This month, Rand Bellavia takes a look at his growing longbox, and reflects on comics released in August 2016.

Batman 5: I am Gotham Part Five

writer: Tom King
pencils: David Finch
inks: Matt Banning and Danny Miki
colors: Jordie Bellaire
lettering: John Workman

This is one of my favorite openings of a Batman comic ever:

Why can’t they publish an entire series of Alfred talking to Thomas Wayne’s ghost while sadly donning a Batman costume?

Needless to say, the Batmobile fails to stop Gotham, and Gotham is not fooled by Alfred’s clever disguise.

Unsurprisingly, Batman is less afraid of (and less patient with) Gotham.

And he does.

That’s a cool page and all, but there are more pages left in this issue, so we all know that won’t put Gotham down.

In case you didn’t figure out who “the call” was to:

The Flintstones 2: Buyer Beware

writer: Mark Russell
artist: Steve Pugh
colorist: Chris Chuckry
letterer: Dave Sharpe

This issue is about religion and consumerism, and how we often try to use both to fill the perceived void in our lives.

The First Church of Animism is having trouble finding a god the residents of Bedrock can get behind.

Fred does some shopping on the way home from church, and Wilma has an encounter with their new god.

Turns out that the leaders of the Reformed First Church of Animism are Unitarians.

All good religions learn to think outside the box.

As Fred loses faith in the church, he finds himself spending more of his time, energy, and money on stuff.  This proves to be as unsatisfying as it is financially unsustainable, and Wilma layers on the wisdom.

One of most enjoyable aspects of this Flintstones run is how Mark Russell manages to explain a lot of the logical inconsistencies baked into the concept.  For instance, there are many animals living with Fred and Wilma as appliances, so how is Dino lucky enough to be their pet?

Vision 10: All Will Return to Normal

writer: Tom King
artist: Gabriel Hernandez Walta
color artist: Jordie Bellaire
letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles

Lest you think this column is turning into the Tom King/Mark Russell Batman/Flintstones Hour, I give you The Vision (which granted, was also written by Tom King).

In this series, Vision has created a family in an effort to learn more about human life.  His son Vin was killed by The Grim Reaper.  Vision seeks out his daughter Viv, knowing that she may have trouble processing the grief.

When I first saw this page I thought of these lines from the Amiri Baraka poem “Preface to a Twenty-Volume Suicide Note”:
And then last night, I tiptoed up
To my daughter’s room and heard her
Talking to someone, and when I opened
The door, there was no one there…
Only she on her knees, peeking into
Her own clasped hands.
Many have lauded the philosophical underpinnings of Tom King’s Mister Miracle, but I think the following page is as powerful and thought-provoking as anything from that series.

But will it be fine, Vision?

No big surprise, but it turns out Vision is having trouble processing the grief as well.  This, of course, makes them more — not less — human.


Other Comics I Read from August 2016

  • 4000AD: War Mother
  • Afterlife With Archie 10
  • Aliens: Defiance 3, 4
  • All-New Wolverine 11, Annual 1
  • All-New, All-Different Avengers 13, Annual 1
  • All-Star Batman 1
  • Amazing Spider-Man 16, 17
  • Archie 11
  • Batman 4
  • Black Hammer 2
  • Black Road 5
  • Black Widow 6
  • Bloodshot Reborn 16
  • Briggs Land 1
  • Captain Marvel 8
  • Chew 57
  • Civil War II: Amazing Spider-Man 3
  • Civil War II: Kingpin 2
  • Clean Room 11
  • Daredevil 10, Annual 1
  • Daredevil/Punisher 4
  • Descender 14
  • Detective Comics 938, 939
  • Discipline 6
  • Doctor Strange 10
  • East of West 29
  • Eden’s Fall 1
  • Empress 5
  • Faith 2
  • The Fallen 1
  • Generation Zero 1
  • Guardians of the Galaxy 11
  • Howard the Duck 10
  • I Hate Fairyland 8
  • International Iron Man 6
  • Invincible 130
  • Invincible Iron Man 12
  • Jughead 8
  • Jupiter’s Legacy 3
  • Kill or Be Killed 1
  • Kingsway West 1
  • Lazarus 24
  • Mighty Thor 10
  • Mockingbird 6
  • Moon Knight 5
  • Ms. Marvel 10
  • Nighthawk 4
  • Ninjak 18
  • Old Man Logan 10
  • Paper Girls 8
  • Postal 14
  • Power Man and Iron Fist 7
  • Punisher 4
  • Saga 37
  • Sheriff of Babylon 9
  • Six-Pack and Dogwelder: Hard Travelin’ Heroz 1
  • Spider-Man 7
  • Spider-Woman 10
  • Spread 15
  • Superman 4, 5
  • Thief of Thieves 34
  • Trees 14
  • Walking Dead 157
  • Weird Detective 3
  • Wicked + the Divine 22
  • Wonder Woman 4, 5
  • World of Tanks 1

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About Author

Rand Bellavia is half of the Filk Pop Nerd Rock band Ookla the Mok. They’ve been playing at science fiction and comic book conventions since 1994. Their clever, media-savvy lyrics, catchy melodies, and accessible power-pop sound have made them a cult-sensation with nerds everywhere. With song titles like Super Powers, Welcome to the Con, Arthur Curry, Kang the Conqueror, and Stop Talking About Comic Books or I’ll Kill You, it’s easy to see why. Rand and Ookla the Mok have won four Pegasus Awards, and the 2014 Logan Award for Outstanding Original Comedy Song. Ookla the Mok had the most requested song on Dr. Demento in 2012 (“Tantric Yoda”) and 2013 (“Mwahaha”). Rand co-wrote the theme song for the Disney cartoon Fillmore, and his vocals are the first thing you hear on Gym Class Heroes’ Top Five hit “Cupid’s Chokehold.” In his secret identity, Rand is the Director of the Montante Library at D’Youville College in Buffalo, New York. He has lectured and presented at international conferences on the subject of comics and libraries. Rand is like the Internet, except he smells nice.

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