Tag Archives: Scott Snyder

Batman: Futures End #1

I had given up on Futures End. I had decided it was just going to plod along, repeatedly zooming in for close-ups on boring third-stringers about whom I give zero fucks (*coughFirestormcough*) and generally just being a high-effort, low-reward series on which to keep up.

Then DC sent me Batman: Futures End #1. When I got home today, I poured myself some home-brewed Irish draught ale, took the dogs outside to run in the yard, sat down on the stoop and cracked the seal on this sucker (mine doesn’t have the fancy hologram cover like in the .gif below).

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This Futures End one-shot appearing in the monthly Batman title resembles Futures End #0 from Free Comic Book Day this year: it’s exciting, action-packed, and yet story-driven in a very media res kinda way. And most importantly, it takes place “five years from now.” (“Now” being the date in DC’s current New 52 continuity). Why’s that important?

Because when you set shit in the future, you (mostly) don’t have to give a shit about continuity.

That’s why The Dark Knight Returns is so fucking good, that’s why Kingdom Come is off-the-chain amazing, and so on for dozens of DC’s Elseworlds tales (DKR and Kingdom aren’t technically Elseworlds, but that’s beside the point).

And technically, this comic is part of continuity, so the storyline they’ve introduced here will probably end up a lot less cool than it seems right now, but that doesn’t detract from the fun of this one-shot.

SPOILERS!

So waaay back when the passage of time was still at least kind-of a thing in the DC Multiverse, there was this big crossover event called Final Crisis. Among a lot of other trippy mind-bending story threads Grant Morrison wrote into the series, there was this one where Batman gets captured by Darkseid’s goon-squad. They’re all like, “Holy shit, we just bagged the most bad-ass motherfucker on planet Earth, what should we do with him?”

Rather than just, you know, kill him (which you probably should if you’re just a lackey of the story’s primary antagonist) they decide to clone him like a million times,  steal all of Bruce Wayne’s memories, and implant them in the clones to make a Batman-army — all of whom would for some reason decide to work for Darkseid, the incarnation of evil in the DC Multiverse. I dunno, maybe Apokolips has really good unions.

Anyway, Batman totally fucks that plan (“What kind of man can turn his own memories into a weapon?”) and then shoots Darkseid with his own supernatural bullet. Cue Omega Effect and Bruce Wayne tumbling through time, buckling some swash with pirates and riding off into the sunset of the Wild West and such.

Back to Batman: Futures End #1 which, despite the Flashpoint event and the New 52 relaunch, still takes place after Batman’s experiences during Final Crisis.

And so, being the goddamn Batman, he mulls these experiences over a bit. He reflects. He considers his overarching strategy. He examines his weaknesses, and recalls the fact that, bad motherfucker though he is, someday he will die. Pff, stupid death. And then he’s like, “Eff that. BATMAN CAN NEVER DIE.

So he starts researching how to create stable, programmable clones and implant them with all of his memories up to and including that one night in his father’s study:

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Hence, the cover of Batman: Futures End #1 — an army of Batmen.

So that’s the premise; the comic’s timescale and scope are actually much tighter. Batman breaks into the only lab in the world with the cloning technology he needs, and naturally the lab belongs to Lex Luthor, so there’s, I dunno, I guess like some high-end security systems or something, but Batman’s like “bitch please” and strolls in like it’s a revolving door convention.

He discovers something* that causes a minor inconvenience during his egress from the facility, but he manages to grab the tech he needs and bug out before Luthor’s security activates “the B-Zero Contingency.” Yes, Lex Luthor built a special contingency into his security program, because Batman.

So you can tell I really liked this comic, and it makes me mad because now I want to start reading Futures End again. And here’s me thinking I could just ride it out until the collected hardcover dropped.

*Luthor’s trying to clone Superman. Again. So there’s an army of Bizarros trying to stop Batman from escaping. Like I said — minor inconvenience.

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Batman #33 — “Retcons complete! Returning to the future…”

WP_20140730_002So I finally got around to reading Zero Year‘s final issue, sipping on a coffee cocktail instead of a boozy one. (Buttered Ice from Butter Bakery in Mpls — cold press, vanilla syrup, and cream. Delish.)

I’m relieved it’s over. There were some cool moments, like Batman zooming around on a motorcycle in an overgrown, jungle-like Gotham City, or when he fights off a pair of hungry lions with a well-timed gasoline fireball.

But it’s still a story about the Riddler, by whom I’ve never, ever been impressed. These days he alternates between hapless “private eye” and arrogant shitbag, neither of which should by any stretch of the imagination give the goddamn Batman even the slightest pause.

But Bats does break his stupid face, just like I hoped, so there’s that.

Further, Zero Year retcons a lot of details from Batman’s early career. As in it completely invalidates the events of Batman: Year One, which is pretty much universally regarded as one of the seminal works in the Dark Knight’s history.

I’m okay with change, but I need it to advance or complicate the characters somehow. With the exception of some fairly under-explored tensions between Jim Gordon and Bruce Wayne, I don’t see that happening in Zero Year.

I’ve got another year of Batman coming; I’m hoping Snyder and Capullo return to the present tense of the New 52 and start adding to the Dark Knight’s history, rather than rearranging the past.  Their work in Court of Owls was excellent, as was Snyder’s previous run in ‘Tec and Batman which resulted in the collection titled The Black Mirror.

