Off My Mind: Why DETECTIVE COMICS Needs to be More Like ACTION COMICS in The New 52

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Posted by G-Man (18881 posts) - - Show Bio

Batman Batman Batman. We can never get enough Batman. There has always been multiple Batman titles. When DC Comics started the 'New 52' and relaunched all their titles, they gave us BATMAN, DETECTIVE COMICS, BATMAN AND ROBIN and BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT. Bat-fans have been lucky in there haven't been major changes in the Bat-universe.

Despite this, there are still some ripple effects that are bound to show up. Changes in titles like JUSTICE LEAGUE or others involving characters Batman interacts with will cause little changes in Batman's history. First encounters and the changing of origins are happening.

Because we have four different Batman comics, plus his appearances in JUSTICE LEAGUE and JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL, isn't there room for one of the existing Bat-titles to tell the tales of Batman's earlier days just like ACTION COMICS is doing with Superman?

== TEASER ==

Back in September, I brought up the question of how much of DC's history is lost with 'The New 52' back in September. Most of the current Batman books haven't focused on the classic villains. We have seen some of Joker and Two-Face, but what about their first encounters with Batman? Scott Snyder did mention in an interview that all the writers talked about possibly making some changes with the villains but, in the end, agreed they didn't need any changes.

That still doesn't mean that the earlier days are still the same. Did Batman still get his back broken by Bane? Did Contagion still happen? What about Cataclysm? When did Batman and Superman discover each other's identities? There are so many questions that we don't have the answers to.

Because the mood in the DC Universe is anti-hero, that means the way Batman has had to operate has been different. That would also change the way the villains operate and the way Batman would interact or meet others for the first time. ACTION COMICS has given us some pretty big changes while not necessarily changing who Superman is or will be in the current time in SUPERMAN. Events have, first interactions between characters and some origins have changed a tiny bit. Regardless, we are still getting some great stories out of ACTION COMICS and the same could happen with Batman in his earlier days.

Did this or other events ever happen?

Before the 'New 52' we had BATMAN CONFIDENTIAL which gave us unseen adventures from Batman's early days. A problem with that title is the stories didn't feel like they actually mattered. They were mainly lost stories that couldn't have any real impact on the current titles because there was never any mention of the events or any new characters introduced.

With the 'New 52' titles, it has been said that the writers are working closely together. They might be sharing stories and ideas but there isn't exactly a tight feel between the books. (This is a good thing because you can enjoy each book separately without having to worry about events from another title).

Because each book has a separate feel, there is room for one of the titles to shift its focus onto the past. The reason DETECTIVE is singled out is because that was Batman's first comic, the same way that ACTION COMICS was Superman's first.

In order to make these stories from the past matter more, writers could still work together on these events. If something is going to happen in the past, there could be repercussions seen in another title taking place in the present. This is the time to go back and look at those early days. JUSTICE LEAGUE took place five years ago but what was Batman up to before meeting Hal Jordan for the first time?

The Golden Age and Silver Age gave us some really great (and sometimes crazy) stories. It would be great to see some of those ideas updated instead of being buried in the past and erased from continuity. There's always going to be plenty of Batman stories to tell but when there's four ongoing monthly titles plus his appearances in JUSTICE LEAGUE, JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL and any other guest appearances, it can be too much at one time. Readers are forced to overlook the question of how Batman can be having so many adventures and be in so many places in one month. If we're going to have four ongoing Batman titles, lets have one focus on his younger days to get some stories with a different feel.

#1 Posted by LittleSocrates (42 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm definitely inclined to agree. If Knightfall hasn't happened, that drastically changes our perception of Bane, right?

Hopefully they'll answer some of these questions soon.

#2 Edited by sinful (149 posts) - - Show Bio

I enjoy the New 52, but I feel the whole 5 years whatever..blah blah..was a mistake. they should of made it like a 10 year gap or rather not mentioning the gap at all. that way they can be super flexible when need be.

#3 Posted by RainEffect (3240 posts) - - Show Bio

Finally! A picture of Batman showing Talon just who owns the night in Gotham City.

#4 Posted by Grim (2081 posts) - - Show Bio

Agreed. There are many things that should be done to fix this... looseness in the new 52.

#5 Posted by Durakken (1591 posts) - - Show Bio

point of fact. Batman Confidential is non-canon with any other DCU...

