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Chain Reactions | Batman, Incorporated: Leviathan Strikes!

Batman, Inc.: Leviathan Strikes!

This past Wednesday saw the return of something I didn’t expect to see quite so soon or even ever again–the pre-reboot DC Universe. DC Comics released Batman, Incorporated: Leviathan Strikes! #1 by writer Grant Morrison, artists Cameron Stewart and Chris Burnham, and colorist Nathan Fairbairn, which collects what would have been issues #9 and #10 of the well-regarded series.

“See the last hurrah of Stephanie Brown as Batgirl, in a sinister school for suicide spy girls! Find out what caused the Batman and Robin team to split! And witness the unmasking of Leviathan in a shocking final page twist that sets up 2012’s Batman: Leviathan, the epic concluding act of a Batman story six years in the making!” Morrison said on DC’s The Source blog. While you can never say never when it comes to comics, this could be the final glimpse into the DCU of old.

So what are folks saying about the big finale? Here’s a sampling of opinions on the comic:

Chad Nevett, Comic Book Resources: “Ostensibly Batman, Incorporated issues #9 and #10, Batman, Incorporated: Leviathan Strikes! #1 ends the first ‘season’ of the title and sets the stage for next year’s return and conclusion to Grant Morrison’s tenure on the Batbooks. The wait for this comic may have been long, but with Cameron Stewart and Chris Burnham providing the art, it was well worth it. Morrison delivers both an entertaining ‘done in one’ style adventure spotlighting Stephanie Brown and an ambitious issue that pushes the story about as far as it can go before it breaks. It ends with the big reveal of who is behind Leviathan, the criminal organization that Batman has created Batman, Incorporated to fight. It’s the sort of issue that arrives just in time to remind critics that, maybe, they left Batman, Incorporated off their top ten of 2011 lists and that, obviously, was a mistake.”

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Food or Comics? | Jason Conquers Amaretto

Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a “Splurge” item.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.

Batman Incorporated: Leviathan Strikes

Graeme McMillan

As we head into Christmas, I’m saving my pennies for last-minute presents. That said, if I had $15 to spend, I’d run towards Memorial #1 (IDW, $3.99), the debut of the new fantasy series by Chris Roberson and Rich Ellis. I admit to having sneaked a peak at this particular present, and I really enjoyed the tone, which is somewhere between Steven Moffat’s Doctor Who and some of Neil Gaiman’s work. I’d also grab Batman Incorporated: Leviathan Strikes #1 (DC, $6.99), the collection of what was supposed to be the final issues of Grant Morrison’s run on the Batman, Inc. series before the relaunch; I’d enjoyed Batman Incorporated a lot, and am ready for more of the weird, retro-but-somehow-off series again, especially with lovely Cameron Stewart and Chris Burnham artwork.

If I had $30, I’d also grab Fantagraphics’ Jason Conquers America ($4.99), a collection of some of the cartoonist’s work that’s so far gone unseen in the US, along with pin-up tributes from fans like Mike Allred and Rich Tommaso. My nostalgia would then compel me to grab Defenders: Coming of the Defenders #1 (Marvel, $5.99), a reprint of the original stories that launched the fondly remembered (and just relaunched) non-team. Hulk groove on old comics.

Were I to ask Santa for something to splurge on, I might go completely left-field and ask for John Byrne’s much-maligned Spider-Man: Chapter One TP (Marvel, $34.99), which I’ve never actually read, but have a strange fascination with. Would that make me naughty or nice?

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Comics College | Grant Morrison

Absolute All-Star Superman

Comics College is a monthly feature where we provide an introductory guide to some of the comics medium’s most important auteurs and offer our best educated suggestions on how to become familiar with their body of work.

Strap yourself in, kids, because this is going to be a big one, as we run through the lengthy and considerable career of one of mainstream comics’ biggest stars, Grant Morrison.

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Food or Comics? | Doctor Who, Batman Inc. and more

Doctor Who

Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a “Splurge” item.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.

Graeme McMillan

Let’s give all credit to IDW for their sense of timing. I’m so psyched up in advance of this Saturday’s return of Doctor Who to my television screen that this Wednesday’s release of Doctor Who Annual 2011 (IDW, $7.99) seems like the ideal way to prepare myself. If I had $15, I’d happily spend more than half of it on that particular anthology. The rest would go towards closing out the current incarnation of the DCU, as I’d be grabbing both Action Comics #904 and Batman: Gates of Gotham #5 (Both DC, $2.99).

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What Are You Reading? with Tom Scioli

Batman Inc. #7

Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? Today our special guest if artist Tom Scioli, artist on Godland and creator of American Barbarian.

To see what Tom and the Robot 6 crew have been read, click the link below.

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Food or Comics? | This week’s comics on a budget

Batman Inc. #7

Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a “Splurge” item.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.

Chris Mautner

If I had $15:

I’d pick up Batman Inc. #7 ($2.99) and that would be it, so afterwards I’d pat myself on the back for not blowing my whole $15.

