Death of the Family 12 December release thoughts/opinions

This blog will cover Batman #15, Batman and Robin #15, Batgirl #15, and Suicide Squad #15. There will be spoilers.

I feel that it's appropriate that I'm writing this blog right at this moment. Superman the Movie is on in the background and it's music is inspiring me to do a better job of conveying my thoughts and opinions. It probably won't help though, because although orchestral music with an epic crescendo will help Christopher Reeve be wicked awesome, my writing will still be sub-par at best. This particular blog may be a little long, which is a by-product of the amount of releases this week. P

My initial thought was to order the comic discussion by strength of story, but so far that has failed me because I can't choose a second place. Batman and Robin, Batgirl, and Suicide Squad all have a great story that pushes this overall arc along nicely with each giving their titular characters some meat for us to chew on when it comes to character development within the arc. But, if you had a gun to my head and said, "hey buddy, pick one...this ain't rocket math," I would probably still take a while to decide, but ultimately go with Batman and Robin #15 as a second place to Batman #15.

I haven't read much about Damian Wayne, other than the Comic Vine data page about him and some glancing reviews about his series with Batman. I don't get a very good vibe about the popularity of this character, but from what I've seen in this particular comic, I'm going to have to say that I like him. He has spunk, which is nice to see in such a young Robin, and with the inclusion of Alfred in the grand scheme, it looks like he might be going back to his killer roots. This comic along with most of the others (excluding Batman #15) have long narratives within, giving the Joker a lot to say. In this case, he gives some insight about why the connection with Batman, in that he has made him laugh, which I believe is a call back to "The Killing Joke." In the end, Robin is trapped in a cell with a Batman lookalike, and has to battle him to the death. I'm not sure who the phony Batman really is, but could it be Clayface? Or maybe a juiced up goon dressed like Batman? Not sure...maybe you guys have an idea.

Suicide Squad #15 also piqued my interest because Harley Quinn appears to becoming into her own. Every iteration of her character has her falling back under the Joker, no matter what he's done. In this case, she fights back, and at one point has the upper hand. Watching her become her own character was nice and refreshing, like a cold drink of water.

Batgirl #15 has a subplot that had me scratching my head a little. I believe it's telling me how Joker came to power within Arkham, but I'm not entirely sure. The marriage story within the comic also has me wondering where this is going, and I would have to say that of the group released, this was the weakest of them all. I dig on the fact that Batgirl is loosing it, and has also threatened to kill the Joker, but her story really didn't go anywhere within the comic, so it felt kind of flat.

Finally Batman #15. This was what made the week worth it. It has planed the seed of death within the Bat-Family, using mistrust as the catalyst. Batman has failed to mention that the Joker *may* know about the Batcave, which would compromise everyone's identity. The way this is being played is still keeping us in the dark, since it appears that the Joker is manipulating influential people in the Bat-family, but how he references them is that it's coincidental. So really, I feel like I'm in a dark room and I have an idea as to what's in there, but I keep stubbing my toe on those things.

I've discussed in the forum and other blogs that I agree with the idea that this will turn into a Bat civil war. You can kind of see the line of division running in Batman #15, and in the individual comics, you see each character dealing with Joker in their own way. This may divide them on how to deal with the Joker, with what looks like Batgirl, Robin, and probably Red Hood (don't know yet on that one though, just a guess), all wanting to kill joker. Batgirl and Robin have already said they were going to kill him in their own comics, so there's that. The death of Alfred or Mrs. Gordon will push some of the family over the edge, and more will want to kill Joker then. I had the radical idea the story will have Batman finally decide that the only way to deal with Joker is to kill him, having him lead that group, with Nightwing being on the side of justice instead of death, and leading that team. I can see this happening because it appears that Joker's influence within Arkham got him out in the first place, and that there is nobody he can't touch or influence in some way.

Bottom line is that this week was a great week for the arc, and I'm now looking forward to seeing Red Hood in action within the story. Leave your comments on how I'm right or wrong, and I'll catch you later.


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New 52 Detective Comics #15 and Batgirl #13 thoughts/opinions

When it comes to comics, I'm a graphic novel kind of person. I've come to this conclusion after reading the "Death of the Family" prequel for Detective Comics. My enjoyment comes from good storytelling. I'm a simple man with simple needs, and a good, engaging story will usually fulfill those needs. Graphic novels have the necessary heft to help a story develop properly, and I feel that's an important part of telling a story.

With that said, the one shot story featured in DC #15 is features Clayface and Poison Ivy,and both are some of my favorite villains from the animated series.

However, my problem with it this comic is that it felt rushed. The story was something that could carry on for a while, and was very engaging. Unfortunately, it felt as though the story of Clayface/Poison Ivy was crammed into just a few pages in order to facilitate the introduction of the Joker's arc into the comic. I'm guessing that Detective Comics could have done a bit better of linking the major story with what is considered the prequel of the arc. Perhaps later we'll see Clayface/Poison Ivy again? I'm not good with that kind of prediction, but since this is really the Joker's arc, seeing them again as a major players in the arc doesn't seem like a likely scenario.

Anyway, for what it was, it was a good short story about Poison Ivy using her powers to seduce Clayface and give him some false memories of marriage and crimes committed. I liked the idea that her influence was "planted" into him, literally, since he's basically made of dirt/clay. The ending of the comic left some avenues open with the Penguin's second in command releasing Poison Ivy from her certain death (or so we thought, until a deus ex machina intervenes with Poison Ivy have the ability to convert her CO2 into Oxygen, or something like that) by being buried alive, as well as Clayface confronting her after eluding Batman. I'm looking forward to seeing where this will go.

