Wednesday, April 20, 2011

DC Preview Review For June Part 2 of 3

Continuing with a slightly different take on the preview reviews……………………….


When Waynetech’s launch of Interworld is plagued by a series of “virtual murders,” Batman teams up with Oracle to hunt down the culprit in a simulated environment that’s slowly collapsing into post-apocalyptic zombie-haunted chaos. A computer-generated Batman adventure that brings Dark Knight justice to a wild new frontier, to face a new and virulent menace. In a world of numbers, does everything have a price? On sale JUNE 22 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

Jim: I will give Grant Morrison one thing and that is since he came into the Batman books that side of the DCU is the best they have to offer. Batman Inc. has been a little slow and I not a big fan of the theoretical main artist Yannick Paquette but he may be off this book.

The concept is interesting in the idea that Bruce Wayne is developing Batmen across the world. There even seems to be a big bad behind why Bruce is doing this and is part of his motivation to spread his brand of justice. The problem is that the execution to pull off this story is going to take well over a year. Grant has great ideas and I could almost see him as a story editor or something giving the Bat line a general direction, but too often his book is going one place and other books are going other places. The Return of Bruce Wayne was a perfect example. DC had a month of specials where Bruce Wayne is running around in some sort of suit and evaluates all of the Bat family. In the actual Return the suit was nothing like the suit in that series of specials. DC wanted to make the Return into a Bat line wide event and seemed to only have half an idea of what Grant was doing.

The Batman Inc. idea may work better if this book is its own thing, but with only a monthly to pull off this idea, it feels like it could take forever to pull the concept together. Instead this could have been a series of one shots where the Batmen are all recruited.

Gwen: I can’t say I’ve been a big fan of Batman Inc. thus far. The concept is interesting enough but the execution has been lacking. More than anything else I’ve found I’ve gotten bored with it. Of course it probably boils down to my usual complaint in regards to Grant Morrison’s comics. The y may work in the long run as a completed story but it is hard to follow in any sort of monthly format - also I have to agree with Jim. It’s even harder to pull off this type of story when the outlying books are involved but uncoordinated.


Off the coast of Gotham City, with no help for miles, the vicious smuggler and pirate Tiger Shark holds Batman captive on his ship. Can Batman escape in time, or will he become food for Tiger Shark’s deadly pets? Plus: The saga of James Jr. continues. Is he a victim of circumstance or vicious killer? You decide. Don’t miss the shocking conclusion to “Hungry City.” On sale JUNE 29 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T


Murder, mayhem and the building of an empire! Issue #2 throttles up the action as Batman tries to find the source of the attacks before the killer can strike again. But with the reveal of the fourth family of Gotham City and an old case from the early days of the city, is Batman playing right into the villain’s hands? On sale JUNE 22 • 2 of 6, 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

Jim: Part of what I love about the Bat books is that Dick Grayson is the Gotham City Batman and is being written by Scott Snyder. Scott seems to trying to build Dick up as a character and what being Batman means for him. Why I love Scott’s writing so much is that he not only respects what has come before he is obviously working to get into the head of his character. Too many writers have ideas for stories and then use whomever they get their hands on to tell the story. Scott appears to be learning a character and then puts the character into a situation and lets the story play out. I know that is not 100% true, but I have often said when done well a character can start to write their own book. That means the writer has made his character real and he reacts in ways that make sense inside the story.

Gwen: Despite all my complaining about Grant Morrison I do credit him with Dick Grayson being Gotham’s Batman. It does open up a lot of opportunities for new angles on Batman stories. I also prefer more insular Batman stories as the Batman genre seems to work better within the realm of Gotham city without too many superpowers interfering. But then again I’ve always enjoyed Batman the best as a detective.


The Red Hood is out! But the bigger mystery is who broke him out of prison – and why? His liberators seem to have plans for him. Plans that Jason wants no part of. It’s a street brawl, and unlikely allies come together! Batman, Robin and The Red Hood must fight alongside one another in a knockdown, drag-out battle, taking on the people who sprung Jason Todd. On sale JUNE 8 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

Jim: This is where I see DC editorial making a big mistake. This book was the talk of the town when Grant was writing it. Exit Grant and enter Tomasi and Gleason, perfect choice to continue this series. Opps a scheduling hick up, so they throw Paul Cornell and Scott McDaniel into the mix for a three part story. Paul and Scott are talented, but this was a horrible idea as after Grant we got what was a fill in to keep the book being published on a monthly basis. Not the best work of either man and the series suffered. Finally Tomasi and Gleason show up and are doing great and we get another fill in? I’d rather wait for the next issue and make this story a separate mini-series. The momentum on Batman and Robin is being drained off this book because DC can’t figure out how to publish a monthly book that was a top selling titles for them.

Gwen: Monthly comics always work better when you have a consistent creator team (even better if said creator team actually has a plan for the book).So I can’t argue on that point but I feel that my bigger issue is the Red Hood. I’m not really sure why but Jason Todd running around still irritates me so everytime this character pops up I don’t even want to read the story. I think I’m still just bothered that they even brought Jason back in the first place. It’s just another case of death having less meaning in mainstream comics.


