Extant’s Pull List – A Tale of Three Batman Books

DC  Comics continued its first month of post-Convergence stories last Wednesday, with a series of first issues and new directions for its line of comics. The main focus of the June 10th releases was the new Batman, as three books featured former police commissioner James Gordon in the new bat-suit.

With the original Batman thought to be dead following his recent “Endgame” battle with the Joker, the Powers Corporation and the GCPD team up to create the robo-Batman suit. Over in the main book, Batman 41, by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, we see how the head of the Powers Corp. convinces Gordon to get in the suit. I also would guess that with the obvious flirtation between Gordon and the head of Powers Corp. – Geri Powers – the two of them will soon become an item, but that’s just a guess.

The issue sees Gordon take down a guy using an energy monster as a distraction from holding a former baseball player hostage, as the action is interspersed with his discussions with Det. Harvery Bullock about whether he should take the job.

Given interviews I’ve read, the Bat-suit seems to have been Snyder’s idea to shake things up, but he’s not afraid to poke fun at himself or his idea, as Gordon himself during the issue calls the suit a “roboBat bunny suit.” But the robot suit isn’t the only suit debuting here, as Gordon wears a more traditional superhero suit when he’s not in the bunny.

Over in Detective Comics 41, we see the formation of a new field team tasked with following Batman around and helping him make arrests, which was also touched on in the main Bat-book. My biggest problem here is that it seems that there was a lack of communication between Snyder on Batman and Brian Buccellato and Francis Manapul on Detective, as Harvey Bullock is portrayed as having no idea who the new Batman is in Detective, while the Bullock in Batman seemed to be in the inner circle from Day One. Sure, DC has said there would be a looser continuity post-Convergence, but these Bat-books are clearly in the same universe, so I would hope for a little bit more collaboration. Detective Comics 41 also sees the return of Renee Montoya as a member of the Bat Task Force, likely putting an end to her time as the faceless vigilante, The Question.

The third book dealing with Gordon as Batman is Batman/Superman 21, which also ties in to the “Truth” story arc running through the other Superman books. Clark, still powerless, goes to Gotham with Luthor in tow to find Bruce to get some help in regards to his powers and instead runs head first into the new Batman’s robo-fists. In another seeming lack of continuity, there’s no mention of Luthor being a team mate of Superman in Justice League, although Clark’s mistrust of Luthor carries over.

Clark also confers with Bruce Wayne’s trusty butler, Alfred, on an alien artifact and questions him about Bruce’s whereabouts. Alfred begs Clark to leave Bruce be, as he believes Bruce’s death to be a reprieve from a life of fighting.

All three of these books tease that Bruce Wayne’s missing status is not a permanent change (DUH! It’s comics, after all). Clark makes a point of saying he believes Bruce is alive, but agrees to Alfred’s wishes to leave him be and work with Gordon. Over in Detective, Bullock makes it his “secret mission” to find the real Batman. And in Batman 41, we see a man sitting on a bench watching the sun set when another guy walks by him, looks and utters, “Bruce Wayne?”

While DC Comics’ solicitations for September, released this week, seem to confirm the return of Bruce Wayne before year’s end, you can still see Bruce as Batman in the Justice League books and in comedy title Bat-mite (which was reviewed last week).

I picked up the Bat-books this week to see what the new story would bring for Gordon and Gotham, but to be honest, the first issue did little to actually hook me, as they made it clear the status quo would be returned in a few months.

Quick Hits
Constantine: The Hellblazer 1 – DC Comics seems to have given up on mystic John Constantine’s existence in the main DC Universe and have returned him to England to deal with ghosts, demons and other things that go bump in the night with this new number 1. Ming Doyle and James Tynion IV handle writing duties while Riley Rossmo does an amazing job on art. This issue was clearly an establishing issue, but already the direction feels more like Vertigo’s Constantine than the New 52 version. We’ll see whether DC Comics can match the greatness of the former Hellblazer title.

