We’re back with Jim and Rob as DCTV has finally come back!! Albeit just Batwoman at the moment but there’s lots to talk about just on that show! we also look forward to what’s on the horizon on TV and we also just a bit about the DC animated universe!
So its back to comics this week for Jim and Michael, they revisit Batman Cacophony written by Kevin Smith and give you their thoughts on his version of a Batman story. Michael has been reading the OG Young Justice run and Jim talks about his impressions on the original Doom Patrol run and even took some time to read some Future State stuff, its all going on in this weeks ep, so have a listen now!
Looking back a decade on, it is quite clear that DC intended to take some creative risks when launching the New 52. The comic book industry has gone through universal reboots, but there was a sense that this time it was in fact, different. Suddenly Grant Morrison was headlining Action Comics, Justice League was given a big blockbuster start, and over in the Batman corner of the DC Universe, the reins were handed over to Scott Snyder and Tony S. Daniel. A bold move, considering Snyder had only done one other Batman story at this point (with Dick Grayson in the cowl, not Bruce), and Tony S. Daniel when not collaborating with another writer, has decidedly mixed results. Still, the fanbase was primed for the creative teams on most of the books, especially once it was announced that Greg Capullo would be joining Scott Snyder on Batman.
Batman: The Court of Owls was the first arc of the second volume of the Batman. Snyder and Capullo set out to tell a dark, mysterious and treacherous story of intrigue that would have the Dark Knight Detective questioning not only the motives of his new foe(s), but also just how much he thinks he knows Gotham City’s history… which of course also describes eighty percent or more of Batman stories published in the past eighty years. A digression…
That is not to say this is a terrible storyline. It does have its moments, and it is certainly served well by Greg Capullo’s more than capable hand in the art department, but the story ultimate buckles under its own weight. Eleven issues if you read just the main story, considerably more if you get bogged down by the sub-story “Night of the Owls” partway through this epic. While for the most part paced well within individual issues, this entire “epic” could have easily been told with fewer issues; half as few, if you include the ancillary titles. The reveal at the end of the story comes across as cliched, and a plot point if memory serves, is never even really explored again, by his creator, or any others. And considering the character the cliched plot point refers to is now dead, it may never get addressed again.
If the reader takes it as a separate parts of a whole, the storyline did give us a new foe in both the Court of Owls itself as well as their Talon foot soldiers. Those concepts have considerable legs, having been used in both animated media, and allegedly for the upcoming Gotham Knights game. Even if Scott Snyder’s story telling suffers, his concepts and ideas do not. During the most ridiculous moments, Batman still seems badass or incredibly cool, but reading it a second time years on, you begin to realize you fell for the hype a bit…
Unfortunately, Snyder still suffers under his own success and hubris with subsequent stories. If you wish to read him at his best, you should pick up a copy of Batman: Black Mirror. That is not to suggest this is a terrible storyline; there are worse, and at least one better.
Collects: Batman: (Vol. 2) 1-11
Let’s rewind to 2013 and talk about an incredible DC animated movie. Flashpoint is probably The Flash’s most well known storyline and this movie is packed full of action as we witness Barry Allen thrown into an alternative world.
Causing a shift in the timeline by saving his Mum, Barry finds himself living in a reality where Nora West really is still alive but nothing is the same. The Flash doesn’t exist here and Iris doesn’t even know who Barry is. The Flashpoint Paradox throws you straight into the plot with a small introduction of what should have happened before we see the repercussions of Barry’s actions.
In a world where there is a full out war between Wonder Woman and Aquaman, it’s the first appearance of Batman which makes you realise something is not right. His physique, his costume and especially his eyes are all different and that’s before you see the change in his attitude as he’s clearly alright with killing. It was the reveal of Thomas Wayne being Batman in this version of reality that gave me the highlight of the movie as a flashback reveals that Bruce was killed in the alleyway that night and it was haunting seeing Martha Wayne go insane with grief and realising what she goes on to become.
Take everything you know about your favourite DC characters and forget it because in Flashpoint everyone is different. Heroes are villains and villains are trying to restore peace around the world. Speaking of villains, Eobard Thawne as Reverse Flash is portrayed so fantastically as knowing all of Barry’s weaknesses and how to use them to break him down. You’ll also be shocked when you see Superman. Whilst this would be a great starting point for people wanting to explore the world of DC, this story would have much less of an impact if you don’t already have knowledge of the more well known characters at least. Billed as a Justice League movie, The Flash definitely takes the lead and we are shown the more intricate workings of Barry Allen and what drives him.
The anime styled visuals really pay off and at times some scenes are so brutal. Some shots look like they’re taken right out of a comic. I think this makes it more appealing to an adult audience rather than young kids and a sex scene between Diana and Arthur and the tragedy it leads to proves that further. Some great vocal talent really help bring these characters to life and allow you to become immersed in this crazy, alternative world.
The Flashpoint Paradox is a lot of fun. What I love most about it is the ‘what if’ aspect. What if these heroes were not here to do good and what could happen if they used their incredible abilities for bad rather than good? That’s something that made the movie Brightburn so brilliant too. The butterfly effect is in full force as the story’s overarching message plays out. We have to learn to accept the things we cannot change and even if we are given the chance to change the past, the long lasting effect could be even worse.
Batman: Death in the Family is the first interactive animated movie from Warner Bros/DC and its really well done!! Batman Under The Red Hood is one of my favourite DC animated movies so I wasn’t really sure how this movie would work as technically we have already seen this story play out but that’s where the interactive part comes in and it’s really very clever!
So the movie starts of as Under The Red Hood does up until the point that Joker has Jason Todd captive, it is here where everything changes, if you want it to! You are given one of three choices as to whether to save Jason and indeed how to save him. This takes its inspiration directly from the original comic where the readers were asked whether or not they wanted Jason Todd to live or Die, in reality the reader chose die and comics where changed forever and we were ultimately gifted with Red Hood.
This is where this story differs, depending on what first choice you pick takes you down different branching paths where you have more choices to make, these lead in some very different directions some good, some bad, some very very bad most are quite brutal in one way or another! Once you’ve finished one branch it does give you the option to jump back to your orignal branch to make different choices, its done so well and all the animation and voice acting fits perfectly to the original.
I really enjoyed this cool way to tell a story we already knew, its interesting given you the choice of where the story goes and what that means for all the characters involved and it would be great to see them do it with other stories in this series. Picking and choosing what Justice League member takes on Doomsday in Death of Superman or how Barry changes the timeline in Flashpoint would be amazing!! Overall great concept and fantastic execution, I’m a fan!
Batman: Death in the Family is available on Digital Download now, and Blu-Ray™ & DVD on October 26th Order it here at the WB Store