The Roundtable

NOTE: The individual opinions of each Roundtable contributor are their own, and is not representative of anybody but that contributor.

THE LOSERS gets optioned by Warner Bros [More: Here]

PAUL “WARSAW” SEBERT: Sing it with me… o/Even those Loooosers… they get lucky sometiiiiiimes.

Online preview of INFINITE CRISIS #1 [Sneak: Peek]

PAUL SEBERT: Seen it in Wizard two months ago. *Yawn* Just hope we don’t see The Ray joing the growing line-up on Dan Didio’s Body-Count of Fun! (TM)

TIM “LEADERS OF MEN” STEVENS: That preview would be a lot more impressive if I hadn’t already seen it in Wizard. And yes, I know, you couldn’t see Mongul in that one, but, really did that so change the tone of the piece for anyone?

Also, anyone else annoyed that we can’t abbreviate INFINITE CRISIS to IC because IDENTITY CRISIS is also IC? Yes…my life is this sad.

IAIN “DIGITAL” BURNSIDE: IC and IDC. Problem solved.

Stop buying Wizard, it rots your teeth.

ANDY “AUTOSUGGESTION” CAMPBELL: Ah, so that explains my chronic tooth rot.

Thanks, Dr. Burnside!

TIM STEVENS: I refuse to jump on the anti-Wizard bandwagon. I’ve never had a compelling reason to and my boy Ben works for them. Sorry Iain, any other crusade, you know I’d have your back, but for this…you are on your own.

IAIN BURNSIDE: In that case I hereby call a crusade to get me my very own pet monkey.

TIM STEVENS: To the battlements!!!!

KEVIN “TRANSMISSION” MAHONEY: I didn’t read the Wizard Preview. I haven’t had the $$$ to buy Wizard since my finances went to hell and I get my news from ComicsNexus anyway. I thought the art looked great, but I’m questioning the use of the new Zoom. Except for the Cheetah-Zoom conection, the guy ain’t a team player in the slightest.

PAUL SEBERT: I actually like Wizard as they’re actually a pretty good source for nice juicy interviews and industry news but…

Someone has to answer for that article praising Miller and Lee’s ALL-STAR BATMAN & ROBIN as “the best Batman ever!” Really…

I know it’s easy to get worked up over the hype about the creative team but… damn… issue #2 is a heaping pile of suck.

MATT “SHE’S LOST CONTROL” MORRISON: Thank you! And here I thought I was alone in thinking that Batman and Robin sucked.

I’d say more, but I’ll be saying plenty in the next LTTS, so mum is the word.

I’ll happily get behind the anti-Wizard band-wagon. Don’t get me wrong – I read a few issues since Ben started working for them and his stuff is good. But for the most part, its become Maxim for the geek crowd. If it weren’t for the exclusive previews and interviews, they’d have nothing. We scoop them on the news and our reviewers are a lot more in-depth and intellectually pleasing 9 times out of 10.

PAUL SEBERT: If the thread on it over at Scans Daily is any indication… I think the mob is quite angry. Judge for yourself.

Anyway the only Bat-title I’m enjoying at the moment J. H. Williams III & Dan Curtis Johnson’s Snow arc over at LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT. I imagine a lot of people might have written off this story arc because of Seth Fisher’s very quirky abstract art style… but it’s really the only Bat-Book on the market at the moment that portrays Bruce as a genuine human being (albiet a flawed one.)

“INCUBATION” COREN: You mean Robin and Batman: The Boy Lover? Yeah, that stuff is seriously bad, and not at all up to the standards I hold Frank Miller to. Apparently he thinks that Asshole Batman is a viable concept outside of Dark Knight Returns, and it’s really just not working. Plus – shooting the Grayson’s? Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.

PAUL SEBERT: I have to say in this age of decompressed storytelling there’s really few single issues that can contain as much pure unrefined awful as ALL-STAR BATMAN & ROBIN #2.

Also I love that Batman’s code against killing apparently doesn’t apply to vehicular homicide now.

COREN: Yeah, I totally agree with the sentiments they have going over at Scans Daily. There’s just something inherently wrong with how this is written.

