Posts Tagged ‘Dick Grayson’
When I was a young’un, I’d wake up early every Saturday morning to watch the crap out of some Batman Beyond. For whatever reason, a Batman in the future kind of seemed like one of the most awesome things ever (even if the show was pretty much just made up words, Seth Green, and day-glo everything). This is why following Dan DiDio’s 2007 announcement, I eagerly awaited the new Adam Beechen Batman Beyond limited series and some sweet Earth-12 action. I didn’t know what I was getting into.
It all started with Paul Levitz’s Superman/Batman Annual #4, in which Terry teams up with Superman to stop a decrepit Lex Luthor who has been lacing street drugs with Kryptonite. The issue references the shit out of an episode of Batman Beyond called “The Call” (Superman talks about being possessed by Starro and the death of Lois Lane). I’d assume it takes place in either the DC Animated Universe or on Earth-12. In other words, this issue may or may not be canon.
This was followed by Grant Morrison’s phenomenal Batman #700. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend you do before reading the rest of this paragraph. In the future, when Damian Wayne is Batman, he saves an infant Terry McGinnis from 2-Face-2. The next page (under the heading “and tomorrow”) features a shot of Terry in the Batman Beyond costume beating the crap out of a bunch of Jokerz. Essentially, Batman #700 finally plugged Terry into the main continuity of the DCU.
Now we come upon Batman Beyond #1 (of a six issue mini-series). Let’s get the review portion out of the way real fast; Beechen is comfortable writing for a DCAU character (he wrote for both Warner Brothers’ The Batman and Carton Network’s Teen Titans) and DC made an excellent choice picking him for this project. Ryan Benjamin’s art parallels that of the original series well, but I’ve yet to decide if that’s really a good thing or a bad thing. Either way, pick it up. Totally worth the $2.99 cover price.
Anyway, with the events of Batman #700, it is safe to assume that Batman Beyond is also taking place on New Earth rather than Earth-12. This book starts off assuming that you watched the show and already know who Terry is. Taking place after the Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker movie (but before that Justice League Unlimited episode where Terry finds out Bruce is his dad), this book follows Terry trailing a killer who’s been offing characters from Bruce’s past.
This does raise a lot of questions though. Morrison’s Batman #666 (released in July 2007) revealed that, at some point, Damian will witness the death of a Batman and avenge his death by taking up the mantle. In 2007, we naturally thought Batman meant Bruce Wayne. Fast forward to 2010 and we now know that Dick (not Bruce) has been Damian’s mentor. And Batman Beyond proves that Bruce is still alive in 2039 following Damian’s tenure as Batman. Holy shit. In one fell swoop Grant Morrison killed Dick Grayson and proved that Bruce Wayne will never be Batman again.
Consider the title of Morrison’s The Return of Bruce Wayne. In retrospect, this sort of implies that it is not Batman returning from the past, merely the man. And with Morrison having already touched upon the distant future of the Batman legacy in JLA: One Million (the Batman of which also cameos in Batman #700), it is safe to assume he knows where he’s going with it. The legacy appears safe in Morrison’s hands but, sorry fanboys, it looks like Bruce’s days behind the cowl are over.
-Rob and Jonny
PS: Anybody who says Grant Morrison is hard to follow can suck it.
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How can anyone hope to solve a crime when the Silver Age Riddler is involved? I mean, yeah, he’s dropping clues like crazy, but honestly, these are the most vague fucking clues EVER. You’d have better luck if you just ignored his clues entirely and did some actual detective work. I don’t know if ol’ Nigma’s riddles can possibly get much goofier than they did in Batman #171, “the Remarkable Ruse of the Riddler.”
The issue opens to Eddie Nigma standing across a desk from the warden of the aptly named State Penitentiary; he’s receiving a wad of your hard earned tax dollars for being good and making parole. In exchange, Eddie asks the warden a riddle (“Why do the cons in this prison call it ‘Fiddler’s Inn?’”) with the promise of giving him the answer when and if he returns. After some anti-Batman inner monologue, Eddie buys himself a newspaper and reads that Batman is struggling to capture the Molehill Mob. This pisses attention-whore Eddie right the fuck off so he promises to “do something about this.”
The next day, Eddie is hanging outside of the police headquarters, like you do, when he catches Batman and Robin just kinda milling about. They don’t recognize him out of costume so he asks them that “once in a minute, twice in a moment” riddle. “Oh, shit, you’re the Riddler!” cries Robin, prompting the stupidest fucking origin story ever.
