Monday, December 19, 2011


It comes Wednesday. In honor of that, I'm doing a re-read and taking notes on everything Incorporated has given us so far and trying to piece a few things together, so starting from the beginning, here are some new observations:

- Bruce says "That's it!" (I shall become a Bat) when the bat flies into his window. Later when Kathy Kane realizes how to infiltrate Batman by becoming Batwoman, she too says "That's it!"
- Bruce tells Oracle she'll be able to "customize her avatar", and sure enough, Scott Clark's digital version of Batgirl-Oracle is nothing like David Finch's.
- Bruce mentions Internet 3.0, Batgirl going to England, and wanting 1000 G.I. Robot Bat-Knights by Spring. We've just had "Nightmares in Numberland, and are now going to School of Night, then Leviathan Strikes, where the robot army will come into play.
- The Heretic is possibly a "traitor" former member of the Super-Kollektiv.

- Sivana's lab is not necessarily in Tokyo. I just assumed it was because the rest of the issue is, and it features robots.
- Project X, still no idea what it's for, although if Oroboro is laser-based, I can see a use for a diamond-like prism.
- Batman is CONSISTENTLY not the first person to discover anything. Super-Kollektiv raids Farouk's gene-splice facility first. U.S. agents raid Sivana's lab. Death Man finds Mister Unknown first. The list goes on.
- Three John Does, Three Unknowns, Three Blind Assassins/Mice (Dr. No!), Three Orphans, Three Letters, Three Dead Snipers, Three sections of that one motif. Three Batmen. Three Kanes.
- Batman uses several gadgets and got out of several jams COMPLETELY UNEXPLAINED that seemed new to me as a comics reader. Once I played through and beat the Batman: Arkham Asylum and Arkham City games I no longer was confused that Batman had sonic batarangs capable of shattering glass windows (or explosive gel), or that he had a "device that could hack local security systems with less tech than a cell phone". I've used all those gadgets before. I know Batman has them.

- Dedalus's cloak, as we've learned from the Leviathan Strikes preview, is a memory-leech, and gives those exposed to it the symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease. Holes in the memory. Time disorientation. This now explains KNIGHT's dizzying predicament in the Victory Vs flashback, as well as how he turned the "decoy Dedalus" into an amnesiac.
- The Hood refers to his boss, "Matron", as having one beady eye. Could it be Captain Carnation, survived?
- Scorpiana's blue scorpions actually kill ALL of El Papagayo's henchmen that Batman and Gaucho knocked out non-lethally. Oops!
- Oro is gold, yellow.
- Morrison cuts from "That's it!" to "I shall become a ..." except it's Sombrero, and instead of "Bat" he says "Monster of Villainy".
- It stands to reason that The Hood's spy organization, "T.H.E.Y.", led by "Matron", is the REPLACEMENT spy agency for Spyral, since Spyral turned out to be a problem.
- Hood really does stick to the "Robin Hood" namesake, giving all his earnings to the underprivileged. Spy for the rich, give to the poor? His mission is almost identical to the mission Dedalus sent Kathy Kane on - infiltrate Batman's operation.
- Batwoman vs. Scorpiana is still the best fight scene I've ever seen.
- NATO Marines were PSY-OPS, psychological warfare, which makes sense if the enemy they're dealing with has an "ULTIMATE WEAPON" that is actually rooted in "PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE", which is ultra-appropriate for Batman to deal with.

Jake Kane, and the Argentines, imply that "Oroboro" is WITH (or within) Doctor Dedalus.

If Doctor Dedalus' cloak of smoke has the power to exert Alzheimer's-like dementia on people on a huge scale ... that could easily be the ULTIMATE WEAPON. "Oroboro" has already been related, the snake eating its own tail, to Alzheimers and memory loss and the mind going in circles. Therefore, "Oroboro" could easily be the codeword for a weapon that erases the minds of billions of people. And "mind-erasing drugs" are already an epidemic in Morrison's Batman comics, whether it be the flashbacks to the 50's era mind-bending drugs and references to Hugo Strange, Scarecrow, Mad Hatter and Achilles Milo, Doctor Hurt's expertise in psychology, Professor Pyg's mind-altering drugs which we now learn are connected to Dedalus' Alzheimer's effects, and the brain-washing drugs Leviathan is using to create zombified terrorist soldiers out of children.

