Bottom of the Pile: Oct. 28th, 2015

Batgirl



In case you needed to know, Dick's response to Barbara's monologue is, "Yeah...you're right."   This is just...legitimately bad, and pretty much indefensible.   This issue could have played out in any number of ways.  It's about the marriage of longtime Batgirl supporting character Alysia Yeoh--it could've just been about Batgirl trying to keep the wedding day from exploding while dealing with some criminal threatening Burnside.   (Or to be honest, the opening is adorable as all hell so it could've just been about the wedding and I'm pretty sure Batgirl's current target audience would've been all about it.)  It features Lucius Fox, so it COULD have been about briefly bringing him out of retirement as Batwing for a team-up between the two.  Or if it just HAD to feature Dick Grayson, you could've done one of those neat comic books where a villain they're dealing with today is one they dealt with when they first met, or when they first realized they had feelings for one another, and at the same time had Dick show up WITHOUT acting like he didn't lie to any and everyone he cared about by faking his death to infiltrate Spyral for Bruce's sake.  That was something I was looking forward to him dealing with like a real person, rather than swooping in like a ginormous tool. 

There's LITERALLY no reason for him to have acted this way, and he's never been this emotionally insensitive or insecure before.  I'm lost, and can't think of any real reason why he would act this way...save that the creators let the shoujo-y tone of the comic go to their head and forget that Dick has an actual life and characterization that exists outside of this series.




Cyborg
So DC's multiverse is meant to contain 52 different universes, each with it's own Earth.  That's a pretty small number, so if even one is missing...isn't that a BIG deal?   This raises all sorts of questions that Didio's new DCYou Earth isn't really equipped to answer.  Basically, the answer is "each comic takes place in it's own multiverse", or something like that, which gives me a major headache.  You're told not to worry about it, and the issue itself is good so it's ignored easily enough, but the continuity nerd in me likes worrying about things like this.

Continuity, or "consistent characterization and the existence of past events" as normal people call it, isn't a bad thing.  The ever-growing, ever-evolving patchwork that are the DC and Marvel Universes is a good thing.  It's what makes them stand out from every other type of genre, and

Justice League Darkseid War: Batman

If you're not reading Justice League (and you absolutely should if you like traditional superhero comics at all, it's fantastic), what's happened recently is that there's been a war between Darkseid and the Anti-Monitor.  The fallout from which has caused some dark and possibly (but probably not) irrevocable changes to several of our favorite members of the Justice League.  In Batman's case, he's come into possession of the New God of Knowledge, Metron's, Moebius Chair.   The chair has granted him near-omniscience across time and space.

Now honestly it's actually cool that Metron's first words during the War arc are "No mortal can handle the chair" only for Batman to respond with a quick "You THOUGHT" and go zipping off into the multiverse with ultimate knowledge.   And the idea that the chair actually IS too much for a mere mortal but Batman's just ignoring it because Batman, is cool too.  But uhhh...scenes like this make it sound like Bruce found a spooky vampire chair, which pushes us from "ridiculous but cool" into just plain stupid.   Going forward I hope we kind of gloss over the idea that the Chair is essentially "keeping Bruce alive for its own evil purposes" and get back to the "hey, you're still human, idiot" angle.

New Avengers
The Maker.  What if...basically, everyone forgot about the last time we took one of Marvel's famous super scientists and made him evil.  You want proof that someone higher up in Marvel has a problem with the Fantastic Four?   How about the fact that we're a month into our post-Secret Wars universe, and we've seen issue summaries from the solicitations up to January, and we still haven't seen hide no hair of the real Reed Richards, one of the main characters from what was Marvel's first comic book.

But I'm just poking fun.  New Avengers is ridiculous in the best kind of way--hi-tech superheroes complete with all the scientific gobbledly gook that you'd think would go with a book like this.  If we're off to this great a start I can't wait to see what writer Al Ewing does with his other Avengers-like book, The Ultimates.


Sinestro
So, there's very little reason for these two to hang out, but I'd love it if Sinestro and Black Adam could be benevolently evil-villain bros.   They have so much in common--granted incredible powers from magical beings who expected them to be benevolent protectors, only to be horrified when they saw the true characters of these so-called paradigms of righteous behavior.  But neither of them are "evil" per se, they just choose to enforce cold justice without mercy.  Ultimately, they have the same character arc--from hero to misunderstood villain to anti-hero to non-threatening monarch, and Cullen Bunn does a great job highlighting that this issue.

Also, they're just funny.   "I met an enemy...and that enemy was vanquished."   Arrogant, but entirely accurate.  

Spider-Man 2099

One of the few changes in superhero comics I'm always up for is a new costume.  No, they can't all be good, but who wears the same outfit every day?

My only problem with this one is that Miguel O'Hara's from the future.  Listing all these technological advantages only serve to highlight that a guy from over eighty years into our future shouldn't actually need the technology we could actually be capable of making. 

But then, when your future's somehow a radioactive mess and you don't know how it happened or how to fix it, I guess you have to make do with what you have.

Transformers: Retribution

In case further proof is needed that IDW's Transformers run is the greatest, this comic is it.  They've succeeded in turning the Dinobots into actual characters.  Sure, people always loved them...but why?  They were always walking meme machines.   "They're robots who transform into DINOSAURS!"   ....Aaaaand, that's it.  If anything, the G1 Dinobots were a perfect example of why even on the 80s show the Autobots weren't all that heroic: they enlisted a mini-army of mentally handicapped Cybertronians and took advantage of their crazy retard strength in order to help fight the Decepticons.  Those aren't the actions of a hero--they're the actions of a military leader trying to end an eons-long war.

But IDW has given them a believable character arc: they're some of the Autobots' strongest soldiers, but they've been long desensitized to violence in its most visceral forms.  They did what what they had to during the war, even when that often required inhumane actions.  But war even changed them in ways that some might say there's no coming back from, like basically obliterating infant Cybertronians before they could be used by Decepticons as future soldiers.

"Can you come back from the edge of the abyss" is a pretty well-worn story, but Retribution tells it well, and by the end the reader can actually have hope for the Dinobots as working characters, rather than just archetypes.  I'm actually excited to read a Dinobots comic--that's something I couldn't even imagine myself saying just a month ago.

We Are Robin

The idea behind We Are Robin combines vigilantism, youth activism, and the recent grassroots movements that have popped up over the last few years to make a comic book.  On paper it sounds cool; in this great era of change, create a book that can tap into all these things at once.  But in practice?  It just points out the inherent absurdity of the Robin concept in the first place: you're placing a bunch of kids on the streets of the most crime-filled city in America, where things like THIS can happen.   

And it's even worse than what Bruce used to do: at least those kids had proper training, proper equipment and training IN that equipment, and they made SOME effort to keep their identities concealed so they couldn't be attacked when they went out in public to live normal lives.  We Are Robin tosses most of that aside in order to give hi-tech equipment to a bunch of kids that don't know how to use it.  And the result is, well...BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM. 

It's an interesting read, but only becuase it's so unintentionally funny.

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