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Episode 178

TBUCP E178 Pic

A new year is upon us and between Dustin being congested and Stella being goofier than normal, the TBU Comic Cast is here to cover the past three weeks worth of news and reviews. In depth reviews include Dark Knight III: The Master Race #2 and Batman and Robin Eternal #11-13. Catch up on Greater Gotham and sit back enjoy The Bat-Signal as everything now has new names that you need to remember. Be sure to leave your thoughts, questions and comments below.


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  • Welfredo Mendoza

    Loved the podcast but I just have to point out one thing, DK3 is set three years after DK2 rather than the ‘many years’ as was referenced in the podcast so Bruce would be around 56 not 80. Anyway thanks again for a great podcast.

  • Ian Miller

    I really hope that Batgirl does turn into a Team Batgirl or junior Birds of Prey (or even just a launching point for Batgirl Eternal, perhaps?). Stephanie, Cassandra, and Harper could all use a home, and while Burnside isn’t my favorite place in Gotham, they’ve treated Steph with respect so far, and I could see them all getting along well.

    Making flagship titles like Batman or Detective Comics weekly or even bimonthly is a terrible, terrible idea. Stella and Ed’s analysis are dead on.. Plus, there’s always Dini’s response to 52 – they’ll do one that’s really good, one that’s just a cash in, and one that’s absolutely terrible – and that’s exactly what happened with 52 and its follow ups. Batman Eternal’s followup is much better than 52’s followup, but I have absolutely zero desire to read either Future’s End or Earth 2’s weekly (mostly because both of them are clearly super downers). Lastly, Snyder almost certainly won’t want to cut some of his other projects out to do Batman more frequently – he’s already expressed interest in doing other characters (I really would like to see his Wonder Woman after his Superman), and he’s also said multiple times in other interviews that he really hates writing only big DC titles instead of having at least one creator-owned title running.

    Looking at sales for another huge splashy title, Star Wars, which started at a million copies for number 1, I’d say Dustin is probably right in his estimate for the finale sales, as the sixth issue of Star Wars was selling around 150,000 issues.

    I think it’s telling that Gotham Academy, Black Canary, and Batgirl are all among the books which are being really, really delayed, and that Brenden Fletcher is the common factor in all those titles. I really hope those teams get things together, but it’s not promising that they’re double-soliciting Batgirl in February so that they can make the 50th issue on time – I just don’t see that happening at this point.

    I have to say I’m really unexcited about the We Are Robin Joker gang storyline. While I think the idea of the Robin gang is a good one, Lee Bermejo has zero sense of pacing and event – he has flashy stuff happen, but it’s been half a year, and with the exception of Duke (who is in a lot of other titles) and Riko, who got her own standalone issue, almost nothing has engaged, especially in getting a sense of the Robins as an organization and as characters. I’m still frustrated that I have more connection to the Robin who died, Troy, through his one-paragraph character sketch than anything that he did in three issues (plus the 8 page preview – which was actually more interesting than most of the full length issues). I really feel this is because We Are Robin is an unhappy compromise between what the Bat-office wants – a Duke Thomas centric story where new characters can be grown – and what Bermejo wants, which is a “gritty” and “super realistic” look at street gangs and “real life” vigilantes (and yes, Dustin, the scare quotes are important, since I feel like Bermejo’s attitude is more than a bit pretentious, though I’m sure he’s a nice guy). We’ve gotten much more sense of both the Robin group and characters from Tom King’s Robin War #1 and Grayson Robin War issue than in all of the We Are Robin issues (though Duke’s perspective on the Jason/Tim strategic fight was well done in the We Are Robin issue for Robin War).

    Does Stella read Omega Men?

    Really excited to hear all the support for Carrie Kelley in the cowl – I think it’s an exciting idea, though I’ve no doubt Bruce is going to go around kicking some butt at some point.

