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Batman (2016) #52 [Review]

batman_2016_0052Cold Days Part Two

Script: Tom King
Art: Lee Weeks
Color: Elizabeth Breitweiser
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Cover: Lee Weeks, Elizabeth Breitweiser
Assoc. Editor: Brittany Holzherr
Editor: Jamie S. Rich
Batman Created by: Bob Kane with Bill Finger
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Date: Early October 2018
Cover Price: $3.99

While I own the entire run, I think I’ve basically only READ the first issue, the proposal issue, and #45-present for this series. I’m trying to be more diligent at "keeping up with" the series now, having finally jumped back in without forcing myself to backtrack and try to get through a 2-year queue just to "allow" myself to read current issues.

I was grabbed by the Booster Gold cover of #45 or so and opted to read that "out of order" due to Booster’s presence…and kept going. Then I "had to" read #50 before coming across spoilers, which I SOMEWHAT managed to do. Now it’s been about a month since #50, meaning two more issues as the series is biweekly. I’d "misplaced" #51, but with not wanting to fall IMMEDIATELY behind again, I managed to find it, and quite enjoyed it. I went immediately into this issue–same creative team as #51–and by the end of the issue, just sat with the feeling that I want the next chapter ASAP, in a way that I didn’t even have with #50.

I’m "assuming" this is a 3-issue mini-arc…something about it just "feels" like a 3-parter. Coming into this issue, we find the situation being recapped in the form of the jurors reviewing available evidence as presented to them. Bruce insists on going back over three key pieces of evidence for context. We get flashes of the actual fight between Batman and Freeze as the jurors discuss things–Mr. Freeze (barred as part of probation from donning his costume and having a freeze gun) having his costume and rebuilt a freeze gun; being prepared for Batman and what expectations he’d HAVE for a confrontation with Batman; his confession and why he stuck to it even when out of Batman’s presence. To Bruce Wayne’s fellow jurors, Batman is better than the police–he’s THE best, he’s the one who’s infallible, and if Batman delivered Freeze, then OBVIOUSLY Freeze is guilty. But Bruce has information and context that the other jurors do not and likely will not…but he must now find a way to prove his own belief in Freeze’s actual innocence of the particular crime he’s being tried for.

I’m so-so regarding the art. It’s not bad, and I’d swear I’ve got a positive mental thought behind Weeks’ name in terms of art…but it just seemed somehow "off" to me here (and in #51). Perhaps it’s because of seeing some Jim Aparo art recently, and some other stuff…so on actual reading of this issue, my mind wanted other art, and so compared this to that. I’m not sure the phrasing I’m looking for, but Mr. Freeze in particular seems frail and "wiry" to me here, in a sickly sort of way…not the stronger/more powerful character I tend to picture. There’s also something to the line work that just feels rather "messy" and does so in a way that keeps me from liking it as much in and of itself. It’s surely a design/visual choice and quite intentional and not bad art…but it wouldn’t be my first choice as of reading the issue. That said, it definitely gets the story across, the jumps between Bruce and the other jurors, and the earlier interaction between Batman and Fries. The characters look human, no weird oddities to anatomy or such and the various characters are distinct, and there’s a contrast to the Batman stuff.

Story-wise, that contrast works very well, showing us a brutal, violent-beyond-usual Batman dealing with Mr. Freeze even while we see Bruce trying to work things out "remotely" for firstly how he didn’t catch something as Batman as well having realized he–as Batman–was wrong for going after Freeze, and must now find a way to get the criminal off, as Bruce now believes that the man is innocent of the particular crime he was brought down over…and because he knows that, it’s not (in this case) justice, and means someone else committed the crime and thus is more important to be "brought to justice."

Despite any of my negative/so-so-ness about the art…as an entire package, I greatly enjoyed this issue. I want to read the next issue; and I suspect that it will be "top of the stack" due to my eagerness, in a way that #51 was not, initially, after #50. I love this use of Bruce Wayne–as Bruce Wayne, as a character, and not JUST as Batman. Seeing Bruce Wayne involved in something, interacting with others as Bruce Wayne, and even discussing Batman and seeing/reading ("hearing") certain things and getting meaning that someone who does NOT know Bruce and Batman are one and the same would not. It’s also interesting to consider the ethical things–such as Bruce serving on a jury involving a case with a man that he himself brought in, without anyone else knowing that fact. But then, a masked vigilante running around serving a greater good YET technically breaking a number of laws doing so adds other stuff to the mix. In context of Batman stories, though, I always find myself going back to Untold Legend of the Batman and a flashback of Bruce’s moment of realization that Justice and The Law are not automatically the same thing.

