Weekend Warriors – Teen Titans (Vol 3) #1

The cover to Teen Titans (Vol 3) 1
Modern Dance Camp and the Teen Titans are the two youth clubs which require wearing spandex.
From Series: Teen Titans (Vol 3)

What Happened:

Being a teen is hard. We’ve all heard it. It’s a particle in the “facts of life” atmosphere we breathe and have yet to choke. Like “never go to bed angry” and “swimming after a big meal will kill you” it is undeniably true. Being a super-powered teen seems to be easier though! For instance, Superboy (Conner Kent) regularly skips school to go flying and do some on-brand crop circle graffiti. Fun!

Superman (Clark Kent) thinks Conner could be doing more with his time, or at least cause less of a negative effect on the nation’s wheat yield, so he signed him up for the new Teen Titans. This version of the Teen Titans is half super hero training camp and half youth group. So Conner’s weekends will now be filled with battles to the death and acoustic covers of The Goo Goo Dolls.

A multitasking Batman (Bruce Wayne) and Robin (Tim Drake) have a similar conversation while fighting for their lives. Unlike Superman, Batman isn’t concerned with Tim’s school work. He just wants Tim to see his friends more and not become a secluded weirdo. Batman is not self reflective.

The first and third men to call themselves The Flash (Jay Garrick and Wally West), debate letting Impulse (Bart Allen) join the Teen Titans. Jay thinks only being responsible for the super-speed powered teenager with ADHD four days a week instead of seven is a great idea. A GREAT idea. Wally is a little more precious with what the Teen Titans stand for and isn’t sure Bart’s ready to be held to that standard. After all, super heroes who don’t take things seriously can get people killed. They agree to give Bart a try on the Titans but Wally doesn’t expect much from Bart. Bart hears the whole exchange.

The final recruit, Wonder Girl (Cassie Sandsmark), is picked up from school by Starfire (Koriand’r) during a particular bad day. Cassie punched her principal’s desk into pieces. It’s never stated out loud but she probably broke a rule while doing this, so Cassie is pretty sure she’s in trouble. She’ll get a call home at the least.

Meeting Beast Boy (Garfield Logan) and hearing Cyborg (Victor Stone) over the loud speaker at their new headquarters The Titans Tower in the San Fransisco Bay really sets the tone for how weird the weekend is going to be for the four friends. Things were already pretty awkward between them though. The last time they hung out a bunch of people died. So hugs are given but not appreciated among the teens.

Later that night, Tim and Conner are wondering if the whole Teen Titans idea is pointless when Tim gets an email. The email is about from where the human half of Conner’s DNA comes. Tim and Conner and both shocked to read it is Lex Luthor. This is probably spam and shouldn’t be taken seriously though because we’ve all gotten that email that starts “HALF YOUR DNA IS A LEX LUTHOR SEND CREDIT CARD NOW”.

What I Learned From This Comic:

Beast Boy learned how to romance women from Tex Avery cartoons.

Creators:
Writers: Geoff Johns
Pencils: Mike McKone
Inker: Marlo Alquiza
Colourist: Jeromy Cox
Letterer: Comicraft
Editors: Tom Palmer Jr., Eddie Berganza
Executive Editor: Dan DiDio

Killer Croc Kills A Cop – Batman: Gotham After Midnight #7

The cover to Batman: Gotham After Midnight #7
Nobody mention the spaghetti sauce stain on his forehead, he’d be so embarrassed to know it’s been there the whole time,
From Series: Batman: Gotham After Midnight

What Happened:

Batman (Bruce Wayne) really goofed up guessing the identity of the serial killer Midnight. He was pretty certain the murder was Detective Lucas of the Gotham Police because The Joker told him so.

And The Joker never lies!

Well, Lucas’ partner Detective Clarkson is pretty steamed at Batman because they only find a torn apart car and a lot of blood where Lucas should be. Clarkson socks Batman in the face for being wrong about her partner and then Commissioner Gordon tells him to scram. When he gets a good distance away them, Batman rubs his bruised chin and grins like a dummy. THE SEXUAL TENSION BETWEEN CLARKSON AND BATMAN IS UNBEARABLE. By which I mean HORRIBLE.

