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Batman and Robin Eternal #1 [Review]

batmanandrobineternal001Story: James Tynion IV & Scott Snyder
Script: James Tynion IV
Pencils: Tony Daniel
Inks: Sandu Florea
Colors: Tomeu Morey
Letters: Tom Napolitano
Cover: Tony Daniel, Sandu Florea, Tomeu Morey
Asst. Editor: Dave Wielgosz
Editor: Chris Conro
Group Editor: Mark Doyle
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Date: December 2015
Cover Price: $3.99

Against otherwise better judgment, I decided to check this out. I’m sure it had plenty to do with being a #1–a chance to “check it out” from the start, before things get deep. Also that I got the impression the series is due to focus heavily on the previous Robins–Dick, Jason, and Tim–which is something I’m quite interested in (particularly Dick and Tim). I also have the hope of it being a lengthy but mostly contained story, and while I’m really not thrilled at the prospect of a WEEKLY $4 book, since it’s not like I’m really following anything else from DC and Marvel at the moment, I might be able to tolerate a weekly dose at the higher price.

We open with a flashback, then jump to the ‘present’ with Red Robin, Grayson, and Red Hood pursuing someone; a bit of an action sequence. Scene skips abound as we get a moment with the new Batman interacting with would-be Bat-protégé Harper Row, then more flashbacky stuff, and Grayson encounters a costumed figure that could have used lethal force but doesn’t; we’re introduced to this “Mother” as a concept, and “The Orphan,” and ultimately get a fairly disturbing “reveal” for the ending of the issue.

Aside from the concept, probably the first thing I noticed with the issue was the art. I tend to enjoy Daniel’s work, and even on a hit-or-miss basis, this one’s a hit for me. I really liked the look of the issue on the whole–including Dick and Jason looking rather similar (thanks to metatextual knowledge of Jason’s creation/introduction back in the ’80s). Really no complaints visually.

Story-wise I’m less-keen on stuff. Structurally, I definitely appreciate the issue. I liked that we’re dropped in on action right away (rather than some “talking heads” situation), and I like that we get a bit of an overview of the characters that seem poised to be focal points of this weekly series. It’s silly details that hung me up–stuff like “The Narrows” as a location I don’t ever remember in Gotham prior to the Nolan films or the Arkham games, as well as stuff from Dick’s flashback to his first “super-villain” tying to those films. I can’t quite put my finger on why that bugs me, but it’s there. Hardly a “dealbreaker,” though. I have more concern with Batman–Bruce’s–actions and potential motivation, perhaps just on a metatextual level.

Whatever the specifics…I enjoyed this on the whole. The issue also felt thick (and it is–I count 30 pages of story to the usual 20ish) and so the issue is much more worth its $3.99 cover price.

Seeing the third volume of the paperbacks for the previous Batman weekly–Batman Eternal–also out this week plants the seed in my mind all the more that I might prefer to just wait for collected volumes…particularly given how quickly I lost track of DC‘s weeklies last year. If I’m not going to get around to/keep up with weekly issues and binge-read anyway…might as well wait for my preferred format.

Still…a good first issue, working well as a “pilot” issue and getting me interested, confirming that yes, I am (myself, at least) interested in where this story goes, whatever the format. And as a first issue…this is well worth checking out if you’ve any particular interest in Batman’s sidekicks.

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Convergence – Week of April 8th, 2015

Convergence–the two-month “event” that covers for the absence of the “regular” DC books while the editorial offices are transferred from the East coast to the West–is officially in full swing with this week’s release of the #1 issue of the core mini and nearly a dozen #1s for tie-in 2-issue minis.

convergence001_wraparound_full

I’m not at all impressed with the cover, particularly as it appears just as an issue…but I give DC credit that this is a wraparound cover rather than having the two-panel image be an “interlocking” variant.

Rather than try to cover stuff singly, I decided–for this week, at least–to just do one huge post for the Convergence stuff I bought this week. We’ll see how coming weeks go, in this regard.

Convergence #1

convergence001Somehow, I was expecting a LOT more out of this, especially for the price. $4.99 is an awfully steep price for ANY single-issue–surpassing my hated $3.99 by a full additional 25%–and not delivering a whole lot for the cost. There are 30 story pages but also 4 “backmatter” context-pages detailing some of the “cities” in the issue.

