Review: Batman: The Court of Owls Volume 1 by Scott Snyder

Batman, Vol. 1: The Court of OwlsBatman, Vol. 1: The Court of Owls by Scott Snyder
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Batman



“Beware the Court of Owls,

That watches all the time.

Ruling Gotham from a shadowed perch,

Behind granite and lime.

They watch you at your hearth,

They watch you in your bed,

Speak not a whispered word of them,

Or they’ll send the Talon for your head!”


Introduction:

So, when I heard that DC Comics was doing a reboot on all of their comics, I will admit that I was pretty hesitant about trying out any of the rebooted comics, especially after I heard so many bad things about DC’s New 52 series (and it turns out that the backlash was understandable, especially with how some of the later titles in the New 52 turned out to be horrible, according to some of the fans). But, there was one series in the New 52 that fans felt was always consistently good and that was Scott Snyder’s run on “Batman!” So, when my fellow Batman comic buddies recommended me this title, I will admit that I was pretty interested with this volume and I ended up being quite impressed with how this volume turned out!


What is this story about?

Gotham is Batman’s city and he will not let any criminal ruin his town…until the Court of Owls came in. The Court of Owls is a mysterious organization that has been around Gotham ever since it was first built and their plan is to retake Gotham City for their own. The only obstacle in their way is none other than Bruce Wayne and they plan on killing Bruce Wayne to reclaim Gotham City.


Is the Court of Owls connected to Bruce Wayne’s ancestors in some way and will they break Batman in order to obtain their goals of claiming Gotham City?

Read this volume to find out!


What I loved about this story:

Scott Snyder’s writing: I have read Scott Snyder’s previous works on “Batman: The Black Mirror” and the “American Vampire” series and I have always loved his unique and intense writing style. His writing of this “Batman” story is no different and I just loved the way that Scott Snyder made this “Batman” story even more intense than the last! I really loved the fact that since this is a reboot of the “Batman” comics, we actually get to see new villains in the form of the Court of Owls and it was interesting trying to figure out what their true goals for Gotham are and how they knew about Bruce Wayne himself. It really made the Court of Owls such interesting villains and the fact that they were one of the few villains to give Batman a hard time was really different and intriguing for me as a “Batman” fan. But what really made me squeal with true fangirl anticipation was seeing Dick Grayson appear in this comic along with Damian Wayne and Tim Drake! When I saw all the former Robins together on one page, I was seriously excited at this moment since I enjoy seeing all the Robins come together to be with Bruce Wayne, their mentor! I also loved the way that Scott Snyder wrote Bruce Wayne’s relationship with Dick Grayson and Alfred as this reboot shows that Batman still has a close relationship with Dick Grayson and Alfred and I really enjoyed their moments together.

Greg Capullo’s artwork: Greg Capullo’s artwork perfectly captures the dark and gritty nature of this series and I loved how scratchy the ink work is as it gives the story an intense feeling. I also loved the fact that Greg Capullo’s artwork reminds me a bit of the artwork in Frank Miller’s “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns” comic book, which slightly gave this volume a retro feel, especially if you are an old school “Batman” fan!

Batman


What made me feel uncomfortable about this story:

The reason why I took off half a star from the rating was because the story tended to be a bit slow in some parts and there were times where I was wishing that the story would have moved at a faster pace to keep me interested all the way through. Also, for anyone who does not like bloody violence in comics, there are some moments in this volume where the violence can get pretty bloody, especially whenever the characters get stabbed by knives.


Final Thoughts:

Overall, “Batman: The Court of Owls Volume One” was a pleasant surprise for me as it made me really enjoy what was being done with this reboot of “Batman” and I hope that the series continues to get better with each volume!

Rating ?

4.5 pows

Grayson, Vol 2: We All Die At Dawn by Tom King

Grayson, Vol 2: We All Die At DawnGrayson, Vol 2: We All Die At Dawn by Tom King

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Well that was…underwhelming.

When you title a series Grayson, and most of the hype around said series revolves around the presence of said Grayson, one would expect this Grayson to actually be in his own book.
Instead, we’re lucky enough to receive glimpses of Agent 37 as he occasionally pops up to grace the pages just when you’re starting to lose interest in the threadbare story.
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Flashpoint: The World of Flashpoint Featuring Wonder Woman by Dan Abnett

Flashpoint: The World of Flashpoint Featuring Wonder WomanFlashpoint: The World of Flashpoint Featuring Wonder Woman by Dan Abnett
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

The futility of this book is beyond belief. I came into this with the bare bones of the story, having already seen the movie and I have to say – the movie is infinitely better.

