Stuff I bought
Egad, but this week was certainly an improvement over LAST week! There were certainly a lot of Bats however.
I honestly didn't have a clue how the heck Scott Snyder was going to end this. I was quite enthralled by his Owls story, and I have been reading this one with the Joker with bated breath...and I don't even LIKE the Joker all that much. I have to say that he...nailed it.
After all of the mind games, and shenanigans...albeit deadly shenanigans...the Joker finally has the whole Bat Clan tied up at the table, with Batman imprisoned on his throne...and the final act of the play bregins. All of those various platters with the domed lids are sitting ominously on the table, and all of the Bat Buddies, are tied up with bags over their heads, and even worse, with bandages over their faces.
And then, Alfred shows up. But poor Alfred is seriously zonked out on Joker venom, and just stands there giggling in a terrifying manner, as he lifts the lids on the "treats" on the table. Well, it isn't parts of Alfred like I had originally feared, but they ARE all of the masked faces of Robin, Nightwing, Batgirl and the Red Hood!
Naturally, the Joker is quite delighted with his little display and keeps taunting Batman, who is seriously pissed off. The li'l Bats are freaking out, Alfred keeps laughing, and I'm getting more creeped out by the minute. Then the whole place catches fire...
...and finally Batman gets his groove on, escapes from his throne, and puts out the flames, which he can do, because they are actually in some of the caves under Wayne Manor! As the Joker scampers off, Bats frees the rest of them, and it was all a trick, their faces are fine, and they urge Bruce to go after his quarry. Too bad that the weird little two-headed cat thingie explodes with MORE Joker venom, and they all go nuts on each other.
Meanwhile Batman is chasing the Joker through the catacombs, while they exchange taunts and witty banter and so on and so forth. And finally, Batman is able to defeat the Joker, not by brute force, but by telling him that he...knows his name. This completely freaks the Joker out, Batman isn't playing the game, and the game is all that he is. So he takes a header off the waterfall, although I'm pretty damned sure that he'll show up again eventually. And his little black book? Blank.
So, everyone gets rescued, Alfred is recuperating, and Bruce is ready to have them all get together and talk things over...but they are all so spooked by their ordeal, that they essentially blow him off...and as the Batcomputer analyses one final aspect of the venom, it spells out..."Ha!"
Man this was good. Creepy as heck. Gorgeous art, and a clever story...this is what comics can be, when they try.
This is the issue NOT written by Gail Simone. In the aftermath of Death of the Family, Batgirl, is trying to help round up the various Joker goons left over, while still having to deal with the machinations of her lunatic brother. She even uses her mad computer skills, which I find quite appealing. Dang it, I miss Oracle.
And then a new baddie named Firebug shows up.
Not bad at all, but not in the same league as the main Bat book. But that's a pretty high bar.
Batman & Robin #17
Tomasi and Gleason are two of my absolute favorite creators, and they hit it out of the park again, in this tale of how everyone is coping after that little affair with the Joker. Batman and Robin come home after a hard night of gallantry, eat their sammitches, and wander off to bed. And then they all have nightmares.
Astonishingly fabulous nightmares actually. Damian dreams and then wakes up, but he's still dreaming which is pretty scary actually. Alfred dreams that the Joker is destroying his family and he goes down and...blows his head off. He wakes up with a start, and then tries to go back to sleep...but there is an add little smile on his face, that I found fascinating.
Bruce dreams of course, and he ends up being saved by Robin. He wakes, and goes into Damian's room and tucks him in a little tighter, which makes Damian smile. Then they all go out and kick some more ass.
It is a lovely little interlude. There isn't really all that much dialogue in it, but the art, by Pat Gleason just tells a beautiful story.
Batman: The Dark Knight #16
I don't normally buy this book, but it had that cover by Ethan Van Sciver, and I really really love Ethan Van Sciver, so I picked it up.
People are being kidnapped all over the place, and sometimes their bodies are found,and sometimes they just disappear, and there doesn't seem to be a rhyme or reason to it all. At first Batman thinks that perhaps the Penguin is behind it all, but the Penguin denies it, and rather wryly points out that he's not the only villain with a "hat" theme. You can practically see the bells go off in Batman's head.
This brings us to the actual villain,which is of course, the Mad Hatter. And mad, he certainly is. This is some gorgeous, if seriously demented artwork. I just may have to keep up with this, and see how it is all going to end.
Demon Knights #17
Well, poor Etrigan is still stuck in Hell, and Lucifer just can't stop himself from twisting the knife. Meanwhile on earth, Jason Blood is being tortured by Vandal Savage. He can't summon Etrigan, because of a particularly nasty spell.
The Horsewoman, Exoristos and Sir Ystin have all shown up, and are supposed to be getting Jason out and summoning Etrigan in their fight against Cain. They do find Jason, but realize that Etrigan isn't going to be showing up any time soon. They bust him out, as Exoristos beguiles Savage with a bit of arm-wrestling, which I found to be quite amusing. Then when they are about to pursue our heroes, the Horsewoman convinces all of the OTHER horses, to just stay where they are.
I DO like this book a lot.
Threshold presents The Hunted #2
Boy howdy, but that is a cumbersome title! I thought that the title was supposed to be Threshold, but if you didn't know any better, you would be convinced that it was actually The Hunted.
But I like Kieth Giffen, and although I am not particularly enthralled with the whole "Hunted" storyline which I first came upon in the abysmal Green Lantern; New Guardians Annual, it is actually handled slightly better in this book. For one thing, we have Jaime Reyes, the Blue Beetle, who has been kidnapped and is being used to hunt Jediah Caul, the obnoxious Green Lantern. Some other people show up too. Giffen was one of the original writers of Jaime when he was first introduced, so I'm hoping that we will actually get some of THAT Jaime, as opposed to the "new 52" version of Jaime, which I loathed.
Plus there is Larfleeze,and that's always good for a chuckle.
Not great, but not actually terrible either.
So...an interesting week certainly.
Plus, I am still flabberghasted that Geoff Johns is leaving Green Lantern, and apparently everyone ELSE is also leaving Green Lantern! Gaaaaahhhhh! I'm now terrified, that instead of the GOOD writers and artists, we'll end up with someone like...Winick. Or Lobdell, or god help us, Dan Didio. I really want Peter Tomasi to take over, he's done an excellent job, and maybe he could put Kyle back with Guy. Maybe Gail Simone would like to take a crack at it? Greg Rucka? Mark Waid? Scott Snyder?
Who are YOUR picks?