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Hugh Likes Comics: All-Star Batman

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All-Star Batman Vol 1: My Own Worst Enemy
Written by Scott Snyder
Penciled by John Romita Jr.
Colors by Dean White
Published by DC Comics

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The Skinny: Batman and Two-Face take a road trip in search of a cure for his condition, with horde of bounty-hunting assassins on their trail.

I’ve often heard it said that one of Batman’s greatest strengths as a character is his versatility. Batman, the theory goes, can be effectively put in any story and work. With respect to Mr. Chris Sims, the internet’s leading Batmanologist, I’m not sure I fully agree with that notion. While Batman can fit into a variety of roles, he’s still Batman, and including him changes the story. I’d posit the reverse is true. Batman doesn’t just fit into any story. Batman can make any story he’s in into a batman story.
But Snyder and Romita Jr. do bring something different to the formula with All-Star Batman Vol. 1. Taking Batman out of his environment is sometimes a dice proposition, but the creative Team pulls it off well. Harvey, the good half of Two-Face claims to have found a cure for his condition. But his evil personality isn’t going to go quietly. He has a secret data network, and if Batman reaches their destination, he’ll release every dirty secret he has on Gotham’s citizens. He’s going to prove to the world that everyone, deep down, is just as monstrous as he is. But he’s not going to stop there. He’s also pulled a lot of financial info, and if someone should kill Batman on the way, they’ll pocket the cash, too. Now it’s a race against a rogues gallery of assassins, bounty hunters, amateur criminals, and Two-Face himself.
The premise is mostly just set dressing for one big over-the-top fight after another, and it works, as a batman story. He faces an endless stream of B and C level rogues. We get to see a lot of these fights, and Snyder and Romita Jr. are clearly having a ball bringing back the likes of Firefly and Copperhead for cameos. Batman mentions a few of the battles that he had off page as well. And while the big reveal of a revamped KGBeast was a lot of fun, I’m a bit disappointed we never got to see Orca and her Death Cycle.
The trip is well-paced and has a nice, over the top conclusion of the sort you only get in superhero comics. While Romita Jr’s art style usually isn’t my cup of tea, he’s doing good work here, and the flashback sequences, to a time when Bruce and Harvey met at a children’s home look great, given a watercolor style from Dean White’s colors.
All-Star Batman Vol. 1 is a lot of fun, and it’s nice to see Batman a bit out of his element and on a deadly road trip. This is one of those comics that rewards long-time fans with a basket of easter eggs while still being accessible for new readers. If you’re looking to jump onto reading Batman in the modern era, this is a great place to start.
You can find All-Star Batman Vol. 1 at your local comics shop, or buy it digitally at Comixology!

Thanks for reading this article! If you enjoyed it, please share it! You can also support me on Patreon for free fiction every week, and other goodies!

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Fiction: Ears to the Ground

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“You won’t Believe this!” Bingo shouted, and slammed a newspaper onto the table. From his spot in the training area, Joachim paused and looked over. Glory set down her lunch, a bowl of leftover stew, and arched an eyebrow at the newspaper in front of her.

“You’re joining the printers guild?”

“The headline, you daft boozer!” Joachim wandered to the table and peered over Bingo’s shoulder. With his nearly three foot height advantage, it wasn’t difficult.

“Human Town Vanishes Overnight,” he read aloud. “You’re right. I don’t believe it.”

“Just look!” Bingo insisted, tortured by his companions’ lack of interest. He gestured to a sketch of an abandoned town. “It’s Corn Hall! Rumor has it that every living thing for miles has just disappeared!”

Glory sighed and gestured towards one of the papers. It fluttered over and hung in the air an inch above her bowl. The runes on her hands hated getting dirty. Bingo practically held his breath while she read the hovering article.

“It sounds like another scam,” she said. The Freelance Hunters last visited the town chasing sightings of a unicorn. They had, in fact, caught the beast, which turned out to be the towns fastest horse, gussied up with a prosthetic horn to lure in tourists. Their anger at the deception was legendary, and an embarrassment for all involved.

