Archive for August, 2002

Thursday, August 29th, 2002

ANOTHER BATMAN: BLINK REVIEW

This one’s from Jeff Meyer on Usenet. I like it because he said it reminded him of an Archie Goodwin story. How cool is that? Review below:

BATMAN: LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT 156-158

Picked this up on other reviewers’ recommendations; and indeed, I enjoyed it — but, apparently, for different reasons than those stated elsewhere.

For me, the central feature (and attraction) of the story isn’t the Batman, but a supporting character, Lee Hyland — a blind man with the odd ability to see through the eyes of others. Rather than dress up in red jammies and date ninjas, Lee instead has become a small-time crook, using his power to perform identity theft. Until one day…

This story reminds me of one of those classic Archie Goodwin “short stories”, where a (relatively) non-descript person gets caught up in one of the Batman’s cases. While the plot McDuffie reels out is excellent — a good mystery, with some truly evil M-Fs behind it all — you really want to find out what happens to Lee. He’s turning out to have a lot of guts and (to his own annoyance) a conscience; in Gotham City, that’s rarely a safe career move.

Friday, August 23rd, 2002

STATIC SHOCK, JUSTICE LEAGUE NOMINATED FOR AWARDS

Two shows that I work on are nominated for 2002 WIN awards, for positive portrayal of women in the media! More at the link:

Toon Zone – ‘Justice League’, ‘Static Shock’, ‘The Zeta Project’ Up for WIN Awards

Thursday, August 22nd, 2002

HEIDI MACDONALD TAKES DWAYNE’S PULSE

A recent interview with me about STATIC SHOCK, JUSTICE LEAGUE and other things, with cameos from the ghosts of Denys Cowan and Kyle Baker. There’s a photo but it’s from before I started my diet this morning.

COMICON.com: WB ANIMATION: IT’S NOT JUST LOONEY ANY MORE

Tuesday, August 20th, 2002

ANOTHER BATMAN: BLINK REVIEW

From four-color review:

Batman: LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT #156

Writer: Dwayne McDuffie

Pencils: Val Semeiks

Inks: Dan Green

Colors: James Sinclair

PublisherDC Comics

Price: $2.25

This Review Contains Spoilers

Batman: LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT stands out among the Batman family of titles since it’s the only title that isn’t strictly tied to contemporary continuity. Sure, it gets roped into the REALLY big crossovers, like “No Man’s Land”, from time to time, but for most of its 12 years on the stands the book has been concerned with telling self-contained (starting and ending in the title) stories typically made up of short arcs of three or four issues. This format has benefits as well as drawbacks for the title. For some readers, being to pick up and read short arcs is appealing, but others prefer an ongoing continuity. In addition, the format of the title might mean that one story might be of great interest to a given reader while the next story, or creative team, might not be as much to their personal tastes.

I’ll have to admit that there was a period of time where I felt that LOTDK was becoming a bit hit or miss both in subject matter and creative teams, that perhaps the title was becoming a little tired. However, I’m happy to report that by all recent indicators it seems this title is alive and well. The last three arcs have been strong and the arc that was just completed last issue “Grimm” (by DeMatteis and Von Eeden) was one of my favorite in years.

Issue 156, “Blink” (part 1 of 3) continues the rally and keeps the pulse quick. Dwayne McDuffie (co-founder of the Milestone imprint, creator of Static, Icon, and Hardware – he’s worked on most of the major characters from the ‘big two’) and Val Semeiks (THE DEMON, DC 1,000,000, DC 2000, more comics than you can list) make a bang-up creative team for this issue. McDuffie’s story is interesting and compelling and Semeiks pencils are clean, atmospheric, and moody – just what a Batman comic should look like in my opinion.

“Blink” is a good old fashioned noir detective yarn with a twist. The main character, who becomes a suspect in a murder case, is blind. However, he has a special ability. When he touches someone, he can see through their eyes. He’s used this ability for years as a graft, stealing people’s bank account numbers and emptying their bank accounts. However, over the course of plying his trade he sees something that he’s not supposed to see – something that puts him directly in the path of The Batman!

Whether you’re a continuity fan or not it’s great to see Batman and Commissioner Gordon working a crime scene together again – even if it is in the past, but once we get past the initial investigation, Batman slides into the background and the darkness – a place where he’s very effective in this type of story. Through Blink’s “eyes” we get to see things unfold both from the killer’s perspective and from Batman’s. I thought that this was a pretty ginchy way to tie things together and a pretty unique device to boot. As you would expect since this is the first of three issues, things are left pretty much in disarray at the conclusion. Blink may be a thief, but it doesn’t appear he’s a murder even though the evidence leads the police to believe otherwise. Meanwhile, the Batman has to stop the real killers and figure out what the motivation for these murders is. Then, there’s the little factor of if Batman proves Blink’s innocence will he become privy to his real crimes?