The first four or five stories all focus on how the war in the Flashpoint world came about, then there’s a totally random one about Lois Lane and the resistance and even more random one about a white skull villain called the Outsider.
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Superman/Wonder Woman, Vol. 3: Casualties of War

Superman/Wonder Woman, Vol. 3: Casualties of WarSuperman/Wonder Woman, Vol. 3: Casualties of War by Peter J. Tomasi
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

 

 

I think the art totally ruined the story for me.

Did Wonder Woman get hit in the face with a shovel?

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Stop it, Edward. You already have a girlfriend.

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Ok whatever. I just didn’t care for the way the faces of these characters were drawn. Maybe it’s not the worst thing I’ve ever seen, but it was really annoying (for me) to look at the speech bubbles dribbling out of these mouths.
Do you understand what I’m saying?

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The actual story was fine. It shows how the Power Couple first met, and then flashes forward to them in the present. They’re still trying to understand each other and make their relationship work, all while juggling their other responsibilities.

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There’s a new/old villain who’s been re-imagined for the purposes of this volume, plus one of Wonder Woman’s longtime Greek nemesis pops up to cause problems.

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Since this is a Superman/Wonder Woman story, it’s less about the bad guy, and more about the impact it has on them as a couple. They’ve gotta trust each other to not only do the right thing, but also to be able to take care of themselves. And with both of them being such powerhouses, and both of them used to being the one to rush in and save the day, it’s definitely interesting to explore that side to their relationship.
Plus, it’s just cool to see them beat the shit out of each other.
Magical Mind Control, FTW!

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Awww. Aren’t they the cutest?
I have to admit, I’m not as blown away with this title as I was in the beginning. I’d say it’s still decent, but unless they switch up the artist, I’m outta here.
*barf*

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I received a digital copy from NetGalley & the publisher.

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Superman, Vol. 6: The Men of Tomorrow by Geoff Johns

Superman, Vol. 6: The Men of TomorrowSuperman, Vol. 6: The Men of Tomorrow by Geoff Johns
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

4.5 stars

Say what you want about Geoff Johns, but he definitely knows how to pump new life into iconic characters.
This was FANTASTIC!

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The biggest downer was the art, but I may be the only person who isn’t in love with John Romita Jr’s stuff. It’s not horrible, but I miss Kenneth Rocafort. Sorry, I just think his stuff is pretty to look at, and while JRJ is a beloved illustrator, I’m just not into him.

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Other than that, there’s simply nothing wrong with this volume, though.
Ok, you know how I constantly bitch about crossovers & events hijacking every single title out there? Yeah. Well, it doesn’t happen here! This is literally one cohesive story!
What the what?! I didn’t even know they did that anymore?!

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This next bit might be a mild spoiler, but I don’t think so, because it happens on the first few pages, and is alluded to in the blurb.
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Review: Lobo Vol. 1: Targets, by Cullen Bunn

Lobo Vol. 1: Targets (The New 52)Lobo Vol. 1: Targets by Cullen Bunn
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

ARC from Netgalley in exchange for honest review/feedback.


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OK, my waiting has finally ended! I’m now allowed to reveal that…Lobo is the WORST New 52 book I’ve ever read.

Cullen Bunn…2 “n”s together look like an “m” so it’s Bum, which is a synonym for “ass” and what comes out of an “ass”? “Shit”.

(Little known fact, Peter Milligan and Cullen Bunn are in fact, clones of Scott Lobdell and Ann Nocenti’s love child).

It’s been over a month, and I can’t recall much now, other than seething rage at how STUPID this was.

I was so fucking happy to get a NetGalley DC book, because they’re usually quite picky about who gets it…so of course, that should have had me worried when I got OK Green light approval…
That should have been more curious when I had a moratorium on comments or reviews until it was published. I tried to save you all…I think I might have prevented one or two reads…

Here’s the deal: Lobo we all “know” and “love” (Hardly do and barely acknowledge actually) the whole of his run, was actually an imposter. He’s decapitated and dispatched by the REAL, TRUE Lobo. Who’s actually quite an annoying shit to be perfectly honest. NO sense of humour at all. DC really cracked down on this. They literally sacrificed Lobo, the sense of humour character (similar to a Deadpool, but not as funny at all) in the opening pages. So DC kills humour. For real. It was like a terror cell showing you they aren’t kidding, no more humour in New 52 DC. Not unless it’s on OUR terms.

