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CSBG Archive

What I bought – 10 March 2010

It was the smell of death and destruction and it smelled fresh and lively and hopeful. (A. S. Byatt, from Possession)

Hey, this scene is actually in the book! Oh, Tracy, you sure can take a punch! Is this part of a triptych or something? You know, if she wanted to torture me, I'm not sure I'd object! So much rage! Best cover of the year so far? Swirly! Does Chris Sims know about this cover? Yet more Tardi!

BatmanandRobin10Batman and Robin #10 (“Batman vs. Robin Part 1: The Haunting of Wayne Manor”) by Grant “A six-issue mini-series isn’t enough for my big ideas!” Morrison (writer), Andy Clarke (penciller), Scott Hanna (inker), Alex Sinclair (colorist), and Patrick Brosseau (letterer). $2.99, 22 pgs, FC, DC.

Morrison gets back on track a bit with this issue, as he sets up the “Bruce Wayne Through The Ages” mini-series that will follow up this arc, and shows us Damien’s hidden agenda in the process. I’m of two minds about this. I’m almost sure the mini-series will be able to be read without reading this arc, but I can’t say, and it’s not as if Morrison hasn’t done this before (the Superman story that wasn’t a part of Final Crisis, for instance, but is fairly important to the main story, plus JLA: Classified #1-3, which explains why the Sheeda don’t attract the attention of the Justice League and why they don’t go after them). They do proclaim on the cover that “The Return of Bruce Wayne Begins Here!”, but it’s a bit annoying that DC does this (or Morrison does this). Oh well. What’s done is done.

The actual issue is fine, although I’m always amused when characters in comics from the “present” go back in time and leave clues for the people in the “present” to find and no one has ever stumbled across them before. Dick grew up in Wayne Manor. He never noticed some of these things, even the hidden passageway? Hell, Bruce himself didn’t notice? And I love how the line of succession from Wayne to Wayne is completely unbroken, one male giving way to another male in rigid generational progression, with no icky girls or sickly invalids to mar the lineage, and the one mysterious black sheep who will turn out to be misunderstood, surely (as it was probably Bruce to begin with). Oh well – suspension of disbelief and all that, but it made me chuckle.

The best parts of the issue didn’t have to do with time-traveling Bruce, anyway. Morrison gets back to the relationship between Dick and Damien which has been the strength of the comic, and it works very well as we realize what Damien is up to. The return of Oberon Sexton is welcome, and Morrison draws on some of the better aspects of his run on Batman. It makes the issue a neat little story, and I’m looking forward to the rest of it. Of course, Morrison’s first issue with Stewart was good, too, and faltered in the final two. So we’ll see.

Andy Clarke bugs me. The art is fine, but it reminds of someone else’s. Whose? Help me out, comics aficiandos!

One panel of awesome:

Oh, Damien - you crack me up!

Oh, Damien - you crack me up!

CriminalSinners5Criminal: The Sinners #5 by Ed Brubaker (writer), Sean Phillips (artist), and Val Staples (colorist). $3.50, 26 pgs, FC, Marvel/Icon.

I’ve written about what makes Criminal so interesting before, but I’m going to do it again. Brubaker does such a nice job setting up the plots that when they get set in motion, it simply feels like real people working their way through real problems. Yes, not many people have to deal with the problems that Tracy Lawless and the people of his world have to deal with, but because of the way Brubaker has set things up, we understand that the way Tracy tries to get out of the predicament he’s in is really his only option. There’s no deus ex machina, there’s just people trying their best to stay alive. If the appearance of a character or the resolution of a conflict seems a bit too easy, it’s not because it doesn’t make sense. The way Tracy wraps up his “assignment” leaves plenty of scars, but he has still thought it out, and Brubaker has allowed us to see his thought process. There’s nothing gimmicky about Criminal, and that’s part of its greatness. It might seem like utterly brutal storytelling, and there’s that, certainly, but it’s also a very nice series about people who make bad choices and pay for them. We might not make their bad choices (we might, but not necessarily), but Brubaker does a nice job of making us understand why they make them. Yes, things play out somewhat as we expect, but that’s not the point. Brubaker, unlike many of his contemporaries, isn’t concerned about the “gotcha” moment. He’s much more concerned with showing how every step of the story is horribly inevitable. That’s the kind of storytelling I enjoy. Your mileage may, of course, vary.

