ratcreature: What? Who? When? Yes, I have been living under a rock... (under a rock)
Somehow this month I have a hard time deciding which new (mini-)series are worth giving a try. I probably should wait until this stuff is actually published when in doubt, so that I can take a look at the comic or maybe read reviews, but my store doesn't always order a huge surplus number of all these series.

In particular I'm wondering what you think about the Outsiders relaunch as Batman and the Outsiders (written by Tony Bedard), the Gotham Underground mini-series (written by Frank Tieri), and that Simon Dark series by Steve Niles and Scott Hampton.

I'm also waffling about getting this Crime Bible: The Five Lessons of Blood mini-series by Greg Rucka. I mean, I like his writing more often than not, but the blurb kind of confuses me on what this is about, maybe because I'm still lagging so far behind with the current DC events?

Any opinions on these? Predictions or tea leave readings on their likely readability? Any other thoughts on DC's October solicitations? Like, what is it with this bazillion of Countdown tie-in mini-series, anyway?
ratcreature: RatCreature is buried in comics, with the text: There's no such thing as too many comics.  (comics)
As evident from my last couple of posts I seem to be drifting back into a frame of mind for regular comic reading again. For a long time (well in fandom cycles anyway), I didn't keep up with monthly comics. That was only in part because of the various, never-ending "event" messes, but also simply because my interest in things and my fannish mental space tend to be somewhat cyclic-- possibly governed by mysterious and opaque mechanisms, that I'm never quite able to predict myself. (Hence the phrasing "seem to be" above.)

Anyway, anticipating the eventual return of my interest, I continued to get several of my subscriptions and orders, mostly based on a mix of which characters I'm into in principle, which writers I frequently liked before, and at least in the case of DC, which issues seemed kind of central to their universe restructuring (I know it is weird, not to mention the path to bankruptcy to buy a bunch of comics for well over a year, or more like over two I guess, even though you are not even reading them, but I was certain that I eventually feel interested again, and from a collecting standpoint I like single issues just better than getting trades later on, besides the expenses stretch out this way when you buy a bit every week).

So now I have a large pile (well, actually it's some shortboxes) of comic backissues that is somewhat intimidating, and I'm not sure which order would be best to read, whether I should just plod on reading weekly issues consecutively in publishing order or read some arcs first, or something else.

Since I'm more involved with DC I (used to) follow more series there making catching up more complicated. Obviously even from just being on LJ with a partly comic fandom f-list I've gathered that DC canon in particular is somewhat, um...fraught? at the moment, and has been for a while, and I don't want to kill my reemerging interest through aggravation either, though I suspect what exactly is found to be aggravating and horrible is bound to differ from fan to fan to some extent at least, and I think I'm already spoiled for most (un)deaths and several other things that put people off, since I mind spoilers for comics less myself, especially considering my longish reading abscnce which made staying spoiler free and in fandom not feasible. And well, obviously some things you just have to get through to follow other parts, that are hopefully better.

Anyway, my main focus of my DC interests are the extended Batfamily, the "core" Justice League, anything with Dick Grayson (even when not connected to Batman stuff), Barbara Gordon and Roy Harper, the Flash (mainly Wally, but I like the others too), and to some extent Tim Drake. And well, I also really like Animal Man. I stopped reading somewhere during or maybe in the build-up of the War Games crossover in the Batverse books, and in the middle of that Identity Crisis mini series in the JLA. The comics that I continued to get through my "reading hiatus" and thus don't have to track down, are the Batverse books, the Identity Crisis and Infinity Crises mini series (including some of the "countdown to" and "aftermath" books, but not all, like, I got the one with Nightwing, the OMAC Project miniseries and Villains United and I think I bought the Donna Troy special, but not the Rann-Thanagar war thing or the Spectre stuff), the main JLA series and the Justice League of America relaunch of it, Flash, Green Arrow, Teen Titans, Outsiders, Superman/Batman, Checkmate, that new Atom series and 52.

Because I tend to really like Grant Morrison I also have all of the Seven Soldiers series. Well except for one issue missing from one of the series that I somehow didn't notice was absent in my comic pile that week, and couldn't find later on yet, so I'd probably need to find a scan of that one somewhere before reading, but I don't think it is part of the continuity anyway.

