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Posts Tagged ‘Talia’

Batman Incorporated (2012) #1

July 31, 2012 Leave a comment

June 10, 2012

Title: Leviathan Part One: Demon Star

Writer: Grant Morrison
Art:
Chris Burnham
Letters:
Patrick Brosseau
Colors:
Nathan Fairbairn
Cover Art:
Chris Burnham
Editor:
Mike Marts
Publisher:
DC Comics

Returning for what promises to be the finale of his Batman run, Grant Morrison kicks off the second volume of Batman Incorporated with a pretty startling story. Talia Head’s Leviathan is growing in power, attacking on several fronts, targeting members of Batman, Inc. and bringing the conflict straight to the doorstep of the Dark Knight.

This issue is surprising on several fronts. Morrison has wasted absolutely no time getting into the heat of the moment, starting us in the midst of the action with several attacks already executed and several battles already over and done. The energy here is about as high as it’s ever been during Morrison’s tenure with the Bat.

This is a New 52 title, but aside from a few cosmetic changes it doesn’t appear that Morrison has been forced to make too many concessions for the sake of setting it in the changed world. Bruce and Damian are still Batman and Robin, Dick was Batman for a time in the not-too-distant past, and the assorted members of Batman, Inc. are virtually untouched… even Batwing, who now stars in his own solo title. This is basically a good thing. Morrison had quite a momentum built up, and the lapse since the previous Leviathan Strikes one-shot may actually have served to help keep the pace brisk. The differences in the New 52 have all been suitably explored in the other titles and there’s no pressure to do so here.

Chris Burnham came into the previous series rather late in the game, but he’s making it is how. His style is influenced somewhat by frequent Morrison collaborator Frank Quitely, but not so much as to deem him a copycat. He’s drawing a classic Batman and a strong Damian, with the more monstrous characters depicted in a fashion that feels very consistent with what’s been done in the past.

The end of this issue, of course, is the real shocker, and if it were anybody but Morrison behind the wheel I’d be virtually certain there’s a stunt in the works to reverse what we seem to see on the last page. There still could be, of course, Morrison could be playing his own game, but from him it does feel more organic and less forced than it would be in many titles.

All in all, this issue stands as a fine beginning to a final act.

Rating: 8/10

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Batman: Death and the Maidens #9

October 11, 2011 Leave a comment

June 8, 2004

Quick Rating: Great

The Demon’s Head is dead! Long live the Demon’s Head!

Writer: Greg Rucka
Art: Klaus Janson
Colors: Steve Buccellato
Letters: Clem Robins
Editor: Matt Idelson
Cover Art: Klaus Janson
Publisher: DC Comics

If you passed up on this title, thinking it was just another irrelevant Batman miniseries, you made a grave mistake. This is one of those rare miniseries events that actually makes a major, lasting change to the mythos of an iconic superhero. This title makes an enormous change to the world of Batman. Last issue, Ra’s Al Ghul engaged his daughter, Nyssa in a brutal fight to the death. This issue, the victor becomes clear, and although Rucka pretty much choreographed the ending of this issue before this miniseries even hit the stands, I won’t spoil it here.

Rucka is one of the best Batman writers in years, and it is only fitting that he cap off his tenure with the character with a serious shakeup and a chilling new threat. This is the sort of comic book that doesn’t come around every day, especially with long-running and well-established characters. It’s a comic that means something and changes things. He keeps his fine characterization of our heroes, like Batman and Alfred, and makes vast, logical changes to some other characters. Even Batman himself is changed by this miniseries, with the perspective of his relationship with his late parents altered. It’s a good, logical step, but unfortunately, I’m afraid it’s the sort of step that will be wiped out the next time someone wants to write a good “Batman brooding over his mother” issue.

Janson isn’t on top of his form this issue. The fight scenes work well and the cover is lovely, but he has some problems with anatomy, particularly a scene with Talia displaying proportions that would make a Barbie doll tip over laughing.

This has been a really great miniseries that hasn’t gotten very much attention since the initial push to launch it. People should have flocked to this one, because it has been a solid story and it’s one that leaves the playing field of Batman’s life very different than it was when it began. If you didn’t read this, getting the last issue won’t convey how powerful a story it was. Get the trade paperback.