Meet Los Angeles’s newest super hero in the latest Chapter of “Grounded”: Sharif! But Sharif discovers that in today’s current cultural climate, some people don’t want his help – they just want him gone. Can Superman aid Sharif and quell a prejudiced public, or are there some problems too big even for the Man of Steel to solve? On sale JUNE 8 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

Jim: Political correctness run amuck. For some reason some people think that most Americans assume anyone who is Islamic or of a Middle Eastern area is a terrorist or something. Now if I’m a TSA agent I should target Middle Eastern males as they are the main people who have committed the acts we deem as terrorism, but does not mean I assume all Middle Eastern males are terrorists. In fact I would assume most Middle Eastern people are here for the same reason anyone comes to the US and that is the perceived chance to change from one class to another or to live a more open and free life then where they came from. Also to have accidents in their cars and not answer when I call them, but I digress.

Of course Hollywood comes to the rescue (of which JMS is part of that crowd) and shows us that almost no one of Middle Eastern descent is a bad guy and we should not prejudge them. One extreme is no better than the other extreme and I have seen a lot of these type of stories lately and hope JMS has a better slant instead of how prejudiced and horrible most Americans (read white middle/lower class) are to a minority group.

Gwen: I just can’t believe Grounded is still going on. I mean I’ve liked a lot of the Grounded storyline but it seems like it will never end. Also I do agree with Jim that this seems to be some sort of statement about blanket prejudice. Of course comics have historically been used to flout political opinions. We’ll have to wait and see if this is done tastefully or not.

Part 3 Friday .........................


  1. Mallard Fillore comic strip from Monday: A hand holding up a sign reading "Death to America (can wait until America helps us get rid of our oppressive ruler...)"

    Turn on Faux News anytime and listen to the panic about how the rise of representative government in the Arab world is a victory for al-Qaeda.

    Examine the numbers of increasing attacks on Muslims (or those perceived as Muslims) in the US, particularly since the election of Obama and the rise of the Know Nothings.

    So, in that context, it's "politically correct" to tell a story from the perspective a Muslim American? Nowhere in the promo does it say that all Americans want him gone. It says some want him gone. If you equate telling a story from someone else's perspective with the pejorative "politically correct", then you're going to miss out on a lot of good stories.

  2. I don't follow the news as much as you do, so I have not seen a rise in the attack on Muslims. Locally they has not seemed true.

    For me this story just rings of a typical Hollywood presentation that wants to whitewash that it was radical muslim males who did most of the acts we call terriorism.

    I'm more interested in seeing stories about how we created most of our own problems by what we did over the years interfering in other countries. I'd rather read a story about how the US' War on Terror is a jobs program in the US.

    JMS run on Superman has been too preachy and not enough about telling a good Superman story. There are better ways to make his point then this type of story (IMO).

  3. Last year a sizable portion of the country freaked out when an Imam (who Bush sent to do outreach for the US in the Middle East, so hardly a shady character) wanted to build a mosque near the last world trade center site. A republican presidential candidate pledged that no muslim would serve in his cabinet. And across the country legislatures are taking valuable time to vote on laws that protect their citizens from the clearly imminent threat of sharia law.

    Whatever the quality, it is perfectly reasonable to do a story about a Muslim facing discrimination in 21st century America and to do so without painting every American as a racist hillbilly.

    Look, I'm sure we share a similar outlook on how this book will turn out. Despite Roberson's talent (and I do like his work), with JMS' involvement, I'm sure the book will probably lack the subtlety and deftness needed to make a story like this entertaining and/or enlightening. But can we please not cry political correctness every time a story wants to address real and actual discrimination in this country?

  4. Greg, you just said we both agree how the story will turn out as JMS has been so heavy handed with his moralizing. It just smacks of a PC reaction. Discrimination exist in many forms and is part of how we think and categorize things, it is not inherently evil in and of itself. Painting the opposite picture of something (i.e. all Muslims are good) is just as wrong as tarring a group with a brush saying they are all bad. Thomm alwatys tars all Tea Party members with one brush, you tend to use Republicans as a target, I hate everyone but Ron Paul, it is human nature.

    We need to see the story before making a final call, but the company puts out thier marketing line and I put out my view of what they are marketing.

  5. The Know Nothings have earned the nomenclature. If the facts don't fit, attack the facts. Lie often enough, and people will believe the lie. Good old PT Barnum. Despite the wealth of information available today, people are just as gullible now as they were in his time. Which just goes to show that it's how to think that's important, rather than what to think.

    But getting back to the matter at hand, JMS is likely to tell a heavy handed tale. That doesn't make it PC. It's PC because you disagree with what you think will be his POV and because PC is an insult in your lexicon. I could as easily say that the Mallard Fillmore strip is PC because it's a political statement with which I disagree. It's politically appealing to a certain set of the population, just like the way PC is tossed around as appealing to a liberal elite, a dubius term in its own right.

  6. Jim, I think Thomm and I are talking about the same people.

    Discrimination isn't about categorizing or thinking, its about deliberately treating a group of people in a negative way because of how they look, act, or think. This story is about a Muslim who is a victim of that. I hardly think you can make the logical jump of the story saying "all muslims are great and perfect."

    Now, where we agree is that JMS' track record (or at least his recent track record, back in his Amazing Spider-Man days I might be interested in this) indicates he won't bring a ton of nuance to this. But PC is not what it is. As Thomm said, that'll make it boring, heavy handed, and probably stupid, but not necessarily PC.

    Who knows, maybe Sharif is a superhero dedicated to stopping the Fed?

  7. Greg - If only he could stop the Fed, that would be awesome.

    I know you guys think it is not a PC thing, I do. So we can agree to disagree.

    We can all agree that the subject is worth examining and could be interesting if done right, but a one issue story in a Superman run that has been lackluster will probably not do the subject justice.

  8. And on that we can all agree.