fill the hole that is left behind after the great job Damien did.

Most of all, I hope they bring Jason Todd back as Robin.  Again, this would be a great joke on the Joker!  Maybe he wouldn’t even have to stop being the Red Hood.  He has already put on a “Wingman” costume, apparently in Batman Inc.  He would slide right into the role, with demons to fight similar to Damien’s.  He would be edgy as well.  Batman would try and reign him in, and probably be successful.  Did anyone else read “Red Hood and the Outlaws” #18?  I read that thing three times.  Bruce’s fatherly embrace of his adopted son was heart wrenching.  Here we have two family members torn apart by tragedy, being brought back together by more tragedy.  And Bruce was showing real love here.  He could have only learned that by raising Damien.  He could only show this in the context of losing Damien and having a severely wounded Jason.  This would be a true continuation of Jason Todd’s story.  And maybe many people who were so torn up about this back in the early 1990’s would come back and listen.  We could see a Batman who has grown from losing two Robins, both of them his sons.  But he gets a second chance with one.  For real.

What about the others?  I don’t know why the writers are so allergic to Stephanie Brown.  I fear it is because she is the “anti-Harper,” if Harper is to become the next girl Robin.  This could be a chance to bring her up to date, though.  They could have retconned her existence for a reason…They wanted a re-do.  Like all of the other heroes pretty much got.  She’s cuter than Harper.  She doesn’t have an innocent background, though, with the whole “teenage pregnancy” scandal.

And what about Tim.  I just don’t see it happening.  I see Tim becoming like Dick.  He will be his own hero.  Sort of like he has been as Red Robin.  I think some people would like it.  I liked Tim as Robin, in the few books I had of Robin back in the 1990’s.  I also liked him in the cartoons.

Hey, it could be somebody else.  Who knows.  Maybe more flashpoint timewarps will happen, and Dick will be it.  Maybe all the other Bat Family will disappear into a fog.  I don’t want to see this.  But hey, it’s comics.

So in order, my favorite to least favorite picks for a new Robin

1.  Damien Wayne
2.  Jason Todd
3.  Stephanie Brown
4.  Tim Drake
5.  Harper Row
6.  “Brother” Row
7.  A combination of the twin Rows, both as Robins.  (Didn’t mention this above.  It could happen.)

So we begin,,,,at an ending

I figure I will start with thoughts about Requiem, the current Bat story arc.  This is still ongoing, and I will cover it as more is revealed.  When I have nothing to say, I will cover back issues and such.

I have followed Damien and Batman for 18 issues….That is a year and a half.  And have grown sort of attached to the little guy.  At first I was like, “Hmmm……This new Robin is Batman’s son.”  At first I thought this was a New 52 change, but learned later that what changed was not Robin, but Batman, back into Bruce Wayne.  Prior to Flashpoint, Dick Greyson was Batman in the “old 52.”

Anyway, I like seeing Robin act darker than Batman.  This was a twist!  And I followed them and looked forward to this book even more than the other Bat books…..next closest good story on the shelf was the TMNT reboot.

And we saw Damien grow more docile.  He gained more control.  He acted…less…bratty.  He still disobeyed and left the house constantly….Isn’t that what Jason and Tim did too?  (and Stephanie Brown….OOPS, I said the “S” word!.  DC’s gonna shut down this blog!)

Kidding aside, After I read Batman Inc. #8 in digital form… (I mentioned earlier that I missed the issue. Go back and read lazies……)   After seeing the manner in which they killed him off, it was way too easy.  Robin deserved a few issues worth of a death scene.  Didn’t Jason get that?  And a fan vote?  Even Stephanie’s death was over one issue.  They give Damien a few panels, a death scene with a psycho crying mom and Batman dad both in tears.  And that’s it.  BAM.  Batman is in a rage in the other issues we read.  There is a very small funeral.

Here’s what irks me.  TO NO END.

We had that HUGELY ANTICIPATED “Death of the Family” story.  A years worth of suspense concerning the Joker.  A huge crossover event.  A game changer!  Highly publicized.  Highly advertised.  Highly effective.  Highly emotional.  Epic story.  Epic ending.

