Are two Batmen better then one?

24 08 2010

It appears that at the end of “The Return of Brunce Wayne” there will be two Batmen running around. All hints by DC, Dan Didio, and Grant Morrison point to Dick Grayson and Bruce Wayne sharing the mantle of the Bat.

For those of you unaware of the recent changes in the Batverse, Bruce Wayne has been presumed dead causing Dick Grayson (the original Robin) to take over the mantle. There. You’re now caught up on a year and a half of story.

With Dick Grayson and Bruce Wayne both at Batman this has left me, and I’m sure many other Batfans, in comic-nerd inner conflict!

"We're about to Bat-stomp your teeth out!"

Dick Grayson is one of my favorite comic book characters. He’s one of the very few main stream heroes, and side-kicks, that fans actually watched grow up. But he never truly grew out of the shadow of Batman. Always a second fiddle, I longed for the day that Grayson would be held at the same caliber as Bruce. I never thought I’d see the day that Dick would be wearing the Batcowl. And it’s been even better than I imaged.

Fans have all been loving Dick Grayson as Batman. Some like it because there is a fresh take on Batman, others like Grant’s story telling style, and then there are the fans who a simply like Dick more than Bruce. It feels more modern. A new Batman for the 21st century. Then there is the dynamic that Dick and Damien, the current Robin, share. There is a chemistry that simply would not work with Bruce Wayne. For decades, Batman was inseparable from Robin. They where the Dynamic Duo. If Batman was in a cartoon or comic book Robin was right there. Then something happened and the magic of the team drifted. Now, after years, there’s a charge when you think of Batman and Robin again. The taint of batnipples and a neon colored Gotham City are being washed away!

But with that goes some of the things which made Batman such an interesting character to begin with. I’m not talking about his orgin story or his gloomy nature. I’m talking about his mission, and I mean his mission. Several of Batman’s more iconic roles involve him as a lone soldier trying to protect a lost kingdom. No one is on Batman’s side. Gotham is ruled by crooked cops, mobsters, and the outright crazy. His only allies are a hopeful commissioner and his father-figure Butler. Neither of whom are actually able to help him in the streets. Batman’s story is a tragedy. He does everything he can to protect his city, but in the end nothing is ever better. To make matters worse everyone who helps his crusade is hurt or tainted. Best friend Harvey Dent? Acid to the face. Youthful Ward? Blown up by a clown. Inspired young lady? Crippled and raped. Pet dog? Wiped out of existence.  But then, when you’ve got Batman roll’n around with a second Batman, 2 extra Robins, 2 Batgirls, and on top of that you give him HIS OWN PERSONAL SUPER HERO TEAM, you’ve got to ask…..Batman….what the hell are you doing wrong? How can you have a personal strike squad but you can’t keep the damn Riddler off the streets?

If you’re reading this blog (I’m talking to you mother) I’m curious to see what you’re opinion on two Batmen is!


Ultimate Spider-man – One year later

7 08 2010

With the release of Ultimate Marvel: Spider-man issue twelve, this marks the one year relaunch of the Ultimate line. While it seems odd to relaunch a series that was created as a revamping of another series, for most of the Marvel Ultimate line, this was needed.

As a whole, the Ultimate line had become what it was created to fix; over complex character origins, new read unfriendly stories, and pricy crossovers. Now the ultimate line is filled with easy to read and new stories. Tales that could never take place in the regular marvel line. The flag ship title being Ultimate Marvel: Spider-man, a position the titles has earned.

Ultimate Marvel: Spider-man is in many ways not only the staple for Ultimate Marvel, but is the bench mark almost all comic books should stand by. Ultimate Marvel Spider-man is not only new reader friend but is one of the few comic books that anyone at any age can enjoy. Very few modern comic books accomplish that. Even books you think would be targeted towards younger readers, are actually meant for older audience. For example, look at Batman & Robin. This is one of my favorite books on the market, but a 12 year old boy could not enjoy it the same way a 25 year old man can. Comic books in many ways have “grown-up,” so it’s refreshing to have titles that openly try to stay accessible to younger readers.

Ultimate Marvel: Spider-man also keeps Spider-man in a very iconic form, while still creating stories that have never been told. This is no easy task in comic books. When we look at the main Spider-man book, Peter’s life has become in many ways, over complexed. Look at what’s happened to Pter over the years in the main universe: Super-hero civil war, joining the avengers, clones, demon mind-wiping the earth, arch enemy becoming head of US defense, more clones, best friend’s death reversed, become a teacher, worked for Iron Man, webbing became organic, and did I mention the clones? Ultimate Spider-man is still “Peter’s in High school.” It’s easy for anyone to recognize Peter and follow along. Sure there are some characters and events that need explaining, but it beats the hell out of telling someone why there are 2-3 people calling themselves Venom at any given point.

Giving Peter a cast made up of Iceman, the Human Torch, and allowing Aunt May to know his identity makes the story even fresher. These are stories that no one has read. You can’t do a story arc in regular marvel where Peter dates Jean Grey. You can’t have Colossus get a job with Peter at the Daily Bugle. In Ultimate world it can happen! And Bendis is taking advantage of it. While the 3.99 pricing is far higher than it should be, those willing to cough up the dough will not feel that their money is wasted.