As far as Marvel goes, I mostly follow Daredevil and Spider-Man, and also get Astonishing X-Men, and since I'm caught up with DD, that mostly just leaves me with a decision whether to read these Civil War and Civil War: Front Line limited series I've gotten parallel to the Spider-Man and X-Men stuff or separately, but I didn't get all the tie-ins and such. Actually I think I may have bought some of the Avenger issues relating to Civil War (I had tried to get into the Avengers during that "Disassembled" thing, because I liked them in the JLA/Avengers x-over, but the Scarlet Witch plot annoyed me, so I didn't really get into the series). Still it shouldn't be as complicated as sorting out the best reading order for my DC backlog. I also have the Supreme Power and Squadron Supreme stuff and Next Wave series (though iirc I'm missing Next Wave #9 for some incomprehensible reason, that is while I'm fairly sure I had it ordered, by the time I bagged the accumulating pile of comics I found all issues except for #9, which is why I haven't read it yet.)

So, any advice for the paths of least frustration resistance to slowly tackle my considerable comic pile with a sound strategy? Or should I just go stoically by publication date to recreate the initial reading experience?
ratcreature: RatCreature as Robin (robin)
It's about Tim Drake's costume, the old one. It has these three yellow strips on the chest, which are supposedly involved in fastening the tunic, or maybe just decorative. Anyway, if he were making out with someone, who was kind of groping him and tried to reach inside the tunic, how would these strips become unfastened? On which side would they stay attached, if any? I am kind of trying to draw Tim making out with Kon, and it turns out I never thought about the logistical details of his costume, but there must be people out there who know, and have thought about undressing Tim more than I have.
ratcreature: RatCreature as Arsenal. (arsenal)
I've been wondering whether there's any decent "Roy as a hooker" fanfic out there. I mean, there should be, right? What with Roy being a junkie for a while? And with hooker fic being such a classic slash cliche? I'm the first to admit that I'm not all that versed in the details of his history, but I image there ought to be some way to fit hooker fic into his character continuity, or at least good points for such AUs to branch off from.

Thinking about this I find it actually rather strange that I can't recall reading any Hooker!Roy. Also I have this bizarre urge to do a Junkie!Roy drawing. Gah. I pretty sure I can't even draw drug addition convincingly, why do I get these kinds of ideas?! I don't even remember when he got his tattoos in canon, though I think I've read about it in some flashback or other, maybe in the Arsenal mini? But anyway, he got those tattoos after his junkie phase, no? (So if I were -- hypothetically -- to draw him then he wouldn't have those those yet?)
ratcreature: RatCreature as Batman (batman)
After reading about Huntress, I've now read the 2000 retcon of her origin story myself, Batman/Huntress: Cry For Blood (written by Greg Rucka, pencils and inks by Rick Burchett, except in #5 and #6 which have inks by Terry Beatty), and overall I liked the story. I was of course spoiled by reading summaries, but I have to say that from just knowing Huntress from guest appearances in BOP and such, and the Nightwing/Huntress series, I wouldn't have expected her to act like this.

Even having read summaries, the end still had something of a sucker punch effect on me. I mean, she doesn't do it herself, but she arranges for Santo Cassamento, the man who ordered her family to be wiped out and also her biological father, to be killed, because she wants revenge, because "blood cries for blood." She asks her uncle Tomaso Panessa for a favor, and while we don't hear her words then (I guess mostly so that it'll hit you harder as a reader later on), it becomes clear that she asks him to kill Santo, and tells him where he'll be able to find him, or something to that effect. Then she arranges it so that Santo has to be at that drug shipment personally, by beating up on his goons, meets Santo outside, letting him believe that he's still blackmailing her with his knowledge of her identity, calmly takes off her vigilante garb after he went inside, and stands by outside while he is murdered, not swayed in the least by the Question/Vic's pleas to stop it either. She also placed an anonymous tip so that Tomaso will go to jail. And as her final act we see her throwing her crucifix down into the water by the pier (which, as far as I can see doesn't reappear in her guest appearances in Batman and Detective after this series, even though she still wears her old costume, not the current one).

I think what hit me, is how she takes off her costume before standing by his murder, as if she somehow doesn't want her vigilante persona tainted by this revenge killing she arranged. It was a really powerful scene, but it changed my view of her.