As a kid, Edward Nigma “won an historical jigsaw puzzle” by taking a picture of it, so he turned to a life of puzzle based crime. By this logic, if you look at the picture on the box of any puzzle before completing it, you’re a terrible human being and you will probably spend the rest of your life committing elaborate crimes. My grandmother is a terrible human being.
Anyways, Batman just assumes that the Riddler is about to give him the clue to his next crime. Au contraire! It turns out that the Riddler has turned over a new leaf and is only interested in helping capture the Molehill Mob! Ever the brilliant mind, Batman replies with “HUH?!” and then thinks about the Molehill Mob. Apparently, this gang giving Batman and Robin so much trouble is, like, three or four unarmed guys who are remarkably good at navigating the sewers after knocking over banks (Did the Turtles go rogue?). The Riddler does have one condition for helping, however: he wishes to wear his “working clothes” (what is he, a hooker?).
After a one-panel interlude of Bruce and Dick playing Scrabble (totally necessary, I guess?) we cut to the Riddler, Batman, and Robin jumping into the sewers. Despite being stuck in prison and never even hearing of this gang until after he was released the freaking day before, the Riddler is able to lead our heroes straight to the Molehill Mob, no problem. The gang springs a few sewer-themed traps in an attempt to thwart Batman and Robin (rolling manhole covers, giant spools of wire, what I’m pretty sure are creepy hentai tentacles), but the Dynamic Duo escapes easily. Then, I guess everybody just goes home.
Two days later, Batman and Robin are hanging out at the Police Athletic League picnic at the park when they discover a riddle in their picnic basket! “What is the longest word in the world?” Time for Batman logic: it turns out the answer is “smiles,” because there’s a “mile” between the first and last letter! And hold the phone, there’s a man named “Smiles” Dawson who owns a fancy yacht, the Black Pearl of the Pacific, at the Gotham City Marina! Let’s roll!
Batman & Robin head to the marina and, after escaping the Riddler’s worst puzzle trap ever (honestly, look at that picture and tell me how you’d NOT be able to escape), they confront the villain. Yeah, turns out ‘Smiles’ just bought the yacht for $30,000 and “forgot” about the puzzle traps that shoot out of the car when you hit that hidden button in the glove compartment (I completely understand, I’m always hitting those damn secret glove compartment buttons). Everybody laughs it off and the Riddler bails.
But wait! He left another riddle! “How is an orange like a bill?” Simple! They both must be peeled/pealed! Oh, nothing reads like a joke that only works when said aloud! Anyways, it turns out that the Peale Art Gallery is in Gotham and is currently hosting the Fancy-Ass Shit exhibit. Let’s roll (again)!
They show up just in time to see the Riddler pointing a pistol at a very frightened looking man handing him an ivory cross covered in rubies!The Dynamic Duo break in and tackle Eddie, bringing his ass to justice. Suddenly, the frightened looking man yells, “But the Riddler didn’t steal the cross, Batman!” Que el fuck? Turns out, Eddie’s uncle died and left him the cross in his will, the gun was actually a cigarette lighter, and the man’s frightened expression was just poor genes or whatever. Once again, the Riddler gets to walk away, but not after telling Our Heroes that they’ve already got the next riddle. Riveting!
Back in the Batmobile, Robin comes to a startling conclusion. The boat was called the Black Pearl! The cross was red and white! “What’s black and white and red/read all over?” A newspaper! And it just so happens to be the Gotham Times 100th anniversary tonight! Doesn’t matter, by the way. Robin’s wrong.
They hightail it to one of Gotham’s “gay night spots” (uh, wink?), the western-themed Ox Club just in time to see the Riddler going through the manager’s safe! But it’s cool, the Riddler assumes a weird stance and gives up. Nope, just joshin’, instead the most confusing fight ever breaks out. The Riddler’s suit turns electric and he becomes impossible to knock over, like one of those Weebles from the 70s. The Riddler’s henchmen run in and Batman & Robin proceed to make Wild West puns that are so bad, the underlings vanish into thin air. They turn their attention back to the Riddler and punch the shit out of him, not really doing any damage. Batman realizes that the weird stance I mentioned earlier was the Riddler hitting a secret button on his chest, pumping himself full of painkillers. Batman re-hits the chest button like a Lord Zedd Putty, turns off the drugs, and punches the Riddler in the stomach. But how ever did Batman figure out where the Riddler would be?
Forget the colors, the clues were in the shapes. Or something. Whatever, fucking Batman logic. The boat was called the Black Pearl and pearls are round, the cross was a cross and crosses are cross-shaped. Put a round-shaped thing next to a cross-shaped thing and you get the word “ox” (but not “to” or anything with the initials “O.X.,” “X.O.,” “T.O.,” or “O.T.”) which means it HAD to be the Ox Club. Case closed, brain exploded.
