I recently watched a great Comic Vine segment about the future of Batman. More in particular, it was about the future of Bruce Wayne. He’s been roaming the Gotham City grounds (and more recently the Japanese landscape in Batman Inc.) for a good 70+ years now and has given us many of the best stories in DC’s history. So long as Bruce is around, those potential great stories should continue.
And that could also be a potential problem. Allow me to explain.
Continuity has always been a fickle thing. I can’t tell you how many times Mike and I want to scream whenever a new Wolverine or Deadpool book comes out. In particular, aging can be touchy with some long-time comic book readers as well. If you have a character you love going through all sorts of adventures over the years and the world around him or her is changing with the times, it can get a bit irritating to see that character not growing up with it. You may think this is just nitpicking and that as long as the stories are good, that’s all that matters. But for a guy like me that likes the writing and likes seeing characters naturally progress in their development, I can get antsy when I don’t see that occur.
I get it though. Bruce Wayne is Batman. He sells books. And DC is a business as much as it is a company passionate about comics – they see that people still want Bruce Wayne stories, they continue to find ways to make him compelling. And you know a “Crisis” is right around the corner when the think tank runs dry. But you know what? Dick Grayson is also Batman too. Damian’s been predicted to take the crown in Grant Morrison’s future. Say what you will about Morrison – love him or hate him, he at least gets it that characters need to evolve and progress.
So as that’s going on, should we really expect Bruce to stay his age while other characters around him are aging?
I get that this is a tough choice in superhero books and I’ll admit that I don’t have the full answers. I just find it funny that major publishers like DC and Marvel like to tout their 70 years worth of continuity and how seamless their universes are, but yet we can’t allow the characters to age, see them respond to their surroundings, and possibly pass the torch where needed. As I mentioned, Bruce Wayne sells now, but who’s to say we can’t make that Dick and/or Damian in the future as the timeline naturally progresses? Who’s to say that can’t be Terry McGinnis too? I think of Batman as a mythology more than one character – Morrison certainly proved that when he sent Bruce away and Scott Snyder is definitely proving that lately in Detective Comics.
I chose Batman for this post, but the issue obviously goes to other long-standing characters. Sure, you can ret-con them, give them healing powers, super-serums, gamma radiation, or just give them time portals. But eventually, it’s going to get to a point where we’ll want to see the next steps for their legacies. Sign off on what you think about this – aging good or bad for comics?
Now if you’ll excuse me – I’m activating my time portal to avoid the gray hairs growing on my head…
No doubt who’s the winner this week as we roll into Bruce Wayne’s official return to the DCU (though you can thank delays on the Return of Bruce Wayne mini-series and the Road Home one-shots for messing things up a bit). Batman and Robin #16 finally brings us the conclusion of 2 years worth of threads Grant Morrison has brought about to the Batman universe. While it can be daunting to piece those together, you can’t help but respect the different direction Morrison has brought to a character going 70+ years strong. Where he takes this next with Batman Inc. will be interesting.
Scarlet #3 is one of the better of Bendis’ books I’ve enjoyed. Nothing revolutionary in terms of plot about a girl wronged by society and fighting against corruption, but it’s the gritty style that Alex Maleev brings to the art that makes it stand out. I’ve also enjoyed the content in the back with the letters and upcoming projects too
Lastly, Superboy #1 makes its long-awaited debut from Jeff Lemiere of Sweet Tooth fame. I honestly haven’t caught up much with the character since his death in Infinite Crisis (who knew comic book characters can come back from the dead, right?), but it still was a fun re-introductory read for me to Connor Kent. Not sure where it’s going, but you can never judge a book on its first issue.
We’re getting more details on the new Batman Inc. series Grant Morrison is bringing in October and it looks like quite a show. Say what you will about Morrison’s unconventional storytelling methods, you can’t fault him for trying to push the medium further, especially using an iconic DC character to do so. It will be interesting to see how far this “Batman” army will go to achieve Bruce Wayne’s grand agenda and what stakes will be involved.
I’m sure as well we’re going to see lots of angry tweets about the “glowing” yellow Bat symbol returning to the costume. Look, it is what it is – give me good storytelling and character development and I’ll accept whatever costume changes Morrison and team have in mind. Just please don’t use the Batman and Robin movie as source material for the changes and I’ll be peachy…
It’s a great day for me when DC decides to officially introduce one of my favorite cartoons into the DC universe. Paul Levitz is tasked with integrating Terry McGinnis into comic book land and does so with style – a testament to the overall work he’s been doing since returning to his writing duties after a good lengthy run as DC Publisher. It only gets me more hyped up when the 6-part mini-series gets rolling this month.
Now can somebody call Bruce Timm please and tell him a new Batman Beyond movie is a great idea?
It takes a couple of reads to really get where Grant Morrison is heading, but in the end, he paints a good picture about not only what happens when Bruce Wayne jumps to different time periods, but what that effect is having on the entire DC universe. Think witch-hunts, Lovecraftian monsters, and the end of time and you got a good Morrison book. Ultimately, I think I just enjoyed Bruce wearing a Puritan hat and everybody calling each other brother.
Enjoy, folks! Here’s a kitty!
There was too much going on in DC land to limit this to one or two books to Quick Picks this week. As much as Return of Bruce Wayne deserved a good amount of hype, I was thoroughly impressed by a bunch of DC offerings. DC is hot right now and I’m glad they’re continuing to build other franchises beyond the Batman and Green Lantern names.
This is not to say that Marvel didn’t have a good week too – just that DC did things one better. Marvel wrapped up Siege and officially began their march into Heroic Age. It was nice that they finally wrapped up all those threads, but my review here on iFanboy can give you some insight as to why I felt it could have done a whole lot more.
Enjoy the podcast!