    To weigh in as a regular reviewer of the Eternal title on the Great Cass Debate, I think it’s absolutely clear that the child David Cain pulls from the car wreck is NOT Cass. 1) She is wearing the same color as Cass in the next issue, but it’s a dress, not the tunic and pants combo that Cass is wearing later. 2) The girl in the car is much, much too old for David’s experiment to start – she’s already walking, with memories of her family, which indicate she’s almost certainly verbal. While you could argue that Sculptor could erase that from her mind, I seriously doubt that David Cain would trust that kind of drastic brain alteration for his perfect experiment. (Also, I tweeted Ed Brisson about it. No response yet 🙂

    And while I agree with Dustin that we still need to find out how Batman actually meets Cass and what his relationship with her was by Endgame, I think he doesn’t give #13 its due – the whole thing was really carefully and intelligently crafted so that the hug between Batman and Cassandra was very emotional in an earned way. (Of course, listening to my old ratings for #11 and #12, I kind of feel like I might have over-rated those issues after how good #13 was :).

    Also, to remind everyone, Damian and Stephanie Brown will both be at least in the finale of Eternal, as promised in the 8 page preview. (And as a Stephanie Brown fan, I want to point out that she has only had drips and drops of appearances in the new 52, while Damian, except when he was dead, has always been a title character. And also that Maya, in Robin Son of Batman, fills a somewhat similar role to Stephanie’s role in Damain’s life during Stephanie’s run as Batgirl – which I loved).

    Holy cow, I’ve made up for my lack of commenting for the past few podcasts…

  • OMG! BLOOPERS! (And McGruff!)

  • About the hug between Bruce and Cassandra, it’s actually a recurring motif between the two characters. Say what you can about Batman and his various partners, but Cassandra was the one character Post-Crisis who was strongly implied to serve as a daughter figure for him throughout their partnership. In the first few years of her title she was seen partnered with him in other books, he showed up in her title way more than he ever did in Tim’s comic, and most pertinently they’re seen hugging almost regularly throughout her series. It’s the last thing we see him do with her before Batman R.I.P. and since this is the first time we’ve seen the two characters together since then, we’re seeing them hug once more. For me as a fan, it just goes to serve more of the strong bond the two have despite different continuities. Because you never see him hug Dick or Tim or anyone else, or if you do it’s far and few less times compared to Cass.

    About Damian being excised from the Synder books, I can that during the character’s 75th/76th anniversary and Robin War it’s a bit…pants. However it really isn’t unfamiliar to me personally as there have been numerous times where a Robin would logically show up in a story but didn’t. When Jason Todd was dying in the pages of Batman, John Wagner and Alan Grant were just not mentioning it in Detective Comics. Heck, in Hush, a story about Batman’s world, rogues and allies, Cassandra Cain is conspicuously absent throughout the entire story. Rumor is that Jim Lee straight up dislikes the character. That’s harder to take than Snyder having real problems over involving a little boy in a world where the narrative is ruled by violence, even if that’s his job.

    IDK, I’m not reading the books nearly as consistently as the three of you are but Damian’s absence just doesn’t strike me as outrageously odd because there’s a precedent for it in plenty of Batman runs going back to the early days of Post-Crisis. Besides, Damian will last longer than Snyder at the end of the day, it’s not like this will be how it will be forever.

  • Ian Miller

    Totally agree with you, Donovan – Bruce and Cassandra’s relationship has always been one of special closeness, both emotionally and physically, and the writers did often show them embracing. That’s what I love about Tynion – he seems to truly love the old continuity that he’s bringing forward, whether it’s Stephanie Brown, Tim Drake, or Cassandra Cain, and include intelligently updated character moments.

    In Red Robin #17, Bruce and Tim do hug right after Bruce’s return. But it does stand out as an isolated occurance, unlike the many, many signifcant hugs Bruce and Cassandra shared in her own series, or at the end of Redemption Road. I didn’t realize that Cass should have been present during Hush, because I read it way later, and somewhat divorced from other continuity. That is a shame.

  • Gerry Green

    Ed, I agree, ‘Reds’ would be the perfect name for a Tim and Jason team up book. Score!

    Having these two in a book would be a terrific use of them and give DC a place to use some of the other Robinesque characters after Robin year is done. I have to admit that I am not a fan of the large team books. What I find interesting is the relationship between characters which doesn’t work with too many team members. Jason and Tim are so different and play off each other so well I’d love to see them at the center of a book.

