This Week: DC Tackles the Question of Where Robins Come From

Welcome to our weekly recap of DC’s latest releases.

Batman and Robin Eternal and We Are Robin explore the issues around having Robins in the first place as Jason Todd and Tim Drake throw down, while Harley Quinn has no qualms about expanding her army of Harleys for her nefarious? purposes.

Alas, Superman: American Alien fails to live up to the promise of its first issue, while the Darkseid War segment proves confusing, at best, and the Secret Six features Aquaman as the guest-star. In another guest-appearance, Spoiler teams up with Batgirl.

As always, Ray Goldfied handles the plot recaps, while I riff on the highlights and lowlights. Warning: Total Spoilers for this week. 

Secret Six #9 – Gail Simone, writer, artist, Tom Derenick

Ray: 9/10

Corrina: Buy It.

Ray: I never knew I wanted a comic where an offbeat gang of anti-heroes traveled the universe awakening elder Gods, but here we are. The fusion of the Secret Six with what’s left of the Dark line was a brilliant move, and has given this already-great title a new burst of energy. Ferdie, usually my least favorite part of the series, manages to get one of the best scenes of the issue as he narrates the opening while Catman and Aquaman fight in the background, as Porcelain eventually lands their killing blow on the pillar, showing how their “brittle” powers work in epic fashion. From there, it’s on to a small New England town straight out of Lovecraft, as the team is after the second pillar and are greeted by a particularly creepy starving child. It seems a shapeless monster that reminds me a lot of Lovecraft’s shoggoths is lurking in the mines. Catman finds a rather hilarious loophole to destroy the pillar and release the creature – while not actually letting him out into the world.

The issue in general has a great balance of action and drama, with such absurdity as Ferdie’s narration and Strix’s choice of attire as they head to the town. And I was definitely pleased to see the phone message Scandal got from her wives. However, the heart of the issue is in Black Alice’s segments. While Ragdoll and Scandal watch over her, her powers continue to spiral out of control and summon all sorts of monsters. Eventually, she comes to a grim decision, putting Scandal in an uncomfortable position. I doubt the book will go through with it, but this is still some seriously dark territory to go into with a young character. No slowdown here, and as a fan of cosmic horror, I am enjoying the hell out of this arc.

Corrina: Simone seems to have all the DC characters she wants for use in this story or, at least the ones that fans of the series will be happy to see. I know there had to have been a few happy moments among readers as Scandal’s wives were definitely placed in continuity.

I love the touch this series has on characters, even in brief appearances like Aquaman. I’m even warming to Black Alice, who I’ve never enjoyed much. About the only negative thing I have to say is that Catman’s trick on the monster seemed a bit too convenient to actually work. But that’s a minor niggle.

Batgirl #46 – Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher, writers, Babs Tarr, artist

Ray: 9/10

Corrina: Team Up Is Good!

Ray: This series’ biggest strength is in many ways also its biggest weakness – it’s so busy, it’s almost frantic at times. That allows it to pack much more into one issue than many comics do in an entire arc, but it can feel muddled if the plots aren’t really connecting. This issue, I thought it worked pretty well. It wastes no time setting up a new threat in the form of a street gang working to help a corporation gentrify a local neighborhood, and Barbara and Nadimah find a woman who begs them to help her get her son – who was recruited by the gang – back home. While attempting to scare the boy straight, she meets up with a mysterious member of the gang named Lewis, who asks for a covert meeting with her. After oversleeping, Barbara finds out that Frankie has gotten a neural implant, and after a brief fight, welcomes her into the Batgirl fold – while still dancing around the possible codename for Frankie. Meeting up with Lewis, he tips her off that Spoiler is being targeted by the Hasigawa clan, seen as a loose end despite being under Eiko’s protection. Barbara tracks down Stephanie and helps her fight off an army of ninjas and a masked, clawed assassin who reminds me a lot of a certain clawed mutant.