This is the kind of Batman story that I really enjoy. Tightly woven with twists and turns and a Batman who’s both a detective and an adventurer (though I don’t mind when he leans toward one more than the other Batman’s balance is part of what makes him one of the most effective heroes in comics). It’s great to see that LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT is a book to look forward to every month again and McDuffie and Semeiks are continuing the tradition. What the blind man saw? We’ll have to wait to find out.

Sunday, August 18th, 2002

BATMAN: BLINK REVIEW

As reviewed at Comics Worth Reading, www.comicsworthreading.com

BATMAN: LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT #158

Writer: Dwayne McDuffie

Penciller: Val Semeiks

Inker: Dan Green

DC Comics, 32 color pages, $2.50

The three-part story concludes, and Mr. McDuffie nails the landing. In this story, Batman is spooky, because he needs to be, but not oppressively so. There’s lots of action — even an allusion to much-earlier stories when he dangles a bad guy off a roof — but the key factor here is his intelligence and most importantly, his knowledge of his city. I’m reminded of how well-rounded the Dark Knight Detective is supposed to be as a character through this excellent portrayal.

One line in particular made me giggle. When someone orders “kill everybody who isn’t me”, it’s both in character and an important break in the building tension and mayhem. I shouldn’t neglect to mention the well-crafted, strongly visualized art, either. It’s easy to read and well-staged.

This is an old-fashioned story. It has an ending, a strong sense of justice, and even a moral. That makes it a brilliant tonic when compared to many of today’s never-ending superhero comics of questionable ethics. I would be one of the first in line to buy continuing work by Mr. McDuffie in the future. Someone needs to give this guy a regular comic gig.

Johanna Draper Carlson johanna@comicsworthreading.com

Reviews of Comics Worth Reading — http://www.comicsworthreading.com

Tuesday, August 13th, 2002

JUSTICE LEAGUE SEASON 2 NEWS

Producer Rich Fogel talks about what you can expect in the new season.

Click here for more.

Monday, August 12th, 2002

TONY ISABELLA REVIEWS BATMAN: BLINK

Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #156-158 (DC; $2.25 for the first two issues and $2.50 for the third) features "Blink," one of the best Bat-yarns in years. Writer Dwayne McDuffie brings us the competent and sane Dark Knight, eschewing the psychological basket case who came into vogue when DC began to over-think the character.

Yes, Bruce Wayne was traumatized as a child and it led him to dress up like a bat. But, hey, pay attention, he rose above that…and that's why he's so good at what he does. McDuffie's Batman can't be everywhere at once and doesn't have all the answers. He never surrenders to despair or madness. He is patient, right up to the moment when he strikes back against those who prey on innocents. This Batman inspires awe in equal measure to the usual "terror into their hearts."

"Blink" is as much a story about grifter Lee Hyland as it is about Batman. Hyland is blind, but, with a touch, he sees through the eyes of others, even hours after the fleeting contact. He uses his gift to steal from his unknowing marks, until the day he sees a woman butchered before his very "eyes."

What follows is the strange pairing of crime-buster and crook as Batman and Hyland hunt a serial killer who doesn't seem to fit any specific pattern. McDuffie and penciler Val Semeiks keep the tension high as their story barrels from surprise to surprise, and they even give the reader a chance to figure out a key clue before Batman reveals it. I have read some good Batman stories this year, but, even taking into account the serial killer scenario, I don't think any of them have been this much fun.

Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #156-158 pick up the full five Tonys…and a request from this comics reader that DC find out how many other great Batman stories McDuffie has in him.

how many other great Batman stories McDuffie has in him.

Friday, August 9th, 2002

STATIC SHOCK NEWS FROM DWAYNE

Toon Zone caught up with me for comments after the Milestone panel at San Diego. Click the link below to see if I spilled any goods about the upcoming Batman and Justice League episodes.

STATIC SHOCK NEWS FROM DWAYNE

Monday, August 5th, 2002

STATIC SHOCK STORY EDITOR SPEAKS!

Toon Zone has an interview with Jon Semper, STATIC SHOCK’S Story Editor. Read what he has to say at the link below:

Toon Zone – Jon Semper Talks Static Shock

Monday, August 5th, 2002

SEASON 3 NEWS: STATIC’S NEW COSTUME!

Toon Zone has a picture of Static’s new costume, plus news on the upcoming season and a brief interview with Static Shock story editor Jon Semper. Click the link to see it all:

http://forums.toonzone.net/showthread.php?s=&threadid=43368