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Criminal is once again going on hiatus, and it’s a shame. I enjoy Incognito, which is returning in a bit, but it’s in a slightly different vein than Criminal, and it doesn’t work quite as well (it’s still good, of course, because Brubillips are seriously talented – and should I try to add Staples into that name to make one giant German-esque conglomeration of a word?). But I’m hoping that our creators can rake in some actual dough in their next projects (Avengers for Brubaker, a Stephen King thing for Phillips) and get back to this groovy comic. That would be keen.

One panel of awesome:

Take that, fuckers!

Take that, fuckers!

ExMachina48Ex Machina #48 (“Pro-Life Part Four”) by Brian K. Vaughan (writer), Tony Harris (artist), JD Mettler (colorist), and Jared K. Fletcher (letterer). $2.99, 22 pgs, FC, DC/Wildstorm.

Well, two more issues to go, so it’s kind of pointless to dig into this, isn’t it? I’ll have something more substantial to say when the final issue drops, but for now, Vaughan is just hurtling toward issue #50. Suzanne is evil, Mitch finds out the horrible thing that happened last issue and doesn’t take it well, and things are going to shit, generally. It’s quite gripping, and except for the panel in which Mitch walks quickly across the room (is that his apartment, because it looks like a banquet hall of some sort), the art is typically groovy. I have one question, though: Suzanne broadcasts her commands over the radio, and New York goes nuts. All those people were listening to the radio? Were enough people listening to that particular radio station to make it such a problem? It seems strange that it’s such a catastrophe. I mean, it’s not like she interrupted the M*A*S*H finale or anything. But that’s okay. It was just a bit odd.

More later. I’m looking forward to the final couple of issues.

One panel of awesome:

Man, she's bad-ass!

Man, she's bad-ass!

GhostProjekt1Ghost Projekt #1 (of 5) (“Cold Warriors”) by Joe Harris (writer), Steve Rolston (artist), Dean Trippe (colorist), and Douglas E. Sherwood (letterer). $3.99, 24 pgs, FC, Oni Press.

I don’t know how many people know about this book, but dang, it’s a good first issue. I wouldn’t blame anyone for waiting for the trade, but that’s not how I roll, so I’m very glad I got this. Rolston is a very good artist, of course, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen his work in color before, so Trippe’s work is very strong as well, adding a nice dimension to the pencil art. (Last week I mentioned I sat at the same table as Ming Doyle at last year’s Eisners. Tim Callahan commented that he was there as well, and so was Trippe. It was an all-star table! I’m sure I brought the cool quotient of the group down significantly, but nobody wanted to mention it. Because they’re swell.) Rolston does a nice job blending his cartoonish qualities with a grounded realism, which makes his depiction of Russia in the winter nice but not too bleak and makes his work with the cat (oh, the cat’s important, you betcha!) a bit more easy to accept. His character work is very good, too – Will and Kip look like normal, everyday schlubs who are about to get caught up in something really bad, while Anya is a total bad-ass. It’s a nice, creepy comic that, thanks to Rolston, isn’t too overwhelmingly dark. Trippe, meanwhile, uses sickening greens in the first part of the book when he doesn’t really have to (it’s just nighttime, so it could be anything darker), but given the subject matter, it’s a good choice.

Harris tells a story of a research station in Siberia that hides a secret. Two Russians go there to steal something, and they get far more than they bargained for. And there’s some old Soviet dudes in Moscow hiding something. And the U. S. Department of Defense sends Will and Kip to figure out what’s going on, and they get stonewalled by Anya, the bad-ass cop. She even smokes bad-assily! And there’s the cat. And possibly a ghost. Spooky!

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This is a really good first issue of what seems like a very nifty series. If you’ve never seen Rolston’s art, it would mean you’ve never read, among other things, Queen and Country, so shame on you, but here’s a good chance in full-color glory. And who doesn’t love stories about creepy Soviet-era research stations where weird a-doings were transpiring and now might be haunted? Commies, that’s who. Don’t be a Commie!

One panel of awesome:

Look how cute she is as she tells them to fuck off!

Look how cute she is as she tells them to fuck off!

SecretSix19Secret Six #19 (“Cats in the Cradle Part One of Four: Misconceived”) by Gail Simone (writer), Jim Calafiore (artist), Jason Wright (colorist), and Travis Lanham (letterer). $2.99, 22 pgs, FC, DC.

