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CSBG Archive

Snark Free Corner for 2/25

Welcome to the latest installment of your breath of snark free air!

Enjoy!

SNARK FREE DEBATE

Batman and Zatanna – like it or dislike it?

Paul Dini recently introduced the concept that Batman and Zatanna grew up together, and as children, were very close.

This seemed to be the beginning of Zatanna as a potential love interest for Batman, and it is something that Michael Green recently brought into the pages of Superman/Batman, as well, as a magical object that forced Batman to confront that which he desires (his parents alive, etc.), Zatanna was in the vision.

On the positive side, Zatanna is a cool character who should get more attention. Plus, with the whole Identity Crisis thing happening, Zatanna and Bruce have this simmering conflict over what she did to him that any relationship between the two would always have. Not to mention that Dini’s idea that the daughter of a rich and famous magician probably WOULD have a lot in common with the son of rich and famous parents.

On the negative side, it would bring a constant magical side to Batman’s stories, which might not be a great idea. In addition, should Batman not date non-superpowered people instead? Do Zatanna and Bruce really match well?

That’s the position! Pick your sides, people!!!

COVER THEME GAME

As always, here is the game. I show three covers (although, this week, I’ll be showing FOUR!). They all have something in common, whether it be a character, a trait all three/four characters share, locale, creator, SOMEthing. And it isn’t something obvious like “They all have prices!” “They all have logos!” “They all feature a man!” etc.

In addition, please note that you must have some familiarity with comic book history to correctly guess these comics. You cannot guess the connective theme just by looking at the covers solely, you must have some knowledge beyond just the covers.

A cool point to the first person to figure it out!

Good luck!

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SNARK FREE CHALLENGE

Can Captain Marvel come up with a problem that he is not wise enough to solve?

THE COVER GAME

This week’s game is as follows…

Find me a comic cover that features Captain America using any offensive weapon other than his shield…

Here is an example (which you can’t use!)….

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Remember, only one cover per commenter!

Good luck!

WHO IS IT?

Remember, tell me who it is and what number clue gave it away!

1. This character is currently deceased.
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2. This character had a superpowered sibling.
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3. This character was previously thought to have been killed, but this more recent time, this character’s death was pretty darn blatant.
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4. This character was a member of the Mutant Underground Support Engine.
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5. The character was a member of X-Force.

Who is it?

Well, that’s it for this installment of Snark Free Corner.

Hope you had fun!

50 Comments

Cover Theme –
Victor Mancha, Albert Rothstein, Victor Von Doom, and Bruce Wayne all have dead parents; I was going to specifically say dead MOTHERS, but I don’t think that Atom Smasher’s mother has died again after the whole Extant story.

Who is it? is Bedlam. Didn’t get it until #5 (with Wikipedia help).

If all of them only just had dead mothers, I could see that as a theme, but dead parents, I dunno, practically every single hero out there has at least one dead parent, right?

Except Wally West.

So I wouldn’t think that’d count as a theme.

Is it something to do with changing names?

Oracle used to be Batgirl
Atom Smasher used to be … erm .. something else.

People on the other covers might have had previous names without me knowing about it?

Can Captain Marvel come up with a problem that he is not wise enough to solve?

No.

Because coming up with problems is a function of intelligence, not wisdom, and he doesn’t have superintelligence.

In any case, he’s wise enough not to try to do any such thing.

All those covers feature children of classic characters?

Sounds like Paul Dini is just trying to incorporate animated series continuity into comic continuity. I remember there being an episode where Bruce and Zatanna had a brief fling while Bruce (pre-Batman) was training with Zatanna’s father. Or am I confusing her with just some other very similar type magic girl?

Nope, that is straight from the animated series, Angelle.

Cover game:

http://www.comics.org/coverview.lasso?id=2853&zoom=4

All-Winner’s squad #8. Cap is using a bomb.

Cover game:

Avengers vol. 3 #2

http://www.comics.org/details.lasso?id=68290

Yeoman America (and almost all the other Morgan LeFay Avengers) wielding swords!

Captain America and the Falcon #16 clearly shows Cap using an incredibly awesome weapon always at his disposal which strikes those he uses it upon helpless…

Cap. He’s the man. Darn straight.

Yeah, I don’t buy a Batman/Zatanna relationship at all. The magic side really wouldn’t match the straight crime stories Batman works best at, and the entire thing feels more like a vanity move by Dini to impress his wife and write stories based on their relationship.

And we all know how well that worked out for Chuck Austen.

COVER THEME GAME: Is it dummy’s (as in ‘The Ventriliquist) – The Batman one was from a Scarface story and thats what Franklin looks like too!

Cover Theme : All of the characters have villainous relatives.
Victor Mancha was created by his “father”, Ultron. Albert Rothstein got his powers from his grandfather, Cyclotron. Franklin Richards’s grandfather is a villain who once kidnapped the child. Bruce Wayne’s brother, Thomas, was an assassin.

Yeah, Bruce and Zee having a history worked fine enough in the cartoon, so I don’t have a problem with it in the comics.

