Damian Wayne’s Christmas Wish

Here’s part of an article that didn’t get finished, but I figured was worth sharing.

Damian Wayne (AKA, son of Bruce Wayne, and current Robin)

Gift: Puberty

The newest Robin maintained his crime fighting partner status throughout the DC relaunch, despite the shonky timeline of it all. Initially as annoying as any pre-pubescent teen (especially one who believes he’s the rightful heir to a crimefighting legacy) young Damian Wayne slowly enamoured himself to the hearts of fandom, if not within all quarters of the Batcave. He may have everything a boy could ever want in the form of a cool costume, the ability to kick any adult’s butt, access to hi-tech gear, a butler and an underground lair, but there’s still one thing missing – the makings of a man. Yep, young Master Wayne needs a deeper voice and a hairy chest.

Of course, puberty will also make him taller, faster and stronger too. The downside for his fellow Bat Family members is that he’ll become even more moody and may ditch the whole serving justice thing in favor of constantly texting some damsel in distress he just rescued.

See more great Christmas themed comics art right here.

Batman: The Brave and the Bold #13 Preview

When I first saw this cover and the solicitation text that promised a team-up of all the Robins to save Batman’s life, I knew that I must have it. Chris Sims at Comics Alliance has now shown that I was right. Check out a preview and rundown of the charming all-ages ish right here.

 

Extra Sequential Podcast #65-Chuck Dixon

62 mins. In short, Chuck Dixon is an underrated writer who writes a lot, and writes very well.We dissect the prolific output of this mercenary comic book writer, and delve into the controversial issues and personal politics which led to his blacklisting at both Marvel & DC. Also, Whoopi Goldberg’s love life and Billy Connolly as Dr. Who.

LISTEN TO IT HERE

DOWNLOAD IT HERE

GET IT ON iTUNES HERE

1:54 NEWS 

Ted McKeever’s Mondo

The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman on TV show The View

6:53 THEME – CHUCK DIXON

Dixon is a master world builder and wrote a multitude of mainly Batman related titles in the ’90s and early 2000s. He expanded the lives of Tim Drake and Dick Grayson, co-created Bane and made an all-female series a huge success in Birds of Prey.

 

Under the Red Hood Site Now Live

The next DC animated film, Batman: Under the Red Hood is out on July 27 and the official website is now up. You can check out the awesome trailer plus 11 pics from the film, including Joker, Ra’s al Ghul, Nightwing and Amazo. Check it out here.

Batman: Under the Red Hood Trailer and Pics

They keep cranking them out, but they keep getting better. Thanks DC! Details below about July’s animated film based on the resurrection of Jason Todd, the second Robin.

GOTHAM CITY MEETS A NEW VIGILANTE WITH A MYSTERIOUS, VIOLENT TWIST IN

BATMAN: UNDER THE RED HOOD STELLAR VOICE CAST FEATURES BRUCE GREENWOOD, JENSEN ACKLES & NEIL PATRICK HARRIS IN

ALL-NEW DC UNIVERSE ANIMATED ORIGINAL MOVIE FROM WARNER HOME VIDEO ON JULY 27, 2010

SPECIAL EDITION BLU-RAY AND 2-DISC SPECIAL EDITION DVD INCLUDE DC SHOWCASE SHORT, JONAH HEX

Batman confronts new enemies, old foes and painful memories when a powerful vigilante with a penchant for violence comes to Gotham City in the intense graphic-novel-come-to-life Batman: Under the Red Hood, the next entry in the popular ongoing series of DC UNIVERSE Animated Original PG-13 Movies coming July 27, 2010 from Warner Premiere, DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Animation. The full-length film will be distributed by Warner Home Video as a Special Edition version on Blu-Ray™ and 2 disc DVD for $29.99 (SRP) and $24.98 (SRP), respectively, as well as single disc DVD for $19.98 (SRP). The film will also be available On Demand and for Download.

The stellar voice cast has Bruce Greenwood (Captain Pike in the 2009 blockbuster Star Trek) donning the famed cowl as the voice of BatmanSupernatural star Jensen Ackles is Red Hood, and Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother) voices Nightwing. John DiMaggio (Futurama) and Jason Issacs (the Harry Potterfilms) round out the main cast as The Joker and Ra’s Al Ghul, respectively.