Fuck Wonder Woman.

Seriously. Fuck Birds of Prey, for that matter. Back in the day, late in Simone’s first run on BoP, I read a few issues. They did nothing for me. I got a few of the trades from the start of her run. Nothing. Then she took over Wonder Woman, and I read a few issues. Still nothing. And now she’s leaving Wonder Woman, and many people are sad. That’s cool, but I’m not. She’s relaunching Birds of Prey, and many people are happy. That’s cool, but I’m not. Simone is a good writer, but it seems like she’s at her best when she’s writing really, really nasty characters. Even Welcome to Tranquility, her Wildstorm series that she’s bringing back this summer, featured some nasty characters and, shall we say, morally challenged people. She just doesn’t seem inspired by purity, and she might say she loves writing about Diana, but something about it never clicked. Of course, all those people who are sad by her leaving Wonder Woman should, you know, go buy Secret Six. Because with the exception of a few missteps, this is a fantastic series, and it seems like the only way you could pry Simone away from these characters is by cancelling the series and then freeze-drying Simone in some sort of storage chamber so she doesn’t rip your head off. But I could be wrong.

Let’s take this issue, which is as good a place as ever to jump on, now that the “Blackest Night” pseudo-crossover is over. It’s a new storyline! The group tries to rescue a man from Brother Blood’s cult, find out he’s dead, and then get betrayed by the man who hired them (this group seriously needs to vet their clients better; have they made any money since being together?). It’s a nice little story with a killer ending that sets up the rest of the arc. Seriously, that last page – on the one hand, it doesn’t make too much sense, for reasons I can’t divulge, but on the other hand, it just punches you right in the gut. Simone does this quite often on this book – reveals something on the last page that is just so fucked-up and nasty that you just have to love it (remember Junior?). But while the story is fairly standard until the final page, the interplay between the characters is so crackling it’s a joy to read. Consider Ragdoll’s soliloquy on the first page, which cracks me up. DC really should label this a “Mature Readers” comic (it certainly deserves it) because then Simone could actually have Ragdoll say “fuck,” which would make the joke on the first page even funnier. But then she nails the Brother Blood cultists wonderfully (“And you’ll undergo blessed tonsure, of course!”) and the dysfunction of the group when they disobey Bane. We get a particularly nasty scene with Cheshire and some really, really stupid men. We get Alice’s weird attraction to Ragdoll. And we get the creepy scene at the end, which is creepy not only for the killer ending but for the few pages preceding it, when the client starts talking and we know things are about to go pear-shaped. Simone makes it all work. And consider her character work, especially with the women: Alice is a goofy teenager who happens to have all sorts of weird powers, but her attraction to Ragdoll is completely believable, especially when you consider how weird teenagers are (and before you jump down my throat, I don’t mean that pejoratively, just that teens have a lot going on in their bodies and brains that make them a bit weird). Cheshire is bad-ass, toying with the men sent to … well, I won’t spoil what they’re there for, but it’s also nice that Simone makes her tough but not quite tough enough. It’s a nice touch.

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I’ve never met Ms. Simone, even though she’s stopped by the blog a few times. I’m sure she’s sad about not writing Wonder Woman anymore, as she’s probably the highest profile female writer in comics and Diana is the highest profile female character in comics. I don’t know what precipitated her leaving the book, nor do I particularly care. As sad as she might be, she seems to have so much goddamned fun writing this series that I hope this is the one DC can’t get her to leave. I hope the sales justify keeping it going (I haven’t heard anything about it being in trouble, so there’s that). I even think Bill Reed should just get the hell over his loathing of Jim Calafiore and buy the damned book. Because when the client walks out in a tuxedo shirt, tie, and coat and khaki shorts, you know you’re in really skeevy territory. And who doesn’t love that? Commies, that’s who. Commies who hate ice cream. Those are the worst kind of Commies!

One panel of awesome:

Check out the happy cultists!

Check out the happy cultists!

Sword5S.W.O.R.D. #5 by Kieron Gillen (writer), Steven Sanders (penciler), Craig Yeung (inker), Matt Wilson (colorist), and Dave Lanphear (letterer). $2.99, 22 pgs, FC, Marvel.

