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All Star Batman and Robin

Here we present the “Joeys,” which is our first annual comic book awards.

Book of the Year: This takes some thought. Did All-Star Batman actually come out with an issue this year? Why, yes, it did - the infamous issue 12. I think that Frank Miller’s re-imagining of Batman is so off the wall it transcends great. Kidnapping Robin, Robin almost killing Green Lantern, making Robin eat rats in the batcave, having sex with Black Canary in th rain and wanting, in a thought balloon, to smack her around because she won’t shut up, etc. I can see where some people hate the tarnishing of the Batman Legend, but I love it.

Story Line of the Year: This takes virtually no thought. Captain America has turned into a great comic novel in many,many parts. Beautifully drawn and well-plotted out, it takes the Death of Captain America into the Bucky Cap flawlessly. Things actually make sense, no one does anything out of character, and each chapter makes you anticipate the next. This makes the sting of Marvel doing away with their First Looks program even harsher because Cap was always there. Part of the fun of owning a comic store is helping out one’s regulars and letting them read this title one week early made everyone feel special.

Rat Finks of the Year: Marvel for doing away with First Looks.

Most Confusing Story Line: So many choices. Final Crisis can’t end soon enough for me. RIP has even DC confused about it. Countdown ended, I think. But, to my mind, I have no idea what is going on in Trinity and have stopped reading a book that I don’t have to pay for.

Trend of the Year: Sex. It seems everyone wants it but now they talk about it. Libra’s offering guys a shot at Supergirl. Red Hulk willing not to kill any of the Lady Liberator’s if they put out. Nemesis putting the moves on Wonder Woman. Spider-Man asking Ms Marvel out. Skrulls having sex with humans. Dogs and cats living together. What is the universe coming to?
 
In Part 2 of the Joey’s we’ll discuss individual characters. Stay tuned.


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batman

This issue of “Batman” is part two of the “Last Rites” storyline.  It is also the last issue before we get the “big” reveal of what happened to Batman which we will see in “Final Crisis” #6. 

This issue was okay.  I’ve enjoyed these last two issues a lot more than I’ve enjoyed “RIP”.  The “Last Rites” storyline seems a bit more literal than what was happening in “RIP”.  In “Last Rites,” we see two of Darkseid’s men have captured Batman and are attempting to use Batman in order to clone an army of mindless soldiers for Darkseid.  What was confusing to me was the end.  Did Batman escape?  Or are the last scenes of him and Alfred in the cave still in his mind.


Robin

I began collecting Batman comics shortly after the death of Jason Todd.  I was a Marvel Zombie back then, but after seeing the first Tim Burton Batman movie I decided to give Batman comics a second look.  The first issue I picked up was Batman #433 which was part one of the John Byrne storline the “Many Deaths of the Batman”.  Following that storyline the “Batman” comic featured the storyline “Batman: Year Three”.  This story gave an updated version of the year Dick Grayson’s parents were killed and his adoption by Bruce Wayne.  In this updated version, not only was Bruce Wayne in the audience at the circus when Dick’s parents fell to their deaths, but so was a young couple with their son Timothy Drake. 

After that came the storyline “A Lonely Place of Dying” which focused on a Batman enraged and out of control because of his anger and guilt over the death of the second Robin: Jason Todd.  In this story a young boy enters into the life of Batman and reveals to him that he knows he is Bruce Wayne.  The boy is the same boy from the circus: Timothy Drake.


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Superman

According to the advanced March solicitations for “Action Comics” and “Superman,” Superman will be MIA and other heroes will be patrolling the skies of Metropolis in his place.

The current storyline running through the Superman books is called “New Krypton”. It has the city of Kandor returning to Superman continuity and this time around the people are no longer living in a bottled city, but are now living on Earth. There is tension developing between the people of Earth and the Kryptonians and this will all lead to a “dramatic finale” which will lead into the new “World Without Superman” storyline. So come 2009, DC fans can look forward to not having both the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight staring in their own monthly books.

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Batgirl versus Cain

A famous Greek playwright said there were only five plots - those of Lust, Revenge, Power, Money, and Love. We lovers of comics are used to seeing plots rehashed over and over again. One of my postmates has commented on the direction Superman and Batman are going, which, is going to lead us to a 2009 without Supes and Bats. He commented that these seem too similar to Knightfall and World Without Superman. To me it seems they are just getting started.

I would guess that most readers of “Batgirl” are following the RIP storyline. This story takes place before RIP, which they don’t bother to mention. We also have the latest last battle of Cain and Batgirl.  How many time have we seen these evil mentor/student battles before? 100 times? 200 times? A lot more?  And Batgirl doesn’t kill him in the end?  What a surprise. But, if you read “Robin” this week, we learn that Bruce has adopted Casandra, which doesn’t happen until this issue. But isn’t Bruce sort of dead? That is, if this story takes place before RIP. I am so confused.

