SPOILERS: Detective Comics #976

Just making way for the Outsiders given recent news.

SPOILERS: Batman #42

I feel like there's something you could infer here...

SPOILERS: Batman: White Knight #6

At the end of the day, this is just a super weird love story.

SPOILERS: Detective Comics #975

Bet you can't guess where this is going based on the solicited covers!

SPOILERS: Batman #41

It's been too long since Batman punched his friends and loved ones.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

SPOILERS: Batman Annual #4

Remember Arkham Manor? Suer you do! That pretty cool concept that was dropped like a thing you'd drop really fast because for whatever reason it isn't alright to hold? YEAH, that. Well, we get some answers as to whatever happened to that, not-so-Batman Bruce.

The Spoilers:

So apparently Jeremiah Arkham went crazy again? Apparently I read this? Could have fooled me, but that's the case. He's crazy, Arkham Manor got shut down, and Geri Powers owns Wayne Manor now, but intends to give it back to Bruce Wayne who barely recognizes the place. Unfortunately, there are some squatters in the house who have a bone to pick with Bruce, and those squatters would be Clayface, Mr. Freeze and The Riddler. 

Once the trio of rogues dispatch of Geri, Alfred and Julie, they start to play a game with Bruce, lead by Riddler. See, Riddler wants Bruce to tell them what he is, and so begins all the psychological torture, with Riddler revealing some of the darker aspects of Bruce's past that neither Alfred or Julie dare told him... This includes everything from him freaking out at school after his parents death to almost checking himself into Arkham.

It's all a big play to open some of Bruce's wounds and place doubt within in him of who he was and what everyone isn't telling him. Eventually Riddler gets Bruce to scream out what he wants, what Bruce is... and that's crazy. Bruce admits that he's crazy, or was at least... and according to Riddler what does a crazy man dooooo DRESS UP LIKE A BAT AND no-no... he hires another crazy person to dress up like a Bat and kick everyone's asses. And that's where the grudge is held. And now that Riddler got what he wanted, he intends to shoot everyone they've held captive to recreate that darkness in Bruce, just to see what he turns out to be for the LOLZ.

But at this point everyone is distracted enough to the point where Bruce hits the signal dampener (blocking Geri from calling GorBat) with one of his old rifles, cause a chandelier to drop on Clayface and Freeze, and that's all folks.

Wrap up, Bruce still wants to finger paint or something, annnnnnnd.


The Opinion:

Like the Grayson Annual before it, this was another issue that dealt with character more than plot, and it accomplished what it set out to do very well, but at the end of the day it was one of those issues for me... And by those I mean: How the hell has no one figured out Bruce is fucking Batman yet!? issues. Sure, I guess they're doing the thing Superman and Lex Luthor are currently doing where Lex is too smart for his own good and can't accept Clark is Superman (or so I hear), and you have Riddler just being too smart and not getting that final piece of the puzzle in place... But he's literally writing the fucking origin of Batman we've all read a billion times and it goes: "The dead parents! The anger! The insanity! The years missing! It all makes sense! YOU ARE... the man who funds Batman because you said it that one time and I totally took that at face value." I mean, I realize I'm getting way off point of talking about this issue's merits, but holy crap does it frustrate me for no particular reason. I mean, clearly, we're not going to do what Superman is doing and have everyone know Bruce is Batman, but come on

All that being said, like Grayson, very good issue, light on plot, heavy on character... Also, for real, Roge Antonio had to apprentice under Rafael Albuquerque, right? Either that or he's straight up aping Albuquerque's style, right down to the same sort of facial expressions I read in today's issue of American Vampire. Assuming he did study under Albuquerque, I'll say that I find his work to be good, but like early Jason Fabok (which looked a hell of a lot like David Finch's work, due to him studying under Finch), it just looks too similar to be anything other than "Not-Rafael Albuquerque," and if he's going to continue illustrating books, I'd like to see that style evolve and be unique and his own. Build from it, not mimic.


  1. I thought it humorous that Batman Annual # 2 is like "what's this thing called Zero Year?" and now Batman Annual # 4 is like "HEY GUYS REMEMBER ZERO YEAR? RIDDLER WAS IN IT AND BRUCE HAD SOME ROUGH YEARS IN HIS YOUTH?"

  2. Yeah, that was the big plot twist in Arkham Manor's Endgame one-shot; I went back and found the issue and your review when I saw it mentioned in the preview. You didn't care then either :P

    1. *twist = Jeremiah went nuts and was the Joker

    2. It was hard to care when David Hine and Tony Daniel had already told the story of Jeremiah going nuts four years ago in Battle for the Cowl, Arkham Reborn, Life After Death and Beneath the Mask.

    3. .... and it was hard to care even then because the idea that Arkham would go full villain was a stupid one to begin with. Like, "Gee, a borderline guy who spends all his time 'treating' insane criminals might go insane himself..." Not that original or big a stretch. Ironically, the only thing really interesting about the Jeremiah Arkham character was the fact that he was historically portrayed as ambiguously crazy himself. The guy who runs Arkham would have to be a little crazy, but also kinda sane, right? That was the whole point! But as I say, he was never that interesting or necessary a character, either. So I guess I don't care what they've done with his character, other than the fact I think it's unnecessary and too "on the nose."

  3. What was the significance of "conasta"? Is that a hint that Hobo Bruce actually remembers being Batman, remembers setting up that passcode to drop the chandelier?

    1. Gotta admit, I'm kinda over trying to keep track of how and when and why Bruce thinks or doesn't think he's Batman. (Morrison did it brilliantly in R.I.P. with the post-hypnotic Zur-En-Arrh "backup" personality.) Snyder's basically said (through Alfred) Bruce backed up his Batman persona on a computer or some such nonsense. And we saw that in the Future's End tie-in issue of Batman.

      I just think it's weird how much a fait accompli it is that Bruce will be returning as Batman again vis a vis some sort of uploading of the Batman persona to his brain. I don't think it "spoils" the story, but it takes some of the mystery and drama out of it.

  4. As much as I love the Batman Inc. concept, there's no getting around the fact that it basically breaks Batman's secret ID. It's akin to all the years that Iron Man was supposed to be Tony Stark's bodyguard and everyone in the Marvel U accepted that even though they were never seen together. I wonder if one of the side-effects of Fingerpainting Bruce will be to put some distance between him and Batman once again, maybe a soft reboot of the Inc. idea.

    re: the annual - I kind of love the idea that Fingerpainting Bruce doesn't necessarily share Old Bruce's aversion to firearms - makes sense since he's not as traumatized by his parents' murder.

    1. I hope you're right about distancing Batman and Bruce Wayne. If that's the biggest effect of the whole story, then by all means, I hope it sticks. The whole point of Batman is that he wears a mask, has a secret identity that almost no one is supposed to know.

      Not to get too mired in current New 52 canon, but basically Ra's, The League of Assassins, and Spyral all know his secret. That's a problem. In Morrison's run, the Club of Villains did as well. And now Dick has been outed, which strains credulity that someone -- just like Lex Luthor -- couldn't put one and zero together and realize Bruce Wayne is Batman. Then there's the whole Joker "does he or doesn't he" question that Snyder settled -- he does, but he chooses to ignore it -- except he finally breaks the rule in Endgame.

      So yeah, putting the Batman identity back in the box would be a good thing.

      As for Superman, whatever. DC doesn't care about him so whatever's happening there doesn't matter. They'll just straight retcon it or something after they tell Superman's 500th origin story.

    2. Lex luthor actually figured out batman is Bruce Wayne at the end of forever evil due to Grayson identity reveal