Ah, fuck it. It’s over. Buy the trade, won’t you? If only for Abigail’s explanation of why S.W.O.R.D. actually exists.

Oh, and Gillen knows the correct spelling of “vermilion.” Or someone at Marvel does. That’s quite gratifying. And damn. I just want to write about each and every awesome thing that happens in this issue, but I won’t because it won’t make any difference. Trust me. The trade will rock. Would I lie? And if you’re at the convention in Seattle this weekend, stop by and say hello to Gillen. He’s swell.

One panel of awesome:

You know, I could have thrown a dart at any panel in this comic and used it ... that's how awesome the issue is!

You know, I could have thrown a dart at any panel in this comic and used it ... that's how awesome the issue is!

Unwritten11The Unwritten #11 (“Jud Süss: The Canker”) by Mike Carey and Peter Gross (writer and artist), Jimmy Broxton (finisher), Chris Chuckry (colorist), and Todd Klein (letterer). $2.99, 23 pgs, FC, DC/Vertigo.

The Unwritten is starting to remind me of Lucifer, and that’s not necessarily a good thing. I know Lucifer gets praised to the skies, but I’ve read about five of the trades (I think, without looking, that’s how many I own), and it just never took off for me. There would be some really cool things, and you could see that Carey was going somewhere with it, but then it would get sidetracked into mediocrity for a bit, and then it would be good again. It’s not that it wasn’t consistently great (very few series are), it’s that when it did falter, it faltered pretty badly. I haven’t thought any of the issues of The Unwritten have been really bad yet, but the quality goes up and down, sometime in the same issue, and Carey still doesn’t seem to have a really good handle on the characters yet. That said, issue #11 was quite good, finishing up a nifty little two-parter, but I still find myself wondering how long Carey is going to meander. Again, I’m sure he has a plan and a destination in mind, but like Lucifer, if he takes too long getting there it might get annoying. Ah, I’m babbling. I just wonder if he’s focused so much on Tom’s grand quest that he occasionally forgets that we have to read every page to get there.

Anyway, this is actually an issue that brings some new things to the fore, including some of Tom’s abilities. Lizzie also tells us something interesting about Jud Süss the novel and the movie, which seems fairly important. Gross’ art and Broxton’s finishes are very keen, especially when Tom confronts the novel/movie directly (it makes sense in the book, trust me). I’m sticking around, because unlike Greek Street (which Chad Nevett claims is getting better), which was fairly incomprehensible from the beginning, at least Carey is keeping most of this weirdness in check so dumb people like me don’t get lost. I just wish he’d try to make the characters more interesting and not worry about the grand narrative for an issue or two. We’ll see.

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One panel of awesome:

Oh, bureaucracy - what would we do without you?

Oh, bureaucracy - what would we do without you?

ZorroMatanzas2Zorro: Matanzas #2 (of 4) (“Terrible Incident in a Place of Skulls”) by Don McGregor (writer), Mike Mayhew (artist), Sam Parsons (colorist), John Costanza (letterer), Kel-O-Graphics (digital inker). $3.99, 24 pgs, FC, Dynamite Entertainment.

McGregor continues with his dense prose, making this a book that takes a while to read, if that’s what you like from your comics. I don’t care either way as long as it’s good, and this is a decent adventure so far – it doesn’t set the world on fire, but that’s okay. McGregor does a nice job giving us thumbnail sketches of the characters and of slowly, inevitably, leading us toward the conclusion, but when he wants to show action, he does a fairly good job of letting Mayhew show it, and Zorro’s fight against the grizzly bear (yes, the cover actually shows something that happens in the book) is a good example – McGregor doesn’t go silent, but he at least trusts his artist to show us what’s happening. I’m a bit confused by Machete’s plan, though – he causes a bull to run wild, but then tries to save one of the bull’s victims (McGregor explains why he saves that particular victim, but still). So what is his plan? I hope it all comes together! And why, if Zorro is so close by, did no one notice his battle against the bear?

This is a pretty rollicking adventure with some purple prose, which I don’t mind in small doses. And I always enjoy sudden violence, and Mayhew does a nice job with that. So we’ll see where McGregor is going with it!

One panel of awesome:

Once I saw this, was there really any other that would have sufficed?

Once I saw this, was there really any other that would have sufficed?

