Monday, October 10, 2011

Return to the New 52: Batbooks Part 3 (BoP, The Dark Knight, Batman and Robin)

Hey, Signal Corps!  Still plugging through the Batbooks.  We're on to the Green Lantern books in the next installment.

A reminder that you should visit the good folks at Austin Books and Comics.  They've more or less sponsored by complete read of the New 52!  And, absolutely remember that these are reviews, but they're my opinion and my opinion only.  And I'm old and cranky and still can't believe Superman no longer has red trunks.

Birds of Prey #1
by Duane Swierczynski and Jesus Saiz

I'm including Birds of Prey in this book because, well, this book always takes place in Gotham, and it seems odd not to talk about it in context with Batman.  Also, I was a very much on-again, off-again reader of Birds of Prey going back some years.

This issue just sort of feels like a bunch of stuff happening because its a modern/ current-type comic and so we cna expect lots of covert military style folks in dark, urban locations fighting each other in light body armor.  Unless you have prior knowledge of the DCU, I have no idea why you'd care or feel like you know about these characters.  And you certainly get no insight into what is actually happening other "some people in outfits that make them semi-invisible seem to want to hurt two women who have no problem with property damage".  Frankly, this was so full of cut and pasted 00's-era comics scenes, I was bored stiff.

On page two, our framing device of a journalist/ pigeon sums up the problem with the book in his line of dialog "and as much as I'd like to believe there's covert ops team run by a bunch of supercriminal hotties..."  Yes indeed.  It sort of sets he mindset by way of value statement for the book.  It's a covert ops team run by a team of super-something hotties!  Which is as far as Swierczynski seems to have thought this through, although I am sure he'd tell us all he's got a whole lot more lined up if we keep putting $3 in the machine every month.

I don't see me doing that.

I think Jesus Saiz is terribly talented, and this is just sort of a waste of his skills.

Batman: The Dark Knight # 1
by David Finch, Paul Jenkins and Richard Friend

Well, Batman fan-fiction is certainly always an interesting read.  But, no.

Batman and Robin #1
by Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason

You know, I kind of liked this book.  It has its flaws, but it works really well as a continuation for us older readers and as a set-up for a new #1, picking up with Bruce and Damian sorting things out in what will be a very complicated book about fathers and sons understanding each other.

Tomasi does some callbacks both via imagery and text to set the stage for where Bruce Wayne was at the beginning of his career and where he is now (clearly not the GD Batman).  Its a nice use of the texts as reference if you're going to try to move onward and upward.  Even as it raises all kinds of questions about current continuity.

The Bruce/ Damian relationship has lost its awe from both, and Bruce is now dealing with a lethal firecracker of a kid who makes Jason Todd's Robin look like Little Susie Sunshine.  Sure, some of the dialog doesn't crackle quite the way Tomasi likely hoped, but I appreciate the spirit of the thing.  And I feel a little guilty that I didn't read his other work on the title before the relaunch.

Now, I don't know how much I'm excited by either of the b-plots set up in the book with "Nobody" or the Beagle Boys.  Sure, the sequences were interesting, but you don't put a pool above a nuclear reactor.  (Not to brag, but I happen to have stood on top of a university's nuclear reactor, and its about 1/10th that size and you're going to see some heavy, heavy security.)

Its not exactly a homerun, but its enough that I'll look for a second issue or maybe pick up the trade.

Now, this is the one comic I bought from Comixology, as Austin Books had completely sold out.  And as this is DC's new initiative, it seemed like I should check it out.

I don't have an iPad.  I have a Windows laptop with a 15" screen, and while its a passable read on the screen, its not exactly the same, even when they try neat tricks with animating the frames a bit (ie - sliding them from left to right, for example, to dramatize the action).  I'm still not there yet where this is a mode where I'd want to read comics all the time.

The colors are pretty great on the screen, but given the quality of paper and ink these days, I'm still a paper guy.

1 comment:

Simon MacDonald said...

Regarding iPad vs screen reading I find that the iPad is far superior reading experience. I think there are three main benefits to the iPad:

1) You can hold it closer to your eyes which makes it easier to pick out details.
2) You can orient it in portrait mode so you can see the whole page at once which is the way comics are supposed to be read.
3) If the letterer has made the font too small you can always pinch zoom the tablet to make it easier for my old man eyes to read.