Hard-Boiled Bat

Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #5

An amnesiac Bruce Wayne is traveling forward through time, unaware that his body is acquiring Omega Energy which, when he returns to the present, will blow a hole in time? Why is this happening? Darkseid did it. Darkseid does everything. Right now, he’s stuck in — well, it looks like the pulp-fiction 1940s, but I rather suspect it’s much more recent, since a leggy redhead comes to him and asks him to investigate the murder of his own mother, Martha Wayne. The woman who’s “hired” him claims that she was Martha Wayne’s best friend and takes him to meet Martha’s parents — mom is an elderly society matron, and dad is stuck in an iron lung after a mysterious stroke, and the entire home is beset by ominous wasps. What’s waiting for Bruce Wayne in the catacombs beneath Wayne Manor? And who is getting set to betray him?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Beautiful art by Ryan Sook. And it’s a lot of fun to read this and catch the callbacks Morrison leaves to stories he previously told months or years ago.

Knight and Squire #1

The Knight and Squire are the Batman and Robin of London, and they hold court in a pub called the Time in the Bottle which has a magical spell that prevents fighting or any use of superpowers. So of course, the whole place is filled up with British superheroes and villains — people like Salt of the Earth, the Milkman, the Professional Scotsman, Captain Cornwall, Jarvis Poker the British Joker (a guy who never actually manages to do any serious villainy and really just prefers to hang out and chat with Knight and Squire), the Pirate Astronomers, Death Dinosaur, Dark Druid, and many, many more. But can anyone survive when the magic spell quits working?

Verdict: Thumbs up. I’m glad Paul Cornell is writing this, ’cause it’s all a ton of fun. All the British-themed characters are really cool. I’m not sure if every issue is going to take place in the Time in the Bottle — if so, that may wear thin pretty quickly.

The New Avengers #5

We start off with a scene from years ago when Dr. Strange and Wong unleashed some whupass on Baron Mordo and the ninjas of the Hand. In the present, Iron Fist thinks the Ancient One is the guy who wants the Eye of Agamotto, but Strange knows that makes no sense — the Ancient One gave Strange the Eye in the first place, and would’ve told him if someone else had a prior claim to it. Soon enough, everyone realizes that Agamotto himself wants the Eye back — he possesses the Avengers to get them to attack Strange, but Dr. Voodoo shows up, releases them, and issues a sorcerer’s challenge to Agamotto. It’s going to be one vessel from the Avengers — it doesn’t have to be Dr. Voodoo — vs. Agamotto, a vastly powerful interdimensional spellcaster. Who gets picked to go up against Agamotto, and how do the rest of the Avengers help power him up?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Bendis is writing this one, just like he’s writing the main “Avengers” title, but I’ve had a lot more patience with this storyarc. I’ve got to assume that means I’m enjoying the story and the writing a whole lot more than I have the other one. And the Wong and Strange vs. Mordo and ninjas beginning is definitely a winner.

The Unwritten #18

In the aftermath of Wilson Taylor’s death and the release of the new Tommy Taylor novel, the literary cabal attempts to regroup. The new novel is flat-out messianic, with Tommy Taylor raised from the dead and promising to bring mankind to a new golden age. The leader of the conspiracy decides to lay the blame on the assassin Pullman, subjecting him to a ritual where a member of the inner circle pulls a trinket out of the mouth of a stone statue to determine if Pullman lives or dies. Meanwhile, Tom Taylor, attempting to learn how he can do real magic without having to stick himself in a life-or-death situation, ingests a number of drugs to bring on a dream vision. Can his visions of his father and Tommy Taylor show him the path to real magical power? And who will come out on top in the conspiracy’s power struggle?

Verdict: Very weird and much more fun to read than I was expecting. After last issue, I was a bit worried that this series was beginning its downslide, but this story is just fine — hopefully, it’ll stay fun for a good while longer.

Today’s Cool Links:

  • Kate Beaton brings back the Fat Pony.
  • Comics Alliance has a whole bunch of mini-episodes from the upcoming “Avengers” cartoon.
  • A cookbook from 1922 that features recipes from Warren G. Harding, Harry Houdini, Rube Goldberg, Charlie Chaplin, John Phillip Sousa, and many others.
  • Sometimes, we all just need to take a jump to the left.


  1. VoodooBen Said,

    October 20, 2010 @ 11:16 pm

    I dunno, man – I’m the exact opposite as far as AVENGERS books go. I’m loving AVENGERS – time travel craziness with a mix of classic and modern teams, all drawn with gusto by JRJR is WAY more appealing to me than Bendis trying to hack out magic in the Marvel U – again – and completely emasculating Dr. Strange (whom I love) in the process.

    Then again, one man’s trash, y’know?

  2. scottslemmons Said,

    October 21, 2010 @ 9:11 am

    Well, Strange has been emasculated multiple times in the last few years. And I really did love the scene with him and Wong.

    I’ve felt Bendis dialogue in this series has been better than what he’s been serving up in the other one. But Bendis is not someone I tend to enjoy reading anyway — I may drop both of them eventually…