And Now, Your Wednesday Night Movie

 An Action-Packed Thrill-Ride That Never Lets Up and Never Lets You Down!

Thrill! To the Antics of Rack and Gort, the Underworld Thugs!

Chill! To the Cold-Blooded Ruthlessness of Aldo Maxim, Gang Boss!

Grill! Some Burgers in an Effort To Calm Your Nerves After Meeting His Rival, the Man Known as Pete Tanno!

Kill! A Few Beers to Go With Those Burgers as You Ponder the Mysterious Identity of the Mysterious Jobo Larch!

Yes, It's the Cinematic Sensation That's Sweeping the Nation, Bruce Wayne in...


This Week's Haul: I'm back, baby

Hey, I read some comics this week in a (somewhat) timely manner for the first time in, oh, months. I have been reading comics very slowly lately, what with the new baby and all. So here are my quick thoughts, several days later.

The Return of Bruce Wayne #1

Hey! It's Bruce Wayne! I love that guy! And I love Grant Morrison! And you know who else I love? Chris Sprouse!

This was awesome. I loved how the cavemen talk, how Bruce Wayne talks, and how shirtless he was. In this comic, Bruce Wayne emerges from a cave, shirtless, in cavemen times. He shirtlessly kicks a young Vandal Savage's caveman ass before jumping forward in time without a shirt on. It's just good comics.

I know a lot of people, myself included, felt that Batman jumping around through time on a journey back to the present had been, y'know, done. But here's what Captain America: Reborn didn't have: Bruce MF Wayne.

Booster Gold #32

Keith Giffen and J.M. Dematteis jump on to revisit the character they made so enjoyable in their JLA comics. But here's the thing: it's terrible. I almost stopped reading this issue like six times. I felt the same level as exhaustion as I did watching Iron Man 2. I just wanted everyone to shut up for five seconds. This issue is a sea of word balloons, and each one is full of really obnoxious dialogue. You would think that written dialogue couldn't be grating, but, well, here we are. I hate to say it, because I have been a fan since the beginning, but this series is getting officially dropped by me.

Marvels Project #8

I was really excited about this series when I first heard about it. Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting revisiting Marvel's Golden Age characters sounds like the best thing. But in actuality, it was pretty boring. I think the problem was mostly that the whole story was just straight narration from the POV of The Angel. The series looked fantastic, and the writing certainly wasn't bad, but there was nothing particularly memorable about any of it, which is surprising and disappointing.

Birds of Prey #1

Thanks to some poor decisions about new writers, I will no longer be reading a couple of my favourite series, Wonder Woman and Power Girl. This is a real drag, but at least we have BoP starting up again with Gail Simone at the helm. I would much rather see Nicola Scott than Ed Benes on art duties, but I'll still take it.

Black Widow #2

Marvel is putting a lot of effort getting some Black Widow books out for potential new fans who loved her in Iron Man 2. Even though the script failed to ever mention her name. I was kind of expecting this series to be a thrown-together intro to the character, but it's actually been really good so far.

The Flash #2

I do not care about Brightest Day and I didn't like Flash: Rebirth, but I am really liking this new series. Francis Manapul's art certainly helps.


Say, can we talk about that preview of Green Arrow #1 that's running in a lot of DC comics this week? A rape scene! How fresh and original! And also: the ENTIRE preview is JUST a rape scene. If you are going to preview the first few pages of an, I don't even know what to say. Seriously. What the hell?

What if Batman was Bruce Wayne and vice versa?

I love nothing more than that moment where I am reading an old comic and something tips me off that this issue is going to be amazing.

Batman #303 definitely has one of those moments. In this comic, Batman gets knocked on the head and gets all confused. He thinks that Bruce Wayne is the crimefighter and Batman is the billionaire playboy! Awesome, right?

Check it out. It all starts in a museum after a fight with a villain who gets away.

Awwww...poor Batman. So confused. So sad. But he gets his confidence back soon when he sees the Bat-signal.

That panel is rad.

Now watch as Bruce Wayne baffles Commissioner Gordon:

Sooo confusing. Bruce Wayne seems to understand that Batman is the mysterious masked vigilante identity, yet he still thinks that Bruce is the one who fights crime. Anyway, who cares? The important thing is that we get panels like this one:

I love that Gordon just thinks that Batman is disguised at Bruce Wayne for some reason. Gordon is a tired, tired man. At this point he's just like "Whatever."

No time to linger there, though! Bruce Wayne has to beat up Raveen!

Watch as Bruce hands out the most suggestive trash talk EVER:

He'll have to blow your brains out without a gun? But how will he do...ohhhhhhhh.

Bruce also punches a dude's hair off during this fight:

So obviously it's a problem that all these people are seeing Bruce Wayne beat up a room of people, Batman-style. But don't worry. Bruce uses some quick thinking here to cover up an onlooker's accusation:

That should put an end to any further questions.

Alfred notices that something is amiss!


The next morning, things get even weirder:


Skipping ahead, Alfred is unable to keep Batman from leaving the house in the Batman costume in broad daylight. This causes some confusion with the Gotham public:


So Batman, feeling like an outcast, seeks refuge. This allows for the writers to make a SICK HIPPIE BURN!!!


Let no one say that 1978 is too late to be making hippie jokes!

No matter where Batman goes, people laugh at him or threaten him. It's sad. And it prompts this outburst:


"Good grief!" says Batman!

