The Gold Standard #26

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So I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. Grant Morrison is going to be writing Batman and Robin when the Bat line relaunches in June. Beyond that, it’s going to be the new corner stone of the franchise. In an interview with IGN last week Dan DiDio made it a point to say that Judd Winick’s Batman is going to spin out from events taking place in Batman and Robin, and telling story plots coming out of that.

From there, keep in mind the last page from Batman R.I.P., a black and red page with Batman and Robin silhouetted with Batman saying “Batman and Robin will never die!” So that right there is your key give away. What are the odds that Tony Daniel comes back to perform the art chores? I’d say pretty decent. They have no plans of letting him out of the house of the Bat, and why not let him keep working with Grant? Seems like a natural fit to me.

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The key franchises of DC are being shuffled around quite heavily this year, with the mantle of the Bat being battled for as Superman moves off world for the next twelve months. I’m half expecting to see someone else take over for Wonder Woman, and Hal to be replaced in the confines of his own book after Blackest Night. Barry Allen is back, and he’s the Flash again, and the JSA keeps growing exponentially by the week! Crazy!

It’s a risk, admittedly, any time you try and shuffle something that you know works into something unsure. A new Batman is a key example. Bruce Wayne has been Batman for about 70 of the last 71 years without question, and people everywhere, not just comic books fans, know this. It’s not like with Captain America where the casual fan knows the costume better then the man, where replacing Steve with Bucky is something that would catch the attention of readers more so then the casual eye.

With Batman everyone knows that Bruce Wayne is Batman, just like they know that Peter Parker is Spider-Man, Clark Kent is Superman, and Hugh Jackman is Wolverine.

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Wait a second….

As much as Marvel tries to shake things up, they always tend to fall back into what they know works. Ben Reilly being Spider-Man scared them since it was shifting the public’s understanding of who Spider-Man was, yet eliminating Mary Jane with One More Day they felt was a step towards making Peter more relatable. They didn’t want a younger Peter Parker and decide to replace him, they just used the devil to get what they wanted. But hey, unlike with Ben Reilly, readers can still pick up the book and know that Peter is Spidey, so I guess that much makes it a success.

Superman would be a much different demon to try and bottle. Kal El, Clark Kent, is Superman. There have been clones and pretenders, but it’s always just him. There have been Boys, Girls, Women, a whole planet called New Krypton, but at the end of the day there is only one Superman. You can kill him, replace him, make him one of a million instead of one in a million, but at the end of the day he’s impossible to replace. Which just makes me wonder how New Krypton is going to end, and if something will happen to make him the last of his kind again.

If only all mantles were as easy to pass on as the Flash, Green Lantern, Robin, and Wonder Girl. Seriously, each has been passed around successfully enough times through enough books that it never feels like a waste (well, Stephanie Brown, but that’s a different story). Sure, Barry and Hal are the classic Flash and GL, but Wally and Kyle had books that lasted long enough to show that they weren’t flash in the pan characters. No, Wally West was THE Flash. Kyle Rayner was THE Green Lantern. They were never Barry and Hal light, and to be honest, that’s something that writers need to remember as they attempt to replace the Bat.

Don’t make this new Batman into mini-Bruce, make him into Batman. Bruce is gone, and he can’t be recreated by someone just trying to be him. That’s not possible. But what can be done is that someone puts their own spin on the mantle in a way that continues what Bruce began, doing honor to his legacy, but carving out their own at the same time.

And here is the beauty of running late, I had the chance to read the first issue of Battle for the Cowl

I just clicked over to Newsarama to see that in the new DC Nation the creative team of Batman and Robin was revealed as Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely. Can anyone else say awesome? Because I know I can. These two make for one of the best collaborative teams in comics with titles like JLA: Earth 2, New X-Men, We3, and a little book called All Star Superman. Expect amazing things, I know I do.

And now, two days later, I’m watching a video on IGN that gives me even more!

Batman by Judd Winick and Tony Daniel
Batman and Robin by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely
Detective Comics by Greg Rucka and JH Williams
Red Robin by Christopher Yost and Ramon Bachs (Marvel Apes, yes, I had to look him up) which was confirmed to feature a former Robin in the role
Streets of Gotham by Paul Dini and Dustin Nguyen
Outsiders by “Classy” Peter J. Tomasi and Lee Garbett
Gotham City Sirens by Paul Dini and Guillem March (Denny O’Neil’s ‘Last Days of Gotham’)

Batgirl remains unmentioned, but hey, we still don’t know who the gal is going to be.

So many people have come and gone, their faces fade as the years go by, yet I still recall as I wander on, as clear as the sun in the summer sky

Nightwing and Flamebird revealed! Thara, friend of Supergirl, is Flamebird. Nightwing on the other hand is Lor-Zod, Christopher Kent, with Phantom Zone aging! Though I will admit my confusion in their ability to just throw people in the Zone when it was apparently destroyed just last month, but maybe that was their doing. Right?