The banter between Barbara and Steph is great, and I’m happy to see Steph get a starring role in a title since she’s essentially been demoted to extra in Eternal 2. There’s also a date with Luke Fox where Babs clues him in on the rather creepy nightmare she’s been having, and a surprise betrayal of Barbara in the closing places, indicating the gang story is far from over. Packed issue, and I find that the more time goes on, I’m enjoying this new take on Barbara more and more. It requires pretty much a clean break from the Barbara that was, but as an ultimate-style reinvention, it’s a lot of fun.

Corrina: I’ve tried to love this series. It’s high quality, the artwork is perfect, and seeing Babs as a light-hearted hero is a nice change from the grimness that is usually Gotham. I have little to complain about in this issue, as the Steph and Babs team-up is everything one could want.

And yet, I don’t love the reboot. It skims the surface of its plot many times when I’d prefer it to dig deeper into its characters. For instance, the plot with the gang and the twist at the end with the mother of one of the gang members blaming Barbara comes across as simply a twist, rather than a problem Babs would actually feel bad about. Elements I should like to explore more, like Luke and Babs’ relationship, are just there rather than giving me any feels. Not sure what the cause of my discontent is but if you like the title is doing, that’s great. I have to reluctantly conclude this one just isn’t for me.

Batman and Robin Eternal #11 – James Tynion IV and Scott Snyder, story, Ed Brisson, script, Fernando Blanco with Christian Duce, artists.

Ray: 9.5/10

Corrina: Buy It–A Must For Cassandra Cain fans

Ray: It’s Brisson’s turn at the helm, and much like most of the teams before him, he slides very neatly into the groove of the main story and delivers a chapter that both has its own voice and yet feels like part of the whole. We’re almost half into this series, and there hasn’t been a real weak link yet. This issue may be one of the best of the lot, a difficult, painful read focusing on Harper Row and Dick Grayson as they uncover the dark secrets of Cassandra Cain’s past. I was surprised that Sculptor, the ally of Mother’s who Dick and Harper encountered last issue, was not a new villain. She’s one of Mother’s chief lieutenants, but she seems to care in some twisted way for the “children” she sculpts through psychic manipulation, Mother, on the other hand, is planning to liquidate her operations and eliminate her children, something Sculptor can’t abide. Dick demands answers from her, but she can’t mind-meld with him due to his

This issue may be one of the best of the lot, a difficult, painful read focusing on Harper Row and Dick Grayson as they uncover the dark secrets of Cassandra Cain’s past. I was surprised that Sculptor, the ally of Mother’s who Dick and Harper encountered last issue, was not a new villain. She’s one of Mother’s chief lieutenants, but she seems to care in some twisted way for the “children” she sculpts through psychic manipulation, Mother, on the other hand, is planning to liquidate her operations and eliminate her children, something Sculptor can’t abide. Dick demands answers from her, but she can’t mind-meld with him due to his SPYRAL implants, so Harper – who seems to have more and more connections to Mother – offers herself up, and she and Sculptor delve into the past.

The real focus of this issue, even if only in flashbacks, is Cassandra Cain and her father David. While Mother is the big bad of this series, I think there’s a case to be made that David Cain is, in fact, its worst villain, a sadistic monster who disagreed with Mother’s methods of psychic manipulation, believing that a perfect warrior can only be forged out of pain. He kept Cass isolated, beating and torturing her until her instincts became so honed that the only language she understood was body motion and violence. He forced her into cage matches, and eventually into becoming a killer, a process which took a toll on her mind. These scenes are devastating – and I should warn, triggering for anyone who dealt with an abusive parent. The focus shifts a bit abruptly when Harper comes across evidence that Batman was involved, and Dick interrupts the process, forcing Sculptor to connect with him so he can see Batman’s role in the whole process.

There have been a lot of hints that a Robin was designed specifically for Batman, and most people think it was either Jason or Tim. I don’t. I think it was Harper, and Batman didn’t go through with it. But either way, this is a fantastic issue that gives the insight into Cass we desperately needed. This new version of her is incredibly faithful to the original, and once again this creative team comes through on what us shaping up to be their most consistently excellent weekly.