In family-related news, my older daughter Mia got her cast off on Wednesday, so life is back to normal, somewhat. She’s very happy about it, naturally, and her legs are much looser than they’ve been recently. Her muscle tone will probably still be high, so we’re trying to keep her limber, but at least she can sleep on her side and sit in a regular chair and we can carry her non-awkwardly again. Yay! I was pretty happy that the doctor said she could get them off. It was no fun carrying her around with both her legs in casts.

Moving on, let’s peruse The Ten Most Recent Songs Played On My iPod (Which Is Always On Shuffle):

1. “Could We Start Again Please?” – Yvonne Elliman, Michael Jason, Marc Pressel (1970) “I think you’ve made your point now”
2. “Revolution Calling” – Queensryche (1988) “I used to trust the media to tell us the truth”
3. “Waiting To Happen” – Marillion (1991) “We took ourselves apart, we talked about our faces”
4. “This Is Your Life” – En Vogue (1992) “And when I spoke up to my friends they made fun of my dreams”
5. “I Believe” – Blessid Union Of Souls (1995) “Violence is spread worldwide and there are families in the street”
6. “Night Songs” – Cinderella (1986) “Sleepin’ all day but never get a rest”
7. “Warm Wet Circles” – Marillion (1987) “She faithfully traces his name with quick-bitten fingernails”
8. “Lay All Your Love On Me” – ABBA (1980) “A little small talk, a smile, and baby, I was stuck”
9. “Hotwax” – Beck (1996) “Silver foxes looking for romance in the chain smoke Kansas flashdance ass pants”
10. “Now” – Prince (1995) “Don’t worry ’bout my name it’s too long to remember, I could tell you now but we’d be here ’til next September”

Ah, totally random lyrics. Who can identify you?

“Slice you open like a Taun Taun
Faster than the Autobahn
Or a motorbike in Tron
Do the deed and then I’m gone”

Last but not least, I bought a book last week called How the States Got Their Shapes by Mark Stein. It’s flippin’ awesome. I love books that fill my head with arcane knowledge that pushes out useful stuff, like my anniversary or my childrens’ birthdays or my ability to operate a motor vehicle. So if you live in the United States and you’re curious as to how your state got its shape, ask me and I will tell you. Sorry, non-Yankees, I can’t tell you why Queensland has the borders it does or why Saskatchewan looks like that or why the Jura canton is shaped that way or why Lincolnshire isn’t bigger or smaller. Sorry! That’s why the U. S. rules, man!!!!

Have a charming day!


Oh Burgas, you’re such a tease. When will you provide reviews of the collected editions in your posts? I googled “You Are There” and the solicit makes it sound pretty cool. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

May not be what you were thinking of, but Andy Clarke’s work reminds me of a more restrained Tan Eng Haut, who drew the 2001 relaunch of Doom Patrol.

Andy Clarke’s art reminds me of some cross between Dave Gibbons and Frank Quitely.
Gibbons in the formal element.
Quitely in the character designs (obviously).

Morrison wanted that Superman story to be part of the Final Crisis series, but DC would only give him seven issues.

Most of the people who are sad about Gail leaving Wonder Woman do read Secret Six. Hell, Secret Six sold more copies in February than Wonder Woman did. (Although at least part of that must have been due to the Blackest Night tie-in.)

And while I’m at it, JLA Classified 1-3 didn’t “explain why the JLA don’t go after the Sheeda.” It was just a little prelude setting up Ne-Bu-Loh the Huntsman.

Andy Clarke bugs me. The art is fine, but it reminds of someone else’s. Whose?

I thought it looked a bit like Leinil Yu’s filtered through Frank Quitely but not quite … ly.

RangeLife: I’ll probably review You Are There in a week or so. It shouldn’t be long!

I think it does remind me more of Tan Eng Haut, although I can see Gibbons. In this issue, it’s not as slick as Haut’s work usually is, but that’s a good call.

Michael: Sure it did! Neh-Bu-Loh decided a frontal attack wasn’t a good idea, so he and the Sheeda went about the whole thing secretly. It certainly wasn’t absolutely necessary to read it to enjoy Seven Soldiers, but if anyone was wondering why the Sheeda just didn’t show up in full glory, it explained that. At least how I see it. And I do hope that people who got Secret Six just for the Blackest Night tie-in stay with it. That would be keen.

