Comics Load: Damian Doesn’t Like You

It’s a short Load this week, due in part to the holiday, and in part because I’ve been playing WoW non-stop for 72 hours, trying to level up before the release of Cataclysm. I finally made time to read my comics, and I’m so glad I did. There’s some good stuff out there this week! Plus, I’m learning that any comic is better if you add Damian Wayne to the mix. Truly. I think he should join Brightest Day next. Seriously. It couldn’t hurt.

image Batman & Robin #17
As Damian points out in this issue, Bruce’s return gives license for everyone to be his/her own sort of Batman. For Dick, that’s a quippy Batman who likes to have fun. This, of course, displeases Damian, and to be honest, displeases me, too. When Bruce was gone, there was a need to maintain consistency, so while Dick definitely brought his own style to the role, he kept it mostly serious. If Dick starts with the banter, he’ll be no more threatening than Spider-Man. While I’m tempted to support any sort of sense of fun in the Batman universe, I think Dick needs to keep up the fear factor for a little while longer, at least. Once Gotham’s criminal element sees you as the funny Batman, there’s no going back.
image Batwoman #0
Kate Kane returns! This is truly a knock-out re-introduction of an extremely important character. The 2009 miniseries by Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams III set a new standard in art and storytelling. Rucka’s lyrical, yet tough-as-nails prose combined with Williams’ beautifully stylized character and layout work not only made us care about Kate, but also grounded her completely in a world all her own. In this issue, Williams returns, but takes on writing duties in addition to art. In a very clever move, artist Amy Reeder provides all of the Kate sequences, while Williams takes on the Batwoman sequences. They are two distinct styles, but are woven together in story and layout so well, I didn’t event notice until my second read. In a way, Reeder’s art humanizes Kate, while Williams’ Batwoman is all otherworldly style and fantasy. The issue is told primarily from Bruce Wayne’s point of view, as he stalks Kate and Batwoman, determined to confirm her identity and evaluate her skills and intentions. It’s more of Bruce’s control issues on display, but at least he comes to the right conclusion: Batwoman is awesome. He says, “Her training is excellent and she has all the right instincts. More important, she has the one thing I can’t teach. That hole inside her that can’t ever be filled, no matter how many criminals she takes down…it gives her the drive to do this.” Okay, maybe he shouldn’t be talking about filling her hole. But I do give him credit for hanging out in a gay bar all night to watch her. It’s sort of sad to see him in his tight t-shirt, leaning against the bar, as the bartender hands him a martini, with a caption that says, “She lets herself go in a way I can’t.” Aw, poor Bruce. A stellar issue that promises great things for this character, I highly recommend you get on board now!
image Teen Titans #89
Damian joins the Teen Titans. The concept is absolutely brilliant and full of possibilities, not just from a comedic standpoint, but on an emotional and character level, too. The promise of a clever run comes right away, just as soon as Damian dismisses Gar and says they’ll call him if they “ever need a talking chipmunk.” I’ve been saying the same thing for ages. Get rid of Gar! The whole team reacts badly to Damian’s presence, but Dick convinces Cassie to give him a shot. Cass thinks Dick just wants to unload his problem child on them. I think it’s more likely that Dick wants Damian dead, and the best way to kill someone is to make them a Teen Titan. You can probably predict how this whole thing is going to go. Damian is an ass. Damian learns an important lesson about teamwork. Damian learns to love. Bring it on. I’m still going to enjoy every second of it. FBOTU favorite Nicola Scott does the art here, and you can tell, because she gives Batman the briefest briefs he’s worn since…well…ever. I also like the addition of Gar’s fang. But I’m not feeling Cassie. Her hair is too Waffle House waitress and not enough Amazon. But that’s a minor quibble in a really good issue launching what will hopefully be a memorable story about Damian terrorizing the Teen Titans.
image Uncanny X-Men #530
Two gays in one issue! Did you spot them?! Anole the iguana boy has been struck with the mutant flu that has Utopia under quarantine. If Matt Fraction thinks he can kill off a gay character just because he’s been charitably sticking Northstar in one panel every other issue, he better think again. Anole had better survive this. Meanwhile, Emma Frost is taking advantage of the quarantine to fly about aimlessly deciding whether or not to kill Sebastian Shaw. Just do it, Emma. Drop the girl in the plastic bubble and off the bastard. And for those of you playing along in the “Where’s Northstar?” game at home, he’s actually in TWO panels this issue. We get the back of his head in one and a profile shot of him looking at his phone in the other. With him, as usual, is Dazzler, who’s very pleased that the quarantine means that, for the time being at least, Northstar and Dazzler ARE the X-Men. Please give them their own title. Immediately. And take Anole with you.

That’s it for this week, folks! Be sure to let us know what you’ve been reading or recommending in the comments section! Thanks!

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