Even Superman has a day job. I was at my office today partially to show my face because I work from home about 75% of the time and partially to reintroduce myself to polite society after a couple of weeks of relative isolation that coincided with winter holidays. I usually wind up with an abundance of unused time off at the end of the year so I take it all during the last couple weeks of December and remove myself from the world for a bit.
While walking back to my desk, a coworker greeted me with a “Happy New Year” and I responded in kind all while making sure to smile, maintain the appropriate amount of eye contact, and generally try not to come off as a complete weirdo. I did, however, think to myself “Are we still doing this? The New Year thing? Wasn’t that, like, a week ago?”
Yes, we’re still doing that thing…It’s a new year for Heroes & Villains and after I put this column to bed I can start thinking about the fifty-one other columns that will fill this space over the next year. Technically, I could have turned in a column LAST week but it was pretty quiet on the comic book front. Marvel relaunched their main Star Wars title which takes place immediately following the events of The Empire Strikes Back and it promises to be just as entertaining as the first volume of the series was.
Frankly, I’m all Star Wars’d out at the moment and couldn’t bring myself to write about the book which would most certainly devolve into me putting Star Wars fandom on blast for about a thousand words or so…which I’ll spare you from. For now.
How about a NEW comic, eh?
James Tynion IV (W)
Tony Daniel (A)
Over the last decade or so, DC Comics has tended to usher the creative teams for the main Batman title off to their own books to finish out their story arcs all while the main title relaunches. Grant Morrison went on to Batman & Robin and subsequently Batman Incorporated when the New 52 happened. Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo have continued their Bat-story in various event comics and premium format books and Tom King will be finishing his 100+ issue run with a Batman/Catwoman comic that is coming soon.
Now that you’re up to speed, it’s time for Batman #86! I hadn’t read much of King’s run on the title beyond the first two collected editions as I had failed to connect with the books. Perfectly fine! I’ve achieved a level of clarity some time ago when I realized that not everything has to be made specifically for me. I think I realized that after watching the first Deadpool movie, but I digress.
Thanks to the New York Times and other major media outlets I was able to keep up to date on what was going on with King’s Batman book as DC has the annoying habit of putting out spoiler-laden press releases in advance of the book being on sale. I had a general sense of the Bat-universe going into reading this issue but if you’re going in cold this issue serves as a good jumping-on point.
When DC announced the new creative team of James Tynion IV and Tony Daniel some months ago I immediately texted my local comic shop to put the book on my pull list. See, Tynion’s run on the Rebirth-era of Detective Comics was one of my favourites in recent memory. It was like the last 30 years of Batman books that I had loved were put in a blender and recontextualized for the post-New 52 and Rebirth-era of Batman. The run also contains a character-defining take on Tim Drake AKA the third Robin AKA Red Robin and currently AKA… Drake. Just…Drake (complete with awesome brown costume).
The art the Tony Daniel turned in for this issue proves that he’s one of the best working artists out there right now and he has somehow mindbogglingly improved from his last go around with the Dark Knight. The book was a pitch-perfect Batman story and a great first chapter for what I suspect will be a phenomenal run from Tynion and Daniel and I’m excited to have a Batman title back on my pull list.