- "Leviathan" refers to Otto Netz as "HERR DOCTOR". The ONLY other person who called him that is ADOLF HITLER HIMSELF. Food for thought, Leviathan COULD be Hitler.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The School of Night

I haven't much to say yet.

The one ray of light following the end of Bryan Q. Miller's Stephanie Brown driven Batgirl book is that the follow-up writer for Stephanie is Grant Morrison. So she's going back to being Spoiler ... this is fine. Her Batgirl costume, though it grew on us, was pretty garish. So was her Spoiler costume.

The ideal thought here ... the take home for today ... is my curiosity on whether it's Cam Stewart or Chris Burnham, or Grant hisself gets to redesign Spoiler, and I'll take one of those boys super-hero style sensibilities any day.

(I'd make it easy on 'em ... something of the same costume she's been wearing ... ditch the bat-symbol off the chest in favor of a small "Inc." badge on the clasp of the cape. Bring back the hooded look, but not the full-face mask look. Leave that platinum blond look exposed. Shore up the silly belt and thigh pouch. Keep homaging the 60's Batgirl TV costume's levels of purple. Voila.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Batman, Incorporated is getting all kinds of sporadic here, but there's really a lot more meat in this particular issue's script than the kind of CGI static, slightly dated looking, I'd rather have had less of a throwback in art and something more substantial, classic and dynamic than this artwork would lead you to believe.

The Batman & Oracle team-up is good. They're both entirely competent, Bruce figuring out how to battle crime in cyberspace and maintain order in a highly action-packed board meeting while Oracle just runs around like she owns the place. But I feel like the disconnect in the artwork (Not to mention the fact that Barbara's avatar looks nothing like the sleek design David Finch speculated back in Batman: The Return. I rather wish Finch, or someone better still (Burnham!) had drawn this chapter. Some "computer world effects" could have been added later and with more discretion.) anyway, disconnect in the artwork all but kills any cool emotional beats from the characters ... the "locked room mystery"/"corporate board meeting" elements of the guest characters, and the classical beats we usually get from Bruce and Barbara - Batman's grim expressions in his eyes, his knowing glares, furrowed brows, a smirk here, a stern face there. And Barbara's quirks as well - grins when she kicks ass, particularly since she gets to simulate riding and running and being out of the chair in this environment. In fact, as such a staple of Barbara Gordon iconography, I almost wish this issue had been drawn by Marcos Martin of Batgirl: Year One fame.

Despite that, though ... on to the meat. For starters, there's our cast of "suspects" in this almost parlour game scenario ... this almost R.I.P. fashioned "murder mystery" without a murder. Some twisted "Game of Clue" as Grayson referred to Joker's antics. And here we have the usual suspects, although in place of Miss Scarlet, Col. Mustard, Mrs. White, Mr. Green, Mrs. Peacock and Prof. Plum we have Mz. Bourgeois, Mr. Zamaroff, Mr. Tanaka, Mr. Chun Wei, Mr. Velocet, and Dr. Solomon.

Nothing particularly noteworthy about their names - Morrison chose names that suited rich capitalists. "Bourgeois" being an old French land-owning name (Possibly influenced by its common etymology with "Burgess", as in "Burgess Meredith".). Solomon a traditional Biblical name fit for a doctor. Chun Wei rooted in some very, very old Chinese nomadic tribes. And so forth. One may link Mr. Ari Zamaroff's mention of the Russian neighborhood he grew up in (which was apparently a war zone) with the hellish places Leviathan is breeding in.

Nothing particularly surprising about a Japanese electronics guy being the one responsible for the evil video-game inspired assault either, although we'll get to more about Mr. Tanaka later, right from the get-go one sees he's a bit of a pastiche of a lot of Morrison's Japanese interests - name probably taken from Tiger Tanaka of James Bond fame, useful as it's common as Smith or Johnson is here. Video-game expert. Electronics mogul. That sort of thing. He'd have been an ideal Black Glove member, but again, more on that later. Suffice it to say Leviathan is certainly sharing certain themes with S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Tanaka ends up being something of a cliche, but he's a well-rounded cliche at least.

