Dec 14, 2011

Back Issue Ben: My Review of the new DC 52…so far…Part Deux

Back Issue Ben is a column written by Ben Smith for the Comics Cube! See his archives here.

My Review of the New DC 52... So Far... Part Deux
by Ben Smith

Here I am, coming back at you, with 50% less journalistic integrity, and with none of that starchy aftertaste. This time I’m going to be taking a completely in-depth, serious look at the Batman books that launched out of the DC reboot like an alien face-hugger launching on to your face and laying eggs in your heart. Oh, the holiday season…

BATMAN, written by Scott Snyder and drawn by Greg Capullo

I was disappointed with this issue, because there was absolutely no bat-ear-tweaking going on whatsoever. I can’t really remember which bat title is which, so I’m going to do the responsible thing and do some research.

Now that we’ve all had a good laugh, here is my actual review.

Looking at the cover, I see there is definitely a great amount of effort spent, once again, on scrotal shading here. I’m impressed with the DC’s efforts to really put forth the effort line-wide on crotch shading. It presents a unified effort that you can only really get in the shared universe that comics excel at. I think instead of 18 Batman titles, they should use one of those to bring forth a new character, like “The Shaded Crotch.” He could be inserted right in the center of the DC universe, and really get the heroes out of some hairy situations.

If I was writing this series, I would do it Brave and the Bold style. Of course if I was writing a Batman team-up comic, it would probably just rotate between team-ups with the Metal Men and Detective Chimp, with as little Batman as possible. Actually, I just want to write a Metal Men and Detective Chimp series. Maybe sprinkle in a little Brainiac 5 from time to time, for flavor.

BATGIRL, written by Gail Simone and drawn by Ardian Syaf

I really wish BATGIRL was about a girl shaped like a baseball bat. Or maybe a baseball bat that is female, and she has to battle discrimination among all the other baseball bats because of her gender, but in the end, she’s the bat that is used to hit the home run to win the World Series. But not for the Chicago Cubs though. That would just be unrealistic.

BATWOMAN, written by J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman and drawn by J.H. Williams III and Amy Reeder

If you look up awesome in the dictionary...first of all, you’re a nerd for using the dictionary. Secondly, you’ll probably just find the definition of awesome, but what should really be in there is a picture of J.H. Williams III drawing Batwoman, or maybe even a monkey knife-fighting with a half-snake man.

Back to J.H.’s picture being in the dictionary though, maybe he’s at his drawing board, and he’s looking up at you and smiling, but it’s the kind of smile like, “hurry up and take this picture because I have work to do,” and then after he’s drawing, maybe he saves babies from burning buildings or something.

Seriously though, if you aren’t getting this, you should be pushed down an elevator shaft.

DETECTIVE COMICS, written and drawn by Tony Daniel

Once again, zero bat-ear-tweaking going on in this issue. The cover makes this look like it might be about Joker’s decapitated head eating baby doll heads, and Batman is kind of looking on sternly. Like maybe he’s pretty disappointed in what’s happening, but he’s going to allow it to happen out of pure curiosity. Also, there is a building in the background shooting laser beams at bats, which sounds kinda awesome on the face of it, but also seems like an impractical way to exterminate vermin. I’m all for expensive, completely unnecessary methods of killing things, but I don’t know if I can slap down my hard-earned money for it, especially when they’re such horrible shots. Also, the Joker looks like he has a lazy eye, which makes me uneasy just thinking about it. Like, if I was being threatened by him, I wouldn’t really be able to focus on what he’s saying, because his lazy eye would just be sitting there, tormenting me. It would be an awkward situation for everyone involved.

CATWOMAN, written by Judd Winick and drawn by Guillem March

I think I read about this one on the internet somewhere. There was some controversy over this one, I do believe. I think it was because they decided to have two zombies dress up as Batman and Catwoman and have sex on-panel. I mean, don’t they know that’s exactly what turned Hawkman so savage in my last column? Maybe that’s DC’s entire plan, to create an army of savage Hawkmen, all pecking and squawking in the general populace. Damaging statues and freshly washed cars everywhere. Back to the comic though, on the plus side, finally there was some bat-ear-tweaking happening, so it succeeded on that front.

Duy here. Yeah, why IS she tweaking the bat-ears?
What would be the main advantage of cowl stimulation, I wonder. Also, I don’t think Judd Winick made any characters gay and/or infected with HIV, so that’s a rare change of pace for his fans. Speaking of diseases, I sure hope Batman ran a battery of tests on Catwoman, because I believe Frank Miller did retcon her into a former prostitute. Then again, any female in a Frank Miller story was either a prostitute or a stripper, but that’s never here or there. Judd Winick and Frank Miller should get together and do “Gay Stripper: HIV” as a series. It could star Booster Gold...

BATWING, written by Judd Winick and drawn by Ben Oliver

I’m all for Bruce Wayne branching out into the hot wings market, but I don’t really think there’s enough meat on that bone for a monthly comic. Maybe this is a tie-in issue for his new chain of restaurants? The slogan could be something like, “Come on down to Batwing's, where we slow roast our chicken to perfection. The only thing dying here, will be your hunger. Unless Killer Croc comes by, then we’ll probably all die.” Then the actor will look nervously at the camera, and we’ll all feel awkward for him.

Why would anyone go out on the town for wings in Gotham? You can’t even walk down the street without almost getting eaten by a decapitated Joker. This seems like a bad business decision.

Looking at the cover, and it seems like an impractical way to deliver hot wings to customers. I mean, it’s cool and all, dropping delivery guys out of helicopters, but I don’t even think those wings they gave him would work. I hope they tested those out first. Only a restaurant manager would think adding neon and teal to Batman’s costume would be a good idea. I can’t imagine what the delivery charges would be.

BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT, written by David Finch and Paul Jenkins and drawn by David Finch

Batman is looking especially grim and determined on this cover. It really makes me want to pick it up and read it to find out if he’s super grim on the inside, and also if he’s swinging…around…places. Covers are so pointless these days.

Why is the sky always red in Gotham? I think this might be a clue to a bigger story. Maybe Superman shrunk down Gotham city and keeps it in a bottle in his basement, because that’s just how Superman rolls. He shines a red beam of light down on Gotham, so he can taunt him, “yeah Batman, who’s so cool now with your bat-ear tweaking and your crotch shading?” Meanwhile Krypto is in the corner saying, “whatever are we going to do about this Clark Kent?” because in my mind Krypto can talk, and he just chooses not to so that he won’t have to join the Justice League, because really, when has the Justice League ever been a good comic?

I would totally throw fans for a loop with this title. Call it the Dark Knight on the cover, but on the inside it’s all Batman skipping through meadows, cuddling kittens, and painting the Batmobile combat pink.

BATMAN AND ROBIN, written by Peter Tomasi and drawn by Pat Gleason

I wish this was a comic about Jack Batman, and his life partner Tom Robin, as they try to make a life for themselves in suburban Phoenix. They could talk about how the Suns lost the 1993 NBA Finals, and how Tom never wants to dress up as Cowboy Curtis anymore and spell words for him. Let’s see what happens if you google “Jack Batman.” Holy coincidences Batman! There is actually a Broadway producer whose name is Jack W. Batman. They should do that comic. Batman could be trying to figure out the movement of the actors on stage, and Robin could come by and be like “C’mon Batman, let’s go stop the Riddler,” and Batman is all, “I can’t right now, I have to figure out where Diane should be on the stage in this scene,” and Robin is all, “Oh man!” Meanwhile, the Riddler is cutting the heads off of all the dolls down at the local toy store, and feeding them to decapitated Joker’s head.

NIGHTWING, written by Kyle Higgins and drawn by Eddy Barrows

If the color red and the color blue morphed into physical beings, which one do you think would defeat the other in hand-to-hand combat? Don’t even get me started on if the number eleven gets involved. The Flash already has all kinds of problems with him. I think most people associate the color red with anger and rage. Like when my 5th grade teacher’s face used to turn bright red whenever he would get angry. Plus, at least once a day he would grab a newspaper and head for the bathroom, which I always thought was pretty brave of him to do.

Back to my original thought though (stop distracting me), what if the color red turned into a half-snake man, and the color blue turned into a monkey with a knife? Subtracting all variables like size, physical stamina, and the food they had for lunch, what do you make of that matchup? I think the snake-man obviously has all the advantages that come with being legless, but again, everybody likes monkeys. I think even the snake-man might be sitting there thinking, “Cool, a monkey," but then the monkey leaps at him and stabs him in the eye. That’s probably the most likely outcome of that scenario. So, obviously DC made the wrong decision with Nightwing’s color scheme.

BIRDS OF PREY, written by Duane Swierczynski and drawn by Jesus Saiz

I think this probably ties in with Captain Atom, and his battles with Dr. Archaic and his avian army. That’s the only logical conclusion to come to here. This book probably focuses more specifically on the avian army, which in my mind, could only be led by Jesus, as they swoop down and fight dinosaurs. Jesus vs dinosaurs, now you’re talking my language DC! I’m kind of excited about this one now. I hope they decided to go with hyper-intelligent dinosaurs, that way the battles are little more fair, a little more evenly matched, if you will. Jesus, as we all know, carried a freeze ray, and he shot Jedi lightning from his fingertips, so those two powers right there make him a truly formidable opponent. If you consider Benjamin Franklin with his teleportation abilities, and Frank Gorshin with his shape-shifting powers, then you’re really talking about an avian army that is truly a force to be reckoned with.

As I look at the cover, it doesn’t appear that this comic is about any of those things. Looks like it’s a group of four women, that live in a tree, and dress in colorful but ultimately bland and disappointing costumes. Also, I know I don’t have my doctorate in women’s studies, but I don’t think they like to be called “birds.” Seems like DC took a wrong turn into an alley called “mistake” here.

RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS, written by Scott Lobdell and drawn by Kenneth Rocafort

I’ve always wondered what the comic that will trigger the apocalypse might look like...and here it is. Someone at DC looked at Starfire, the full-figured curvy orange alien flying around in a bikini, and said, “No, she’s not objectified enough! George Perez and Marv Wolfman went too far giving this character a brain and self-respect!” I imagine this DC executive sitting behind a big wooden desk, eating Batman chicken wings, and yelling into a telephone when he says this. Who’s the person on the other end of the phone, you ask? Jack W. Batman! Bet you didn’t see that coming...

Now the that apocalypse is here, I think I will do quite well. Despite the fact that I’m married and a father, I’m really only one step away from a paranoid, shut-in. It generally makes me uneasy to have other human beings around, and I’ve been watching zombie movies and reading zombie comics for most of my life. I will not hesitate to sacrifice each and every one of you to ensure my survival. That is my guarantee to you (pssst, please keep reading Back Issue Ben).

I think if you were to hire a knife-wielding monkey, and a half-snake man to write a comic book about Starfire, the dead Robin, and junkie archer, it will still come out better plotted and with better characterization. After typing that, I really want to read a comic that stars Starfire, a zombie Robin, and a Roy Harper that is just completely high all the time. Like Hunter S. Thompson levels of drug-use while fighting crime. The Starfire has to be the version from the Teen Titans Go cartoon for it to really have the maximum effect though. Sigh, what could have been...

To be continued....or will it?....

Okay, it will.

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