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Tag Archive: Robin


Detective Comics 19 cover

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.

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This next animated Warner Brothers/DC Comics movie will be pretty hard to pass up and prompted me to check out Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One animated movie, which I plan to review here soon.  But what’s coming this month is the most talked about graphic novel of all time, Frank Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1 in its first adaptation, coming direct to video.  DC Comics must have done some research to indicate it wouldn’t make enough money for this movie to hit the theaters, which is unfortunate, because I think even the simple animation style used wouldn’t matter–DKR fans would go to the theater to see this.  The negative is that, like so many other movies these days, it is being broken into two parts, so maybe the length was the problem.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Spoilers!

James Robinson was able to do with his first issue in Wave 2 of DC Comics’s New 52 what the other DC Justice League creators didn’t do in the initial launch–he created an exciting and interesting play on the DC universe.  And with Paul Levitz they have re-ignited the superhero books when it seemed like the titles across the board were wavering a bit.

Robinson’s Earth 2 takes DC back to its origins up through the 1980s when characters traversed parallel universes before there were all the myriad multiverses in the DCU with series in the 2000s, such as that found in the weekly series titled 52.  Levitz switched up the classic DC title known for Batman and Superman team-ups–World’s Finest, flipping the apostrophe to account for the parallel worlds into the new Worlds’ Finest.

You can’t read one title without the other.  Issue #1 of Worlds’ Finest nudges Earth 2 only a bit because of its focus on a new Huntress and Power Girl, so far missing their own titles in the New 52.  But are they really who they appear to be?  Back to that in a bit.

I love parallel universe stories, ever since reading the battle between the Earth 1 and Earth 2 superheroes in the pages of Justice League of America as a kid.  These two issues brought back all the fun of those earlier stories.

The first book of the parallel DCU is Issue #1 of Earth 2, and you’ve just got to envy Robinson and artist Nicola Scott with what they were allowed to do here–show the death scenes of not one but all of DC’s big three, Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman.  Scott even folded in her own versions of the supersuits, which are cooler than the earlier New 52 outfits.  But these characters only die on Earth 2 (not our Earth 1) in a battle called the Apokolips War (really, why do they always have to spell it so strangely?) by the leader of some “parademons” under a leader called Steppenwolf (usually with such a unique name you’d have an explanation for it, but neither the band, the novel or the wolf appear to apply here).  Regardless, Steppenwolf kills Wonder Woman first, but not before she has an encounter with the God Mercury, followed by the explosive death of Superman.  Batman sacrifices himself to blow everything to kingdom come, but not before a sign-off with daughter Helena, presumably his daughter with Catwoman, who is fighting the parademons as Robin, Batman’s sidekick.  Supergirl, here Karen Starr from DC’s 1970s, and Helena are part of the explosion and their ongoing story continues in Worlds’ Finest Issue #1.

But Earth 2 continues as we meet the Earth 2‘s Green Lantern (although he doesn’t have that title yet) Alan Scott.  And the issue ends as the God Mercury shows up to meet 21-year-old self-described screw-up Jay Garrick.  The name for a classic Flash in the DCU, no doubt we can see where Issue #2 will go with this character.  The how of showing Justice Society leaders Green Lantern and Flash getting together is well worth looking forward to.

Kudos to DC Comics for putting James Robinson on this title–his Justice League-Cry for Justice, although criticized by some, is one of the best reads from DC in years of limited “Crisis” series featuring the JLA.  Robinson can handle the intertwining story elements of something as complex as merging two Earths.

In Worlds’ Finest Issue #1, writer Paul Levitz and artist George Perez pick up the Earth 2 story by following the adventures of Robin and Supergirl as they decide to change their personas on Earth 1 into Huntress and Powergirl.  The big question is:  What happened to Kara Zor-L, Supergirl of Earth 1 and Helena Bertinelli, Huntress of Earth 1?  We know Supergirl is in her own Earth 1 series and Huntress recently finished up a trip to Italy in her own limited series.  Will we get to see a Supergirl vs Power Girl battle as we’ve seen in the past?  And Worlds’ Finest starts with the mention of Earth 1 Helena Bertinelli’s death.  But how?