I always thought Batman already had "one of those days."

What I am trying to say, in a long-winded way, is that Batman #303 is awesome.

First Impressions: Review of The Bat-Man, By Johnathan

Whew! I've been slogging through these old Detective Comics issues for a while now, just to get to this point. Not that there isn't a lot of fun in the things - Siegel and Shuster's 'Spy' feature was always pretty fun, for example - but into every 68-page anthology comic a little crappy storytelling must fall and I've read all of it. Curse you, Cosmo, Phantom of Disguise! Curse you, half the adventures of Bruce Nelson! No matter, though: I have reached No. 27 and so from now on shall have :

Oh, man. I'm going to be looking forward to the Bat-Man story in every issue. This was a great little yarn, which is both unsurprising and a bit of a relief. I mean, it makes sense that the first appearance of a character as enduring as Batman is good - otherwise why would he have been invited back the next month - but there's always that little twinge of fear when reading something like this. What if Batman's first appearance was terrible? Am I a fool for liking him? What does this say about my Batman-themed wedding? Lucky for me (and the future Mrs. Review [Ladies? Call me.]) all is well with the bat-past - this is a great comic.

Since several different parts of the bat-mythos (not, however, including the practice of sticking the 'bat' prefix onto things) made their debuts in this adventure I'll be dealing with them separately.

Commissioner Gordon:

This is the Gordon that you see in comics all the way through the Golden and Silver Ages: round glasses, pencil-thin mustache, slicked back hair and some moderate jowliness. In my head I uncharitably refer to him as "Fat Gordon". Fat Gordon might not look as cool or as tough as the current version, but check out his mad police skills:

"They say you killed your father!" That's Bad Cop.

And up there? That's Good Cop. Gordon's a whole damn team of detectives all on his lonesome. I'll bet that after this he started lifting fingerprints off of things before taking a quick jog downtown to stop a riot. Fat Gordon's got the goods, even if he looks a little bloated.


Ah, but check this out:

First appearance of the Bat-man! I must say, I like the flared out cape, even though it must give him some trouble in doorways. This is definitely the only version of Batman that looks good with the cape thrown forward over his shoulders like that. Usually it looks really affected and weird - like Batman is getting too into being cape-dramatic and is maybe thinking about going to a Ren Faire or a LARP party, somewhere where they really appreciate all the interesting and visually appealing things that you can do with a cape - but flared out like that it looks pretty fantastic. Note that Bat-Man has scared the crap out of someone in his very first on-panel appearance.

He kicks a fair amount of ass, too.

I love how many aspects of the Batman we all know and lovingly fear show up in this comic. It's not that surprising, in that Detective was essentially about guys solving mysteries and socking bad guys, but it's nice that Batman didn't start out dressed all in green or as some sort of laughing Shadow knock-off. I don't know if beating up some guys and taking a piece of paper off of them qualifies him for the title of World's Greatest Detective just yet but every little bit counts, you know?

Fantastic death traps weren't uncommon at the time but rarely were they foiled with such speed and competence. Bat-Man just schools this thing. Note that he doesn't narrate what he's doing either. This is the quiet version of our old pal. Lord. I'm just gushing now.

Ah, there's the detecting. Bat-Man finally opens his mouth and solves the whole mystery. So: we've got the detectin' the fightin' and the scarin'. Sounds like a Batman to me, Larry.

And then there's this:

Early Batman's a bit more cavalier about human life than the present-day chap. To be fair, the guy was an asshole. I'm not entirely sure how long it takes before the official bat-position is that All Life Is Sacred but I'm glad of it. As interesting as it is to see the Dark Knight off bad guys without compunction, imagine what kind of horror that Batman would have become during the Nineties. Brrr.

As a final touch: the first time that Batman pulled the old "take off in the middle of a conversation" trick. A classic.

Aside from his purple gloves, this version of Bat-Man is


The Batmobile:

Well, not really. Bat-Man does drive a car in this issue, though. Here are its two panels of glory:

Bright red, without even the bat head on the hood? Not cool. Even less cool? matching the interior of your car to your awful purple gloves.


Bruce Wayne:

Bruce shows up as a guy who's just idly visiting the Commissioner of Police and tags along with him to a crime scene. For the first half of the story he's just peeking over Gordon's shoulder as he interviews witnesses and looks at evidence and so forth. He also looks rather dashing with a pipe:

I don't much care for the checked suit but I'm pretty sure that it was the height of fashion in its day, so I'll let that pass. One terrific thing about this Bruce Wayne is that he started off not as a shallow party animal but as a guy who is constantly bored, like he's partied so much that even a murder investigation doesn't interest him in the least.

See? He couldn't care less about some tawdry murder but at least it beats deflowering Gotham's latest crop of debutantes or whatever else he had penciled in for that afternoon.

When Bruce Wayne says "Ho-hum", he means it.

I am left wondering, though. Why do these two hang out so much? Does the Commissioner actually like hanging out with this yawning pretty-boy? Maybe Gordon's just looking out for his future - sooner or later there's going to be an overdosed cheerleader or five to quietly dispose of and the day after that Gotham's going to have to find a new Commissioner of Police.


Bruce Wayne ended up being JOHN APPROVED. Do you want to know why?

Turns out he's the goddamned Bat-Man! Man, was I surprised.