The Haul: James ‘Skullkicker’ Gordon

Road Home: BatgirlBruce Wayne – The Road Home: Batgirl
Miller, Perez, Davis
[DC Comics]

Another winner for the Road Home, but one that I’m not really sure where to fit it in. At the end of each issue it tells you which book the plot (mostly the Vicki Vale stuff) continues in, but this and Outsiders both lead into Catwoman, and none lead into Batgirl. Oh well. As for the book itself, yet again Bruce is testing his Batfamily, in this case the new Batgirl Stephanie Brown. With their past the way it is, with Stephanie always being thought of as the Robin who wasn’t good enough (or for some, never really a Robin at all), this issue was potentially going to be a harsh one for fans. But, Miller did an excellent job, and having Bruce compare Stephanie to Dick Grayson was a great way to establish growth. Additionally, Stephanie’s responses to the ‘test’ were appropriate and funny, and the entire issue still felt like a Batgirl issue, and not a separate plot. This is probably my favourite Road Home book, after Red Robin.

Road Home: CatwomanBruce Wayne – The Road Home: Catwoman
Fridolfs, Nguyen, Davis
[DC Comics]

An interesting issue with Bruce, as the Insider, testing Catwoman (Selina Kyle), by having her gather information on Vicki Vale’s investigation. While some of the issue feels mostly pointless, the relationship between Batman and Catwoman is touched on, and it was something that proves necessary to have considered. Another reason for Bruce’s test is Catwoman’s associates from ‘Gotham City Sirens’, Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn.  The Vicki Vale story is continued of course, and leads directly into the events of The Road Home – Commissioner Gordon. As for Peter Nguyen’s art, Catwoman, and indeed all of the sirens, looked splendid, as did Bruce as the Insider (and as Batman in a flashback). Overall, a decent issue, but Bruce’s test felt too easy and pointless.

Road Home: Commissioner GordonBruce Wayne – The Road Home: Commissioner Gordon
Beechen, Kudranski, Davis
[DC Comics]

This issue was a different one for the Road Home. It puts the focus on Vicki Vale, with Commissioner Gordon protecting her from criminals trying to get the information she knows about Batman’s identity. This means that this issue is done from a third-person perspective, with Bruce and Vicki getting first-person narrative boxes. This allows for a level of detachment from Gordon, and allows us to experience his actions through an intermediary, which means not only do we see him do stuff, but we get to hear Bruce and Vicki being impressed. And it really works well. The entire issue really builds Gordon up into this hugely imposing character, but recognises that Gordon isn’t enough on his own. Bruce’s reverence for Jim is a major theme, and the way their relationship is treated is faithful to both characters. As for the art, it has some dark, noirish overtones which I loved, and suits this story well, but I can’t see it working outside of this sort of GCPD-type plot. Of course, were there to be another ‘Gotham Central’-ish book, I’d encourage DC to look at this creative team.

Batman and Robin #15Batman and Robin #15
Morrison, Irving
[DC Comics]

I’ve had a somewhat awkward reading of Morrison’s Batman and Robin. But even still, I can see this issue is rather amazing. The intro with the Joker, Damian’s actions and the spectacular last page all add up to a great issue. Irving’s art still hasn’t sold me, it’s a very painterly style that I don’t quite think fits Batman and Robin. However, there is occasionally a panel that shows off exactly what Irving’s art can potentially do, such as the final splash page and a number of almost horrifying close-ups. We’re coming to the end of the Morrison era on Batman and Robin, with him going off to write Batman Incorporated, and this story which ties in with Return of Bruce Wayne and Batman and spans two Batmen is a great way to end a run.

Batman Beyond #5Batman Beyond #5 (of 6)
Beechen, Benjamin, Stanisci
[DC Comics]

With the news that Beechen will be relaunching this series in January as an ongoing series, Batman Beyond has reached it’s penultimate issue in this limited series. With that comes all the plot revelations. In issue #4, we found out that the killer who had taken the name and MO of Batman’s old villain Hush was actually Dick Grayson. In issue 5 we get lots of explanations which for the most part are logical and fine, but feel like a bit of a cop out. We also have the new Catwoman helping out Terry after Hush leaves him injured. And of course we have Bruce being a sap about how he’s a stupid old man and how Terry is great. The issue really didn’t draw me in, and the exposition sort of ruins it, but it’s not necessarily bad, just worse than the rest of the series.

Skullkickers #2Skullkickers #2
Zubkavich, Huang, Coats
[Image]

After a highly successful first issue, issue #2 follows where the last left off. Monsters. Then some stuff happens and they torture a guy for information, then they attempt to steal stuff from a caravan, but goblins attack first. So yeah, lots of fun fantasy drivel, but it’s interesting because of the dynamic between the two nameless heroes (The Q&A section refers to them as ‘Baldy’ and ‘Shorty’). So far the plot is a little thin, but everything else makes up for it, including the art, which is crisp and vivid, although a little unusual during the scenes with the monsters. I don’t really know what else to say about this book other than that it’s cool and fantasy fans will dig it.

Loki #1Loki #1 (of 4)
Aguirre-Sacasa, Fiumara, Lacombe, Villarrubia
[Marvel]

Joining in with the multitude of Thor-related mini-series Marvel are churning out at the moment is Loki, which is surprisingly one of the best of the bunch. While I can’t say the art matches Binachi’s work on Thor for Asgard, the plot, at least in this first issue, is one of the most intriguing Thor concepts I’ve read. The issue is told mostly from a third-person perspective, narrating the story and also a myth involving Loki and the creation of Mjolnir and a number of other items (Gungnir etc.). The book also deals with the way in which myths are treated in Marvel, with Loki and Thor remembering the tales differently. Loki is terrified by memories of an event that Thor is certain did not occur. It’s a really clever way to deal with characters that can become rather dull, or excessively complex and inaccessible because of the mythology. Simply a smart read.

I did also get Thor First Thunder #2, but I still haven’t read First Thunder #1. The reason is the utterly horrific art, which looks fuzzy and the character’s faces are godawful. So I definitely don’t recommend First Thunder.

-Brad

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About Brad
I am the Captain of the Starship Lollipants from the planet Buttermonkey, setting off on a wild adventure to discover some stuff and probably receive psychiatric assistance. Oh look, a butterfly made of peanuts. OM NOM NOM.

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