Once that apt metaphor is executed…like old Lobo…we get to watch the “real” Lobo go around and do some more killing, following around some idiots towards Earth, there’s some Superman appearance, yawn.

Then there’s some female Lobo-ette type girl, who’s seemingly a ripoff of Nebula from GotG? Or maybe she did exist before. Anyhow, she and Lobo are both apparently the appointed protectors of their planets, but Lobo killed his planetary leader for being evil/immoral/on the wrong path or some shit.
Lobo-ette, well she did the same thing to Lobo’s home planet’s twin planet. So they’re meant to be together? Or at war? Or something.

Honestly, I have such aching desire NOT to re-read this, even to save you all, that I’m just not going to bother trying.

The plot was hackneyed, stunted, idiotic, and chaos of the wrong kind. The character everyone wanted to see and thought they would see, was dead in the first few pages, DC editorial pretty much shitting all over the original creation of Lobo. He’s not a tweaked version, he’s literally a different character.

I didn’t know much about Lobo, but I wanted to know more, and this did NOT help. I’d like to go find old stuff now.

The best part? the moratorium on reviews until publish day (last week) helped my mind forget the pain and stupidity. I can’t pass it all on to you, my loyal reader(z)? and you’re much the happier for it.

DC?

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DO. NOT. READ. THIS. PIECE. OF. JUNK.


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Review: Earth 2, Vol. 5: The Kryptonian by Tom Taylor

Earth 2, Vol. 5: The KryptonianEarth 2, Vol. 5: The Kryptonian by Tom Taylor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

 

 

 

Other than the weird-ass issue at the end with Mr. Terrific in the future, I really enjoyed volume 5!

Spoilers Ahead, you Crybabies!
Like, for real, I’m spoiling everything.
Unless you’ve already read this turn back now.

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In the last volume we met Val-Zod, a Kryptonian who had been hidden away by the government, after his spaceship landed on Earth.

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He an agoraphobic pacifist, originally raised by Superman’s parents on Krypton, after his parents were killed by the government for trying to warn people the planet’s doom (or something like that). He was much older than Clark when he was shot into space, and had a strong bond with Supes parent’s, who taught him to believe violence was never the answer.

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But that doesn’t seem to be very helpful in the current situation!
Batman, who we learned in the previous volume was really Thomas Wayne, is especially enraged over Val’s refusal to fight.

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Jimmy Olsen (techopath with photographic memory) & Lois Lane (revived as the new Red Tornado) have both befriended Val, and are working with him to try to figure out a way to use his abilities, without compromising his principles. Because he may the only one on the planet strong enough to defeat Darkseid’s newest minion…Superman!

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Meanwhile, Hawkgirl & Green Lantern (brought back to life by the Earth’s energies) execute a daring rescue mission to save Flash from Beguiler (lackey of Darkseid, with the power of a god).

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Without backup, even Green Lantern can’t hold her off when she comes for Garrick. And neither Alan or Kendra trusted the World Army enough to tell them about their plan to save Flash.
But who needs an army when you’ve got Aquawoman?!

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Oh, hell yeah! Best part of the whole book! My liver-spotted hand made a fist, and I pumped it in the air when she popped outta the water like a banshee!
Suck it, Aquafamily haters!
*does awkward shimmy, throws back out, hobbles off stage*

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OK, ok. Back to the story.
When Red Tornado & this dark version of Superman finally meet up, she tries to talk some sense into Clark, and it works. Sort of.

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Lois is desperately trying to figure out what the hell happened, or if this thing is even actually her husband.
After a trip to Smallville backfires spectacularly, Val is left with no choice but to face him head on.

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Except..STILL A PACIFIST!
Again, not entirely helpful. right?
Well, it seems if you stand still and let someone beat themselves against you till they crumble to dust, it doesn’t count as violence.
Huh.
Whatever works!

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Nice little reference to Bizaro Superman in this, by the way.
I was impressed with this entire storyline, and I’m excited to see what happens next. There is a next, right?
Someone please tell me there’s more!
Because I’m obviously too lazy to Google the answer to that…

Even if you didn’t care for this one when it first came out, I’d still say these last few volumes are cool enough to warrant you giving it another shot.

