Four reasons I should never go to a comic book store

Batman: The Dark Knight: The New 52: #14 by Gregg Hurwitz and David Finch, Batman Beyond #8 by Beechen Breyfogle, Krul Porter Livesay and Nguyen Fridolfs, Batman and Robin: The New 52: # 13 by Peter J Tomasi, Pat Gleason, Tomas Giorello and Mick Gray, Nightwing: The New 52 #12,13 and 14 by Kyle Higgins, Andres Guinaldo, Raul Fernandez, Mark Irwin and Tom DeFalco

Reason #1: Batman

Reason #2: Batman Beyond

Reason #3: Batman and Robin

Reason #4: Nightwing.

There are actually a whole bunch of other reasons too (like Batgirl and Batwoman and Huntress and Red Robin) but I’m avoiding those. For as long as humanly possible.

Knowing me, that won’t be a long time.

Okay, so over the weekend I went to one of my favourite places (Toronto) and then into the Silver Snail comic book store. I’d been in it before, but it was pre-Batman so, while it had been neat to see all the statuettes of my favourite fictional people, it wasn’t really a big problem for me, walking out without having spent any money. I mean, I like statuettes as much as the next person but I’m still in that phase of my life where ideally everything I own would fit in my car so I can move with short notice. So, while it’d be hilarious to have a four foot likeness of Gandalf, it’s not really practical, and to be honest, I don’t really want one anyway. I like stories more than I like souvenirs.

Anyway, going to the Silver Snail when you’re not really into comics is like going to a music shop when you don’t play anything – you look at the shinies and then go home without really appreciating the genius and beauty of what you just saw.

It’s totally different when you want to read some of them.

So it’s happened – I’ve started reading comics. With each of the series I’ve picked up I landed more or less in the middle,  but I’m not finding it that difficult to work around that.

Nigthwing, being the darling that he is, spent two of the three comics I bought hunting down and getting pummeled by Lady Shiva, as well as investing all of his money in rebuilding the circus and it’s really neat. These ones, more than the others, are really focusing on both sides of Dick and Nightwing. Dick makes bad financial decisions out of a desire to help his circus family (but who are we kidding? He’s Bruce Wayne’s adopted child, he couldn’t go broke no matter how hard he tried) and Nightwing’s doing the best he can to keep the city safe while Batman and co are busy freaking out about how the Joker’s on the loose and killing people.

In the Batman Beyond, there’s a little less going on, or maybe it only seems that way because I only got the one, but it’s good. It opens with a series of really beautiful/heart breaking images that are Bruce’s worst nightmare and we learn that he’s dying (I’m torn on this one – I don’t think he’ll die of liver failure one way or the other, so it’s just a question of whether he gets cured or dies in some other, slightly more glorious way) but before Terry has the chance to come to terms with that, the world starts to end. Poor Terry – the more I think about it, the more I think he gets the shortest stick of anyone in the Batfamily (that’s the technical term for them… true story). Well, maybe Jason had it worse, what with dying and all…

Batman and Robin was a little less awesome ’cause it’s big baddie is zombies, which are pretty unimpressive but it opened with a few pages of really beautiful Bruce and Damian moments. I’m just getting to know Damian, but he’s definitely starting to grow on me. I feel like the comic did a really good job of balancing his kick-ass, hard core, punkiness with the reality that he’s just a kid and he really is looking for affection and approval from his father. And processing that his mother put a huge bounty on his head. I feel that’s going to really strain things between Bruce and Talia from now on…

The Batman one felt really, really short because most of it was Batman getting beaten up by Scarecrow and then off being unconscious somewhere else, and letting some serious plot build up elsewhere, presumably for the next issue. Again, my favourite part was the moment when Bruce wakes up and Damian is with him, where its clear for all their awkwardness that there’s a lot of love there too.

Anyway, the most important thing I learned from this experience is that comics are incredible complicated. Like, if I wanted to read everything about Batman that was released by DC this month, I would probably have to follow at least a dozen different comics when you add up all the spin offs for sidekicks and villains and the Justice League. And they overlap and they intersect all the time to make huge monster stories that span across hundreds of publications. It’s craziness, it’s madness, I couldn’t keep up with it even if I wanted to.

And that’s wonderful.

Last movie I watched: Halfway through the 3rd Transformers.  Kind of unimpressed. Going in I assumed that Shia LaBeouf would at least be adorable enough to make it worth while, but even that’s been a letdown. On the bright side, I really like elephants.

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