Summer has officially arrived. I’ve busted out my surf board, bought some new board shorts, and planned several beach trips. That’s how I celebrate the constant 100 degrees heat with evening showers (I live in Florida). How does DC Comics celebrate summer? By rolling up their sleeves and giving us more Batman comics than any fan community deserves. It’s like a sand storm on the horizon of the Tatooine dessert. Don’t worry though, I’ll be your guide through the storm and maybe help you decide how to spend your hard earned summer savings. We’ll split up the comics coming out this summer in their order of assumed importance rather than their quality (since I’ve not read them all and most of them are not out yet; wouldn’t be a fair list any other way).
Batman books you need to buy: Continuity; can’t live with it, can’t live without it. In a way we’re all pathetic slaves to it (but that’s a little of what makes us comic book fans though right?) And so here are the books that are probably most relevant if wanting to keep up with what will stand the test of time.
Whether you like his run on Batman or not Grant Morrison is in a way just getting started. From Batman and Son to Final Crisis, it’s all been leading up to this series, where Grant makes history by giving us a new Batman. We as the reader know that Bruce is alive and his return is unenviable but to the DC world Dick Grayson is THE Batman now. Although out of the main Batman title this series is Grant’s baby and DC has given him full continuity reign. So for at least the time being, what Grant says, sticks. And as someone who did not particularly enjoy Batman R.I.P. issue #1 was great. So there is no reason NOT to be excited about this.
Can’t get much more official than the actual Batman title. Judd Winick, bringer backer of Jason Todd via a Superboy tantrum, is taking his second stab at this title and if #687 showed us anything it’s that Batman is going to be one heck of a ride (helps too that he’s getting an artist like Mark Bagley). With Gotham and the Bat-family turned upside down it will be interesting to see how things unfold.
Now, due to this being out of the 2 main Batman titles and in the hands of someone other than Grant Morrison, there is a small risk that the events in Streets of Gotham could end up going unnoticed, but I highly doubt it. Paul Dini made a statement during Heart of Hush; he cannot be ignored. It’s most likely to make a difference because Batman doesn’t play a huge role here; his supporting cast does. Guys like Jim Gordan and Thomas Elliot is who Dini is playing with and given his history with Batman and his buddies I trust that this will quickly become a big title.
Batman books that will matter, but just how much is yet to be seen: The life and story of Batman spreads wide throughout DC; sometimes the side-stories make a big splash and other times it doesn’t. These titles have yet to show us how much they will effect our batty friend but odds are you at least need to keep up with em.
Despite being the birth place of Batman, Detective Comics falls just shy of the top list because it’s no longer Batman’s book (at least not for awhile). This book now belongs to the Kathy Kane Batwoman, who made her staple appearance into DC continuity through the 52 series. The good news, Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams are in the drivers seat and although this book might not effect our Dark Knight all that much in the end, it looks to be worth every penny.
Geoff John’s isn’t the biggest writer at DC right now because he’s cheap, it’s because he’s freaking amazing. Blackest Night marks the third part of his trilogy throughout Green Lantern comics and it’s effects will not only include what seems to be an important appearance by Batman (WHICH Batman is yet to be seen) but promies to extend throughout the entire DC universe. Do yourself a favor and don’t miss this.
Ok, issue #1 was a bit of a disappointment, and I get the feeling the world won’t stop spinning if you don’t buy this title but what makes it this high on the list is that out of all the characters and stories branching out of the events of R.I.P. and Final Crisis this is the only one really pointing to the soonest return of ol’ Brucey. Time Wayne (not Drake; apparently thats a big deal now) doesn’t believe Bruce is dead and is out for proof. Our first hints at his return might come out of this title. So if you don’t buy it at least hit up the boards or Wikipedia.
I‘m a big Batman fan, give me more! Say no more, here are some books that are supposed to be in continuity, probably won’t matter, but are worth at least a mention.
Paul Dini takes on Catwomen, Poision Ivy, and Harley Quinn. Why would someone want to read this? Well, first off Catwomen has been more of bad ass than ever lately (killing Black Mask than recovering from her heart being surgically removed) second, Dini is on a roll, thirdly, JG Jones knows his comic book spandex wearing women (hey, don’t judge me).
Although not really having anything to do with Batman himself, DC is giving us an all new Batgirl. This has mega upside as it’s got some great creators behind it and the who is still a mystery; but if DC has failed anywhere lately it’s been in the element of surprise. This falls so far on the list not because it’s not promising but mostly because the person behind the mask is likely to be someone my 3-year old cousin could guess, . I hope I’m wrong though. MAN I hope I’m wrong.
Screw what matters: Enough with the continuity crap! Just give me some good ol’ classic Batman
This looks a-mazing. DC’s new 12-week weekly series is a call back to the newspaper strips, and they have collected some of the best artists in the industry to do so. Vince B from 11 O’Clock Comics podcast put it perfectly, “It’s sex on paper.” Not only do the Batman segments look mind blowing but even the second tier guys like Atom Strange look mind blowing. The only reason this isn’t higher on this list is because this is a “what matters” list. If this was a “what to buy despite what matters” list it would be looking at the number 1 or 2 spot.
Taken right out of the first couple of weeks in Bruce’s crime fighting career Batman Confidential gives us great stories, suspense, art, and it all features THE Bruce Wayne. If you want to take a break from the craziness, here is your outlet.
Just barely making the summer cut Kevin Smith’s 12-issue Batman mini series kicks off. Now, given the mixed reviews on Batman Cacophony and the fact that I personally was kinda bored with it, I don’t know what to make of this. I do know this though, a) it’s hard to tell what someone’s trying to do in 3 issues b) Kevin Smith is original, which I really appreciate and c) the guy knows his comics. I might wait till trade, or for the first couple of issues to come out, but I’ll be giving this a try one way or another.
Although not out rightly said Superman/Batman has pretty much been out of continuity since Jeph Loeb left. Although a little wacky at times (the Justice Titans? Gothamopolis?) some great creators are on the book and the story telling is still par of the course. I havn’t read anything past about issue #25 but the fact that it’s lasted 60+ issues should say something. And those upcoming Francis Manapul covers, wowzers!
This one is for the kids, not us big adults. Course; so is Spongebob, but I make sure it’s towards the top of my DVR list. If you want fun Batman and enjoy some of the old “Wham!” and “Pow!” stuff look no further. And to make it even better, it’s the cheapest title out of all the ones mentioned.
So there you have it folks, I don’t think I missed anything. In total were looking at 13 titles that will heavily feature either Batman or the Batman-family in some way. And that doesn’t count some of the smaller appearances he’s making in titles like Booster Gold and the JLA. No matter your feelings on what’s been going on lately I can’t image that with 13 Bat-titles out this summer you can’t find something you don’t like. My last words of advice on deciding what to and what not to buy along with what does and does not matter remember this; comics are about having fun first. If classic Bruce Wayne and spandex Harley Quinn is your thing, than go for it! Or if you are REALLY curious about the new Batgirl and Batwoman and can wait to hear all the other stuff goes down do that too. But whatever you do don’t let the editors who decide what does and doesn’t survive be the only thing guiding you.
Oh, and come back here for all the reviews!