The Sheeda did show up in full glory, in Seven Soldiers #1.

Criminal shocked me with twists that completely make sense, which is one of the highest compliments I can give a genre fiction. “The Sinners” is just the latest time that the Philibaker team has taken some elements that seemed hokey or cliched and put them together in cool, original and brutal ways. I’m done commenting on “Criminal Editions” until they’re done. Great stuff. And I’m cool with one Criminal and one Incognito arc a year, if that’s what we get. The latter seems like a different enough animal (an original pulp universe) that I’m anxious to see if it grows into something as awesome as their dearly departed Sleeper.

I agree that Secret Six is Simone’s best work, but something about this issue left me cold. The ending seems a little “been there, done that” for this group. I was surprised to read that Floyd and Jeanette are still an item, and that shook me enough to wonder why ANY of these people are still together. I get that even these bastards need human connection, and that as twisted as it is, the “Six” serve as family for them. But maybe we could go an arc or three without a twist where one of them betrays & mortally wounds the rest? I’m still buying the book, because Gail owns these characters and I’m bought in…and the priceless interactions just endear them to me more. But the latest (admittedly potential, at this point) stab in the back broke my suspension of disbelief and stuck in my craw.

S.W.O.R.D. was the book of the year so far for me, at least from the Big Two. I’m torn between being bummed that it’s over and loving that we have these five excellent issues. I’ll be buying the trade, for sure, even though I have all the singles. Maybe Marvel can be convinced to give us a series of mini-series for Abigail, Hank and the crew of the Peak?

I’m a huge fan of Lucifer, but I share your concerns on Unwritten. Maybe some of the credit should go to Neil Gaiman, but I knew the Morning Star, Mazikeen, Elaine Belloc, Jill Presto, Gaudium, etc and was invested in their experiences in addition to my interest in the moral themes Carey was putting through their paces. I’m less interested in the “importance of story” premise (which has been explored many times in comics, by Gaiman and some guy who mentored him, to name just two) of Unwritten, but I also haven’t gotten to know Tommy or Lizzie or the reporter guy enough to care about them. I don’t feel the jeopardy the book places them in, and in this arc, they end up as little more than talking heads explaining that fantastic things are happening. Gross’ depiction of Jud Suss: the story is cool, though, and his contributions make sure that the book looks good while it (hopefully) finds its feet.

Oh yeah, that’s MC Chris – Fett’s Vette. Nrrdcore is cool (heheh).

And “Kansas flashdance ass pants” is one of my favorite lyrics about pants of all time. Doubly impressive given that the same man told us the he was “going back to Houston, do the hot dog dance, going back to Houston, to get me some pants”.

No more SWORD? I really wish they had given it a chance. Well, at least now I have the opportunity to buy every single issue of a series. I’ve only managed to do it with Night Thrasher before now. (Limited series don’t count. And yes, I do realise that SWORD is shorter than many limited series, but it wasn’t intended to be one so I’m counting it as a long-running ongoing.)
I’m not going to buy any stupid trade. Trades are for books that weren’t worth buying the first time.

“And I love how the line of succession from Wayne to Wayne is completely unbroken, one male giving way to another male in rigid generational progression, with no icky girls or sickly invalids to mar the lineage…”

Well, most (if not all) of those portraits are paintings, not photographs – it was standard practice to paint sickly invalids as if they were in good health.

As for the line of males, that’s pretty common in genealogy, especially among the rich. The vast majority of the people reading this site probably have a father, grandfather, great-grandfather, etc. for several generations with the same last name they have. Presumably the Waynes of the past HAD daughters, it’s just that from many generations ago until fairly recently it was standard practice for a woman to basically become part of her husband’s family, and for children born out of wedlock to get screwed over birthright-wise. The Wayne daughters either got married, in which case their children wouldn’t be Waynes; died childless, in which case they wouldn’t have modern day descendants; or had bastard children, in which case their kids – if the Wayne family acknowledged them at all – would most likely only get the estate if they were the only male Wayne of their generation, and even that wouldn’t necessarily get their discraced-in-the-family-eyes mother a place in the portrait gallery (it wouldn’t be the first time a woman was denied a memorial in the Wayne home, if you know what I mean).