Actually a lot of Batman's history has changed because a lot of the stuff in the last 20 years of comics couldn't have happened or they have change significantly because it just doesn't work for them to have happened within the DCnU. There are so many minor and major changes that they introduced to Barbara Gordon, Tim Drake, Dick Grayson, and Jason Todd that anyone that tracks it back logically the entire history of Batman shatters and does not work.

I wouldn't mind a reintroduction of Legends of the Dark Knight which is the tales of Batman in the early years.

#6 Posted by Aero_gt (840 posts) - - Show Bio

I would like to see the origin of Batman and why he's being like the Wolverine of Dc(Having multiple titles that don't too much differ and being on more than one team.)-3-

#7 Posted by thewhitequeenofhellfire (19 posts) - - Show Bio

I was so underwhelmed by Tony Daniel's run on Detective Comics in the New 52. The villain lacked true substance and inspired little fear, which made him appear like a recycled premise from the shock schlock of the 90s or whatever torture porn is out in theaters around Halloween. Maybe the DC execs will shake-up the creative team of this title soon, especially since it pales in comparison to Scott Snyder's current run in "Batman" and his pre-New 52 run in Detective Comics.

#8 Posted by saoakden (1021 posts) - - Show Bio

Detective Comics should of showed us what has happen with The Dark Knight with the past. It would of helped get some of the pieces together like Batman meeting all the Robins and when they left or whatever.

#9 Posted by Saren (25068 posts) - - Show Bio

@RainEffect said:

Finally! A picture of Batman showing Talon just who owns the night in Gotham City.
Moderator
#10 Posted by ltbrd (562 posts) - - Show Bio

Agree with this article and with the sinful's post about the gap being 10 years instead of 5. That seems like a much better gap considering everything that has taken place (including Batman being on his fourth Robin) vice putting it at five years. That would only put Superman and Batman at 32-33 years of age, which is still young enough for them to have been actively for a decade. I just don't understand why 5 years was made the magical number when the amount of events doesn't support it (plus no city is going to completely re-design and re-build itself in 5 years as supposedly Metropolis has done.......most real cities can't even fix a road in 5 years).

I am enjoying the Court of Owls story in Detective Comics but I could also see it as a an early Batman story as well. Instead of happening in the present it almost sounds a bit cooler to put it in the past where Batman has just begun his career, he's still making a name for himself, and the Court of Owls targets him and Bruce Wayne (this could retcon his past a bit to show Bruce Wayne as being a more active leader in Gotham's redevelopment) and the end of the arc establishes Batman as the authority in Gotham and maybe even start his paranoia about knowing everything possible as he won't want to be surprised by something like the Court of Owls hiding in Gotham ever again.

Or they could have just put out a bunch of issue #0's like I was hoping they would.

#11 Posted by G-Man (18881 posts) - - Show Bio

@ltbrd: I've been thinking about the five year gap and the Robins. I've made the same complaint but after thinking some more, it's possible Dick was Robin before JUSTICE LEAGUE #1. ACTION COMICS takes place before the five years and Superman was doing Superman things before. Batman was already Batman so maybe he and Robin just really worked in the shadows.

#12 Posted by Doctor!!!!! (1886 posts) - - Show Bio

Whats wrong with Action, I find them both entertaining in their own special way... more or less, but Clark needs to step his game up, he is going all "Smallville" on us.

#13 Posted by The Impersonator (5620 posts) - - Show Bio

BatmanBatmanBatman.com :P

#14 Posted by kennybaese (1152 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm pretty sure I heard that the five years is how long the superheroes have been public, with the exception of Superman. The first issue of Justice League makes it obvious that all of them have been around up until that point, and that the Batman is this urban myth that even Jordan has heard of in Coast City, means that Bruce was probably operating in Gotham for quite some time before the events of Justice League, which gives us plenty of time for there to have been the different Robins. It's still a bit of a stretch, but Bruce has been thirty-something for the past, what, twenty years, and no one has complained about that.

I'm just saying.

#15 Posted by The Stegman (25983 posts) - - Show Bio

i think that's a pretty good idea actually, maybe like a continuation on Batman: Year One

#16 Posted by drevilbones (1 posts) - - Show Bio

I agree, with a caveat. I agree that it would be a good solution to the perennial "how does Mr. Superhero guy have time for all these adventures?" problem, however, I personally am really tired of origin and "year one" stories. I've applauded DC for avoiding them so far. I like having new stories with my favorite characters. I really don't need yet another take on the death of Mr. and Mrs. Wayne, or the "creation" of the Joker. It's been done, a lot, and by better writers than Tony Daniels. (not that I think he's terrible, he just wouldn't be on my personal A-List) We know these characters and their motivations. Let's just jump right into the action! As long as they could write new stories in that period, which i think could be a challenge, I'd be all for it.