Batman: Under the Red Hood is scripted by award-winning comics writer Judd Winick and based on his popular 2005 comics storyline and subsequent comics graphic novel of the same name. Animation guru Bruce Timm returns as executive producer, as he has for all eight DC Universe animated original movies. Director is Brandon Vietti, who served as co-director of Superman Doomsday and was responsible for the first one-third of that film, including the fatal battle between the two title characters.

In Batman: Under the Red Hood, Batman faces his ultimate challenge as the mysterious Red Hood takes Gotham City by firestorm. One part vigilante, one part criminal kingpin, Red Hood begins cleaning up Gotham with the efficiency of Batman, but without following the same ethical code. Killing is an option. And when The Joker falls in the balance between the two, hard truths are revealed and old wounds are reopened.

Fans will be treated to an incredible package of DC Universe storytelling as the Special Edition Blu-Ray and 2-Disc Special Edition DVD include the second animated short in the all-new DC Showcase series – which features the popular DC Comics character, Jonah Hex. The short is scripted by renowned author Joe Lansdale and stars the voices of Thomas Jane (Hung), Linda Hamilton (The Terminator), Michelle Trachtenberg (Mercy, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Michael Rooker (Days of Thunder).

Batman: Under the Red Hood – 2 Disc Special Edition DVD will have more than two hours of fascinating bonus features, including:

  • Featurette – Robin’s Story – It was decided it was time to add a fresh face into the story mix, which turned out to be Dick Grayson, aka Robin. This is the story of Dick Grayson and how he transformed into Robin, with Batman as his father-figure role model.
  • Extended Sneak Peek at the next DC UNIVERSE Animated Original PG-13 Movie.
  • Widescreen (1.78:1)
  • Two title-themed episodes from of Warner Bros. Animation’s 20-year history of Batman television series, hand-picked by animation legend Bruce Timm.

Batman: Under the Red Hood Special Edition Blu-Ray will have more than three hours of bonus materials, including all the great extras from the 2-disc Special Edition DVD as well as:

  • Featurette: Death in the House of Batman – The story of how DC Comics heard the fans’ cry that the new Robin was not going to fit the cape, and how the Boy Wonder was scheduled to die.
  • Two additional bonus Batman-themed episodes personally selected by Bruce Timm
  • Digital copy

Batman: Under the Red Hood is another terrific entry in the groundbreaking series of DC Universe animated movies, a shining representation of the adult storytelling that comics-turned-to-film has to offer, and further evidence of the combined creative power within the collaboration of DC Entertainment, Warner Premiere, Warner Bros. Animation and Warner Home Video,” said Matt Bierman, Senior Vice President Production, Warner Premiere.

“Judd Winick’s and Doug Mahnke’s story of a Robin gone wrong introduced Batman’s most personal enemy to date.  It’s unbelievably cool to see it brought to life like this,” said Geoff Johns, Chief Creative Officer of DC Entertainment.

“With each exciting new chapter of the DC UNIVERSE films, fans have come to expect more – and Batman: Under the Red Hood delivers with an action-packed tale of mystery and emotional struggle brought to animated life by an outstanding filmmaking crew and voiced by the all-star talents of Bruce Greenwood, Jensen Ackles, Neil Patrick Harris and John Dimaggio,” said Amit Desai, WHV Vice President of Family, Animation & Partner Brand Marketing.

“In his feature length solo directorial debut, Brandon Vietti has brought this dark, psychological thriller to the screen with all the action and emotion of a great Batman story,” said Sam Register, Executive Vice President, Warner Bros. Animation.”

Favourite Robin

Robin #0Who would yours be? Over at CBR there’s a poll asking that very question. After all, there have been 6 different Robins over the years, but the three main ones are :

The original – Dick Grayson

The bad boy – Jason Todd

The whizz kid – Tim Drake

All 3 have had different identities over the years, but at one point they’ve all been Batman’s partner in crime fighting. Dick is now the new Batman, after Bruce Wayne’s death, with Damian Wayne as the new Robin, Jason is the Red Hood and Tim is Red Robin. My fave is definitely Tim, as he was the Robin I grew up reading about. The poll is still open and you can make your preference known here.