Anyway, Batman is pretty sure that Killer Croc (Waylon Jones) got to Detective Lucas. After analyzing some mud he knows exactly where Killer Croc is been hiding (in mud)! Alfred has already gotten to work preparing everything Batman will need to save the missing detective and battle Croc without even being asked. This, everyone, is a honest to God professional. Without Alfred around, 80 percent of all Batman stories would be Batman moving boxes around trying to find the batsuit which has goggles AND bulletproof armor.

Batman is too late to save Lucas though and finds him dead in a villain’s lair. Something about the lair isn’t right and Batman suspects it is meant to appear to be Midnight’s base of operations. The place looks too over the top for Batman to take is seriously. Even Batman, the man who decorates with dinosaurs and mannequins of dead coworkers, thinks the place is gaudy.

The whole thing is a trap and Batman is attacked by Killer Croc! Can that be considered a trap though? Batman is there to find Killer Croc. Giving someone what they want isn’t very devious!

Meanwhile on the other end of the city, Midnight kills the Mayor of Gotham! He pokes out Mr. Mayor’s heart with his clawed weapon as easily as plucking a spare sock from a laundry basket. Mayor’s should be made of sterner stuff!

After defeating Killer Croc, Batman finds Detective Clarkson and police backup at the hideout’s entrance. Showing Clarkson the dead body of her partner really gets her motor humming (passion-wise) and she and Batman just sort of hold each other. It’s a very 8th-grade-dance kind of look.

What I Learned From This Comic:

Batman mistakes being punched as foreplay, which raises so many questions about how he views his rogues gallery.

Creators:
Writer: Steve Niles
Artist: Kelley Jones
Colorist: Michelle Madsen
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Executive Editor: Dan DiDio
Editors: Michael Siglain & Harvey Richards

The Joker’s Halloween – Batman: Gotham After Midnight #6

The cover to Batman: Gotham After Midnight #6
Well. Gross. Now I know where pumpkins come from.
From Series: Batman: Gotham After Midnight

What Happened:

Bruce Wayne (Batman) tries to woo Detective Clarkson with brunch and pearls but strikes out big time. Also, he apparently has flashbacks of his mother dying whenever a pear necklace breaks. Also, Clarkson is really rough when handling new jewelry. The whole thing was a disaster. I blame everyone.

Batman throws a dramatic, dynamically hissy fit about not being able to capture Midnight. The mystic artifacts he’s been stealing and the list of his victims do not seem to match together as far a motive usually does. This makes Alfred wonder if maybe they are not supposed to match. Alfred also calls Batman on being upset his date did not go well. Right on Alfred.

Work then calls Batman to action because The Joker has kidnapped a school bus full of kids. Batman is able to break into his safe house and starts roughing him up for the location of the children when Midnight strikes with a surprise attack. Joker and Midnight’s long history (a couple hours) of communication and team work (Joker invited Midnight over to hid in a box) ends abruptly when they can’t decide who is working for who. Or is it who is working with who? Or is it who is working on behalf of who? I’m not sure what the argument is actually, and they probably aren’t either. Some folks just don’t know how to speak without being angry about something!

Batman takes advantage of their fight to get the upper hand. Before the Joker can tell Batman who Midnight really is, he wounds the Joker and flees. Batman is forced to stay behind to save the Joker’s life.

He does get the name of who Joker thinks Midnight is though: Detective Clarkson’s partner Detective Lucas.

Meanwhile, a lost Lucas is found by an angry Killer Croc (Waylon Jones).

What I Learned From This Comic:

Sometimes a Brunch is a lunch.