This totally sums up the series so far now we’re in the world of DKR, where Batman is totally not sure if he is Clint Eastwood or what! No wonder Robin went batshit (no pun intended) insane and became a supervillain in DKSA.

BTW, why does Miller hate Robin so much that he’s willing to make Batman into a pedophile to try and make us hate him to?

MATT MORRISON: See, I thought it read more like he put Marv from SIN CITY in the batsuit. The whole car-chase scene reads like one of Marv’s chases in a big ass-kicking Caddy that can tear apart all the smaller cars. They even have the “what the hell are you thinking? Getting confused… need my medicine” speech… minus the admission that Bruce is chemically unbalanced and seeking help.

TIM STEVENS: Before I get into the ALL-STAR BATMAN & ROBIN thing more fully let me start by saying: pedophilia…really? I don’t get that read of it at all. Don’t get me wrong, Batman seems very dedicated to psychologically and mentally torturing his young “ward” (and ocassionally laying a hand to him, if need be) but I’m not getting the “Batman is sexually attracted to this young kid” vibe from any of it. Maybe you guys are just predisposed to look for this sort of thing?

Anyway, onto the bigger issue: why doesn’t Batman sound like Batman? Well, because he isn’t. Not really anyway.

I know, I know: what the hell does that mean?

What I mean is that this Batman isn’t “our” (DCU proper) Batman and was really never intended to be. All-Star books are all about “iconic” storytelling as we’ve been told time and again. Most of us (myself included) automatically said, “Oh, so like Ultimate books then?” And DC repeatedly said, “No, no, no…iconic.” Then we all shrugged shook our heads and thought, “Whatever…that’s Ultimate.” It turns out they weren’t lying…kind of. Ultimate books, although they never dare you use the words “iconic” were all about taking the characters back to their roots. Spider-Man was a teenager again, the X-Men were students. There were tweaks here and there (Fantastic Four were still basically a family, but they were young now), but basically that was the idea. The tone was like yesterday, with today’s language and pacing.

What the All Star line means by iconic, on the other hand, is recognizable to common folk. Thus, Batman has a cool car, lots of cash, a butler, and a Robin named Dick. Superman is a guy named Clark who works at a newspaper, has a crush on a co-worker named Lois who in turn has a crush on him right back, except the Superman him, not the Clark him. Beyond that, all bets are off, as All Star Batman makes clear. The tone is not like yesterday, it is like however the writers wish it to be. Thus, the only Ultimate book All Star Batman shares much in common with is The Ultimates where the names are the same, but things aren’t so reliable after that.

Thus, All Star Batman isn’t Batman. Does that excuse making AS Bats such an insufferable dick or an over the top whack job? No, it doesn’t. What it does mean is that, “He doesn’t even sound like Batman,” isn’t really a strong critique because, well, he’s not supposed to. Try instead, “He doesn’t even sound like a character I can sympathize or empathize with. Truth be told, he kind of makes me ill.”

Yes, I think that’ll do nicely.

ANDY CAMPBELL: See, I had a different interpretation of both the Ultimate and All-Star lines. My interpretation of the Ultimate line wasn’t that the characters were supposed to be iconic, it was that everything was being rebooted and being given a “hip” sensibility so that today’s younger fans wouldn’t be bogged down by 40+ years of continuity.

My interpretation of what the All-Star line was going to be was iconic characters out of continuity. Not a reboot, or a reimagining of the characters. Just the ability to tell a good Batman story without having to say “this is after No Man’s Land, but before Fugitive.” Unfortunately, that’s not what they gave us at all; they gave us the DC version of the Ultimate line. And the man driving the cool car and being creepy to Dick Grayson is not Batman.

Incidentally, I think the pedophilia undertones come from when Bruce says things like, “Yes, I think he’ll do nicely,” with regard to Dick Grayson.

