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From The Matt Cave – Review-apalooza

12

Apr

Posted by Steve

Because I’ve been so slack lately, and because he got several comics in the mail at one time, Batmatt is back with several reviews in one post.   So, since he keeps it pretty succinct, I will do the same thing.  Read on For Batmatt’s reviews of  Batman and Robin #’s 5 through 9 and  Batgirl #7.

 

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To the Matt Cave: Batman and Robin #4 Reviewed!

22

Oct

Posted by Steve

Batmatt is back with his take on Batman and Robin #4 check it out:

I was well-pleased with issue 4 of Batman and Robin. The last issue was iffy with the tie up of the Pyg story arc and the introduction of Red Hood.

Batmanandrobin4.jpgI must now change my tune and say Grant Morrison is The Man. I don’t know what happened last issue maybe he was asleep, but he woke up. Don’t get me wrong.   I’m not trying to be hyper critical but the last issue was not my favorite.  Enough with the old, now on to the new:

Issue 4 starts out by introducing a new baddie  by the name of Lightning Bug. He is a thug running a protection racket backed up by some cool gadgets to help intimidate.  He gets scared off by Batman and Robin then runs into the Red Hood and Scarlet.   Scarlet is Sasha the unfinished Dollotron from previous issues, and she is now a psychopathic sidekick.  She clocks Lightning Bug and the Red Hood shoots him but does not kill him.   No, not yet, he has to check his iPhone and update his Twitter account.

“Excuse me, but I need to change my status  update to ‘murdering a wanna-be supervillain.’”

He then shoots Lightning Bug and tosses him out a window.   Bad guy has ceased to be, he is no MORE.

Batman and Robin are a little late to the action, because apparently they had to make a latte stop, and when they arrive it is raining bad guys and money. Floating down with the money is a red business card that Batman snatches from the air and it reads “vengeance arms against his red right hand.”  Batman is not happy that they missed the Red Hood again, so what does he do?   He goes to a fundraiser for Gotham Police.   That’s what he’s got to do.   I also found it interesting that the public, Lucius Fox included, does not know that Bruce is dead but thinks he is in hiding and trying to clear his name in his own way.   I’m sure he will die in a skiing accident or crash in a small aircraft accident when they are ready to figure that one out.   That’s how celebrities go out if it’s not drugs or a case of the crazies.

Dick Grayson is introduced to an odd looking man by the name Oberon Sexton.   Dick also stated an alias of Oberon’s as Gravedigger.   Being the Geek that I am, I looked up the name Oberon Sexton and it has several meanings. The one that stood out for Oberon was a legendary king of the fairies in medieval and Renaissance literature.   He is best known as a character in William Shakespeare’s play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream,  in which he is Consort to Titania, Queen of the Fairies.   His last name, Sexton, means the church official who looks after the graveyard and may act as a gravedigger and bell-ringer.   The connection makes sense now doesn’t it.   For a minute I thought he may be the Red Hood, but my theory was proven wrong because the story transitions to the Red Hood’s lair.

The next bit of writing was in my opinion done very well.  The interaction between the Red Hood and Scarlet is amazing and smart.  The Red Hood seems to be educated and has a respect and a gentleness for Scarlet that he does not hold for anyone else.   This is immediately followed by an interaction between Batman and Robin.  We get to see the mentor role Dick has taken on with Damion.   There is even a moment where Batman shows Robin how his hood can become a blindfold by yanking it over his head. Damion then shows Batman that he can fight blind, something left over from his training by the League of Shadows.

This is just some fine writing.

Batman and Robin swing into action, they are going to crash a business meeting of Gotham’s organized crime, but they are late to the party once again because Red Hood and Scarlet are already killing everyone in the room. The only guy left is Oswald Cobblepot, AKA, the Penguin.   Batman and Robin get in between the Red Hood and the Penguin, who by the way, is saying he is innocent and he was at the meeting by mistake, who saw that coming?  This is the first meeting between the Red Hood and Batman, and Dick utters the name “Jason?”   AKA, the second Robin who had once taken on the role of the Red Hood.

batmanandrobin4variant.jpgArt: 5/5 A homerun again!  I know I sound like a broken record but Philip Tan is amazing and should never stop doing what he does best, drawing.

