The Week In Ink: May 26, 2010

I have no idea at all if Jason Aaron even knows I exist, let alone the particulars of what comics I like, but at this point, I can come to no other conclusion:



That dude has got to be writing comics only for me at this point. But he’s not the only one, and that’s the subject of tonight’s installment of The Internet’s Most Shirtless-Batman-Loving Comics Reviews! Here are my thoughts on a couple of the comics I picked up this week!



Return of Bruce Wayne #2: If you don’t like this comic, then you’re stupid and I probably hate you.

I’m not even kidding. If you asked me to come up with my ideal plot for a comic book, it would be very close to this, a story where–spoiler warning, and seriously, if you haven’t read this, stop here and go do so, then go read David Uzumeri’s annotations for this issue–Darkseid uses The Omega Sanction to turn Bruce Wayne into a living time bullet, counting on him fighting his way through time by sheer shirtless Batmanly determination, while still solving other mysteries and Batmanning in different eras, only for Batman to be one step ahead of him all along. It is, in all honesty, everything I want from a Batman story and more.

It gets to the heart of Morrison’s vision of Batman as a character, much in the same way that Final Crisis: Superman Beyond was his vision of Superman writ large. In that story, nothing can hold the Bleed, but Superman can, but here, he’s taking it to the next level. It’s not just that nobody could survive the Omega Sanction and being lost in caveman days–but Batman can–it’s that Darkseid is aware of this and took advantage of it, doing to the 21st Century exactly what he did to Orion in Final Crisis, launching a last spiteful “from Hell’s heart, I stab at thee” strike at the world that defeated him, and that Batman knows all this and is still going to defeat him.

It’s the extension of everything Morrison’s been doing with the character since JLA and Superman’s explicit assertion that Batman’s the most dangerous man on Earth, and it’s one that comes up again and again in his work, from his role as the Justice League’s master planner to the scene in R.I.P. where the Joker talks about how no matter how crazy he gets, Batman draws another mental box around him. It’s his defining trait.

Morrison’s Superman isn’t defined by his powers, he’s defined by his morality; the defining scene of All Star Superman isn’t Superman fighting Solaris or even Lex Luthor, it’s him stopping the girl from committing suicide. It’s that he cares. And in the same way, Morrison’s Batman is defined by one trait: He is, quite simply, the World’s Greatest Detective. No one, not even a god, can out-think him.

Every now and then I’ll have a conversation about Batman (surprise!) with my pal and ex-Cracked editor Jay Pinkerton, and he generally takes the tactic of calling me an attention deficit spaz who only wanting Batman to fight gorillas in space, while I tell him he’s a narrow-minded child for thinking the grim-and-gritty street vigilante is more valid than other portrayals. If we were sitcom roommates, we would’ve long ago drawn a line down the middle of the apartment, where Brave and the Bold can only be watched on one side. And yet, we both think this is one of the best comics we’ve ever read, because the core of the character is valid, even in a bizarre (and to me, awesome) milieu of sun-eater dragons and time travel.

On the art side of things, Frazer Irving does an amazing job here, just as he did in the similarly puritain-themed Seven Soldiers: Klarion with Morrison. What’s different here, though, is how he’s able to effortlessly go from Batman fighting an Elder Thing to the sci-fi styled Vanishing Point and the literal collapse of the universe to the 17th Century version of street crime, jumping from one to the next in an absolutely beautiful story. There are great, simple tricks that he pulls off perfectly–the shadow of “Mordecai’s” hat shading his face like Batman’s mask, the jaw-dropping shock on Malleus’s face at the end–and the whole experience is fantastic, especially given that Irving was handed the unenviable task of following up Chris Sprouse, who was equally perfect in the first issue–and who seriously needs to draw Morrison’s run, for real you guys.

So I guess what I’m saying here is that I liked it.

I liked it a lot.



So much, in fact, that talking about anything else at this point just doesn’t have the same zing. There was a surprising amount of great comics this week–Thunderbolts, Weapon X, Fantastic Four, Secret Avengers, Thor, even a surprisingly fun Brave and the Bold that I’m sure I’ll talk about when the second part comes out and the fan-service-filled final (for me) issue of Power Girl–and a couple of real stinkers, but you guys know where my heart lies.

If you’d like to discuss them, or any other comic you liked this week, have at it!

31 thoughts on “The Week In Ink: May 26, 2010

  1. I personally loved the opening speech in Fantastic Four. Highlight of this week’s stack.
    I want that thing framed. I’m relieved to see that non-Eaglesham issues are still great.

  2. Oh, and I imagine this would make Chris super excited if he weren’t already aware of it, but after next week, we get three weeks in a row of Morrison Batman (Batman 700, RoBW 3, and B&R 13). And one of those weeks features Frank Quitely.

