Tagged: Final Crisis

Marc Alan Fishman: Dear Marvel and DC…

Dear Marvel and DC,

It’s been too long since I’ve written you, and for that I am very sorry. I’d think it awkward, given that I was once a weekly reviewer of your monthly publications, but I’ve essentially all but given up on them over the last six months. And it’s not because of financial concerns, or even a matter of proximity. Certainly sparing ten to twenty bucks a week for a decent load of your wares from one of the fine comic shops mere blocks from my office was once a weekly delight. But over time, my pull list dwindled and dwindled. Each book in your respective repertoire began to feel repetitive, dull, or forced. And as insult to the injury… the shop I frequented only carried indie books they “knew would actually sell” unless I specifically sought them to be ordered and held. It was a dark time, and I flew a white flag.

I’ve done this in the past. Like a jilted lover, sometime absence makes the heart grow fonder. I figured I’d soon see the new announcements stemming from successful dalliances on TV and the multiplex. With a growing fan-base learning about Hydra and Kree maps, or hearing the name Black Adam whispered with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson being cast, there was no doubt in my mind you knew that the world was set to look at your publishing ventures as potential incubators for those next great ideas.

And then, as if you’d not learned from past mistakes, you started announcing one major-huge-epic-don’t-miss-it-or-by-Rao-you’ll-be-out-of-the-loop-for-decades event after another.

I believe in tough love. It’s never easy to swallow, I know. In my life, it’s always followed by a period of reflection and growth. My high school art teacher said I couldn’t draw my way out of a paper bag. I went to art school and learned how. My college professor said I’d only get out of my art what I put into it. In response, I completed an 8′ x 10′ woodcut with a 1mm gouge. My first employer after graduation said I’d never amount to an art director. I’ve been one now for going on eight years. So trust me when I say that this comes from a place of kindness:

Your events, by and large, really suck.

Yeah, I know you’ve got sales data to prove me wrong. But you know what I have? I have an informed opinion. Civil War was cool. How did The Initiative do for you shortly after? Identity Crisis was excellent, until it got rapey. Fear Itself was novel for a hot minute until I realized it was a D&D campaign from 1996. Flashpoint, Countdown to Final Crisis, and yeah Final Crisis were worth more as toilet paper than as solid fiction. Oh, I’m sorry, I was supposed to read them in 3-D, and backwards because Grant Morrison said it’d make more sense that way? I said the same thing when I tried to convince my wife sweatpants were a viable option for date-night.

And here with both of you announcing and announcing cryptic apocalyptic coinciding crises sometime in the spring? It’s reminiscent of The Producers. I mean, how many dancing Charlie Xaviers will we need before we start guessing it’s all one big joke to you?

The fact of the matter is no amount of adjective-dropping will entice me away from my most glorious hibernation. You’ve both cried wolf far too many times now. Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me thirty-two times with multiple X-Men deaths and rebirths, time-bullets, time-vampires, ret-conned continuities, and multiple-multiverses… shame on you. You seem to forget that after every one of these universe shattering events comes fallout. Canceled series of stalwart brands. Bold new books that will be canceled long before their given a chance to find a rhythm and fan base. Not to be lewd about it, but guys, you can’t shit the bed and then expect us to clean it up with a smile.

I don’t care if Tony is going to be a power-sharing super-douche. Or that Alexander Luthor never really died. Or that Wolverine is dead until Shadowcat phase-pulls his rotting corpse out of his statue-self followed by a trip back through time using Booster Gold’s leftover suit. I don’t even care if you’re exploring new What-If universes with Spider-Gwen. It doesn’t get me hot and bothered that you’re potentially ret-conning away the New52. No matter your proposed gimmick, I’m not buying it.

At the end of the day, I smell your desperation a mile away. It wasn’t like this when Mark Waid was batting 1000 on Daredevil. It wasn’t like this when Geoff Johns was expanding the Green Lantern and Flash mythos without traveling outside the borders of their respective books. You know you can be better than this, but instead are trying to win over everyone with a grand sweeping motion. It’s just not necessary.

And when you realize that? I’ll be back in the shop with my money in hand.


Marc Alan Fishman

Ex-Pat. Indie Creator. Bridge Burner.