TIM STEVENS: I guess I don’t really see the difference between, “everything was being rebooted and being given a “hip” sensibility so that today’s younger fans wouldn’t be bogged down by 40+ years of continuity,” and “iconic characters out of continuity”. I think what you are driving at is that Ultimate Spidey was a return to square one and you expected Batman to simply be Batman without any reference to when he was being Batman. However, with the inclusion of a specific Robin (Dick Grayson) doesn’t that whole idea go out the window? From my interpretation that screamed, “Batman and Robin back to square one” which as I said was Ultimate Spidey was. At least, that’s how I felt about it. Thus, I think DC did the exact opposite of “Ultimizing” by giving us a Batman and Robin who don’t really resemble a Batman and Robin from yesterday simply updated today. Am I crazy?

ANDY CAMPBELL: Yes, you’re right, it is exactly the same as how Ultimate Spidey was. That’s not how it was pitched to us originally, though. My interpretation of what they meant by the All-Star line was dashed when they gave us Ultimate Batman & Robin. My apologies for not being clear earlier that my interpretation was of the original concept of the All-Star line, not what we actually got.

COREN: Well I know it wasn’t exactly Miller’s intent, but look at book 1 of the book. Vicki Vale is very attractive for a comic book character. But Bruce pays no attention to her and keeps saying how he has his eye on the young acrobat child. Consider that he can’t possibly know Dick’s parents will die that night (and if he does know, why the bloody hell doesn’t he stop it?) and you have to wonder why he’s “got his eye” on a twelve year old. There’s quite a bit more, most of it gone into detail at the comic_scans LJ community.

TIM STEVENS: I guess…but hasn’t that always kind of been the wrap on Bruce? Too busy with his crusade (and young boy partners) to spend much time with the ladies? That was the one thing that didn’t seem all that different to me.

As far as his weird attentiveness, I don’t think this came across in the writing, but according to an interview with Miller, the idea was that Batman had his eye on several people to either eventually join his “war” or replace him and Dick happened to be one of them. Having read that interview prior to reading issue #1, I didn’t think twice about it. But I get where you’re coming from.

IAIN BURNSIDE: He still tells Dick he’s going to show him his nuts…

TIM “DEAD SOULS” BYRNE: Has anyone mentioned or even realized how buff Alfred was in this issue? I mean, forget about Batman and Robin.

Al is the new gicon.

Deal with it.

IAIN BURNSIDE: I mentioned it in my review… [Cheap Plug!]

COREN: Ok, I get the whole “Bruce has no time for the womens” (aside from Catwoman..oh and Talia..and a few other exceptions). But why in the heck does he go on what’s basically a date with hot as hell Vicki Vale to scope out a little boy in tights contorting his body? What kind of retard wants to actively recruit a twelve year old to fight crime rather than someone in their late teens? And as indicated in the second book, Dick travels around the world, as he’s a member of a traveling circus. What kind of warrior or ally would that make, a guy who’s never in town? It’s a sensible reason, but then Miller writes the story in such a way as to make the reason invalid.

PAUL SEBERT: I think while the pedophilia subtext may not be intentional… it is most definitely noticeable to even the casual reader. I mean it’s kind of hard not think something is horribly amiss on the second page of this month’s issue when you have Batman chloroforming young Tim while narrating “Damn strong not that he has a prayer of escaping my grip.” It’s just flat out creepy… and not in a good kind of way.

I do agree than when people talk about the how a certain character should sound… or which book contains the “true” version of the character as well… Ed Brubaker’s version of Batman reads differently from Neil Adams… the same way that JMS’s Spider-Man sounds differently from Peter David’s.

That said there are certain iconic traits to Batman that makes him stick out from similar characters like The Phantom and Moon Knight and his code of honor is one of them. As Miller has blatently disregarded in favor of scenes of the Batmobile sending half-a dozen police drives careening to flaming explosive death I would argue that this is most definitely not an iconic presentation of the character. In fact I’d say that the late lamented BATMAN ADVENTURES… and even THE BATMAN do a better job of delivering a strait-forward presentation of the character.

Because say what you will about the funky Korean art-style or the modern dialog… but The Batman in THE BATMAN at least doesn’t kill police officers and call grieving 12-year-old boys “retarded.”


When the All-Star line was pitched, what I pictured was something more like Batman the Animated Series. That, to me, is “iconic” Batman: great stories not tied to continuity.

TIM STEVENS: That’s what I was hoping too, but it appears that DC had other ideas in mind.

