Monday, August 8, 2011

Batman: Gates of Gotham #4 & DC Retroactive: Batman-The 80's #1

Hey X-Maniacs, after a one day reviewing hiatus, I'm back with the two Bat-related comics I promised yesterday. Since I've already delayed long enough, let's just get right to them.

Batman: Gates of Gotham #4(of 5):

Summary: This issue kicks off with the Architect attacking Robin and Red Robin(did Dick Grayson really think it was a good idea to team those two up?) in the home of Dillon May(who I suspect will have a hand in the outcome of this one). The Robins alert Batman to their plight, and are, rather surprisingly, handled by the Architect. Batman(Dick Grayson) and Black Bat begin to make their way to the scene of the battle, which ends when Robin kicks a support beam, separating the Robins from Architect. By the time Bats and Black Bat arrive on the scene, the Architect has flown the coop, leaving Bats and his allies one step behind yet again. Fortunately though, the Bat-clan manage to find the journal of one of the Gates Brothers in the rubble, which provides insight into why the Architect was acting as he was. That knowledge, coupled with Bats knowing where the Architect will next strike(The Kane Bridge), has Bats feeling that he'll be able to stop the Architect by proving that everything he believed was a lie. With that, Bats sends the Robins back to the Bat Bunker for some patching up, while he takes Black Bat towards the Kane Bridge for the final confrontation with the Architect.

Thoughts: I enjoyed this issue, probably more than any other issue of this mini-series. The pacing was quite good, the story was solid, everything moved along at a nice, brisk speed. Yes, the Robins getting beaten up by a no-name new villain was kind of wrong, but it didn't bug me as much as it probably should have... I guess I was in a good mood when I read this one. I'll admit that I was glad that the flashbacks wrapped up this issue, while I get why they were there and all, they did hurt the flow of this mini for me, especially early on. Um, that's about all I've got to say about this one... Let's move on.

Score: 8 out of 10.Damn, Saint Timmy sure has looked pretty bad this mini-series...

DC Retroactive: Batman - The '80's #1:

Summary: Yes, that's the official title of this comic... This is one of those Retro type titles DC put out this month for some bizarre reason... I mean seriously, since they're going to blow up the current DCU to create a Johns-topia, why bother with these? But that has nothing to do with the review itself. For the record though, the ONLY reason I picked this one up was because I saw that it had Jason Todd as Robin in it as I flipped through it at the comic shop, so there you go. This issue kicks off with Batman and Robin watching Professor Paxton concocting evil plots with his band of gangsters. The Dynamic Duo are shocked when the Reaper bursts into the room and begins to attack the mobsters. Paxton's daughter, who was assisting him in his criminal enterprises, helps her father beat a hasty retreat while the Reaper manages to sneak away from the Dynamic Duo during the fracas. After the fight, Bats heads to Commissioner Gordon and meets Gotham's new district attorney, a guy named Samuels. Bats informs the two that it seemed the Reaper was back in town before heading out to check on the Reaper's daughter, who was a nun. Bats checks the woman's convent, and finds that Sister Rachel wasn't there... Hmm... Paxton calls a meeting with another Gotham mob leader, Tommy Garnett and his son, Johnny. Batman is able to gain entrance to the meeting by disguising himself as one of Tommy's goons. While the mobsters are trying to figure out what to do about the Reaper, the Reaper bursts in and attacks the gathering, forcing Bats to reveal his duplicity to try to save the mobsters. Bats signals to Robin, who crashes through the wall with the Batmobile, which causes the Reaper to throw down some smoke to obscure the scene. By the time the smoke has cleared, Tommy Garnett and Professor Paxton are both dead at the hands of the Reaper. Bats, being the world's greatest detective and all that jazz, has not only managed to deduce that the Reaper was holed up at a construction site(based on a broken piece of the Reaper's scythe), but also the Reaper's true identity, which he doesn't share with Robin because he's a jerk. The Dynamic Duo head to the construction site and Bats tells Robin to find Sister Rachel, which surprises Robin since she was his top suspect. While Robin is sneaking around the site, Bats is walking around, knocking over pipes and making all sorts of noise to draw out the Reaper. This ploy works, but the Reaper knocks Bats into a hole and begins to fill it with concrete before leaving to deal with Robin. Robin has managed to find Sister Rachel tied to a chair and is in the process of freeing her when the Reaper enters the room. The Reaper throws some threats at Robin, but is surprised when Bats enters the room(yes, he escaped the concrete filled hole... It really wasn't THAT great a deathtrap!). A second Reaper enters the room to help Reaper #1, at which point Batman reveals to Robin that the two Reapers were Professor Paxton's daughter and Tommy Garnett's son, both of whom wanted their parents out of the way so they could take over the two crime families. The two Reapers attack, but are quickly knocked out by the Dynamic Duo. With the Reapers down and out, Robin figures the case is closed... Until Bats reveals that there was still one more person to deal with, at which time DA Samuels enters the room with a shotgun, revealing that HE was the brains behind the whole Reaper ordeal. It seems Samuels convinced the two Reapers to kill their fathers, at which point he was going to kill them, becoming the man who crippled Gotham's gangs, as well as killed the Reapers and avenged the death of the Batman. Samuels takes aim at Bats with his shotgun, but is fatally impaled by Professor Paxton's daughter, who had heard Samuels' entire confession. Paxton's daughter is shot during the murder, and is tended to by Sister Rachel, which allows Batman and Robin the chance to leave, with another case solved. There was also a reprint of Detective Comics #575 in this comic, but after how long the review for the main story was, I'm going to spare us all by skipping a review for that issue.

