Debriefing #35 ‘Legends of the Dark Knight Vol. 1 (2012)’

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Legends of the Dark Knight Vol 1 (2012)
Writers: Damon Lindelof, B. Clay Moore, Steve Niles, T. J. Fixman, Joshua Hale Fialkov, Jeff Parker
Artists: Jeff Lemire, Ben Templesmith, Trevor Harisine, Christopher Mitten, Phil Hester, Gabriel Hardman

Edgar: Here is a very interesting project for us to discuss as a debrief: a collection of one-shots written by a host of talented writers (not all of them typically related to the domain of comics and graphic novels) as well as a bevy of different artists to brings these tales to life on the page. For the most part since we’ve started this project James, we’ve reviewed large volumes that featured stories spanning multiple issues. Perhaps the only time we discussed a series of one-shots, if memory serves, was when we read the very first collection of Batman stories in Batman Chronicles volume 1.  I’d like to start off by knowing what your sentiments are with one-shot issues in general, their strengths and weaknesses, and then slide into your thoughts on this particular collection. Continue reading

Debriefing #33: Legends of the Dark Knight: Shaman

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Legends of the Dark Knight: Shaman

Writer: Dennis O’Neil

Pencils: Ed Hannigan

Ink: John Beatty and Dick Giordano

This discussion concerns Legends of the Dark Knight (published November 1989) issues 1-5

Edgar: The origin of Batman, a story any fan of the Caped Crusader can recite by heart without any fact checking whatsoever by now. What made Bruce Wayne don the cape and cowl is the stuff of comic book and graphic novel legend. Despite everyone’s familiarity with the material, it always seems as though new writers come along with ideas about how to add more layers, depth, and twists to what Bruce Wayne went through after that fateful night in Crime Alley. Here we are with Legends of the Dark Knight: Shaman, a curious tale about, what else, how Wayne started his career as a masked vigilante. Of course, there is a twist, what with Native American folklore thrown into the mix this time around. James, what were your initial thoughts when turning the early pages of this book and discovered we’d be getting yet another variation of the birth of Batman and did it satisfy? Continue reading

Debriefing #32: ‘Batman: Detective Comics Vol 2: Scare Tactics’

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Batman: Detective Comics Vol 2: Scare Tactics

Writer: Tony S. Daniel, James Tynion IV

Artist: Tony S. Daniel, Ed Benes


Note: This is a discussion of Detective Comics (2012-) issues 8-12, 0 & Annual #1

Edgar: And so we arrive at volume two of DC’s New 52 Batman Detective Comics series. A streak of new mysteries to unravel, some more cumbersome than others. Reading this second package a thought sprang to mind. I get the feeling that this Detective Comics series is in a constant tug of war between establishing a sense of continuity in the Batman comic world and establishing new ground with smaller, more isolated cases for the Dark Knight to solve. Some characters we’ve seen before as well as stories we’ve read about are alluded to or make important returns. James, do you prefer it when Detective Comics is doing its own thing and has Batman investigate new, strange occurrences or do you prefer having things tie in with the great comics universe, such as when the Owls show up? Continue reading

Debriefing #31: ‘Batman: Detective Comics Vol 1: Faces of Death’

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Batman: Detective Comics Vol 1: Faces of Death

Writer: Tony S. Daniel

Artists: Tony S. Daniel, Ryan Winn

James: So far we’ve dabbled a bit into the Detective Comics line, we did go back and see where it all began as well as checking out The Black Mirror. Reading this book, I think it’s fair to say that this is a different tone and texture to the Batman story than what we’ve seen so far in a lot of the main Batman storylines. My question to you is did you appreciate the different atmosphere and texture of this story or did it drift too far away from the familiarity of the Batman stories we love the most? Continue reading

Debriefing #29: “Under the Hood”

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Batman: Under the Hood
Writer: Judd Winick
Artists: Doug Mahnke, Eric Battle, Shane Davis

NOTE: This discussion is spoiler heavy from the onset.

Edgar: If there is one thing you can almost always count on when it comes to important comic book characters, it’s that when a writer decides to kill him or her off, there is a remarkably high chance that they will return in some form some issues later, maybe even months or years laters. It just seems to be the way these books work for better or worse. How fitting then that, mere weeks after reading the controversial Death in the Family storyline we find ourselves discussing Under the Hood, an important story in Batman lore that raises Jason Todd from the dead in spectacular fashion (again, for good or ill). I feel like starting the conversation by asking a simple, if loaded, question to you James: Should Jason have stayed dead or not? Continue reading

Debriefing #26: ‘A Death in the Family’

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Batman: A Death in the Family
Writer: Jim Starlin
Penciler: Jim Aparo
Inker: Mike DeCarlo
Letterer: John Costanza
Colorist: Adrienne Roy
Covers: Mike Mignola

Edgar: Few stories in the entire Batman cannon can claim to have historic significance for the main protagonist and the world he lives in. Some stories are great, some are memorable, but only a select few share tales that shake the foundations of Batman and what he does to the extent that Jim Starlin’s Death in the Family does. Even back in the day when the issues were being published, the buzz surrounding this major event-type story caught a feverish pitch amongst Batman readers. We’ll get into specifics as we go along I’m sure, but to get us started I’d like to know if you felt that the pivotal death, the leadup, the demise, and the aftermath carried as significant a weight for you as comic book lore claims. Continue reading

Debriefing #25: ‘Batman Chronicles Vol. 1’

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Batman Chronicles Vol. 1
Writer: Bill Finger
Artist: Bob Kane

James: With a character as popular and long-lasting as Batman, I think modern audiences are quick to take elements of the character for granted. Batman is such an iconic, legendary character that it’s easy to assume that he emerged as a fully-formed character. The truth, as we see from going back to the first appearance of the Bat, is a bit different. However, there are still a lot of recognizable elements here. My question to you is what do you make of the similarities and differences? Was it cool to see Batman still in incubation or did you find these early stores a crude shadow of what is to come? Continue reading