Superman/Batman #62 Review

Superman/Batman #62 CoverThere was a time when this title and JLA were among my favourite DC series. They were always reliable. However the last 2 or 3 years, like any monthly book, has seen its fair share of ups and downs, creatively speaking. This issue is a return to form though I gotta say. Anytime I see Michael Green and Mike Johnson’s names under the writing credit I know I’m in for a treat. The duo have catapulted this series back to where it belongs with their handful of issues together.

Since Batman is dead and has been replaced by the original Robin, and Superman is hanging out on New Krypton, this series has either had to focus on out of continuity tales, or place greater support on the multitude of great satellite characters that both titular heroes have acquired over the years.

This issue focuses on Robin (TIm Drake) and Supergirl and right from the …bat I noticed something was a little off. Tim is wearing his awesome red and black costume, which he gained in DC’s One Year Later stories after Infinite Crisis and before Final Crisis. However as this is touted as his first team-up with Kara, he should be in his green and yellow costume. Yes, I notice these things. I’d expect DC too as well. That’s a minor hiccup though.

Rafael Albuquerque’s art is just superb here. He really plays of the youthful energy by the two teenaged leads and depicts their interactions with a light touch. What did surprise me was the menace and horror with which he shows Joker and later, Mr. Zsasz. Basically the story has the costumed pair quelling a riot at Arkham Asylum, while Supergirl learns for the first time what dread Gotham holds. When Joker is introduced he’s standing in a doctor’s coat holding a freshly amputated leg in his hands, causing the Kryptonian to smack him around, which doesn’t help matters. A few pages later Tim has the same reaction when they meet Mr. Zsasz surrounded by sliced corpses bathed in an eery red light. Despite the manga flavour of the pencils, Albuquerque really sells the terror of Arkham and its inhabitants tremendously well. He makes Killer Croc a monster and Poison Ivy a babe.

There’s no real surprises here. We don’t know why Batman and Superman leave their partners, apart from a JLA mission, and they don’t return, and it’s a standard beat up the bad guys adventure. What elevates it somewhat are Tim and Kara’s interactions out of costume in a coffee shop talking about working with their respective mentors. The differences between the pair shine through in their crime fighting approaches too, with Kara’s naivete and Tim’s seen-it-all attitude being shown in a subtle way.

It’s a simple, done in one story with delicious pages and a streamlined approach, and sometimes in the world of comics, that’s more than enough.

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Cry For Batman’s Justice

I haven’t been this excited about the Justice League for literally, years. I have virtually every issue of JLA since Grant Morrison and Howard Porter breathed new life in to the characters back in 1996. Morrison got the JLA. He brought brash, epic storytelling that matched the heroic icons represented by the League. After he left, it was OK, with a few high notes thanks to Mark Waid, Joe Kelly and Brad Meltzer, but the last 2 or 3 years I’ve really only been buying the title because the completist inside me feels compelled to do so.

Cry For Justice #1

However, James Robinson is now writing the League and it’s time to get excited once more. This is the best League since Morrison. Cry For Justice is a 7 issue mini-series that effectively stars a new JLA. Headlined by a disenchanted Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) and a mish-mash of DC superheroes, this is no longer the JLA-lite we’ve had in the last year or two. This is the JLA with espresso in their veins. What’s most intriguing is the line-up. When it was first revealed it was somewhat perplexing. Hal and Green Arrow make sense, as does Ray Palmer (The Atom), but Batwoman, Congorilla and Mikaal Tomas (Starman)? They’re odd choices, but as Robinson describes in the 5 page regular feature, that’s what he wanted. The mix of new and old, or old made new, heroes, such as Freddy Freeman as the new Captain Marvel means that the interplay will be as exciting as the villain bashing. Robinson also uses the extra pages to give brief backgrounds for the roster and his buddy Len Wein writes a 2 page Congorilla origin (a hunter who had his mind transferred to a golden gorilla-that’s either cool or laughable).