#17 Posted by obscurefan (273 posts) - - Show Bio

Absolutely agree with you on this one. Hell I say make a whole book just about the history of the new DCU.

#18 Posted by jason44143 (25 posts) - - Show Bio

i strongly agree. this is the prime opportunity to get rid of, or refurbish some of the cheesier origins and storylines. they could finally make bane back into a cool villain, like the animated series, young justice, and the upcoming dark knight movie has possibly done. i think they should redo mad hatter's, riddler's, penguin's and croc's origins. they could make croc the way brian azzarello wrote him, when he wrote the title Joker. that of course is just my opinion, i just really liked the way he made him in that.

#19 Posted by Rixec (378 posts) - - Show Bio

I thought Detective Comics was focusing on the past.

#20 Posted by Taylors005 (107 posts) - - Show Bio

@obscurefan said:

Absolutely agree with you on this one. Hell I say make a whole book just about the history of the new DCU.

this this right here ^ needs to happen

#21 Posted by Tmul501 (600 posts) - - Show Bio

I completely agree. That would be a great book. I think they should also get rid of The Dark Knight and replace it with a solo book about some other bat-family character, like Tim Drake or Tim Drake. And it should be written by Fabian Nicieza.

But, back on topic, I think books about batman's past and beginning would be great. You could work in his relationship with Dick and Tim to see how they began (if they're any different). Heck, you could even do something akin to Batman: Year One, but in the context of the new 52. If it were handled well (and not a complete rip off of Miller's version) that could be a great story arc (though, I'm sure a lot of people would complain since it would be copying a pre-existing idea.)

#22 Posted by DEGRAAF (7912 posts) - - Show Bio

i figured that they didnt do the whole past stories with Batman bc of the complications they would have with the robin's and batgirl. I think they know they didnt leave enough time in there for all of their stories so they are just skipping the complicated part.

I would like to see the start of batman then the start of Dick Grayson and so on.

Even Action comics didnt start from the very beginning of Kal-El's career as a hero.

#23 Posted by ThomasElliot (369 posts) - - Show Bio

I don't mean to be offensive to Tony Daniels at all, but pretty much anything he's done w/ Batman has underwhelmed me. His story arc in the pre- 52 issues of Batman is entirely unforgettable... in fact, the only thing I can remember of it is how forgettable it is.

I initially was very let down with the new Detective.

I also quit The Dark Knight as well (Like the art, but the writing was just not good at all) and Batman & Robin has even lost me.

With Batman & Robin specifically, and I know a lot of people might disagree, but I can't stand the whole 'Damian is more unstable than Bruce realizes' junk. Are they trying to re-hash Jason Todd all over again? Didn't we already go through Damian's lack of respect for authority with Morrison's run? I thought we were past that. I don't mind the tension of Damian having to work w/ dad again after Grayson leaving, but the whole killer instinct and rash behavior is boring to me.

#24 Posted by ThomasElliot (369 posts) - - Show Bio

@walkingcarpet said:

I'm pretty sure I heard that the five years is how long the superheroes have been public, with the exception of Superman. The first issue of Justice League makes it obvious that all of them have been around up until that point, and that the Batman is this urban myth that even Jordan has heard of in Coast City, means that Bruce was probably operating in Gotham for quite some time before the events of Justice League, which gives us plenty of time for there to have been the different Robins. It's still a bit of a stretch, but Bruce has been thirty-something for the past, what, twenty years, and no one has complained about that.

I'm just saying.

THIS!!!

I mean, this isn't even an easter egg or something one has to think about. Hal's character pretty much gives it away right in issue #1. I don't get why so many people don't get it.

Its still weird and odd, but its not in any way difficult to wrap one's head around. The core and founding members of the Justice League MET FOR THE FIRST TIME '5 years ago'. That does not mean Superman was shot to earth in a rocket as a baby 5 years ago, or that Hal Jordan has only been a GL for 5 years either.

New Guardians even recaps how Kyle Rayner got his ring. Obviously the time line begins way before '5 years ago'.