The Worm Captain is another story. The tech-savvy will clarify that a Worm
in computer parlance is a self-propagating (breeding) piece of malicious software (malware). So the Worm Captain operates just like Leviathan. It's almost assured that it's something they released. The symbolism works beautifully, as "worm" equates to "Leviathan", "Serpent", "Oroboros", "Dragon", "Snake". A new kind of Devil. As for "Captain", it indicates that this is the leader, or best (worst) Worm. The word Captain also stems from Latinate "Caput", which means "Head", which ties nicely to the hydra-like idea of cutting off a worm's head, only for it to grow back, or grow back twice, or cutting the head off a snake. Anyway, the Worm Captain operates in digital space almost exactly how Leviathan is operating in the real world. The methods are the same as those mentioned by Doctor Dedalus. Infiltrate. The Worm. Is everywhere. The Worm. Owns everyone. The Worm. Is everything.

A zombie virus label indicates that the Worm Captain doesn't just self-propagate, it creates zombies (it gets into other computers, and then uses them like carriers (called "Zombies" by tecnos) to spread itself further). This would be how Tanaka has accessed/hijacked the computer systems of all the people in that virtual board meeting, and can access and fuck around with their financial data/fortunes. If their avatars get killed, their computer operating systems become zombies, and basically Tanaka is the necromancer. Interestingly, this ties quite nicely to Morrison's common voodoo theme as utilized by The Joker in his Gravedigger guise, where Shakespeare meets Baron Samedi. (See also: Inc. # 6 where Tim faces off with his grudge-foe, the voodoo shaman Obeah Man.)

The mutation engine is more commonly known as a polymorphic engine. "Mutation engine" certainly sounds cooler in a comic book, and not that many people know what polymorphic means, so it makes sense to have Oracle describe it as polymorphic, then use "mutation", since we all understand that word.

A mutation engine is most commonly used in a virus. It transforms a program, typically a benign program - anything in Internet 3.0 ... the blimp for instance - into basically a copy of itself with the same function, only completely rewritten so that the malware virus has a built-in hiding spot inside preexisting programs. Tanaka must thereby log on, carrying the Worm Captain malware with himself as the Trojan Horse, whereupon it mutates something else in Internet 3.0 to conceal itself within and can be used for whatever he wants to use it for (for instance turning himself into a boss battle.) Barbara must be using one hell of a Search & Destroy program.

Tanaka eventually basically repeats the same words of Leviathan, and particularly Sam Black Elk the Red Rippa last issue when he claims "Wherever the standard of the Bat rises! It will be torn down!"

Judgment in Hell City 666.
Not-so-subtle reference to Batman # 666 and Batman # 700, the dystopian future Hell occupied by Batman (Damian Wayne) and sure as shit ... Barbara Gordon is in charge there too, as Commissioner of the GCPD.

Note that in Batman # 666 Damian actually has to deal with "Judgment in Hell City 666", and in Batman # 700 Damian has to deal with a mutating digital Joker virus (in addition to a real one - Jokerized Monster Men) that got into Gotham's computerized weather control grid. Then, One Million issues in the future, Batman One Million and Robin the Toy Wonder have to face off against an evolution of the same digital Joker virus. Real life and digital life become more and more interrelated in each progressive future. In fact, Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker also features Joker taking control of Tim Drake's body via a digital device - the same digital Joker virus, mutated to actually affect "human operating systems"?

Ghost in the Box. This is a fun one, as it's literally Morrison combining the phrase Ghost in the Machine with Jack-in-the-Box. And it's a pretty sensible way to describe Tanaka's malware program. Fun story about Jack-in-the-Boxes - they have clowns or jesters inside, drawing an immediate connection to the digital Joker virus. But "Jack", besides being analogous to the Joker we know, and his further analogues, was also a fill-in for "Devil" (In France, it's called a "Boxed Devil" based on an old wive's tale. And hey ... didn't Bruce Wayne trap the Devil (Darkseid) in his own ancestor box? And didn't The Joker trap the OTHER Devil (Doctor Hurt) in a pine box?)