Being a first issue, it’s all set up, with the opening pages dedicated to a fed up Hal confronting his JLA team-mates in the orbital Watchtower, while his pal Ollie also tags along for the justice serving adventures. The rest of the story shows glimpses of the rest of the new team as they cope with recent losses and find a burning desire for proactive justice. Robinson’s comfort with these characters is superb. Hal and Ollie’s dialogue is just like two old friends, and having written Starman for years, he knows the blue-hued alien Mikaal Tomas well too.

Batman and Robin #2Mauro Cascioli wowed many with his painted art on the Trials of Shazam mini that moved Freddy Freeman to drop the Junior from his Captain Marvel moniker. These pages are lush and realistic, not in an Alex Ross way, but with texture and tone and superb backgrounds. These characters look foreboding and heroic and scary. Thank you Robinson and Cascioli for giving the JLA CPR. It is for DC fans, but Robinson also knows that some of these heroes are more familiar than others and doesn’t act on assumed knowledge. This is going to be an exciting series and thankfully, once it’s over Robinson will be taking his skills, and possibly his new crew, on to the ongoing JLA series.

Batman and Robin #2 is just as good as the first issue. Some may find the circus talk frustrating, but Morrison shows Alfred’s concern for Dick, Dick’s frustration with Damian as his new Robin, and his weariness about being the new Batman very well. He also wisely brings up the idea of the Gotham cops, including Commissioner Gordon, knowing that this Dynamic Duo is not the old Dynamic Duo. Frank Quitely draws action scenes of such fluid motion you’ll feel like you’re watching a John Woo film. Little touches like Dick hating the cape as it makes him “way off balance,” and Alfred encouraging Dick to treat his new cowled role as exactly that, like a part in a play remind us that Morrison knows how to handle realism just as well as freaky villains and life and death scenarios.

Cry For Justice #1 p1

Cry For Justice #1 p2

The New Batman

BFTC3 CvrSo, Dick Grayson is the new Batman, and Bruce Wayne’s son, Damian is the new Robin. Though you couldn’t really tell from reading this week’s Battle for the Cowl conclusion. The current Robin, Tim Drake and former (dead) Robin Jason Todd were running around in different Batman costumes while various classic Batman foes watched as Gotham descended into more hellish chaos. And just so you know Batman, AKA Bruce Wayne is not exactly dead. Rather he was sent way back in time thanks to Darkseid’s Omega Sanction eye beams. You can read all about it in Final Crisis if you don’t mind a migraine. However, as a sum up, here’s my latest Broken Frontier article, The Battle for Batman.                                                                                                          

There’s also an interview at Newsarama with the writer/artist of the 3 ish mini, Battle for the Cowl, Tony Daniel. For those who are unsure as to the precise identity of the new cowl wearer, as it is rather ambiguous in the final pages of BOC #3, this excerpt from the interview should make it clear.

NRAMA: What can you tell us about how these last couple pages were designed? Why didn’t the readers see the face of the person putting on the cowl? The words from Dick make it pretty clear he is wearing the cowl, so does the lack of a face have another meaning? And anything you want to share about the design of the pages? They’re pretty cool-looking…

TD: Thanks – well, I wanted us to view what Dick was viewing, be Dick, for that moment. Going through the mansion, down to the cave. Putting up the cowl. Yes, his hair is shorter. But it’s been Dick’s captions all the way through issue #3, so I thought it was pretty self-explanatory. 

Okay then. Here’s a few pages from Cowl #3 for your perusal.

BFTC3 1

BFTC3 2

BFTC3 3

BFTC3 4

Robin #183 Review

Robin #183I’ve followed the adventures of the third Robin (Tim Drake) on and off over the last almost two decades, since Chuck Dixon and the late, great Mike Wieringo days. A relatable youth with real issues that come from school and family -and of course, crime fighting, Tim has always been one of DC’s great unsung heroes.