But what about the riddle Eddie gave the Warden back on page one? Well, it turns out the inmates call State Penitentiary the “Fiddler’s Hotel” because it’s such a “vile inn/violin!” Wait, really? That’s the worst joke ever. Dude, Eddie? Shut the fuck up.
Alfred Pennyworth might have the shittiest job in the world. More than just a butler, Alfred’s the guy the god-damn Batman relies on for almost everything. His gig is often a thankless one; endlessly making up alibis for Bruce Wayne’s whereabouts, stitching up battle wounds, and cleaning up after a cave full of bats? No thanks, I’m good. But there wouldn’t even be a Batman without Alfred.
But, um, ignore Pre-Crisis Alfred. He was an overweight (seriously, they sent him to fucking fat camp!), inept comedic foil hired after Bruce and Dick were already well on their way to being a campy sixties sitcom. Lame!
But Post-Crisis Alfred is where it’s at! Originally he was an actor, field medic, and butler for the British Royal Family who reluctantly came to serve Thomas, Martha, and baby Bruce at the behest of his dying father. After he taught Bruce how to beat the snot out of a school bully using strategy instead of mindless pounding, Alfred signed on as their permanent butler.
And then Thomas and Martha Wayne were gunned down. Now emotionally invested, Alfred stepped up to the plate and became Master Bruce’s legal guardian, obviously not knowing how daunting a task surrogate fatherhood would eventually become. Shit, upon Bruce’s death he even goes so far as to tell Superman that his “son has died.”
Bruce pretty much became Batman on his own (although he heeded Alfred’s strategic and tactical advice), but Alfred played a gigantic role in both the training and raising of the Robins; Dick, Jason, Tim, and (somewhat reluctantly) Damian – all of whom no doubt see him as a grandfather figure. Alfred Badass Pennyworth is even respected as a peer by the likes of Superman and Wonder Woman, at times even doling out sage-like advice to the demi-gods of the DCU.
Alfred is revered because he is willing to do anything in the name of servitude, loyalty, and, above all, the greater good. Also, he’s a fucking badass. During the No Man’s Land arc, he took over in an investigative capacity for an MIA Batman. He cared for a broken and battered Bruce after Bane paralyzed him. He threatened to quit as a means of talking Bruce out of doing further damage to himself. In his most heartbreaking show of love & respect for his adopted son, Alfred freaked the fuck out after the Black Hand dug up Batman’s remains in Blackest Night #1, blaming himself for the desecration of Master Bruce’s grave.
Needless to say, I am pleased to see Alfred serving Dick Grayson in the same capacity he did Bruce Wayne (their interaction through Judd Winick’s run thus far is phenomenal). Alfred Pennyworth is a character that cannot die and, if he did, I hope he would be mourned as deeply as Sue Dibny was, if not moreso. Should that happen, I (along with most of the DCU) would be thoroughly bummed the fuck out. He is timeless and, although respected by comic aficionados, Alfred is often disregarded by younger audiences. I think Jon has a great solution to this problem: “Will somebody tell me why there is no ‘Alfred Pennyworth: Year One?’”
Get on it, DC!
Before we get there, I know what complaints I’m gonna get. “Where’s Bruce Wayne? The Spirit? Tony Stark?” Well, not here. Batman and the Spirit are legends in their own right, big enough that I’d consider their legacy to be a power in and of itself. And Tony Stark has weird implants now. TOTALLY COUNTS. Also, he has the power to drink more than ten Winston Churchills.
10. Expert swordfighter, chess-player, and bull-dresser, Seaguy (apparently, also his real name?) wants nothing more that to actually be a superhero. Unfortunately, when you live in some Orwellian acid trip and all you have is a wetsuit and a sidekick like Chubby Da Choona (a floating, cigar-smoking tuna who is afraid of water), this is harder than it seems. Seaguy somehow deals with Xoo (“1/2 an animal on a stick!”), Egyptians on the moon, the Gondolier (aka: Death), and a bizarre parody of Walt Disney and his creations. If you couldn’t tell from that description, this is one of Grant Morrison’s fucking balls-out head trips. He’s written two of three volumes so far and, as weird as the book is, I’m eagerly awaiting the final arc. DA FUG!
9. Frank Castle watched his whole family get murdered by a mob in Central Park. In retaliation, he became the Punisher shot EVERYBODY EVER. Armed to the fucking teeth, this guy took on Bullseye, Spider-Man, and the unfuckwithable Kingpin. And what does he have to show for it? Three movies, all of which Marvel hopes you forget (and none of which where he’s played by Henry Rollins, what gives?). His Archie team up was better than all of his movies. Poor Guy.