(Additionally, I'm quite reminded of Futurama, where Bender the Robot dreams of ones and zeroes ... and has superstitious nightmares where he "thought he saw a two". Devil is double is deuce, after all.)

Or maybe Damian's 666 future is just him playing as an avatar in some freaky simulation. Barbara mentions "seven years ago" and one half expects that time-period to have some importance. It could (and I'll do the math later) wind up being around the same time Doctor Dedalus is imprisoned during the DCU Falklands War, very early in Batman's career, or while Kathy Kane is operating as Batwoman. In fact, the way Zamaroff mentions that the entire evil simulation reminds him of some Eighties cheap game almost guarantees that it happened during the Dedalus Mission by Percival Sheldrake and the Victory Vs.

Grinder of Souls (IE: Soul Grinder) and Angel are two extremely powerful units in your various RPGs and MMORPGs, Soul Grinder in particular being relatable to WarHammer 40,000. Apparently Judgment in Hell City 666 creature Tanaka used some of the classic staples.

"Ultimate price" proves to be quite literal, as Tanaka literally intends to steal all of their billions and finance terrorism with it. Slight Casino Royale vibe there (high stakes game, terrorists get the money, Tanaka is a bit Le Chifre.)

Digital Justice is in blatant reference to the previous CGI graphics 1990 Batman: Digital Justice mini-series that this entire issue homages. And unsurprisingly at this point, that also featured a sentient Joker virus. Barbara's ex-librarian comment references her history as a character, but especially memorable because of its use in Batman '66, where Babs the Librarian was made common knowledge.

"Mazes. Webs. Nets," is an easy transition to Kathy Webb and Otto Netz.

And of course, the biggest, most obvious revelation is that the nation of Mtamba, where Jezebel Jet hails from, is the birthplace of Leviathan, instantly connecting Leviathan to Jet, who was a member of the Black Glove. Rest assured Batwing will be on the front lines of any operations there, thus connecting him into the whole Jezebel Jet storyline. One wonders if the Ten-Eyed Men of the Ghost Quarter might factor in as well.

But the key thing to take note of I believe, is the over-arcing similarity between how Tanaka attempts to "judge" all the investors in this digital board meeting parlour game, in much the same way the Black Glove operated. Hell/Satan/Devil imagery. "Your sins have found you out" dialogue. His talk about being a "billionaire" and taking real risks. He sounds just like John Mayhew (Gaucho mentioned Mayhew again as well, comparing Wayne to him, but here we see Wayne once more stacked against a guy like Mayhew, a bad billionaire, and Bruce succeeds and the other investors are bettered by his leadership, instead of corrupted.) or other former Black Glove members. Like some weird Black Glove Parody in cyber-space. Anyway, here we have another "Black Glove" connection to Leviathan, perhaps the strongest yet since Club of Villains members Scorpiana and Sombrero fall more into the hired gun category.

With Doctor Hurt gone, these agents are moving on to the next Devil in line. Tanaka's ties to Jet, and Jet's ties to Leviathan aren't exactly concrete. We're not sure exactly what capacity, but we're sure there is a connection. Well ... unless Talia al Ghul has seized Jet's assets and joined Leviathan just to fuck with Bruce.

Anyway, see you next time for Leviathan Strikes, where Stephanie Brown infiltrates the School of Night, Finishing School for EVIL.

And if anyone can translate the funky numeric speak that Belle Bourgeois says when she's transformed into a dog, I'd love to know what it means (if anything).

Monday, June 27, 2011

"Then somehow Kathy's the reason we're all here?" - El Gaucho, Batman Incorporated # 5.

Doctor Dedalus. Batman. Batwoman. Gaucho. She's definitely the reason they're all there. Father, lover, lover, successor.

But what about The Hood? Why is The Hood there? I think it's possible to take Gaucho's words literally here, even though he's naive to The Hood's real motives. A super-spy. Working for T.H.E.Y., who we still know next to nothing about but who one imagines are a bit of every great pop culture British spy organization, in a world of super-heroes, probably founded by Sherlock Holmes at one point.

