Curated: (Some of the) Best Of 00s DC

The early 2000s saw a majority of the DC’s major characters go through a creative renaissance, a rebirth, if you will. This happened to coincide with the second time in my life that I gave up comic books. One did not cause the other. In fact, I’m now trying to track down a lot of material some twenty years after the fact. You see, in the early 2000s, university demanded much of my time and money. Comic books were the first luxury to go.

As a result, I’m reading a lot of new material for the first time, two decades on. This was stuff I would have loved to enjoy when it first came out, but better late than never. This list looks at some of the best from this decade. Don’t expect the likes of All-Star Superman or Batman: Hush on this list. You know me; I like to dig a bit deeper with Curated.

Batgirl: Year One

I adore the concept of Batgirl. I adore Barbara Gordon in any identity, but the majority of Batgirl stories at this time, were ones that had already been published in the Silver Age. Few modern Batgirl storylines exists prior to the New52 reboot, yet when DC published a Batgirl story during these decades, they truly rewarded the reader for their patience. Batgirl: Year One is the benchmark for future writers.

Collects: Batgirl: Year One 1-9

Batman: New Gotham Volume One

Batman was experiencing big event fatigue by the end of the 1990s. Or at least he should have been just as exhausted as his fanbase that just experienced a decade that opened with a new Robin, continued into the Knightfall Trilogy, a plague, an earthquake, being declared a no man’s land that included a year of near anarchy in a city that already doesn’t really understand the concepts of law and/or order to begin with. And this all happened within 2-3 years of Bruce’s life, according to then published timelines.

The Batman franchise as a result took a slightly slower pace at the turn of the millennia. Greg Rucka was put in charge of Detective Comics, and with a highly stylized new look by Shawn Martinbrough gave us stories that largely eschewed the psychopaths in favour of more personal, intimate stories; more police procedural, more crime boss and gangs, less guest stars from a certain asylum. This ranks as one of my favourite Batman collections.

Collects: Detective Comics (Vol. 1) 742-753

Green Arrow by Kevin Smith

Green Arrow is a niche character, and one that is often considered a carbon copy of Batman. While some of these criticisms may have been true in the Golden and Silver Age of comics, there’s a very different Oliver Queen that ran around in the 1970s to 2010s. There have been many memorable runs for this character, but for me, the respect and reverence that Kevin Smith shows makes this a modern classic.

Contains: Green Arrow (Vol. 3) 1-15

Robin: Year One

Yes, I have raved about this book already. Yes, it is already on the Curated: Dick Grayson by Chuck Dixon list, and no I don’t care. I’m going to recommend it again. And I recommend it, because it dovetails beautifully with the Batgirl: Year One collection, but you’re going to just have to find out for yourselves!

Contains: Robin: Year One 1-4

Superman: The City of Tomorrow Volume One

If you haven’t noticed a pattern by now, DC franchises entered a period of either going back to basics as with Batgirl and others on this list, or did a soft reboot button as with Batman or Green Arrow. Superman, much like Batman, fell into both camps convenient, with an infusion of new talent such as Joe Kelly, Doug Mahnke, Ed McGuinness, Mark Schultz and more. As a result, we got big action Superman but with some of the strongest characterizations not seen in some time. It appears DC is eager to get this material back into stores after a long period of being out of print. This first collection is well worth spending an afternoon over.

Contains: Action Comics (Vol 1.) 760-763, Adventures of Superman (Vol. 1) 573-576, Superman (Vol. 2) 151-154, Superman: Man of Steel (Vol. 1) 95-98 & Superman: Y2K

Wonder Woman by Greg Rucka Book One

Diana of Themyscira can be a difficult character for me to invest in. Don’t get me wrong; she is a brilliant character, but I have found few creative teams that have made me really lover her narrative. John Byrne mostly succeeded at this with his run, as did Phil Jimenez. George Perez was just okay to me, and sadly Messner-Loebs run was by my estimation… a hot mess. As a long time fan of Rucka both in comics and in his novels, I had high hopes for this run. If anyone would understand her and write her, strangely a man like Greg Rucka could.

This collection has conflict, edginess, and doses of great humour in the right places. A new role for Diana gives us brilliant new dimensions to her character. Not just a hardcore feminist icon anymore, politics have become more varied and more nuanced in the modern age. This is the first book of a run that would define an already iconic character.

Contains: Wonder Woman (Vol. 2) 195-205 & Wonder Woman: Hiketeia

Funko DC Bombshells Collectors Box Review

Inspired by Diesel Punk and the glamour of the 40’s comes this amazing Funko DC Bombshell Limited Edition Collector’s Box. Based on the comic series of the name contains (Click on Images for larger pics!)