8. I’ll let Maggie take this one, here she is: Xander is AWESOME. He is the world’s most adorable weenie, but he’s also the Nick Fury of the Buffyverse. And before I hear a word about Xander’s televised origins, he is in BUFFY SEASON EIGHT. Which is a comic. By Joss Whedon (and friends). The closest Xander ever came to really having powers was being able to remember random military shit from that one time he got turned into a Real Soldier on Halloween. He worked for Dracula. Hell, he was BFF with Count-fucking-Dracula for a minute. Xander can tame vengeance demons, rage-blind witches, and the Slayer herself. He lost his virginity to Faith (hot), and he decapitated the motherfucker who killed his most recent paramour. Do not. Fuck. With Xander.
7. Vic Sage and Renee Montoya are both totally underrated folks. Vic Sage was the Question for-fucking-ever and then Rucka took over. Vic died from lung cancer in Nanda Parbat while talking crazy at Renee Montoya. She ended up taking up the mantle from him and subsequently beat the shit out of the cult of Cain during Final Crisis and is now beating the shit out of inner city thugs while busting up a prostitution ring. Fuck yeah, the Questions. Most underappreciated heroes ever!
6. Between his Twilight of the Superheroes pitch and Rorschach, it seemed like Alan Moore had it out to create the antithesis of the Question. At the start, Rorschach is the only active vigilante left in the Watchmen universe. Keeping in mind that this was written during the Cold War (AND the Reagan administration), Rorschach is intensely right-wing and anti-Communist. Despite being as mentally (and hygienically) fucked up as possible, he manages to do what none of the others would and (SPOILER) die for what he believes.
5. Barbara Gordon and Dick Grayson get lumped together. I know, it’s cheating, but it is OK. She is Oracle, he is Robin or Nightwing or Batman or whatever. You already know all about them so whatever. And you know what? Maggie’s right. They need to freaking get it on already. Get on it, Morrison!
4. John Constantine almost seemed like an after thought. He was created by Alan Moore as a sort of guide for Swamp Thing when he was freaking out over his identity. What he ended up being was the DCU’s definitive Fox Mulder-style paranormal detective. Pick an author and it’s more than likely that John Constantine has been featured in one of their stories at some point. One of my favorite things about this character is that he ages in real time. Seriously, how much more human can you get than that?
3. Ollie has a hell of a story. Dude was a Bruce Wayne wannabe who crashes onto an island and learns to make and shoot bows and arrows. He eventually gets off the island, dons a Robin Hood-like costume, and becomes a super-liberal crime fighter. He also becomes mayor of Star City, starred in a weird political series with Green Lantern Hal Jordan (written by Dennis O’Neill), marries Black Canary (arguably one of the most sought after ladies of the DCU), and goes through absolute fucking Hell (both literally in Kevin Smith’s run and figuratively in Mike Grell’s excellent The Longbow Hunters). Here’s just an idea I’d like to throw around, though, DC. Queen in the White House in 2012. You KNOW that’d be awesome.
2. Spider Jerusalem is essentially just Hunter S. Thompson if he’d have lived til the future. As much of a “gonzo journalist” as Hunter was, Spider roams around the City “monstering” with his “filthy assistants,” trying to expose the politicians for the dicks they are. He is not one to sell his soul and certainly not one to just roll over. He is as persistent in accomplishing his goals as some of the capes are and certainly willing to die to achieve them. I’m not usually a fan of Warren Ellis’ stuff (Iron Man: Extremis excluded) but his writing on this character is amazing. I’m eventually going to write an entry about the brilliance of Transmetropolitan once I re-read it (for, like, the fifth time).
1. What? I’m putting a MARVEL character at number one? Damn straight I am… Motherfucking Nick Fury. Dude is pretty much in charge of S.H.I.E.L.D, an organization so powerful that it practically controls the Marvel Universe. Nick Fury has the greatest superpower of all, political power, and is able to pretty much get anything he wants done. Plus, the dude can keep HYDRA at bay, and in the Marvel Universe, that is pretty much the hardest thing EVER. Kudos, Mr. Fury. You win at being the bestest regular human EVER.
This is a recap post. As such, it is SPOILERRIFIC. We clear? Okay. Batgirl #1 starts with a bunch of dumb boys racing to see who can stop just short of a wall while some gangleader takes bets on who’ll die, because criminals in Gotham are always psychotic or stupid. A bat-with-boobs swoops in, stopping both cars – but she’s sloppy and causes a lot of property damage and broken bones in the process. That alone should have told you who’s under that cowl.
