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Mel’s Muses: Batman #8, The Avengers Vs. X-Men #2 and Free Comic Book Day

There’s a lot of cool stuff to look forward to in comics in the coming weeks. We’ll first dive into a couple of major crossover events that are really picking the pace and then check out what’s in store for Singapore fans at this year’s Free Comic Book Day.

Batman #8. Yah, I know this isn’t the first time I’m raving about how much I’m thoroughly enjoying writer Scott Snyder’s (American Vampire) and artist Greg Capullo’s (Spawn) Batman title but this is the opening salvo to the Bat-title crossover event, Night of the Owls.

Following the last seven issues where we learned the sinister origin of the Court of Owls and its historical links to Gotham City, a psychologically and physically wounded Batman has retreated to the Batcave to recuperate. This opening chapter to the Night of the Owls sees the Court sending their army of undead assassins, the Talons, on a killing spree across the city. Prominent Gotham citizens are targeted and that includes a certain billionaire playboy with a secret identity.

What happens next is Bruce Wayne doing a damn fine impression of Bruce Willis from the original Die Hard. Trapped in Wayne Manor, our hero leaps and fights his way through a gang of elite killers with hardly any weapons in hand, barefoot and in a dressing gown. Non-stop and fast-paced action like what you would expect in a Batman title, well, maybe except for the dressing gown.

What I really like is how Snyder has crafted a whole new chapter to the Bat mythos while adding new layers to the old ones, like how it was revealed that Dick Grayson was originally picked to be a Talon by the Owls back when he was just a circus kid. Snyder built the foundation to the Court of Owls in the mini-series Gates of Gotham and it’s amazing how he expanded that into a major Bat crossover event. Unlike Batman’s madcap Arknam villains, this is a huge organized group of murderous criminals with a masterplan dating back over a century as well as army of zombie hitmen. It’s no surprise that fans at Comic Book Resources picked it as the Best New Series of 2011. This can only get better.

The back-up story by Snyder and James Tynion IV with stunning art by Rafael Albuquerque (American Vampire) is also a winner. The spotlight turns to Alfred as he calls in the rest of the Bat family and sets up the crossover between the various titles. This short but significant story flows nicely and organically from the main one, and helps pushes the event into high gear.

The Avengers Vs. X-Men #2. Finally we got to the ‘versus’ part of Avengers Vs. X-Men in this second issue of the mini-series.

A marked improvement over last fortnight’s ‘talking heads’ issue, we now have the promised fight between the two teams. It’s a fast moving and enjoyable issue with script by Jason Aaron and John Romita Jr. handling the pencils. Various heroes pair off and although the whole thing reminded me more of a barroom brawl instead of tactical battle between two of the best combat strategists in the Marvel Universe, Cyclops and Captain America, I still got a kick out of watching the heroes duke it out.

My only problem with the issue is when I started to re-read it a couple more times, and I began to notice minor continuity or behavioral inconsistencies. Nothing major to ruin the issue but things like totally ignoring Iron Man’s current events in his title, Black Panther and Storm throwing their marriage out the window in just two panels? No way that’s actually happening. Also, Romita Jr.’s art here looks very rushed and some of the characters’ proportions just seemed more than a little off.

It’s still a good read that delivers what the title promises, a decent fight issue. Grab it quick before it reverts to another ‘talking heads’ issue again!

We are only a couple weeks away from Free Comic Book Day and local comic book store G&B has a couple of cool events lined up on 5 May Saturday.

Drop by their store at Rocher Centre #02-500 for your free comics as well as meet hot DC Comics artists Nicola Scott (Earth 2, Birds of Prey) and Ardian Syaff (Batgirl) between 10am and 1pm. Then head to The Cathay lobby for more exciting comic book events between 3pm and 5pm. We’ll keep you updated closer to the date!


Melvin Yong has worked way too long in the media and advertising industry. He now spends his time with his family, writing short horror stories and playing lots of board games.

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