PAUL SEBERT: I think the problem that the DC executives have a hard time understanding is that one of the key reasons there are so many people out there who may enjoy Batman TAS or Batman Begins yet aren’t buying the comic isn’t because we’ve got Tim Drake as Robin or Cassandra Caine as Batgirl or what not…

It’s because the Batbooks have devolved to the point where an entire storyline revolved around 16 year old girl slowly being allowed to bleed to death in a hospital bed.

And having a book where Batman kills police officers doesn’t improve things…

JAMIE “ATMOSPHERE” HATTON: Plus it doesn’t help that it is a very domineering Batman.

The insinuations of Batman/Robin having ‘relations’ have been cannon for comic fans (and non fans really) for decades. To give Batman a more “Yes, Mistress *whipcrack*” type of feel, that powerful man/young ward is going to come right back into it.

JESSE “LOVE WILL TEAR US APART” BAKER: To be honest though, DC has always been honest about the real reasons behind the AS line, i.e. it’s masturbation central for writers who they want to write Batman and Superman without DC having to put up with the headache of their flavor of the month destroying the core books with bukakke stains that just don’t wash out no matter how hard one tries to wipe the cum stain out of one’s shirt.

Hence ALL-STAR BATMAN & ROBIN being the “Wacky Child Molestation Adventures of Batman and Robin” and ALL-STAR SUPERMAN being “Grant Morrison’s Silver Age Superman Wet Dream Theater”. Of course now that Wonder Woman is on tap, the real question will be will ALL-STAR WONDER WOMAN be “Lesbian Bondage Barbie Wonder Woman” or “Left-Wing Hippie Feminist Extremist Soldier Decapitating George W Bush’s Head Via Garrotting With Her Golden Lasso Wonder Woman”?

JASON “NO LOVE LOST” BEREK-LEWIS: Personally, I am hoping for “Lesbian Bondage Barbie Wonder Woman” over “Left-Wing Hippie Feminist Extremist Soldier Decapitating George W Bush’s Head Via Garrotting With Her Golden Lasso Wonder Woman” 😉

PAUL SEBERT: Really when are we going to get around to a return the iconic “Thinly veiled outlet for William Moulton Marston’s hetrosexual S&M fetishes Wonder Woman?”

Keanu Reeves dismisses CONSTANTINE sequel [More: Here]

KEVIN MAHONEY: As far as Constantine goes, I don’t know if I’d bother with a franchise. Great character, badly cast, led to meh results in the opening film. It’d be a risk more than a lock. Weird that Keanu seems to be talking out of both sides of his head about out… well maybe not weird for the Whoa-meister.

PAUL SEBERT: Considering that the film did gangbusters business overseas I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a sequel to the film with or without Reeves.

Jeph Loeb talks about his son, The Spirt, The Ultimates, and pissing off
Geoff Johns
[Click: Here]

KEVIN MAHONEY: I haven’t liked a lot of Loeb’s recent stuff. I soured on both Hush and Dark Victory. SUPERMAN/BATMAN was really too silly for me (except in rare cases). Keep Loeb’s shmaltz away from X-FACTOR, EXILES, and THUNDERBOLTS and I’m a happy man.

John Byrne hates Wikipedia [Details: Here]

JAMIE HATTON: Okay – see we here at Comic Nexus have a very special little part of this story, don’t we? For those who didn’t think to read all the way down the article…

“It is one ‘editor’ code named JesseBaker inserting the crap.”

Now, John Byrne is a fun case to dissolve, as he is a hotbutton issue for lots of comic fans, and sometimes seems to talk a bit out of turn. I say these things with a very big grin. The fact of the matter is the Wikipedia entry left for him is funny in a ‘mean prank’ kind of way, but not the kind of thing I would expect out of them. It is, in fact, not a shock who wrote it.

His response is equally inane, as the WIki-People are obviously trying to tell him ‘we’ll help you if you talk to us’.

I think we should hear from Jesse and let him give his side of the story. That should bulk this Roundtable up strongly, and let the heavens know that I do love a good Jesse Baker editorial.

