Batman and Detective Comics: 12 issues from 2006, post-One Year Later
Writers: James Robinson (4 issues of Detective Comics, 4 issues of Batman), Grant Morrison (4 issues of Batman)
Face the Face crossover by James Robinson: You killed the Ventriloquist? So we could have Two-Face back? I gotta be honest, I would not take that trade. (And no, Peyton Reilly in Dini’s run didn’t really improve the situation. Like, she wasn’t an uninteresting character, but her, uh, dynamic with Scarface feels very tacked on to the general concept, and she spends too much time trying to one-up Arnold Wesker.) And, uh, RIP KGBeast, Magpie, and Orca too, I guess. That’s, uh, that’s not as great of a loss, but still. I mean, Ten Nights of the Beast was at least the highlight of Jim Starlin’s run (which is a low, low bar, granted, but still), but the character concept very quickly became dated. Byrne’s Man of Steel is legitimately good in a non-damning-with-faint-praise way, but Magpie has a simultaneously really bland and oddly specific gimmick. Orca just… sucks. So, like, if you have to kill four villains, having those be three of them is sound. But the Ventriloquist is a classic (ironically originating in a terrible run). He deserves better. And in general, the idea of Harvey Dent being the only one who could take care of Gotham for a year is ridiculous, and his reasons for becoming Two-Face again are even sillier. And the actual killer they’re hunting for most of this goes down in a frickin’ backup feature. And the Great White Shark being the mastermind comes completely out of nowhere. Frankly, I didn’t even know he’d already existed by this point; I thought he was from later.
First couple issues of Morrison’s run: As one Bruce Wayne insightfully said in an issue I read recently (just before a ten-page fight scene, ironically enough), “If there’s one thing I hate… it’s art with no content.”
Of course, I don’t strictly agree. Personally, if there’s one thing I hate, it’s Damian ■■■■■■■ Wayne. Not least because just after Cassandra Cain got screwed over, they introduce a character who is exactly Cassandra Cain, but a straight-up psychopathic supervillain.
S.H.I.E.L.D.: 12 issues from 2015-2016
Writer: Mark Waid, Al Ewing (backup story in #9)
This is kind of a fun series, but it is very “Editorial said I have to make it like the TV show, so here’s exactly those characters.” Except it’s mostly about the random superhero guest stars in every issue anyway, which feels like it kind of defeats the point, to the extent that there is a point.
I tried to transliterate Horguun’s signature from the runes before they explained it, and I’m pretty sure that actually says Warguun.
The Dum Dum Dugan retcon is horrible, and immediately sets about showing all the reasons it makes no sense. How did he never get injured enough to make it obvious that he was a robot? Why can he only use all these robotic abilities now? And how did Jasper Sitwell die (again), anyway? Speaking of dying multiple times, when Dugan died back in the '88 series, Fury treated it as a real thing. If he could just transfer to a new robot body the whole time, like this story implies has happened multiple times, who would care? And wouldn’t Hydra (and their nefarious scheme for resurrecting him never actually went anywhere - I forget whether I mentioned that in those reviews) notice that they didn’t recover an actual dude?
On another translation note, the Alphonse guy from the Howard the Duck issue somehow translates his name from French into French, so that a caption can then further translate it into English. Well, horrifically mangled French into somewhat less mangled French, but both versions are definitely made out of French words. It’s a funny issue, but I legit can’t tell if this is a joke or not.
And most importantly, the Liverer should’ve been named Gaquacktus.