  3. If you told me last week that I’d be more excited about Pigrim Batman than about Dan “The Man” Rand kicking a Deathlok in the face, I would have agreed with you 100%. That’s how awesome Pilgrim Batman is.

  4. Man this week. I read Secret Avengers, got the end of the issue thinking “Damn that was pretty awesome” THEN I read Thunderbots and Man, I totally want to see Man-Thing fist bumping Juggernaut before the end of that series. THEN I read Return of Bruce Wayne. I feel like there was just an awesome escalation to my day that just climaxed with Batman in a Pilgrim hat fighting an Elder God, then being a hairy future monster, then meeting Blackbeard. I almost want to cry it’s so beautiful.

  5. Chris, did you see the reference Parker dropped in Thunderbolt? “If he’s got a neck tattoo, I’m gonna lick it.” I cracked up so hard. I really shouldn’t have been eating I almost choked

  6. Yes, and it was awesome. I’m willing to say it’s the second-best thing in this week’s books–and seriously, you should ALL be reading Thunderbolts.

  7. I rarely find myself actually nodding at the computer screen (because doing that is really weird) but you managed to make me do that when you mentioned Superman saving the suicidal girl. Morrison not only gets these characters on the most fundamental of levels, he uses that to write them at their very archetypal best.

    All that said, I’ve been trade-waiting The Return of Bruce Wayne just because I prefer to read all of Morrison’s stuff in one cohesive, mind-blowing sit-down but you’ve got me completely stoked for it (as if I needed further stoking).

  8. Funny enough, Return of Bruce Wayne, Thunderbolts, Weapon X, Secret Avengers and Thor was my complete pull list this week.

  9. Karsten, this is what we call scientific evidence of intrinsic awesomeness. You are officially One Cool Dude, congratulations!

    Now go buy me a lottery ticket.

  10. I pulled a reverse White Chocolate in my reading order; it was equally awesome. By the way, if a reverse White Chocolate isn’t an obscene sex act/streetball move, it should be.

  11. Chris Sims and Jay Pinkerton are buddies. Isn’t that AWESOME?

    (Off-topic, but what’s Pinkerton up to these days? He did some of the funniest comic book humor stuff — his Spider-Man newspaper rewrites are legendary — and yet he doesn’t seem to be updating anymore. Wikipedia mentions he’s involved with Portal 2 somehow, but when’s that coming out? After All-Star Batman and Robin’s finished?)

    On-topic: I sincerely believe that Return of Bruce Wayne should have been a collection of four issue mini-series, each exploring Batman being awesome is different time periods. Only ONE ISSUE of Pirate Batman? That’s ridiculous!

  12. The Return of Bruce Wayne, Fantastic Four, Weapon X, Thunderbolts and Secret Avengers were at the bottom of my stack so I read them all in a row and man, it’s been awhile since I’ve had that much fun reading comics. What a great week.

  13. Regarding this month’s Fantastic Four: I really like how Hickman is letting the story unfold at it’s own pace instead of sticking to conventional arc structure.

  14. I like to think the Reverse White Chocolate involves at least three women to pull off.

  15. I’m NOT ok with the idea of Batman fighting space apes all day, for obvious reasons.

  16. It didn’t come out this week, but the art on Xenogenesis made me hate the sense of sight. I really liked the story and I’ve never dropped a book for the art alone, but, no. No, no, no. NO.

  17. Blizzard.

    Even if you don’t like WoW, there’s Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3. And if you don’t like those, there’s Starcraft and Diablo 2.

  18. I’m enjoying RoBW too. I think it’s a more accessible, more pared down version of what Morrison was doing (or trying) in Seven Soldiers. Each issue is a separate story with a distinct visual style and story genre (#1: basic action/adventure/revenge with clear good guys and bad guys, #2: detective/noir with more ambiguous characters) but tied together into a larger meta-story, with outside forces influencing the characters in various ways.

  19. Pirate Bruce Wayne commands his own ship, sinks the ship of Captain Luthor, and possibly discovers one of his crew members is that old scallywag Mitchell Shelley.

  20. Did anyone get 7 Psycopaths? I’ve yet to read it, but the cover makes it look like a Civil War tie-in

    Highlight of my comics this week was going to Orbital Comics in London and seeing a (approximately) 7-year-old boy thumbing through the newest Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose while his mother was asking a question at the sales counter. He seemed quite impressed with it.

  21. Did anyone see Hannibal Tabu’s little review in his buy pile article this week? He hated it, rating it gibberish at best. Man its amazing how much people who all profess to love comics can disagree about one issue. Even though I fall well on the Sims side of these polar opposite opinions, I kind of actually like being into something that strikes such different chords in its fans.

    BTW Valve and Blizzard both just make the same game over and over again.