After the end of The Victim Syndicate, I found the volume to be something of a missed opportunity – like the volume was deciding to take on one of the most cliched criticisms of Batman, a dead horse that was beaten into glue, and decided to address it by – not addressing it. By saying that Batman didn’t have an answer to a question that people who are a moderately serious superhero fan would have been able to answer immediately while reading the book.

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One of the ongoing criticisms of Batman as a character is he’s a superhero whose stories solely consist of “punching brown/poor people and the mentally ill,” and at no point does he use his money to address the social ills that affect Gotham. It’s a criticism that frustrates me because, all the way back in the ’70s, you had writers like Denny O’Neill addressing this – with Bruce Wayne using his funds to address the underlying issues affecting Gotham, while Batman contents with those who would exploit those issues for their own gain.

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Batman: Night of the Monster Men is the first post-Rebirth Bat-Line crossover, with all three of the main Bat-Books (Nightwing, Detective Comics, and Batman) crossing over to deal with the larger threat of a series of, for lack of a better term, Kaiju attacking Gotham City at the same time that a major hurricane hits the city, with the Bat-Family having to contain the monsters while investigating their source.

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I’m adding the “Rebirth” tag to the title of this comic to distinguish it from the initial post Flashpoint relaunch. of the Batman books. Tonally, the book is interesting, in terms of how the book openly embraces the concept of the Bat Family (by contrast with the last Batman graphic novel I reviewed), while also escalating the power level of superheroism in Gotham City.

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While in the main Batman book, after Flashpoint, Scott Snyder jumped more or less straight into the Court of Owls storyline, over in Detective Comics writer Tony S. Daniel has a couple stories that fit in a little more with members of Batman’s existing rogues gallery – with a story featuring two existing members and re-interpreted versions of a couple others. (more…)

I’ve been a fan of The Shadow for a long time. I’ve enjoyed his outings in the pulps, the radio plays, and even the film featuring Alec Baldwin. However, at least in the late ’80s and early ’90s on, comic book writers haven’t quite known what to do with him. The best depictions of the character after that time I’ve encountered have effectively skipped over any idea of characterization for the character, in favor of making him a force of nature, or an unknowable cipher, instead of giving him grounded motivations. (more…)