Wednesday, April 10, 2019

I Had Issues! My Old Review of Batman #6

Crossovers. For the most part, I hate them. That's why I had to go crazy when the then-ongoing Court of Owls storyline was going to get "bigger." A little hyperbolic, to say the least, but it had been a while since I was this passionate about a mainstream title. Originally published March 1, 2012. Slightly edited for clarity.

Dear DC (i.e. whoever they pay to google Dan Didio or find people ranting online about how they miss Paul Levitz):

This open letter is likely a useless exercise, but like some petitions, it's a way to air grievances and feel less like a blind consumer.

Case in point: Batman #6.

Understand, I'm not writing you because the comic is bad. I'm writing you because I think the Court of Owls storyline been very good from issue #1 to now. Scott Snyder presents Batman as a character out of his element no matter how much he denies it. Throughout this story (especially since issue #4), the hero has to deal that there is a force in his town and past that just might be bigger than what he is prepared to handle.

 Despite a little bit of a cheat in the opening (I swear that blade and the hole it made was larger last issue), there has been action, suspense, and more than a touch of horror so suitable to Greg Capullo's talents as an artist. There's also more a welcome tinge of heroism throughout the proceedings as Batman asserts himself at the end. It's far more convincing than how I've seen Batman used in the other New 52 books.

I picked up Detective Comics a while back knowing full well I was going to let this one go, just not knowing when (issue #4, it turned out). Snyder and Capullo's Batman is the first regular Batman title I've ever picked up with the intention to follow it monthly. I thank you for this. But now, we have come to the "Court of Owls" story line. And it seems that since this seems to be the only Batman Universe story to not revolve around boring shockers and retreads, now everybody who can at DC wants part of it in the worst way.

Please don't fuck this up. And by "this," I mean the book I've been enjoying. I could care less about the crossover.

As I understand it, Snyder offered the other creators a chance to participate, and that's cool and big of him. But please don't turn this first New 52 multi-titled crossover into one of the countless disasters your previous crossovers have become since, well, Crisis on Infinite Earths.

To repeat, I have never bought a regular Batman title, ever. I avoided Knight(insert suffix here) titles by the dozens during my college years and ignored a run by Morrison, one of my favorite writers.

This is partly because I avoid rip off multi-book crossovers like the plague. I have dropped ongoing titles due to crossovers when they appear in mainstream comics, looking as inviting as lesions on your back.

Not convinced of my hatred? My favorite crossover moment of all time is that issue of Alan Moore's Swamp Thing, where the character takes the most peripheral part on the Infinite Earths crossover possible, mostly standing around as annoyed as the creators were for having to take part. In it, Swamp Thing has a conversation with Alexander Luthor, who tells him basically, hey, we're glad you'll be able to get on with your mission (i.e. the ongoing story) once all this bullshit is done.

Then recently there came along a book with a story that seemed to be independent of anything else going on. I didn't get reminded much of characters like Catwoman or Red Hood or other superfluous crap.

DC, I'm likely too late to change anything at this point. But if there's any chance, I'm begging you: If you are truly starting anew, please try a different approach to your crossovers, starting with this one. Snyder, Capullo and company have a good thing going.

I'd hate to see the current story line ruined and readers suffer. Hell, Geoff Johns all but punished readers of his last two main event series with omissions and confusion just because they didn't buy every single tie-in on the stands.

 Don't do this here, please. Your line succeeded in at least one confirmed way so far: You got a person who shunned Batman-related titles for decades to pick up Batman. It'd be a wonderful thing to have a crossover we have the option to not take part in and not feel left out. Snyder was here before everyone else. Let him and the rest of us have his fun.


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