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Holy Seven Subscriptions, Batman!

Rondo of Blog - Published: June 9, 2023

So I’ve been reading a lot of comics lately. Like, a lot of comics. I’ve been going out on a limb, and honestly? It’s paid off! Yes, I’ve gotten to read solid comic book storytelling recently - and lots of it. And what do I have to show for it?

Seven different subscriptions to DC comics series, and one to a Marvel comic series. :’)

[Spoilers for various comics! If you see the title of a book you don’t wanna get spoiled on, leave!]

If you’ve been following me for the past several months, you’ve probably heard me rave about the current ongoing Catwoman comic series as it’s been written by Tini Howard. You’ve probably also heard me blab about the latest Harley Quinn series since Tini Howard took it over. Both comics are absolute delights that I’ve had a blast with, but that I’ve also talked at length about, so… won’t be going into that. Not this time, at least.

And that includes you, Betsy Braddock: Captain Britain, also written by Tini Howard!

So what does that leave us? Well, why don’t we start with Batman! Written by Chip Zdarsky. At this point I really should start expecting it, but I keep being surprised by just how dang much I’m enjoying myself with this series! It’s got action, it’s got Batman coming down from the Moon to land back on Earth, it’s got it all!

With stories as convoluted as the series has been telling, I really would’ve thought it all would’ve come unraveled several issues ago—after all, how the hell could a story take Batman to the Moon, back to Earth, into another damn dimension, rapidly jumping through several damn dimensions, and then back to whatever we call main Earth??? By doing it all very well, apparently!

Next we have Poison Ivy, which I read on the glowing recommendation of my partner in life and in love, Cluster! I spent weeks telling them I’d get around to reading it eventually, then one day this past week I went and read all 13 issues that’re out right now. And what’s there to say about them? Well…

They’re great! They’re all fucking great! I’ve never blown through 13 issues so quickly, but G. Willow Wilson had such an impressive story to tell that I couldn’t stop for anything. Pamela’s great in it, so is Harley when she eventually shows up, and so is… Batman! Didn’t know he’d be part of this series, but it works!

G. Willow Wilson is another writer, like Tini Howard, where whenever I see her write a character I just want to see her write them all the time. I dunno, if perhaps they could just hand the keys to the whole damn DC Universe to these gals I think we’d be onto something!

Besides that, Cluster and I finally said “what the hell” and read through all 9 issues that’re currently out of The Joker: The Man Who Stopped Laughing. The verdict?

It made us laugh~

To be more specific, Matthew Rosenberg does an excellent job of making a hilarious and entertaining Joker comic series that features a metric fuck-ton of Joker in it. There’s so much of The Joker, there’s actually two men called The Joker in it!… Or three. Well, the third one was impersonating the first one. Or is it the second one?

It’s these sorts of questions that any Joker series worth its seltzer would have readers asking! I’m really glad we’ve taken a chance on this series, after spending months joking about its very silly title that doesn’t seem to actually tie into the story itself so far. We’ll see if there’s any further developments on that front later!

Last month and this month, however, I started on two brand new limited series! Limited series that I wish were ongoing series, and that I hope end up becoming ongoing series when they hopefully do ridiculously-well! I am of course referring to the latest volume of Cyborg, and Steelworks!

For Cyborg, I’m really interested to see where it goes. Morgan Hampton made known his intentions of taking Vic in a direction we’ve not seen before, ahead of issue #1’s release, and the sudden death of Vic’s father Silas proved he meant it.

While Silas died very early on in the original continuity Vic lived in, his presence after the New 52 reboot was used to great effect in David F. Walker’s Cyborg issues. Lots of work was done expanding on their fraught relationship, but it looks like we’ve closed the book on that before it could reach a happy ending… or have we???

There’s a lot to take in, a brief appearance from the Titans that made my heart swell, and overall I felt like the first issue set us up nicely for a damn good story—one that, again, I’d love to see turn into an ongoing series, but we can’t have everything all the time.

Steelworks had another strong beginning with issue #1, which came out… this month! I’d been anticipating it since its initial announcement, and Michael Dorn did not disappoint in the writing department. I’d also like to give a special shoutout to Sami Basri and Andrew Dalhouse for their contributions in the art department (line art and coloring, respectively)!

It’s not every day I get to read a comic that just looks as good as comics used to back when I was taking good comic art for granted, but Steelworks #1 is a damn good-looking comic! With art this solid, there’s nothing interrupting me from getting sucked into the story - and damn if this isn’t the beginning of a story that immediately grabbed me!

Something that’s easy to take for granted, but that not every comic manages to pull off, is telling a story that wins you over on its ideas. Maybe this is just me being picky, but I’ve read a comic or two in the past year that’ve gone really hard on the moral core of a story that I just… really can’t relate to. You’d think superhero comics wouldn’t have such a hard time being relatable to someone who doesn’t want people to spend the rest of their natural lives rotting in prison or whatnot, but you’d be surprised.

Steelworks #1 starts with a bang. With ideas that’re bold, and probably outside the realm of what people usually look for in a superhero comic, but that I can honestly sympathize with. No one comes off as a two-dimensional cardboard cutout, everyone feels real and able to be connected with at least on some level.

It’s a limited series, but if it does well enough? Who knows what could happen. In this case, I don’t know that they could’ve gotten Michael Dorn for longer than just a limited series’ run, so there are benefits to the format!

So yeah. That’s now seven subscriptions to DC comics series, to only one that Marvel’s been able to put out.

Does DC know it doesn’t have to be winning so hard at comics? It would’ve been fine if they were just putting out a couple good series here and there, which I thought they were before I gave these other series a try. Turns out, they’re really putting out some quality shit!

And I still have Superman: The Last Days of Lex Luthor to start picking up next month! Geez!

I’m a very happy camper when it comes to comics, nowadays. Right now, I only have one comic series I pick up every month that routinely and utterly disappoints me. I may end up writing about it on this blog, in lieu of tweeting, what with how its fanbase just loves to tank my mental health with threats & harassment!

Until next time!

Originally-published on June 9, 2023