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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 7 comics last week: Avengers #2, Champions #3, Spider-Man Clone Conspiracy #3, Batman #12, Superman #12, Justice League #10 and Nightwing #10.
The best comic I read last week was Batman #12.
It’s hard to not like a comic book that takes a significant risk. Batman #12 does this. It toys with the backstory of Batman’s origins in a very risky manner and the alteration not only pays off, it significantly changes the character.
It is also shockingly depressing. Without revealing too much, I’ll say that the revelation relates to the “I Am Suicide” title of this arc and does not only relate to Batman.
Mikel Janin is some kind of artist. His line work in this issue is simply tremendous. The action sequences are deftly and excitingly staged and his character work is solid, too. There are moments where no words are needed to convey what’s occurring in the characters’ heads, and that’s a testament to Janin. I loved his Nightwing. His Batman is even better. Paired with David Finch in alternating arcs, Janin has proven himself to be a worthy counterpart to his more well known partner.
Tom King had an almost impossible task following up Scott Snyder’s run on Batman and, though I have enjoyed what he’s been doing, this issue may well mark something of a turning point. This issue is so engrossing and drive by deep character work that it is the defining issue of his run. While it remains to be seen what he is able to from here, this issue clearly illustrates why DC felt comfortable putting him on the book.
Beyond the origin twisting revelation of the issue, Batman #12 also features a probing look at the “Bat” and “Cat” relationship between Batman and Catwoman. I am not familiar with the events that have been referenced here – that Catwoman has killed some 237 people – but my lack of familiarity with that plot point doesn’t hinder my enjoyment of the manner in which King handles their relationship. This look into them is very well done.
The entire issue is. It’s the pick of the week in what was a strong week of books (Champions #3 almost took the award this week and, if you’re not reading this book, do yourself a favor and pick it up!).