Andy Clarke is Travis Charest + Gary Frank (the Charest influence is why I picked up REBELS #1, and Jim Lee made me notice the Frank influence on Twitter today). I really wish he was still doing REBELS, issue 10 was so great.

That books must get a bit tedious out west “and the surveyors drew a straight line until they came to the next state. This process was repeated until the Pacific.”

I was disappointed with Morrison’s Batman and Robin this time around because his approach to time travelling is just so boring. Also, I had a similar reaction to you, Greg. If Batman is in the past leaving clues, they clues would have been there all along and Batman would have picked up on it. He is, after all, the World’s Greatest Detective. I also thought it was weird that “Alfie” was reorganising the Wayne portraits. You would think it was already done, how often done. However, seeing Damian at the business meeting was awesome. Alfred unboobytrapping the manor is a pretty cool idea as well.

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

March 12, 2010 at 7:25 am

I think Morrison’s using the idea that Bruce’s changes to the past only show up in time periods after he was banished back by Darkseid.

The unbroken line of male Waynes goes back to the 1947, so anyone’s beef with that is with (probably) Bill Finger, who is the likely writer of the first in a series of “Wayne ancestor” stories where Batman travels back in time to solve mysteries involving his (always male) ancestors. As with the earlier part of his run, Morrison is using the Atomic Age/early Silver Age Batman stories as sources.

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

March 12, 2010 at 7:27 am

In fact, I forgot to mention: that 1947 story is where the “Silas Wayne” mentioned in B&R #10 comes from.

Still no Tardi reviews? Man, you are evil!

Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

Come on, Nick–the Ogden Purchase, tedious?!?!!

The one thing that disappointed me about Batman and Robin in general is how it seemed to be built up before being released as a Morrison/Quitely book but with one or two fill-ins between Quitely’s arcs. But now it seems like Quitely’s return seems nowhere in sight. Is he coming back? I thought this Batman and Robin series was only for 12 issues? Am I wrong?

re: Secret Six…like s1rude, i finshed this one and was wondering if I’d already read it , as it’s yet another “team betrayal” storyline. I do like Califore on the book..I’ve been a fan of his since Aquaman.

Have to agree with s1rude and Scavenger…
I love Secret Six because it actually tugs at my emotions. Whether I laugh, feel disgusted, feel shocked or feel sympathetic toward a character or thrilled, and that’s a beautiful thing for a comic book writer to be able to do.
BUT I agree that it would be nice to get glimpses of other missions in which this group actually succeeds.
Dan Slott did something that I thought was pretty neat in his Mighty Avengers book, writing in a two page spread of missions readers didn’t get to see in the comic but that the team actually accomplished which helped them gain notoriety. I wish we could at the least get something similar from Gail so that we seem them making some cash occasionally.
So much of the Secret Six stories, from Infinite Crisis until now, seems to be about others trying to GET the Six and team betrayals.
But it’s still a damn good read!

On another note, if by chance Gail reads this – I’d love to see another more “main stream” costumed DC Villain on the group. I don’t know – Mirror Master, Rainbow Raider, Captain Cold, Tweedle Dee/Dum, The Riddler, Black Manta.
I love Catman and Deadshot and the other characters are all interesting, but… I know I’m not explaining myself well here. Maybe what I’m saying is another classic Silver or Bronze Age villain that Gail gets to re-establish. Someone with a gimmick and gadgets, etc., kind of like what Ostrander did with Captain Boomerang.

The one thing that disappointed me about Batman and Robin in general is how it seemed to be built up before being released as a Morrison/Quitely book but with one or two fill-ins between Quitely’s arcs. But now it seems like Quitely’s return seems nowhere in sight. Is he coming back? I thought this Batman and Robin series was only for 12 issues? Am I wrong?

It’s supposed to run 16 to 18 now, having been extended. Originally, yes, it was supposed to be 12 issues, with Quitely drawing 1-3 and 10-12, but I think he got ill/hurt and things got rearranged and pushed back. I’m enjoying the book, though, so it can keep going like this, as far as I’m concerned. This is the only time Dick Grayson has ever been portrayed interestingly.

Burgas: It’s not that I think Calafiore’s the devil. I mean, Liefeld‘s the devil, right?

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

March 12, 2010 at 3:14 pm

Gail did exactly what you’re describing with Catman, who was a complete nonentity last used as a joke character in Green Arrow before she revitalized him in the series that introduced this Secret Six. You’ve been getting what you’re asking for since the beginning, you just didn’t know it.