1 x Batman DC Bombshells POP! Vinyl Figure

1 x Wonder Woman Notebook

1 x Black Canary Rock Candy Figure

1 x Pack of 5 Collectors Cards

1 x ‘Gotham or Bust’ Enamel Pin

As a collector of Funko pops I really only bought this box for the Batman pop to go with the rest of my Bombshells pop collection, everything else is just a bonus.  The Batman pop has a 40s style detective look which I absolutely love, it’s so different from any of the other Batman pops that you can buy.

I only have one other Rock candy figure a Supergirl from a Legion of collectors box and the Black Canary Rock Candy in this box is actually much smaller,  I don’t know if funko have changed the size of these figures or if its just the ones in these boxes. It is a nice figure and well detailed and I like the little details such as the tattoo on her arm,  which you have to look quite hard to see if you don’t remove the figure from the box. For some reason this figure reminds me of the Bratz dolls and I think it would be better as a Funko pop vinyl , but that’s just my opinion others may feel a lot differently about it.

The box also includes a Wonder Woman note book,  5 trading cards and a Gotham Or Bust pin badge. Some sites are saying that there are 12 trading cards in the box but there are only five .

The note book has Wonder Woman on the cover and the pages of the book are lined. Its quite small so would be the perfect size for a handbag . It a nice note book but it does feel very cheap , every time you turn a page it feels like it’s going to fall apart.

The five trading cards have pictures of Wonder Woman, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Batgirl and Batwoman on the front DC comics Bombshells printed on the back. The front of the cards have a plastic feel to them. I like the pictures on the cards and I think they would look nice framed but to be perfectly honest I don’t really see the point in them. As far as I can tell every box has the same cards.

The last thing in the box is an enamel pin badge. The badge is shaped like a missile and has the words “ Gotham or Bust “ written on it. It also has bats with one bat crossed out. The badge is a nice size and has a great vintage look to it and I think it would look really nice on a jacket. I also like the fact that the stopper on the back is rubber instead of metal as I’ve found that they stay on better so there is less chance of losing it.

Overall I think this is a great box for collectors / DC comics fans. My favourite part of the box is the Batman pop and the enamel pin and I do think that the rock candy is a nice collectors piece . The only things I was disappointed with was the trading cards, ( as I said I don’t really see the point in them) and I think that the note book could have been better. I also wish that there was another funko pop rather than a rock candy figure but that’s just my personal opinion.


Batman: Last Knight On Earth Review

Writer: Scott Snyder
Artists: Greg Capullo and Jonathan Glapion
Color Artist: FCO Plascencia
Letterer: Tom Napolitano

It’s no secret that 2019 was a great year for Batman stories. With the Dark Knight celebrating his 80th anniversary DC Comics pulled out all the stops and some great tales emerged. One of the greatest has now been released under one cover, as Batman: Last Knight On Earth – The Collected Edition.

Writer Scott Snyder has crafted a tale that’s equal part fantasy, nightmare and vintage comic-book fare. He and his collaborators, the brilliant Greg Capullo and Jonathan Glapion, teased lines and pages from the story for months before the first issue came out. The clever part is that these teasers only added to the mystery and anticipation. This made me happy, as I am a complete spoilerphobe.

I’ve been reading Batman comics for over forty years, so it’s rare that anything feels as new, or fresh as this tale does. I have to say that some of the previews, those showing a young Bruce locked in Arkham with everything pointing at his entire life as Batman being a lie, worried me slightly. That’s something that had been done before and talked about for decades.

Grant Morrison managed to make all the camp Batman stories of the 50s and 60s canon by explaining them as the fever dreams of a Batman driven temporarily insane, after prolonged sessions locked in a sensory deprivation tank.

British writer/artist Brian Talbot gave fans the disturbing two part tale “Mask” (in Batman: Legends Of The Dark Knight vol. 1, issues #39 and #40). This story was also about a Bruce Wayne who’d been told that his entire crimefighting career as Batman never happened.

Batman: Last Knight On Earth is every bit as scary, but even more surreal, than both of its predecessors.


Waking Knightmares

This story is bonkers, and more than slightly terrifying. The whole premise is enough to worry any dyed-in-the-wool bat-fan. It’s only fitting that Scott Snyder should team up with Greg Capullo and Jonathan Glapion on his final bat-tale, as this is the team he started with, way back in Batman (New 52) #1 back in September 2011. The art really adds to the sense of disjointedness and the nightmare feelings we feel whilst reading.