Not as good a martial artist as Dick Grayson, the first Robin (now known as Nightwing) or as driven by rage as former street kid turned Robin II turned corpse turned resurrected anti-hero Jason Todd, Tim made up for it in other areas. Discovering both Batman’s and Nightwing’s secret identities got the Dark Knight’s attention and after a gruelling world spanning time of training Tim became the latest aide to the Bat. He has a life outside of superheroics including high school, a few girlfriends over the years, and a healthy interest in life outside of spandex clad roof jumping combined with a wealth of tech knowledge. All these things set him apart from the other members of the growing Bat family. He’s never been as broody and always more friendly than his mentor.

And now, his adventures are over, at least in his current state. Issue #183 by writer Fabian Nicieza and artist Freddie Williams III, the creative team for a while on this series give Tim a fitting swansong. It may tie up loose ends too neatly and quickly, such as his break up with Zoanne, but it gives the right focus on his fellow crime fighters. Tim meets Jason in the Batcave after letting him loose from prison, where Todd walks into an unearthed chamber left behind by the ‘dead’ Batman in the Cave to hear Bruce’s farewell (he also created similar goodbyes tailored for his other sidekicks). Tim then has a cool fight with the always scary Lady Shiva, which is cool because of its simplicity. There’s a few cameos such as both the old and new Anarky and Detective Harper, but this issue wisely sets its sights on Tim and his thoughts on his past and future as one of Gotham’s best protectors, without giving any real answers as to his next direction.

There are hints about Tim’s future – either as Batman, Robin or Red Robin, as to be decided by Tony Daniel’s upcoming Battle for the Cowl mini-series. Lines like “I said I’d never become like Batman. Obsessed. Closed off. But now…I don’t know if there’s any other way,” and Nightwing’s line to Tim – “Tim, you know we’re going to be okay, right?” seem to hint that Tim may very well become Robin to Dick’s Batman. Or will Tim become Batman with former flame Stephanie Brown AKA Spoiler a female Robin once more? We’ll soon find out. The issue ends with a 6 page Origins and Omens back-up tale by the same great creative team that doesn’t give us any clues to Tim’s future. It’s a short adventure with Tim facing his mother’s killer in Haiti and facing hallucinations caused by the Dhalsim lookalike bad guy.

Tim Drake is a character deserving of his own series. No doubt we haven’t seen the last of him (nor Nightwing or Birds of Prey, whose series also end this month) but when he does reappear he may not be in the familiar red, black and yellow costume.

Download a preview of this ish here.

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DC Is Cool

dc25finalcrisis6Here are my favourite moments from my DC reading this week, in no particular order.

From Birds of Prey #126. The artist’s name – Claude St. Aubin. If that’s his real name, that’s even cooler.

From Robin #182. The current Robin, Tim Drake, goes to visit his resurrected predecessor, Jason Todd, in Blackgate prison. Todd laments that he won’t be out for another five years. Then Tim decides to give Jason one more chance, and repeats a top secret code. “Emergency Override: M-Z-9-22-Omega. Say it at midnight. One time only. And hold your breath.” Turns out it’s a hacked code for the Justice League teleporter.

Final Crisis #6. This confusing series finally starts to be an exciting epic. In the final pages, Batman shoots Darkseid with a cosmic gun, but becomes toast himself due to Darkseid’s inescapable Omega Beams. A wrathful Superman shows up, literally tearing up the streets, with a smoldering Batman corpse in his hands. I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of him.

Superman Beyond #2. I love Doug Mahnke’s art in this Final Crisis tie-in, complete with 3-D effects! Superman uses his heat vision to engrave his future tombstone. On the last page, we see what he wrote. Tying in to the mini-series’ theme of story, Supes writes three simple but powerful words: To Be Continued. Ah, classic.

Next month will be the last issues of Birds of Prey, Robin and Nightwing, but spectacular things are about to happen with Batman and co. Stay tuned.

Bat Books Ending

This is sad news. DC have confirmed that Robin, Nightwing and Birds of Prey will all be finishing up in February, presumably as part of their Batman R.I.P finale, and its after effects. They may very well continue in different forms, (like a new anthlogy) or new titles though, and I guess at least one of the characters appearing in those books may become Batman, if Bruce Wayne retires, or whatever. I’d like it to be Tim Drake (the current Robin) with Spoiler as a female Robin again, but who knows? It would certainly get the press’ attention, and DC need that desperately.

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