Worlds’ Finest has great banter and chemistry between Karen and Helena, like we saw in the Gail Simone/Nicola Scott era of Birds of Prey.  Here this Worlds’ Finest issue is what I’d hoped for with the New 52 reboot of Birds of Prey.  You could easily see Batgirl of the New 52 joining up with these two superheroines at some point.  Helena fills the shoes as the Batman clone Huntress very well here–Huntress is at her best when she is written as Batman with a different hairdo and all the detective skill.  Karen’s Power Girl is outgoing and fun. not the typical spacey, serious and ethereal Supergirl.  But fans of her revealing Power Girl suit note that that outfit is long gone, replaced with a more updated supersuit.

I was pleasantly surprised with these first two issues of the New 52 second wave.  The re-hashed origin story that caused me to stop buying Justice League after the first few issues was disappointing, so it is nice to have a similar topic approached in such a refreshing and fun way.  Anxiously awaiting the second issues next month!

   

It is always great to catch up with my friend Freddie Williams II, whether it is at a midwest con or in San Diego.  DW and I were lucky to meet up again with Freddie and his wife Kiki at Comic-Con in San Diego last month.  Freddie is probably best known as the series artist for DC Comics’ Robin, as well as more recently the Flash series, but he’s also served as artist on Aquaman and Seven Soldiers, among other titles, and he is currently the artist on the new Captain Atom series premiering next month.  And I mentioned in a prior post that Freddie literally wrote the book on digital comic illustration, The DC Comics Guide to Digitally Drawing Comics.  We’re happy to welcome Freddie to borg.com.

It was great to see you again doing sketches for fans at Comic-Con this year.  How was life in Artists Alley?  How did this year’s event compare to past years for you?

Freddie:  Artists Alley and the convention itself are super busy, I love seeing friends from years past and meeting new folks but those 5 days go by so fast. The first couple years I had a bit more time to breathe and walk around but now I am doing signings and commissions non stop, but I love it!

What was the best part of Comic-Con for you this year?  Did you make it to any panels or offsite parties?  Any favorite fan moments from this year?

I was on The New 52 Panel for the DC Reboot but I had no time to walk around and take in any sights.  No offsite parties (too much work to do) though I did dinner with my Editor and a few other DC folks one night and got to add Batman to The Palm restaurant in the Gaslamp District another night, that was pretty awesome!

   

Every year longtime Comic-Con attendees comment that Comic-Con has changed with the addition of mega-panels for Hollywood movie franchises, production studios, video game companies, etc., implying a lesser focus on the “comic” in Comic-Con. Being in the industry as a comic book artist, what is your take?

Freddie: At times it does feel excessive, but folks don’t have to go to those panels & areas if they don’t want to. There are still comic related areas to hit, though they do tend to be shrinking every year. I was very happy to see deviantART add the Jumbo tron screens over Artists Alley this year, those rocked!

Any peers in the comic book world you were able to meet up with again, or meet for the first time?

Freddie: Had dinner with Rachel Gluckstern, JT Krul, Nicola & Craig Scott during the con and a few days after the con we met up for lunch with Francis Manapul, Agnes Garbowska, & Joel Gomez, then before we left for the Chicago con we met up again with Joel Gomez and his wife Beth Sotelo. It is always a blast to get to hang out and visit with these folks when we’re out for the Comic-Con.

I want to throw in a big congratulations for being selected as the artist for the new Captain Atom series coming from DC Comics in September. We can’t wait to see the first issue. This year’s Comic-Con had a huge focus on the DC Comics 52 #1 re-launch. What can you share with us about your work on this new project?

Freddie: I am trying some new stuff artistically with Captain Atom and JT and I get to go a bit off the beaten path with the character, so it’s been exciting so far. So doing not only super hero stuff but also esoteric & sci-fi story lines as well.

Here is Freddie’s AWESOME original art for the coming Captain Atom Issue #1, page 12:

Any advice for next year for fans or professionals coming to Comic-Con for the first time?

Freddie: Hmm, that’s a hard one, let’s see–pack light, always walk the outside halls if you want to get anywhere (from one end of the hall to another–it seemed faster to me than walking inside), be prepared to wait in long lines. And come to Artists Alley where the cool folks hang out!

Hey-that’s what Elizabeth C. Bunce and I did!  Here we are having a great time on Comic-Con Friday with Freddie and his wife Kiki in Artists Alley:

Thanks for chatting with us today, Freddie!  Follow Freddie as a featured illustrator at DC Comics website, at his own website www.FreddieArt.com, and on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube!

C.J. Bunce

Editor

borg.com

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