This is a Bruce Wayne back in a familiar place thanks to a new situation; I was reminded a bit of A Lonely Place of Dying, which is certainly another factor that sparked a positive feeling for me.

This isn’t for everyone, obviously…but it begins to move things forward with developments from #50, and yet almost feels like a new series. I’m very thankful this is NOT some new #2, as the numbering continuing on clearly shows that there can be a new focus and a series can feel fresh even without an arbitrary #1 slapped on the cover. The primary drawback to the issue is the price–I’d swear up to #49, this series was $2.99 and now carries the $3.99 price point. I’ve long been down on Marvel for biweekly $3.99 books, having often felt that I was very OK with DC doing the biweekly thing since the issues were 25% cheaper. As I’ve significantly trimmed back on what I’m buying, it’s not the huge thing it could be, but does have me a bit wary.

Still, having read the two issues back to back and being eager for the next chapter…having enjoyed this issue and the story in and of itself…and DC still having a bit of ok will (if not entirely "good will") from me, I’ll let the point go for now.

Regardless of Batman #50, one who "knows" Batman in general ought to have little trouble picking up with #51 and this issue for a good story. As part 2 of a multi issue story, I do not recommend this issue without #51…and if you don’t already have this issue, you’d probably enjoy the story better if you wait and got all 3 issues at once, if not waiting for a collected volume.

For a $3.99 issue, I liked this, I’m glad to have the issue, and I’m actively looking forward to the next issue.

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The Weekly Haul – Week of October 18, 2017

A game I’ve been looking forward to for awhile now finally arrived! Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate. This is basically an adaptation of the Betrayal at House on the Hill, with Dungeons & Dragons elements. Given I quite enjoy both, this was a definite one for me to pick up!

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Of course, the next challenge is getting to actually play the game.

On to this week’s comics

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Hard to believe it’s been over a year and a half now of the "weekly" Superman stuff again, and not liking the "skip weeks" because those are weeks without a new issue of Superman or Action Comics.

Also hard to believe that just between #s 225 and 227, I’ve acquired Savage Dragon 1-101 and assorted mini-series, specials, one-shots, etc.

Quite enjoying the Metal books, story and foil covers! Since the things would be $3.99 anyway, why not have some fun with the foil and such? If ever there was a series that "deserved" the metallic/foil covers, it’s this!

Sadly, the Marvel Legacy stuff is virtually dead on arrival for me. Yet, much as I did this past spring, I’m doing a small sampling to at least (grudgingly) give things a chance. I’m down enough on contemporary Marvel stuff, but if I flat-out never buy anything from them, well, I hardly have room to complain then, right? And at least with these, along with the jacked-up pricing, we get "fancy covers." Unfortunately, these are utterly craptastic quality covers compared to DC‘s. Looking basically head-on, they’re blurry with glare, and neither image truly comes through clearly! More on that matter in another post (or posts) later sometime.

Rounding out the week, trying a randomish Image #1 in Maestros. No clue what it’s supposed to be about, but figured I’d check it out. Wonder Woman/Conan‘s here because I got the 1st issue, and don’t want to have to "hunt" this later. Ditto on Dead of Winter. And I very definitely want to support Alterna and their "newsprint comics," even to being happy to buy an issue multiple times, as even 2 copies of an issue are still cheaper than any one single issue of a Marvel series.

All in all an interesting week with a mix of stuff. Though it definitely pales next to an order I’m expecting by the weekend (that I’ll almost certainly document here once it arrives).