No mention of a Death of Robin.  No “A Death in the Family,” like Jason had.  No gang war like Stephanie had.  Just a big guy with a sword.  Stab.  That’s it.  RIP Robin.  This is wrong. wrong in the worst way.  And the art in that book TOTALLY STANK.  (One of the reasons I wasn’t reading Batman Inc.)

It reminds me of the hollow ending of Spawn #100, all those years ago, when Spawn beheads Malebolgia.  You had 100 issues of this all powerful bad guy.  And Spawn steals an angel’s (Angela’s if I remember correctly)  weapon and does the deed in like, one page.  The end.  Thanks for your business.

It reminds me of….Almost nothing else!  It was horrible treatment of a great character.  Which deserved a lot more grandiose of a send off.  Or NOT!  Why not keep him?  We still have Tim!  He never died!

And how many more Robins are they gonna kill off?  Isn’t this getting old?

So Damien could come back to life.  That isn’t the current plan.  We already Lazarus Pitted Jason Todd.  (I am warming up to this….I was pretty resistant at first, but the character of Red Hood has grown on me.)  Something else freaky could bring him back…This is comics after all.  But I think something else is going to happen entirely, and I am not going to like it.  So I am following this post with another post about conjecture for what is going to happen next….Since I am on a roll, I will go ahead and do that today!  Thanks readers, and Reeders!

SpartanNerd

How I see comics……

          The SpartanNerd is a bit of a cheapskate.  So his comics come by the old fashioned snail-mail…..(I save a little money that way.)  Such is the way of a breeder.  What does this mean for a blog about comics?  Well, it means that after ComicVine, Pop Culture Network, and whoever else has already reviewed them, I will have my two cents to add….Literally two cents.  On a RARE occasion, I will get a book on the Wednesday that it comes out.  Sometimes, I get them over two weeks late.  This sucks pretty bad….

          So what books am I subscribed too?  I jumped on DC Comics The New 52 wagon when all that news dropped.  I began buying the digital books.  This was OK, but I missed the nostalgia of owning the actual paper books I stockpiled as a kid, thus the subscriptions.  I started here because 1) Marvel messes around too much with Spider-Man, who I love just as he was in the 1990’s pre-clone          Todd MacFarlane era, 2. Big Iconic characters that used to be too intimidating with a 50 year back-story…such as Batman and Superman, would now be more accessible.  3.  It seemed like a good place to start with stuff I wasn’t SOOO familiar with in the first place.  So I subscribed to five titles that I read the most.  Detective Comics, Batman, Batman and Robin, Action Comics, and Justice League.  I have since dropped Justice League (too much Shazam) and picked up Aquaman.  Why no Batman: The Dark Knight?  I didn’t care for the art, but I have picked up a couple of the books.

           It also turns out that here at the edge of the world there are a couple of fine establishments that sell comics, closest to me is Mad Max’s Comics and Games, but also on the west side of Sparkle City there is the highly regarded and established Tangled Web.  I STILL find myself darkening comic store doors on Wednesdays and weekends.  What books do I pick up?  Believe it or not, Batgirl!  I started reading Justice League of America.  I bought Ninja Turtles for awhile.  I picked up every Masters of the Universe comic I could.  I also bought a major haul of books from a Tangled Web recently in a doorbuster sale.  I grabbed almost every associated title that went with “The Court of the Owls,” and “Death of The Family” when those stories were hot.  I also began reading the new Thor book, which has been pretty cool so far.

           Part of my thinking in this was of course that I would not miss any important details.  So How did I miss THE DEATH OF DAMIAN WAYNE/ROBIN?  DC really ticked me off on this one.  Here I am a near hardcore fan of Batman, loving the whole New 52 take on Robin….And they kill him off in the one book I haven’t been reading…..Batman Inc.  AND I find out by reading Batgirl…which I picked up at the store thinking it would be spoiler free (even though it said “Requiem” on the cover?  That was cold, DC Comics.)

          In the next few posts over the next few days, I will try to bring anyone who cares…. (anyone out there?)……up to date on what I have thought about each of my regular titles.  I might just distill the Bat books down into their story elements of Court of the Owls, Death of the Family, and Requiem.  I’ll address Justice League, Superman, and some of the other books I have picked up as well.  Stay tuned, Hub City Geeks!

SpartanNerd