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Batman (Comic - Ongoing, General Topic)

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So, searching through the forums, I found that there hasn't been a general Batman topic active in 6 or so years, and with the comic having changed so drastically since then, I thought it might be a better idea to make a new topic, rather than resurrecting a six year old topic, that's also pretty out of date in regards to Batman in comics in the present.

So anyways, with that said - I believe now is the best time to make this topic, as the current run of Batman (Tom King's run specifically) is beginning it's final run-up to it's finale - having been cut down from 100 issues down to 85. With the latest milestone arc - City of Bane - beginning within the next month, it seems like the incredibly long Rebirth line of comics is coming to an end. 

If you haven't been keeping up with the Rebirth line of comics, there's been a lot of controversy surrounding the latest run of Batman, namely after the debacle that surrounded Issue 50's hyped up wedding of Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle. Long story short, Batman's basically been spiralling since then, and it's also not been helped by Tom King's particularly long drawn out writing style, leading to a lot of filler issues in amidst the 100 issue story he penned for the Rebirth Run. This also was not helped Tom King's 100 issue run being cut down to 85 a few months back, leading to a lot of debating from those angry DC cut it short, and those who point out Tom King could've easily cut the filler and fit the story into a shorter time span.

Regardless of that, with the ramp-up to the conclusion of this long arc, and a hyped up change to the Batman mythos - one of the biggest in 80 years in fact, it's going to at least be marginally exciting to see where Tom King brings this. 

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Did they ever wrap up that War of Jokes and Riddles arc?  I stopped reading mid-way through that because, despite the interesting premise, the book was getting very New 52-ish again.

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7 minutes ago, Tara said:

Did they ever wrap up that War of Jokes and Riddles arc?  I stopped reading mid-way through that because, despite the interesting premise, the book was getting very New 52-ish again.

In the grander sense - yeah. The War of Jokes and Riddles finished up around the Issue 32 mark, and wasn't really brought up again. It tied into one other story arc to my knowledge, which was Everybody Loves Ivy in Issue 41-43. 

Everybody Loves Ivy IMO is one of the strongest arcs of the series, only being a quick three issue story which tells Ivy using her spores to brainwash the entire planet - bar Batman and Catwoman, who narrowly managed to avoid the brainwashing through one of Batman's antidotes, after Batman realises what was happening when he began dreaming of falling in love with Ivy.

What ensues is a story where a guilt-ridden Ivy has brainwashed the planet so she can try make them safe, and end conflict to atone for her past crimes during the War of Jokes and Riddles, while Batman and Catwoman are trapped in a world controlled by her, with her using the Justice League to keep an eye on them, and to stop them if need be.

What I would absolutely recommend is Issue 36 to 40, which is the Superfriends arc, and delves deeply into Bruce's friendship with Clark and Diana retrospectively. It is very different from New 52 though. War of Jokes and Riddles is the closest it gets to the "dark" version of Joker, basically.

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47 minutes ago, Ryannumber1gamer said:

In the grander sense - yeah. The War of Jokes and Riddles finished up around the Issue 32 mark, and wasn't really brought up again. It tied into one other story arc to my knowledge, which was Everybody Loves Ivy in Issue 41-43. 

Everybody Loves Ivy IMO is one of the strongest arcs of the series, only being a quick three issue story which tells Ivy using her spores to brainwash the entire planet - bar Batman and Catwoman, who narrowly managed to avoid the brainwashing through one of Batman's antidotes, after Batman realises what was happening when he began dreaming of falling in love with Ivy.

What ensues is a story where a guilt-ridden Ivy has brainwashed the planet so she can try make them safe, and end conflict to atone for her past crimes during the War of Jokes and Riddles, while Batman and Catwoman are trapped in a world controlled by her, with her using the Justice League to keep an eye on them, and to stop them if need be.

What I would absolutely recommend is Issue 36 to 40, which is the Superfriends arc, and delves deeply into Bruce's friendship with Clark and Diana retrospectively. It is very different from New 52 though. War of Jokes and Riddles is the closest it gets to the "dark" version of Joker, basically.

I'll definitely have to pick the series up again so I can see these.  Great to see more issues exploring the villains in three dimensions instead of just making them generic serial killers with gimmicks vaguely related to their namesake.  Poison Ivy in particular kind of needed it, since I feel like her character has sort of devolved into base traits in recent media, even in the good recent media.

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Brilliant news for Batman Beyond fans - a blu-ray remastered set has been confirmed for the 20th anniversary of the series! Now only that - Bruce Timm has said if the blu-ray collection sells well, there might be a chance of getting a Season 4 of Beyond commissioned at long last!

Here's a side by side comparison of the remastering:

As for what's included - not only will all four seasons of Beyond be included, but a remastered blu-ray version of Return of the Joker (one of the best Batman movies of all time) will also be included in the boxset.