Marc Alan Fishman: DC Entertainment – Trouble Every Day

Did you hear? Did you hear? The sky is falling! That’s right! There’s no time to pack a bag. Just grab your cell phone and head towards my car. Now get in! Call your loved ones. Tell them to do the same. Where are we going? How the hell should I know? They just told me to grab you and leave, leave, leave!

Wait, hold on. I just got a text. Shut up, I know I shouldn’t text and drive. But I can’t help it, we’re in the middle of a crisis! I’m not sure which crisis. The sky is white, so it’s not Crisis on Infinite Earths. The sky isn’t red, so it’s not Final Crisis. The sky isn’t upside down, so it’s not Flashpoint.

Oh. Oh! OK, this makes sense. Yup. DC is going belly up. No, I’m not kidding. My credible source here says so. No I won’t stop the car. Hear me out.

My pal, who likes to remain a little anonymous – we’ll call him R. Johnston, wait no, that’s too easy. Rich J. texted me just now that there’s a storm a’ brewin’ in New York. No, it’s not Hurricane Sandy. Rich is great with these things, trust me. He’s like spy mixed with fly on the wall. For reals.

So, he got wind of a super secret set of individual meetings at DC HQ which he’s speculating (which totally makes this real, you know) means big things for our boy blue. Here’s the hot tip:

With Vertigo Honcho Karen Berger going on the lamb, there’s mutterings this is the beginning of a mass exodus to Burbank. Yup, with the last bastion of the Paul Levitz era seeking refuge in other parts of fiction (if at all), DC’s ties to it’s former home seem more sentimental than anything else. What with everything going digital these days, wouldn’t it behoove the couldn’t-be-for-profit publishing side to just nestle itself closer to the teat of Movies, TV, and Other Media by Papa Warner?

And since the rumor mill is chugging along, we also have word that maybe these meetings (which again we have no actual proof happened, or any notion of who was in them) could also entail the stepping down of one Diane Nelson as head of the company. Maybe these meetings hold the secret to the new head cheese … Speculation is abound!

And Richie also told me (via text – don’t worry, I can read really long texts while driving) that these meetings could mean a big upheaval of publishing policy! I don’t even know what that means, but I’m scared poopless. I mean, first Karen leaves … then Diane steps down … and then the whole company goes only digital, moves to California. What’s next? Superman stops wearing his red underwear. Oh. My. New Gods! OK, I’m pulling over. Get out, pal. Just run for the hills! It’s all coming down. We might as well get some fast food, and wait for the universe to reset.

Sigh. All joking aside, unlike some bloggers, let me make this even more clear: I write my articles several days ahead of time. As the writing of this column, this story over on Bleeding Cool was a rank-and-file piece of absurdity. While Johnson makes all-too-clear he has no clue what’s going on, rather than get some sources and crank out a piece, he buried this little Chicken Little story in an attempt to what… get us commenting? Ranting and railing? I’m not entirely sure.

Be that as it may, unless anything concrete is published on this subject, here’s my two cents: most of what Rich conjures from the ether sounds pretty plausible. The New 52 sales seem to have leveled off, and the books, while low in number, are all very much akin to their brethren before the fall of Rome; predictable, great in parts, boring in most others, with plenty of worthless crossovers to go around. The fact is DC’s ties to New York are only superfluous at this point. Creative teams are assembled via the Internet. Books are compiled digitally and whisked off to Canada, or China or Apokolips to be printed and distributed.

We can also safely assume with Harry Potter done and over with, WB is putting heads on the chopping block if Justice League doesn’t pull off Avengers-like hype and profits. Diane Nelson may not want to be around when they inevitably miss the mark there (and I’m no less hopeful, just realistic). And to round it out … what “big publishing initiative” could they announce, aside from a hike in price for physical books? I’m yearning to be surprised.

At the end of the day, the sky ain’t gonna fall. Superman will be around for plenty of years to come. And there will always be too man-Bat books on the shelf. And we’ll always be here, to lap up the rumors like starving dogs, and fight one another over these oddly plucked bones of potential news. But, consider my inner Gold here to leave you on this thought:

Been checkin’ out the news

Until my eyeballs fail to see

I mean to say that every day

Is just another rotten mess

And when it’s gonna change, my friend

Is anybody’s guess

(From “Trouble Every Day” by Frank Zappa¸©1966 whatever publishing company Frank had in 1966, All Rights Reserved.)