Unrelated to the Huntress stuff, what's up with Tim and Barbara in this series? Here Barbara knows Tim's identity, when she didn't in BOP #19 which was published the same month as #2 of this series. It's not so much that I have a problem with her knowing, I mean, in a way it's kind of weird that we were supposed to believe she didn't in BOP #19, despite things like Tim's rescue from NML, which should have made the connection between Robin and Tim quite obvious to Oracle, I think. It just doesn't fit.
ratcreature: RatCreature as Flash (flash)
I've just read Flash #106, and I'm wondering, this James guy who's with Piper, when they and Linda meet for lunch, is he Piper's boyfriend? And who is he anyway? (When Piper says to Linda that he's no expert on relationships James interjects "Oh, I don't know..." and in this conversation it seems he and Piper share a house.) And who is he anyway? I couldn't find a James on the main site I use to look up Flash info, besides James Jesse, the first Trickster, and that guy looks very different, e.g. Trickster I has long blond hair.
ratcreature: RatCreature as Batman (batman)
Because I rather like the Justice League Cartoon, I thought I'd give the Batman Animated Series a try too. So I now have copies of most of the episodes of Batman The Animated series, plus the first season of the Gotham Knights series. Almost 100 cartoon episodes, yet with no real time for a cartoon marathon of watching all episodes in order in my immediate future. Hence I've been wondering which episodes are the highlights? Which ones are essential for cartoon continuity, the mytharc episodes so to speak? Any recommendations which eps I should pick from those of you familiar with the cartoon?
ratcreature: RatCreature as Superman (superman)
I've been wondering when and how Batman and Superman reveal (or find out) each other's secret identities as Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent (in current comic continuity), and which issue(s) tell of this. The version of their first meeting as it is told in Man of Steel (mini-series) #3 (Nov 1986) -- I don't know if there are others -- doesn't have a mutual revelation of secret identities.

I did some web research, but what I found surprise me, mostly because I previously thought that Superman and Batman found out about each other early. The Superman FAQ has a question on who knows of his secret identity and says that "Batman discovered the secret (ADVENTURES #440, May 88)". I then browsed that site some more and found a three part article Superman & Batman: World's Finest Team, that takes a closer look at their relationship.

That article tells a bit more Adventures of Superman #440. It's apparently continued from Action Comics #594:

Superman asks for his help in trying to determine who has been keeping a scrapbook of his feats before his official debut as Superman (unknown to Superman, Ma Kent had been saving clippings, and her book had been stolen).

Batman brings Robin along to meet Superman. It isn't clear whether this Robin is supposed to be Dick Grayson or Jason Todd. While Robin stands slack-jawed (repeatedly saying "wow!"), the two discuss the scrapbook.
Superman checks back with Batman in Adventures of Superman #440 for three pages. The meeting is made a bit edgier this time. Batman is in his Dark Knight persona, wondering where Superman is. "I don't like standing idle like this. Gotham is a garden that needs constant weeding". Batman doesn't bring Robin this time and he is abrupt with Superman ("As usual, your humor eludes me, Superman.").

As to the scrapbook, Batman says that he wasn't able to come up with anything except, "the only absolute fact I was able to glean from the thing ... is that you're Clark Kent". Humorously, Superman's first thought is "Maybe I should have enlisted the help of the world's *second* greatest detective!" Batman adds that as a matter of "professional courtesy" he won't reveal Superman's dual identity to anyone.

Superman shows that there are some brains with the muscles when he replies, "Oh, I'm quite sure you won't do that ... Mr. Wayne." Batman almost slips off his batrope as he thinks, "and to think I took all that effort to line my cowl with lead foil."

(quoted from Superman & Batman: World's Finest Team - Part 1 (of 3) by Sean Hogan)

Reading this summary confused me a bit. Both the Unofficial Guide to the DCU site as well as the Unofficial Chronology Site put this in present day, and make the Robin Jason Todd. Thus Batman didn't know Superman's identity until Year Seven (in the ultra compressed "official" DC timeline that seems to have a bizarre "10 years rule" ever more compressing events as time goes on) or even Year Nine (in the timeline constructed by the Unofficial Chronology Site, which attempts to be consistent wrt to actual events unlike the SF&O timelines), which is the year Jason becomes Robin.

While this is consistent with Legends of the DC Universe #6 which tells of the first meeting of Dick Grayson with Superman (and it isn't that scrapbook case), somehow I always imagined them finding out about each other much earlier. I vaguely remember reading stories set before Batman teamed up with the first Robin, where he still knew of Superman's identity. Right now I can only find ones which aren't all that central to other continuity and probably weigh less heavy, e.g. LotDK #24-26, Flyer, a story set explicitly 18 months after his debut as Batman, when he refers to Superman as Clark (LotDK #24 p.17), which I didn't even read until recently, yet I thought they learned each of other's identities early on even before reading that. And I'm not sure to what extent the World's Finest mini-series from 1990 written by Dave Gibbons was intended as in continuity or as standalone, but reading that fit with my impression (which apparently I can't fully trace right now) that Batman and Superman found out each other's identities early, because there's also no Robin, yet they know each other.

