2012 has been a good year for the Batman books, but that's not to say there haven't been a few hiccups, or things that could stand to be changed here and there. The following is my list of hopes and dreams for the Batman line in 2013, some dealing with things that need to change for quality purposes, some simply for a change of pace. Given my recent thoughts on some titles, I'm willing to bet you can figure out some of these without looking...
Cool it with the crossovers
I don't mean no guest appearances or anything, but I really think the line could use a break from the Night of the Owls or Death of the Family style crossovers. Granted, I've liked both those stories, and love what Scott Snyder has been doing in Batman, but do we really need the Riddler crossing over into four or five other books in a story that'll take us into February of 2014? I mean, just think about it, Death of the Family started just two months after the final issue of the Court of Owls story. In the meantime, not many of the books had time to stretch out their wings, most notably I'd point to Batman and Robin. Loved the first arc, but everything in between the two crossovers has felt either extremely rushed or half baked. We've got a lot of great characters in Gotham, but they need to do things on their own, rather than hang on the coattails of Scott Snyder's stories. Though, I will say, if we're to believe that the "Death" of the family is in more of a metaphoric sense, then this will probably be a given.
New writer on Catwoman ASAFP
Figure out what that F is for yourself... Selina Kyle is an awesome character. Ann Nocenti may have written some good stories back in the day, but as of right now, I'd consider a pretty terrible writer. Put those two together and you have an atrocious, disappointing, pitiful mess of a book starring a character who is Selina Kyle in name only. Giving the title to Nocenti after her Green Arrow work was met with nothing but mediocre at best criticism was a questionable decision... but to allow her to continue on after that, now with an atrocious Catwoman under her belt, and launch another book (Katana, a character I sadly like) is fucking baffling. DC has been doing a great job of hand picking many young/indie oriented writers from the Image stables, and while I'm sure not all will pan out, it's a hell of a lot better than going back to the obscure pit of irrelevant writers from the 80s and early 90s. I'd take almost anyone else at this point, you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who could make it worse without consciously doing so.
Red Hood could use some work
I've made my thoughts on the art situation Red Hood has found itself in blatantly clear. In short, it's bad... and the fact that it will go on into (at least) March, is pretty bad too. To go from one of the best looking books of the New 52, to one of the worst is a pretty big feat. It's not like this book is selling like shit either, I'm sure you could convince a much better artist to jump on board, but DC has seemed to settle for less, which is a shame. Now, moving past the art... I'm going to say that I wouldn't mind seeing someone else step in to write the book. Not that Scott Lobdell has been doing terrible or anything, this is just one of those books where I feel like I'm ready for a new voice to step in and really recharge the book. If a new artist comes on, I'd just prefer to see a new team all together, and really do their own thing. Personally, I'd nominate a guy like Joshua Williamson step in, as he really did a great job with the issue he scripted, and can write some pretty fun Super hero stories as well (read his Superman/Batman issue with Supergirl and Damian).
Batwoman moving past Medusa
Now, we may have already gotten hints of this, as I don't recall seeing Medusa mentioned in the latest solicitation of the title, but regardless, by the time the current arc ends, Batwoman will have been going on about Medusa and these missing kids for a good year and a half... Let's move on. On top of that, I think Batwoman could stand to interact with the Batfam just a bit more. She's been such a black sheep, but if that old arc of Batman and Robin, recent issues of Batgirl and hell, playing super hero with Wonder Woman is any indication, it's safe to say Kate can play well with others.
Let Batman Inc. go
If the schedule holds true, Grant Morrison's final issue of Batman Incorporated, and thus, anything Batman related, will hit in the coming June. The last thing I want to see is the concept mediocrely followed up upon. Batman Inc. was created for such a specific purpose, as a very large plot point of a story that has gone on for nearly half a decade, if not more, and if DC can't follow up Morrison's stint with something that is nothing short of great, then I'd much rather see DC take the high road, and just let it go. Could it easily become that international Bat book again, much like the first volume of the series? Yes. Does that mean it should happen. No. By all means, if DC finds a writer with a great take, and their own point of view that can be brought to the series, I'd love to check it out. But if not, I'd much rather see the series get some finality to it, much like the finality it will be giving Morrison's tenure on Batman... and on a secondary note, find something completely awesome for Chris Burnham to do afterwards.
Don't kill Alfred
Seriously. First of all, just don't fucking do it. Second of all, it would be almost too obvious at this point. If Vegas was taking bets on this, the odds of Alfred dying wouldn't have a great pay out, so to speak. If by issue #17 of Batman, he bites it, then yeah, it'll be a situation of "we all saw this coming from issue #13" and in my opinion, any emotional impact would severely be hindered because of that. But getting back to my first point, just don't fucking do it to begin with.