Batgirl # 14 cover by Ed Benes

Batgirl was also a pretty good story which basically is highlighting her own mortality. She's pretty close to death from the beginning of the comic, and shows her resolve by finishing off the her adversary after hearing what she's done to people she's felt that has wronged her. Her emotions kick in, and this helps to fuel her final push for the win. I'm sure this will come up again within the arc, or at least I hope it does. As a prequel, this would be the logical place it would go, perhaps with the Joker exploiting her injury at some point. In Batgirl #14, we see here start to panic and start to become overcome with emotion, so that kind of plays into that.

Things seem to be moving along smoothly as far as the arc goes. I'm looking forward to seeing the prequels to Batman and Robin, Red Hood and the Outlaws, and Teen Titans. I have never read any of these comics before, and from the intros I've encountered so far, they might make a regular reader out of me.



New 52 Catwoman #13 thoughts and opinion

First off, let me start by saying my blog posts will contain **SPOILERS** for any "Death of the Family" comic out at this time. Also, I will spoil any comic I mention in the blog. If you do not want to be spoiled, my blog post title will mention any comic that will be in the post. Thank you.

So, last night I finally read the Catwoman prologue for the "Death of the Family" story arc. It was a pretty good read. I've been told that I need to pay close attention to the art going on these comics because there is a lot of details within each image. I'm not one to really dig too deeply into that kind of thing...I just want to read a comic and be entertained, not do a hide and seek adventure. However, two big things popped out for me, the first being very obvious, which was the chess board imagery. There was a lot of talk about the game, and in the end you could see that it was very evident that Catwoman is going to be a pawn in Joker's game. It'll be interesting to see what roll she'll play, and from what I've seen in Catwoman #14, it won't be a willing roll.

The second thing was that it seemed her sexuality is kind of....blurry, I guess? From the two comics I've seen, she is portrayed as a very sexual type of person, mentioning attractiveness of guys, and in her inability to stay dressed for more than a few panels in a row. In Catwoman #13, she seems to be very, VERY, close to her roommate. In one panel there's even a picture of Selena and her roommate with Selena naked, covering herself with a cowboy hat, and her roommate in a bra.

I know there is some controversy as to how women are portrayed in comics. Both their rolls and imagery seem to always be the topic of many debates. I've always seen Catwoman as kind of an overly sexual character, using that as one of her powers. Be it with her charm or looks, she can and has used it against other characters, including Batman. I'm thinking this is where her story might be going too...but it will be turned against her in some way (i.e. in Catwoman #14, she is told to change her look, and it paralyzes her).

Having those two things to chew on will keep her story interesting, which is good for her part in this arc.

That's all for now.



New 52 Batman/Joker arc

Let me start this with saying I've never read comics with any kind of regularity. I know of the characters, I know of story lines, and I have a general web-based knowledge of what's going on. Having a blog on a comic website is kind of a weird thing for me to do, and I'm probably the least qualified person on the planet to do one, but I'm going to bore those around me with a semi-virginal view of recent comics and how they can appeal to newer readers.

Recently, I started reading the DC New 52 Joker arc titled "Death of the Family." This reading is by proxy, since I borrow the comics from my buddy, but I digress...

I have dabbled in Batman mythos for some time now, going back to when Batman became popular for my generation...namely the early 90's when Tim Burton's Batman movie hit theaters. I never knew much about him other than his name and that he used pretty cool gadgets (toys for me at the time). He seemed pretty cool, dark and edgy and all of that, but what really stuck with me past those two movies was the animated series. That's where I first saw Batman's rouge gallery and found out what his character really was all about. After that short run, that was is for me and the Bats.... that is until fairly recently with the movie reboot and release of the Batman: Arkham Asylum.

Those two things really ignited a curiosity I hadn't felt about a comic character before. I tried to quench my thirst with wiki articles about the Batman, his enemies and allies. My previously mention friend (slopoke36, if anyone is interested in following him), usually dives into things a little more deeply than I do, and I usually benefit from this. In this case, it was the purchase of the graphic novel "Batman: The Killing Joke," by Alan Moore. I really liked the idea that the Joker wasn't just some dude in clown makeup that though he was being silly when he committed crimes with giant boxing gloves and guns that had a flag with the word BANG! on it when shot. It was jarring to see that he was just some deranged lunatic that wasn't trying to be funny, but was sick enough to think his grizzly crimes were funny. It added a depth to the character that I hadn't really seen before.

Anyway, this brings me to the new Joker series...and so far, wow. I know I've said that I don't read much comics, but I guess I had this naive misconception of how they handled murder, which boiled down to it not being "allowed," or something like that. Bottom line is that the Joker is probably the most sadistic I've ever seen, more so than the Dark Knight movie...and probably even darker than "The Killing Joke." I won't go into what I've read in the comics, because you've probably already seen them and have your own opinions about it, but suffice to say, I'm digging it. I think the best part about it is that I have no idea where it's going. I pride myself in being able to predict outcomes of events in movies and books, but in this case I'm stumped...which is good because it's going to keep me reading. My buddy slopoke36 tells me there have been some gripes about the arc crossing over into so many other titles. I can see their point, I don't want to have to buy 6 different titles to follow one arc, but on the other hand, it's actually made me want to follow a title I had no interest in before: Nightwing. From that end, I can see why they would do such a thing. Having Batman fans have to read a Suicide Squad may bring more Suicide Squad readers in the future, so that would be a win in their book.

Bottom line is, start this arc if you haven't, and even if you're on the fence about diving into comics (or diving BACK into comics), this is a good jumping off place.