Our Raging Oscars show will finally be here on Monday Night or Tuesday at the latest. We look at the best issues of most of the titles of the DCU. We will be chatting about favorite moments, creators, characters and what we want to see continue in 2010.
This one has been a lot of work to put together but we are thrilled to present it to you.
If you have any comments for this show, drop them in by Sunday night.
Some interesting news for the Green Lantern books. There is certainly room for another Green Lantern title, plus Tony Bedard of R.E.B.E.L.S. fame taking over GLC. I am so glad that Peter Tomasi is remaining a part of the Green Lantern universe. Bedard will make an excellent addition. With his experience at Valiant with Rai and book like R.E.B.E.L.S., he clearly understands a sci fi epic. I was wondering if we’d be getting more from the Green Lantern Universe.
Welcome to another addition of The Bat Casebook. I’m sure you know the score by now—I read whatever new bat-related comic came out during the week and I review them. Why should you read my opinions? ‘Cause I’m that bloody awesome, is why! Anyway, this was a really light week, so let’s just blaze through these books.
BATMAN & ROBIN #8
Written by Grant Morrison
Drawn by Cameron Stewart
Colored by Tony Avina
Lettered by Jared K. Fletcher
Covers by Cameron Stewart and Frank Quitely
Is there any way to make it so that Batman & Robin always ships bi-weekly? I mean seriously, this has been a pretty sweet deal so far. It’d probably completely destroy the chance of Quitely ever doing another arc, but still!
Anyway, question—well, one, at least—were answered in this that we’ve been wondering since the end of Final Crisis—the body of Bruce that they’ve had here in the present? One of Darkseid’s clones from when they had Bruce imprisoned and were siphoning his memories to create the perfect minions. That makes a lot of sense—and is far more explainable then the “Bruce’s body died, but his mind was transported in a new body” theory that I had—and it really puts into place why this is a “spiritual” cross-over with Blackest Night—like Nekron, Darkseid downloaded the memories of Bruce into this body and it was resurrected, but twisted and nothing like the Bruce we all know and love.
But none of our intrepid heroes know about this—it isn’t until “Bruce” tries to kill one of them that Dick realizes this and they try to take him down. Unfortunately, that only really works to bring down part of the cave and seemingly kills Batwoman in the process—though that’s part of her plan. Meanwhile, Clone-Bruce hijacks their plane, heads back to Wayne Tower, and is out to get Alfred and Damian, who’s still confined to a wheelchair.
Overall I dug this issue—it answered a big question, had some amazingly rendered fight scenes, and it makes you want to see how Dick, Kate, Knight and Squire are going to get back to Gotham in time to save Alfred and Damian, which is what a great serialized superhero series should do. However, if we don’t see Alfred lay into Clone-Batman with his trusty shotgun, I will be a touch disappointed.
Written by Bryan Q. Miller
Penciled by Lee Garbett
Inked by Trevor Scott
Colored by Guy Major
Lettered by John J. Hill
Cover by Phil Noto
Speaking of great cliffhangers, the previous issue of this book ended with a pretty good one: Batman’s out of commission, with the super-villains Riot, Doctor Phosphorous and Roxy Rocket going after him, with the whole world watching thanks to the villainous Roulette—will the two young superheroes we love as much as they hate each other, Batgirl and Robin save him in time? Find out, true believers—right now!
Overall this was a great issue—very exciting, full of funny little moments, and really cements Stephanie as a full-fledged, down-right competent super-hero. She definitely gets the “Big Damn Hero” moment for using Roxy’s rocket to take out Doctor Phosphorous. Even “Batman” had to admit that was a pretty clever way to take out two villains in one swoop, even if it was the kinder, gentler Batman—but I’m sure even Bruce would have gruffly nodded in approval. I also loved the further establishing the sibling rivalry between Stephanie and Damian.
Overall it was a great issue and a solid end to a cool arc. If this was any other week when Batman & Robin wasn’t on in the same week, this probably would have been my favorite bat-book of the week. I eagerly await this upcoming cross-over between this and Red Robin.
Like I said, this was a light week, but packed to the brim with some awesome stuff. Next week is definitely not going to be light, with Batman #696, Batman: Streets of Gotham #9, and Azarel #5.
