A lot can be said about DC move a few years back to restart all their books over at Issue 1 and start telling their stories over again. Like, a whole lot could be said. Mostly about why they could not just.. I dunno, start the stories over again? Cause that’s not what they did.
But that is for someone who really knows DC. I have a passing knowledge, but have always made mine Marvel. I was excited about the relaunch for this reason, but there seems to be no restart of the continuity, just of the number system.
Anyway, I picked up a bunch of New 52 titles when they came out and now I’m digging through them. I start with the first 10 issues of Batman: Detective Comics. I chose the first ten issues because I felt that would give me a good sense of how the stories were going and because that’s all I subscribed to and my money ran out and I stopped getting them. So here we go....
These comics covered two and a half story arcs, from the terror of the Dollmaker to a heist/double cross adventure of the Penguin’s new club. Along the way there’s some weird stuff with some guys called the Talons and something with guys dressed up as Batman robbing stuff. I did not read further into the arcs and care little about them, which sums up much of this series as far as the story goes. From an art standpoint, all the art is visually interesting, blending the action and the shadows quite well to mix the very dark tone of this book. I cannot say this is the best art out there, but it was excellent for this book.
The Joker gets his face cut off, a little girl and Gordon get kidnapped, then some random happenstance cause Batman to save the day. That’s the long and short of this piece.
to start off the beginning of the “New 52” of what is technically their flagship book, this is a dark bit of work. The blood, gore and situations were horrific in any context as the bad guy, the Dollmaker, reanimates corpses, uses plastic surgery to disfigure and reconfigure bodies including his own, and brainwashes little girls to the point where they commit murder of police officers. I almost could not stomach this story and I have been called borderline sociopathic in my low level of sympathy for most fictional works. This was dark and mean and was in no way a “superhero” book and I can only recommend it for those of you out there who thought Punisher MAX was not open-ended enough.
#5-7: Snakeskin and Penguin
A more traditional crime story, the Penguin is opening his new casino and somebody is gonna try and rob the place. Or are they? Not all is as it seems in this story.
I have to question what makes it a Batman story other than the characters. Do not get me wrong, I enjoy the Richard Stark “Parker” brand storytelling way more than hyper-murder shock value of the last story, nothing in this really sunk in as Batman. That may be a reason I have trouble reading Batman stories, he is a very character based book that enjoys the hero and the criminals running around and playing cat and mouse with each other.
The villains in this story really are the center as we follow each of them as they double cross and kill each other until only one remains. At least one twist was well done and there is a gimicky Penguin ice trap halfway through that gives a bone to superhero element, but as a Batman tale this story also falls flat, but at least not in such a horrific way.
Somebody has stolen Scarecrow’s fear toxin and Batman has been tasked to stop it.
This one-shot feels more like Batman, but in the end fails as it is not interesting at all. Catwoman is drugged by fear toxin, so Batman saves her. He gets a call from Gordon, who says Scarecrow said that... Really? Why does that need to happen like that? There’s too much confusion and characters for a plot that ultimately leads nowhere and basically only works as a setup for Hugo Strange’s “son.” to become yet another villain. And if that is not the case, I do not care. Nope. Not even a little. This book is a runaround for both me and Batman.
Two guys named The Talons break into Arkham and go to execute Dr. Arkham cause he sucks at his job. Batman shows up, most of the inmates including Black Mask and Clayface get out and all hell breaks loose.
I do not want to even go over this book as it is apparently a tie in with Birds of Prey and the other Batman book. I have no idea what is going on (which when I think about it does fit the asylum theme...). Also, when did Black Mask get mind control powers? I thought he was just a gangster crime boss. Whatever.
I will not comment on the story of this issue because
a) I don’t have any issues past this one and
b) several piece of science talk in this book made me dumb by association.
Just... what the f#%k? I thought Batman was smart? Like, really, really, stupidly smart. So when he walks into a room and casually looks at a giant glowing thing and goes “some form of Large Hadron Collider” that’s supposed to mean something... except nothing about that sentence could ever be right. The LHC, the “atom smasher” as he also calls it, is in reality a big ass tunnel stretching miles long. You don’t find it glowing in a room, you find the LHC itself buried in Switzerland and even if you did have something that you could call a “hadron collider” you would need to shield the crap outta that sumbitch cause its a damn particle accelerator not a “superpower giver.” Research, people..
Also, Batman is pretty dumb about time travel and basic particle physics for living in a universe that has glowing gas men and men made of explosives. “Oh, I fought a man a few days ago that could reanimate the dead and change human biology like he was replacing a tire, but changing particle physics... pish” says Batman.
This reboot made Batman a dumbass and even if I had more issues I would have stopped here.