Having gotten the BTAS blu-ray set last year, I can tell you from experience that this is incredibly well-done remastering as well, and this should be the first time the UK will ever receive a proper release of Batman Beyond too. Hyped beyond belief for this!

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Im mixed on a season 4. I loved the series probably more than any other outside "The batman" *first 2 seasons* and The old one from the 90s.

But I felt it had the perfect send off at the end. It actually had a ending unlike a lot of shows in the 90s that ended before any conclusions were made for some shows. This was one where I said ok sweet he fought with the JL at one point and wrapped up things with bruce. I mean id watch a season 4 but its also one of those shows that stands on its own even without it. Unlike say SRMTHFG

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I'm skeptical about a fourth season, but not because of the series itself so much as that DC's recent attempts as revitalizing public interest in the DCAU have been so off the mark and misguided that I'd rather it just stay dead than bring it back with the direction they've been going.

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Just now, Tara said:

I'm skeptical about a fourth season, but not because of the series itself so much as that DC's recent attempts as revitalizing public interest in the DCAU have been so off the mark and misguided that I'd rather it just stay dead than bring it back with the direction they've been going.

Honestly, I wouldn't mind if a hypothetical Season 4 was just a animated version of the comic continuation (Hush Beyond up to Mark of the Phantasm). The stuff that covers the regular TAS canon is fucking awful (Batman getting Batgirl pregnant being the reason why Dick can't stand him, as well as phasing out Tim a good deal), but the actual Beyond stuff is excellent, and absolutely worth the read.

Rebirth Beyond is decent too, but it's frustrating that it's basically a completely different continuity which merges mainline DC into Beyond and retcons a ton of stuff, including RotJ, and Tim's brainwashing, among other things.  

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3 minutes ago, Ryannumber1gamer said:

The stuff that covers the regular TAS canon is fucking awful (Batman getting Batgirl pregnant being the reason why Dick can't stand him, as well as phasing out Tim a good deal)

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Admittedly, I haven't read the comics.  Should probably pick those up at some point since they always looked decent.

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1 minute ago, Tara said:

giphy.gif

Admittedly, I haven't read the comics.  Should probably pick those up at some point since they always looked decent.

Yeah, again, don't let that sentence stop you. There really is a lot of brilliant stuff in it, including a look into Justice Lords' Beyond (basically - the alternative world from A Better World in JL). Unfortunately, a lot of the stuff that concerns the actual B:TAS stuff is lame as hell, but the Beyond stuff, especially with how Terry plays off Dick, and a lot of the character moments are very strong, and exactly what I'd like from a Beyond continuation, especially since it did a much better job IMO of combining the classic Beyond canon with the DC comic canon without making it stick out like a sore thumb.

Beyond and Beyond 2.0 also handles Terry's life in college, which is interesting in of itself.

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2 minutes ago, Ryannumber1gamer said:

Yeah, again, don't let that sentence stop you. There really is a lot of brilliant stuff in it, including a look into Justice Lords' Beyond (basically - the alternative world from A Better World in JL). Unfortunately, a lot of the stuff that concerns the actual B:TAS stuff is lame as hell, but the Beyond stuff, especially with how Terry plays off Dick, and a lot of the character moments are very strong, and exactly what I'd like from a Beyond continuation, especially since it did a much better job IMO of combining the classic Beyond canon with the DC comic canon without making it stick out like a sore thumb.

Beyond and Beyond 2.0 also handles Terry's life in college, which is interesting in of itself.

I'll definitely have to give it a read.  I remember reading on Wiki that there was also a time where Tim Drake takes on the mantle.  Any context on that?

This reminds me, though.  If they're going to try to revitalize interest in the DCAU, why not start with adapting the Batman Adventures comics?  Some of those issues are on par with actual episodes of Batman TAS.  It just seems like it would be the more obvious choice rather than... er... whatever spurred them into thinking Batman and Harley Quinn was a good idea.

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1 minute ago, Tara said:

I'll definitely have to give it a read.  I remember reading on Wiki that there was also a time where Tim Drake takes on the mantle.  Any context on that?

It's a loooong story, but basically - it's the line that ties directly into Rebirth Beyond and doesn't have many connections to the original story. Basically - all we know is that in this new Beyond future, Bruce created Brother Eye to keep the world safe, Brother Eye turned evil, leading to the Future's End storyline where Brother Eye was brainwashing and turning DC characters into cyborgs (it's a hated story from what I've heard).

Terry was sent from the future to the past to stop Brother Eye before rising to power, but was too late, and died. Tim Drake (as in the normal timeline Tim) was sent back into the future (the new future that is - created after Brother Eye was stopped) to take up the mantle of Batman Beyond in the New 52 line. In this line - the world still remained more or less completely and totally devastated by Brother Eye, and Neo-Gotham is one of the few safe areas in the world, while the rest of the world is rebuilding.