Corrina: It is a brutal issue. For the most part, Cassandra’s origin as David Cain’s daughter who is raised to be an assassin is only tweaked but I’ve never seen it depicted with so much detail. It’s hard not to feel for Cassandra, raised without even being taught how to speak and, yes, it’s triggery for anyone who’s suffered parental abuse.

When we first met Cassandra way back when, she was busy saving Jim Gordon from an assassin. When she was reintroduced this series, she saved some of the Robins. That’s consistent, at least, and shows her in a positive light. Cass was always a fascinating mix of lethal skills and childlike innocence, determined to not become what her upbringing made her. I hope if that’s not explored in this series, that she has stories dedicated to her after this is over.

The overall Mother plot still makes me uncomfortable.  That is not who Batman is. Until there is evidence to the contrary, I’m going to believe that Batman asked for a “Robin” in order to rescue one of Mother’s minions, and also use that information as leverage to shut down Mother. Obviously, he failed at the second. As for the first? I almost wonder if the child isn’t the eternally optimistic Stephanie Brown, which would be an interesting twist.

We Are Robin #7 – Lee Bermejo, script, Carmine Di Giandomenico, art

Ray: 8/10

Corrina: Loved It for the Jim Gordon/Dick Grayson Team-Up

Ray: Every title responds to a crossover differently. Some rise to the challenge, like the last issue of Grayson, which was one of the best issues of the entire series. Other titles have such a distinct voice that the crossover and different characters throw off the book’s rhythm. And while this is still a strong issue of We Are Robin, I think the crossover got the better of it a bit.

The reason for this is simple – We Are Robin is one of the most distinct books in DC’s stable, with a cast of mostly original characters with unique voices. While Duke Thomas still gets to narrate this issue and give it a grounding in the street-level heroics it’s known for, he and most of the other Robins from here are demoted to extras this issue, as the “official” Robins and Batman take the helm.

Dick Grayson and Jim Gordon, after finding common grounds last issue, break into the HQ of Councilwoman Noctua, finding evidence of her corruption and giving Dick clues to the Court of Owls’ involvement. Meanwhile, in the Cage, Damian is obsessively trying to find a way to escape, while Duke snarks at his intensity. The Talon in charge singles out Tim and Jason and forces them to fight, promising the winner a place in the Court. At first it seems like they’re actually fighting, but it soon becomes clear they’re taking a piece from Dick’s playbook and use their “fight” to launch an elaborate acrobatic escape plan that frees the Robins and sends them on the run – only to be met with an elite Talon on the rooftop. I will say this, it’s a perfectly enjoyable issue of the Robin War crossover, if not a spectacular one. My only complaint? It doesn’t feel like an issue of We Are Robin at all.

Corrina: In style, it’s not at all like the previous issues. In tone, however, it is, given that it’s been all about what teens do when they have no adults to save them, a likely scenario when you group up in a place like Gotham City. For me, this comment is what makes the issue a must-buy. Gordon and Grayson are talking about the need for Robins in the first place:

Gordon/Batman: I remember the first time I saw you at his side, I thought that mankind as a whole had taken a nosedive. How could he endanger a minor? I thought about the child soldiers overseas. Then I remembered reading stories about young Jewish boys organizing themselves to fight off the Nazis in Poland. Their home was under siege and they wanted to defend it. 

So are the Robins those young Jewish boys or traumatized child soldiers? Dick obviously falls on one side. Gordon’s still uncomfortable with the concept. I admit, I’m ambivalent, like Gordon. In a way, this focus on Robins is like talking about why Superman’s glasses work as a disguise. It’s just a thing that works in comics and drawing attention to it never helps. Talking about why children are allowed to be Batman’s partners is the same. Draw attention to it and the idea falls completely apart.

However, so far, it does make for good reading. In the end, I want Gordon to take over that community center that Bruce Wayne’s been working at and upgrade it to a facility that concentrates on helping the new young Robins to fight in other ways, like getting an education, or learning how to run a business or anything else that doesn’t force them to pummel people. (Of course, in this comic, there would be trouble, as always, but the idea would be to put the army of Robins to use through peaceful means.)