He works for a guy called Matron. What I'd never bothered to look up before is that the British Armed Forces never abandoned the term "Matron" and it's been used for male as well as female officers. (Also, of course, as I think has been mentioned elsewhere, Matrons are commonly associated with boarding houses. See: Batgirl's mission in Batman Incorporated # 9.) We can surely bet that Batgirl's mission to England will continue with the Brit angle Grant has been stringing along throughout his run, and it's likely enough beats from Knight, Squire, and highly likely The Hood will pick up there. I recall Paul Cornell wasn't permitted to use Dai Laffyn in his mini-series either ... so I wonder what the odds Dai turns up in the ninth issue will be.

But if Gaucho's remark is semi-literal, or meta-literal ... The Hood too is there because of Kathy Kane. Who we know from The Kane Affair was involved in all manner of espionage in her life, between flings, artistic endeavors and her marriage to Nathan and subsequent widowing and drafting by Spyral. I had to wonder if The Hood knew Kathy Kane personally as well. (Of course, if Kathy = Leviathan, that would explain the meta-literalness of the phrase as well.)


Lastly. Three PSY-OPS agents. What Batman does IS PSY-OPS. Using propaganda in warfare. Using bats, urban legends, rumor, darkness and fear to weaken his enemies. Colonel Kane called them "deep black", and black in US PSYWAR is used to designate the branch that is specifically used to deceive an enemy. Obviously deception is nothing new to Batman, Batman's enemies, Morrison, Morrison's run on Batman, yadda.

The question is, why would deceivers be the ones used to effectively be put on guard duty for Otto Netz? Highly trained guards can be found elsewhere. Do they need to be trained to recognize and look for deceptions? Possibly. Are they learning from their prisoner? Possibly. Or is there something more there?

Otto's conversation with Kathy seemed damn near a psychic chat in the middle of that acid trip freakout in the 60's. I don't believe he's psychic, but rather that Oroboro might give the psychic tools to somebody. OTTO is a palindrome as well. The old man - the fake Netz - spoke with his own voice, and only toward the end did we "learn" that it was a tape recorder.

I'd posit (today, anyway) that Netz was using his shadowy ability to speak through or control the fake Netz and then the tape recorder was more than just a little bit of duplicity to throw them off his trail having escaped.

We'll find out more soon. Like how Netz, Hood, Kathy and the super-spy angle ties with Leviathan and the continuing themes of "Super Drugs" and slavery we've been seeing.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Spending those summer days indoors is troublesome, but I've been getting a bit of work done to stay in practice, and decided to take a crack at remaking some Silver Age DC Comics covers with Morrison-run characters, but keeping that hammy 50's style. All part-and-parcel of a not-so-deep-seated wish to see Morrison's Red Hood storyline reimagined by an artist that isn't Philip Tan.

Beginning with a more blatant homage to Detective Comics # 164 than the full-page spread we got in Batman and Robin # 6.

More to come.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Flash vs. Substance.

Anyone reading a blog as obscure as mine knows DC's gone completely mental. Everything's gotta be updated for the kids of 2011, big style. I wasn't a kid that long ago* and I find the whole exercise (on the creative side - not the same day digital side, that's just good sense) pretty unnecessary. But I'm not without my opinions and I'm the mood to type endless ineffectual, unnecessary and inefficient amounts of opinion rather than writing something purposeful and productive.

* I wasn't a kid that long ago. I'm twenty-six years of age. While I'm certainly not a "new fan" (picked up plenty of KnightFall back in the mid-90's, couple of Huntress books, some Superman, whatever the local gas stations had that looked good when they were out of Ninja Turtles books) I AM when it comes to DC a "new reader". A few hometown friends of mine rekindled my Batman love when we were booking metal shows together and playing in lousy bands, and it took off to be something more of an entire DCU publication obsession. What can I say? I was EXACTLY the age Batman: The Animated Series, and the following entirety of the DCAU was made for. Watched it religiously, right up through JLU, which is where my Star Trek obsession was the gateway for those characters Trek actors voiced. (Jeffrey Combs "Question", Michael Dorn "Kalibak". Christ, hit up IMDB for the various guest star voices that show had. The casting is incredible, and genius, too.)

