Tag Archive: Tim Drake


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.

With “Knightquest: The Crusade” Jean-Paul truly became the star of his story for the first time. “Knightquest” would see Jean-Paul struggle with his programming and his own morality as he learned what it meant to be the Dark Knight.
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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

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.

Through seventy-five years of comics, Robin has held a special place in the hearts of comic fans. Whether your Robin was Dick Grayson, Tim Drake, or Burt Ward, there’s something about the character that’s more than just the second part of “Batman and…” Maybe it’s that they tend to be relatable. Maybe it’s that they’re teen heroes who are famous enough to attract big writers. Maybe it’s just the dynamism of the quips and costume. Whatever it is, each of the Robins has their own passionate fan base.

The Robin concept is also impressively viable. The first Robin series ran for almost 200 issues and was followed shortly by Nightwing, at the time the only other living character to hold the Robin mantle, for a similarly immense run of about 150 issues. Dick Grayson’s leadership of the New Teen Titans is considered one of DC’s greatest runs and Jason Todd is better loved today than he was at the peak of his popularity as Robin.

I would love little more than to give the New Year’s 52 a fantastic Nightwing series, however not all of the Robins can justify taking one of our fifty-two slots. I think there’s even more potential in giving all of the Robins a showcase.

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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.

Any significant time around comic fans will show you that teen superheroes frequently hold a special place in a fan’s heart. The X-Men, the Runaways, the Blue Beetle, Spider-Man, whether they’ve achieved widespread success or not, these are characters that matter a lot to a lot of people. While they haven’t always held fast to their spot near the top of the heap, DC has one of the most beloved groups of young heroes in comics. It’s time the Teen Titans were a must-read comic again, and I know someone who’d be perfect for them.
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Li'l Gotham 5

Though I’ve been excited about the concept for a long time and other readers have had the pleasure of reading online, over the past five months I’ve had the distinct pleasure of getting to know the denizens of Dustin Nguyen’s Li’l Gotham. Readers still mourning the loss of the post-crisis DCU have a haven here, not only in name but in tone. Gorgeous art and adorable writing make Li’l Gotham a standout among DC’s offerings, but success comes with its own perils.

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Review: Teen Titans #19

Teen Titans 19

Do you like puns? Do you like titles that are puns? Well, have I got one for you.

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Review: Teen Titans #18

Teen Titans 18

What would you say if I told you that this issue contained a look at the relationship between Tim and Damian Wayne, a continuation of the War of Light and Dark storyline, crossovers with two other books, a spree killer on the loose, and a last page that’s bound to pique the interest of any Titan fan? Continue reading

Review: Teen Titans #17

Teen Titans 17

If you told me that I’d pick up Teen Titans #17 a month ago I would have been skeptical. Teen Titans was weak from the start, in my opinion, and awkwardly shifting continuity and the chaos of the Culling and The Night of Owls only hurt it further. As I mentioned in my review of Red Hood and the Outlaws #17, I’ve found Scott Lobdell to be a writer capable of soaring highs and truly abysmal lows, and possessed of a myriad of flaws in his execution. Teen Titans never reached the jaw-dropping awfulness that still mars its sister title’s good name, but neither did its characterization manage to match the best moments of Red Hood. In a word, it was dull.

How could a book that shared its name, its premise, with Marv Wolfman’s New Teen Titans be so mediocre? How could the same characters that made up Geoff Johns’ Teen Titans be so boring and lifeless? How could I spend $2.99 on something I’m willing to denigrate so? I can’t answer the first two but I know the last one.

Raven. 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 #15


Batman 15

After looking at Damian’s contribution to the Bat-Family event, we go to the king himself: Batman as interpreted by Snyder, Tynion, Capullo, and Jock.

But Here’s the Kicker

Written by Scott Snyder
Art by Greg Capullo

So here’s the joke: The entire Bat-Family walks into the cave. Nightwing says, “Hey, it really seems like the Joker knows who we are.”  Bruce tells him, “There’s no way he could know.” So Batgirl says, “we have effectively conclusive evidence and his statement that he does, how are you so sure?” And Bruce replies, “I’m Batman.”

No good? Sheesh, tough crowd, you try summarizing an issue in cheesy joke form (seriously though, if you’ve got any good ones I’d love to hear it). Alright, alright, stop me if you heard this one before.  Continue reading