Monday, August 25, 2008

Hawkman R.I.P. Update

This past weekend at the Toronto Fan Expo, Dan Didio had this to say about the recent Hawkman special:
The executive editor also said the recent “Hawkman” Special by Jim Starlin was an effort to test the waters for the character. “It was to create an air of mystery around the character and to create questions around the character. With the chance that people might get interested and discuss the character and want to read about him further down the line.”
So it seems there may already be a retcon, or just a plain old "oh, that story? We forgot about that one" in the works.

Or maybe the Demiurge was just messin' with 'im... come on, he quoted Plato...

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Podcast on Batman and Philosophy

The folks at Psychjourney Podcast were nice enough to invite me to talk about Batman and philosophy - you can find my interview in particular here.

While you're there, check out some of the other podcasts - they've interviewed some fascinating people (plus me).

Monday, August 11, 2008

Hawkman R.I.P. (Spoilers - no, not in the title!)

They broke my Hawkman. The Hawkman that became one of my favorite characters after he was brought back in JSA and began his own series. The Hawkman that has lived for centuries, literally has lifetimes of experience and perspective, and is old-fashioned when it comes to music, movies, and the ladies; the Hawkman that pulls no punches in battle, and is fiercely loyal to his comrades. The Hawkman with ancestral ties to Hawkgirl, Black Adam, the Marvels, and Dr. Fate (whoever he or she may be). The Hawkman that forms the fourth cornerstone of the JSA (along with Uncles Jay, Alan, and Ted). My Hawkman. Carter Hall. R.I.P.

I'm curious - how is Geoff Johns (who was partly responsible for Hawkman's "rebirth") going to do deal with this in JSA? Are we going to see Kendra react to it in JLA? What's Ollie going to say? Or Ray Palmer?

Don't get me wrong - I grew up with the Katar Hol Hawkman in the pre-COIE days - I have nothing against him. But there wasn't much to him. On the other hand, I thought that the reincarnated-Hall-with-elements-of-Hol was perfect. He could operate on Earth, from the alleys of St. Roch to the pyramids of Egypt, or in space with Adam Strange and the Spacebuddies. Was his backstory convoluted? Sure. But did it have endless possibility for great stories? Absolutely!

Raise a glass for Carter Hall, my friends. At least we have the JSA and Hawkman trades to remember him by.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Batman R.I.P. reviews (spoilers)

No issue of Batman this week, true, but we did get three comics bearing the "Batman R.I.P." logo, some closer to Morrison's tale, some less. But all were great books, and serve to make me more anxious for next week's installment of the main title.

Robin #176 was the closest tie-in, as Tim struggles with the possibility that Batman--his father, since Face the Face--may be going insane, and that he may have to bring him down. The conclusion to the two-parter begun in the last issue, this story has shown the effects of whatever Bruce is going through on his closest associate (well, other than Alfred, maybe - maybe we need an Alfred one-shot). Spoiler plays an important role in this issue, making me raise my expectations for her resurrection. Fabian Nicieza continues to show that he is set to be one of the great Batman-family writers, hinted at in his Nightwing issue that tied into the Ra's al Ghul crossover, as well as his recent Trinity contribution with Dick, Tim, and Babs. And apparently, this story leads right into next week's Batman - let's hope this pays off.

Nightwing #147 had virtually nothing to do with R.I.P., but it didn't need to, as this title has been excellent since Peter Tomasi took it over a storyline ago. Along with Don Kramer's incredible pencils, Dick is portrayed as smart, strong, and capable - the imagery of him heading into the windshield of the kidnapper's car was inspired. Sure, he's not looking too good at the end, but he's human - at least he didn't fall down until he saved the day.

Detective Comics #847 is tangentially tied into R.I.P., if only because Hush wants to be the one to make that title real, and the Black Hand is referenced several times. Not so much Batman here - not because he's M.I.A., R.I.P., or S.O.L. - but to make room for fleshing out Hush's backstory. Dini is performing much needed service here, as I loved the character of Hush from day one, but was never given much background (other than childhood friend who handled the death of a parent a little differently than Bruce did - another play on the Wrath theme, but who's counting). As a result, I can't wait for more details on Tommy's past.

That may be the main purpose of this arc, but the emphasis of the female characters in the Bat-universe in recent issues of Detective has also been fantastic - in this issue it's Catwoman (as Selina) confronting Zatanna on the street, asking her about her relationship with Bruce, getting catty about Jezebel Jet, and sharing some romantic grief. Terrific with a capital T - it's not often we see the women in Batman's life interacting like this - maybe they should form a support group (with Bruce in secret attendance, like Matt Murdock in Decalogue).

Next week - Batman #679!

P.S. Cool Batman moment of the week - sneaking up on Wally West in Trinity #10 - classic...

Friday, August 1, 2008

Two-Face drives the trolley... (Spoilers for Joker's Asylum)


This week's Joker's Asylum: Two-Face (#1 is just redundant) had Two-Face setting up a trolley situation for his would-be counselor (the therapeutic kind, not the legal kind), with several interesting twists. Very nicely done, I thought.

Aside from the philosophical touch, I was impressed by the whole Joker's Asylum mini-series - of course, abysmally low expectations didn't hurt. After the lackluster first issue featuring the Clown Prince himself, the rest were quite good.