Detective Comics #965 [Review]

detective_comics_0965A Lonely Place of Living Chapter 1

Writer: James Tynion IV
Pencils: Eddy Barrows
Inks: Eber Ferreira
Colors: Adriano Lucas
Letters: Sal Cipriano
Covr: Barrows, Ferreira, Lucas
Assistant Editor: Andrew Marino
Editor: Chris Conroy
With Gratitude to: Marv Wolfman, George Perez, and Jim Aparo
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Date: November 2017
Cover Price: $2.99

I’ve gotten woefully behind in actually reading Detective Comics, though it seems it should be one of my favorite titles. But I was a bit put off by the supposed ‘death’ of Tim Drake early in the new run last year, and wasn’t in a big hurry to follow anything "long-term" with that for a number of reasons. And time passed.

Recently, I was quite excited by a familiar-looking image, in an ad for the then-upcoming (now here) Detective Comics story A Lonely Place of Living. For the cover alone, standard or variant (in an extremely rare bit of sentiment) I was going to get the issue ASAP: it’s a callback to my own earliest days "in comics." My first-ever issue of Batman was #439–the closing chapter of Year Three; my second issue was #440…the opening chapter of A Lonely Place of Dying, which is where this story gets its title (sorta like the recent The Lazarus Contract‘s title playing off the classic The Judas Contract).

So for nostalgia alone I was gonna get this issue. But given continuity things of the last six years, I didn’t know exactly what the story itself would yield, outside of the story title and the cover playing off the classic.

We open on a flashback–Tim confronting Dick as he visits the circus he grew up with, showing him photos of Batman going off the deep end and explaining that he knows Batman is Bruce Wayne and that he–Dick–is Nightwing, formerly Robin. In the present, we find Tim being questioned by Mr. Oz–recently revealed to be (a?) Jor-El, father of Kal-El (Superman). We’re treated to brief flashbacks to the events of A Lonely Place of Dying, and then the beginning of the original Robin mini-series as Tim dons the duds and officially becomes Robin. Jor-El reveals his "truth" to Tim even as Tim exerts some control of the situation. He soon finds himself in contact with Batman…only it’s not the Batman he expects…rather, it’s a Batman he swore would never exist. Before much can come of that, the two find themselves facing possibly the most dangerous creature Oz had captured, which leaves us waiting for the next issue.

I would have to actually go back to the original issues or one of the collected editions on my shelves to confirm, but the dialogue in the flashbacks hit pretty darned CLOSE to my memory of the exchanges between the characters, and honestly gave me a slight chill at the way the flashbacked-scenes brought up memories for me.

As of reading this issue, I already knew the "big reveal" of Oz’s identity (though I’m still not sure if or how I’ll accept it–I’m still waiting for some other swerve and imagine it’ll be quite a long time before I’d accept it as the canon it’s being presented as and not just another plot point on the way to something else). I definitely dug Tim’s ingenuity, seeing that despite his time as a prisoner, he’s continued working on a way to escape (and after another earlier escape that we saw in Superman Reborn).

I was not prepared for/expecting the older Bat-Tim to show up or be any part of this at all…I honestly initially saw him as "just another character" of no significance; some swerve to this story or some trap for Tim or some such; it was seeing someone’s comment about the Titans of Tomorrow story that jogged my memory and contextualized the character…making this all the more cool as a story.

I’m not particularly familiar with Tim’s story or origins from 2011-onward; really since before 2009 as I’d lapsed as a reader early in the Red Robin run, and got right back out of the New 52 iteration of Teen Titans that I’d tried at the start. But at least for this opening chapter of A Lonely Place of Living, I feel like I’ve got "my" Robin back, "my" Tim Drake.

Which is a rather personal thing for me as the character debuted AS I got into comics…

Story, art…all in all, this is an excellent issue, certainly for playing on my nostalgia. The story is strongly rooted in continuity, in history…and the art just looks good, with nothing taking me out of the story. This issue just is.

If you’re a fan of Robin, or Tim Drake, or the current run of Detective Comics, I highly recommend this. Really, even if you aren’t a fan of them…this feels like something big, and all the moreso to me personally. Only this first chapter in and I already know I am absolutely looking forward to the inevitable double-dipping of getting the collected volume, and wondering what form that might take–as well as whether or not we’ll get any new version of a collected volume of the original A Lonely Place of Dying story!

tec965_batman441

The Weekly Haul – Week of July 5, 2017

Even a should-be-small week can get big pretty quick. But this was definitely a worthwhile week…all the more after some apparent worries that "New Comics Day" would be Thursday due to holiday and distributor stuff!