“You think they’d try again after what we did to the mayor?” Joachim asked. Glory shrugged and resumed her lunch.

“If something tragic has befallen them, they surely deserved it. Besides, The Daily Buccina is notorious for publishing rumors, gossip and outright fabrications.”

“They’ve posted a nice reward for anyone that can solve the mystery,” Bingo said.

“Then it is definitely fiction.”

“But three-hundred gold teeth might be worth the trip, right?”

“That presupposes we find anything at all. And should we be successful, we would still require sufficient proof. It’s a fool’s errand, Bingo. Never put stock in a payday from a publisher.”

“They did have some very good whiskey,” Joachim offered

“If you think I’m going to trudge through the wilderness for five days just to save some hick town where everybody hates us from a dire threat that I guarantee you is just going to be another tourist scam, you have another thing coming!” The wizard determinedly went back to her lunch, satisfied that the matter was settled.

***

A week later, the three of them stood at the edge of what was once Corn Hall.

 

Want to know what happens next? Read the whole story on my Patreon page, where supporters of $1 or more get new fiction every week!

Podcast: CCR 39: One Body Too Many

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Tonight your hosts, Hugh of HughJODonnell.com, Rich the Time Traveler, Opopanax, and Jurd, wonder if this 1944 film is actually a comedy or not.

Click HERE to listen!

And here to watch the movie on Youtube!

Chrononaut Cinema Reviews is presented by http://skinner.fm and http://hughjodonnell.com, and is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.

This podcast originally appeared at Skinner.FM on 9/26/17.

Thanks for listening! If you enjoyed this podcast, please share it! You can also support Hugh on Patreon for more podcasts, stories and other goodies!

Podcast: Nostalgia Pilots Bonus 01

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Left alone in the Nostalgia Pilots studio, Hugh and Jason boot up 1996’s “Gundam Wing: Endless Duel” fighting game for the Super Famicom! (Super Nintendo.)

Journey back to the era of Street Fighter II clones as they review this punishing, technical fighter.

Plus, do you remember Surge?

Click HERE to listen online!

Thanks for listening to this podcast! Visit NostalgiaPilots.com for more episodes! You can also support Hugh on Patreon for more cool stuff! Visit Jason at the Talk Nerdy 2 Me Podcast HERE!

Podcast: CCRC29-Game of Thrones S1E1

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Join the Chrononauts, with special guest Jessica May, as we sample the seeds of television’s current ruling empire.

Click HERE to download the commentary track!

Hugh Likes Comics: Made Men

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Made Men #1
Written by Paul Tobin
Drawn by Arjuna Susini
Colored by Gonzalo Duarte
Published by Oni

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Frankenstein Revenge Noir. It’s a beautiful concept, and Tobin and Susini pull it off brilliantly in “Made Men.” The book opens with a bloodbath, a hit on a team of police officers. The whole squad is mercilessly gunned down. But the squad’s leader isn’t exactly who she says she is. She’s a Frankenstein, and after one of her grandmother’s recipes allows her to survive the bullets, she’s entering the family business to get revenge.
Tobin’s script goes off at just the right clip to toss us into this revenant revenge tale. Susini’s art is a perfect tonal match, gritty and visceral with just the right level of gore. Duarte’s colors are muted and lurid, exactly like the old school pulp the story evokes.
As a collaborative medium, a comic works best when the art and text either support each other completely, or diverge in interesting ways. “Made Men” does the former, and it is exquisite. We get some outstanding montages, as Jutte Frankenstein narrates on top of the gothic-noir art. If you’re a fan of classic noir or classic horror, this is a fantastic start to something you won’t want to miss. You can find Made Men #1 at your Local Comics Shop, or digitally through Comixology!
Thanks for reading this article! If you enjoyed it, please share it! You can also support me on Patreon for more goodies!

Podcast: CCRC-Shadow of the Vampire

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As promised in our Nosferatu episode, join the Chrononauts as they watch Willem Dafoe chew through both the scenery and his cast mates in this fictional retelling of the filming of the 1922 classic.

Click HERE to listen along with us!

And until they take it down, you can watch the movie HERE! (Shhh!)

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