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Review: Superman – Action Comics, Vol. 5: What Lies Beneath by Greg Pak

Superman – Action Comics, Vol. 5: What Lies BeneathSuperman – Action Comics, Vol. 5: What Lies Beneath by Greg Pak
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Yes! This title continues to get better & better!
Pak did an excellent job with this volume, and wrote a story that really showcased Superman’s strengths as a character.

Ok, first you have Clark’s Secret Origins issue. Now, I’d already read it in the Secret Origins vol. 1 collection, but I thought it was a good fit for this volume.
It’s a touching story about Clark/Kal told through the overlapping voices of the two women who loved him most.
His biological mother, Lara, who sent him away to save him:

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And his adopted mother, Martha, who raised him to embrace his humanity:

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It’s sappy, but it works as a short story.
I have to say, I believe one of the biggest mistakes the New 52 made was killing off Martha Kent. The mother/son dynamic between those two shouldn’t be wasted. Besides, I think it helps keep a character as powerful as Superman grounded & humanized when you see him going home and helping his mom out with chores.

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Zero Year also makes its way into this volume, but it’s not set in Gotham, so I’m not sure what the point was. I guess it’s just there to let us know what Clark was up to while Bruce was off fighting the Riddler…and learning to be The Batman?
Eh. Whatever.
It didn’t suck. It shows a cocky, t-shirt wearing Superman trying to beat back the forces of nature, and finding out that sometimes a softer touch is needed.

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On to the main event!
Lana Lang is quickly turning into one of my favorites, and stories like this one are the reason why.

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These two share a deep trust, that comes from years of friendship, and it really make their interactions on the panel pop. Not to mention, they used to date when they were younger, so there’s still a tiny part of each of them that still wants to impress the other. It makes for an interesting dynamic, and one that you don’t see done well very often.

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Ok, the main story takes place before the events of Doomed. I wish I’d read this one first, because it explains who the blue monster kid was, and where he came from!

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It also explains who the hell Ghost Soldier is, and why Clark would (maybe) trust him.

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Without giving away the plot, I just want to say that THIS Superman needs to be the role model for all the future incarnations.

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I’m an immensely powerful being, and FUCK YOU if you think you can make me do something that goes against my morals!

Thank you, Pak! Thank you! Superman should kick ass and take names, but he should not act like a bully or psychopath. This volume is a perfect blend of that. Clark has a great moral compass, and he has the mojo to back up his decisions. Excellent job on nailing his personality in this one.

Definitely Recommended For Superfans!

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Release Day Review: Teen Titans Vol. 1: Blinded by the Light

Teen Titans, Vol. 1Teen Titans, Vol. 1 by Will Pfeifer

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Um.
Well, ok…it’s not bad.

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The majority of the storyline revolves around S.T.A.R. Labs, and all of the hi-jinks they seem to be responsible for causing. Intentional and (seemingly) unintentional. Not that the Titans know that.

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Killer A.I., terrorists, mad scientists, etc., all comes back to one guy…Manchester Black.

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I don’t know if you can tell, but the dude doesn’t actually wear a shirt. He just has the Union Jack tattooed onto his chest.
Get it! Manchester! Hyuck, hyuck!
Anyhoo, he’s a bad guy, he works for S.T.A.R. Labs, and he sets a rather elaborate plan in motion to get the Teens to work with him.
Whether it works or not is still up for grabs…

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There are a couple of side stories, as well.
Including, but not limited to, the introduction of their (maybe?) new teammate, Power Girl.
No. Not the one with big boobies.

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He mother worked for (and was friends with) the original Power Girl, and was killed because of that connection. Apparently, PG bestowed some of her superpowers on this kid before she took off for her own Earth. I remember reading about her mother’s death, but I haven’t kept up with Power Girl, so I had no idea she was gone.
Learned something new today…

The other stories were less important, but I’m gonna tell you about ’em anyway.
Raven has this obsessed fan that looks like she’s a bit wacky. She’s a singer who has started writing all her songs about Raven, and is trying to figure out a way to get her spells into the lyrics. Something? I don’t know, because the plot sort of dwindled away.
Then there’s Cassie’s mom, who shows up out of the blue. Not sure what her purpose is, other than to represent nagging parents worldwide.
Cassie also has a large group of girls who dress up like her, and then go around fighting crime. When they can take a break from following Wonder Girl around town, at least. Again, kinda lame, not sure what that one is all about.
Bunker seems to be getting a tad violent. Or maybe just proactive? Whatever, he likes punching bad guys. A lot.