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As far as actual new comics go, definitely a small week, with the new Superman issue and Bane: Conquest, which I almost didn’t get, but since it’s not billed as Rebirth and isn’t part of a bundle, might as well keep up with it in the hopes I get to reading it before collected editions are out.

And it’s kinda hard to believe Comic Shop News is celebrating 30 years! I remember when it was still relatively new, back in 1992 or so. One of these days I’ll get all my issues together and sorted, an have a post for that…especially as I suspect I’m a weird one in the stuff I’ve actually saved over the years…including scattered issues of this!

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Then there’s the books from the bargain racks. For the price of 3 standard Marvel comics, I got each of these Bizarro hardcovers. And the Wolverine: The End was…the price of a current standard Marvel, but with 6 issues, far more worthwhile!

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And I’ll close off with a random picture of my "Titan" Ben Reilly figure now out of the packaging and on a shelf. I’ve long resisted most of these figures…but for being bigger (albeit less poseable), they’re way cheaper than the much smaller figures, and I’ve given on on some characters here and there. I think I have Spider-Man 2099 somewhere…might start a Spider-Men collection.

Or not, and just enjoy what I have.

The Weekly Haul – Week of June 21, 2017

Well, this turned into a far larger week price-wise than I’d had any intention of…of course, a lot of that goes to some deals, and a couple more of DC‘s $4.99 DC/ILooney Tunes books! And a back-issue.

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Of course, the weekly Superman book–in this case, this week it’s the actual Superman title itself…pretty much concluding the Black Dawn story in an "oversized" "anniversary" #25 issue. Then we have Lobo/Road Runner and Wonder Woman/Tasmanian Devil which, so help me, intrigue me. Super Sons has another issue–I need to make sure I’m caught up to the previous issue. I think I am, but I’m not 100%.

Then just for the novelty of it AND so I won’t have to HUNT for the first issue later, SwordQuest as I’m just curious how the story really will go after the #0 issue…though I don’t like the $3.99 price point. I’ve been getting God Country, and probably should have just waited for the collected volume, as I don’t think I’ve actually read #3 to present.

And finally, because of that darned cover, and figuring if nothing else it’ll go with the last #1 Darth Vader I bought, I figured I’d give the thing a try, now out of the "first week sales figures" range and all that, and it was there, and still cover price. I did NOT, however, buy #2 that came out this week.

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As expensive as three $5 issues and several $4 issues were…I’d had no expectation of finding any great deals on more collected volumes. But for less than the price of 2 Marvel issues, got the oversized hardcover of Wolverine: Sabretooth, collecting two stories. While I’m not the biggest fan of the stuff, it’s still Wolverine, the actual, genuine, regular, true, original character.

Then for roughly the same as seven Marvel single-issues, got the three volumes of Excalibur Visionairies: Warren Ellis. I don’t know if I knew these existed, but all three available together and for this pricing…I couldn’t pass ’em up. And hey…they’re all ’90s or early-2000s X-stuff…especially the Excalibur volumes.

These even put Half-Price Books to shame…and really put convention pricing to shame.

All in all, a big week and plenty of reading to do, and I’m still a hugely long way off from ever catching up. Such is the life of a comic person, I guess…

The Weekly Haul – Week of June 7th, 2017

Despite hopes for a "small" week, found this to be a fairly large week, particularly with a couple of high-priced issues I hadn’t consciously planned on, particularly for the prices!

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Of course, the weekly Superman issue. Then, because it was there, snagged the Superman & Bugs Bunny issue/volume. $8 and I believe it reprints a 4-issue mini-series…so functionally $2/issue for a full story in one go? You betcha! And of course, Captain Atom and Predator with new issues this week.

I went ahead and snagged the Batman issue rather than waiting for my DCBS bundle shipment, having had stuff spoiled a bit thanks to Bleeding Cool, and figuring I’d want to read this sooner than later for myself instead of just going on second-hand information.

And I hadn’t known anything about the Steve Trevor issue–I actually thought it was some new series or mini-series, so didn’t want anything to do with it. Plus, I simply never cared for the character, period, til seeing the new Wonder Woman movie this past Friday. And with it being a one-shot and NOT jacked up to $4.99+, I opted to give it a shot. Though the presence of an alternate cover–such that I had no idea which cover was the variant and which was the "regular" nearly drove me to put it back and pass on it entirely.

