(Editor’s Note: I know that I have the good, bad, and ugly format for review articles. However, these comics articles are often going to cover several titles and that format might cause the articles to become so long as to be cumbersome to read. I’ll work the good, the bad, and the ugly into the articles somehow, but they won’t be the focal point.)
The title of this article is a bit misleading. Unlike Marvel, which has hooked me into buying multiple new books with their Secret Empire event, I’ve only read Batman and Wonder Woman from the DC Rebirth universe. That may change with the “Metal” event or as I become more adventurous and branch out into other titles. For now, though, enjoy my first edition of comic Wrap Up for Wonder Woman and Batman. Only two titles lets me test out some things and figure out what works and doesn’t.
Part of the reason that I haven’t gotten into more DC books is that I have been having trouble figuring out starting points for the books that are unfamiliar. Due to having grown up an unabashed Marvel zombie, most of the DC books are unfamiliar. I’ve always liked Batman, used that to get into Batman/Superman title of the early or mid 2000s, branched out from that into Superman for a very brief time, and not much else.
The new Wonder Woman movie led me to check out the comic book. Luckily, the 2nd volume of the trade came out during one of my visits to the store, so I picked it up. I found it strange that Volume 2 was titled “Year One” because I then had no idea what the story of the first book might be. Having never read any Wonder Woman before, though, I was thankful for the origin story.
After getting the first volume second, which actually made sense in the context of the two books, I did some research. I discovered that the writer was intertwining two stories concurrently during a particular story arc. As an example, the first 12 issues alternate between the year one origin story and another story where Diana is trying to find her way back to Themyscira. The odd issues tell one story and switched to the other for the even issues.
Because I bought the trades, I haven’t been able to experience how they worked together and if it enhanced the narrative at all. However, I’m a huge fan of alternative story telling methods. I recently watched Shimmer Lake and it was told in reverse. Hopefully, he keeps it up and I will be able to see if and how it affects the flow of the stories.
As far as the stories, they are of high quality. Having never read Wonder Woman, I only had the movie to give me any expectations. But the origin story moved quickly, set the scene and established characters. The other did the exact opposite and is serving to undermine the entire mythology. While they are antithetical and you might wonder why he’d immediately work so hard to destroy his creating, the stories oddly fit together. I see now how weaving them together heightens the drama and keeps the reader on edge. It is actually a brilliant strategy.
The Good: The stories are fantastic. They are well paced and complement one another and bring together what is an unorthodox story telling style that could have gone very badly.
The Bad: At least the first 2 arcs that I’ve read will be familiar to Wonder Woman fans. They might have switched some things up to modernize it a bit, but it is an origin story.
The Ugly: Infinite Crisis, The New 52, now Rebirth? Jesus, how many reboots do we need? At least they seem committed to this one for the long haul. Here’s hoping.
Unlike Wonder Woman, Batman has been a part of my life since I watched the old TV series with my father. I saw several Robins killed. Witnessed the Batman broken by Bane. Lived through watching the Tim Burton franchise lose all credibility when it grew “bat nipples”. Threw out an unenthusiastic “Meh” followed by a slightly less enthusiastic “this is fine” over the announcement and current reign of “Batfleck”. So, there’s little that they can do with the character that would surprise me.
So, even though I joined Batman around issue 23, I don’t have an incentive to fill in the first two dozen or so issues via trades. I will continue forward. If I have some left over some week in my comic budget (not likely), I will grab the trades and see if there’s anything new in the Bat’s history since Rebirth.
As far as the story that I’ve read, I was wrong about there being no surprises. The first issue that I read involved a team up with Swamp Thing. While only a one off, it was so well written that it hooked me. Then, Batman (spoiler alert) proposed to Catwoman. Yeah, it’s a gimmick. But, holy crap, what a gimmick! Plus, the book is so well written with good pacing and dialogue that it doesn’t feel like a gimmick. Currently, they’re setting the stage for a huge arc with Joker and The Riddler. Chris has said a couple of times that this is his favorite book right now. I don’t know if I can say that unequivocally, but there aren’t many, if any books right now that I would put above it on my most anticipated every month.
The Good: Again, just good writing. Great story, characters are familiar.
The Bad: The pacing of the story is a bit odd. It’s a good story, but sometimes there’s a little bit too much talk and not enough action.
The Ugly: Oh man, that Catwoman thing has worked so far, but it could have been a book killer if they didn’t do it right.
Batman is great. Wonder Woman is great. For some reason, none of that has led me to explore other books. I grew up as a Marvel zombie, a Marvel zombie I remain, and some day I will die and rise from the grave as a true Marvel zombie. Secret Empire and the tie in issues have swallowed much of my comic budget. However, I’ve mentioned to Chris that the Trinity series looks intriguing and I might have to read some Justice League before the movie comes out in November.