Thoughts: What can I say, I'm a sucker for 1980's, Jason Todd-as-Robin Batman comics. Add a decent story, a fun little mystery, with a triple-cross, and I'm a happy camper. The story wasn't anything super special, and Batman figuring out that there were THREE people portraying the Reaper was a bit ridiculous, even for Bats, but I'm not upset in the least that I spent $5 on this one. For me, a fan of the era, it was money well spent.

Score: 8 out of 10.Jason sitting on the telephone book while driving the Batmobile was a cute little touch here.


  1. He do you saw this what do you think?

  2. No, I hadn't seen that actually. That's a pretty cool cover. I guess they're retconning Jason's Robin outfit now as well, since it looks like the Outlaws are all facing off against younger versions of themselves. That's still the series I'm most looking forward to after the reboot, even after Lobdell's rather dubious remarks on the series...

  3. heah that robin suit looks damn cool
    what did he say that made u dout it

    and on a unrelated note what would u say is your fav famale batman villian - harley quin, catwoman, poison ivy, talia al ghul

  4. I, don't know if you have time enough
    but i recommend you this interview with Grant Morrison, is amazing there is o lot of stuff to talk about,
    Batman, Talia Al Ghul, Damian, Wonder Woman, and Multiversity..

    Worth reading

  5. It's been a while since I saw the interview, Movieartman, but it was something about wanting to make the Outlaws like a sitcom or something weird like that... Like you were looking in their window or something bizarre. All I want is a coherent, good, superhero story starring two of my favorites in the DCU. I don't want to read some "Two men and an alien" sitcom comic book! Plus there were other little things that got me a bit concerned, things like not noticing the similarities of the Batman and the Outsiders/Red Hood and the Outlaws stuff. It almost looks like he was brought in because he's friends with Bob Harras, or at least that's what I read. As for favorite female Bat-villain, it's Talia, hands down, no contest for me. She's WAY more interesting to me than all the others put together.

    Thanks again for the link, Alien. Some of the interview didn't really interest me(the Multiversity stuff), but Morrison's take on Bats and Action Comics were interesting. I can't believe he already has the first 16(!!) issues of Action plotted out! He must be like a writing machine or something! I was a bit surprised that he doesn't like Ra's Al Ghul though... With all Morrison has done with the Al Ghul family(Talia, Damian), that kind of surprised me.

  6. Morrison can go suck it. All star superman was cool,Jla was cool the rest I spit at....the dowfall started with Fantastic Four: 1234, the first real sign that he was starting to develop the "hack" syndrome, in that instead of crafting a story that looked inside what made the FF tick psychologically, he fabricated and introduced elements into their individual personas that simply could not have existed previously and the FF still be able to function as a team for all those years. Had he been allowed to go with what he'd originally planned - revealing Sue had incestuous thoughts towards Johnny, his career would have been torpedoed right then and there, along with whoever at Marvel allowed it to happen.Too bad he didn't have the same leash that didn't let Lobdell end OZT as he wished...
    Anyway as promised & I apologise it's quite not living up to the hype:

  7. "revealing Sue had incestuous thoughts towards Johnny" Damn, that's the first I've heard of that... Who the HELL would ever think that was a good idea!! Seriously! UGH... Morrison is one of those writers who will never be amongst my favorites, but will be able to pull me into a good story every now and then. I mean some people act like he's one of the greatest of all time, but I just don't see it. He's a good writer who likes to try batshit crazy stuff that most other writers wouldn't dream up in a million years. At least that's how I'll remember him 20 years from now.