I wouldn’t have a problem with Bruce and Zatanna having some sort of relationship. The moment she started appearing in Paul Dini’s Detective Comics stories, it immediately reminded me of their one BTAS episode. But then, I’d just like to see Batman have more of a romantic life all around, myself.

I have to agree with Angelle, it really does seem like Dini is trying to import DCAU backstory into the main DCU. What’s more, it looks like a pretty blatant case of Dini bringing in a pet character, as his love for Zatanna is well known. I don’t think a relationship between Bruce and Zee is necessarily a bad idea, but it sounds like Dini is going to excessive lengths to justify it.

If Dini does go ahead with this, I do think it could actually work. All of the things Brian listed as positives are really good points. What’s more, I tend to disagree about Bruce needing to date non-superpowered women. Bruce dating a regular woman just leads to the whole secret identity thing getting in the way and ultimately destroying the relationship. Someone like Zee already knows both sides of the man, allowing him to be more honest with her and her to understand him better.

And as for the Captain Marvel thing, I’m not sure even the wisdom of Solomon could let Billy figure out why hot dogs come in packages of six but hot dog buns come in packages of eight.

Cover theme game: Victor/Victoria.
Victor Mancha
Victor Von Doom
Vicki Vale

I’m still trying to figure out the JSA #30 cover (guess it’s that lady), but can’t find the answer. But Victor/Victoria seems right to me.

Just found it’s Roulette and her real name is Veronica Sinclair.

So the theme is names starting with V.

Can Captain Marvel come up with a problem that he is not wise enough to solve?

How to tactfully inform Stargirl why he broke up with her?

I’m all for the Bats/Zats combo, but the thing with Dini doing it is that it’s very much a conflict. Zatanna is very much a Mary Sue for Dini (unless I’m completly off on the definition. Do you need to create the character to be a Mary Sue?), so his constant use of her is a little obnoxious. That being said though, he writes the character very well. I’m willing to see where it could go.

I think Zatana is much more than a mary sure for Dini given who he’s marred to, though I think his shoehorning her into bats life as the love interest borders on the obsessive.

That being said, at least Zatanna has more of a personality than most (all?) of the women specifically written to be Bruce’s love interests.

For the cover game, here’s All Select Comics #1, very much along the lines of your example:
http://www.lambiek.net/artists/s/schomburg_alex/schomburg_select43.jpg

Brian, I didn’t get the impression that Bruce and Zatanna’s fathers were close friends — it’s said that they knew each other well and that they worked together on charities. Then you get the scene at Bruce birthday’s party where Zatanna comforts him for a while, but they don’t talk afterwards, and we know that a few years later, Bruce trained with her father.

Nothing says that their parents were very close and that they grew up together. Thomas Wayne, billionnaire and philanthropist, certainly had a lot of friendly acquaintances and that’s how his relationship with Zatara looked like, from the issue of Detective Comics where Dini describes it. As for Bruce and Zatanna, I have the impression that they had a few encounters as children, that Bruce remembers this one because it’s one of the few good memories from that time, but it’s also said that this is the moment where he stops being a child and from all we know of him, he stopped having friends his own age after his parents’ death. I think he just remembered her from that time and met her again when he trained with her father.

As for the pairing, it works for me. There’s enought tension and potential for conflict, and I like the character. I didn’t know about Dini’s wife, but he’s far from the only writer who loves that character and who uses her in her scripts. Zatanna in Seven Soldiers was pretty awesome too, and no one questions Grant Morrison’s motives for writing her. And hey, at least she’s brought in the Bat books for something other than “We need a mindwipe, PLZ”. Anyway, no worries, like all of Batman’s love interests, she will be a possibility at most before he goes “No, my sacred mission comes first. Also, I don’t trust magic. Or happiness.”

Forgot to add: Where does Dini use her “constantly”? There was one phone call in one issue of Detective Comics, and she was in TEC 833-834. That’s it. And she will be in a future issue no one has read yet. He still has a long way to go before he uses her constantly. As for her part in the latest Superman/Batman, wasn’t it written by someone other than Dini?

I don’t know, at least she’s an established character, with her own history, who doesn’t live in Gotham and does her own thing, which is already much more interesting than someone created solely to be Bruce Wayne’s love interest and to be shuffled off or killed after a while.

I like Zatanna as Bruce’s friend from his pre-Batman days, but not as a romantic interest. I like to see Batman having human connections, and not just with his butler, a police commissioner, and his trainees. As for romantic interests, it feels wrong for him to go for another super-hero. Batman has his own world apart from the Justice League and Outsiders, and I prefer seeing him involved with a regular woman.

For the “Who is it” I’ll admit it took me until #5, but is it Feral?

Also, after Identity Crisis and the repercussions of it with Brother I, I really don’t see a romantic relationship between Bruce and somebody who violated his mind against his will as remotely plausible. If the gender roles in the situation were reversed, the whole thing would feel like a creepy allegory for a woman eventually falling in love with her rapist afterwards, and there would be a lot of people speaking out against it. I can buy them being uneasy allies when called upon, but given Bruce’s persona, I can’t ever see him truly trusting her ever again.