Aside: Lee Bermejo should write that book. Or any Batman book. Now.

Martian Manhunter #7–Rob Williams, writer, Ronan Cliquet, pencils, Marc Deering, inks

Ray:   8/10

Corrina: Still Loving This SF Series

Ray: This title takes a dramatic shift after last issue’s resurrection of Mars, and while it’s still a fascinating book, I have to say I’m going to miss the first arc’s twisty identity games. Taking their place is an epic sci-fi adventure with shades of Mad Max sprinkled in. Walking up on the new Mars, J’onn is confronted by the other sides of his personality – the Pearl, Mould, Mr. Biscuits, and Agent Wessel – outraged over his sacrifice of Earth. But it seems things didn’t go quite as smoothly as planned – Earth and the recreated Mars now share a space rather than Mars overwriting Earth, and there are definite shades of the Incursions from Secret Wars over everything, as soon the two planets will collide and obliterate both. As J’onn goes off to investigate and comes across the spirit of his dead son, the other facets find themselves confronted with the army of the lost Mars, transported here from the past. Mould sacrifices himself to give them a chance, and the rest manage to unmask the leader – an adult version of Alicia, Mr. Biscuit’s little friend, who has grown up into a scarred, embittered warrior heavily armed and loaded to kill any intruders. There’s clearly some very unusual stuff going on here, with time travel, space travel, and multiple identities all packed in the same issue. Cliquet replaces Eddy Barrows on art this issue, and the transition is smooth.

This remains one of the most unusual books in DC’s stable, like a slightly more new-reader-friendly Omega Men, and I can’t wait to see how act two plays out.

Corrina: This issue felt like a breather before the final confrontation/conclusion of this story. Last week, we saw Earth supposedly destroyed to save Mars and that’s not quite what happened as we find the planets are almost in the same space/time continuum but not quite. What follows is one long argument among the many selves about how to handle it all. What amazes me still is how distinct each of these different pieces of the Martian Manhunter have become, so much so that when we lost Mould, it hurt.

Where Alicia fits into all of this is unclear but, of course, since Earth can’t actually be destroyed, whatever ending happens is likely to bittersweet. And, hopefully, as gloriously off-kilter as the rest of the story.I want to see a group Martian Manhunter identity cosplay. Someone out there, make this happen!

Harley Quinn #23 – Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti, writers, Chad Hardin, artist

Ray: 7.5/10

Corrina: Buy It.

Ray: Some serious mood whiplash in this issue, as Harley takes on two cases directly putting friends of hers in danger. Sy-Borg has been kidnapped by his resurrected Russian arch-nemesis – who has been given a new cyborg body by her grandson – and his niece has recruited Harley to raid the villainess’ lair and get him back. They get there and find a lot of nasty stuff going on – but none of it illegal. Or particularly violent. Yep, our elderly criminals found that they’d rather do the nasty than try to kill each other.

This whole segment is bizarre and hilarious and furthers my belief that Sy is the best thing about this comic, and I’m not just saying this because he’s an elderly Jewish cyborg! Well, maybe a bit. Harley’s second mission has even, more personal stakes, as her possible love interest Mason is being held in prison where the corrupt Mayor is sending goons to attempt to murder him, and the corrupt authorities are letting it happen. Harley (with an assist from Harvey Quinn) break into Rikers to protect him, and find him nearly beaten to death by a group of thugs in the shower. This scene is REALLY violent and graphic, both in Mason’s injuries and in the beating Harley dishes out to his assailant. While prison violence is a serious issue that deserves this spotlight, I’m not sure it quite works in contrast to the rest of the issue. Harley saves him, but his injuries are too severe to transport him, so she arranges for him to be transported to a safer prison – which turns out to be Arkham Asylum. Man, that place is run the worst. Why are they taking in random Manslaughter culprits awaiting trial? So Harley’s quest to save him is going to take her home to Arkham next month. This issue was a bit awkward, but still recommended.

