By Christopher Franey & Rafael Encinas
Welcome fellow Comic Book connoisseurs to another adventure to the eras of Ed Brubaker’s Captain America and Grant Morrison’s Batman. What is funny about this issue…no Ed or Grant as other writers will be taking our heroes on their own adventure and we will be seeing quite the return and new additions to the families. We will be examining the Captain America Corps tpb (Captain America Corps #1 to 5) by Roger Stern and Philippe Briones and Batman and Robin: Dark Knight vs White Knight tpb (Batman and Robin vol 1 #17-25) by Paul Cornell, Scott McDaniel, Peter Tomasi, Patrick Gleason, Judd Winick, Guillem March, Andrei Bressan, and Greg Tocchini. To make things easier for our readers I will be in BOLD FONT and Rafa will be in ITALIC FONT…so Rafa what were your thoughts on the Dark Knight vs White Knight tpb?
This was a very interesting read for me this week. After all these crazy stories that Morrison created, we are now winding down to “episodic” type stories that don’t seem as large in scale, but still have interesting bits scattered within. Overall, I really liked how this tpb continued to play off of Dick and Damian’s unique chemistry. This Batman & Robin feels different, and I think that is a definite strength. With that said, I was not a huge fan of this tpb which bummed me out because the cover art by Patrick Gleason is beautiful. The tpb is split into three different stories. The first story with the “villain” Absence felt absurd in a way that I did not like. I could see what the storytellers were going for, but it really did nothing for me and the philosophical themes just didn’t resonate with me. I felt bored. The second story had an interesting concept with the White Knight, and his reasoning for doing the things he was doing was pretty good, but the design felt lazy to me, and it did nothing for setting up a new iconic Batman villain. However, we did get some great bat-family moments in this one, so that was a definite plus for me.
The tpb’s only saving grace was the third story dealing with a returning Jason Todd. This felt like a breath of fresh air as we saw him take out prisoners in jail. Seeing him reluctantly teaming up with Dick and Damian was a lot of fun and their dichotomy was something I really appreciated. What I liked so much about this story is that it felt like an organic continuation of Jason’s story ever since returning from the dead. Jason felt much more than a one dimensional villain. This really sowed the seeds to the antihero and redemption he would receive in the future. Overall, if it wasn’t for the last story, for me, this tpb would have been entirely forgettable. What were your thoughts on this story, Chris?
You dissected it perfectly because we are at the end of the Post Crisis DC Universe and it really was a “episodic” set of adventures for the creative that was coming in and out as things were coming to a close. With the first adventure I was super glad to see Scott McDaniel drawing Dick Grayson again as he was a major artist on the Nightwing series so that was a beautiful evolution and getting to see him draw this version of Grayson was awesome. Paul Cornell is great at dialogue and his banter was fun between Grayson and Damian but sadly the story just wasn’t fun…guess in its absence was interest; you’ll get the joke if you read the stories…which I don’t think I’d recommend. The next story by Tomasi and Gleason was pretty fun and a huge moment because these two would continue on with Batman and Robin after Morrison’s departure and would craft many a tale of adventure!
With their story you were right it was interesting with the villain’s motivation was pretty wild by punishing the family members of Gotham Rogues, but the design just wasn’t interesting. So for it being an episode adventure it was fun but probably shouldn’t have been three issues just like Cornell and McDaniel’s story too. These are two cases where less would’ve been more. Now the last story by Judd Winick was pretty wild and entertaining…I really love all the callbacks to it from the cover of issue 23 mocking the cover from issue 1 of Batman and Robin to bring back Scarlet was cool too.
I shared this splash page from issue 23 as I loved that it was Batman (Bruce Wayne), Nightwing (Dick Grayson), and Robin (Jason Todd) what a great throwback to their history and also a strange mirror to this adventure with Grayson, Todd, and another Wayne. Judd Winnick did a great job and really closed this tpb out with a bang and started a better character path for Jason Todd that would help him grow into a better character through New 52 and even in today’s comics.
The only thing that bummed me out was that there was no conclusion or even mention of Judd’s last Batman adventure, the Long Shadows tpb, where he left us with a Dick Grayson mystery…like that never got touched on at all. Luckily this last story was a great upswing for an otherwise dull set of stories and sad endings for such great Post Crisis DC comic books. Speaking of different universes and family…what did you think of the Captain America Corps tpb Rafa?
The Captain America Corps felt like a fever dream come to life. It was loud, fun, and special. The plot is pretty out there. Like U.S. Agent so eloquently states, “it’s science fiction crap”, but in all the best ways possible. Basically, five different Captain America’s from different points in the timeline are brought together to stop a cataclysmic event. They must stop the abduction of frozen Cap, and the story gets wilder from there. This is the kind of story that just feels so wild and wacky that it is hard not to have a huge smile on your face as you read it!
Overall, this story felt like a fun romp into the Captain America-Verse. Seeing Bucky take the lead with a young Steve Rogers, a next generation female Cap, a problematic U.S. Agent, and the 25th centuries’ Asian Hispanic Captain America was something truly unique to read. They are a fun team of characters all inspired from the legend that is Captain America, and it is a story that does not take itself too seriously. It is a story that I highly recommend because a team of Captain Americas is something I did not know I needed in my life. Were you down with the Corps, Chris?
I really enjoyed this romp and this was the first time I finally sat down and read this. I really enjoyed this ragtag team of Caps and it was just such a fun side trip from Brubaker’s run and major Kudos to Roger Stern as he managed to pick up Bucky right out of Brubaker’s run and insert this “worlds threatening” adventure for him and the others. Roger Stern is a legendary writer in the Captain America adventures so it was great to see him write a rookie Steve Rogers and also a grown Bucky too. He did excellent with the characters of USAgent and American Dream and I enjoyed the new Commander A. I really enjoyed the history of how important Steve Rogers is to the Avengers and their formation and also endurance.
Because Cap did come to the Avengers at an important time and without him I don’t believe the team survives so there is a strong connection to the comic book history and the actual history of the comic book; at the time the original Avengers comic was the only place you could read Captain America adventures so people had to check there to get a glimpse of the legend. I also really enjoyed what Stern did for Bucky here…like Steve, Commander, and Dream all believe in Bucky enough to make him the leader was just perfect and I think it helps his character because when we go back to Brubaker it won’t be easy for Bucky. This was just a perfect adventure and a great way to see how much of Captain America’s legacy has touched others, all around fun.
Great insights, Chris! I agree that Captain America’s legacy truly is something that touches us and unites us all! There is something special about coming together and fighting what you believe in! And this is why we continue to read through the amazing stories that Ed Brubaker and Grant Morrison created. It allows us to live vicariously through heroic characters! This week has been another successful venture into the iconic heroics of both Batman and Captain America! As always, we thank everyone who has been following along with this series. Next week, we will be reading Batman: Gates of Gotham tpb (collecting Gates of Gotham #1-5 and Batman Annual #28 and Detective Comics Annual #12) and Captain America: Prisoner of War tpb (collecting Captain America vol 1 #616-619). As always, you can always interact with us on Twitter and we would love to share your thoughts and opinions on these stories too. You can find Chris on twitter as @StuffIShudSay and myself as @Mobilerafie. Thank you for joining us here at Geek Elite Media and GEEK OUT!