Rating: 9/10

Batman: Death and the Maidens #6

August 24, 2010 Leave a comment

January 15, 2004

Quick Rating: Great
Title: Death and the Maidens Chapter Six

Twenty-five years after their deaths, Thomas and Martha Wayne confront their son.

Writer: Greg Rucka
Art: Klaus Janson
Colors: Steve Buccellato
Letters: Clem Robins
Editor: Matt Idelson
Cover Art: Klaus Janson & Steve Buccellato
Publisher: DC Comics

In the first few issues of this miniseries, I was back and forth as to how much I liked it. This issue places it firmly in the win category, serving up one of the strongest Batman stories Greg Rucka has ever told, and that’s saying a lot.

Ra’s Al Ghul wants Batman’s aid finding a new Lazarus Pit, unaware that his elder daughter Nyssa has taken his younger daughter Talia in an effort to supplant him. Batman, in the meantime, has been offered the chance to speak with his parents once again. He spent last issue touring Gotham City with his mother. This issue, he confronts his father for the first time about the man he has become… and what he learns will astound you.

This is one of those rare comic books that you can read and feel it will have a lasting impact on the mythos of a character even as old and as layered as Batman. He realizes something very important in this issue. He admits something about himself for the first time, and it’s something that not only changes Batman on a fundamental level, but makes him a more realistic character in the process. The only question is whether the writers who are given steward of the character in the future will take what Rucka has done here and build on it. One fears they will ignore it entirely.

Klaus Janson is a fantastic artist, one whose work on this title is as good as he’s ever done. He knows how to draw Batman like few others do – showing him as a real human, but still a strong, powerful character. Steve Buccellato also does a standout job on the colors in this issue – dark blues and red in the alleyway scenes and a wonderful use of light. A particularly horrific flashback scene delving into Nyssa’s past is done in blood-red tones that suit it perfectly.

There are a lot of Batman miniseries out there, and it’s easy for this one to get lost in the mix. Make no mistake, though – if you’re a fan of the character, this is the Batman miniseries, you should be reading. This is the one that’s important. And this is the one that’s going to serve up some of the best stories you’ve read in quite some time.

Rating: 9/10

Batman: Death and the Maidens #5

July 12, 2010 Leave a comment

December 7, 2003

Quick Rating: Good
Title: Death and the Maidens Part Five

Nyssa continues her torture of Talia as Batman spends a surreal night with his mother.

Writer: Greg Rucka
Art: Klaus Janson
Colors: Steve Buccellato
Letters: Clem Robins
Editor: Matt Idelson
Cover Art: Klaus Janson
Publisher: DC Comics

I’ve been back-and-forth on this miniseries since it started. Rucka is one of the best Batman writers in recent years, but parts of this title haven’t really stood out enough for me. This is an issue on the upswing, though, as we delve more into Nyssa’s past with Ra’s Al Ghul and Bruce Wayne spends a night wandering Gotham City with a creature that may or may not be the ghost of his mother, Martha Wayne.

Just as Batman is hesitant to believe this woman is his mother, the reader faces the same skepticism, especially since the source that brought her to Bruce is Ra’s Al Ghul. Even if it turns out not to be her, this issue makes for a fascinating look at how Martha probably would view her son’s life. Batman has spent his entire life trying to avenge their deaths… and has never stopped to wonder if that’s what they would have wanted for him.

Rucka has said many times this will be the last Ra’s Al Ghul story – but it also seems he’s setting up a worthy successor in Nyssa to be Batman’s newest adversary. Janson is an excellent artist for Batman, and this issue looks pretty sharp, specifically his design for the late Martha Wayne. Other scenes look a little clunky, like the requisite “cover up the naughty bits” scenes where a naked Talia rises from her father’s Lazarus Pit.

I suspect this is a story that will read better collected, but it’s good nonetheless, and it’s remarkable to note it is only halfway finished. I’m very interested to see where it ends up.

Rating: 7/10

(2010 Note: If you’ve read any Batman comics in the last few years, you know this obviously was not the “Last Ra’s Al Ghul Story.” But it at least succeeded in putting him on the shelf for a while.)