Corrina: I LOL’ed at the way the two older mobsters sorted out their issues, and at Harley’s reaction to it all. She loves love, in an off-kilter psychopathic kind of way. That was, as Ray put it, emblematic of the best of this series.

The second plot dug deeper and what’s interesting is that Harley’s desperation felt real. Yes, Harley can care for people. Unfortunately, she sorts people into those she cares about and everybody else. If you happen to be everyone else, that’s too bad in her book, witness the airline employee who was stuffed in the lugguge recently. I’d rather not see any of that in this book. It breaks the suspension of disbelief I need to enjoy this book.

Harley in Arkham to save Mason, however, promises to be…interesting.

Justice League United #16, Jeff Parker, script, Travel Foreman, art.

Ray: 7.5/10

Corrina: Nice Conclusion to an Adam Strange story

Ray:  This is a title that started off extremely promising, with Jeff Lemire adding a new Native heroine and bringing back the Legion, but it never found its footing with Jeff Parker’s anthology take, despite some great stories. So it ends here, with a done-in-one story focusing on Adam and Alanna Strange. In the first part, the title flashes back to just how Adam Strange got trapped in the Zeta beam, and it’s an intriguing story involving the House of Secrets and its creepy caretaker, Abel. I’m always glad to see these old Vertigo concepts get more play in the DCU, and there’s some really cool effects in the way the house changes, but I’m not sure Travel Foreman’s art quite captured just how eerie the place could be. Loved Animal Man’s commentary on the “secret” he discovers, though. The second half of the issue resolves the plot, as Adam Strange is finally brought out of the Zeta Beam in a bit of an anticlimax, but more interesting is the reveal about Sardath and Alanna’s connection, a decent retcon that restores a bit of the pre-Flashpoint continuity. It’s a fun issue, but it’s a shame that there’s no real plan for these characters after the fact. I’m hoping that Parker gets the chance to follow up on some of these plots in the future on another title.

Corrina: You can see the strengths of this title in this one-and-done: the love between Adam and Alanna, the loopiness of the House of Secrets, and even a hint of Parker’s plans for the team that never came to fruition. It was an ambitious title and a good try but possibly doomed simply because none of these characters are headliners and it’s hard to attract new readers to a title like this, even if you’re Jeff Lemire or Jeff Parker.

Still, I’m always going to love the Time-lost heroes team-up and I’ll remember this book fondly.  At the very least, someone will have Adam Strange and Equinox to play with at some point.

Justice League #46 – Geoff Johns, writer, Francis Manapul, artist and cover

Ray: 7.5/10

Corrina: Don’t Buy.

Ray: After a month of specials focusing on the various members of the JL once they gained the powers of the New Gods, some great (Batman, the spectacular GL special), we’re back to the main event. This was advertised from the start as a full-on event comic contained to one title, and it’s definitely delivered on that front, giving us big action in every issue. It also suffers from some of the problems of your average event comic, including some slightly jumbled action and spectacle creep – after the big event at the end of act one, it’s very hard to top that for sheer shock value. Still, this issue drops some cool details and sets up an interesting cliffhanger as well as answers the question of how the obvious is going to happen.

The action is very split this issue, with some heroes in different places. Wonder Woman is holding down the fort against the forces of Apokalips, out to avenge Darkseid’s death. Big Barda, who’s switched sides a few dozen times over the course of the New 52, shows up to defend her husband, and I have to say seeing this pair reunited in battle together was my favorite part of the issue. I’m looking forward to seeing Wonder Woman and the marrieds breaking into Belle Reve next issue to liberate the Crime Syndicate for their knowledge of the Anti-Monitor. The plot point I couldn’t care less about? Steve Trevor and evil God-powered Superman getting into a fight over Wonder Woman. However, the reveal that Grail is now in possession of the Anti-Life Equation has a lot of promise, especially as she states she has some nefarious plans for her dead father – who we all knew was coming back eventually. It’s not my favorite chapter of this story, but there’s still enough interesting stuff here to make it worth a read.

