SpartanNerd Thoughts…Death of Batman and Joker, as well as the New 52

We all knew it was coming…The Convergence, and the end of the New 52 branding.  Months of announcements.  Lots of speculation and a few spoilers.

We read “Batman Eternal” all the way through, and slogged through Forever Evil, Future’s End, and Batman Zero Year.  We saw Robin (Damien Wayne) fall and rise.

It has been thrilling, really.  A far better expense than buying satellite or cable TV.  Much better investment.  (The only thing I miss about live TV is no NFL.  Otherwise, Netflix and DVDs and other media do just fine.)

I have to say it hasn’t been without its problems, though.  I haven’t been entirely happy with every storyline.  I canceled my subscription to Action Comics, Justice League, and Aquaman.  I didn’t even care about the characters or the story the way a good comic book should make you.  Shazam!  (who cares?)  (The Others. Etc)  I would receive my books ninety percent of the time over a week after the release date, and with these three titles, I would not even have remembered what happened in the issue prior.  In the case of Masters of the Universe (which I still will be reading) I cancelled the subscription because many of the books arrived damaged!  (I will be picking up my MOTU books from The Tangled Web from now on.)

But Batman has been different.  When I started reading The New 52, I found a character that I could really relate to.  I watched “Batman the Animated Series” and all of the Batman movies as a kid, and also watched re-runs of that campy TV show from the 1960’s.  We had some Batman comics around as well, and Batman was something my Grandma could relate to and talk about some…she said she read Batman comics as a child.  The character of Robin has always had some appeal to me as well.  Always somehow balancing the seriousness of Batman.  Robin is someone usually missing from the movies, and it makes me feel like the stories are missing a crucial element.

So I hung onto the titles Detective Comics, Batman, and Batman and Robin.  And didn’t even think twice about purchasing the weekly Batman Eternal title…I was dedicated!

The Joker is the other part of this.  Readers were captivated by Detective comics #1.  Joker’s face was cut off!  What did this mean?  How would this work?  DC got our attention!  And it about drove me insane.  For an entire year I loyally read every Batman book (except Batman Incorporated, a lingering soul from the old universe), and was then rewarded with the HUGE “Death of the Family” story arc.  It was brilliant!

And after the epic conclusion to that story, we went right into Robin’s death, and the Batman and Robin title became a sort of variety show, with Batman either teaming up with or having drama with some other main character.

I could go on and on.  But I am finally satisfied at where it all ends.

Batman #40 is the finale of the Joker returns story…And at the end of this strangely covered issue, (in contrast to the other covers in the “Endgame” arc,) the two arch enemies find their demise.  The fight was SO EPIC!  Of all the Batman fights, this one may be the most gruesome.  More blood spilt in this comic than almost any other Batman book before now.  And did I see Batman bite off the Joker’s ear?  Incredible.  And then he turns the Joker’s own deception against him.

For me, this is the perfect conclusion.  I’m still a little shocked.  I didn’t really see it coming.  Sure, I heard the spoiler about the Jim Gordon in the robotic Batman suit.  But killing Batman and Joker seemed out of the question.  This is sort of old hat, no?  Bruce Wayne has been killed before.  And we always know that Joker will be back.  And Bruce was just re-unified with Damien…

With Batman and Joker’s deaths…I feel I have a complete Batman collection of stories.  I picked up the free comic book…which confirms at least Bruce Wayne Batman is gone for the next foreseeable run of DC books.  We all know both characters will be back…But I don’t feel the need to read this for awhile.  I have a story from Zero Year (beginning) to Endgame (conclusion).  And feel a sense of relief.

Thanks, DC for a great run on Batman!

What’s next for the SpartanNerd?

More Masters of the Universe…

More Gundams…(forthcoming!)

More action figure reviews…

More Magic the Gathering posts…

Possibly a return to Spider-Man.

I am interested in Transformers…especially classic types.

But I am going to take the time to go back and re-read my Batman books, from beginning to end.  And enjoy them.  Summer Vacation is just around the corner!  Maybe I’ll even post reviews about the story arcs, like I originally intended.

Keep reading, oh Hub City Geeks!

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SpartanNerd…The End of an Era (Convergence)

Back in 2011, I was getting interested in comics again.  I had discovered “Comixology,” and was reading Conan the Barbarian and other titles lightly.  This was new to me…I had never read this stuff before.  But I thought it a good alternative to Marvel, who’s take on Spider-Man had pushed me away, and from DC whose universe seemed so large and old that I was intimidated by it.

When the news that DC was going to relaunch it’s whole lineup and re-number to #1s came down, I thought, “now is the time.” I began getting the digital copies, and enjoyed it really too much, probably.  So I subscribed to the physical copies of the titles I liked best, Detective Comics, Batman and Robin, Batman, Justice League, Action Comics, and Aquaman.

