I wound up receiving a few trades for my birthday and then bought a few more with Amazon gift cards, and while my original intent was to review each of them individually, I realized that I liked all of them and they’re going to wind up staying on my shelf anyway. Plus, there comes a point where I crap out while doing these reviews and they become really low energy. Maybe that’s an attention span thing? I don’t know.
Anyway, I thought I’d offer up some commentary and what I liked about each of them.
Suicide Squad Vol 8. I bought this one specifically because it had the final issue of the series collected and that was one of the handful that was proving hard to come by. Plus, if I’m being completely honest with you all, I decided to only read the last couple of issues in the trade as well as the text pieces because I’d read my issues fairly recently. It ends on a pretty solid note, much like a show that’s been cancelled and has to wrap up loose ends. I completely understand why it was, too, as there was a bit of wheel-spinning and clear efforts to get some of the original spark back in its latter days, but even weak Squad is good Squad. I think I may also seek out the volumes that include my missing issues so that I can get the entire run–and maybe the rest of them so I have the whole thing in trade and can offload the comics? We’ll see.
Batman: The Dark Knight Detective Vol. 3. This continues the collection of post-Crisis stories featured in Detective Comics (with the notable exception of the Year Two storyline) and is another outstanding collection of stories by Alan Grant, John Wagner, and Norm Breyfogle. It also includes the three-part “Blind Justice” storyline from ‘Tec #598-600, a storyline I always meant to pick up when I was actively collecting the title but never got around to buying. This was my first time reading most of the comics collected within (the Invasion! crossover issue is in here as well), so it’s money well spent (whereas the first volume collected the Barr/Davis stuff I love and already own digitally). Batman here is an intelligent detective who faces off against psychos who are not part of his usual rogues gallery, but who definitely give him a challenge. I’m partial to Grant and Breyfogle because #617 was the first Batman comic I remember purchasing (aside from a Brave and the Bold issue that I just … well, had) and #608 was the first issue of ‘Tec I ever read (first appearance of Anarky, borrowed from a friend). “Blind Justice” is kind of hit-and-miss, but I liked that they threw all of the extra stuff from issue #600 in the back of the book.
Batman: The Caped Crusader Vol. 1. The Jim Starlin run of Batman is something I’ve always been interested in reading in full since I’ve only read the big highlights of “Ten Nights of the Beast” and “A Death in the Family” along with a few other issues here and there. This, oddly, does not collect the run starting at the beginning (they are part of the now-out-of-print “Second Chances” trade) but with the aforementioned “Ten Nights of the Beast,” which I already had in trade. Thankfully, it skips over “A Death in the Family” (which I also have in trade) and goes to the post-Death issues that I was always interested in reading. I don’t find it as consistently pleasing as the Grant/Breyfogle stuff, but it’s still very solid 1980s Batman that I’m very here for.
Tiananmen 1989: Our Shattered Hopes. Written by Lun Zhang and Adrien Gombeaud with art by Ameziane, this is an inside or on-the-ground look at the 1989 pro-Democracy protests in Tiananmen Square in Beijing. From the start of the movement to its eventual violent and tragic downfall, the authors elucidate the protesters’ ideals along with a thorough amount of context with regard to the history of China from the time of Mao’s rise to power to the present. I remember when this happened in 1989 but only had a vague recollection of the events, and much like other works like Persepolis, They Called Us Enemy and Maus, it serves as a very good overview of the events of 1989 as well as some commentary. I honestly really enjoyed it.
Fatale, Book 1. Finally, this Ed Brubaker-written series that I’d always seen solicited in Previews and which seemed interesting. Having read some of his Captain America as well as his series Velvet, I decided that it might be time to dip into his back catalogue. It’s film noir and Satanic cults with a really great central mystery. I’m looking forward to tracking down the rest.