Your source for all things related to the Dark Knight


Episode 221

There is a lot of news to cover with the official announcement of Dark Nights: Metal, the War of Jokes and Riddles and the end of Gotham Academy all being announced in the past two weeks. For in-depth reviews we cover Detective Comics #954 and Batman #20. A few questions round out the episode, but be sure to leave your questions and comment below!


Liked it? Take a second to support The Batman Universe on Patreon!

  • Gerry Green

    Another terrific podcast.

    That Shyamalanization word is my fault. As far as I know I made it up. Feel free to use it however you wish, on the show, name your kids. Whatever.

    The pronunciation would be:


    as far as I can tell. There are lots of entertaining ways to mispronounce it too. Fun for the whole family.

    On your discussion about Tom King: he has terrific concepts, theoretically, and writes great moments. Grayson 12, where Dick is reunited with Damian who thought he was dead, was an amazing issue. Gotham Girl and Gotham could have been good. But the long term plot execution isn’t there. DC should team him with someone who is good with plot and structure but needs imagination.

    Finally, so sad about Gotham Academy. This is/was my favorite comic. I hope if they do comic crossovers they keep Olive, Maps, and Pomeline together with their pal Katherine Karlo. Ian Prime and myself have been talking about how Clayface’s Daughter could be a great addition to a team. The relationship between the four could be developed into a classic.

    Or a CW show.

  • Jessica Nilo Alves

    I’m with you guys regarding King’s writing. I think he has a great style, but he doesn’t seem to know how to handle plot structures. The whole Martha thing would have been great in a different context as it was beautifully written, but not as the end of the arc and not in a Bane storyline.
    With Grayson, what King and Seeley had was a more loose structure in terms of arcs. I don’t think their main focus was to have Spyral shut down, but rather to have short stories with Spyral as background. It was similar to what Dixon had with his Nightwing run, he left the book without ever getting close to get rid of Blockbuster. It is hard to identify specific story arcs in both cases, and both derailed when the titles were passed on to other writers.
    I wish DC would pair them together again, I think they balanced each other out. Despite really wanting to, I haven’t really liked any of the Nightwing or Batman arcs up until now.
    And hey, you should open more space for Stella to comment on art, she always sounds apologetic when she does it. Don’t be, Stella!
    I agree with you that Takara’s inks are often much too heavy.

  • Ian Miller

    Regarding Dark Days/Matter/Nights/Whatever – I loathe event comics. Rebirth is shaping up to be a rare event that I’m not hating, mostly because it’s interested in telling a strong story with a few central character, rather than trying to service the whole universe equally. Add to that I just don’t like Snyder doing big stories at all – his Joker stories are incredibly implausible (Batman and Joker constantly pull out the exact gambit necessary rather than actually reacting in a plausible way), the Court of Owls was an incredibly atmospheric idea that took way, way too long and devolved into a diluted collection of villians who have nowhere near the creepiness or power they should (even in the otherwise quite strong Batman #51, they just felt weak rather than threatening). I hope it will not cause too many changes in a negative way to the titles which are going strong. DC just announced a bunch of series spinning out of Dark Days called Dark Matter, and I think this is a bad idea. All of the spinoffs of Snyder events (Talon, Valentine’s Catwoman, Arkam Manor) have not really caught on, despite Snyder’s popularity.

    Gotham Academy’s cancellation is sad, but…they’re almost at 30% of cancellation levels. I hope they’re going to go the OGN route, like Dustin Nguyen’s Secret Hero Society – I think that’s a much better market for this type of story.

    The Button is an interesting beast – I think there’s a chance that Bruce and Barry will discover something about Mr. Oz, but I seriously doubt much more will happen. I think the most likely thing for Rebirth is that in January 2018 we’ll get some kind of ramp up, whether a limited series, or a line-wide tie-in type of thing, to the 2-year anniversary of DC Universe Rebirth, which will conclude the Watchmen storyline. Given the push for Snyder’s event in August, I don’t think we’re going to get any more Rebirth type things until at least late Fall of this year.

    To talk about Tom King’s Batman for a bit – it’s funny. I don’t really love what King’s accomplishing in his titles, but I do think it’s extremely well structured (in this case, every issue is during one day, which means that an epilogue doesn’t really fit). Scott Snyder likes to let a story grow organically – if you listen to his interviews, he’s often talking about how he planned something, and then something changed that plan. This leads to Snyder stories that expand like an pot boiling, sometimes in a good way (I’d argue his work with Batman Eternal was an example of this) and more often bad (the way Superheavy handled the JimBats storyline for example – which I still think is good, but it clearly has massive pacing issues and a clunky climax). What King is showing with the last issue of I Am Bane isn’t just a recap, nor is it just a fight – it’s an answer to the question he raised with the last two issues. He’s built our sympathy for Bane – Batman has hurt him unnecessarily in his attack during I Am Suicide – but the thing that’s highlighted in Martha’s narrative and Bruce’s reaction is that though both of them reacted to similar trauma to become what they are, Bane is ultimately selfish. He wants to rule for himself. Batman, for all his flaws (including an intense selfishness that manifests in the way he tries to control his family), fundamentally wants to help others, not make himself ruler (a big reason why I don’t understand claims that Batman is fascist). Are there problems with King’s arc, stretching back to I Am Gotham? Yes, starting with “what is this Death of Batman you promised?” But I think that I Am Bane has an extremely intentional and effective thematic ending. All of the questions about the Robins and Catwoman and stuff – those will be answered in the epilogue after The Button, I have no doubt. But fundamentally, King’s written a trilogy that should be called I Am Batman – because it explores who Batman is. Does it tell us anything new? No – but how many writers have really told us something new about Batman in the 75 plus years? Batman is the man who helps us in the dark. He’s crazy for thinking he can stop crime – but he does stop crime, every night (to steal from a great backup story drawn by Tim Sale, I believe).

    I am curious – there is a huge amount of controversy around King, but what are the sales like for his run? It’s my impression that he’s been keeping them mostly up, so even though people aren’t nearly as gung-ho about them as they are about Snyder or Morrison (though I personally am enjoying King more than either one), I don’t think it’s killing sales.

    I disagree with the mashed potatoes model of current continuity. I think we have three “eras” that are currently important to keep separate in our minds – Pre-Flashpoint, n52, and Rebirth. Rebirth clearly shows that the Watchmen interference means that there is a connection between Pre-Flashpoint and n52, but they are not identical. The different directions in character are more indicative of a company policy than an in-universe merging of reality.

    Lastly, regarding Detective Comics. I don’t agree that the inks are too heavy – I think the thick, very paint-brush-stroke lines are deliberate, and create very dramatic effects that are quite pleasing. With regards to the retcon about Ra’s wiping Batman’s memory – I think it was actually really smart. I seriously doubt that Tynion will lean on this crutch too much, but it feels exactly in character with Ra’s, and propels us into Zatanna’s involvement with the next arc. It’s no worse than Morrison trying to tell us that everything that ever happened in Golden and Silver Age Batman comics was the result of drugs, in my mind.
    Lastly, there’s no way that Cass is killing anyone. Tynion knows and loves Cass too much for that.

  • Glen J Clark

    So I came here wondering if anyone else was having problems listening to this on iTunes, guess not, every time I try tro listen it tells me that the podcast is unavailable at this time. I’m sad.

    • Ian Miller

      I listen on Podcast Addict – never tried iTunes. Definitely let Dustin know it’s not working for you!

      • I finally go it to work, had to delete download, unsubscribe, and resubscribe, but I did get it to work, thanks i’ll look into podcast addict.