I know this doesn’t necessarily mean a for sure return of Aquaman but Blackest Night reinvigorated me with the possibilities of his return. I am 100% behind more Mera storytelling. I was a huge fan of the Peter David run on Aquaman and really loved the character ever since. The Sub Diego stuff that introduced Aquagirl was good fun as well.
Atlantis is always an interesting place to read about because of the politics involved. This is a different nation with VERY different concerns from the surface world. This often leads to deep conflict over different ideologies. Combat is also quite different under water and there are some interesting chances to bring the vastness of the sea to life. The fantasy style of the most recent version began to explore some of this.
Will this be the same Aquaman that had the hook hand? Will this be the Silver Age version? Will I know it is technically the same guy but what will still be considered part of his past?
Will Dolphin and Tempest also return?
If this preview is a hint at his possible return, it also makes me wonder what other characters that were Black Lantern’s might come back?
If you are a Batman fan, check out the Source. They have some VERY cool covers from the upcoming Bruce Wayne mini. I am really excited to follow the journey of Bruce. This is an interesting story because I had no doubt Bruce would eventually return. The part I am anticipating is going on his journey with him. I want to know what the Omega Effect did to him. I want to see what it will take for him to overcome it. The covers have only added to that build.
I am a big fan of the show Heroes. Season 1 was steller and the rest of the seasons have been enjoyable. This season is worth checking out on DVD or Blu Ray if you missed it. I truly felt it was a return to the excitement that I felt with Season 1.
Samuel made for an interesting villian. What worked for me was that you were never quite sure if he was a hero, villain or something more complicated. In the end, while his intentions were evil, his story was tragic. The tale of lost love that was found and lost again. I have to wonder if he didn’t bring some of that upon himself by trying to force her into his world. The boy who didn’t fit in, wanting to be something more, in his brother’s shadow, and never quite escaping, even in the brother’s death. Just truly engaging elements to a complex character.
While I knew he was gathering the carnival for his own purpose, I do think he wanted their love. The problem was that he put his own interest of being an all powerful leader, before what was best for them. He could have had so much more power if they truly were embraced as a family of equals. Samuel never got that and it was his undoing. I loved that. It felt real.
Peter was really “fixed” this season. I felt like he was returned to the likable, accessible character from Season 1. Peter should be the character you admire because he keeps trying. He tries to find solutions when most wouldn’t. Sure, he makes mistakes, but he ultimately picks himself back up and comes at the problem from a new angle. He always felt the most like a comic book hero in this real world. A bit of that was lost along the way, but came back big time this season.
Sylar was the MVP of the last two episodes. I want to see more of his transition to trying to be a hero. He hurt a ton of people along the way. They will want him accountable for what happened. I have to admit there is something cool about seeing this “formerly” evil man use his powers on the bad guys for a change. I am also interested to see if he really can maintain that change.
Hiro and Charlie resolved, Noah surviving, Claire revealing them to the world, it gave me hope for some more stories that interested me this season.
I hope Heroes gets another season. I know there has been some net write ups of numbers dropping this season but I think the quality of the show was so much better this go around. If marketed right and kicked off with an accessible opening, I think it has a lot to offer the audience members that left. It’s a show that I hope gets the chances to be bookended for DVD and Blu Ray viewing. I’m sure I’ll share more thoughts in the future but it was a very satisfying end to this season.
I love Jonah Hex. It’s edgy, gritty and always full of amazing art. This creative team crafts issue after issue of atmosphere and mood that feels like an old west movie. Yet, it manages to use modern storytelling sensibilities.
I often am amazed how a writing team can switch gears so drastically during the month. Power Girl is very upbeat and fun, while Hex has such a dark tone. Both are excellent offerings. I adore how easily Hex works in a larger arc or in the “done in one” format.
Issue 52 is a story full of lies and half truths. Most of these paint the picture of a world where such lies are necessary for survival. Hex turns up on the doorstep of a woman with a bullet wound. He doesn’t completely reveal how he got it. It turns out later we learn that a boy shot him while trying to rob him. Hex had to kill the boy to escape with his life.
This of course sends the family of killers after him. They are basically the “mob” of the swamp an no one in the area defies them for fear of repercussions.
