Wednesday, July 11, 2012

My Pull List - Comic Reviews for 7/11/2012

OK! Let's do this!

This week I'm reviewing:
- Batgirl #11
- Batman #11
- Batman and Robin #11
- Demon Knights #11
- Swamp Thing #11

Once again, there may be SPOILERS.

Batgirl #11

Gail Simone's "Batgirl" title has a bit of a reputation, but what bothers me is that its reputation has nothing to do with the quality of the title and all about the situation surrounding it. The decision to bring Barbara Gordon back as Batgirl for the relaunch upset people because they thought it undermined Babs who had become so unique as Oracle and it also undermined the other characters who assumed the mantle of Batgirl after her.

Personally, I would understand this if this title were written by anyone other than Gail Simone. Since the first issue, Gail Simone has made it clear that Barbara's time in the wheelchair is still very central to who she is and how she sees herself and the world. She was great as Oracle, but Barbara has always wanted to do more than just tech support.

I have been a fervent supporter of this title from the beginning and it continues to be one of my favorites.

One thing Gail does very well is striking a balance between self-contained story and continuity. Each arc is short and sweet, sometimes only lasting one or two issues, but plot threads are carried throughout. Most other comic books tend to have self-contained arcs that last for months and months and others have a new story every month. I think Gail strikes the perfect balance here. Each issue can be picked up without needing to read the ones that came before it, but if you do, you'll still be rewarded through awareness of the continuity.

In this issue, we learn more about Barbara's psychopathic brother, we learn more about the police officer from the end of the first issue, and we continue the mystery surrounding Charise Carnes. It's still good fun and very interesting.

I'm not really sure what else to say other than, "Read it."

Batman #11

If you aren't reading Snyder's "Batman" run and you like Batman, what the hell are you waiting for? Go! Read it! Now!

This issue is a spectacular book-end to the Court of Owls arc that has been running since the beginning.

A lot of people cried foul with the revelation from Issue #10, but I like that this issue leaves the possibilities open. Lincoln March COULD be telling the truth, but we don't know. Sure there's SOME aspect of retcon involving Bruce's parents, but nothing overly significant unless March's story is true. 

Either way, I'm fine with the development. It made for an excellent story and I think it adds an excellent new character into the Rogue's Gallery.

I really don't want to say more than that because you REALLY should be reading this.

Batman and Robin #11

Not a lot of people are thrilled with the Bruce/Damian partnership, but honestly, it's one of my favorites. If Damian were anybody else, Batman would have kicked him to the curb long ago. But Damian is his son. He feels responsible for him and sees a part of himself in Damian. He feels as though he needs to encourage him to be better and I think it works really well.

Starting with Issue #10, Damian decided to start taking the previous Robins down a peg, defeating them and claiming a trophy of theirs to prove his superiority as Robin. In the first issue he took on Tim Drake but didn't defeat him, though I'm willing to bet a rematch will come soon.

In this issue, however, we start off with Damian taking on Jason Todd. I don't want to spoil how that one goes, but I loved every minute of it.

What I didn't love was how the arc of Damian taking on the other Robins has NOTHING to do with the other story arc going on involving the Batfreaks. Both are good plots, don't get me wrong, they're just pretty unrelated so far.

Maybe they're building up to something, I don't know.

Demon Knights #11

"Demon Knights" is one of those titles that I wish more people would read, mostly so I could have someone to talk to about it. While I don't know if I would call it one of my FAVORITE series, it's definitely what I consider to be the most underrated.

Fantasy is often overlooked in modern comics. Unless you're Thor, no one gives a crap.

But "Demon Knights" works great both for its unabashed love for classic Arthurian legend and for its remarkable cast of characters.

While it took me a while, I have affection for every single character in the cast. I love Etrigan and Vandal Savage because I love bad guys who are roped into being good guys. It's funny and it adds a sense of balance. Also they just love to break things. I love the Horsewoman because it's nice to have a new paraplegic redhead who kicks ass to replace Barbara Gordon. I love Madame Xanadu because you never really know what she wants or where anyone stands with her. Is she playing Etrigan or Jason? Or both? I love Exoristos because she's like Wonder Woman but more extreme. I love Shining Knight because he gives no fucks about what anyone things, is fiercely loyal and righteous, and you don't get a lot of transgendered characters in comics. Al Jabr took me a while to warm up to, but in this issue, I realized how much I like him essentially playing the straight man to the entire group while still kicking ass.

Seriously, if you like sword and sorcery stuff, you should be reading "Demon Knights". Fantasy has a tendency to get canceled in the comics industry, so it needs all the support it can get.

Swamp Thing #11

I only have one thing to say about this issue, but to elaborate on it would be a pretty major spoiler, so I'll just keep it simple.