I don’t really know. Ugh. I feel really uninspired to write anything one way or the other about this title. It wasn’t a chore to read, but it wasn’t special, either. However, since this is just volume 1, there’s a good chance it could improve over time.
I did think the art was pretty nice to look at!

If you’re a huge fan of the Teen Titans, check this one out and let me know what you think.

Got this one from Netgalley & DC. Thank you!

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Review: Batman: Eternal, Vol. 2 by Scott Snyder

Batman: Eternal, Vol. 2Batman: Eternal, Vol. 2 by Scott Snyder

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 stars

For pure high octane fun Batman Eternal packs a pretty good punch. Plenty of crazy storylines weaving in and out, plenty of insane villains wreaking havoc, and plenty of the Bat-family heroes taking a stand against evil.

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It wasn’t until the very last page of this volume that I sort of took a step back and went..
The FUCK is this shit!?

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I’m not saying that this was bad, or that I didn’t enjoy it, but I was pretty annoyed with the ending of this one. And, yeah, I know it’s not The End, but…
Hmmm. I don’t think I’m saying this right. I guess what’s bothering me is that I just felt like I’d already read this story somewhere before. Did this feel regurgitated to anyone else? Anyone?
I mean, first of all, Hush is the Secret Villain behind a far-reaching conspiracy…
I know that’s been done before.
Is concocting needlessly elaborate schemes now considered Tommy Elliot’s superpower? Is it?!

Shhhh. Hush.
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And, second…

WARNING: SPOILER ALERT!

Ok. And, second…
I’m not sure if Bruce has ever lost control of Wayne Enterprises before, but plenty of other superheroes have lost their companies, so (combined with Hush’s wash-rinse-repeat storyline) it didn’t feel like it was anything new or fresh.
After I finished, I felt a bit like a deflated balloon.
That’s it?

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BUT.
Before I got to the end, I was really entertained with all of the different threads of this volume.

Stephanie Brown’s Spoiler comeback was quite a lot of fun to read about. I’m not saying that there weren’t holes in this plot, but it was entertaining, nonetheless.

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And Catwoman! There can never be enough Catwoman in a Batman title, as far as I’m concerned. I love to watch these two do their little dance…

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Most of you already know that what happens –> here Crime lord? Am I saying that right? It sounds so cheesy…
Anyway, bad stuff happens to an innocent ‘someone‘ in this volume, and Selina decides that instead of trying to take the bad guys out, she should just take them over. There was a preview of her new title in the back of my copy, and it looks kinda cool.

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Alfred & his daughter both play a big role here.
Al gets jacked up by Hush, and his daughter finds out that he was keeping a few secrets from her…

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After a meet-cute with Batman, she reluctantly takes over as Penny-Two and becomes Bruce’s eyes and ears in the Batcave.
Also, Alfred gets to kick some undead ass with Bane in Arkham Asylum!
Shhh. Go with it…

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Lots of other stuff happening, as well. Batwing & Spectre get dibs on the paranormal angle, Batgirl & Red Hood do a little angry team-up, and Harper & Red Robin are getting closer to finding {insert random evil dude}.
It’s a Bat-family reunion!

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Well, not everyone shows up, of course.
Grayson is still playing dead/James Bonding it up over at Spyral, and Jim Gordon is still rotting in jail. Speaking of Gordon, his former protege, Bard, is still running around fucking up Gotham’s infrastructure as per Eliot’s instructions.
I was actually kinda hoping Barbara would have dropped him off that roof.

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Ok. I think overall this was fun, even if it was a bit unwieldy. Sure, some of it feels like old food that was scraped off and re-plated, but certain foods re-heat well enough. Volume 2 wasn’t as good as next day pizza, but it’s also not a total loss…like leftover nachos.
It seems like some important things are happening in this title that are going to affect the Batverse, so if you’re interested in keeping up with the current goings-on, this is probably a must-read. However, it’s super readable, especially if you’re willing to overlook a few of the nuttier aspects.

Thanks to NetGalley & the publisher for a digital review copy.

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