#25 Posted by Fantasgasmic (1033 posts) - - Show Bio
#26 Posted by ulrich200 (95 posts) - - Show Bio

There's a lot that needs to be explained, which irritates me. I feel like the DCU has lost its unique feel, and that I can only connect with a few series of the new 52. But that's just me.

#27 Posted by Durakken (1591 posts) - - Show Bio

@walkingcarpet said:

I'm pretty sure I heard that the five years is how long the superheroes have been public, with the exception of Superman. The first issue of Justice League makes it obvious that all of them have been around up until that point, and that the Batman is this urban myth that even Jordan has heard of in Coast City, means that Bruce was probably operating in Gotham for quite some time before the events of Justice League, which gives us plenty of time for there to have been the different Robins. It's still a bit of a stretch, but Bruce has been thirty-something for the past, what, twenty years, and no one has complained about that.

I'm just saying.

Batman has been around for 7 or 8 years assuming that Batman: Year One holds as canon. Dick Grayson became Robin some time around the JL story being told. In 'Tec (I believe) it states that Joker has been active for 6 or 7 years which means if Year One holds then that would be Year 2 of Batman. Dick Grayson has a flash back where is clearly he is a high school age teenager in Nightwing. in Batgirl it is stated that the The Killing joke happened 3 years ago. All of this works out to be that the last 30ish years of comics happened in the last 3 years in the DCnU.. and then all that stuff that was laid out to have taken place over 10 years before that was crunched roughly into the 2 years before that, save for Batman... who has all stories told in Legends of the Dark Knight take place pre-JL, but everything else happens post-JL.

#28 Posted by obscurefan (273 posts) - - Show Bio

@Taylors005 said:

@obscurefan said:

Absolutely agree with you on this one. Hell I say make a whole book just about the history of the new DCU.

this this right here ^ needs to happen

Yeah I mean playing puzzle with the hints and tips they've given us about what's still cannon can be amusing for a month, but it's getting to the point where I have no idea what happened or how so I say just give us a book that tells us the history.

#29 Posted by waruikumo (357 posts) - - Show Bio

Tony Daniel should not be writing a flagship book. He's bush league at best, with Lucas-esque wooden dialog and weak plot devices.

#30 Edited by kennybaese (1152 posts) - - Show Bio

@ThomasElliot: Bingo, sir.

@Durakken: Right, the flashback in Nightwing is the only thing that kind of throws a monkey wench into what my way of thinking about the timeline. Which is why, beyond determining whether or not the story I'm reading happened before or after major events, I don't think about anything in comic book continuity in the terms of years. It's completely impossible to make work that way, and not drive yourself completely nuts as a result.

#31 Posted by Cakeman3000 (50 posts) - - Show Bio

I really wish Detective Comics was better. I still want to get the issues because I have hope, but if doesn't get good soon then I'm switching to Batman and Robin.

#32 Posted by MuadDiab (325 posts) - - Show Bio

Sure I think we'd all love stories like that (If they're good that is, but we are getting good/great bat stories already at the moment) but for you to call out detective seems a little harsh. The art is fantastic and the story has been quite good. Issue one was one the best of the new 52. If you're going to suggest a title that needs re-tooling don't go with the obvious anti-Daniel perspective that we've seen on this site before. You could have suggested a new title. Case in point, Batman the Dark Knight is the worst of the the new 52 batman books but still has fantastic art.

To copy what action is doing would be unoriginal and tacky. The only reason Action is doing that is because Superman has been an utter bore in recent years minus a few exceptions. Batman has been high quality to a majority of fans for a long time thus doesn't necessarily need that sort of kick in the butt. .... but something like this wouldn't hurt i guess.

#33 Posted by PowerPlug (1357 posts) - - Show Bio

Detective comics was one of the first comics dropped in the new 52

#34 Posted by Wattup (646 posts) - - Show Bio

I like Tony Daniel's art but he's severely lacking as a writer. Batman isn't really the character for a rookie writer to cut one's teeth on, mostly because your creativity is hampered by the scrutiny involved in taking on such a task.

#35 Posted by Or35ti (1101 posts) - - Show Bio

I thought Detective Comics took place in the past? I do agree tho, part of the fun of the New 52 is seeing how these character changed. In Justice League and Action Comics there doing an awesome job, but if in other titles the writers aren't going to even acknowledge these changes that then what was the point... might as well just punch a big red stamp that says #1 over everything

#36 Posted by davidgrantlloyd (363 posts) - - Show Bio

It's a good idea. I tend to agree, and Detective Comics would be the ideal bat-title to set 5 years ago.