SUNDAY: John Ostrander


MINDY NEWELL: Paging Dr. House

This past Tuesday, August 30 to be exact, the New York Times ran an article by Dave Itzkoff about the “new” DC reboot. It was called “Heroes Take Flight, Again.”

It’s an interesting article. And its tone is that of a penultimate eulogy. To quote Itzkoff, “Within the DC universe, this new status quo is the result of efforts by the fleet-footed Flash to alter the course of history. But in the real world it is a last-ditch plan to counteract years of declining sales throughout the comics business.”

It’s rather like an episode of House, isn’t it? He wants to try a risky, dangerous, could-kill-the-patient-instead-of-saving-him treatment and everybody around him either has an opinion or just wants to avoid the whole subject. Cuddy is worried about the lawyers and the reputation of Princeton-Plainsboro Medical Center. Wilson is busy psychoanalyzing his friend’s penchant for walking on the edge. Foreman objects mostly because he didn’t think of it first. Chase, having forsaken the medical principle of “first do no harm” a few seasons ago when he killed a dictator who was under his care, pretty much shrugs his shoulders. Cameron is too busy in the ER to get very involved, other than to shake her long blonde hair and hot tush in House’s face and say, “you’re just gonna do what you want anyway.” Taub is caught between his Torah – he who saves a single life, it is as if he has saved the whole world – and probably causing the patient even more suffering if the treatment is allowed, and “Thirteen,” facing eventual horrible death herself thanks to the Huntington’s Disease that stalks her, thinks House is right, because she sees herself in the patient, and she wants to live.

I remember when I first heard of Crisis on Infinite Earths. I was upset. I didn’t understand why DC had to go messing with my childhood. But under the able hands of Marv Wolfman and George Pérez, it was, frankly, a thrilling story. To me, when Marv and George killed Supergirl – and I’m still mightily pissed off about that! – that was it, man, I knew this was going to be a classic.

The only trouble was, it started off a wave of “mega-reboots” over at DC that sounded like “good business” at the time. And now, after some 30 years, only seems to make me, and everybody else, yawn.

Infinite Crisis. Final Crisis. Crisis, My Ass. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Tell me something I don’t know.

‘Cause most of these reboots, start-overs, begin-agains are so obviously an attempt to “save the life of the patient” that it’s insulting to the reader. Jim Shooter is quoted in the Times article as saying “This whole attitude of, ‘Oh, go ahead, start over, reboot,’ people get tired of that…as storytellers, I don’t know where we wandered off to.” I totally agree with him.

S-T-O-R-Y. A narrative. An account. A tale, yarn, legend, fairy-tale, chronicle. Something that stays with you. That for whatever reason strikes a resonant chord within.

Was The Lord of the Rings a business decision? Was Grapes of Wrath? A Tale of Two Cities? The Three Musketeers? Alice in Wonderland? The Man in the Iron Mask? Peter Pan? If I keep on going this will be a column about the Book-of-the-Month club.

I’m hoping this works for DC. I’m hoping the company doesn’t stay alive just to feed the licensees. I’m hoping that I’m thrilled again.

I’m hoping that Dr. Gregory House can pull another miracle out of his misanthropic hat.

TUESDAY: Michael Davis

Review: ‘Wolverine and the X-Men: Final Crisis’

Review: ‘Wolverine and the X-Men: Final Crisis’

[[[Wolverine]]] and [[[the X-Men]]], the fourth animated interpretation of the Marvel mutants, was the most radical and also the most short-lived. Lasting a mere 26 episodes, the Nicktoons series apparently wasn’t popular enough with ratings and merchandise to merit financing a second season. Marvel Animation clearly thought they had a hit on their hands and images from the developing second season were released. Additionally, the final scene was a teaser for the second season. But, alas, this was not to be.

Lionsgate, today, is releasing the sixth and final volume of the show, probably three volumes too many, but at least they are affordably priced (and at Comic-Con International, a complete series set was announced).  The single-disc contains just the final three episodes, which aired under the name “Foresight” but is being released under the more commercial [[[Final Crisis]]]. Having previously reviewed the last two volumes, Fate of the Future and Revelation, I was curious to see how they wrapped things up.