Are there other versions that explore the identity thing further or retell the version from 1987? I haven't read the World's Finest twelve issue maxi-series, does that one maybe cover it? I'd really like to read relevant issues covering this more in-depth than the Adventures of Superman issue mentioned above seems to do, though I guess I'm going to look for it too. So if anyone has further reading suggestions and/or more insight into this, it would be much appreciated.

(Note: I first posted about this a while ago, but moments later noticed I'd overlooked things, so I deleted that post and reposted after having read more, just in case you saw the previous post appearing and then vanishing on your flist and wondered about it.)
ratcreature: reading RatCreature (reading)
I've been thinking about giving comics published under DC's Wildstorm label a try, in particular The Authority TPBs. After browsing the Wildstorm site for a bit I'm still not sure which trade is the first I ought to read, it seems The Authority: Relentless is the first collection, however it also seems like Stormwatch is about (some of?) the same people as Authority, so do I need to read those to understand the Authority series? I'm unsure in general about how the different series in the Wildstorm universe are related. Like, are all titles published under the Wildstorm label (Authority, Planetary, Gen13, Sleeper, etc.) set in the same universe, or are they separate?

Totally unrelated, the What Muppet Are You? quiz thinks I'm Rizzo the Rat, which pleases me.
ratcreature: RatCreature as Batman (batman)
I just finished reading Batman: Bruce Wayne Murderer? (in single issues) and I have no idea how the timeline in this story is supposed to work. Some parts have to take place sort of "interlaced" but I have no idea how all the overlapping storylines fit together. I mean there are the Bruce Wayne Murderer? parts, but simultaneously there's the prison riot taking place in the Nightwing series, the kidnapping case in the Robin series, the Blue Beetle thing in Birds of Prey, the stuff with Spoiler's dad...

What I have a problem with is particularly the timelines of Robin's and Nightwing's appearances at the different places, and who is with Oracle at which times and in what sequence, I could mostly follow the other characters. So if I'm trying to sort out the main characters movements in each issue it goes something like this:

Bruce Wayne: Murderer? Prelude: "The Fool's Errand" -- Batman: The 10 Cent Adventure
Batman / Bruce and Sasha are arrested early in the morning in the manor after a night of crimefighting for the Fairchild murder.

Bruce Wayne: Murderer? #1: "Procedure" -- Detective Comics #766
Bruce and Sasha are booked and taken to the police station, the cops say it "is not past six" yet, during the day (?) they are interrogated, Alfred hears the news and leaves Brentwood Academy, leaving a note to Tim (it seems to be evening, night or early morning as Alfred leaves, at least it's still dark.)

Bruce Wayne: Murderer? #2 -- Batgirl #24
Earlier that morning Oracle hears the 911 call, Nightwing is on police patrol, Batman not reachable. Batgirl arrives at the manor when Bruce and Sasha are arrested, leaves after the police found the gun.

Bruce Wayne: Murderer? #3: "Bustout" -- Nightwing #65
The night of the murder Nightwing is on patrol as Nightwing, he changes into to his police uniform around dawn (?), by the time he shows up for the third shift the murder is already on the news, he bribes a fellow cop to shift his duty to a prisoner transport. The riot in Lockhaven starts, Nightwing visits Bruce in a holding cell, after that he drops off Oates (the cop with whom did the transport) at some strip bar for "on duty fun" promising to pick him up later (as far as I can tell he never does in any of the later parts), and visits Oracle. He's with her at the end of the part, meanwhile in Blüdhaven Lockhaven prison burns.

Bruce Wayne: Murderer? #4: "No Exit" -- Gotham Knights #25
Alfred is on a train getting to Gotham, Bruce's arraignment hearing is in the afternoon. Dick picks up Alfred at the station, Alfred goes to the hearing, Dick waits outside, afterwards they part in front of the court house. Barbara visits Bruce, who's now at Blackgate.