Story: 5/5 The story really came back and grabbed me.   I may have to go and look some stuff up to get part of the back story but I like that kind of thing.   I can’t wait to see if it is Jason under the Red Hood and that’s what keeps bringing me back for more.

Covers:
Main cover: 3/5 It was okay it just a standard shot of the bad guys of the story.

Variant cover: 5/5 Stop the press what is that?  Why did this cover get shelved over the main addition?  The shot was a little like Spiderman but way better in my opinion.   I would have loved to see it colored and I would have bought that issue over the main issue.  Very cool cover.

Final Thoughts: This issue  was way better then the last by a mile.  It is far superior with a lot of little golden nuggets to dig out if you so desire.

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TO THE MATT CAVE – Batman and Robin #3 Reviewed!

28

Sep

Posted by Steve

Batmatt’s back with his review of Batman and Robin # 3.  What did our resident Batman fan think?  Read on:

Hello fellow geeks, Batmatt here with the next review of Batman and Robin’s latest escapades. We left the last issue with Dick Grayson speeding off on a four-wheeler that would make any redneck jealous. As issue three opens we find out that Batman has been busy, he has Rex the flame head hog tied and is tearing down the road holding his face just inches from the pavement. He is doing this to loosen the circus freak’s gums and get him to talk. Rex spills the goods on his boss on the steps of Gotham PD, and Commissioner Gordon is a little upset by the tactics used and flat out demands to know who this Batman is. In response, Dick Grayson says the line made famous by Michael Keaton, “I’M BATMAN”. Batman also gives a clue to Pyg’s plan but we readers have to wait a little longer because we need to see what is happening to Robin.

Batman_and_Robin_3.jpgRemember last issue the snot nosed spoiled brat was getting overtaken by a mob of creepy dollatrons and is now tied to a chair. As Robin wakes up he delivers the best line of the issue “so… whose neck do I break first?” I got to say this kids got guts, ten years old, tied to a chair, and he still knows he has the upper hand. So after I have a good chuckle I then get to cry big man tears as I have to read through some really bad writing. I suffer through 3 and a half pages of Pyg dialoguing in a way that only a lunatic can. Say what you will about any of Batman’s foes but you can always count on their dialogue to at least make some sense. Not so when it comes to Pyg. I finally got to breathe a sigh of relief when Robin removed his rope restraints and started to kick everyone’s teeth in. Then we go to Batman kicking the posterior of a dollatron that has an “Al-Qaeda special” strapped on, but there is no bomb only a sneezy dollatron that tries to blow his nose on Batman. Dick then realizes that the threat is biological. Robin is still fighting off the dollatrons and gets some help from an unfinished one named Sasha, the daughter of Niko, the drug dealer Pyg turned into a dollatron in issue 1. As Sasha burns Pyg he squeals and runs away. Robin pursues him and then gets knocked out. Batman rides in and saves Robin from getting skewered and both Batman and Robin knock Pyg out. In the words of the immortal Porky Pig “Th-th-th-that’s all folks!”

During the moments after the fight and before the police get to the scene Batman and Robin are talking and the realization that Dick saved Damien’s life settles in on Robin. It is my hope that some of the harder edges on the character of Damien are going to soften, at least to some degree. Right now all I see is a ten year old with a sardonic mouth twice his age. The end of the issue gets interesting as Batman and Robin are chasing down a lead on the guys that killed Bruce. Pyg is now in Arkham Asylum, and Sasha is killing off the dollatrons. The cops try and stop her, but they are gunned down by the Red Hood. The last time I read anything about Red Hood was in a genesis story of the Joker. The Red Hood was an idea, he was never just one man. The costume was passed around from thug to thug. The guy that was to become the Joker was wearing the costume when Batman pushed him into batch of chemicals, then poof, out comes the Joker. But in issue three, the Red Hood alludes that he is going to be a vigilante. Not like Batman, because the Red Hood carries a big red gun and does not have a problem killing cops.