    On the topic of team up books, and everyone’s hate of the current Secret Six, I wanted to give my opinion. Yes, that first arc with Riddler was an absolute train wreck. There were production problems which caused the timeline to get all out of whack and the Dibnys, particularly Sue, were treated disgracefully. The current arc is in a Lovecraftian magical universe which I naturally like. Even so, the current plot line is barely holding it together, though the art is so beautiful it distracts from some of the problems.

    The most promising character in the book is Black Alice, a powerful but troubled teen that is struggling to figure out how to use her powers responsibly. In Secret Six though she is either moody and depressed and locked up in her room or passed out from overusing her powers. When she is in the book it is much better, she has strong relationships to other characters which is interesting. This is the problem with these large team books, all the characters need their page time and it dilutes character progression. DC should find someone to team Black Alice up with as she struggles to figure out how to use her magic. Maybe Zatanna, Constantine or Swamp Thing. Surely DC can figure out a way to use a powerful emo teen in a way that would appeal to a younger demographic.

    Finally, you guys mentioned about good ‘unhinged’ art. I couldn’t help but be reminded of the art in We Are Robin #4 by James Harvey, Diana Egea and Alex Jaffee. Totally out of character for the rest of the series but wow, some crazy good stuff.

  • Gerry Green

    Oh, and that word I used last episode that you beeped, believe it or not the etymology of the word originally referred to God and then to a rooster. Not, uh, well anything that needs beeping. Look it up. Glad to see you are keeping this a family joint however.

  • Bill Heuer

    I’m definitely onboard for a “Reds” series! Currently both characters are being written very well together in Robin War and Batman & Robin Eternal and something I’d like to see on a monthly basis. It has the combined “star power” that Ed referenced which, along with some good writing (“good” being the key word), could have some real momentum and longevity for a series.

    On the Snyder/Damian topic, I do really like Snyder’s work and can sometimes be a “Snyder Apologist”. That being said, Batman and Robin was one of my favorite books and I was not happy that it came to an end just to fit in with Snyder’s Bat-Gordon story. I just loved the dynamic and growth between Bruce and Damian and want that to come back. Granted, Damian has his own book but I just think his interactions with the Bat-family makes for far more interesting stories. Snyder said that he won’t write Damian which is fine given his reasons but Bruce isn’t even in the Bat-suit and we still haven’t seen him interact with Damian or even made aware of his existence. He could pop in and he wouldn’t even need to be “in danger” but just seeing his dad. This could be a great time for Snyder to explore the father/son relationship without them being in danger. It just is a little strange. Again, I really like Snyder and his work I just think he takes that whole “no Damian” rule a little far and he could have come up with a creative way to at least show Damian in the current “charity-running, beard-y, and happy” life that Bruce has now (or at least for a few more issues). Any thoughts on a return to Bruce/Damian in a future Batman and Robin series? Just not feeling Duke as the next Robin given lack of formal training but I’m sure that’s where Snyder is headed. Maybe there will be a Batman and Robin (Bruce/Duke) monthly series with Snyder writing? He did say he would be in Gotham for awhile but not specifically on the Batman title.

    Also, Dark Knight III definitely pulled off a “Star Wars Episode VII” opening. I’m sure that between all the variant cover hype along with the nostalgia that swept over many older comic book fans who haven’t been reading the current titles but want to return to the beloved Dark Knight Returns Universe provided that boost to reach record numbers. Nevertheless, I’m sure the drop for the second issue was significant. By the way, I am very much enjoying the TBU by the Numbers segment/discussions.
    Great podcast as usual everyone.

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  • Dustin Fritschel

    From Bob:

    Ok, ok… So guys…. And I’m not complaining….( because I’m not sure if other people put this name forward as well but I felt really good about the fact that my personal choice was getting run, even thoughhhhhh—>) I’m almost positive that when you announced the winner of the segment name that pertains to the expanded stable you announced Gotham Gazzette as the winner. Now my choice has been “Greater Gotham” from the start! So I am not at all complaining if that’s what you’re gonna use, but I just want to be sure once and for all because I want to brag to my friends (who don’t care) and fiancé (who couldn’t possibly roll her eyes any harder) that the name I came up with ended up getting used!

    So is it Greater Gotham for sure? Cuz I thought I lost after Thanksgiving when you chose “times” or “gazette” and now I’m just confused… If I’m unclear on this, this is me voting early and often for “Greater”