For now I’ve got a 9-day overdue copy of Preacher Book One on my shelf, so I better get cracking.

Batman Eternal, American Vamp, and the New Old-Fashioned

Holy expendable income, Batman! I’ve bought a lot of comics lately. From left to right:

Scott Snyder has revived his American Vampire series, and based on the strength of his writing for Batman I’ve decided to give it a go. I’m three issues into the original run of 34 (#1-5 featuring Stephen King as co-writer) and it’s pretty killer so far. Smart, fresh, and definitely not your granddaddy’s (nor your teenage sister’s) vampire story.

Issues 1-3 of the Batman Eternal series, which just started this month and, if Batman #28’s preview was any indication, seems pretty promising. (Can you tell I dig Scott Snyder?) Got these on a recent outing with the other CnC dudes to The Source Comics and Games.

The three latest additions to Andrew’s Batman Comics CanonJLA: Crisis of ConscienceInfinite Crisis and Batman: Battle for the Cowl.

And just for kicks, here’s what I’m drinking to warm myself up after a day chainsawing in the cold, rainy, miserable Minnesota spring thus far:

Maple-Orange Old-Fashioned

2oz Knob Creek Kentucky straight bourbon

1tsp Grade A maple syrup

Fee Brothers orange bitters

Combine all in a pint glass with ice, stir; strain over large ice cube into a rocks glass.

I loooove maple and orange together (especially orange zest on French toast or in pancake batter). You can also fix this sucker with Knob Creek’s Smoked Maple bourbon and just use simple syrup instead of maple. Garnish with an orange wheel if you’ve got one on hand.

Lion’s Tail/Batman #28

batman28_cvrMmmm… That new-comic smell.

And it was a good comic, too! I’ve been less-than-thrilled with the Zero Year stuff I’ve been getting in the mail lately, so this one was a most welcome change.

But first things first: the Lion’s Tail.

This is a drink my lady friend spotted on apracticalwedding.com. The spirit is bourbon, jazzed up with a little allspice dram, lime juice, simple syrup, and a dash of Angostura bitters. The bourbon comes on strong in the nose while the lime juice and allspice take over mid-to-late in the sip, with a sweet, spicy aftertaste. As Practical Wedding suggests, it’s a great winter cocktail but I think it would go nicely with Mexican or Caribbean dishes, too.

And what’s allspice dram you ask? It’s a liqueur of the allspice berry, of course! Fragrant, cinnamony and sweet, it pairs well with both bourbon and brandy. It can be used as a rinse for your glass if you’re looking to add something with aroma but not so much sweetness. Could be intriguing in a baking context, too — perhaps in place of vanilla or added to your favorite batch of cookies.

Added bonus: you don’t ever need much more than 1/4 or 1/2oz of this stuff because it’s so potent, so it’ll be a long-term resident of your cabinet.

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2oz Maker’s Mark bourbon

1/2oz St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram

1/2oz lime juice

1tsp simple syrup

1 dash Angostura bitters

Combine all in a cocktail shaker (or a mason jar!) with ice and shake. Serve straight up or on the rocks with a wheel of lime.

Now, on to Batman Vol. 2 #28: “Gotham Eternal.” Spoilers!

So DC is working up to this big event called Batman Eternal in which Gotham City is apparently in ruins and stuck under martial law; issue 28 is our sneak peek. Batman has decided to rack up yet another count of endangering a minor, as he and his brand new sidekick Bluebird crash the “only nightclub left in New Gotham.”

The comic is a real clipper of a story — I loved every second and it was over way too soon (hopefully a good sign of things to come). Scott Snyder has been a terrific Bat-writer thus far, and I’ve liked what I’ve seen from Dustin Nguyen in the past, too (the “Heart of Hush” storyline in particular).

Now I promise I didn’t peek ahead and choose my cocktail accordingly, but… Catwoman is our antagonist du jour, and boy is she a sight for sore eyes after Zero Year’s entanglements with Doctor Death and (strong pull of your boozy beverage here) the fucking Riddler.

batman 28Bat vs. Cat in both verbal and actual sparring is a treat as usual. Catwoman’s all like “Bitch, you did NOT just bust up my ancient Egypt-themed nightclub palace” and Batman’s all like “PEOPLE ARE DYING.”

(The reader should always and without fail imagine Batman’s voice in the Christian Bale fashion.)

And then Catwoman’s all like “For serious, you fucked up my goon squad and you could’ve broken one of my priceless Egyptian cat-god statues,” and Batman’s like “PEOPLE ARE DYING. GIVE ME THE MACGUFFIN,” to which the perpetually-classy Selina Kyle quips, “You could’ve just asked nicely.”

OK, so this is a teensy bit of a misrepresentation of the actual dialogue. I won’t spoil what (or who?) this issue’s MacGuffin is, but I was underwhelmed compared to the other 20-odd pages of the comic.

Overall, Batman #28 was spicy and refreshing (gasp!) just like the lion’s tail. Bourbon has been a great place to get started in bartending; it’s versatile and doesn’t require much investment in other liquors to get you going — but sometimes it’s worth it. Case in point: allspice dram.

Enjoy!