I liked Rebels. I liked Vril not wanting to be Brainiac 2, just like I enjoyed the fact that with all of this 31st century “Here’s how to win” data, he still said frak it and did what he wanted. “Build your own Legion of Super-heroes!”, “Nah, I’d rather make a Fatal Five.” Cocky green skinned bastard, gotta love the Dox’s!

I can’t give enough props to Swiercynzski and his Immortal Iron Fist, it just gets better every issue. And one thing I can see happening, and would like to see happen, is the book to continue to feature the other Immortal weapons….if not give them their own title. Each has a very striking and unique personality, and they make for a great and original supporting cast.

Booster surprised me, as I was almost positive that the bad guy would be some alternate future Chronos. Rex Hunter was a nice twist, and proof that Jurgens is paying attention to what’s going on. He’s always had a knack for containing continuity within a single title, especially when left alone editorially. This is part of his little niche, and I’m glad to know it.

I like the path that Iron Man is taking, with Tony downgrading his armor as he downgrades his own brain to the point of deletion. I really dug the dropbox as well, not to mention his fight with Rhodey. Any chance that we get to see his Heroes Reborn suit? I love that one! I even have the action figure!

Kyle and Soranik get love from me. Kyle is and has always been a favorite of mine, but when it comes to relationships…..women in refrigerators. Natu is a nice change of pace from the norm for him as he’s found someone who not only shares his abilities, but his drives and ambitions as far as being a Lantern. I always loved him and Jade together, but once he began to embrace his more cosmic nature she just seemed….out of place. A fellow Lantern, especially in secret as they break the third law, is going to be great.

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I do not regret buying The Mighty, as I do like what I’m seeing so far. Unfortunately, and I won’t let my bias towards Tomasi get in the way here, this book is definitely going to read better in trade. The first two issues did a great job of showing the slow pacing that will most likely be a staple…..I don’t want to compare this to Starman because, well, Starman. Duh. But this book shows signs of similar pacing, where it’s going to start slow and read well enough from month to month, but shine in the complete runs.

I liked the look at the Guilds of Krypton, and how Kal-El was displeased with how the Labor Guild was treated. The book definitely shows early promise, and a look at the life of Kal-El on New Krypton is an excited premise. Mainly because that’s who he is, Kal-El. Not Clark Kent, not Superman. Just Kal-El. How many stories do we have like that in recent memory?

Deadshot is awesome. He’s the bad guy, he’s the good guy, he’s in it only for himself, he’s the kind of guy who will protect his friends. Such a complex character, and the card really came in handy as a plot device to drive that point home. I was a bit disappointed though, as we were promised the death of a member of the team and all we lost was Tarantula. Tarantula who hasn’t mattered since she raped Dick Grayson. At least we found out that Bane sees everyone as Batman when he’s high on venom. That was fun.

X-Men/Spider-Man will hopefully be remembered by other writers if not just because I want to see the awesomeness that is XRAVEN! Oh, and if you buy the trades, Ben Reilly might come back! Also awesome!

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After reading Reunion I am a bit more pleased with the return of Mockingbird. I might not still see just why exactly she needed to return, but I’m not at a point where I’m going to call it a waste anymore. I also have to say that I liked Jim McCann’s writing here, despite that I still have no idea who he is or why I’m supposed to care about his name on a cover. Though I guess when I get my start one of these days I’ll have people like me asking the same question, so I’ll let it ride.

War of Kings was….well, it was a first issue in a cosmic event. A lot happened without a lot happening, and it was mainly setup, but at least it was promising. I liked the way that DnA handle Vulcan as well, though I’m trying to think about if they’ve had a chance to write him before.

Cable was good, but it does feel like the wheels are spinning in place just a bit as the book gears up for Messiah War. Hopefully when that kicks in the book will gain a bit more freedom, as the premise does feel a tad bit limiting as Hope has already grown eight years in twelve issues.

I love Hydra, seriously, my favorite comic book villain organization. I have NO idea why, but I always loved them as bad guys. Especially the Strucker’s. So seeing Baron Strucker kick the crap out of some Skrulls and then kill thousands of his own men? Awesome. How about setting up the supreme leadership of Hydra? Awesome. Or how about Phobos telling the Secret Warriors their futures? Awesome.

Battlestar Galactica series finale on friday!

What I read this week:

  • Action Comics
  • Battle for the Cowl
  • Booster Gold
  • Green Lantern Corps
  • R.E.B.E.L.S.
  • Immortal Iron Fist
  • Invincible Iron Man

Best of the week:

  1. Battle for the Cowl
  2. Immortal Iron Fist
  3. Green Lantern Corps

What I read last week:

  • Authority
  • Gotham Gazette: Batman Dead?
  • Mighty
  • Secret Six
  • Superman: World of New Krypton
  • Cable
  • Deadpool
  • New Avengers: Reunion
  • Secret Warriors
  • War of Kings
  • X-Men/Spider-Man

Best of the week:

  1. Secret Warriors
  2. Secret Six
  3. War of Kings

The Gold Standard

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