I did pass entirely on Magnus #1 because there was a B cover and a C cover, but no A cover, and I hadn’t realized it was out this week to request it be pulled as I did a couple of the other issues! (Publishers: you LOSE people like me by conditioning me to "accept" variant covers’ existence, but then messing me up when I at least attempt to stick to the "A"/non-variant/regular/advertised cover and ALL that remains are variants withOUT even the "original"/actual/real cover!)

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With The Batman/TMNT Adventures wrapped, the "cartoon" TMNT series TMNT Amazing Adventures is back with (presumably) a mini-series…perhaps in lieu of an ongoing as stuff on the "2012 series" starts to wrap up with the final season (I believe) presently airing and all that. And I’m definitely on a Spawn kick at present…barring price increase or my getting hosed over a variant or such, I’m mostly intending to dig in and stick through #300 at least.

I didn’t even realize it til I got it home, but this issue of Reborn was $5.99! I think had I realized that, I might’ve passed on the issue for now. I’m not certain that I have all 5 previous issues–I might be missing an issue–but having "most" of the issues, I simply figured hey, next/new/final issue, why not? Though I’ll grant it a LITTLE more leeway than I would Marvel at this point, as they’ve totally "abused" the extra-priced issues. And I’ll gladly take an extra $2 for presumably twice the content, or at least an extra 50% of content, especially if it means holding to the established number of issues, even if they had to expand the page count (again looking at Marvel primarily for tacking extra issues on at the end of event series).

I also noticed that Batman: Dark Knight III finally had its "final" issue out, which itself is a DC book that added an extra issue (as I recall, it was supposed to have been an 8-issue series, not 9).

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Then, for good measure, apparently, as I approached the register, I saw three stacks of books. Curiosity got me and I looked at the price stickers: $1.00! So for the price of 1 DC Rebirth issue, snagged two hardcovers and a paperback collected volume. No idea, for example, if the Zombie Christmas Carol is a Marvel Zombies thing, or just a zombie theme applied to the classic Dickens tale (thinking the latter), and I know I don’t have the other two, so at least they’d be "something" to read someday.


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It’s been a fantastic year of movies already, and some of them are starting to come out for home release. Logan a couple weeks ago, and now the live-action Beauty and the Beast.

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And just because I had it in my ‘camera roll’ as I was transferring stuff for this post…a photo of my 43 or so Supermen at the moment. Once/whenever I get new bookcases assembled and stuff re-arranged, I’m pretty sure these guys are gonna have to split up–it’s getting harder to add new ones, and I’m not too keen on the statue straddling two bookcases, nor of "hiding" it amidst dozens of alternate counterparts.

The Weekly Haul – Week of May 31st, 2017

This week is ridiculously small! As far as new comics, REALLY was only ONE issue I was specifically looking forward to. I still managed to spend like I’d bought 7-8 Marvel issues, though!

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I’ve been enjoying the four-issue/3.5-title/month-long The Lazarus Contract story crossing The Titans, Teen Titans, and Deathstroke…and while the Deathstroke issue seemed to sell out/be shorted all over last week, no trouble snagging this Teen Titans Special (that I believe was supposed to be an Annual!)

Then of course, there’s the 25-cent issue of Saga, which, hey…for 25 cents, I wasn’t going to NOT get it! I may even read it, see where it seems the title’s gone since whenever I left off on reading via TPBs a couple/several years back!

And finally, because it was there…I snagged the X-Men: Apocalypse Wars oversized hardcover for the staggeringly-high price* of 5 1/2 Marvel single issues! (* Note heavy sarcasm in that phrasing!) I had been intending a nice, cheap week, but gladly tossed that out the window for a bargain-priced volume at this price and for a story I’d been interested in reading but passed on originally just for the price of the single issues.


Perhaps with this "small" week, I’ll catch up on some other reading and such…time will tell!

We also have the Wonder Woman movie coming out this week–surely some Thursday shows, but I’m seeing it Friday with a friend. There’s also Wonder Woman Day Saturday that might warrant a quick visit to a shop or two–Once again, time will tell!

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