If I had $30:

I’d go with Farm 54 ($25), a new hardbound collection of stories by the brother and sister team of Galit and Gilad Seliktar, courtesy of Fanfare/Ponent Mon. It’s basically a semi-autobiographical collection of tales capturing a young woman at various critical stages in her youth, adolescence and young adulthood, all done in a tentative, wispy watercolor. Lovely stuff to flip through, at the very least.

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Gotham Guardians forums in Batman Inc. look kind of familiar

Artist Chris Burnham seems to be having some fun with the comic book internet in this week’s Batman Inc. #6. Not only did ComicsAlliance contributor Chris Sims’ corpse make a cameo, but so did, apparently, Comic Book Resources’ community forums:

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Food or Comics? | This week’s comics on a budget

Justice League Generation Lost #24

Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy on Wednesday based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a “Splurge” item.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList if you’d like to play along in our comments section.

JK Parkin

If I had $15: It would be tough. For one thing, DC has three books for $5 or more each that I’m interested in — the last issues of Justice League Generation Lost and Brightest Day, as well as Action Comics #900. If I bought all three, well … I couldn’t buy all three, at least not for $15. I stopped reading Brightest Day several issues ago, so I’m more curious about the return of a certain character to the DCU proper than anything. And I’ll probably hold off on Action as well, at least for now. But Justice League Generation Lost‘s final issue ($4.99) would be at the top of my buy list for sure.

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Food or Comics? | This week’s comics on a budget

Justice League of America #55

Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy on Wednesday based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on what we call our “Splurge” item.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList if you’d like to play along in our comments section.

Graeme McMillan

If I had $15 this week, I’d probably put it towards the latest issues of series I’ve been enjoying for awhile: Batman Inc. #4, New York Five #3, Justice League of America #55 – Yes, even with my nervousness over Brett Booth’s art – (All DC Comics, $2.99) as well as Jeff Parker and Gabe Hardman’s Hulk #31 (Marvel Comics, $3.99).

If I had $30, however, I’d probably put JLA back on the shelf and add The Arctic Marauder (Fantagraphics, $16.99), instead. I found myself enjoying Tardi’s Adventures of Adele Blanc Sec earlier this year, and Chris’s review has tipped me in favor of picking up this latest translation of his work.

Splurgewise, it’s a tough one – I’d like to pick up the collection of Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan’s second Demo series (DC/Vertigo, $17.99), but I see that the hardcover collection of Greg Rucka and Matthew Southworth’s spectacular Stumptown (Oni Press, $29.99) is out this week, and that really falls into the
category of having to have it. I’ll grab Demo next week.

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UPDATED: Quote of the day: More Batman, Inc. delays? (Yanick Paquette says not that he knows of…)

The delays behind [Batman Inc.] are a combination of slowness on Grant and Yanick’s part. Yanick does all of his work on a digital pad and his art process requires a whole lot of lead time that Grant Morrison just doesn’t give him. On the Saturday morning, Grant had just e-mailed Yanick 12 pages of script for issue #5 when Yanick’s deadline for the art is in 1 week…so yeah, expect some more delays for issue 5 unless they get a fill-in artist.

ComicBookDaily.com’s David Diep, reporting from this past weekend’s Wizard World Toronto convention, on what he learned about the future of DC’s flagship Bat-book, Batman Incorporated—presumably straight from artist and con guest Yanick Paquette himself.

A look at the solicit as posted on DC’s website shows that the book is scheduled for release on April 20. But the company still has it running with a J.H. Williams III cover that was actually used on issue #3 when it finally came out two weeks ago, likely because that issue was originally supposed to come out in January and thus had an “iconic” cover as part of that month’s line-wide cover gimmick, which was obviously no longer in effect. Issue #5 is now slated to run with the cover you see above, also by Williams…who is himself the co-writer/co-artist of the even more delay-plagued Batwoman. On the other hand, the company just signed the prodigiously talented artist Chris Burnham, who made a splash as the co-artist of the climactic Batman & Robin #16 and was already on board to draw Batman Incorporated #4, 6, and 7, to an exclusive contract. So there’s still some joy in Gotham after all.

UPDATE: In the comments below, Paquette himself steps in to clarify, saying that to the best of his knowledge DC hasn’t delayed issue #5 yet, Morrison’s been rock-steady schedule-wise recently, the Williams cover above has always been planned for this issue, and he himself is the one to blame for the schedule hiccups if blame someone we must. He also points out I coulda emailed him to ask him about this stuff, which: fair enough. (In all fairness to me, though, I never said the book was officially delayed, or that the cover above had been created for any other issue.)

