By C.J. Bunce
Sometimes you want to just sit down and view a single TV episode where you walk away at the end of the hour having been energized with a complete end to end story. I remember countless episodes of the X-Files with the monster of the week and these stand out to me from the episodes that followed the long-term plot of Fox Mulder’s lost sister or uncovering the mysterious smoking man’s real story. I have the same thoughts about standalone issues of comic books. Most series today have multi-issue story arcs and they are usually relevant and continue the intrinsic and historic serialized nature of monthly comic series dating back to the origin of comic books. But when I was a little kid I’d flip through the short supply of comics at my local Kwik Shop and sometimes you’d be lucky and get an issue with a single beginning to end story and sometimes you’d start reading and have no idea what is going on. I still get excited about a book when I get a great end-to-end story. Detective Comics #19–the 900th issue of Detective Comics is one of those reads.
When the old DC Universe ended in August 2011, Detective Comics was at issue #881. Detective Comics was set to become the second DC Comics series to reach Issue #900 after Action Comics. Then the New 52 renumbered everything. No matter. DC Comics knows when it has something to celebrate, so to mark the occasion it is publishing a good ol’ 80-page giant issue. As part of its across-the-line gatefold cover series, it cleverly manages to include the number 900 as part of its cover, as well as integrate the number into its storyline in a meaningful way.
On the heels of the wind up of the “Death of the Family” story arc in Issue #17 of the monthly Batman comic book series a few days ago, it’s ironic that Grant Morrison is making news today with his own Batman series creation Batman, Incorporated. The Batman “Death of the Family” story had some readers thinking one of the key Batman related characters was going to meet his end–probably not Batman, Catwoman, Batgirl, or Dick Grayson/Nightwing, but maybe Alfred or Batman’s son Damian Wayne (the current Robin) or even the original Robin killed off in the comics, Jason Todd, since resurrected into the Red Hood. Some readers were disappointed in the finale issue of the “Death of the Family” story even after re-reading the story title which never actual implied a death “in” the family. No one died but the family was left in turmoil. And that was that.
Today a major shift occurs in the DC Universe with the release of Batman, Incorporated Issue #8. Below is a five-page preview followed by spoilers, including the telling cover, after the break. Don’t read on if you haven’t already seen the content in other press but make sure you grab today’s issue. It’s a sure bet Batman, Incorporated Issue #8 will be sold out everywhere early today as this will be one of those issues that makes the mainstream press, causing the masses to flock to stores to buy up extra collecting copies.
Read on for more, including spoilers.
As someone who bailed a few issues into Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Batman: The Court of Owls story arc in the monthly Batman comic book which spanned the bulk of the first year of the New 52, I found that I really enjoyed the crossover follow-on story as compiled in the late February hardcover release, Batman: Night of the Owls. While you are either left scratching your head or enjoying the ride as the Batman “Death of the Family” story arc wrapped last week with Batman Issue #17, this new trade edition is one way to check out some other New 52 titles you might not otherwise try. And it’s fun watching how several writers can make a crossover take place in one night over 14 issues.
It’s the first crossover of the New 52. Batman: Night of the Owls collects 360 pages, including Batman Issues #8-9, plus the tie-ins from Batman Annual #1, Nightwing Issues #8-9, and Issue #9 of All-Star Western, Batgirl, Batman and Robin, Batman: The Dark Knight, Batwing, Birds of Prey, Catwoman, Detective Comics and Red Hood and the Outlaws.