Basically, it is a run of the mill mini-series which will be out in trade soon but I can’t recommend spending the 15 or 20 dollars it will cost.


Supergirl

What the heck has happened to poor old Supergirl? Am I too old remembering little old Linda Lee in the orphanage? Boy, has she grown up.

In this, the 79th incarnation of Supergirl, she is the 785th last daughter of Krypton. Of course, with 100,000 Kandorians running around we may need a super-census. But still, it seems the first thing they ran out of is fabric for the costume. Now, personally, I like the halter top and mini-skirt look but it seems almost everyone in the DC universe has taken notice.
 
In “Brave and the Bold” we have two instances. When she comes on to Hal Jordan, he thought-balloons to himself: “She’s only 17, she’s only 17.”  I must have not read the part where Supes or anyone else mentions her age, but what is the age of consent in outer space anyway? In a subsequent B and B she asks Lobo to take her somewhere and he states that he doesn’t work for free. She rips off her disguise, Lobo leers at her chest and she yells,” The S!!!”
 
In “Supergirl and The Legion of Super Heroes,” the group is summoned off to a mission. Naturally, everyone else is using flight rings, but Supergirl leads the flight. One member inquires to another as to where they are going and why. His friend states: “You mean other than the view?” In Crisis 5, Libra offers SuperG to Luthor with: “If you show willing, I might even let you be first in line with Supergirl”.
 
Eventually, we are going to have to have one of those “Cheers” discussions about SuperG. If she is invulnerable and she is still a virgin, can anyone but another Kryptonian deflower her? If all parts of her are invulnerable can her eggs be fertilized by anyone other than a Kryptonian? And if Kal could resist Lois and Lana all these years, why is SuperG so horny?  Inquiring minds want to know.


Power Girl and her friends

Today’s topic is on the growth of breasts is comic books. We are only discussing American comics because anyone who reads Japanese anime or hentai knows that American breasts cannot touch Asian ones. So, we will stick to the good ol’ USA.
 
Studying the history of American comics one can notice that women in comics were usually portrayed as well-endowed. In fact, a study which, unfortunately I cannot document at the moment, discovered that women in comics during the 1940s and 1950s were usually a cup size larger than American women at that time. How they determined cup size in comics I have no idea, but they did quote figures from the Playtex Corporation which, back then, was the dominant producers of women’s unmentionables. But any discussion of women’s attributes was forbidden by the Comics Code so all we did was look.


If you’re a “Punisher” fan, then you’ve already picked this one up, sped through the pages, and like me are already waiting for issue #2. However, if you haven’t picked up a “Punisher” comic before, this arc is already shaping up into something great, and with Garth Ennis and Steven Dillon attached, you really can’t go wrong. Also, don’t judge the character by his recent translations into film; while this comics bears the same name of the recent film about the “Punisher,” it is not based on the film.

My personal experience with “Punisher” comics is that they’re bred of hit and miss. In some versions, he is more hero than villain and in others he’s just a villain. Many have contributed to my wrapping paper collection. The Punisher’s anti-hero status has long been forged in the high mortality rates of his enemies. As with all great anti-heroes, a good Punisher comic always brings a good debate of what separates the heroes from the villains, much like Alan Moore’s main character in “V for Vendetta” or Charles Bronson in “Death Wish”. So if you’ve never picked up a Punisher comic, this would be a great place to start. Enjoy.


DC Comics Legends

Grant Morrison is a polarizing guy. You either love his work or find it completely incomprehensible. When you try to get someone to explain, a typical answer is “it’s Grant Morrison” as the owner of my comic store, The Phoenix of Westchester and Comix 411 colleague, Joel Rosenberg learned. So where does Morrison’s “Final Crisis” fall in the scheme of his work? A little from column a and a little from column b.

Reading the first three issues of “Final Crisis” was like watching a five-car pile on. Morrison hit you with one thing after another without explaining anything. I felt like I missed an issue (and the tie-ins didn’t fill in any gaps). Then issue four hit and “Final Crisis” started making sense. So if you still don’t understand what’s going on, here’s a little primer to make sense of the basics so far…


Batman

Right now this is my favorite Batman story being published.  I was underwhelmed by Denny O’Neil’s “Last Days of Gotham” and I’m confused with what Grant Morrison is doing over in “Batman”.  So this story has been a nice cleansing of the palette.

As per my previous blog on this story arc, it’s written by Andrew Kreisberg; mostly known for writing various television shows over the past few years.  The story he’s crafted is fantastic.  It’s tight and each issue has ended with me wanting more.

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