Of course when I say I'm commenting on all of it, I'm really just pointing out a few obvious things, or things that pique my interest. Hell with the rest.

I'd like to thank the Mindless Ones ... I can't even remember to call Geoff Johns anything but "Jeans" anymore, that's been grafted to my brain like the words ZUR EN ARRH.

Justice League.
It'll sell. I've recently done a lot of reading of the old 60's JLA title (part of a process of learning every Aquaman appearance ever) and have to say that that League is superior to all others except the Morrison-Waid era. Look, it's not the most diverse League ever, but that's not the point. The point is seeing the most popular ten or so characters - headliners - in an even bigger, more epic headline title. All those seven coming together back then must have been EPIC and nothing has quite recaptured that. I'll be reading it just for more Aquaman news. JeansJohns might be writing it, so I'm not looking for nuance. But he does "Big Earth Invasions" justice. Sinestro Corps War, Blackest Night, ANY of the Crises ... could have all been prefaced "Justice League: Event".

Justice League International.
This should be decent. I like Jurgens Booster Gold, and this feels like a direct follow-up to that, just absorbing some of Generation Lost (passable title) and hey, bringing in Morrison-creation August-General-In-Iron for some much needed different vantage points. Lopresti art is a lovely thing.

Justice League Dark.
I dig the idea of the JLA franchising. First off, it's a direct reflection of the zillion Avenger books out there, but also - being affiliated with the JLA gives credentials to these groups. Sure, Shadowpact is a great idea ... but who in DC trusts a group called that? Everyone trusts the Justice League. Milligan writing this cast of characters makes it guaranteed a try.

I don't care if it's Jeans. I'm an Aqua-whore. I'll be there.

Blue Beetle.
Bedard earned my readership with R.E.B.E.L.S. and Blue Beetle earned my like with Brave and Bold cartoons. I'll try # 1.

Wonder Woman.
Might Azzarello actually put some "wonder" back in it? Some "sensation"? Gail Simone got me into Wonder Woman, but I've never quite gotten hooked. I've re-read a lot of WW material from her entire history to try to figure out what makes her tick thinking if I could figure it, I'd write it and pitch it, but still haven't quite clicked it (I did find a lot of Atlantis material to swipe and donate to Aquaman though). Whatever. CLIFF CHIANG. I'll read it just to see his art.

Teen Titans.
On first glance this looks like a hot mess. 90's WildStormish costumes. Ridiculousness. I'm glad to see Tim Drake lead a book where he might finally not be a whiny little asshole but I hope he's not expecting to be less lame in that uniform. Further scans do seem to indicate it might be a sort of "Mainstream DCU" version of what's happening in the Young Justice cartoon though ... and that wouldn't be bad. They better bring in Aqualad fast if that's the case.

The Flash.
Manapul drawing speed without Jeans? I hear a lot of "Can Flash succeed without Jeans?" but I honestly think Barry Allen just caught a lucky break.

I had high hopes a Hawkman book I'd want to read was about to launch. Guess not.

Action Comics.
I really don't need to get into this, do I? Look to this Blog ... because I'm totally going to Blog about Moz Superman while we wait the requisite half-year gap between Incorporated volumes.

Does George Perez have anything to say about Superman I want to hear? I'm genuinely curious. And Jesus Merino is a sharp artist who grows month-to-month. Worth a look. Can't say the same about Superman's entourage without some reviews. No "Steel # 1" though? Worse still ... no "Lois Lane # 1"? No Lois title is unforgivable.

Animal Man & Frankenstein.
Lemire is sharp as a tack. Consider them read.

Swamp Thing & Batman.
Same goes for Snyder. Read and read.

Nightwing & Deathstroke.
Higgins is part of Snyder's league of compatriots. Gates of Gotham is solid character work and we're only one issue in. DC must have dug the next four chapters. Here's hoping by writing both titles Higgins can work in some of that Teen Titans Go! hatred for a crossover. I normally wouldn't look forward to a Deathstroke book. But I had a good memory remembering that time Dick Grayson put him down and out by giving him an actual "stroke" by shocking Damian.