Creators:
Writer: Steve Niles
Artist: Kelley Jones
Colorist: Michelle Madsen
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Executive Editor: Dan DiDio
Editors: Michael Siglain & Harvey Richards

Batman Can’t Get A Date – Batman: Gotham After Midnight #5

The cover to Batman: Gotham After Midnight #5
Keep the bowtie Bruce. It WORKS.
From Series: Batman: Gotham After Midnight

What Happened:

The Gotham City Policemen’s Ball has been ruined. Ruined! And they were all so excited to go too. Such a shame! How horrible, that the new murderous villain Midnight would come crashing in and spoil everyone’s fun.

Bruce Wayne (Batman) was there and getting his flirt on with Detective Clarkson when the party ended abruptly by Midnight. Then before anyone could do anything about the crazy-faced baddie, Man-Bat (Robert Kirk Langstrom) burst into the party as well! I guess once one uninvited guest comes in it’s open season for all the party crashers. Man-Bat brutally assaults Midnight for betraying him earlier and almost kills the dude. Bruce manages to subdue Man-Bat out with a handy hidden tranquilizer dart he should probably just keep on his Batman costume, because it took Man-Bat down in one hit! Despite doing the real work, Clarkson ends up thinking Bruce a coward. Bruce tries to save face a little by being a cool doctor. Chicks love blood– I mean doctors!

Batman later meets up with a cured Man-Bat in his Langstrom alter ego to get clues about where Midnight would be hiding. After he get’s everything he needs from Langstrom, Batman leaves him to get his brain electrocuted by doctors.

On the rooftops Batman finds Midnight playing with jars of human hearts. They battle, because Batman is against that sort of thing, and the results are pretty gruesome. Midnight has staked his victims to a tourist billboard for Gotham City while a blood red Bat-Signal shows on it. It’s a lot of meaning to take in at once, but let me break it all down for you: HORROR!!

Back in the burbs, The Joker has decided to settle down and bought a nice house just in time for Halloween.

What I Learned From This Comic:

Batman hates guns, but Bruce Wayne will totally shoot a guy with a tranquillizer bullet.

Creators:
Writer: Steve Niles
Artist: Kelley Jones
Colorist: Michelle Madsen
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Executive Editor: Dan DiDio
Editors: Michael Siglain & Harvey Richards

Batman: Gotham After Midnight #4

The cover to Batman: Gotham After Midnight #4
Pretty awkward when Batman gets stuck inside the Venus Flytrap mouth of his own cape. But who can say this hasn’t happened to themselves? Let’s not be quick to judge.
From Series: Batman: Gotham After Midnight

What Happened:

Batman (Bruce Wayne) is in a giant robot. Clayface (Basil Karlo) has grown to a giant size after absorbing hundreds of people. Things are looking great for the future of the Gotham City’s buildings.

The two kaiju brutes take turns punching each other until Batman realizes the people inside Clayface are still alive. This leaves Batman with only Clayface’s face to punch, which is really more of a gift than a restriction.

Batman finally wises up after a bit and uses some knock out gas to relax all the people inside of Clayface. The relaxed bodies within him slurp out like a can of creamed corn into the kitchen sink. Then Batman shoots fire onto Clayface. Clayface doesn’t even react to the fire, he just want to talk on the phone.

With Clayface back in Arkham, Batman meets with Commissioner Gordon. Midnight had killed another person during the giant mud-wrestling match. Gordon’s officers found the corpse hanging from a church bell with his heart removed. The man in question was not anyone crooked with the law like Midnight’s previous victims though. This means the only thing tying all these murders together is the removal of the heart.

Batman is less interested with this and more interested in what Gordon’s coworkers think of him. Come on Batman, you don’t need other people’s validation!

Bruce heads to a ball which was apparently not canceled after a horrible monster tried to eat half of the city’s population and then a robot destroyed 4 buildings. When people want to get drunk they want to get drunk. Also, some people are just trying to get out more. Too much Netflix can be a bad thing in your life sometimes.

Detective Clarkson and Bruce flirt a bit because Clarkson put on a dress that makes her look like Jessica Rabbit. Then, before Bruce can start to mention his large collection of ancient Kama Sutra texts, Midnight bursts into the party.