While on some level I “know” that much of the issue involves characters fresh outta Earth 2: World’s End and presumably events of New 52: Futures End…there’s not one note anywhere in THIS issue that caught my attention referencing that. “See Earth 2: World’s End for the grisly details” or “See final few issues of Futures End” or whatever. So these are just characters that show up, and I can wonder what makes THEM so special that they get so much page-time? 

Having the “singular event” of Telos “broadcasting” himself to EVERYONE makes for a good rally-point for the first issues of the various tie-ins…something to tie them all together even if every other detail of the story has nothing to do with it…it roots them in the time-frame.

I was excited and looking forward to this issue, but sorely let-down by what I got. If the entire series was $4.99 I’d CERTAINLY pass…but it DOES drop to $3.99 after this. I’ll “grudgingly” pick up the next issue…but if it feels too much like this first one, I may let it go and wait for a (relatively) cheaper collected volume.

Convergence: Superman #1

convergence_superman001Despite HUGE changes around Infinite Crisis and beyond, I still clung to the notion that the Superman that existed up to the dawn of the New 52 was still somehow at least somewhat “my” Superman. As such, I was looking forward to this chance to revisit the character. 

Finding Superman powerless and in Gotham City was a bit of a surprise, as was learning that the whole city has been “trapped” in a dome for over a year (how “convenient” that Clark, Lois, AND Jimmy were all in Gotham at the time!). Clark’s played secret vigilante, unable to suppress the need to help others. Luckily for him, reaching the “end of the line” conveniently coincides with Telos dropping the domes and his powers returning just in time to repel a hail of bullets.

We learn that Lois is pregnant (presumably something that was able to happen due to Superman’s powers being gone), which seems to be one of the “final steps” that seem to be allowed in anything for Superman–once he has a kid it’s like that’s “it” for his story…so something as brief and temporary as this is–of course–the perfect time to “allow” such a development.

As a two-issue thing, it seems TOO short to be HALFWAY through the story already. That also makes it too short for so much space given to Telos’ bit. While I appreciate and am glad that’s there, I’d be glad for a PANEL of it, tying this to the core story but otherwise let this stand alone OR “assume” that someone has read Convergence #1 (or put the full speech FROM Convergence #1 into the backmatter for those truly curious).

And speaking of the backmatter–the recapping of stuff made me doubt myself, that perhaps this was Superman and Lois shortly after the wedding (circa 1997)…yet there was reference to stuff from the early 2000s as well, making for a very selective over-brief recap of only huge moments.

All in all I’ll be interested enough in the next issue, but I can’t quite “recommend” this in and of itself…either you’re interested in what I believe is immediately-pre-Flashpoint Superman or you’re not. 

Convergence: Batman and Robin #1

convergence_batmanandrobin001This issue picks up on a Gotham City where Batman’s back from being presumed dead/lost in time–it’s Bruce-Batman and Damian-Robin, sometime after Dick’s tenure as the Caped Crusader. Ivy’s largely responsible for the citizens of the city surviving–her control over plans has allowed for quality production of food–and the Penguin wants to threaten that. 

Batman and Robin arrive to spoil his plans, and encounter a Red Hood. Damian is jealous of how Batman seems toward his former Robin, which leads to some definite tension and an eventual having-it-out within the present Bat-family…right before the dome closing them in drops and they hear Telos’ message.

As with the Superman issue, I was glad we had the unifying moment of Telos’ message…but even moreso than in the Superman issue, it felt to me like it took up way too much space in this issue for this only being a two-issue story.

The backmatter was less than impressive to me, though it was more informative than the Superman one–I’m far more familiar with Superman than “later Batman” stuff. I have never liked the Red Hood character, and 11-some years later still have not “embraced” the returned-to-life Jason Todd…and probably never will. Having had a couple days to mull over the reading experience, I’m pretty sure I’ll only pick up #2 because of having bought #1…not for any particular interest in where this issue goes from here.

Given that pre-Flashpoint Batman essentially continued straight into the New 52, this is more like an alternate take splitting off briefly from a specific point more than it is revisiting something that’s been lost…and I do wish I’d chosen to go with the Batgirl issue instead to get Red Robin.

