After an age forcing myself to read Marvel titles (and, to my surprise, actually rather enjoying them), I went back to DC to reassure myself that there was still good stuff to be had from the imprint. While in the abstract, I've been 50/50 on Huntress and shakily in favor of the Dick Grayson/Damian Wayne Batman/Robin, I hadn't really given any of that much thought. Until now! After a slightly wobbly start, “Leviathan” (written by Chris Yost), “In the Bleak Midwinter” and “The Heroes/Final Cut” (written by Paul Dini), and “Hardcore Nights” (written by Mike Benson) quite sold me and made me feel all comfy in my DC universe again. I know I'm always in safe territory with Dini, and Dustin Nguyen's art I'd grown to admire (check out the unbridled amazingness of his watercolor issue covers).
I've never quite understood what Huntress' problem is, but it's difficult not to empathize with her inferiority complex. There's an appearance from Man-Bat, and for someone who spent most of her TDK fan fic writing about how corrupt and cynical Gotham was, it's a real joy to be able to experience the happy ending in “Leviathan,” courtesy Father Mark.
Dick and Damian make a really charming team (despite my misgivings about Damian from when he first showed up). My favorite moment is probably during their Christmas hijinks.
DAMIAN: Nah, I like it [Christmas] fine. Mother usually gets me something—jetliner, hydrofoil, I got a private island last year—DICK: And I used to think it was a big Christmas if Bruce allowed Alfred to make eggnog.DAMIAN: You get better stuff if you're a real son.DICK: Ah.
You miss Bruce, but then sometimes, you don't.
“In the Bleak Midwinter” has really amazing snow effects and a slightly time-spinning rendition of “Past Three O'Clock,” one of the English language's most underrated carols. “Hardcore Nights” was interesting and kept me guessing, but I preferred the way The Cat and the Bat did the sleazy, sexy club scene bit. I like the way Dick-incognito is drawn, though.
I loved “The Heroes”/ “Final Cut”; very original and an unexpected way for Damian to shine (he looks a bit like Pinocchio from Fables). There's a cameo from the Scarecrow and an homage (or coincidence?) to Joseph Gordon Levitt's character in TDKR. I don't even mind that the whole thing is ludicrous even by Batman standards.