Friday, March 23, 2012

Comics of the Week - Icons in Transition

I continue to enjoy Snyder and Capullo on Batman. The Court of Owls story is getting more and more complex as we go along, going back into the past to reveal some startling details about Gotham and the Bat family. This week, we find out that Dick Grayson was meant to be a Talon for the Court. This revelation is sure to cause some controversy among the fanboys. I think it plays right into what Snyder is doing. And what he's doing is ultimately something that needs to be done. As much as I love Batman, he's fallen into the same trap that Superman always ends up in as a character: he's just too much of a badass. Rocking his world like Snyder is doing, making him question his ties to Gotham and his very family, is ultimately something that will ground the character. I'm not sure how I feel about the Night of the Owls event crossing over into the rest of the Bat books, though. One thing I've enjoyed about the relaunch is that I can completely ignore the idea of continuity. I can just read the books I like and not worry about anything happening in other books. Each writer can do what they want, or so I thought. Sure, this idea came from Snyder, but what if Snyder were forced to write in a concept that came from another creator, one I may not like. I think doing a crossover is fine when it originates with the writers, as it is with Swamp Thing and Animal Man. But this seems like DC trying to bring together the Bat books, when having them separate and on their own is kind of working just fine. Either way, I don't intend to read anything I wouldn't normally read just because of this.

Wonder Woman also continues to ground the character in unexpected ways. Three times a year, the Amazons hijack passing ships, then rape and kill all the men in order to get pregnant. Also, when they have boys, they would kill them, if not for Hephaestus, who saves them by trading them for weapons and taking them to work in his forge, building weapons, mostly for the Amazons. Dark, grim stuff. Personally, I like it. I think it's logical and Diana's reaction to it brings a new depth to her character. This complexity of character is something Azzarello is good at and here it is pulled off very well. My concern is that now I'm not sure if Wonder Woman can be a traditional, iconic hero. While I am OK with that, I wonder how you can ever create an all ages version of this history. If the idea of the relaunch was to appeal to a broader audience, a younger audience, I'm not sure this will accomplish that. Up until now, I was looking forward to giving these books to my daughter as soon as she gets a little older. Now, it seems I'll have to wait longer than I thought. And that's fine, since I'm still enjoying it and I think it's an interesting direction to take. I'm just curious as to how long this will stand before DC has to reboot it yet again, because they can't market it to younger readers. This may have worked better as a Vertigo book, much like Marvel does with their Max line of titles.

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