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 #30: ‘Batman: The Animated Series’ Vol 2 Disk 2

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Batman: The Animated Series Volume 2 Disk 2

Directors: Boyd Kirkland, Frank Paur, Kevin Alteri, and Eric Radomski

Writers: Buzz Dixon, Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens, Bynne Stephens, David Wise, Paul Dini, and Cherie Wilkerson

 Note: This is a discussion of the episodes Cat Scratch Fever, The Strange Secret of Bruce Wayne, Heart of Steel (Part 1 & 2), If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Rich?, Joker’s Wild, and Tyger, Tyger

Edgar: As we go deeper and deeper into Batman: The Animated Series, more familiar villains are provided additional episodes, while some long forgotten ones receive their share of the spotlight for the first time and still in other cases entirely new foes are brought into the ring to challenge the Dark Knight. This batch of adventures presents a healthy mixture of each scenario, some of which I found to be stronger than others. James, were you more interested in the repeat offenders like The Joker and Catwoman, were you more excited by the first time appearances of old friends like The Riddler and Doctor Strange or did you prefer the entirely new maleficent maniacs we got this time around? 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 #27: ‘Batman: The Animated Series’ Vol 1 Disk 4

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Batman: The Animated Series Volume 1 Disk 4

Creators: Eric Radomski and Bruce Timm

Directors: Boyd Kirkland, Frank Paur, Dick Sebast and Kevin Altieri

Writers: Paul Dini, Michael Reaves, Samuel Warren Joseph, David Wise, Gerry Conway, Judith Reeves-Stevens and Garfield Reeves-Stevens

Note: This discussion covers the episodes The Joker’s Favor, Vendetta, Fear of Victory, The Clock King, Appointment in Crime Alley, Mad as a Hatter and Dreams in Darkness.

James: After getting a variety of episodes over our first three discussions, this round of episodes is a bit different. There are some new characters introduced, but the series begins to stray into what a lot would consider the b-list of Batman antagonists. Still memorable for Batman fans, but not someone the average person would recognize. My question is, going forward, do you find these characters, both old and new, as fun, memorable and interesting as the big hitters or do you think this series of episodes is a noticeable step down on the character side of things? 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

Debriefing #24: ‘Batman’ (1989)

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Batman (1989)
Director: Tim Burton
Screenwriters: Sam Hamm and Warren Skaaren
Cast: Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson, Kim Basinger, Michael Gough, Billy Dee Williams

Edgar: If only I could have been my age in the summer of 1989. I was only 6 and therefore my memory of the Batman craze that took over is a little hazy. In fact, I don’t believe I saw Batman in cinemas but rather on home video some time later. Today, Tim Burton is seen as something of a hack, an uninspired choice for movies that could do well by hiring directors with fresher takes on the stories. 1989 pretty much put Burton on the map. His 1989 Batman is celebrated by many, fondly remembered by most and was for all intents and purposes one of the most important comic book to movie adaptations ever. James, I’m obviously curious to know what your general opinion of the film is but I’m almost more interested to know if you think ‘Batman’, to you, is mostly a Batman movie, a Tim Burton movie or a solid combination of both? Continue reading