Corrina: Yay for the return of Big Barda and Scott Free as a married couple. Yay again for more Steve Trevor/Diana. But the rest of this issue is a hot mess. Given the time that’s passed between issues, I had to dig out the older ones to process what was going on. It also had some weird stops and starts and threw in way too many plot elements.

Ray’s been mostly happy with this Darkseid War saga. Other than a couple of terrific tie-in issues, I’ve seen nothing new and a whole lot of old stuff I don’t like, and it’s beginning to remind me of Infinite Crisis, definitely one of Johns’ lesser works. (However, the art is far superior to that mostly forgotten mini-series.) From this I conclude that only DC die-hards will be interested in this when it’s collected in trade.

Batman: Europa #2 – Story: Matteo Casali and Brian Azzarello, art, Giseppe Camuncoli

Ray: 6/10

Corrina: Skip.

Ray: The second issue of this much-delayed miniseries, and while the art is still excellent, I have to say the story is losing me quickly. The idea of Batman on a chase through Europe in a DOA-style story trying to solve his own murder before it happens is interesting, but a few things drag down the book. First, the travelogues that open every issue are pretty dry and immediately take you out of the book. Berlin last issue, Prague this issue. They have some impressive scenes of the city, but don’t advance the story. Second, the key dynamic of the series – Batman and Joker, infected with the same virus, teaming up to pursue their mutual enemy – just doesn’t work.

It requires a take on the Joker that feels very out of step with anything we’ve seen for a long time. This Joker seems more like the Riddler in places – a cunning rival of Batman’s who enjoys their long-time rivalry. In Prague, their informant Nina is kidnapped by agents of the villain, while Batman and Joker find themselves facing off against an army of clockwork robots. Some of these scenes are genuinely impressive, but I could see Joker coming to Batman’s rescue a mile away, and it sort of made me roll my eyes. Next issue takes these mismatched allies to Paris in pursuit of the cure, and I’m hoping the series takes an upturn, but I think the idea of a Batman-Joker globetrotting buddy adventure sounds better on paper than it comes out in reality.

Corrina: I feel like Ray spent more time recapping this than on reading the issue which is bad for him but good for you. At least now that you’ve read his recap, you don’t have to read the comic. Batman and Joker hasn’t worked as a team-up since Joker shot and crippled Barbara Gordon. I get that Batman’s desperate but, then again, why not consult the

Batman and Joker hasn’t worked as a team-up since Joker shot and crippled Barbara Gordon. I get that Batman’s desperate but, then again, why not consult the braintrust of DC rather than the Joker? Well, probably because DC wanted a Batman/Joker comic.

Uh, if that’s your thing, maybe try this? But prepare to be disappointed in everything but the art.

Superman: American Alien #2 – Max Landis, writer, Tommy Lee Edwards, illustrator and variant cover

Ray: 2/10

Corrina: Stumbling After a Good Start.

Ray: Last issue, Corrina and I disagreed quite strongly on this issue. She thought it was a great, unique story for Clark and his parents, while I enjoyed some of the interaction but found it didn’t break much new ground and disliked the dark edge it added to the Kent’s backstory. I promised myself I’d go into this issue with fresh eyes and give it another chance – and found myself much more disappointed than last issue. This issue jumps forward to Clark’s teen years, and the minor out-of-continuity points of last issue are blown wide open here, as this is clearly a very different take on Superman than we’ve seen before. For one thing, it seems like all of Smallville knows his secrets. His friends openly talk with him about his powers (not just Pete Ross, but Kenny Braverman as well) and both the town sheriff and the town doctor seem to know as well. The main plot of the issue deals with a gang staging a brutal assault on a local pharmacy, killing the clerk as well as witnesses, including a teenage girl. After being pushed by Pete and the Sheriff into doing something about it, Clark goes to confront the culprit at his home – where the killer is holding his own parents hostage. He takes a bullet to the face, which causes a nasty wound, and then proceeds to unleash his power on the murderers, including in one scene, seemingly blowing a gunman’s hands clean off with his heat vision. He later gets a talking-to from his mother, but it’s mainly about being discreet with his powers.

