Hello everyone! Welcome to Week 1 of the New to DCU Book Club, where we will be reading and discussing comics currently coming the DC Universe Infinite. We will be discussing stories big and small. Both Batman and Adam Strange, while making sure that you have ALL the context that you need to enjoy the story. You are missing as few details as possible, and that you will be able to understand everything. We will also be following a reading order I wrote to read the stuff you will need to enjoy Future State and Infinite Frontier. You can see the reading order HERE. As the weeks progress, we will read books including
- Wonder Woman
- Death Metal (and it’s tie-ins)
- Joker War (and it’s tie-ins)
- Strange Adventures
- Far Sector (a phenomenal Green Lantern Story)
- Justice League Dark
- Rorschach by Tom King
There are series I’m missing. Some missing stories are great stories, while others are mediocre. Some notable titles are missing like Superman and Aquaman and this is because I’ve decided either 1) The run isn’t worth your time (like Superman) or 2) That the run is too far in to be accessible for jumping right in(Like Superman and Aquaman).
To start with, we are reading the beginning of a NEW Batman run with Batman Vol. 1 “Their Dark Designs.” The run is focused on adding new ideas to DC and doesn’t require much context at all. Obviously, there are some things that you should know about, but my goal is to make it as easy of a reading experience as possible.
New to DCU WEEK 1
What to Read?
Batman: Their Dark Materials (Batman Vol. 1)
Batman (2016) #86-94
This is probably the most issues I will ask you to ever read in a week that we will EVER do, and the shortest week in terms of days to read it. I’m sorry, but we can’t dive into the Batman Family and Joker War which begins next week without reading this first. Plus with DC Universe Infinite just starting, I’m sure your excited to jump into content that’s just been added.
The story technically begins with the Epilogue in Batman #85. You can read it, but don’t read the rest of Batman #85 or you will be confused. JUST THE EPILOGUE. I repeat JUST THE EPILOGUE.
Necessary context for Batman: Their Dark Materials.
Batman: AKA Bruce Wayne. You should know most of the important stuff through non-comic media. There’s not much comics stuff you need to know past that.
Alfred: Bruce’s Wayne’s Former Butler, and the man in Batman’s ear. He was killed in the City of Bane story arc like 10 issues a go. Don’t go read it, because it’s the culmination of a 75 issue story that will take forever and leave you unsatisfied, it will just help to know that just happened. (See below for more details)
Lucius Fox: Lucius Fox is the CEO of Wayne Enterprises. He often helped build Batman Tech in secret. His son Luke Fox was a superhero named Batwing for a little bit (think if Batman and Iron Man combined together)
Catwoman: AKA Seline Kyle. Currently unofficially married to Bruce Wayne (But also not married because comics are confusing.) She is a former thief.
Joker: You know him. Not much you need to know.
Harley Quinn: You probably know her. AKA Haleen Quinzel. She was a psychiatrist who fell in love with the Joker and became Joker’s girlfriend. However, eventually, she realized this was a toxic relationship and ditched him. Now the spot for Joker’s right hand is empty…
Harvey Bullock: Bullock is the current police commissioner after Gordan was poisoned by an alternate reality Batman who had become a Joker (AKA the Batman who laughs). Gordan is still recovering (we will check in with Gordan in Joker War.
Deathstroke: AKA Slade Wilson. His brain operates 9 times faster than anyone else. He is a very human fleshed out character with a lot of history (but you don’t need to know that right now). Just know that he’s a top tier Mercenary for Hire.
Cheshire: AKA Jade Nguyen is a top tier Assasin who deals with all sorts of poisons. The show Young Justice really fleshes her out, but it’s a different version of Chesire than the comics who’s more of a stereotypical villain.
Penguin: AKA Oswald Copplepot. A wealthy kinda ugly man with a massive fortune behind him. He runs bars and businesses often with secret areas for villains and bad guys.
Malcolm Merlyn: An Assassin who sometimes works with the League of Assassins. He’s probably the least important character to the story of this list, so don’t worry too much.
Riddler: A villain who tries to prove he can stump Batman once and for all. He’s smart, but his details aren’t very important for this story other than that he loves Riddles.
The Plotline of City of Bane: City of Bane was the final arc of Tom King’s Batman Run (#1-85), so there are a couple of ways that story bleeds into this one and other Batman stories we will read so here it is:
Bane took over the city of Gotham after “breaking” Batman. He captured Alfred Pennyworth and declared that if any member of the Bat Family entered Gotham, Pennyworth would be killed. So, when Damian Wayne decided to try to stop Bane, he went into Gotham and broke Bane’s rule which resulted in Alfred being killed. In the end, Gotham was kinda destroyed and Batman needed to get things together. There are probably 2 or 3 months between that story and now. In that time Batman has been struggling with the death of Alfred.
Onto the book itself.
Read Batman (2016) #86-94. There are a lot of new characters. If I didn’t discuss the character in the context section, it’s most likely new (or obscure like Lucius’s daughter and not important).
- There’s a clear discussion about the evolution of Superheroes and Supervillains in Gotham. What do you make of this theme? Is Tynion right about the villains becoming bigger and bigger over time and how that has evolved these villains and similarly Batman?
- What do you make of the new characters? (Mr. Teeth, Gunsmith, The Designer, and Punchline) Rate each of them out of 10. Similarly, how do you feel about seeing so many new characters?
- People often say the Joker is used too much in DC Comics. At this point in the story, is this too much Joker?
- What do you make of the new status quo for Batman? Do you like where it’s going?
Finally, A note:
Thank you guys so much for reading and joining me. It’s time to bring the discussion of the New to DCU Comics. The hope is that you can feel a little like the comics came out this week for the first time and you got news coverage and discussion around them that made you feel a part of reading current comics and experiencing these new books with others for the first time. Obviously, it won’t be quite the same, but I hope it’s as close as possible.
Reading Order checklist: (We will cover almost everything here, but we will miss a couple)