I gave up on King’s Batman run when the proposal issue was just a series of disjointed pages with janky dialogue.
Tom King’s biggest influences are 80s Alan Moore and 80s Frank Miller.
So, you’re gonna get some violence.
Being a dad might have something to do with it but I’ve felt this way for a while. If you have a western and someone kills Clint Eastwood’s kids in act one so he can kill 800 people and get his revenge, fine. I don’t like it in superhero books to explain why a guy decides to dress up like a kite.
I put this in the DC thread, but it should go here - I see that Superman 28 came out this week, so I’ll re-post and delete the other one.
Superman 27 & 28 has been such a great switch of pace after the large action packed Black Dawn arc.
Thomasi & Gleeson really have a handle on how to keep this book interesting, I love their approach.
This Declaration storyline has been both educational and emotional. It was quite heavy handed at times, but I don’t mind that because it came from the right place.
I came away from it wanting to re-evaluate my life a bit and try harder to do the right thing more often.
I think that’s a comic be proud of, I wish my kids were old enough to read this.
I don’t know if it’s the fact that I’ve definitely become more emotional in the last few years, or whether this was generally moving, but my eyes watered more than once and I shed a tear at the end.
There’s room for the darkness of Batman when your line is becoming diverse enough to balance that out.
I’m fine with violence. I’m not fine with killing kids, especially for some dumb shit like Kite Man.
I’m just saying, that’s a thing that was very popular in the 80s. Using Vigilante to talk about child rape, turning Clayface into a tragic and insane figure, the Joker going from fun-clown to psycho mass murderer. The horror, juxtaposed against the absurd, making them each stand out in relief.
I’m not making any judgements/excuses, just saying that this sort of thing can be expected from Tom King, I think, and it’s got a long tradition in comics.
The latest issue was a “sniper duel” between Deathstroke and Deadshot. It’s a GREAT idea for a story, and there is one cool sequence where their bullets hit each other. Beyond that, however, there’s nothing. I have no idea why these two characters are siding with the Joker and Riddler. I’m not sure why 100 bystanders are dying in a duel between two supreme marksmen. Are they just shooting people? It makes no sense. I’d love to see King write a real take on these two characters duelling and their strategies and oneupmanship. Instead he delegates the action to blurbs and we don’t even see any of it. It strikes me as a missed opportunity as much as anything.
I do share Robert’s overall take on King’s Batman, there are some bits that border on taking it to great heights and then a lot of misses. The tone is quite uneven, he started with a more fantastical take and then it gets very dark in other places.
It may be the bi-weekly schedule takes its toll more than his other works. Omega Men and The Vision did show his debt to Alan Moore (he’s not shy about that but who cares, take from the best) in the way the structure of both was so well done.
I’ll keep reading as a faltering attempt at the best is always better than no attempt at all but I’m still waiting for that classic story I know he is capable of. It may give something away that when he was asked by DC what he really wants to write he shied away from the big guns and went for Mr Miracle.
The I Am Suicide story was great. The I Am Bane follow up not so much as it was yet one more iteration of the once quarterly Batman story where he decides that he needs To Do This Alone instead of use the Batman family to assist.
From what’s been said here, I can see why the current arc can be problematic.
To me it’s all very well to say the aim is to make the villains more villainous, but if that goes too far, it ends up undermining the hero - so, if you have the Joker and Riddler on a murder spree, with Batman helpless to stop them, it raises the Q of what Batman is needed for? If he can’t do anything, why bother?
At the same time, if the villains are being such total psychopaths then, regardless of Batman not killing, why hasn’t Gotham simply executed them? As, at some point, the ideal of taking the risk of trying to rehabilitate the Joker or Riddler is going to have to be set against the potential threat they pose to the population.
To keep a series like Batman going, some restraint on the villains is needed. King does seem to be aware of this, as the I Am Gotham arc has Waller intervening in Gotham because there’s been too many crises in too short a timespan for the government not to, that Batman may have been reactive and dealing with events as they happen, but that in itself isn’t enough. So maybe there will be an overall plan to this arc that also manges to answer the questions it raises.
re: Violence / darker content
It’s kind of interesting how this works as it isn’t a consistent thing. Some years back I read the first volume of Torpedo. didn’t go any further because the story was viciously nasty, very well executed yes, but also nasty. I reviewed it on a predecessor of the Trades Thread and a couple of others commented their experience matched mine. Yet, at the same time, there had been no shortage of messed-up stories we’d enjoyed, say Preacher. Some things are just going to grab you in a certain way, maybe they wouldn’t have years before, but they do now.
Justice League #26 - I’m a sucker for stories that feature dystopian future heroes that have to go into the past to prevent their reality from happening. X-Men has done it a few times and the Avengers have done it once or twice but I don’t recall the Justice League ever doing it. It looks like the setup for a great story. The only downside is that I just read that @bryanhitch will be leaving the series though how soon is unclear. His writing and occasional art has been incredible on this book. I’ll be sorry to see him go but looking for what he does next.
Superman #28 - Another incredible issue on this book. I really enjoyed the continuance of the Kent’s vacation through various American war memorials. The section about Lois’ uncle had me choked up a little. I thought the whole thing threaded a nice line of being patriotic while also realizing the inherent faults that we still struggle to overcome as a country. I’ve always seen Superman as a symbol of that. This two-parter might have had more punch had it came out over the 4th of July but I think it’s juxtaposition to my recent viewing of Dunkirk helped me appreciate it.
Maybe finishing Real Heroes?
My preference re: darker things is if they don’t overtake or hinder aspects of the narrative.
Such as Kick-Ass. The first mini was a fun exploitation-esque ride. The second was simply about darker moments that it stopped everything wry or sardonic about the first dead in their tracks. Throwing everything off.
This is a great post with lots of food for thought. I will say in defense of the book as far as this point goes that this is something of a “year one” kind of story.
While the Riddler starts off in Arkham it’s clearly meant to be early in his career.
They did it during Morrison’s run where they kill Darkseid.
Here’s the bad news - that was 20 years ago more or less.
Yeah, I had the same reaction. I think it was in part two, there were two amazing double-page spreads showing all the villains that aligned with Riddler, and all the villains that aligned with Joker. And, as cool as it looked, I couldn’t help but think, why would these villains take the sides that they did? And why take any side at all? You’re telling me EVERY major villain in Gotham chose to fall in with either Joker or Riddler… I would think at least a few of them (honestly, probably most of them) would say “screw both of you” and sit back and let them tear each other apart.
I added new ones:
1-James Bond (Dynamite)
2-Divided States of Hysteria
Anyone here reading Animosity? I just put the first issue down, and I’m… intrigued, if not hooked.
I’ve read the first 5 issues. Solid work by all involved. I’m enjoying it.