This issue essentially takes all the worries I had about the first issue and magnifies them massively. This Smallville is far from the idyllic small town Superman is associated with. It’s like a distillation of the cynical, pitch-black vision of the world that epitomized the New 52 at its worst moments, and I want no part of it. For all the complaints about Man of Steel and its darker version of Superman, he never mutilated rejects from Breaking Bad.

Corrina: Man of Steel is about two-thirds of a decent movie that devolved into a smashy-smashy fest in which Superman was completely uninterested in the civilian casualties. (When Black Widow is more careful to keep people out of harm’s way than Superman, that’s when you know a script has problems.)

Comparing this issue to that movie doesn’t make either one look good, it simply points out both their flaws. Namely, this issue made little sense on any number of levels. If everyone, including the law, knows what Clark can do, then why hasn’t the friendly sheriff helped him hone his instincts—why not train him about regular police work, including how to approach hostage situations?

And why haven’t the Kents taught him about using his super-speed to stay mostly hidden? Clark should have been able to secretly take out the rejects with either heat vision or speed before they even knew he was there. What was he doing charging into danger and daring people to shoot him? Surely, the Kents as depicted last issue would have taught him how to do that if they knew he wanted to use his powers?

So, no, I don’t accept the premise of this second issue and the premise that it has is poorly executed. That’s a bummer because I had my hopes up.

P.S. The cover really doesn’t have much to do with the story. Near as I can tell, Clark isn’t being arrested. Makes for a striking cover, though.

Bonus Reviews, Ray Goldfield:

Batman ’66 #30 – 8/10

It’s the end for this offbeat tribute to the classic Batman series, although the characters will live on in the upcoming miniseries teaming them with the characters of Man from U.N.C.L.E. This issue sends the regular title out with a bang, as virtually every major villain and some of the minor ones team up at an old Hollywood studio and plot to kill Batman. All the villains except one, that is – Riddler, who the villains didn’t invite because they’re tired of his riddles giving the game away. Riddler is not willing to put up with that, of course, cluing in Batman and Robin to their location and setting off an epic battle. This is a full-length story by the Allreds – Lee, Michael, and Laura – and the big battle segments are excellent. It’s pretty much all I could want for a final issue of Batman ’66, and old-school fans are definitely going to notice a lot of easter eggs sprinkled in – including some cameos from Metropolis! I am really going to miss this title, and hopefully the miniseries will keep coming regularly!

Batman: Arkham Knight Genesis #5 – 7/10

Jason Todd’s journey to villainy continues this issue, as we learn the roots of his partnership with Deathstroke. I wasn’t really a big fan of the earlier issues which focused on Jason slowly being broken by Joker and Harley’s torture, but this issue is different. Here, Jason is already embittered and ready to find any way out. When Deathstroke comes to assassinate him during the destruction of the asylum, Jason wastes no time offering him a better deal. He then breaks into Wayne Tower to steal Bruce’s money and pay Deathstroke off, and winds up getting into a confrontation with his successor Tim Drake for the first time. The focus here is Jason and not the other, less interesting villains, and that’s why it works as well as the first issue of this mini. I think this likely could have been trimmed back to four issues instead of six and it would have been stronger, but it still makes for an entertaining Jason Todd story with one issue to go.

Ray Goldfield is a writer/editor for Grayhaven Comics, as well as the author of two novels currently in editing. He’s a comic fan for over 20 years, particularly of DC and Superman, Batman, and the Teen Titans in particular. Now that Cassandra Cain is coming back, he will not rest until DC greenlights a Young Justice: Season Three comic.

Disclaimer: GeekMom received these comics for review purposes.

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Writer, Mom, Geek and Superhero. though usually not all four on the same day. Author of the award-winning Phoenix Institute Superhero series and the steampunk novel, The Curse of the Brimstone Contract.