Tag Archive: Bruce Wayne


Jean-Paul Valley is one of my favorite characters in comics by a long margin. Created in anticipation of the “Knightfall” crossover trilogy that saw him take over as Batman for a year, Azrael became a hated symbol of 90s grimdark. But Jean-Paul is so much more than that. In fact, Jean-Paul was not only a refutation of Dark Age thinking but became an active example of the alternative. Over his ten-year story, Jean Paul became a unique and interesting character, examining concepts as varied as non-violence, childhood abandonment, addiction, toxic masculinity, and elective family.

Jean-Paul is a very special character in my mind, and yet he doesn’t have a lot of fans. So, if you’ll indulge me a bit, I’d like to take you on a tour of Jean-Paul’s world. If I’m lucky, maybe I’ll make a few new fans and you’ll walk away with a new character to nerd out over. If not, we can at least make fun of this character’s weird history together. So come with me and let’s take a walk.

While many summaries of Batman: Sword of Azrael end with Batman offering to bring Jean-Paul into the Bat-Family, the miniseries was very vague about Jean-Paul’s future. It wasn’t until Batman #488 that we saw what became of him. Continue reading

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Sword of Azrael 1 Gatefold CoverJean-Paul Valley is one of my favorite characters in comics by a long margin. Created in anticipation of the “Knightfall” crossover trilogy that saw him take over as Batman for a year, Azrael became a hated symbol of 90s grimdark. But Jean-Paul is so much more than that. In fact, Jean-Paul was not only a refutation of Dark Age thinking but became an active example of the alternative. Over his ten-year story, Jean Paul became a unique and interesting character, examining concepts as varied as non-violence, childhood abandonment, addiction, toxic masculinity, and elective family.

Jean-Paul is a very special character in my mind, and yet he doesn’t have a lot of fans. So, if you’ll indulge me a bit, I’d like to take you on a tour of Jean-Paul’s world. If I’m lucky, maybe I’ll make a few new fans and you’ll walk away with a new character to nerd out over. If not, we can at least make fun of this character’s weird history together. So come with me and let’s take a walk.

This week we’re going to take a look at where things started for Jean-Paul, the 1992 mini-series Batman: Sword of Azrael. As in many superhero origin stories, the Jean-Paul of Sword of Azrael isn’t fully formed yet. However, Denny O’Neil’s vision for the character is definitely present and, perhaps more than it knew, Sword of Azrael lays the foundation of the character. Continue reading

In the course of talking to comic creators this year, I started to think about their unique talents and what I think they would be best suited to. Inspired by all kinds of wonderful ideas I’ve seen online and heard from creators, I’ve put together my New 52. These are the 52 books I would publish if DC’s offerings were up to me and, as my friends and I have had a good time discussing them, I thought I would share them with you.

I tried to consider the actual feasibility of these titles, not only in the sense of immediate sales but in their ability to expand DC’s brand long-term. I also recognize that this is a dramatically simplified version of what DC actually has to do. As such, I made a couple of rules for myself.

First, as I don’t have the same knowledge of the creators’ availability and timeliness as an actual editor, I decided that I would allow myself access to any writer currently working in comics, but that I could only assign a creator to one book. Second, I tried not to put a writer on the same book that they’ve already worked on, though some were moved to similar concepts or allowed to expand short work they’ve already done. Finally, while an actual relaunch might do well to include some new books, I limited myself to preexisting titles and IPs for this project.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, on why I’m right, why I clearly screwed up, who should be illustrating the series, etc. But, regardless, I hope you enjoy.

Finally we return to the very beginning, to DC’s namesake book, to close out the New Year’s 52…

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In the course of talking to comic creators this year, I started to think about their unique talents and what I think they would be best suited to. Inspired by all kinds of wonderful ideas I’ve seen online and heard from creators, I’ve put together my New 52. These are the 52 books I would publish if DC’s offerings were up to me and, as my friends and I have had a good time discussing them, I thought I would share them with you.

I tried to consider the actual feasibility of these titles, not only in the sense of immediate sales but in their ability to expand DC’s brand long-term. I also recognize that this is a dramatically simplified version of what DC actually has to do. As such, I made a couple of rules for myself.First, as I don’t have the same knowledge of the creators’ availability and timeliness as an actual editor, I decided that I would allow myself access to any writer currently working in comics, but that I could only assign a creator to one book. Second, I tried not to put a writer on the same book that they’ve already worked on, though some were moved to similar concepts or allowed to expand short work they’ve already done. Finally, while an actual relaunch might do well to include some new books, I limited myself to preexisting titles and IPs for this project.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, on why I’m right, why I clearly screwed up, who should be illustrating the series, etc. But, regardless, I hope you enjoy.

