Jim’s Week in Comics: December 17, 2014

Hey, folks. This week has been all about Batman for me. Batman/Superman has been introducing a new enemy for Superman. The interesting thing is that it’s a Joker-style villain, someone who is psychologically imbalanced beyond diagnosis, and going after Superman through his connections. This really allows Batman to come through and shine a light on a type of evil that Supes hasn’t traditionally needed to confront. It’s entertaining to read, and a creative way to explore the relationship between Batman and Superman.

Also building on the relationship between Bats and Supes was this month’s Justice League. With the rest of the league out of commission, Clark and Bruce are left to track down patient zero for the Amazo virus. This is another issue that doesn’t do very much to move the plot forward, but the characterization keeps it as an interesting read, and as has been the case with Justice League, we get some interesting looks at Lex Luthor. Pacing has always been a stumbling point for me in Geoff Johns’ writing, and that may become a problem for an otherwise solid story arc, but I think he’s done well to narrow his focus down to a few members of the League.

Finally, on the Batman front, Snyder and Capullo’s Batman built on the Endgame arc in some really satisfying ways. Snyder’s background in horror is really coming through in the way he writes The Joker, and Capullo’s art manages to say as much as the text on the page. Snyder takes some risk by getting as deep into Batman’s head as he does, and opinions may vary on how successful he is with it, but there can be no doubt that the Batman team is executing their vision, and if nothing else, it’s rewarding to read.

Breaking away from DC, I did pick up this month’s All New Captain America. I’ve always really liked Sam Wilson/Falcon as a character, and I think he’s being made to fit the role of Cap in a nice and believable way, but this issue is a little heavy on unneeded exposition and origin. I’d go so far as to say the depiction of Sam’s father’s murder was uncomfortably close to DC’s depiction of the Wayne murders. In fact, Sam’s dad’s dying words, “It’s not what you do in life that matters. It’s the evil we don’t confront that defines us,” was a borderline steal of the Bruce/Rachel exchange from Batman Begins: “It’s not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me.” Maybe it’s all just a question of wording and syntax, but I think Marvel needs to be much more careful than this, especially when they’re inserting an established character into a different, established role. They’re already in the red there where originality is concerned. With all that said, Sam is a great character, and this is an entertaining book so far.

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