#37 Posted by ballisticbread (35 posts) - - Show Bio

im sure that the storyline will even itself out eventually, in the meantime im content with what is currently known in the new 52

#38 Posted by AHoliday (2 posts) - - Show Bio

OK, so First off I'm loving all the New 52 batman books. I don't know why people are hating on Dark Knight and Batman and Robin, those are solid reads every month. Batman by Snyder & Capullo is the best.

Next, So I figure all the bat titles are happening at different times... you got Bruce with a reporter girlfriend in Detective, you have him ooggling over Selina Kyle at his own party (Girl friend and media might have a problem with that) & shackin up with Catwoman in her book, Those things all kinda contradict don't they? Then you have joker with his face cut off in detective & clayface pretending to be joker in Dark Knight... not a great disguise if everyone thinks joker is dead or skinned.... It would be nice to see Detective comics do what action comics is doing for Superman and like others have said, set up the skeleton at least of what the new 52 continuity might be.

Holiday out

#39 Posted by mbembet (219 posts) - - Show Bio

Batman is better than superman

#40 Posted by Pauldro (127 posts) - - Show Bio

@RainEffect: Correction, Batman is the Night

#41 Posted by Billy Batson (58309 posts) - - Show Bio

And the Superman series should be like the Batman series, right?
BB

#42 Posted by FadeToBlackBolt (23238 posts) - - Show Bio

Because everything needs to be the same -_____- 
 
That's the thinking that got us Flash: Rebirth and GL Volume 4. 

#43 Posted by tonis (6183 posts) - - Show Bio

I couldn't agree more, I've been loving the Action Comics approach and look forward to it more than any other title. It would have made sense to have done the same to Detective Comics. Especially with all the titles he's involved in.

Although I really think they should have done this right from issue #1 lets hope they wise up and consider this in the near future :)

#44 Posted by Outside_85 (10240 posts) - - Show Bio

Action Comics works for Superman because it's telling of his changed early days (that used to be defined by his time as Superboy and the whole Legion thing) where he wasn't as powerful or confident as he is today.

Batman on the other hand trained to be what he is, so a 'Tec like that would be alot of Bruce training in one field or the other, which could be an interesting story once in a while, but eventually it will be like watching a piece of a car getting put together, interesting, but the finished product is more fun.

#45 Posted by batmanary (790 posts) - - Show Bio

Because we know that Batman's been active for more than five years, Detective Comics is already useless. Action Comics is setting up a new world, Detective Comics isn't. Say what good you will of Tony Daniel, but he sucks at inventing characters, and the only people who think he's doing a better job than Morrison are IGN. He should be removed from the title and given a job doing Teen Titans or something, lord knows Loebdell could spare at least one book.

#46 Posted by BruceW (34 posts) - - Show Bio

Alright, It's time I''ve Spoken up. Tony, I usually agree with everything you say in you're articles, but The one time I didn't was with the New 52 Action Comics. I couldn't BELIEVE you could justify such a betrayal to the character. Admittedly seeing Superman start his career is a very interesting story, but the personality changes (That you praised) I hated. Why would Clark act that way, After being raised by the Kents. It makes no sense, and I think it's pathetic how they seem to forget that. But on to this article, I couldn't help but disagree completely Detective Comics should be NOTHING like Action Comics. Batman's early years, have been seen SEVERAL TIMES, like in Year One, and in Confidential. I do agree we need a different Batman story to spice up the four Ongoing, but I don't think it should be an "Early Years" Story.

#47 Posted by Maki_P (275 posts) - - Show Bio

I wonder if DC has a Bible or at least a clearly defined Timeline. That would make everything easier

#48 Posted by DigitalDeviant (16 posts) - - Show Bio

@The Stegman said:

i think that's a pretty good idea actually, maybe like a continuation on Batman: Year One

Now were talking - oh yes!

Batman: Year Two

#49 Posted by TheRedRobin (206 posts) - - Show Bio

I agree but I'm not sure if I like the idea of Tony Daniel handling it.

#50 Posted by InnerVenom123 (29510 posts) - - Show Bio

I hate how Detective Comics reduced Joker's kill count to 19 a year.

NINETEEN. A YEAR.

This is the Joker. He kills 19 people in a day, at least.

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