The Man of Tomorrow and the Man of Gothic Yesterdays, Superman and Batman sound like a terrible pair. How do you mesh a gritty street-level hero and an embodiment of optimistic power? No matter how you manage, there’s no denying that these strange partners are one of, if not the, biggest team in comics. Their friendship and their respect are some of the key pillars of the DC Universe and that deserves a special spotlight.

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The New Year’s 52: Batman

In the course of talking to comic creators this year, I started to think about their unique talents and what I think they would be best suited to. Inspired by all kinds of wonderful ideas I’ve seen online and heard from creators, I’ve put together my New 52. These are the 52 books I would publish if DC’s offerings were up to me and, as my friends and I have had a good time discussing them, I thought I would share them with you.

I tried to consider the actual feasibility of these titles, not only in the sense of immediate sales but in their ability to expand DC’s brand long-term. I also recognize that this is a dramatically simplified version of what DC actually has to do. As such, I made a couple of rules for myself.First, as I don’t have the same knowledge of the creators’ availability and timeliness as an actual editor, I decided that I would allow myself access to any writer currently working in comics, but that I could only assign a creator to one book. Second, I tried not to put a writer on the same book that they’ve already worked on, though some were moved to similar concepts or allowed to expand short work they’ve already done. Finally, while an actual relaunch might do well to include some new books, I limited myself to preexisting titles and IPs for this project.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, on why I’m right, why I clearly screwed up, who should be illustrating the series, etc. But, regardless, I hope you enjoy.

Batman is the general of DC’s army of titles. There are few characters who demand more respect in this industry and few who can be taken in so many different directions. Whoever takes on this book will have their work cut out for them, but I think I know someone who could handle it…

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Review: Batman #22

Batman 22

With a simple, symbolically resonant cover, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo invite us to continue watching the very forging of Batman. Is the sophomore installment of Zero Year a must read comic, or has Snyder finally stumbled? Read on, friends, same bat-time, same bat-channel. Continue reading

RHatO 18

Did someone put something in the water at Scott Lobdell’s house?

After six great issues, Red Hood and the Outlaws started a nosedive, delayed slightly by a decent Starfire story, right about the time I gave up on Teen Titans and Superboy. But somehow, despite a series of truly awful tie-ins to Death of the Family, the most hated author at DC has made a stunning comeback, delivering an excellent issue of Red Hood while righting the ship over on Teen Titans. Seriously, my review about how shocked I was to be enjoying Teen Titans again is and has been the most viewed article on this site since less than a week after it went up (thanks for the awesome turn out, Titan-fans). Dare he go for the hat-trick?

Oh yes, he dares.

Spoilers ahead. Continue reading

Review: Batman #17

Batman 17

As I mentioned in a previous review, I’m a huge fan of Scott Snyder, but not of his endings. Snyder has a tendency to build up impressive narratives within the creases of Batman’s mythical fabric. While this leads to epic storytelling, enhanced by Snyder’s pitch perfect sense of tone and horror, it has often led him to let us down when he hints that things will change forever and he, rightly, leaves things in place for future stories. Death of the Family is finally over. Does Snyder break his record, or will the Joker’s last laugh fizzle? The answers and more poorly chosen metaphors await you beyond the cut.

Warning: This one’s gonna have spoilers. Continue reading

Review: Batman #16

Batman #16

Just like Batman, we too are invited to enter Arkham Asylum this month and explore the heart of Darkness. The Joker’s plan is nearing its finale and he’s challenging his Bat-king to embrace his destiny. With the clown prince of crime running circles around his protégés, how can Batman triumph on insanity’s home turf? Step inside and take a tour of the Joker’s Arkham.

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Review: Detective Comics #16

Detective Comics 16

There are a lot of issues we could consider in looking at Detective Comics 16. We could discuss the nature of comic character franchises and how they’re run by the Big 2. We could discuss the effect that changes in creative teams can cause and their effect on a title’s identity or lack thereof. Or we could discuss how crazy it is that I can honestly say “I went to Jim Hanley’s today and picked up Detective Comics 16 and the first issue of Spiderman.” And perhaps we will, but, primarily, I think I want to consider how multi-title events affect comics. Continue reading