Ditto on all the love for S6 and SWORD.

Scrolling quickly down I saw the Peter Gross picture from Unwritten and the part of my brain that reacts before thinking said, “A new Tim Hunter comic!!!”


Love what Gail’s done with Catman.
I guess what I’m saying is I’m not in love with some of the other cast members. Gail writes them all well, but I’m not a Bane fan and Scandal/Jeanette/Black Alice are, I believe, Gail’s own creations along with Ragdoll (who, I know, is a ‘legacy’ villain).
I just think that the DCU is chock full of more interesting, established villains that Gail could use. I loved both the Fiddler AND Mad Hatter when they were on the team.
I’m not looking for another badass like Catman or Deadshot. Just an interesting take on an old favorite or a forgotten bad guy (Signalman, Calendar Man, Clock King, Mr. 104, etc.).

Omar – I think Brian was asking for Gail to “retool” ANOTHER golden/silver age villain. And if I’m correct, I want to add my support to his request. C’mon Gail, give us a new spin on some other lame old DC baddie! Kite-Man may be asking for too much, but how about Ten-Eyed Man, Oggar, Lion-Mane or Grax? (because it would be hilarious to see a blue-skinned 4-armed 20th-level-intelligence genius alien supervillain hanging out with Deadshot and the gang)

…And while I pondered my supervillain suggestions, Brian explained that he meant what I thought he meant. :D

Still – GRAX! Or Oggar! Hell, I’d settle for Sonar.

But to be honest, the only team member who I dislike is Scandal. I can’t see Bane working as a team player for too long, either. So let’s kick ‘em both out and bring in Giganta and Grax! (I love Gail’s take on Giganta and wouldn’t mind her taking Bane’s place as the team powerhouse)

I think Andy Clarke is even more like Moebius than Quitely. No complaints here. I love that school of comic art.

I love Scandal, and her and Bane’s relationship totally works for me. Also, I didn’t plan on chiming in on this but it just dawns on me – Bane is another kind of lame villain that Gail has revitalized. It’s not quite as amazing as making me care about Doomsday, but it’s in the same ballpark. Black Alice is the character that has felt really off for me, at least as a Six-er. I’ve like her elsewhere (even bought her “Helmet of Fate” one-shot) and she fits into the anti-hero/chaotic neutral mode of the team, but for some reason I don’t like her in this book.

Anyway, I also wanted to comment that I think Brian’s suggestion of hints of other adventures for the team would be awesome! Two page, Batman: Brave and the Bold (animated series) wrap-ups of off-camera jobs. I do like that their missions are so rarely successful in a financial sense – that’s kind of a staple of this kind of team (see: Cowboy Bebop or Firefly).

Last point on a different discussion – of course Bruce wouldn’t see the clues in stately Wayne Manor through the years! They only show up, as Omar points out, after his recent actions in the past. It’s “Back to the Future” 101, GB!

Sean: Yeah, but that’s why I hate time travel stories. I can barely accept the premise, and most of the time, the stuff that occurs because of it doesn’t make any sense either. We’ll see if that’s Morrison’s explanation, or if he just wants us to assume no one ever noticed this before!

Huh, I actually agree with the comments about Batman and Robin, Criminal and Secret Six, although i’m enjoying all three of them. Criminal may have its delays and gaps, but for some reason it’s one of the few titles that I can pick up an issue after several months and immediately remember what’s come before, while I don’t have the same ability to do that with most of the few other monthlies I buy.

Omar and others addressed everything else so I’ll just add that It’s pretty clear he’s under mind control that his mother set up during the surgery. How did you miss that?

It’s pretty clear he’s under mind control that his mother set up during the surgery.

or rather, spinal control!

Central nervous control!

Julian: Where did you get the idea that I missed it? I barely mentioned Damien’s behavior, and didn’t imply that he wasn’t under Talia’s control. I didn’t write about it because, well, I just didn’t write about it. I figured it will be as important in later issues, so I’ll get to it. I promise!

Loved that I discovered your site! Just wanted to add my voice to the time-travel chorus: Dick didn’t notice the clues as a child because they weren’t there then; the time stream was altered by Darkseid’s (and then, Bruce’s) actions.

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