Eventually I pared this down to only the Batman titles, and Masters of the Universe, of course.  And Batman has been a part of my life for several years.  I didn’t mind that his universe wasn’t completely re-booted.  I figured they would have alienated a ton of fans if they did.  I had little trouble getting into his universe…most of his enemies and allies did receive new treatment.  The only thing that jarred me at first was Damien, and I think he grew to be my favorite Robin, though.  I really felt wronged though, when they killed him off in the only title I wasn’t reading, “Batman Inc.”  And I wrote about that here on SpartanNerd.com extensively.  (I also think they gave haven’t written Tim Drake correctly.)

Still, this wasn’t enough to make me stop reading.  And I have enjoyed “Forever Evil” “Gothtopia”and all of the other “events” that involved Batman.  Also, Batman snd Superman has been a really good title, tying back to the beginning of the New 52 with connections to the Justice League story.  I wouldn’t know as much about Wonder Woman, Supergirl (Power Girl) or Huntress.

Finally, I thought the resurrection of Damien was really good.  And am happy, even ecstatic that he is back, and that he has super powers now as a new twist.

But DC Comics is voicing dissatisfaction with the New 52 universe.  I don’t know why…I guess just re-naming it wouldn’t be enough.  I heard things like they are out of ideas.  Or there are continuity errors.  The idea thing is a croc.  But there is no denying there are continuity errors.  Batman Eternal is busting with background noise from the Robin Rises story…for instance, this past week Raj Al Ghul referring to Batman’s leaving him in a frozen ravine…and in the same issue Batman looking longingly at one of the future Batmen and saying “Damien…”  Other continuity errors have come up as a result of writers leaving and other problems.  Geoff Johns just needed to keep a tighter reign on everyone.

And maybe that is what’s going to happen.  I have been lightly reading “Multiversity.”  I actually have the first issue and the guidebook.  What “Convergence” is supposed to do is do away with the Multiverse, and leave only the continuity established by the DC New 52.  They will use this event to correct some inconsistencies.

I am OK with this, but I feel a little bit of loss.  With the end of the Multiverse, that will take those Earth 3 “Heroes” out of the picture.  And what about the “Obama Superman.”  He will be gone.  No more Earth 2.  I never even read Earth 1.  The Multiversity guidebook presents a lot of cool characters.  Are these all going to be gone?  DC never has explained how Masters of the Universe fits into the New 52 universe.  He-Man “killed” Superman for crying out loud!

I think it will be cool to see the Flashpoint universe characters again.  I think it might be cool to see the old universe characters again.  The Convergence is supposed to bring these popular ideas back.  (I read the Flashpoint Batman stories after getting into the New 52…creepy!)

But I think I might just step off after the Convergence.  Maybe cherry pick the stories that interest me rather than subscribe.  Already I am forking over to get to the end of Batman Eternal and Future’s End.  I have a ton of comics now.  And I will have a complete collection of New 52 Batman books.  I hear that Marvel is doing something similar, and if they give us a clean starting point with Spider-Man, I will be back to reading that again.

Spoiler Free SpartanNerd

DC Comics made me REALLY MAD.  (again)

I have thoroughly enjoyed “The New 52.”  Many people are down on it.  But I like it because it is accessible to me.  Moreso than the old continuity of nearly 1000 issues of Detective and Action comics.  And “Crisis” after “infinite crisis” after “crisis on Earth 27” or whatever ridiculous intimidating thing they could throw out there.  No wonder I liked Marvel better.

When I jumped into the New 52, when it really WAS NEW, I was surprised how easily I took to Damien being Robin.  I didn’t even know there was a Batgirl other than Barbara Gordon, and was fine just seeing the familiar redhead.  Superman was reset, as was Flash, Aquaman, Cyborg, the Justice League.  And so on.  Wonder Woman was even cool to me.  And all of these guys continue to keep me entertained.

But DC has burned me, too.  A subscriber.

For instance, I reported how mad I was that they killed off Damien Wayne suddenly.  Pretty much at the end of “Death of the Family.”  I had every issue I could get my hands on.  Even the side titles I wouldn’t normally have read.  But they killed him off in “Batman Incorporated.”  A book I wasn’t reading, because the art wasn’t that good and it was kind of an “old 52” story.so I could focus on the Joker.  One reason why I subscribed was so I wouldn’t MISS ANYTHING.

Another reason for subscribing though, was to have something fresh and new to read, to look forward to. To think about.  To predict.

DC blew it.  Longtime Hub City Geeks know that I have written extensively about who was going to take over as Robin.  What was going to happen.  Etc.  I REVEL in not knowing.  I like to be surprised.  I don’t read spoiler sites.  I avoid blogs and commentary.  (Odd.  Isn’t that what The SpartanNerd Blog is all about?)  But I do that because I want to be surprised.  I don’t want stuff spoiled.

But it is hard.  So hard.  Especially when DC Comics puts THIS IMAGE AND ARTICLE in the back of every comic.

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No more conjecture required.  Damien DOES LIVE AGAIN.  And he has super powers too.  No more wondering if Stephanie Brown from Batman Eternal will replace him.  Or if Carrie Kelly will.  Or if maybe Red Robin comes back.  Or Jason.  Sure, we knew the Robin from a few years in the future is a new different guy.  No more wondering about Collin Rowe, or Harper Rowe.  No more mystery.  I know, the series was called “Robin Rises.”  But that still could have had a mystery ending.  Instead, we see Damien busting Kalibak upside the head.  No Hellbat suit required.  No Justice League required.  He might be Superman level, from the looks of it.

