The Great Comic Book Cull of 2010/2011 Part Four: DC Comics – Batman & Friends! Part Two!

Sweet Jesus, no more.

Don’t get me wrong. I like good Batman stories. Well, I should considering I own hundreds of them. But I’m really tired of reading about Batman growling at every person he meets: “you’re not equipped to do this job”, and “get out of my town”, and “put a coaster under there”.

So here’s more stories about Batman being an asshole.

Batman & The Phantom StrangerBatman & The Phantom Stranger

Two mysterious assholes, on a quest of some sort.

This is a fairly disposable one-shot featuring Batman with another of my DC faves, the Phantom Stranger. It’s a pretty standard magic mystery, but Arthur Ranson’s pencils put it in the keep pile for me.

KEEP. Barely.

Batman & Punisher – Batman & Punisher Vol. 1 & 2

These are two one-shots that DC/Marvel did about 15 years ago, teaming up two of their most popular heroes. For the most part, I’ve hated the DC/Marvel crossovers I’ve read, but this is a rare exception, in that it’s a story that I would deem as indispensable if you’re a Batman OR Punisher fan. The first one involves the Punisher teaming up with BatAzrael, during the brief time that he was playing the role of Batman in Gotham City. I remember not liking this as much as it’s sequel, but upon reread it actually stands up very well. Barry Kitson does his always bang up job on pencils, and Dennis O’Neil does a nice job of character work here.

The second volume is still the highlight here, in that it’s still the ONLY work John Romita Jr. has ever done on DC characters, and the only time he’s ever done Batman professionally. This book still stands up as a really great action story, and the two page spread of Frank Castle punching out Batman gives me chills. After making fun of him earlier, I really need to give Chuck Dixon credit here for an extremely well-written story. This is better than it has any right to be.

KEEP

Batman & Superman World’s Finest

This is a 10 year old story that still stands up well today. The premise as written by Karl Kesel is that one of their first missions together, Batman and Superman accidentally let a bystander die, and so every year on his death they get together and remember. During the course of the story, we see how they deal with seminal moments in their history: Superman’s death, Batman’s back breaking, Robin’s Bar Mitzvah, etc. Well written story that takes advantage of how diverse each character is.

KEEP

Batman, Superman, & Wonder WomanTrinity.

This is Matt Wagner’s version of the first meeting between DC’s BIG THREE. You can tell how seriously he took this assignment, and throughout the book you feel that this was supposed to be his Final Crisis, or New Frontier. Sadly, this never comes close to those lofty goals, though his pencils look great. Part of the problem is that while this is supposed to be a team of equals, Wonder Woman is written as the junior partner throughout, and in fact spends much of the story in chains. The other problem is that Wagner really doesn’t add anything new or interesting to the mythos. It’s just a decent story, with great pencils.

KEEP. Yes, I’m keeping it. I love the man’s art.

Whew. I’m done. No more Batman. Well, until I hit the J’s, and then we’ve got lots of stories about Batman being mean to the Justice League to look forward to. He’s such a dick.

Next up: Batwoman to the Brave & Bold!

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