Wow. In July I ordered no less than 14 comic books that have to do with Batman or characters from the Bat-universe and Gotham City. This week seems to be Batman announcement week and on the not so distant horizon we have a new ongoing by David Finch, a new mini featuring Knight and Squire, and yet another mini tied into Bruce Wayne’s return to Gotham. And let’s not forget that we are still waiting on the upcoming Batwoman ongoing that doesn’t have a release date yet.
Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE Batman. I wouldn’t be getting this many (read as all) of the Batman titles if I didn’t love him and his universe. I’m just beginning to wonder if there can be too much of a good thing. With this many books, the editors are going to have their hands full. Things need to make sense between the books and character developments will need to be consistent. This is not going to be an easy job. And they haven’t always been on top of this sort of thing before…
Granted, some of these books are more or less self-contained. Azrael is kinda off in his own corner of Gotham. Knight and Squire will be in DCU England. Batman Confidential is doing whatever it is doing. The Red Hood mini is set in the past, Batman Beyond is in the future, and Batman Odyssey is outside of continuity. That helps to lighten that load a little, but there is still a lot that needs to work together.
And that could be a major issue with the “big deal” that is sure to be Bruce’s return. And I suppose my biggest problem is that DC keeps reminding me that Bruce is coming back and I DON’T WANT HIM BACK YET! I’m really enjoying Dick Grayson as Batman. It works. It’s successful. It’s fun and new and different. I always knew Bruce would be back and that that would probably reset the status quo, but I was hoping we had more time. I could be wrong I guess. There could still be some surprises in store. But DC doesn’t seem to be being coy about the idea at all, which leads me to believe that they don’t have a reason to be. They don’t have a reason to say, “It might not be what you expect,” because it’s going to be exactly what everyone expects: Bruce back as Batman. I really do hope I’m wrong.
I’m also wondering if we will see some of the current Bat lineup canceled in the coming months. Not all the books have had fantastic sales. I’ll also admit to being worried about the prices of these upcoming books. DC has snuck some $3.99 comics (with no extra content) at us in recent months and a new series is probably a decent place to try out a new price point (I’m looking at you Emerald Warriors). I’m against this, not just because I don’t want to pay more, but because a higher price point is not the way to gain support for a new series.
And as much as I love Batman, I’d rather they focused on making all the current books really top tier books, before throwing more into the mix. Less sometimes really is more when you are working to make the less the best it can be. Several of the books are very strong right now (Batman and Robin, Red Robin, and Batgirl come to mind) but others could use a little more support or a little more creative freedom or a little more something to push those books up the charts.
All of my rambling aside though, I will likely pick up all 3 comics. Knight and especially Squire are really fun characters. The fact that a British writer is taking then on adds a bit of genuineness to the comic that makes it hard to resist. I’m excited to get to know DCU England. The idea of Batman the Road Home isn’t a bad one, although it’s hard to imagine that the big things won’t be covered in the main books. It will be nice to get a closer look at some of Bruce’s various relationships, but it does strike me a bit as milking this “event” for all its worth. And as for Batman the Dark Knight, as much as Batman doesn’t really need another ongoing when there are so many other characters out there deserving a shot at their own book, it has to do with the more magical and supernatural side of the DCU and focuses on Batman as a detective and those are big draws for me. But if he doesn’t write Etirgan as a rhyming demon I’m going to be upset. I wish they’d have tested the waters with it as a miniseries before making the jump to ongoing, but whachagonnado?