Dini’s attempt at reconciling them in Detective wasn’t particularly convincing either, especially not as the groundwork to set up a romantic relationship.

The JSA cover seems to have Black Adam as the victor of the battle, having thus all the covers a Victor/Victoria

If the gender were reversed, we’d have…a male character who erased 10 minutes of a woman’s memory, to make her forget she witnessed a certain scene. It’s a crime, it’s possibly unforgivable, but it wouldn’t feel more like a rape.

The comparison to a rape might hold up if he/she’d been coerced to do something, but that wasn’t the case. It’s still a violation, mind you, but I don’t see how switching the genders suddenly turns it into sexual assault.

I think I’m wrong, but is the Who is it Caliban?

Are people reading too much into Bruce/Zatana by calling it a romance? She’s a friend from his childhood (as pointed out above, one of his few good memories from the time) and they happen to work in the same field. It doesn’t need to be a romantic thing for him to care or worry about her when things go bad. Yes, Dini’s only using her because he likes the character so much, but so what? That doesn’t make her a Mary Sue any more than Grant Morrison using Plastic Man in JLA.

And the comics are incorporating things from the DCAU? Gasp! I am shocked! Shocked! Someone should get true, longstanding comics-only ideas like the emotionally distant widower version of Mr. Freeze, the big lump of mud version of Clayface and the “I fight Superman” version of Darkseid together to protest this blatant miscegenation!

I think that Danar at comment #2 already aswered the Who Is It? – Bedlam. I also found it with clue #5 and a short research.

I’ve never liked magic characters very much, and Zatanna is one of the weaker ones–stop her by stopping her from speaking, etc. The the writer finds a contrived way around that.

Yawn.

I realize a lot of people like her–but I just can’t get into her as a character–so I don’t like the idea of intertwining her more with Batman for that reason.

“Can Captain Marvel come up with a problem that he is not wise enough to solve?”

That problem itself is unsolvable. If Marvel came up with that, then yes. Hooray for tautology!

Cover theme game: Victor/Victoria.
Victor Mancha
Victor Von Doom
Vicki Vale

I’m still trying to figure out the JSA #30 cover (guess it’s that lady), but can’t find the answer. But Victor/Victoria seems right to me

You’re right, I was just foolish – I trusted my own memory that Roulette’s name was Victoria, while I guess I misremembered, if you’re saying you checked her out.

So I put up a new cover, with Victoria Montesi from Darkhold! :)

I’m never good at Who Is It… but my guess is Cannonball. I haven’t been reading X-Men, so I’m not sure if he died in Messiah CompleX or not. I know that he has superpowered sibling(s), was thought dead (before he was revealed to be an Exteral) and was obviously a member of X-Force.

Intertwining Batman and Zatanna is a terrible idea. They ought to be no closer than, say, Hawkman and Red Tornado. Their story engines sync up horribly outside of a League context.

And I’m trying to think of a worse romantic match for Bruce. Mary Marvel, maybe.

I don’t know about you, but I’d totally read a Hawkman / Red Tornado romance book.

My “who is it guess” was warpath, but then I searched for this M.U.S.E and the correct answer was the first link I got. Totally a diffrent X-Force than most of us seem to be thinking.

I’ve got no real problem with Zatanna and Bruce being an item, as long as it was handled as charmingly as it was in BTAS (and as long as they fight a bad guy who looks like Orson Welles :).

You know what bit of DCAU continuity I wish they WOULD incorporate into the mainstream DCU? The Joker connection in the Creeper’s origin. That was really clever.

Why, why, why do ALL comic book characters have to be intimately connected from before birth into adulthood?

Can’t they just meet for the first time when in their late 20s or does that close out the possibilities for trash like a BatFamily Babies?

Why would Zatanna be attracted to Batman?

Cap #25. Him chucking a grenade while on skis.

http://captain-america.us/images/wallpaper/capcomics/cap25.jpg

Why would Zatanna be attracted to Batman?

He’s the goddamn Batman!

I think Zatanna/Batman is great concept(plus they just look awesome together) although I agree that they shouldn’t be paired up in the long term due to incompatibility in the kind of stories they belong in.

I think apart from Selina,(DC has her with child now)Zatanna has more potential for an interesting dynamic with Batman.I don’t like Talia.
The WW thing in the JLU cartoon did not work for me cause it was based on a dilution of the character from the comics.I know he’s a stud and all that but come on,Diana drooling after him for a date evrytime you see them is a bit pathetic.In the comics she is a stronger more defined indidvidual.It was all very school yard type kidddie play…aimed for the target audience I guess.

When I saw This Little Piggy,it occurred to me that Batman,who supposedly was hot for Wonderpig had come chemistry with Zatanna.And Zee was very likeable.Diana came across as cold and stuck-up.

And there is a tension in the comics that good writing can tap into and it’ll be good to see Bruce having to deal with someone less martial in nature.And I know he hates magic.So…….anything that will drive him up a wall suits me.

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