Starfire 1 – A fish-out-of-water tale by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti sees the hero setting herself up in Key West and learning more about Earth culture. While Conner and Palmiotti produce an enjoyable issue, I’m not sure how sustainable story is as it currently stands. Then again, though, I thought the same thing about Harley Quinn and that seems to be one of DC’s most popular books…

Gotham Academy 7 – Writers Becky Cloonan and Brenden Fletcher’s story about kids in school in Gotham introduces Damian Wayne, son of the Batman, as a new student. The writing is crisp and enjoyable and the artwork is absolutely stunning, especially on a digital screen. Definitely worthy of a pick-up, especially as the book starts a new direction.

Next week, we’ll take a look at the books that drop today, including new books for established heroes Martian Manhunter and Black Canary and Doomed, a story about a young man infected with the Doomsday virus. Also released this week in comic shops and online is Bryan Hitch’s new Justice League of America, and a continuation of the “Truth” storyline in Superman/Wonder Woman.

Extant’s Pull List – Debut of DC You

After a two-month crapfest that was Convergence (which was basically a continuation of Earth 2: World’s End and a lead-in for the new Earth 2: Society book), DC Comics last week began its new DC You campaign. With a whole new set of first issues, new series and new directions, the idea of a shared universe has been replaced by the return of a multiverse, with a number of series not at all connected to one another.

The new strategy supposedly will allow creators to tell their own stories without concern of where it fits in the overall DC Universe, and it’s first week did a great job showing off different sides to different characters.

I bought and downloaded nine DC Comics issues last week, including four new first issues, an annual and four books starting new stories or heading in new directions.

The New Series 

After years of being criticized for a grim outlook and taking the fun away from its heroes, DC Comics over the last year has been trying new things, with critical hits like Gotham Academy, Harley Quinn and a new direction for Batgirl. The new approach continued this week with “all-ages” miniseries, Bizarro and Bat-Mite.

While Bat-Mite, written by comics legend Dan Jurgens, was fun, it left something to be desired. Bizarro, on the other hand, was a fantastic first issue, introducing the premise of Bizarro going on a road trip with Jimmy Olsen to “Bizarro America,” AKA Canada, to get him away from Metropolis. Writer Heath Corson set up a ridiculous premise for this six-issue miniseries and delivered a comic that can be enjoyed by any type of comic fan, with no need to keep up with anything happening in any other book.

Dan Jurgens also wrote the new Batman Beyond No. 1 last week, placing the Tim Drake of five years from now into the Batman Beyond suit to try and save the past, in a continuation of the weekly Future’s End series. Omega Men rounds out the slate of new comics I picked up, as a group of freedom fighters try to make a point by “killing” Kyle Rayner. I’m willing to give these books a second look, but they’re both on thin ice after shaky debuts.

The New Directions 

DC’s Free Comic Book Day issue, Divergence, previewed “Truth,” the new story running through the Superman books. The Man of Steel has been depowered and Lois Lane – his would-be wife, soul mate and best friend – discovered his dual identity as Clark Kent and then revealed it to the world. On top of that, the Fortress of Solitude has rejected him. With Action Comics 41, “Truth” kicks off in earnest with Clark Kent coming back to Metropolis and setting up new status quo. Aaron Kuder and Greg Pak set up an intriguing premise for the new direction, bringing the character back to 1938 power levels. “Truth” continues in a loose crossover in Batman/Superman this week, although DC has said that each book will provide its own story, with “Truth” just being a unifying feature.

The lack of a cohesive DC Universe is highlighted mostly in Geoff Johns’ Justice League 41. The beginning of the long-teased “Darkseid War” features Bruce Wayne as Batman, a fully-powered Superman and generally ignores everything going on in other books. Last week’s issue focuses on the search for an Amazon who gave birth to Darkseid’s daughter the same night that Wonder Woman was born, while the Anti-Monitor (the main villain in Crisis on Infinite Earths) readies for an all-out assault on the Justice League’s first opponent. Johns is amazing at setting the premise for a story and “Darkseid War” is no different. Although, given Johns’ tendency to stretch stories out, waiting for the inevitable trade collection may be the more satisfying way to read the story.