Later, before Rebirth, they tried to tie the original Beyond, and the new Beyond comics together, by bringing Terry back (likely due to backlash because a lot of people didn't like Beyond being made DC canon, but Terry getting gimped over hard in the process), so it was then revealed at the end of the storyline that Terry was still alive, and had been brainwashed by Spellbinder into believing he was a villain named Rewire (Rewire being a villain from Batman Beyond 2.0 - the comic line that continued the original show). Tim later snapped Terry out of his brainwashing, and Terry took up the mantle once again in the Rebirth line of Beyond comics.

Not a lot of people like New 52 Beyond from what I understand, mainly due to Tim being Batman Beyond, the confused as hell world created after the aftermath of Future's End (I frankly am not sure how the world works with Future's End being there, I'm only guessing that the timeline Tim is sent into is a new timeline), and in general a lot of the retcons.

Batman Beyond Rebirth is better, and is the one I've been reading, having read up to the forth arc (Target: Batman) and it's really good so far. It's still got a lot of problems though, especially with how different it is to the original canon (Joker is still alive, Tim was never turned into a Joker clone, Dick became the mayor of Bludheaven instead of retiring, Barbera is still middle-aged and still has orange hair, etc). It also covers things like Damian (who became estranged from Bruce, became jealous of Terry, and took up the League of Shadows), and some other stuff relating to main DC canon.

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14 minutes ago, Ryannumber1gamer said:

It's a loooong story, but basically - it's the line that ties directly into Rebirth Beyond and doesn't have many connections to the original story. Basically - all we know is that in this new Beyond future, Bruce created Brother Eye to keep the world safe, Brother Eye turned evil, leading to the Future's End storyline where Brother Eye was brainwashing and turning DC characters into cyborgs (it's a hated story from what I've heard).

Terry was sent from the future to the past to stop Brother Eye before rising to power, but was too late, and died. Tim Drake (as in the normal timeline Tim) was sent back into the future (the new future that is - created after Brother Eye was stopped) to take up the mantle of Batman Beyond in the New 52 line. In this line - the world still remained more or less completely and totally devastated by Brother Eye, and Neo-Gotham is one of the few safe areas in the world, while the rest of the world is rebuilding.

Later, before Rebirth, they tried to tie the original Beyond, and the new Beyond comics together, by bringing Terry back (likely due to backlash because a lot of people didn't like Beyond being made DC canon, but Terry getting gimped over hard in the process), so it was then revealed at the end of the storyline that Terry was still alive, and had been brainwashed by Spellbinder into believing he was a villain named Rewire (Rewire being a villain from Batman Beyond 2.0 - the comic line that continued the original show). Tim later snapped Terry out of his brainwashing, and Terry took up the mantle once again in the Rebirth line of Beyond comics.

Not a lot of people like New 52 Beyond from what I understand, mainly due to Tim being Batman Beyond, the confused as hell world created after the aftermath of Future's End (I frankly am not sure how the world works with Future's End being there, I'm only guessing that the timeline Tim is sent into is a new timeline), and in general a lot of the retcons.

Batman Beyond Rebirth is better, and is the one I've been reading, having read up to the forth arc (Target: Batman) and it's really good so far. It's still got a lot of problems though, especially with how different it is to the original canon (Joker is still alive, Tim was never turned into a Joker clone, Dick became the mayor of Bludheaven instead of retiring, Barbera is still middle-aged and still has orange hair, etc). It also covers things like Damian (who became estranged from Bruce, became jealous of Terry, and took up the League of Shadows), and some other stuff relating to main DC canon. 

Geez, and here I was thinking it would be just like one of those moments when Dick Grayson takes on the Batman mantle temporarily while Bruce is out of town.  That sounds... yeah, bad.  Another example of New 52 meddling that didn't need to exist.

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Tom King's Batman run is reaching it's climax. This is more or less the only Batman run I've followed all the way through to it's conclusion. I'm only casually a comic reader and Batman in particular always bounced off of me. I liked the character and the mythos fine, but most of my exposure had been in the form of animated and film adaptations. I made it a point to track down some of the more iconic batman stories for context, but none of the new 52 stuff grabbed me so the comics that were out at the time didn't grab me. 

But Tom King became my hero after a completely unrelated run on Vision, so I made it a point to read everything he's put out since. I was excited when I heard he was put on Batman because I wanted him to dig deeply into the humanity of the character as he had with Vision and Mr. Miracle. It felt like a part of Batman that felt missing from recent media. Bruce had more or less become an all too efficient crime fighting machine and the conflicts he was going through across all media felt like dry, recycled beats from iconic batman stories. I was over Batman by 2016 but Tom King felt like the shot in the arm the character needed. 