I am just disappointed that DC decided to go ahead and spoil this.  Why not do like Marvel did with AGE OF ULTRON, and black bag the cover?  Why not do what they did leading up to the death of Damien, and spoil out fake covers?

They make an excuse for themselves.  They say something like “You’ve read “the internets.”  Or something.  NOPE.  I DIDN’T.  How many others out there are like me?

So thanks a lot for taking some of the fun out of it, DC.

Batman and Robin has been the best written Bat book consistently.  I have to say, I am looking forward to seeing Damien back.  I like the little guy.  I was sad to see him go.  I think it would have been cool to have Carrie Kelly or Stephanie Brown.  But we didn’t get that.  I’m cool with that.  I just am not cool with the spoilers.

SpartanNerd Scoop!…Batman and Robin #33

Being a cheapskate, I get a subscription in the mail to most of the Bat-titles, including Batman and Robin.  So generally I don’t get to read the stories until as many as two weeks after they come out.

But once in awhile, the moons and planets align, and I get a comic on the day it comes out…even more rarely even a day early…

This is why I have a SCOOP today.  Batman and Robin #33 came right on time!  (I would point out that Batman #33 hasn’t arrived yet. I don’t fully understand how the comics come so irregularly to my mailbox!)

Here are the details, and my review…

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The cover shows exactly what this book is all about.  Tension between Batman and the Justice League.  I don’t like that Lex Luthor is a part of the Justice League, and am getting used to seeing him with all of the good guys.  And is Captain Cold a League member too, or is he just hanging out with Luthor?

The story left off after “Robin Rises:Omega #1”, where Shazaam just “saved Batman” from flying through that portal to Apokalips hanging onto that flying Paradaemon.  Batman then proceeds to beat him.  I detailed my delight in all of this here!

So the league is having a meeting.  Batman is trying to justify going to Darkseid’s dimension/planet, reminding the league that Darkseid had already tried to invade once before.  Luthor sums it up.  “It is all about Robin.”  SO Batman does this…

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I thought…”Oh man.  He just hacked Cyborg to force him to Boom tube.”  Not exactly.  Batman was thinking very clearly.  He went up to the Watchtower Satellite, where he has some gear stashed.  Not just any gear…

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“The Hellbat.”  Is this the same suit depicted in the pages of Batman and Robin before?  If so, I didn’t know its title, and I think this is the first time the origin of the suit is explored.  The Justice League forged it to help Batman with his weaknesses.  (He is the only Justice Leaguer with NO POWERS!)

I like how we get this old school style page, summarizing the creation of “The Hellbat.”

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This is old school…I mean, we could have had a mini-series about the creation of this suit!

Apparently, Batman plans on taking this suit to Apokalips.  I would like to point out that Batman has already been to Apokalips once before, when Darkseid invaded Earth….And then he didn’t have this suit, and was successful!

So the rest of the league catch up with Batman, and Captain Cold puts his Cold Gun to Batman’s head…Poor Cyborg gets one pulled on him AGAIN!

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Batman goes home.  He says he’s “tired.”  Yeah right.  He goes home and smashes Damien’s tombstone.

Superman shows up…Where has he been?  Why did we have Shazaam before when Glorious Godfrey showed up?  Batman and Superman have one of the warmest conversations we have seen in the New 52.  (And they even have their own joint title, where they mostly put each other down.)

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Batman asked Superman to come down…His neck hurts.  I don’t know if he was telling the truth or not.  I kind of thought he might be up to something else.  But we don’t see anything happen…

Batman and Superman apparently part ways.  Batman shows up in the Batcave, greeting the entire Bat-family, (sans Dick Grayson.)!!!

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They are all going to tackle this.

 

I like how this is an issue about issues…The Justice League values vs. their personal values.  Batman directly asks Aquaman if he would feel the same as him if it were about Mera.  I like that.  Arthur has no reply, except “That isn’t fair.”  But it was fair.

I don’t like how Cyborg got hated on so much.  And really, he was just kind of a bystander…(Same as almost always.)  The hacking of the teleport system as well as becoming the target of redirection for the cold gun were just wrong.  I guess I wish it were Shazaam that was the target, or Lex Luthor.

So the next issue of Batman and Robin will be about Batman relating to Red Robin, Red Hood, and Batgirl.  This title should be about the Bat-family.  I hope this brings them closer together…The Joker has fragmented them so, and then with the loss of Damien and the seeming loss of Dick they have been at odds with one another.

I rate Batman and Robin #33 at 5/5.  This read kept me on the edge of my chair.  The whole “Hellbat” thing was a great bonus.  Batman bested the Justice League, another great thing.  We saw a warm conversation between Clark and Bruce, something we almost never see anymore, and finally we saw the Bat-family assembled, ready to work together on something!  The art is great as well, showing a tortured Bruce Wayne as the story progresses.  Really, this book deserves every bit of the 5 points.  What would you give it, oh Hub City Geeks?  Comment and let me know what you think!