Midnight ruined Bruce’s chances of getting some lovin’!

Just like Cinderella!

What I Learned From This comic:

Batman thinks the Mayor works for him.

Creators:
Writer: Steve Niles
Artist: Kelley Jones
Colorist: Michelle Madsen
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Executive Editor: Dan DiDio
Editors: Michael Siglain & Harvey Richards

Batman: Gotham After Midnight #3

The cover to Batman: Gotham After Midnight #3
The Gotham Police zeppelin heat lamps only manage to make Clayface more soothing to Batman’s skin.
From Series: Batman: Gotham After Midnight

What Happened:

The newest overly dramatic villain to put up shop in Gotham, Midnight, breaks into the hotel room of Councilman Hedgley. Midnight asks Hedgley’s prostitute to stand back so he can rip Hedgley’s heart out. She complies. Everyone is really professional and the deed gets done with zero struggle.

Clayface (Basil Karlo), then shows up and wonders why Midnight wanted to meet. Also he probably wonders why he wanted to meet at the scene of a murder. Also he probably wonders why Midnight is– eh it’s an endless tumble down the “why stairs” at this point let’s stop before we break out necks.

Midnight shows Clayface his own mutilated face by taking off his hat/veil. He’s ugly and has a voice box. Instant super villain origin! Keep the story going! Don’t lose momentum now!

With just the teensiest bit of coaching, Midnight convinces Clayface that he should eat everyone in Gotham so he’ll grow bigger. Clayface starts with Hedgley’s prostitute and then moves on to dance clubs, apartment buildings, etc. Clayface wants to eat everyone. It may be a serious problem which needs to be addressed in therapy.

Detective Clarkson and her partner Detective Lucas meet up with a grumpy Commissioner Gordon at the location of Midnight’s latest victim. They go over the finer points of the crime. Small time crook… found tied to a clock face… with his heart ripped out. Pretty open and shut if you asked me. Find the heart, find the killer. Batman (Bruce Wayne) then pops out of the shadows. He does some real bad office politics with Clarkson then outright says he’s taking evidence for himself. Gordon doesn’t care. Gordon just wants everyone to stop talking.

After visiting Arkham Asylum to question Scarecrow (Jonathan Crane), Batman realizes the other criminals involved have been drugged and don’t remember doing what they did.

Batman tries to get a quick nap in the batcave but then the alarms go off because of Clayface’s attack. So, Batman puts on his fanciest Giant Robot suit and hits the town in style.

What I Learned From This Comic:

Either the colorist didn’t get the script or the Joker escaped Arkham pretty quickly.

Creators:
Writer: Steve Niles
Artist: Kelley Jones
Colorist: Michelle Madsen
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Executive Editor: Dan DiDio
Editors: Michael Siglain & Harvey Richards

Batman: Gotham After Midnight #2

The cover to Batman: Gotham After Midnight (Vol 1) #2
When you’re rich like Bruce Wayne you can afford those fancy saunas that put candles on your neck. So relaxing!
From Series: Batman: Gotham After Midnight

What Happened:

The creeps who have killed Batman (Bruce Wayne) are celebrating big time. They are getting help with their crimes from their buddy Axeman, which is a bad name for a dude with an axe. Or a great name for a dude with an axe now that I realize we’re focusing on a dude named “Batman” in this story. Are we really fit to throw stones at the name “Axeman”? It follows the same naming rules. Plus axes are actually dangerous while bats are just a little spooky.

Anyway, Axeman is going to cut off the head of the dead Batman. It is sort of a “Well, when am I ever going to get a chance to do this again?” opportunity that we would all talk given the chance, so no judgement from the audience please. While he prepares to do the chopping another one of the creeps makes a call to whoever arranged for the creeps to ambush the caped crusader (Batman). Batman wakes up just in time because this is only the second issue and he ain’t dead you fool. His body armor protected him from the enemy bullets and also hid his heart beat from the creeps. The creeps might have taken the time to notice a suspicious lack of any blood at all from the “gun shot wounds”. They’re creeps though, not brainiacs (a distant cousin of the creep).

