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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.
Then I read them.
Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.
I read a RIDICULOUS 14 comics last week: Action Comics #45, Invincible Iron Man #1, Amazing Spider-Man #1, Detective Comics #45, Star Wars #9, Lando #5, Star Wars: Shattered Empire #2, Darth Vader #10, Doctor Strange #1, Batman and Robin Eternal #1, Cyborg #3, Avengers #0, Old Man Logan #5 and Secret Wars #6.
The best comic I read last week was Batman and Robin Eternal #1.
This first issue of DC Comics’ newest weekly title is really, really solid. Setting up a story that operates in at least two time periods, the Scott Snyder/James Tynion IV written issue shows what a solid grasp these two writers have on the Batman universe and how much fun we the readers will get to have, week-by-week, exploring this world. After reading this issue, a friend of mine said “the only problem with it is that I have to wait so long to read the next one!” When I reminded her this is a weekly and she had six days to wait, she said “I know! Too long!”
The story here is very nicely set up. It seems there is a deep, dark secret history of the “Robins” in Batman’s life and it’s about to come out. Though Bruce Wayne is out-of-the-picture in the present, the Batman of the past is in full glory here and he’s doing some highly questionable things. Dick Grayson, even though he’s given up Gotham City and the Bat-family, is at the center of a mystery that will encompass Jason Todd, Tim Drake, Harper Row and Stephanie Brown – all of Batman’s former protegees. Oh, and for good measure, Tynion and Snyder re-introduce Cassandra “Batgirl” Cain to the mix as well. What a tremendous first issue.
Tony Daniel handles the art here and he’s at his best. This is a universe with which he is well familiar and his work is spot on. This is a weekly, and I am certain that Daniel won’t be able to handle every issue of the title which is a crying shame. His work is fantastic.
This one will be on the top of my “read pile” every week until it lets me down. I don’t see that happening anytime soon (though some second issues – I’m looking at you Star Wars: Shattered Universe) miss the promise of their premiere issues by such a wide mark sometimes that it’s shocking!