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

Rand Bellavia is back to share his fond memories of decades of comic collecting and reading in this month’s Random Access Memory.

Batman Rebirth #1: I Am Gotham

story: Tom King
pencils: David Finch
inks: Matt Banning
colors: Jordie Bellaire
lettering: John Workman

This was Rebirth Month at DC, and all their books were relaunched with both a “Rebirth” issue and a new number one.  Batman’s Rebirth issue was both Tom King’s first issue and Scott Snyder’s last issue (they co-wrote it).  King’s run begins in earnest here.

A runaway plane is going to land in downtown Gotham and only Batman can stop it!

King immediately establishes one of my favorite aspects of his run: Alfred’s bone dry sense of humor.  This isn’t a new addition to his character, but here Alfred’s jokes are consistently at Bruce’s expense — frequently implying that Bruce is less than sane.

Gordon’s sarcasm reveals that — like Alfred — he is perhaps too familiar with Batman’s casually fantastic actions.  While this could serve to make the situation less harrowing, it is clear that they are both deeply concerned about Bruce’s physical and mental health, but know the man well enough to realize that there’s not much they can do other than bear witness and throw in a dad joke once in a while.

Rather than focus on Batman as an urban legend or the guy who prepares for/has been through everything, King immediately frames Batman through the eyes of the non-superheroes who work with him on a regular basis.

This scene references two classic Batman moments:  Bruce’s interest in a “good death” was first seen in the opening scene of The Dark Knight Returns, and his concern about making his parents proud (as well as Alfred’s sadness at the absurd notion that Bruce’s dressing up as a bat would be what his parents wanted for him) is straight from the Mask of the Phantasm animated feature film.

Just before impact, something stops the plane from crashing.  Bruce assumes it was Superman, but he was saved by characters that we (and Batman) are meeting for the first time.

Divinity II: Book Three

writer: Matt Kindt
penciler: Trevor Hairsine
inker: Ryan Winn
colorist: David Baron
letterer: Dave Lamphear

This is the from the second of three four-issue series that (along with a few one-shots and the Eternity mini-series) tell a complete story.  It is all very good and worth your time, but I’m here to point out this brilliant time travel analogy:

The art reinforces the words, while also making sure we understand the meta reference of “time as comic book page” that Grant Morrison has been going on and on about for the last 30 years.

And I’m not sure if this was intentional or not, but that last line intimates a scene from Morrison’s Animal Man, when Buddy (while time-traveling) realizes that the warning message written on “breath on a pane of glass” was left by him.

Wonder Woman Rebirth

writer: Greg Rucka
pencilers: Matthew Clark, Liam Sharp
inkers: Sean Parsons, Liam Sharp
colorists: Jeremy Colwell, Laura Martin
letterer: Jodie Wynne

This Rebirth issue branched into “The Lies” and “Wonder Woman: Year One,” two stories which were published in alternating issues, so as Wonder Woman learned the truth about herself in the present (in “The Lies”) we were seeing it unfold in real time in the past (in “Year One”).

Her journey begins with the brilliant notion of Diana using her lasso of truth on herself.

Wonder Woman has often been written as both a warrior and a bringer of peace.

Superman can keep Justice and the American Way, but he’d do well to cede Truth to Diana.

Other Comics I Read from June 2016

  • All-New Wolverine 9
  • All-New, All-Different Avengers 10
  • Amazing Spider-Man 13, 14
  • Archie 9
  • Batman Rebirth
  • Bitch Planet 8
  • Black Road 3
  • Black Widow 4
  • Bloodshot Reborn 14, 4001 AD
  • Captain Marvel 6
  • Casanova: Acedia 5
  • Circuit Breaker 3
  • Civil War II 1, 2
  • Civil War II: Amazing Spider-Man 1
  • Clean Room 8
  • Daredevil 8
  • Daredevil/Punisher 2
  • Dark Night: A True Batman Story
  • Deadly Class 21
  • Deadpool 13
  • Detective Comics 934, 935
  • Discipline 4
  • Doctor Strange 9
  • East of West 27
  • Empress 3
  • The Fix 3
  • Goddamned 4
  • Green Lantern Corps: Edge of Oblivion 6
  • Guardians of the Galaxy 9
  • Howard the Duck 8
  • I Hate Fairyland 6
  • Injection 10
  • International Iron Man 4
  • Invincible 129
  • Invincible Iron Man 10
  • Invisible Republic 10
  • Jughead 7
  • Lazarus 22
  • Mighty Thor 8
  • Mockingbird 4
  • Moon Knight 3
  • Ms. Marvel 8
  • New Romancer 6
  • Nighthawk 2
  • Ninjak 16
  • Nowhere Man 10
  • Old Man Logan 7
  • Paper Girls 6
  • Plutona 5
  • Power Man and Iron Fist 5
  • Punisher 2
  • Revival 40
  • Rocket Raccoon and Groot 6
  • Scarlet 10
  • Sheriff of Babylon 7
  • Spider-Man 5
  • Starve 10
  • Superman 1, Reborn
  • Thief of Thieves 32
  • Totally Awesome Hulk 7
  • Vision 8
  • Weird Detective 1
  • Wicked + the Divine 20
  • Wolf 8
  • Wonder Woman 1
  • X-Men: Worst X-Man Ever 5

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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