Batman_and_Robin_3_variant_cover_batman_7957196_583_872.jpgStory- 3/5 This was a wrap up issue for the Pyg story arc and I have to say I did not like the villain at all which makes the experience harder to find good points in the story. The story lagged in a few spots, but it did have great action and some good dialogue between Batman and Robin.

Art- 5/5 Again great work, the art is so detailed and is one of the main reasons I enjoy reading comics today. A comic can have a great story and be completely ruined by poor, sloppy, lazy artwork. This does not happen in this issue and I hope it continues down this same path.

Covers- Main issue cover 5/5 it really conveys the Closterphobic feeling from the swarm of dollatrons as they close in on Batman and Robin.

Variant cover- 4/5 great cover I just felt that it did not have anything to do with the issue. It was just a good picture of Batman and Robin.

Final summary- This issue did not grab me like the first two did but there were several good moments in the story that helped redeem it. Not that I am complaining, I still get to read a comic and write about it. How sweet it is.

The Matt Cave – Batmatt reviews Batman and Robin

19

Aug

Posted by Steve

With the demise of Bruce Wayne, a new Batman has stepped up to take over the mantle of the caped crusader.   Dick Grayson.  How does this new Batman fare?  What does forum member, and long time Batman fan, Batmatt think?  Well, find out as the newest member of the review team shares his thoughts on BATMAN AND ROBIN issues 1 and 2.

Batman and Robin 1 & 2:

To give a little background on myself, I started collecting comics in high school. A friend of mine took me to a hole in the wall second hand bookstore called Blue Moon Books. The store smelled of old parchment, not unlike the library. The owner had a wall of comics and I made my very first verbal contract and started with a subscription to Batman. This was during the introduction of Azrael the soon to be pretender to the cowl of Batman. During this time I became immersed in the DC universe and got to know many of the batman1.jpgcharacters and their back stories. One such character was Nightwing as he moved out from under the shadow of the bat to break out in a new territory in the neighboring city of Blüdhaven. I really liked how Dick Grayson made the city his own, but when he was called back to take the cowl of Batman over during the prodigal son story arc I became disappointed in how the Dick Grayson character was written. He came across as whiny and unsure of himself and I could not wait for him to return to Blüdhaven so we could have Bruce Wayne back. Which did happen and I was able to enjoy Batman for many years until I stopped collecting comics for various reasons.
Steve asked me to review a comic for the site and this gave me the excuse to start collecting and reading the books I love. As I started reading Batman and Robin and I felt like Han Solo as he was released from his Carbonite prison “I’m out of it for a little while and everyone gets dilutions of grandeur.” BATMANS DEAD?!? Dick Grayson has once again taken over as Batman? Hang on while I clutch my chest and breathe deeply in to this paper bag. Oh and where is Tim Drake? Great now I have black spots floating in my vision.

I’m okay really I’m now over the shock.

The story starts out with a car chase and a new Batmobile that flies, very cool and Back to The Future-ish. The mantle of Robin has been given to Damien, Bruce’s son, who has a snotty attitude from the start which carries throughout the next issue. I am reminded of Jason Todd, who is the least liked Robin in the history of Batman. Damien and Todd share many traits, but I think Damien is smarter and more impulsive. These character traits land him in trouble later on in issue two. Batman and Robin take down a thug by the name of Mr. Toad; yes he looks like a walking frog. He is carrying a brief case full of dominos. This causes a big question mark with Batman and Robin. Toad is dropped off and given to the authorities. Then we go to a destroyed Batcave where Dick and Alfred are sifting through the remains and having a conversation about Dick being Batman. I started to worry a little right here and have flashbacks to “prodigal son,” but Alfred provides support with wisdom and strength for Dick to lean on.