I love Capullo/Glapion’s Batman/Bruce Wayne, and their Joker has always been a favorite. Getting 150 plus pages of them telling a brand new Batman story has been an absolute joy. Their cartooony style is a perfect fit for a tale that goes from the streets of the Gotham City of today, to a future Arkham asylum, then a post-apocalyptic nightmare world of tomorrow.

Add in the color art of FCO Plascencia, and the always spot-on lettering of Tom Napolitano, and we get a comic that borders on perfection.

The color palette changes drastically between the timelines/settings of the story, The cold antiseptic whites of Arkham completely contrast against the black bordered crime trail set out in the pages leading up to it. The atmosphere is altered yet again as soon as Batman claws his way out onto the blood red sands of a dead world.

Napolitano’s distinctive lettering is gorgeous; from Bruce’s tortured cries, to the Joker’s insane dialogue, all of it is beautifully realised. Joker is hilariously insane in this story, and that owes a great deal to Mr. Napolitano’s terrific lettering. Beautiful work.

The imagery on the opening pages is very clever. The hand holding the chalk could just as easily be that of the creators of this comic, slowly erasing the details of Batman’s life. The dead boy in the alley also resonated with me. Everyone talks about how Bruce Wayne’s parents were the ones that were killed in Crime Alley that night, but – to my mind – Bruce himself also perished, or at least his innocence did. When the boy passed, the Batman was born.

Alright On The Knight

Another great surprise was discovering that Bruce Wayne managed to perfect his cloning process (please see Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s “Endgame”, “Superheavy” and “Bloom” graphic novels) and, in an apocalyptic future, the Batman lives. The world is in ruins, heroes have been killed, or scattered like leaves in the wind, and the Dark Knight’s allies are few. Oh, and the Joker’s alive too… if you count existing as a decapitated head in a jar as living, that is.

This collected edition is chock-full of references to classic, and quirky DC titles of old. To see Unknown Soldier(s) and G.I. Combat’s Ghost Tank brought back some very fond childhood memories. I’ve always loved writers that honor the past, rather than just try to make a name for themselves by obliterating it. Scott Snyder is one of comics’ greatest ambassadors, because of the way he treats his fans on-line, the way his love for the medium shines and – of course – because he’s a damn fine storyteller.

Between this story, the superlative Justice League Dark, his own 100 page specials and the amazing TV show on DC Universe/Amazon (bring it back!) a certain Swamp Thing is getting a lot of exposure right now. That’s something I’ll never tire of. I loved Mr. Snyder’s take on the character, and am glad to see Swampy in this book too.

Are We There Yet?

The future versions of Bane, Scarecrow and Gotham City are nightmares worthy of any dark multiverse. I’ve never found Kansas, the Fortress Of Solitude, or Gotham – which has never been all that appealing anyway – less inviting.

There’s no doubt whatsoever that Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo will be forever remembered as one of the all-time great Batman creative teams. Their work on the main Batman title, on Dark Nights: Metal, and on the collected edition I’m here to review, can be spoken about with the same levels of reverence and respect as O’Neil and Adams, Englehart and Rogers and Grant and Breyfogle, in my honest and humble opinion. They have examined Batman’s past, present and future, redefining the character and also underlining the aspects that made him great in the first place.

The beautiful part for me, though, is the fact that this saga has run through various titles, both ongoing and mini-series, each one referencing and building on the other, yet each strong enough to stand alone. Fans can enjoy “The Court Of Owls” saga, “Metal” or “Last Knight On Earth” as their own stories, but will enjoy a far richer reading experience if they’ve followed the saga in its entirety.


Greg Capullo and Jonathan Glapion’s Batman is legendary. Yes, I’ve used the “L” word and genuinely think that it’s deserved. Just think at how much material they’ve produced over the years, just focusing on the Dark Knight! They’ve even got two costume designs into the history books. Personally their New 52 uniform is one of the very few from that era that I like; I cannot stand Superman with a collar, nor the silver tiara and blue boots Wonder Woman looks. The purple lining cape version of Batman is awesome.

Batman: Last Knight On Earth is one of those “Possible Future” sagas that I believe will actually have a lasting effect on the character for years to come. This was a nightmarish vision which contains many of Scott Snyder’s hallmarks. Here we have a writer who’s clearly a real fan; of Batman, Joker, Nightwing, Jim Gordon, Batgirl, and the entire Bat-Family. This story has shed more light on the Batman/Joker dynamic (you will not believe Joker’s fate unless you see it with your own eyes) and Snyder’s own fascination with Batman’s mortality and eternal legacy. We’ve already seen a Batman Who Laughs, but a Batman that goes bad of his own volition could actually be scarier still.

I’ve loved this story, and have a feeling that I’m not alone. The collected edition is beautiful and contains the whole three issue series, variant covers, and more. It’s well worth picking up.