Also in stores last week were new issues for Green Lantern and Green Arrow. Over in GL, the Corps is no more, Hal Jordan is a renegade and bringing in criminals using a Lantern gauntlet. Green Arrow steps back a bit from introducing concepts from the Arrow TV show (no Diggle or Felicity to be seen this issue) as Oliver Queens returns to Seattle after some soul searching.

Overall, a pretty good week for the new DCU. Hopefully, the levity introduced last week sticks around for a bit, as having some variety in your offerings is appreciated. Next week, we’ll take a look at the all-new, all-different Batman in three books (Batman, Detective Comics and Batman/Superman), along with some first issues debuting this week.

Extant’s Pull List – April 8, 2015

I went on vacation, I started a new job and now we’re back with some comics.

DC Comics kicks off its two-month Convergence event with Issue 1 of the weekly series (issue 0 came out last week) and a handful of two-issue mini-series where various timelines collide, mostly featuring Flashpoint characters this week.

In addition to the main series, I also picked up Superman, The Question (written by Greg Rucka), Batgirl, Justice League, Nightwing/Oracle (written by Gail Simone) and Harley Quinn. Also available (but not getting my money because I’m still waiting for my first paycheck) are The Atom, Batman & Robin, Titans and Speed Force.

Over on the Marvel side, the big news of the week, obviously, is the premiere of Daredevil on Netflix, coming on Friday. No new episodes of Arrow or Flash, and I gave up on Gotham a while back.

In between comics, I’ll be continuing to play MLB The Show 15 on my PS4, and then on Tuesday, out comes Mortal Kombat X.

Comics are available in comic book stores and online. What about the Blog of Doom’s comic book readers? What are you reading today and what are you looking forward to?

Extant’s Pull List

CM Punk is back! Well, writing comics anyway. This week, the former WWE Champion provides a story for the first issue of DC/Vertigo’s Strange Sports Stories anthology. Punk joins Brian Azzarello, Paul Pope, Gilbert Hernandez and others for the first of four issues.

Also this week, Deadpool guest stars in Hulk No. 13, while Marvel’s onslaught of Star Wars comics continues with Princess Leia No. 2.

On the DC side, we have the final issues of Batwoman, Green Lantern: New Guardians, Trinity of Sin, Red Hood and the Outlaws and Supergirl as the road to Convergence and June’s mini-reboot rolls on.

My downloads this week include Teen Titans (with the return of Superboy), Superman, Batman/Superman, Supergirl (which has also featured the return of Superboy in recent issues), along with the three DC weeklies.

Comics are, of course, available at your local comic shop or for download online.

Also this week, Community returned yesterday with two episodes posted to Yahoo! Screen, a new episode of Powers on PlayStation Plus, new Flash and Agents of Shield and the debut of iZombie, based on the Vertigo comic, last night, with a new Arrow tonight.

You know, outside of the actual comics, it’s a pretty good time to be a comics fan, don’t you think?

QOTD 25: The Blog Botter Pull List

Hola Blog Botters, after a brief hiatus I return with a question that allows you to embrace your inner geek.

Lets talk about pull lists. As a guy whose never been really ‘into’ comics enough to buy them regularly, I have always found the term ‘pull list’ sort of romantic, the idea that you pick up a series of titles every month because you care about them, and are willing to drop your cash until they piss you off to no end. So lets expand on that ‘pull list’ concept and extend it to all kinds of media.

What’s your current ‘media’ pull list across TV, Music, Movies, Comics, and internet related things?

  
I’ll break mine down into categories


TV
Agents of Shield – The last episode was kind of hokey, but I’m going to keep watching until it gets cancelled or does something silly.