Dick-Batman and Damien-Robin are skulking somewhere high above the action, just WATCHING, like dicks. They call her sloppy (she is), and Dick says she’s not as good as the OTHER Batgirl, kicking off the spotlight on the romantic tension between Dick and Babs that DC has promised to carry on throughout the year, DAMMIT. Just do it already.
Next page? SPLASH SPOILER ALERT it’s STEPHANIE BROWN, the Bat-family’s bitch. Batman & Robin (whoever they might be at any given moment) couldn’t give less of a shit about her most of the time, unless she’s literally DYING. Her relationship with Tim was full of dramz and afterschool specials that would never get a comics code stamp. A few Red Robin‘s ago she promised to stop patrolling in the Spoiler persona. Yet here she is, inexplicably wearing Cass Cain’s Batgirl costume, which I guess is her way of getting around that whole PROMISE she made to Tim Drake. I mean Wayne. Whatever.
Next, Stephanie’s mom brings her WAFFLES in BED. Best mom ever. But this was SPOILED at SDCC this year. I had prior knowledge of these waffles, dammit! Mom is proud of Steph for going to college and being normal, no more of that vigilante stuff. She steps towards Steph’s closet asking “What are you going to wear?” The Batgirl costume is hanging up in there, so Steph freaks out and gets between her mom and the closet door. I don’t know about you, but to my mom, that would have been a sign to open the closet door and figure out what the fuck I was hiding in there. But no. Mom leaves. Sigh of relief.
Next, Barbara is watching a ladies wheelchair basketball game, coached by Bruce’s friend Dr. Leslie Thompson. Leslie wants Barbara to play basketball with them. Barbara is FML Alan Moore made me so psychotically angry can’t deal. She takes the subway home, and some muggers go for the chick in the wheelchair. Babs gives them what-for, and enjoys the hell out of it and Barbara Gordon is so fucking awesome I can’t deal.
Stephanie in Philosophy 480 at Gotham U. She’s being flakey and not paying attention, drawing Bat symbols all over her notes. Spacing out, she flashes us back to…
Three weeks ago: Steph as Spoiler and Cass as Batgirl are fighting some thugs. There’s a cute little team up jinx moment here that is actually adorable, but when the fight is over Cass is all fuck this shit Bruce is dead and I don’t WANNA. So she gives her Batgirl costume to Steph and disappears.
Next up, Babs has dinner with Commissioner Dad. All the cops still love Barbara cos she was their “little red-headed mascot.” Babs is touched, maybe, but also non-plussed I think. Commissioner Dad wants to hook her up with the hot new detective at GCPD. Babs is annoyed. Dick Grayson calls, and she’s MORE annoyed, cos omg DO IT ALREADY.
Steph is at home, NOT doing her homework. She’s trying to find a way to rationalize breaking promises to at least three different people and going out on patrol anyway. She’s got a police scanner. Homework or vigilante-ism? Guess which one Steph picks?
There’s a riot in Gotham. Commissioner Gordon is there, his guys are getting killed left and right. Nick (who I think might be Hot! Detective) is with the bad guys. They’re roughing each other up until a little bat punches through the window. She does a pretty ok job of beating up the bad guys, but as usual, she kind of fucks it up, almost getting Hot! Detective Nick killed in the process. Nick radios back to Gordon; “I met my first Bat-person! …Wait? Which Bat are you again?” Stephanie skulks off, annoyed.
Next morning, the gratuitous shower scene. I guess she’s college age now so this isn’t THAT icky. Steph is tired, and thinks maybe she should have just done her homework instead of going out and beating up bad guys willy-nilly. She walks downstairs to see…
A VERY annoyed Barbara at her kitchen table. Steph’s mom is held up at work. Babs is annoyed as fuck. Babs tells Steph to have some waffles. This should be a fun talk…except, END of issue.
Yeah, I’m going to keep reading this as long as it’s Barbara-heavy. Honestly, Steph just needs Barbara in her ear at ALL moments of her life, in costume or not. I feel bad for Stephanie. Everyone loves Barbara, but Steph’s been consistently pulled into the Bat-family only to be unceremoniously dumped out of it how many times now? Maybe wearing the Bat-symbol for real will force her to grow up and be a little less nuts and a little more bad ass? Probably not, but getting this much Barbara in a book is good.
I’ll go ahead and a give it a 3.5 out of 5. It was kind of cheesy, but this is meant to be a lighter title, and I LOVE the Gordons so it gets a big boost for that alone. The second they stop showing up though…well, let’s just say I’m less likely to fork my money over for a Batgirl book without at least a Barbara cameo. Just sayin’.