Yes, this is an aggregate post that contains all the DC Comics reviews for the Batman Family of comics this week. Sadly, given that Diamond has stopped shipments to comic stores, it maybe be the last one for a while.
Still, your intrepid reviewer has been working from home in the post-apocalypse, and the future of weekly comics is highly uncertain as we write this, but we wanted to make sure you got this week’s DC comic reviews.
DC didn’t have any #1 books out this week, just a lot of ongoing favorites, so in this post we’re going to break down the week’s Batman Family releases – Batman/Superman, Detective Comics, Batman Beyond, Batgirl, Red Hood: Outlaw, and Batman: Curse of the White Knight – in a series of capsule reviews.
Stay safe at home, and read some good comics!
Batman/Superman #8 – Joshua Williamson, Writer; Nick Derington, Artist; Dave McCaig, Colorist
Ray – 9.5/10
Joshua Williamson’s first arc away from the Batman-Who-Laughs’ orbit has been his best, as Batman/Superman #8 concludes a surprisingly poignant story about the legacy of Kandor. Pitting Ra’s Al Ghul against General Zod while Batman and Superman try to mediate, it’s the kind of story that manages to have both a swarm of superpowered inch-tall Kryptonians trying to burrow inside someone’s ear, and a conversation about how rage will poison your soul.
The action is fantastic, and Nick Derington once again proves himself one of DC’s best artists working today. But its biggest strength is in just how well Williamson writes the two villains. Ra’s is evil but pragmatic, Zod is more human than he’s ever been but crazed with rage. And an excellent bookend featuring Zod as both boy and father is the best the character’s ever been written. Could Zod be a candidate for a solo series? At this point, I wouldn’t say no.
Batman: Curse of the White Knight #8 – Sean Murphy, Writer; Matt Hollingsworth, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Sean Murphy has just begun developing his expansive futuristic Batman universe, and as he wraps up the second miniseries we’ve gotten word that a series of spin-offs curated by him will follow. It’s not hard to see why after this final issue, because it’s one of the best fight scenes I’ve read in comics in a while.
Batman, having just unmasked and pledged to give away his fortune, is pushed to the limit against Azrael as he battles both to survive and to maintain his vow now to kill. This series has turned out to be a fairly nuanced commentary about family legacy and ancestral guilt, and it has some excellent scenes particularly involving Bruce and Dick. But my one complaint – it doesn’t quite feel like an ending. The last page not just leaves us with a major cliffhanger, but introduces another important Bat-character who hadn’t been referenced before. A lot more to explore in this world, and this issue makes me excited to see it.
Batman: Detective Comics #1021 – Peter J. Tomasi, Writer; Brad Walker, Penciller; Andrew Hennessy, Inker; Brad Anderson, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Two-Face has always been one of Batman’s most morally ambiguous villains, and Pete Tomasi doubles down on that in his new arc. Two-Face, horribly scarred more than usual and with a bullet lodged in his brain, has started seesawing more and more between Harvey Dent and his evil alter-ego. While Two-Face has started a cult dedicated to wreaking havoc across Gotham, Dent is battling to save his old friend – whose secret identity he knows, but Two-Face doesn’t – from their attacks. The plotting is decent, with Batman investigating and finding creepy secret cult hideouts, but the best part of this issue is the inner battle between the two sides of Harvey Dent. The only problem is, we’ve seen stories like this before, and we know how it ends – Harvey will always lose, Two-Face will always win, and the status quo will be restored. Shame, because the former’s most interesting stories are always the ones where the latter is front and center.
Batman Beyond #42 – Dan Jurgens, Writer; Sean Chen Penciller; Sean Parsons, Inker; Chris Sotomayor, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Dan Jurgens has given Batman Beyond its finest hour in this arc, which brought back arch-nemesis Blight and introduced a new Batwoman in Dick Grayson’s daughter. As the Bat-family fills out again in this world, it feels more like the classic Batman with every issue.
But this final issue of the arc takes its inspiration less from the Bats and more from the competition, because Blight’s final assault on Wayne Manor reminds me a lot of the classic Spider-Man/Green Goblin fights. Blight is a personal nemesis for both Bruce and Terry, in a way even Joker never was, and that adds some great stakes to the last act. Wayne Manor comes under assault, sacrifices are made, and the Bat-family unites for a last stand – but will all of them make it out alive? The ending of this issue sets up a new status quo and a big question, and it feels like a new beginning now that this title has reached its full potential.
Batgirl #45 – Cecil Castellucci, Writer; Carmine Di Giandomenico, Artist; Jordie Bellaire, Colorist
Ray – 7/10
Fresh off her adventure in Unearth with Jason Bard, Barbara Gordon finds herself in a new mystery – this one involving a strange living metal that parasitizes people, turning them into living statues and eventually dessicated husks. It’s a creepy setup that eventually leads Barbara and Jason to the headquarters of a mysterious young energy magnate named Dasha Berlova, who is promising to solve Burnside’s power problems.
Much like past arcs, this is a surprisingly dark and creepy story for Batgirl, with many shots of people being tortured in Berlova’s experiments. It also leans heavily on Barbara and Jason Bard investigating together, and their will-they, won’t-they dynamic continues to be sort of tiresome. Better – a surprising Batwoman guest appearance, and the arrival of an unexpected Bat-villain as Berlova’s second in command (although this is an anticlimactic return for him given when we last saw him). It’s better than the last arc, but still lacking.
Red Hood: Outlaw #44 – Scott Lobdell, Writer; Paolo Pantalena, Artist; Arif Prianto, Colorist
Ray – 7.5/10
This title continues to veer wildly from one plot to another, and it keeps things unpredictably entertaining. Red Hood and his team are now back on the trail of the Untitled, the old cult that has also possessed his ex-girlfriend Isabel. So they’re in Qurac, where an Arab Spring storyline is currently going on, trying to keep the police there from massacring the students while ferreting out the demonic terrorists. Oh, and Artemis is undercover as a bodyguard for the military leader.
Guest artist Paolo Pantalena does a great job with the creepy demon presence, and the team banter is a lot more fun than it was in the previous arc. The bromance between Jason and Bizarro is especially fun, although General Glory is little more than a wet blanket. The oddest subplot? Ma Gunn having tea with The Brain while Monsieur Mallah gets jealous. It’s a bizarre mess, but surprisingly fun.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.