Hex’s escape is very well put together. They are trailing him and he sends his horse running off to try and throw the men hunting him off his trail. They turn out to be too smart so he hides in the swamp, where there is a danger of gators getting him. “Too Mean to Die” is a great title for the issue because Hex takes down a Gator, even with his bullet wound and manages to survive the encounter.
This takes us back to the present, where the woman who rescues him realizes that the “mob” will come to her house now looking for him. This forces her to kick Hex out a moment too late and she has to defend her child from the men. Her lies are revealed as they turn out to be her family.
Imagine if Hex had told her the truth about the boy? Would she have killed him? Would she have realized the boy was trying to rob him and let the man go? The old west was often a hard world and this creative team always delivers. If you aren’t reading Jonah Hex, pick it up. It’s really easy to jump on this book and it is well worth the ride. With the movie coming this summer, there has never been a better time to enjoy this great, well produced comic.
We have a frame work for the next few shows. Episode 197 will be Smallville/JSA and Raging Oscars. For 198, we are finishing Preacher and looking at some current comics. As we head into 199, we’ll be doing JLA/Avengers with Kent Hare and looking at new material. Episode 200 is our anniversary show. We’ll be discussing the greatest DCU stories of all time. Feel free to call us at 1-440-388-4434 or drnorge on Skype to add your voicemail comments into the show. You can also email us at email@example.com.
David Faust sent us some excellent submissions. I posted them on this new version of the site. I will be moving the rest of the columns over here this weekend.
Note: The new site continues to be a work in progress. I have some fun plans for it.
Death as a Beginning.
Both Ragnarök and Final Crisis begin with the unthinkable: the death of a god. For Ragnarök, it is the death of Baldr that signifies that something is very wrong in the world and that a great change is about to take place, as LoCicero says, “[t]he tragic death of Baldr was the single event that set the wheels of the Norse Apocalypse into motion” (LoCicero 142). O’Donoghue agrees, taking not also of the narrative shift that occurs in the story:[t]he death of Baldr is recounted just as the volva moves from recollection to prophetic vision, and his killing is presented as a decisive event in the inexorable progress to Ragnarök (O’Donoghue “What“ 87). For Final Crisis it is the death of Orion in the first chapter that portends the great disasters about to happen.
The deaths of both Baldr and Orion take place at the hands of family. Baldr was killed unwittingly by his blind brother Hod. For some time, Baldr had been having dreams about his impending death. Baldr’s mother Frigg petitions all things on earth to keep Baldr from harm, all things that is save for mistletoe, which she did not see as a threat. To celebrate his invulnerability, all of the Gods attempt to hurt Baldr with anything they can find. Hod, Baldr’s brother does not take part in the festivities because he is blind. Loki, the Norse trickster god and agent of chaos chides Hod for not participating and then gives him a spear of mistletoe and guides his aim. Baldr is struck by the mistletoe and immediately falls dead. The gods then go to Hel, the goddess of the underworld and the dead and ask her to return Baldr to life. Hel says that she will do so only if everyone on earth sheds tears for Baldr. The gods send messengers all over the world and ask everyone to weep for Baldr and all do except for Loki in the guise of a giantess and so Baldr must remain dead. Ultimately, Baldr is reborn after the events of Ragnarök and he reconciles with his brother Hod and they become gods of the new world (Sturluson 65-68, 77).
Because one of the main points of Final Crisis is that time and space have become distorted and are gradually breaking apart, the death of Orion is fragmented. Orion is shown dying in chapter one, where he warns detective Turpin that Darkseid and the other evil New Gods are hiding on earth. The moment when the bullet strikes Orion is shown in chapter three and Darkseid is seen firing the bullet in chapter ten. Incidentally, because of the time distortions, when Darkseid fires the bullet he is on the verge of death from being shot earlier by Batman in chapter nine with the very same bullet. Like Baldr, Orion dies at the hand of family, in this case, his father the tyrant god Darkseid. But unlike Baldr whose brother Hod unwittingly kills him, Orion’s murder is deliberate. Orion is killed by his father, presumably because Darkseid saw his son as being the only one who could stop him. After all, when addressing the other members of the Justice League in chapter one, Superman speaks of the power wielded by the New Gods with a kind of awe, saying that they are “capable of cracking the planet in half” (Morrison Chapter 1).
Each death in its own way contributes to the destruction that follows. Although Baldr is killed by his brother, the murder is Continue reading Twilight of the New Gods