Overall Thoughts This Week

Even though I’m tentatively “buying into” this Convergence thing, the price of the books is a big issue for me. With 2013’s Villains Month and last year’s Futures End month, for my $3.99 and whatever-length story, I was getting that fancy cardboard stock and 3-D image cover…and the issues largely stood alone as functional one-shots. With Convergence, everything is $3.99, and I’m not even getting a slightly better quality coverstock, no fancy image technology…and this is a TWO-MONTH thing. Whatever I buy a #1 of, I’ll likely want to then get the #2…and if something would get my attention with a #2 I’d want to backtrack and also get #1.

Additionally, along with any of the issues I’d pick up, there’s the WEEKLY main/core series itself, so that’s already ONE “slot” taken up for anything extra I would buy. With the higher price point, 2 issues (the main title and a single tie-in) would almost match my buying all 3 weeklies for the last 26 weeks previous…and matching the quantity will be a significant bump beyond.

And since I’m already thinking quite a bit about possibly snagging whatever collected edition format is presented for Convergence as a whole (I’m guessing a hardcover for the core series and 4-8 paperbacks for the tie-ins) I’m already going to be rather heavily “double-dipping,” which is not very appealing to me for this. But…I’m eager enough to revisit some stuff and to read some of these that I don’t want to “just wait” and not read them at all…especially if there are some “surprise” things.

If I’m going to “double dip,” I’ll grudgingly do so on the main series and a handful of tie-ins…but I’m finding myself a LOT more “conservative” on other random books as a result. At the $3.99 “premium price” I am not going to buy half the event just to pay top dollar for collected volumes. Since I don’t even know what titles will be collected how (for example, will we have one or two volumes apiece for a Convergence: Crisis on Infinite Earths, Convergence: Zero Hour, Convergence: Pre-Flashpoint? Or will we get the series collected by “family” with Superman books clustered, Batman books clustered, etc.?)

Given my gripes and concerns…probably the largest reason I find myself looking forward to anything more is the simple notion of getting a couple months of Superman, Superman: Man of Steel, Adventures of Superman, and Action Comics again. There’s also stuff like Shadow of the Bat, which I believe the original ongoing was the first actual continuity Bat-book I got in on at its start, back in 1992 or so. And that I recently listened to the GraphicAudio adaptation of Crisis on Infinite Earths, and this strikes me as a sort of 30-year successor to that story.

DC Futures End Month, Week Three

FUTURES END: SUPERMAN/WONDER WOMAN #1

futuresend_supermanwonderwoman001This issue caught me a bit by surprise, as apparently it’s the 2nd of a 2-parter, continued from the Wonder Woman issue. Not what I expected, and not something I was thrilled with, but hey…it is what it is. I read it anyway, even though I might’ve waited to track the first chapter down. But I wasn’t in the mood for that game, and since I feel like I’m always going on about how it isn’t horrible to “figure things out” in context, no reason not to put that to the test. Sure enough, I was able to figure out quite a bit just by reading alone…it helped that the nature of these stories is that there’s been a time gap anyway, so I’m already mentally wired for not having “the full story.” That said, this was one of the better issues in terms of story and felt like it really could have been setting things up for a new status quo in the ongoing if this wasn’t just a five-years-later deal. As I’m already following Soule’s run on this book anyway, it’s good–to me–to have this issue in there as well.

FUTURES END: BATMAN/SUPERMAN #1

futuresend_batmansuperman001I expected an actual fight between Superman and Batman in this issue. What I got instead was a Batman-centric story, where the confrontation happened sometime in the five-year-gap and left Batman in bad shape for where this issue picks up. Not following the ongoing series, I don’t know where this fits…whether it’s dropping any hints or particularly drawing from that. This issue also felt rather familiar in terms of Batman suiting up against Alfred’s advisement and putting himself in a situation where his body’s ready to fail him and he’s doing irreparable damage to himself, etc. I picked this one up on a whim…I had not planned ahead of time to get it, and it unfortunately proved more disappointment than not: I should have left this one on the shelf.