Modern Family – Consistently funny and heartwarming without being too saccharine, it’s got some of the best writing and acting on TV. The key to comedy is making sure that none of the characters know they’re in a comedy, and Modern Family nails it.

Shark Tank – This is my new “Pawn Stars” great stuff, my whole family likes to watch it, and if I had the chance I’d plow through this show in a weekend if were available on demand.

The Newsroom – While not a great show, it’s certainly decent, and as a TV person I enjoy the little details and nuances of seeing super human versions of people I know doing TV-related things.

Music 
Bowling For Soup – Anything they put out, I pick up. Just nabbed their “Lunch. Drunk. Love.” album and it’s exactly what you’d expect from them.

Eminem – He fell off my pull list around the time I heard “FACK” for the first time, but got put back on after Recovery.

Barenaked Ladies – While a lot of their magic has kind of kaputted they still show flashes of brilliance, so I always check out anything they put out.

Graphic Novels

Ultimate Spider-man – I bought the SUPER BIG trade paperback that collected I think the first…24 issues of the series, and kept buying them until they didn’t exist, and that’s really the only way I can make Graphic novels work within my budget. But this series is a riot. Brian Michael Bendis seems to know his shit when he gets to take a character and work it within his own world and context, but I guess he has a habit for dropping the ball when taking over for other people?

Anything Jeph Loeb  – His Superman and Batman work are some of my favorite comic books of all time, especially his Long Halloween stuff. Hush was cool, too.

Internet related

The Blog of Doom – Barring excursions I probably spend more time checking out this blog than I’d care to admit, lets just not tell any pretty girls, kay?

Grantland – Anything Masked Writer / Bill Simmons I absolutely check out. The video game content is a little hit and miss, opting to focus on history instead of feel and what games communicate to a player, but no one’s perfect.

Total Biscuit / Jesse Cox / Alzorath – Just general gaming channels I can stand on the internet.  TB and Cox have a fucking wondering series where they play Terraria and annoy each other to no end, and Cox in particular is one of these guys you can’t help but feel happy for, as he seems like a genuinely happy guy who is pretty amazed that he gets to play games for a living. Alzorath is more a personal choice because he’s the only person on the internet who plays Shadow Era and casts it, so I check that out too.

Zero Punctuation  – Probably one of the first ‘web shows’ I ever watched regularly, and boy is his stuff good, though he can occasionally miss the point of a given game in his quest to be hyper critical, which I do appreciate.

—————————————————–

Blog Botter Award: Scott Keith (you may heard of him) for suggesting Doom Bots as the new title for the guys who frequent the blog. I took his advice, sorta, and we are all now Blog Botters. His award can be found below:

Yes, that’s a robot throwing a concrete block.

1. GTA Online: Give “Meekin’s Mobsters” a Google if you want in on the temporary crew while we set up an official one. Waiting for the kinks to get hammered out before I make a real logo and such.

Wednesday Pull LIst

http://www.comixology.com/Wednesday-New-Releases/comics-collection/1330?app=1&tid=E130717002&utm_source=comiXology+Digital+Comics+Newsletters&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=E130717002_new_Wed_DC_A Not too much going on this week on the DC side. DC: JLA #6.  The reveal of the Catwoman “death” was as weak as you’d expect and I’m still not even entirely sure what the point of this series is.  Animal Man #22:  The “Buddy as unlikely celeb” deal has been interesting and this remains a pretty fun book. Vibe #6:  I thought they’d cancel it after 3 issues, so congrats on making is this far.  I’m consistently entertained by it, even though I’m kind of amazed it even exists.  This needs Steel popping up soon for all us JL Detroit nerds, though. Brother Lono #2:  100 Bullets is of course one of my favorite series of all time, and this is more of it.  Big boobed nuns and Lono killing drug dealers in Mexico?  Take all my money. I think Batman 66 is also out weekly, which is probably the title I’m most excited about recently. Marvel: All New X-Men #14 Avengers #16 Superior Carnage #1:  The Superior Foes debut was HILARIOUS, although this will likely be less on the light-hearted side.  I’ll give it a go even so. Deadpool #13:  Deadpool goes back in Marvel history again, this time in Power Man & Iron Fist.  This should be epic. Iron Man #13. I’ve been digging the Iron Man origin stuff, although I’m ready for him to get back to the Earth again. Savage Wolverine #7.  Apparently they’re doing kind of an overhaul of the concept into a team-up book, which is too bad because there’s enough of those already and Wolverine is already in about 17 different teams at any given time to begin with.  I thought the Frank Cho Savage Land run at the beginning of the series was a pretty cool take on the character, and the current arc (although really funny) feels like it’s from a different series.  Oh well, much like the weather in Saskatchewan, if you don’t like one Wolverine series, just wait a day and you’ll have two more to choose from anyway.

