Gobbledygeek episode 340, “Batman: A Death in the Family (feat. Kenn Edwards),” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
For the (belated) inaugural installment of Four-Color Flashback 2018, wherein Paul and Arlo will be discussing a different classic superhero story each month, they’ve recruited their old pal Kenn Edwards to help them discuss Batman: A Death in the Family by writer Jim Starlin and artist Jim Aparo. Kenn knows a thing or two about the Caped Crusader, having been part of the Batman Immortal fan film project. However, he’s never read this particular story, in which the Joker savagely beats Robin to death. That puts him on equal footing with our hosts: it’s one of Arlo’s blind spots and Paul hasn’t read it since it was published in 1988. They’re all a little shocked by how anachronistic its goofy plotting and dialogue seem given its release in a post-Dark Knight Returns landscape. Superhero comics were starting to mature, and this one feels like it may have gotten left behind. The gang discusses the impact of Robin’s death; whether Bruce’s hypocrisy is a bug or a feature; the ludicrous political implications of the Joker’s scheme; and why the follow-up story A Lonely Place of Dying is much better. Plus, Arlo is still watching Disney cartoons.
Next: be vewwy, vewwy quiet. The boys and their pal Nate Curtiss are hunting Krasinskis for a discussion of A Quiet Place.
(Show notes for “Batman: A Death in the Family.”)
Welcome to Last Month’s Comics, in which I discuss, uh, last month’s comics. I get my comics in bi-monthly shipments from Discount Comic Book Service, and as such, I can be a little behind. So here we are. This feature started last month.
So, September 2011, what kind of havoc did you wreak? Let’s find out…
BEST RETURN TO FORM
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 9 #1
Writer: Joss Whedon
Art: Georges Jeanty (pencils), Dexter Vines (inks), Michelle Madsen (colors)
Publisher: Dark Horse
To say that I was pleased upon finishing the first issue of the new “season” of Buffy is an understatement. Season 8 started off very well, with Buffy leading an army of 500 Slayers and trying to unmask the mysterious foe Twilight. And to tell the truth, it was great for much of its run, with an occasional stumble (vampires being outed to the public wasn’t handled with much finesse). But the last story arc, with the reveal of Angel as Twilight, cosmic sex, and general batshit insanity, was so damaging that even someone who considers Buffy the Vampire Slayer to be the greatest piece of entertainment ever given us by man had come to the conclusion that it might be for the best if Ms. Summers was finally laid to rest. The final issue of Season 8, though, was a dramatic 180 from the pace and structure of the last few issues leading up to it, and the Season 9 premiere continues in that vein. With Giles gone and magic vanquished, Buffy is depressed and adrift, working as a waitress and getting blackout drunk. It’s all done with Whedon’s razor-sharp wit and keen sense of twenty-something angst. The final “shock twist” is so humdrum and everyday it’s hilarious. In many ways, the metaphorical “party” is over for our Scoobies; now what? I can’t wait to find out.