FUTURES END: SUPERGIRL #1

futuresend_supergirl001Of the various DC titles, this is the one that I’m probably most torn on. I liked stuff last year enough that I went backward several months on the title and kept up with it for several months after, though I did eventually let it go. This issue plays off from last year’s introduction of the Cyborg Superman, bringing us a Kara who is now herself a cyborg…though it quickly becomes apparent that the Cyborg exerted a certain amount of influence over her that takes old friends to bypass and get her back into her right mind. While certainly not an “ending” story, this one definitely felt like–if not the start of a new chapter–certainly the ending of one. There are plenty of questions about what happened in the Five Year Gap, and I’m all the more interested in Kara’s story simply for the various places her story can go, and hoping that it would never turn out like this. I’m also left quite curious about her relationship with other characters, particularly Captain Comet and whether that’s just a possible development or if it’s been dealt with in the Red Daughter of Krypton arc or such.

FUTURES END: JUSTICE LEAGUE #1

futuresend_justiceleague001This is the concluding/second chapter of the two-parter begun in Justice League United. On the whole it’s this massive battle between the heroes and former hero Captain Atom, who is determined to break free of Mars no matter the cost–to the heroes, to himself, to the planet itself. And of course, the heroes have to gang up to stop him, while also dealing with the other freed villains. While in some ways the cost to the characters is higher than it might be in a regular ongoing story, it doesn’t feel all that permanent. More like the end of an arc leading to a new creative team and/or new status quo on one or more books. All in all the issue isn’t particularly memorable for me except in seeing Captain Atom play Dr. Manhattan on Mars (the latter actually based on the former). I got my 2nd chapter of 2 that I intended, though on the whole nothing particularly special to this for me.

FUTURES END: BATMAN AND ROBIN #1

futuresend_batmanandrobin001I don’t know much about this Heretic character nor do I much care. I was expecting something more Damian-centric, be it memorial or I don’t know what. Instead this is just some teaser issue with a possible future-Robin, who (from this issue alone) I know nothing about and haven’t a clue why I need to care (nor how Batman’s gotten along this long in his apparent condition over Damian…which is not to suggest anyone should merely “get over” such a hurt or loss just because it’s been 5 years. That the focus of the issue is Batman’s pursuit of the true identity of this Heretic, that he does indeed get his DNA sample…it’s infuriating to me (as this is a one-shot) that we as readers do not get let in on whatever the truth is…and this made me feel like the issue was a waste. Apparently I expected at least some sort of cliffhanger-like ending stating who the Heretic was…or even was NOT. If this were a continuing issue, I’d be totally fine with what I got as it’d be likely to pick up next issue. As-is…I’m directed into the Robin Rises stuff, and I’m not going there in single issues.

FUTURES END: GREEN LANTERN: NEW GUARDIANS #1

futuresend_greenlanternnewguardians001I grew up with Kyle Rayner as Green Lantern. I get that I’ve hardly read anything with the character in years, and don’t know much about the status quo of the character for the last 30 or so issues’ time (and several GL crossover/”house events”). But from solicitation text and the cover, I sure expected more Kyle than I got. This was another passing-of-the-torch sort of issue, though I’m actually only GUESSING that this White Lantern was Kyle, based on the cover: nothing in the issue itself that I noticed confirmed or pointed out that this was Kyle, and at one point some name-dropping made me actually think perhaps this was Hal. Along with Batman and Robin this was definitely–for me–a stinker of a book and one I really would have been better off not getting. This is also the only one of the books this month with these 3D covers where the logo was given the treatment rather than just the image the logo and such is placed upon.

OVERALL THOUGHTS ON WEEK 3

Outside of the Supergirl issue, this week was pretty much a stinker for me, despite being one of the higher ones in terms of my expectation and such. Supergirl was definitely my favorite of the bunch, both the cover itself as well as the story. It may have been a circular logic sort of thing, but I didn’t even get around to reading these for a few days…and it was really only the Supergirl issue that pulled at me…the others I mostly read this week because I didn’t want to have NOT read them before the week four books would be out. Some of this is probably also blame to be lain at the feet of the price, and sticker shock this month, as virtually every one of these DC books has been a $3.99 book I would not normally get…and is on top of a bunch of other stuff, both regular and new.