Wednesday Pull List Thread

Very late with this, obviously, but I was working today and totally forgot about New Comics Wednesday.  Perish the thought, I know, but I'm getting old.  The contenders:
Kind of packed week, actually.
DC:  
Batman #22.  I'm in for the long haul with the "Zero Year" deal.
Batman '66 #2.  This is TREMENDOUS fun and well worth the 99 cents on Comixology.  Plus it's made for tablet viewing.  Check it out if you're at all a fan of the campy TV show.
Superman Unchained #2.  Still not worth $5, but I'll hang in on it.
Marvel:
Uncanny X-Men #8.  I'm getting close to X-Men overload, but I've really been enjoying the one-two punch of this one and All-New X-Men.  The Limbo storyline isn't my favorite, but the gag about buying the entire island of Madripoor is kind of great.
Superior Spider-Man #13.  My current #1 read every issue.  Dan Slott just keeps building this whole Octo-Spidey universe and one day everyone is gonna catch on to Otto's game and it's gonna be GLORIOUS.
Hawkeye #12:  The ending of the Pizza Dog issue was kind of heartbreaking, and now we get to find out the whys and what nexts on it.
Avengers Arena #12:  Eh, I'm pretty close to dropping this one because it's going nowhere.  Maybe I'll switch to Young Avengers instead, I dunno.

Wednesday Pull List Thread

A light week, although the Dan Slott Spider-Man franchise continues growing until Jesse Baker’s head explodes… Marvel: – The Superior Foes of Spider-Man #1.  Unwieldy title aside, this seems like fun. – Avengers #13. – Avengers AI #1.  I thought the Hank Pym prequel thing was AWESOME, although Mark Waid isn’t doing this series so I don’t know how the good will translate over.  But I’ll give it a shot. – Venom #37.  The change to Philly has made for an interesting arc, with Flash being a street-level hero and a gym teacher.  DC: – Green Lantern #22.  I wasn’t hugely impressed with the new direction, but I’ll let it play out. – Earth 2 #14.  – Swamp Thing #22. – Detective Comics #22.  I used Morrison’s departure from Action Comics as a jumping-off point and I’ll just stick with Unchained. 

The Wednesday Pull List Thread!

Some people thought this might be a fun idea, so here's a thread to chat about new comic releases this week.  And Holy CRAP what a loaded week this one is.  
DC Highlights:
Batman & Superman #1
Justice League of America #5 (the book itself is shit, but I'm curious how they get out of Catwoman's "death")
Justice League #21
The Dark Knight #21 (A reliably good and creepy title these days)
All Star Western #21 (Jonah Hex + Booster Gold = AWESOME)
Marvel Highlights:
X-Men Everywhere!  X-Men #2, All New X-Men #13, Uncanny X-Man #7, and Wolverine and the X-Men #32
Hawkeye #11
Daredevil #27 (I've really been digging the "Matt's Bad Month" story)
Deadpool #12
And that's not even counting the Image and other indy stuff.  Whew.