Month: May 2010

100 Days, 100 Comics #81: ‘Batman and Robin’ #12

Posted by – May 9, 2010

Well, that was something. Way back at the end of Batman and Robin #4 Morrison had me onboard with the Oberon Sexton mystery, and I’m happy to see that my worst fears weren’t realized, but it turns out I wasn’t far off. Spoiler Alert: Don’t read on to the next paragraph if you don’t want to be exposed to the big reveal at the end of this issue.

The current storyarc has really been humming for the last few months, and Oberon Sexton turning out to be The Joker more or less means that things are ostensibly at fever pitch right now. The duplicitous Sexton/Domino Killer reveal made the unmasking intriguing, even if it compels me to point out the drastically different shape of Sexton’s head and face shapes compared to those of The Joker. It’s a petty aesthetic quibble, but it also constitutes a small cheat on Morrison and his artists’ parts. Nevertheless, narratively and as a plot device, it works.

Furthermore, the rest of issue #12 was full of solid beats as well. Damian’s clarified fall from the House of Ra’s al Ghul was great, and the opening fight between Dick and Slade Wilson/Damian was both fun visually and a well-developed convergence of old and new plot threads. The whole book this month was vintage Morrison, and Andy Clarke, Scott Hanna and Dustin Nguyen’s artwork may have required a prism of collaborations, but it gelled serviceably.

As a series, Batman and Robin has been an unexpected multi-ring circus of hits, misses, and artists, but now that it’s over the 12-issue hill, the big pictures looks much better than you might have expected it to last fall.

100 Days, 100 Comics #80: ‘Brightest Day’ #1

Posted by – May 9, 2010

I do of course realize that there’s no overarching rule outlining what an issue #0 and an issue #1 need to be, but that lack of law doesn’t change the fact that this was really the second issue of a miniseries and formally came together a bit awkwardly. The core story about Boston Brand advanced a few inches, and the underlying situation got some more definition, but as a first chapter in an epic story, Brightest Day #1 just wasn’t what the cover appeared to be selling.

Brightest Day #0 left me with a very pleasant aftertaste going into both the series and the post-Blackest Night DCU. If you hold it up against issue #1, however, and list the five most important actions or events between them, I’d challenge you to give more than one of those bullets to this chapter. And that’s my biggest complaint. It wasn’t that this was necessarily a bad comic. It just felt like a second issue.

In fact, the final reveal at the end, which I won’t spoil, is great, but the hilariousness of the character choice and focal point as issue #1′s big surprise, just served to punctuate this read as an advancement of issue #0 with nowhere near the payload of page-by-page cliffhangers shock moments.

That said, the Deadman tale was what hooked me in issue #0, and Boston’s storyline remained intriguing here, even if it was given a minimal number of panels. In as much as Geoff Johns, Peter Tomasi, Ivan Reis, Pat Gleason, Ardian Syaf and everyone else succeeded on that front, I’d be interested to know why there wasn’t a #2 on the cover.

Let me go on the record, too, as saying this book could have been numbered as #-3 and I still would have loved the zombie shark action just as much. On no pages have these artists’ talent been better used than during the Aquaman scene, and I hope to see much, much more in Brightest Day #2.