Off the top of my head I’m most looking forward to the Booster Gold issue. Other than that, probably Red Lanterns and Superman…we’ll see what else may or may not grab my attention for the final week of the month…

The Weekly Haul – Week of September 17th, 2014

Another monstrous week price-wise…outside of Batman Eternal and the $1 reprint/special edition of Gotham Central #1 (perfectly timed for Monday’s premiere of Gotham) (and the freebie Banned Books Week guide), everything was that price point I so despise…but at least they were the spiffy 3-D covers that sucked me in again this year!

weekly_haul_september_17th_2014a

And of course, perhaps conspicuously so, one might notice the absence again of anything from Marvel. Such a shame, especially considering how much I enjoyed the X-Men in the ’90s and certain parts of other stuff in the last 10-12 years.

weekly_haul_september_17th_2014b

Definitely a good-looking crop of the DC 3-D books for Futures End this week. Might be the classic-looking yellow-and-red logo against the blue field, but I think that Supergirl cover is my favorite this week.  I wasn’t going to pick up Batman/Superman…but figured it’s a one-shot, already spending a lot for the week, it’s Batman, and Superman…so I might as well add it to the pile.

So here’s to a lot of interesting reading and the third of four weeks of getting fairly deeply re-acquainted with a bunch of DC output.

DC Villains Month, Backtracking

villainsmonthcatchup

With the end of Villains Month and all the issues I wound up getting, I still found myself curious about a few more issues…and ended up “backtracking” and picking up several of the “leftover” 2D editions for a few issues…and figured I’ll offer some some thoughts/commentary associated with each of these same as I have all the rest this month.

ARCANE (Swamp Thing #23.1)

foreverevilarcane001I jumped into Swamp Thing at the start of the New 52, but never got to “meet” Arcane himself. I’ve heard of the character through the years, been aware that he existed, but never actually encountered him. I also–based on where I left off when I dropped the title before the Rotworld stuff or whatever it was–knew “something” was going on with Abby, so her appearance here (while not to my taste) isn’t all that “shocking.” It’s interesting finally meeting the character, and it’s easy to see just how dangerous he really is; I could also tell that there seems to be some retconning going on as he interacts with Abby. No problem with the story or art; this one issue is not enough to draw me back in to the ongoing series, though it gets my curiosity up where I’ll be interested in learning where things go, down the line…and/or perhaps I’ll seek the series out in bargain bins someday or snag the issues digitally if there’s a sale or such. Definitely enjoyed this, and I’m glad I picked it up.

BIZARRO (Superman #23.1)

foreverevilbizarrow001Bizarro is another character I’ve really never cared that much for. I didn’t mind the interpretation used in Byrne‘s Man of Steel mini, and the Bizarro’s World arc not long after the Return of Superman wasn’t bad (as I recall). But I’ve never been thrilled with the more recent version from the early-2000s to present. However, having checked out a number of the other Superman-related villains’ issues this month I figured I’d check this out, and have to say that I found this at least somewhat “interesting.” I actually think I’d prefer this interpretation of the concept to a singular character, as this makes more sense to me than some backwards quasi-duplicate of Superman. This issue fits the “Morrisonian” aspects of my understanding to the New 52 Superman, and this felt like it would’ve been right at home in the pages of Action Comics moreso than Superman, but c’est la vie. As an issue I “backtracked” on, I’m glad I didn’t pay $3.99 for the 3-D cover as I’d’ve been particularly disappointed…but as a 2-D edition “after the fact” this was a good read.

H’EL (Superman #23.3)

foreverevilhel001I’d already bailed on the New 52 prior to the recent H’El on Earth Super-book crossover, and never paid attention to any of the solicitations or covers for that story, so knew virtually nothing of the character until seeing this cover. This was another issue that I got–backtracking–because of having grabbed other Superman-family villains’ issues, I figured I might as well be a bit more comprehensive in my “experience” for the month. While I don’t entirely buy into the time travel aspect of stuff, I still felt like I got a better handle on this character from this issue…enough that if there’s a single-volume collected edition of H’El on Earth I might be inclined to try to get/read that sooner than not. Along with that, I’m ALMOST inclined to watch for the Action Comics Annual, except I actively want to keep from getting sucked into more monthly titles right now. I probably would’ve enjoyed this had I bought the 3D edition when I had the chance, but I’m satisfied with the 2D edition and simply having read the issue.