All the threads and main players throughout the season turn up and have their moment as the conflicting timelines and threads are woven together into a massive climax. We have Magneto and the inhabitants of Genosha readying for an all-out assault while he has manipulated players so he thinks he controls both sides of the conflict between man and mutant. What he has not counted on was the Hellfire Club and their plans to unleash and control the Phoenix force.

In fact, the role of the Phoenix in this interpretation is the most
radical departure from the comics as is the Hellfire Club’s reason for
existing. As a result, one of the more visually impressive moments of
this series occurs. And as with the comic books, the action never
overwhelms all the emotions at play, especially the romantic triangle
between Cyclops, Jean Grey, and Emma Frost.


Comic MMIX Year-End Picks: Favorites (and not-so-favorites) of 2009, part 1

Comic MMIX Year-End Picks: Favorites (and not-so-favorites) of 2009, part 1

Now that 2009 is officially over, we can do a year in review. This is by no means a definitive list of “the best of the year” as we’d never come to a consensus, just think of it as our varied and individual take on what stuck out in the minds of everybody here at the Mix. After all, as the song says, it’s a mixed-up, muddled-up, shook-up world. Onward!

Shortest Death of the Year: Kyle Rayner. Green Lantern Corps #42/43 (DC)

For those who know me well, I was offered quick condolences when I picked up Peter Tomasi’s Green Lantern Corps
#42. Kyle Rayner, my personal favorite ‘Super Hero’ was given a
decidedly trite death; sacrificing himself with an exploding Alpha
Lantern Core in order to blow up a smattering of not-so-easy-to-kill
black lanterns and their Nekron inspired construct. Gaping plot hole be
damned! Sure Mr. Rayner was one of two honor guardsmen, who we’d
‘assume’ knew how to wield the emerald light with a little flair, might
figure that the ring could make a nice bubble to contain the
aforementioned big-bada-boom, and NOT include himself… But it was far
sappier dramatic
for Kyle to tell Natu (his current, non-refrigerator-bound-beau) and
Guy (his best-buddy-with-a-bygone-bowlcut) that he ‘wuved them. And
guess what? Not twenty pages later, Kyle was resurrected by Star
Sapphire Miri Riam, who showed us yet another unknown power from the
crystal spewing pink ring club. It seems that ‘True Love’ allows a Star
Sapphire to combine hearts, and save a dead lover. I guess Miri wished
she could have done that when he husband died, a few issues ago.
Whoopsie! –Marc Alan Fishman

Most overlooked of the year: Final Crisis Aftermath: Run (DC)

It’s easy to hate event books–especially one as polarizing as Final Crisis–but it’s hard to deny that sometimes damn fine things come out of them. Zero Hour gave us James Robinson’s Starman, Secret Wars gave us Spider-Man’s black costume (even if it was retroactive), and now Final Crisis has given us Run, a tale of the Human Flame, the most unrepentant bastard in the DC Universe, on the run from the Justice League following the death of the Martian Manhunter. It’s funny, it’s fast-moving, and it’s smart as a whip, thanks in equal measure to Matt Sturges’ (Blue Beetle, JSA All-Stars) script and the perennially underrated pencils of Freddie E. Williams II (Robin). Besides, it has the Condiment King. Who can say no to the Condiment King? –Matthew Weinberger

Favorite dialogue of the year: from Irredeemable #5 (BOOM!), written by Mark Waid, when the winged Gilgamos meets the black super-hero Volt:

“I know you! You’re Black V—“
“That’s the other guy.”
“From Philadelphia?”
“That’s the other other guy. Look, I am solidly aware that an electromagnetic African-American super is a total cliché. My apologies. I didn’t order this power off the menu, I swear.”

–Howard Margolin


‘Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths’ DVD details released, including the Spectre!

‘Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths’ DVD details released, including the Spectre!

In case you missed the preview on Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, Warner Premiere has offered up complete details including the announcement of an exclusive Spectre short for the special edition. Here’s the release:

BURBANK, CA (November 23, 2009) – To save our world and all those like it, SUPERMAN, BATMAN and their caped colleagues must go toe-to-toe with their evil mirror images in Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, the seventh entry in the successful ongoing series of DC UNIVERSE Animated Original PG-13 Movies coming February 23, 2010 from Warner Premiere, DC Comics and Warner Bros. Animation. The full-length animated film will be distributed by Warner Home Video as a Special Edition 2-disc version on DVD and Blu-Ray™ Hi-Def for $24.98 (SRP) and $29.99 (SRP), respectively, as well as single disc DVD for $19.98 (SRP). The film will also be available On Demand and Download.

Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths is an original story from award-winning animation/comics writer Dwayne McDuffie (Justice League) rooted in DC Comics’ popular canon of “Crisis” stories depicting parallel worlds with uniquely similar heroes and villains. Bruce Timm (Superman Doomsday) is executive producer. Lauren Montgomery (Wonder Woman, Green Lantern: First Flight) and Sam Liu (Superman/Batman: Public Enemies) are co-directors.

In Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, a “good” LEX LUTHOR arrives from an alternate universe to recruit the JUSTICE LEAGUE to help save his Earth from the Crime Syndicate, a gang of villainous characters with virtually identical super powers to the JUSTICE LEAGUE. What ensues is the ultimate battle of good versus evil in a war that threatens both planets and, through a diabolical plan launched by OWLMAN, puts the balance of all existence in peril.

The movie features an all-star voice cast led by Mark Harmon (NCIS) as SUPERMAN, James Woods (Ghosts of Mississippi) as OWLMAN, Chris Noth (Sex and the City, Law & Order) as LEX LUTHOR, William Baldwin (Dirty Sexy Money) as BATMAN, Gina Torres (Serenity, Firefly) as SUPERWOMAN and Bruce Davison (X-Men) as the President.


Happy Good Friday!

Happy Good Friday!

For your reading pleasure, we point you to Dial B for Blog which has collected the scrolls of Bennie David, better known to the world as Son O’God. And yes, that is Neal Adams artwork.

Now if we can only get to the inevitable battle against this guy.

That would be a real Final Crisis.


Matthew Sturges is Ready to ‘Run!’

Matthew Sturges is Ready to ‘Run!’

Matthew Sturges talked with Comic Book Resources about Run!, the series replacing Blue Beetle on his schedule. The unscheduled title spins out of events from Final Crisis and will focus on the villains.  Sturges previously worked with DC’s foes during Salvation Run and he addressed the possible connections.

“No, it’s not connected to Salvation Run in any way,” he explained. “A friend of mine half-jokingly suggested the tagline, ‘This time there’s no salvation,’ which actually works well on a couple of levels. It’s also not connected to The Flash, which is something that people might have guessed, given the title. What I can say is that it’s part of the Final Crisis aftermath. It shows what happens to one of the characters from Final Crisis after the dust settles, and his rise from being a complete nobody to being one of the most powerful super-villains on Earth.

Sturges, who also cowrites House of Mystery with Bill Willingham, went on to say, “It’s very different in tone from a lot of things I’ve written before. It’s very fast-paced, very action-oriented. It’s ruthless, both in terms of pacing and subject matter. Our protagonist is not a nice guy, and the narrative definitely makes the most of that. What you’ll find in this book is a lot of the wicked kind of stuff that I would have done more of in Salvation Run, if I’d had more room to play around. I sharpened a lot of metaphorical knives writing Salvation Run that I never got a chance to stab anybody with.”

He says he likes writing heroes and villains, and having worked with both, he said, “I’m a fairly paradoxical person; part hopeless romantic and part die-hard cynic. When I’m writing Blue Beetle, I have to fight to keep things from getting too ugly and too negative, and when I’m writing Run!, I have to fight to keep things from getting too nice. One great thing about bad guys is that, like the jester in the king’s court, they get to say the things that the good guys aren’t allowed to say. They get to make the tasteless jokes, mock people, and revel in absurdity; all of which lends itself to snappy dialog and funny moments. That’s one of the things that makes writing Jack of Fables so much fun, by the way – he’s a villain who, in his own mind, is the romantic lead. He’s the perfect character for me to write.”

The miniseries will be illustrated by Freddie Williams III (Robin). “I’ve been dying to work with [him] since I first saw his work on Robin a couple of years ago,’ Sturges gushed. “He’s just the right guy for the job.

After Run!, the writer will work on a new DCU project the details of which he refused to divulge.

‘Ultimatum’ #1 #1 in November

‘Ultimatum’ #1 #1 in November

The November numbers are in and ICv2 notes that sales of the top 300 titles fell 11% compared with a year ago.  They note that with DC Comics and Marvel Comics skipping issues of Secret Invasion, Final Crisis, New Avengers, Mighty Avengers, Astonishing X-Men, and Justice League of America, there’s little wonder.