Bruce Wayne: Murderer? #5: "The Gun" -- Birds of Prey #39
Oracle runs a virtual battle simulation for Blue Beetle, it's (most likely) the evening or night after the hearing (?), after Blue Beetle leaves, she contacts Dinah. It is the next day (Blue Beetle's doctor's appointment takes place that Oracle arranged for one o'clock). Dinah is at the clocktower, Oracle tells her to investigate Fairchild. Oracle visits Sasha as a lawyer. It's evening (?) when Spoiler shows up at Fairchild's place and encounters Dinah there, Oracle is still in her car.

Bruce Wayne: Murderer? #6: "The Thin Line" -- Robin #98
Tim meets Alfred as he is about to leave. Tim knows that Bruce told Dick to back off the investigation when they met in holding. It is day as Alfred leaves, so the darkness at the end Detective Comics #766 must have been just before dawn. That day Kip's kidnappers wait for an opportunity. We see the Spoiler at night trying to get into the Batcave, where she meets Batgirl, both can't get in. It's evening when Kip's kidnapping takes place. Tim (without costume) tries to pursue, but falls, he's lying unconscious on a street at the end of the issue.

Bruce Wayne: Murderer? #7: "From the Inside Out" -- Batman #599
Sasha and Bruce are both at Blackgate. It's night at the start of the issue, another day and night passes, then during the next day Alfred visits Bruce, the next evening Bruce (or rather Batman without costume at that point) beats up the Aryans shortly before lights out, the next morning the headline reports this.

Bruce Wayne: Murderer? #8: "Timeless" -- Detective Comics #767
Blackgate from Sasha's POV.

Bruce Wayne: Murderer? #9: "The Unusual Suspects" -- Nightwing #66
Nightwing is with Oracle, the first time we see the clocktower it's a bit before four. When Nightwing heads out it shows a bit after eight (though it's dark?) The Lockhaven riot is ongoing. Nightwing investigates Moxon, when he comes back to the tower the clock five past eleven. Oracle informs Nightwing about the Lockhaven situation and he heads towards Blüdhaven. He confronts Amygdala inside the prison. (That scene is directly continued in the opening scene of Nightwing #67, where he finishes that fight.)

Bruce Wayne: Murderer? #10: "Innocent Until" -- Gotham Knights #26
In the opening sequence Nightwing stands on a bridge pillar looking over Gotham harbor towards Blackgate (at night). He talks with Robin, this talk is talking place after Oracle visited Bruce in Blackgate, and that Nightwing says "Oracle went to see him when he was still in Blackgate" could indicate that it takes place after Bruce went to the meeting with the DA (though that doesn't really fit with the rest of the issue). Alfred is at the manor, cleaning, Leslie visits (still night). Nightwing is with Oracle after his meeting with Robin (the clocktower shows half past three now), Oracle says they already had this conversation (about the possible guilt of Bruce) referring to Nightwing #66, most likely the first conversation there. Still at night (the clocktower shows a time either ten before eleven, or five before ten, but by now I assume the times are just random...) Robin comes to talk to Oracle, he and Nightwing talk while they fight some criminals, Nightwing leaves Robin to talk to Alfred, who's in the Batcave, Leslie visits Bruce at Blackgate (it's still night).

Bruce Wayne: Murderer? #11: "Where the Road Ends" -- Robin #99
Tim wakes up from unconsciousness, runs back to the school, then to Oracle to use her computer resources in the kidnapping case. He meets Spoiler and Dinah who are with Oracle, who check Devlin Davenport's statement, Spoiler and Robin deal with Kip's kidnapping. Tim goes back to the school, where he get the phone call from his father telling him that he's broke.

Bruce Wayne: Murderer? #12: "Switchback" -- Birds of Prey #40
Spoiler is together with Dinah (probably soon after the end of BOP #39, where they also where together), it's night, they go back to the clocktower to meet with Oracle. Dinah and Spoiler leave to deal with some of Spoiler's family problems. Meanwhile Blue Beetle calls Oracle informing her about his heart condition, afterwards Blue Beetle is attacked by some robot bug someone sent to him. Back at Oracle's place Robin is there, talking to Oracle about Fairchild and what she knew about Batman's identity (Nightwing is not there), Spoiler and Black Canary attack Riddler and Cluemaster (Spoiler's father) at Spoiler's home. Robin is still with Oracle as they hear the news reports of Bruce's escape. Robin leaves, intending to go to the Batcave, Nightwing has heard the news too and is driving back to the cave too.

I tried to figure out how the sequence of events is, especially all those visits by Nightwing, Robin, Dinah and the Spoiler with Oracle at the clocktower, and how what the different people do (and how much time seems to pass) could possibly fit together, but I have no idea.

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