DC’s Legends of Tomorrow Season 1, Episode 16: “Legendary” Story …
Darwyn Cooke’s impact on the medium of comics will never be forgotten as he brought the heroes of Golden Age and Silver Age to the children of the Internet Age, and my thoughts and those of the rest of the Pop Optiq comics team are with his family and friends. The best way to remember him is to support, marvel at, enjoy, and, most of all, smile at the comics and films he made, and much of his work from his DC stories to his Parker graphic novels is easily available on Comixology.
Once again, the backup story outshines the main story in The Dark Knight III #4 as Andy Kubert and Klaus Janson provide some iconic imagery, especially in the scenes featuring the Atom and Superman’s execution, but Frank Miller and Brian Azzarello’s storyline jumps around and portray the characters not named Bruce Wayne, Carrie Kelly, or Ellen Yindel in an arbitrary way. Plus there is that always problematic Islamophobia, which is starting to set in as the Kryptonians call Batman an “infidel”. Last time I checked, this wasn’t Holy Terror.
Stewart, Fletcher, and Tarr’s run on Batgirl won’t just be remembered for the iconic redesign of Batgirl’s costume, which has found its way into other mediums, like the DC Comics Superhero Girls toy line or the Batman Bad Blood animated film, or the cyberpunk-meets-Williamsburg aesthetic of Burnside. It will be remembered as a comic that showed that not all DC superhero books had to have art that looked like Jim Lee’s, kicked ass while still being stylish as hell, and most of all for having a diverse, multifaceted cast of characters that fans of all genders, races, sexual orientations, body types, and disability status could see themselves in.
Though Superman hasn’t always been the most popular superhero (these days, Batman, Spider-Man, Wolverine and heck, probably Iron Man and a few other Avengers most likely outpace him in that department), he was the first superhero, and superhero comics as they exist today wouldn’t without Superman. Even beyond the blatant knockoffs that cropped up in the wake of his immense popularity shortly after his debut (issues of his comics routinely sold in the millions throughout the forties), Superman can be pointed to as either a direct or indirect inspiration for nearly every superhero that followed. The entire field of superhero comics, the most dominant form of sequential art in American comic books, exists because of Superman.
Throughout Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher, and Babs Tarr’s run, Batgirl has proven that it is the visual crown jewel of DC Comics, and issue 49 is a victory lap, especially thanks to the powerful work of Ming Doyle and James Harvey along with the sunny, suburban Stepford horror of Roger Robinson. It is also a tour de force into the beautiful and damaged psyche of Barbara Gordon and a real turning point in her arc in the New 52. Issue 50 can’t come soon enough.
Midnighter is a title that knows what it is and what it’s aiming for. It is a comic about a gay superhero designed for a gay and bi male readership but with plenty to offer every other reader too. The artwork is inventive and gorgeous, even as it depicts gruesome violence. It knows how to use a metaphor in clear, nuanced ways. It balances grit, hard choices, and vigilante glee.
While Batgirl is an effective detective and crime-fighter, and her fights with villains are a blast, that’s only half of the story. The other half is her relationships with her friends, her father, and her love interests. Although anyone could easily enjoy Batgirl, the title is acutely suited for teen girls and young women.
The life of Victor Stone has hit its stride. Between recent personal reveals concerning his family, fighting crime with Shazam, and using comedy to get through even the most dangerous situations…everything is looking up for Cyborg. Of course, all that means it will come crashing down rather quickly, sooner or later.
When it’s not awkwardly taking shots at texting young people, making non-statements about the media, various world leaders, striking up a Strange Fruit-esque conversation about race involving only white people , or turning Bruce Wayne into a Randian hero with Carrie Kelly as his mouthpiece and Superman as his attack dog, The Dark Knight III #3 is an intergenerational superhero epic that boasts Andy Kubert’s best artwork of his career and flaming post-apocalyptic palette from Brad Anderson.