What I got was more of a mixed bag then I was expecting. The change to biweekly came with the expectation that this wouldn't be another Vision or Mr. Miracle, but the sheer whiplashes in quality this book put me through were immense sometimes. 

Occasionally something great would come along. You have the above mentioned Superfriends arc, Rooftops, Everyone Loves Ivy or issue 49, which felt refreshing. On the whole though the series is content to wallow in Bruce's misery as much as it can. The book was at it's best when it had the promise of his mental state improving with the wedding on the horizon. After the wedding issue though things sort of began to slowly collapse into misery porn. 

It didn't take me long to realize that the more the book focused on Bruce the less I liked it. King is actually pretty great at wringing charm and good humor out of most of the other characters. It honestly makes me wish he'd committed fully to a lighter tone. It's a modern Batman story done by modern DC though so Real Shit has to happen at some point. Let's hang all the Robins even though everyone knows we can't possibly commit to that. Let's have Selena leave Bruce at the altair for the most half assed reason etc. 

One thing exposed by this book is how shallow of a character Bruce really is. There's nothing wrong with this, but with the thesis of this book being a focus on Bruce's psychology, there kind of needs to be more there to dig into. You can only wax poetry about his single minded determination to his mission so many times. 

And now the book is sprinting toward a conclusion after having it's ending cut short by editorial. I don't expect it to finish strong after having it's plan warped so suddenly. I wonder how much editorial was behind some of the other wack decisions on this book. 

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2 hours ago, Wraith said:

One thing exposed by this book is how shallow of a character Bruce really is. There's nothing wrong with this, but with the thesis of this book being a focus on Bruce's psychology, there kind of needs to be more there to dig into. You can only wax poetry about his single minded determination to his mission so many times. 

While I agree with the majority of this, I think that this is off the mark, and that's because Bruce as a character has only really been made shallow in recent years with DC trying to always make his conflict be based around his sense of obligation around his mission. Bruce never doubts his mission or what he has to do in the comics, he's always set on it, and will end up pushing away others as a result.

But it isn't always like that, and I believe that's what Tom King was trying to aim for with his run. He's gone on record before saying that his run was focused on the underlying question of "Can Batman exist if Bruce Wayne is happy?", and the core problem with that is you're right - Bruce has always been written, at least in King's run - as someone who is always fully committed to the mission, to the point it's single-minded. Even recent issues display this problem with constant issues narrated around some old folk tale or story Bruce listened to at one point or another.

But that isn't all there is to Bruce Wayne as a character, and a lot of people tackled the same concept in better ways. Batman TAS is a key one (which I'm the most familiar with because I'm marathoning through it atm). In that show, Batman isn't invincible, Bruce Wayne has a lot of kinder, softer moments with his allies, he holds guilt for some of the villains turning out the way they did (Harvey, Clayface, among others), there's a fantastic episode called I Am the Night which is based around the idea of Bruce quitting his role as Batman because frankly - he doesn't know if he'll make a difference or ever win this war.

Easily the best one is Mask of the Phantasm, which tackles the idea Tom King is trying to play around with far better. It's the same story of "Can Batman be happy and still exist?" and in that story, it has scenes like Bruce breaking down and begging his parents' grave to let him forget his vow and move on with his life, and never expecting to find any kind of happiness in his life. 

So really, the problem isn't with Bruce himself, there is a lot more to his character, the problem really is that no writer is really willing to bother exploring anything else relating to Batman. As much as I hate to say it, Batman's really undergone a flanderisation in recent years (I'd say after New 52 at least) where writers seem to think he's only a grumpy determined guy who can't be happy, or have second thoughts about his mission, and that's really the underlying issue with Tom King's run IMO. He doesn't seem to be trying to tackle a well-rounded Bruce that we got in previous years, he's trying to tackle Batman as we've had him recently.

Which is a shame, because occasionally, you do get the far better well-rounded version and that leads to better stories, Superfriends being the one off the top of my head. I'd also like to say Cold Days (The arc where Bruce Wayne is breaking down Batman's actions as in the wrong during a court case against Mr. Freeze), and Issue 54, where it shows Bruce's life as he acted as a father figure to Dick Grayson.  

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I actually agree that he wasn't always like this, but Bruce has gone down this path for so long that it's essentially become the character to me. I'm at the point where I'm just far more interested in the other heroes and only stick around Batman for the extended cast. Bruce Wayne is now a robot who fights crime. They won't do anything about how this effects his mental state aside from wallow in it.

The wedding presented a possible major shakeup in this but it got sidestepped over nonsense so I just accepted that he's not my type of character anymore at that point. 

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