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Episode 229

Dustin and Stella are here to cover the past two weeks of news and reviews including Batman #28 and Detective Comics #962. After covering Greater Gotham, we dive into a listener question that has us sharing our ultimate version of Batman from the entire history of the character. Be sure to leave your comments below!


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  • I meant to comment on the last episode, but forgot, so am including some of my previous thoughts here:

    Regarding Doomsday Clock – wow. 12 issues is pretty intense. I hope this is the conclusion to Rebirth, since it takes us well past the 2 years of Rebirth. The time jump doesn’t make me very confident. I just hope that this isn’t another One Year Later and screw over all of my favorite Bat characters like Steph, Cass, and Tim.

    I’m still with you, Stella – Jean-Paul is great, and I’m really glad we got an arc developing him.

    Regarding Babs’s love life – Burnside didn’t have a good balance with her romances – she dated or flirted with nearly every non-villainous male character she wasn’t related to by blood! Which is probably better than her two romances in the Rebirth run, where she likes villains or villainous characters like Ky and Ethan, but still – it’s more hook up culture than anything else, sadly.

    Lastly, to talk about something from this episode, you suggest Peter Tomasi taking over Detective after Tynion’s run finishes up (which I hope won’t be until issue 1000 at least). While Tomasi is a very skilled writer, I am very much against him doing anything with the Batfamily, as he has very distinct biases against certain members of the family (particularly Cass, Steph, and Jason), and the way he writes Bruce and Damian’s relationship, while touching, is often rather morally troubling. He writes both of them as supremely arrogant and self-centered individuals, and neither of them really provides a different enough voice to change that behavior. Having Tomasi write Detective or any Batfamily type title after Tynion would guarantee that Steph and Cass would lose their home, as he would ignore them, and Bruce would lose the compassion and openness to better ways that Tynion’s given him. And I think that would be a terrible loss on all counts.

  • Zach

    What are your feelings regarding Mikel Janin’s work during Tom King’s current tenure? One of the defining characteristics of Janin’s panel work has been the splash page and its compositing of sequential movement across a single physical space without applying panel divisions. Perhaps the most memorable example of this was during the “I Am Suicide” storyline where Batman scaled the Santa Prisca prison where Janin expertly played with scale and depth to create a layout which conveyed a greater visceral illusion of movement. Needless to say, I’m curious to hear each of your thoughts regarding this technique: How does it contribute to the telling of the story? And in what ways do you think Janin’s aesthetic approach has been augmented in the current, “The War Of Jokes & Riddles” storyline? In some respects, I think as the canvas of the story has grown in scale, Janin has compressed the page layouts, crafting more intimate interactions between characters. Note how Janin and June Chung rendered the Deathstroke/Deadshot duel.


    On the subject of comic book illustration, do any of the co-hosts have a preference when it comes to hand pencils or digital rendering? Janin is a digital artist who often applies digital collaging techniques that some readers aren’t as receptive to. Are the pencils of artists like Capullo or Finch still more impressive than the digital work of Janin and Frazer Irving? Do you think making these distinctions between analog/digital illustration is necessary now that some many artists work digitally?

    • Jessica Nilo Alves

      Guys, your commentary on War of Jokes and Riddles just made me realize that Tom King is making a criticism on war in general right in front of our faces and I don’t think anyone has quite grasped it yet. Yes, Gordon should have talked with Joker and Riddler before, but when he does get to it he’s got his pants down. Yes, Batman feels powerless and often seems to be incompetent when dealing with this war, hence him not really knowing what to do with Deathstroke and Deadshot. Yes, this could all have been avoided if, and if, and if only.
      Batman believed the Riddler to be dead, he believed the battle won and went chasing the Joker, but the Riddler got back to his feet right behind his back. And yes, a lot of innocent people are dying, and Batman feels like he can’t do much about it, but yet he blames himself specifically because of the many ifs. And of course, Bruce is trying to solve it all with diplomacy, giving resources to one of the sides so that one can beat the other. King is a former CIA agent, he very well knows how the-powers-that-be often use this strategy of paying the least of two evils for a conflict to stop, and then this very same lesser evil comes back to bite everyone on their butts. King was on the counter-terrorist forces post 9/11, probably went to Afghanistan. Back in the Cold War, the CIA armed the forces resisting the Soviets in the country, a group that later became the Taliban. And you all know how well that ended.

      • I disagree that no one has grasped it. I think most people get the idea that war is horrifying, and King’s done a great job showing the cost of war in the first few issues by giving each casualty a paragraph describing the lives that were destroyed. The problem is that the only people who really could have stopped it without evil action (murder) are the Joker and the Riddler. The existence of Batman may escalate the level of violence, but it doesn’t create the evil in the hearts of the Joker and Riddler. That evil would have been there whether Bruce put on the cowl or not. I don’t really see how it could have been avoided – unless you think the problems Batman has solved could have been solved without Batman. If you do, basically agreeing with the Victim Syndicate, then you think being Batman is an evil choice (if inadvertently evil). I don’t think you can really do that and be a Batman fan – I think if you are a Batman fan, you have to at some level think that his choice is the only possible heroic choice for Bruce Wayne in the face of a world that’s fundamentally broken. If Batman is a crazy, evil person instead of a hero, why do we have 75 plus years of stories about him? I think there’s room for an elseworlds exploration of an evil Batman (like the current Gotham City Garage or Batman: White Knight), but I don’t think it can really survive as the main interpretation of the character, which is why Frank Miller’s All-Star Batman and Robin doesn’t make sense.