(via Sequential)

Batman, Inc. is hiring, apparently

Batman, Inc. fanart by Dennis Culver

Batman, Inc. fanart by Dennis Culver

I’ve got to give artist Dennis Culver a hand. Last time we checked in with him, he was painstakingly drawing Batman’s rogues gallery — some 38 impeccable portraits of villainy in all. This time around he’s taking Grant Morrison’s Batman, Inc. ball and running with it, tackling 45 members of Batman’s crime-fighting franchise. But wait! you say. Does Batman, Inc. even have 45 members! Ah, that’s where the fun begins, Bat-fans. Not only does Culver draw the existing B-Inc. characters, as well as affiliated groups like the Birds of Prey, the Outsiders, and the Club of Heroes — he also puts new Bat-spins on existing characters from across the DC Universe. Those are Batmanified versions of Steel, Aztek, Wally West, Big Barda, and Zauriel above, just for example; I also kinda dig the idea of Cassandra Cain as a new Nightwing, which I take it has some major fan backing. Anyway, go check out the whole line-up. (And don’t miss his drawing of the cast of The Wire, too!)

Comics A.M. | Tom Ziuko hospitalized, Paolo Rivera’s surgery

Crisis on Infinite Earths #12

Creators | Artist Alan Kupperberg shares word that colorist Tom Ziuko has been hospitalized as he fights acute kidney failure and other health conditions. “The good news is that the doctors seem to have finally stumbled on a series of treatments and therapies that have Tom seeing some light at the end of the tunnel,” Kupperberg said in a message to Daniel Best. “The bad news is that Tom, uninsured and unable to work since the beginning of December, is in a tough financial bind.” Kupperberg is accepting donations via his PayPal account — kupperberg@earthlink.net — and adds, “I will pass 100% (plus) along to Tom.”

Ziuko worked in DC Comics’ production department before going freelance, and colored comics like Crisis on Infinite Earths, Batman, Action Comics and History of the DC Universe, to name a few. Todd Klein remembers their time together at DC. [20th Century Danny Boy]

Creators | Artist Paolo Rivera suffered a broken cheekbone after intervening in a domestic dispute. “The good news is I’m all right and—most importantly—my vision is intact,” he wrote on his blog. “… I had surgery on Monday and have been taking it very, very easy since. All things considered, I was very lucky. My eye looks horrendous—the white of the eye is blood red—but I can still see (thank goodness) and should make a full recovery. I also have a pretty rad haircut right now due to surgery… it kinda looks like the one I had circa 1995.” [The Self-Absorbing Man]

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Food or Comics? | This week’s comics on a budget

Axe Cop

Welcome once again to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy based on certain spending limits — $15, $30 to spend and if we had extra money to spend on what we call the “Splurge” item. Check out Diamond’s release list for this week if you’d like to play along in our comments section.

Michael May

If I had $15:

I’d be all about the Axe Cop, Volume 1 ($14.99). Should be the best thing since Katie Mignola’s The Magician and the Snake.

If I had $30:

I’d add On the Case with Holmes and Watson, Volume 5: The Adventure of the Speckled Band ($6.95) and Robert E. Howard’s Savage Sword #1 ($7.99). Those On the Case books are cool and a Howard anthology of new and reprinted material sounds awesome. Especially when the creators involved include Paul Tobin, Marc Andreyko, Tim Bradstreet and Barry Windsor Smith.

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What Are You Reading?

Daredevil: The Man Without Fear

Hello and welcome once again to What Are You Reading?, where the Robot 6 crew talk about the comics and graphic novels that they’ve been enjoying lately. Today our special guest is Chad Nevett, who talks about comics in several different places around the web — at his personal blog GraphiContent, at our sister blog Comics Should Be Good!, as a reviewer for Comic Book Resources and on the Splash Page podcast. He also writes about wrestling for 411mania.

To see what Chad and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click the link below.

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Food or Comics? | This week’s comics on a budget

Batman Incorporated #1

Welcome to another installment of “Food or Comics?” Every week we set certain hypothetical spending limits on ourselves and go through the agony of trying to determine what comes home and what stays on the shelves. So join us as we run down what comics we’d buy if they only had $15 and $30 to spend, as well as what we’d get if we had some “mad money” to splurge with.

Check out Diamond’s full release list if you’d like to play along in our comments section.

Graeme McMillan

If I had $15, at least $9 of it – okay, $8.98 – would be already spoken for. The first issue of Batman Incorporated ($3.99) and one-shot lead-in Batman: The Return #1 ($4.99) offer up the first glimpses of what Grant Morrison has in mind for his new Batus-quo and, after the way he brought the RIP/Return of Bruce Wayne storyline to a close, I’m pretty much on board no matter what. The remaining money…? It’s a tough one, but I’m going to go for Spider-Girl #1 ($3.99), pretty much because I like Paul Tobin’s writing, I like the Twitter gimmick (Somewhere, Joe Casey’s going “I did it first in Final Crisis Aftermath: Dance!” and I know, Joe), and, most importantly, the Spider-Girl short was my favorite part of last week’s Amazing Spider-Man relaunch issue. Who could’ve seen that coming?

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