Batman beats everyone up. He leaves the creep who was making the phone call for last because Batman wants to scare him into revealing who planned the whole thing. The creep doesn’t know, he was just given instructions and a number to call. Batman lets him get away because you’re always supposed to leave one person left to spread the tale of what happens to criminals. Even if the person you are letting run free is a dude who will eagerly kill another human being just because an anonymous source asked them too and gave them a phone number.

Before the legend of the Dark Knight can spread to stroke Batman’s ego, the creep runs into the person who set up the killings. Midnight. Midnight is an old fashioned horror man. Creepy face. Creepy clothes. A real walking, breathing classic. He kills the creep for failing to complete the job.

Commissioner Gordon sends Batman to stop a museum robbery. The criminal is Man-Bat (Robert Kirk Langstrom) who is acting as strangely as the Scarecrow (Dr. Jonathan Crane) was in the previous issue. Man-Bat steals the skull of Ra after leaving Batman to save two security guards.

Batman continues his war on crime by breaking into a police office (which is a crime) to complain to Detective Clarkson about taking credit for his “arrests” (which is petty). Clarkson doesn’t care and refuses to give a vigilante like Batman any validation from the police force. Batman is really worried about the criminals not knowing how awesome he is. Clarkson and Batman then manage to share a cute moment about the futility of both their life’s work though.

Time marches on though, an the criminal Midnight killed is found tied to the face of a clock tower.

What I Learned From This Issue:

Batman is very focused on cultivating his brand.

Creators:
Writer: Steve Niles
Artist: Kelley Jones
Colorist: Michelle Madsen
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Executive Editor: Dan DiDio
Editors: Michael Siglain & Harvey Richards

Batman: Gotham After Midnight #1

The cover to Batman: Gotham After Midnight #1
Batman finally finds a clock which shows how he feels for every hour of the day.
From Series: Batman: Gotham After Midnight

What Happened:

In case you are caught with your pants down on this topic during an upcoming dinner, allow me to refresh your memory: Batman (Bruce Wayne) is Batman. Don’t be ashamed you forgot something so simple. Batman himself needs to be reminded by his own voice. He alerts himself to this news several times just so the knowledge is fresh and hot on the brain.

When battling Scarecrow (Dr. Jonathan Crane) who is acting pretty oddly for a lunatic, Batman even reminds him what’s up in the identity department with a well growled “I’m Batman”.

After exposing Scarecrow to his own fear toxin Scarecrow hallucinates there are a bunch of Batman pointing at him. I guess that’s scary to anyone. Particularly people who really put a lot of stock in what they’re wearing that day and dread being criticized for their fashion choices. Yeah, they would really hate a bunch of Batman pointing at them.

Detective Clarkson and her partner Detective Lucas show up to take the disabled Scarecrow into custody and take credit for the whole thing. This really bugs Batman. He works really hard to catch the bad guys. Is it too much to want a pat on the back for a job well done?

Commissioner Gordon gives him a pat on the back and sends him off to find escaped convict the Axeman. Perhaps by following the scent of his body spray. Who knows.

Before Batman gets to the Axeman’s hideout, the clock strikes midnight and everyone just starts being weird. A dude stops kissing his gal. A man climbs out from the sewer. It’s all kooky crazy!

When Batman finishes his sandwich from Alfred he heads to Axeman’s hideout. Axeman has somehow gotten himself a large posse of those crazy dudes from before. They shoot Batman. Right in the breadbasket. He goes down, and a man who is clearly a doctor checks for signs of life by plopping his own head on Batman’s chest.

Batman’s Dead!

What I Learned From This Comic:

Batman’s cape ain’t no cape.

Creators:

Writers: Steve Niles
Artist: Kelley Jones
Colorist: Michelle Madsen
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Executive Editor: Dan DiDio
Editors: Michael Siglain & Harvey Richards