PENGUIN (Batman #23.3)

foreverevilpenguin001The Penguin was one of the earliest Bat-villains I remember becoming familiar with, in whatever iteration. I don’t think I consciously noticed the shift in the character from washed-up umbrella-guy to master gangster, but now that I have noticed that, it’s a fitting role for the character, in my eyes. This issue touched on a number of things I do like about the character and associate with him–from his past having been bullied to present-day exacting revenge upon those (and other) bullies, as well as being a kingpin-like character. I also definitely enjoyed seeing confirmation that he’s not JUST some backseat leader…this Penguin is dangerous on multiple levels and quite capable of wading in and getting his hands dirty, doing his own dirty work, when provoked. This isn’t enough to get me to rush out and buy the recent Penguin mini-series…but if I find the collected volume for a decent price I’m more inclined to check it out, or might even be inclined to on a whim buy the issues digitally since they’re all well into the discounted 2+ months old range. All that said, this issue felt rather short–it pulled me in and the whole thing flew. I’m actually rather disappointed that I didn’t pick this up the week it came out…but content with having read it as I did rather than waiting til sometime later.

TWO FACE (Batman and Robin #23.1)

forevereviltwoface001I’ve got a mixed history with Two Face…generally I’m not that enamored with the character, though I’m not necessarily going to avoid his appearances. I did avoid this issue earlier in September…but found myself curious and so tracked this down to read for the immediacy. I’m not all that impressed by the issue’s story–of the character using his coin-toss to decide to help or hurt Gotham–but it “works” with what I know of and think of regarding the character. It might have been the quick read of flying through the issue but I didn’t get much “substance” from this, and really didn’t feel I gained any particular insight into the character or anything of much interest to consider watching for later. This was just sort of a slice-of-life/what-he’s-up-to kinda thing to me. I would have been quite disappointed buying this at $4 (or the marked-up $10+ I saw the 3D edition going for)…but as a $2.99 issue, not AS disappointed.

DC Villains Month, Week Four

BANE (Batman #23.4)

foreverevilbane001 It’s rather discouraging to see such a great character go to waste. But, seems that’s what’s happened with Bane in the New 52. I was hoping for something with a lot more depth in this issue, than I found a year and a half ago in The Dark Knight #6. But this seems to be pretty much that same Bane…the one that–to me–truly seems to ignore 15 years of character development and depth. The issue basically shows us Bane recruiting an army to “take back” “his” city (Gotham) as if his only goal has ever been the taking of Gotham. He’s making use of a modified Venom, which flies in the face of what I saw as one of the character’s greatest strengths and the poignancy of the second Vengeance of Bane issue: his rising above and overcoming the need for Venom, and consistently proving himself powerful and smart with no use for the drug that had once had such hold on him. What I get out of this issue is pretty much a caricature of the character circa 1993 with none of the depth/growth/developoment that made me continue to like the character beyond the Knightfall arc 20 years ago. I see no reason to care about or be interested in this New 52 Bane, and I suppose I’m thankful to “get” that from a single issue rather than investing in an entire multi-issue arc…such as the Forever Evil tie-in mini this issue was probably aiming to “sell” me on picking up as a continuation.

SINESTRO (Green Lantern #23.4)

foreverevilsinestro001 I quite enjoyed the Sinestro Corps War a few years back, and enthusiastically followed all the Green Lantern stuff for years, but gradually trailed off. My past enjoyment of Sinestro as a character was the “selling point” for me for this issue, once I’d decided to get some of these Villains Month issues. I’ve been very loosely “aware” of stuff the last couple years in the GL side of things, so was not totally lost with this issue. It was cool to “catch up” a bit on Sinestro–even from a point of view outside of his own. While the “witness” is not entirely reliable to me, the overall context seems to me that we’ve had some extra detail added to Sinestro’s background–including his introduction into the GL Corps–that fits within established stuff. While not quite enough to spur me back to the monthly issues, this was an enjoyable glimpse back into the GL side of the DC Universe and hint at what I should expect as I gradually get caught up with the collected volumes from the last couple years.