    Ah dude, you're easily one of the best artists I've ever seen on deviantart, so I wouldn't be so down on yourself. I LOVE the early/classic Nate, that's the image of Nate I have in my head when I close my eyes, and I like that you grew his hair back out for your pic. I always liked him with longer hair... *shrugs*

    Anyway, I do have to ask, and you're the perfect person since you actually KNOW about Nate unlike so many other comic fans... Why the hell is Nate's height listed at 5'9?! That always bothered the hell out of me, especially since Cable, Nate's genetic twin, was like 6'8 or so! I mean damn, Nate should be this huge, 6'6 imposing looking son of a bitch! If anything, Cable should have been the stunted one, with the TO Virus in his system... I never understood Nate's lack of size in relation to Cable...

  8. haha yes the stuff with Multiversity was like .. meh..
    Communication trough comic ¿? WTF

    Grant Morrison on Ra’s al Ghul… Don’t forget to pick up your copy of The Resurrection of Ra’s al Ghul which Morrison contributed to

  9. as for the cable /Nate question,it's indeed a good point . Then again there's a great difference in creation, Cable was made in the old way, Maddie may have been a clone (god do I miss her) but she's still a human with the right stuff to get pregnant & give birth. Nate on the other hand was , for a lack of better words ,made in a bottle and was only let out every few years in order to test his growing progress. Even during these few instances where Nate was out of his test tube, Mister Sinister could see that he had enormous powers . These high power levels convinced Sinister that a "fail-safe" should be built into X-Man, that may have been a blow to his growth (a shame the story that shows him defusing the genetic bomb within him never saw print, & Steve Grant still had a year of story before it got canned, DAAAAAMN!).then in AOA, the first time Nate was actually out & tought some physical training by Forge, This is where Nate started to developp some brawns.The other element may be that Nathan was raised by a rebellious faction & trained since he was a kid so that played a role in his growth since he had more exercise, Stryfe also had some of the same training & basically solved the problem of teacher's unemployment on his own.

    Another thing about all the mentionned characters , as you saw in the deviantart comments I get quite friggin pissed by hearing people insulting them over & over by guys who blindly bash the 90's or in the x-men fanbase are in the Claremont is word or Morrison is a genius side therefore everything else should be ignored.Did they ever Try to know these characters before spitting on them? I did read their stories & I don't regret it, they actually have a lot going for them. & that lot I wish to give these characters some love & actual respect in my fics, but the most important is to know how the character thinks & what his history is!

  10. Exactly, Alien... I mean Morrison did the Return of Al Ghul storyline, which makes it especially weird that he hates the character... It sounds like he wanted to leave the character dead but some higher up wantd Ra's back, which is what happened.

    The way Nate/Cable were created could definitely have something to do with the differences in hieght, but still, you'd think Nate would at the last be standing in at around 6'2-ish? All I can think is when Marvel did those stats, they did them back when Nate first came around(when he around 16 years old) and that he had a growth splurt since then that they never acknowledged.

    Agreed!!! I have EVERY SINGLE issue of Uncanny and X-Men from the end of Claremont's run(which I was never a fan of)through the present(except for X-Men Legacy that I dropped because the writer sucked so bad). Some of my all time favorite X-Men, even comic book stories as a whole come from that time period. The AOA being one! X-Cutioner Song, Fatal Attractions, Gen X, X-Force had it's ups and downs, but was pretty solid, Wolvie was a good read back before he got his memories and Romulus, then there were other things like the early PAD X-Factor run, the Maverick series, a few of the X-Men Unlimiteds were damn good, I could go on and on. People like to bitch about the 90's because of Onslaught(which COULD have been a great X-only event) and the Marvel bankruptcy, so they figure it was all bad, but that's bullshit. I'd rather read ANY issue of Uncanny from the 90's(even some of the suckier stuff with Shang-Chi) as opposed to the shit Kieron Gillen is pulling today in Uncanny. In my opinion, the X-Men's true Golden Age was the early portion of the 90's. Morrison's run didn't bother me because it was so fundementally different and was pretty interesting(at times...), although alomost EVERY new character he introduced himself sucked, and like I said, I never really liked Claremont's run with his pathetic reliance on Shadowcat and Rachel. So yeah, screw the haters, I'll take the 90's x-stroies any day over the current stuff.