One notable moment from this page is the panel of the gravestones as Alfred and Dick are leaving the grounds of Wayne manor. Next to Thomas and Martha’s marker is a headstone with no markings on it and the top is the silhouette of a batsymbol, it’s a nice touch. We are then treated to a view of the new Batcave under what looks like one of the Wayne towers. Poor Alfred now has to transverse 64 floors and then descends a ladder to deliver food to the Batcave. I was shocked that the elevator did not go all the way to the cave. I could not imagine balancing a silver tray in one hand and go down a ladder, Alfred’s got skills. Dick and Damien then leave to pay a visit to Commissioner Gordon also this is the first meeting with the police since Bruce’s death. When Dick and Damien reach the police station the department is attacked by some of Mr. Toad’s associates in a break out attempt. We leave the attack to be introduced to Niko who was with Mr. Toad during the car chase at the beginning of the story. Niko is overtaken in his home by creepy doll like people that all look alike. He is then tied to a table and is turned into one of the creepy doll people by the villain of this story. Whose name is Pyg; he looks like a crazed butcher wearing a pig mask.

Issue two starts with a flashback. On the first page Alfred is consoling Dick and asking what happened, on the floor is an “R” patch torn from Damien’s uniform. The flashback sequence starts with a meeting between Dick and Gordon on the rooftop of the police department. Gordon and his men are suspicious of Batman and Robin because they can tell they are not the original dynamic duo, but they go along with them as the call comes in about the attempted breakout. The team trying to break out Mr. Toad is as strange as he is. A man named Rex runs into the police department on fire and this causes confusion as the Fat Lady, “Big Top” launches gas into the building. batman_and_robin_2_668x1024.jpgBig Top, Rex and a trio of Siamese triplets enter the building. This is when Robin shows his impulsiveness by jumping right into the fight. He holds his own against the triplets for a ten year old. Robin backs off when Batman tells him to and then Robin starts to pursue Big Top. As he engages her he makes a reference to Jabba the Hut and then proceeds to get his butt handed to him. Batman takes out the triplets and then puts Rex out with a fire extinguisher. It is now very apparent that Mr. Toad and his cohorts are part of a sick group of crazy carneys. Gordon and his men find Robin beating the stuffing out of Big Top with a stick. Gordon basically tells Robin to stop or else. But Robin continues to beat Big Top over the head with a stick till Batman intervenes. It is then discovered that Mr. Toad is dead and in his hand is a single domino. The relevance of the domino is still unknown to me and I suspect it will come to light in later issues. Batman and Robin enter the Batcave arguing about methods for getting the job done. This escalates to Robin ripping off his “R” patch and leaves stating he will find a teacher he respects. This is when we come full circle to the beginning of issue two where Alfred is consoling Dick. He has a long conversation with Alfred about Damien, Gordon, and how being Batman does not feel right. Always the wise, Alfred comes to the rescue with sage advice to all of Dick’s issues and the final bit of advice is the most effective. Alfred tells Dick to go back to his roots as a performer and look at it as if it were a role like Hamlet, or James Bond, or Willie Loman. I was not sure who this was till I googled him, if you’re interested it’s the main character in Death of a Salesman. This is my favorite panel of issue two with Alfred holding Batman’s cowl in the same fashion that Hamlet held the skull of poor Yorick. I wonder if Alfred had been helping Dick out during the “prodigal son” story arc we may have never seen Bruce Wayne again. I am starting to like this version of Batman. I know, I know, I’m speaking blasphemy but I am starting to really like the direction of this story. I’m not drinking the Kool-Aid yet, but I am willing to keep an open mind for a while. By the way… Robin is getting mobbed by Pyg and his weirdo dolls.
Story – 5/5

Art – 6/5: Or an A+ very crisp and not too cartoony. My only criticism of the art work is the way Frank drew Big Top, that’s a lot of cellulite… yuck.