TIM STEVENS: Jesse Baker takes on big bad Byrne? Well, I don’t approve, but I’ve gotta at least give it up for his gutsiness. You have my propers, Jesse.

JESSE BAKER: It was an impulsive act, I’ll give you that. But let’s face it, I did what I did because God knows that someone had to stand up to Byrne and tell him that he couldn’t censor the truth about himself and his words like it was a comic book. Byrne’s utter gall into thinking he could bully Wikipedia into caving into his demands to delete what was a well written, very detailed warts and all bio of Byrne just because it pointed out what a piece of shit Byrne is really pissed me off. So I listened to the voice in the back of my head that said “What would Chris Hyatte do?” and did what I did, changing it several times before going off to work and letting Byrne and company sweat in horror of what had been done to him and continue to show what assholes they are in terms of their reactions.

As a regular Wikipedia contributor (both anonymously and via my log in ID), I was pissed as f*ck that Byrne was trying to bully the site to remove what was essentially the truth about the motherf*cker from it’s entry on John Byrne. So I did what anyone in my position (and reputation) would have done: channel the animal spirit of Daffy Duck, told myself “I Am Fucking Baker_Baker. I am Fucking Baker_Baker! I am f*cking Baker_Baker!!!!!“, go on the offensive, and then watch the fall-out ensue as Byrne and his message board syncophants run around reacting to my strategic strike and further dig their own hole towards proving what a piece of shit they are.

To paraphrase Kevin Spacey in “Seven”; people like Byrne have to be hit in the groin with a sledgehammer to make them realize how full of shit they are cause they’ve got their heads so far up their asses that they refuse to see how horrible they are. And Byrne, who sits in his fiefdom, slandering people like Jessica Alba and Christopher Reeves and everyone else who didn’t tell him “All Hail Byrne! May I Suck You Off As Tribute To How Brilliant You Are As A Writer And Artist?”, definately needed to be hit in the groin with the Baker_Baker sledgehammer of nerdrage to make him realize that us comic fans refuse to take his shit lying down anymore and will be on the offensive against him so long as he acts like a subhuman piece of shit.

DARON “FAILURES” KAPPAUFF: Well there you have it folks…

PAUL SEBERT: You know I’m not a big fan of Byrne’s work, particularly his slumber inducing DOOM PATROL but…

Does even Hyatte pull these kind of stunts anymore?

COREN: That’s what he tried to edit it down to. Because everything else is factual inaccuracies!

Christ, over on his board, they were talking about suing Wikipedia. I can’t even fathom the ego that would be required for such a thought process.

JAMIE HATTON: Hold on Coren – I didn’t get the cut of your jib. Was that sarcasm? Because the original article could be easily taken as ”defamation of character” and if he had a lawyer who knows how to read, outright libelous.

Jesse, I may not like Byrne’s stances on some things, but do you realize how pompous you sound with such quotes as “…realize us comic fans refuse to take his shit…”? You really don’t have a badge as a strong representative of the world of comics. Your stated opinions are, in some instances, just as dramatically volatile as the claims of Byrne’s are.

COREN: If you mean Jesse’s article, yes, possibly. If you mean the one he deleted, hardly.

Either way, I don’t think that Wiki can really be held accountable for something they tried to prevent (by locking the article) that was undone at Byrne’s request (thus leaving him open to whatever editing may occur). He was being very unreasonable in the matter, telling Wiki there were factual inaccuracies, not specifying what they were, but leaving the ultimatum that if said undisclosed inaccuracies were not fixed the page should be deleted.

Alex Ross and JUSTICE top the August sales charts [Details: Here]

PAUL SEBERT: An Alex Ross book featuring the JLA topping the charts? Who saw that coming?

JAMIE HATTON: Is it that it’s a great book, or that it’s got Ross on the cover? I haven’t heard that it’s A-Grade Material…

TIM STEVENS: If you like Aquaman astride on a massive seahorse, you’ll love this book! Otherwise…not so sure.

However, it is worth noting that, from the reviews I read, this is the best received Ross project in some time. Probably since the first or second of those big tabloid books he did with Dini.

Check us out on the forums!

Join our newsletter

never miss the latest news, reviews, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary for Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Comics, Video Games!