BLACK ADAM (Justice League #23.4)

foreverevilblackadam001 I really wasn’t going to ‘bother’ with this issue. I’ve not been a huge fan of Black Adam except under Johns‘ writing, and I hadn’t cared for what I’d seen second-hand of the New 52 Shazam stuff…and was not at all interested in buying Justice League for the “backups,” and generally figured the Shazam side of things was no longer for me. But a friend’s into Shazam, and knowing he’s interested sparked my interest…as well as realizing that hey, this IS by Johns, so why not? And even though I am not “up to speed” on the New 52 status quo of the (formerly?) Marvel family, this issue provided some interesting details, and left me more curious about other New 52 stuff than any of the other Villains Month issues. With a collected edition of the New 52 Shazam story thus far just out, I might actually be inclined to check it out and see where I land thanks to this issue.

METALLO (Action Comics #23.4)

foreverevilmetallo001 I have never been a particular fan of Metallo, though I got kind of attached to the Byrne version introduced in Byrne‘s Superman #1. That take on the character–as he showed up with differing amounts of power and control over machines, the machine with a human brain basically–is the one I prefer. I’m not a particular fan of the former military John Corben or the ties to Sam Lane and Lois Lane. It just seems a bit too complicated having a major Superman villain be basically just a girlfriend’s spurned “ex.” Technically this issue does what I would hope for–introduces me to the character, shows how he got the way he is, and shows what he can do. But my lack of interest in the character in general taints that, and left me fairly cold and honestly did nothing to spark my interest in where the character might go from here. I’m pretty sure I remember Corben showing up in one of the earliest issues of the New 52 Superman (unless that’s blurred with Geoff JohnsSecret Origin mini from a couple years ago), and this issue hints at a prior battle with Superman, so it would seem to me the only real “significance” of this particular issue is the “introduction” of the “Kryptonite heart” and technically being the issue in which Metallo is recruited by the Society.

PARASITE (Superman #23.4)

foreverevilparasite001 If I’ve not been a fan of Metallo, I actually dread Parasite. I think the only time I found the character relatively tolerable was the 1990s Superman: The Animated Series. I especially disliked the character’s transformation in the mid-90s’ comics to the tapeworm-round-mouthed blob, and the continued round-mouthed look in general. And it seems the character was just redone in the last few years in JohnsSuperman: Secret Origin arc. So having yet another version of the character isn’t that appealing. As I read this issue, I found myself wondering why, exactly, I had even bothered to buy it–I grabbed it “off the shelf” not having pre-ordered it–when I should have “left it” same as I did the Bizarro issue (a character I likely would have preferred over this) and H’el (a character I’ve yet to actually read anything with). At least this issue confirms for me that I’m STILL not at all interested in Parasite, and saves me investing in a longer story than just this one issue.

KILLER CROC (Batman and Robin #23.4)

foreverevilkillercroc001 I think this is probably one of the better versions of the character I’ve seen; it definitely works for me, at the least. I never really cared for the grey-skinned version of the character on the Animated Series, and wasn’t all that fond of what I saw of the character in the early/mid ’90s (specifically around Knightfall). That version “worked,” though and I liked it better than the later “Leatherhead-lite” version that was further mutated a few years ago to look more like a “real” crocodile. This issue shows a Killer Croc that is green-skinned, some of the looks of a crocodile, but much more human-looking overall without losing the “monster” appearance. Something to this take on the character doesn’t go over badly for me. I like that the character’s still more muscle than anything else, yet he shows some room for brains, and definitely has a fairly disctinct “place” within the Gotham hierarchy of Batman rogues. I won’t specifically seek anything else out with the character just as a result of reading this, but the issue lets me know that handled similarly I probably won’t dread another Killer Croc story down the line.

Batman and Robin and the Library

After the death of Damian Wayne a couple weeks back, I put several requests in with the local library system. A number of the books came in at once, and I’ve been really enjoying the recent read-through.

For “free” I’m getting to read the entire original run of Batman and Robin, as well as the first volume of the New 52 iteration of the series. I’d actually forgotten how short the first run was…later this year the New 52 run will match the original.

Sometimes I get so caught up in fleshing out my own collection that I lose sight of the fact of what an AWESOME resource libraries are. Of course, if you don’t turn the books back in by their due date, you open up a whole other kettle of issues…

batmanandrobinfromthelibrary

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