Only two titles — Marvel’s Ultimatum #1 and DC’s Batman #681 – cracked the 100,000 unit marks based on numbers provided by Diamond Comics Distributors, the fewest since March.

Marvel had 14 of the top 25 titles, DC 10, and Dark Horse one. 

Looking over the list, it’s interesting to note that beyond events and new titles, several mainline books continue to bring in readers because the content seems to be consistently entertaining month after month as exemplified by Amazing Spider-Man and Captain America being in the Top 10. The most popular creators do seem to translate to best sales making it all the more important for creative team consistency month to month.

Here are ICv2’s estimates of the sales by Diamond Comic Distributors to comic stores on the top 25 comic titles in November:

114,230           Ultimatum #1
103,151           Batman #681 (RIP)
  90,776           Hulk #8
  88,910           Wolverine #69
  77,773           Uncanny X-Men #504
  76,625           Amazing Spider-Man #577
  75,493           Captain America #44
  74,202           Buffy the Vampire Slayer #19
  72,862           JSA: Kingdom Come Special Superman #1
  71,355           Justice Society of America #20
  69,522           Batman: Cacophony #1
  68,956           Amazing Spider-Man #576
  66,564           Amazing Spider-Man #578
  64,196           Detective Comics #850 (RIP)
  63,512           X-Men Legacy #218
  61,331           Fantastic Four #561
  58,547           Action Comics #871
  58,279           Dark Tower: Treachery #3
  57,241           X-Force #9
  57,205           JSA: Kingdom Come Special Kingdom #1
  56,931           Final Crisis: Resist #1
  56,224           Avengers / Invaders #6
  55,560           JSA: Kingdom Come Special Magog #1

Review: ‘Batman’ #681

Review: ‘Batman’ #681

The nature of super-hero comics (and serial storytelling in TV as well) has become an incestuous thing, one that feeds on its own cast of characters, no matter how wrongheaded it might seem. In any given story arc, the reader (and the viewer) has been trained to expect The Last Person You’d Ever Expect (fill in the name of your favorite Beloved Supporting Character) to be revealed as the villainous mastermind. And/or salacious details about Our Hero. Dark secrets that threaten the very underpinnings of the lead characters’ being. The promise of certain death for players who’ve existed for decades. (No, really. We mean it!)
The pleasure in last week’s wrap-up to [[[Batman R.I.P.]]] was in the way Grant Morrison mocked all that. Consider yourself under a Spoiler Warning for the duration of this column.
At its best, the story was a love letter to Batman as he ought to be — prepared to a degree that anyone else would find ludicrous (as in a terrific flashback sequence) and uncompromising in the face of threats against the reputation of his family name. Watching him emerge from an inescapable deathtrap and wade through all comers was quite satisfying after months of questioning whether Batman had lost it.
Just as 1993-1994’s [[[Knightfall]]] arc gave us the ultra-violent Batman that a fringe of fandom imagined they wanted, R.I.P. delivered the story formula that readers have been conditioned to expect. And then, in the final act, Morrison pulled the rug out from under them. Think that the Black Glove was going to stand unmasked as Thomas Wayne, the father of Bruce who’d faked death and became a criminal mastermind? Lies. All lies. Waiting for the culmination of Batman’s mental breakdown? Didn’t happen (at least not to the degree it seemed). He was acting! (Thanks, Alfred!) And that caped-and-cowled, ready-for-slabbing corpse? No body.
I can’t help but think, too, that Morrison’s treatment of the Joker reflects a bit on the villain’s usage in the wider DC Comics line. In Morrison’s first issue (#655), the character was casually defeated by a nut in a Batman costume who shot him in the face. And in this climax, his fate was even more dismissive: He was accidentally run off the road and killed (yeah, right) by a speeding Batmobile driven by the deranged Damian. The two scenes struck me as a statement of sorts on the sheer over-saturation of the Joker, a villain who’s appeared in 44 comics in 2008 alone! A character that almost anyone in the DC Universe can hold their own against is a character who can be sucker-punched by nutty Batman wannabes. Couple that with his ubiquitous presence in Bat-books proper and the persistence in characterizing the Joker as the biggest and most unstoppable mad-murderer in history and you have a Batman who’s rather ineffectual, too. But I digress.