Green Jeans.
I read Green Lantern. It's mindless. It's 1000 times too decompressed. But you know ... it's got this appeal where it's so stupid and obvious we can't imagine why we didn't already read these ideas back in the Gil Kane and Gardner Fox era. And I appreciate that kind of simplicity, even if its coming from Jeans and trying oh-so-hard to be complex. Tomasi on Gardner makes me smile, too. Maybe Tomasi will finally be the guy that makes John Stewart as interesting as he should be. Milligan's Red Lanterns book I think I'll surely read. Milligan writing a book about a vengeful space demon and his right-hand tomcat from the mean streets of New York City?

Legion & Legion.
I like Nicieza a lot. Red Robin has been good comics - it feels very much like an extension of the Dixon Robin series and 90's Bat Spin-Off Titles and I love that. I think he'll manage a subsect o f Legionnaires well. Pete Woods has already drawn this story before in the last year or less (See: Robinson, Rucka, Legion Espionage Team). Levitz feels like he never left Legion, which is good because Levitz Legion is what it is, and isn't ashamed of that. As a new reader, I never have any problem keeping up. Having read Jeans' Superman/Legion arc helps (Hell, Jeans' Action run was actually really simple and nice.) but at any rate ... Portela is good. Better than Cinar, and Cinar was headlining the damn thing.

Resurrection Man.
I feel like I know I "should" read it. But I won't. Weird scenario, right?

Suicide Squad.
Strike that, reverse it. I know I shouldn't, and I feel like it'd be spitting in Gail Simone's face because Secret Six ... and hell, her stints with the Squad ... were well-deserving of a follow-up in this slot. But I'm gonna read it regardless. Quinn makes sense here ... she's a psychiatrist of the criminally insane, after all.

Catwoman & Batwing.
Winick is a Jeans-man. His work is hit and miss, but never anything special. People did undervalue "Under the Hood", though. That story could have been far more efficient and elegant but it had the right ideas. "Lost Days" was bollocks and "Streets Run Red" has shit art but might actually manage an elegant follow-up to Morrison's more radical take on 90's-radical Todd. But is Winick on Todd come September? No. Weird, that. I'll try Batwing because I want to read about Jim Brown, Shaft, Ali and Super Fly combined beating the hell out of slavers, diamond robbers and warlords more. (Thanks Granty!) I'll try Catwoman because Winick seems to understand the "sexy" of Catwoman. I see nothing but Generation P/C yammering about what's appropriate and what's chauvinist, misogynistic, rude, lude, whatever. I don't think any of that applies to Catwoman. She's been Sex since Bob Kane introduced her and Batman spanked her and let her escape. I've seen the 60's Playboy pin-ups of Julie Newmar, damn it. I've recently rewatched Batman: The Movie '66 with Lee Meriwether purring and using Sex to mess with Bruce Wayne. Guillem March works for that.

Red Hood and the Junkies.
Number One gets a cursory glance from me. I can see Jaybird getting redeemed. Even Morrison mentioned he's redeemable. Roy Harper needs a new lease on life and I can only imagine the look on Dick Grayson's face when his ex-space princess girlfriend settles for Robin # 2, the next best boy wonder. Solid concept ... execution will mean everything.

All-Star Western.
More Gray & Palmiotti on Hex is good. DC would be stupid not to continue those stories.

I, Vampire.
Twilightmania officially Eclipses the DCU. They do have a solid chance to tell a vampire story that doesn't suck. Although just by the cover alone it looks more "Anne Rice" than I'd want. That's still a step up from Twilight, though - at least Rice's take was original. I want pure Lord Byron, hate and vulgarity. And unlike another major comics company, I want a Dracula who doesn't get jobbed. You don't job Dracula.

Last complaints. Jim Lee redesigned all these costumes? No. Cully Hamner designed some. The ones that don't suck.

Sunday, May 1, 2011



Pg. X: Grant reintroduces a lot of that 60’s vibe by occupying Catwoman’s current costume and look post-Brubaker/Cooke with a lot more Julie Newmar. Batman robs blind a super-gemstone from Doctor Sivana. Don’t forget this particular bit, it’s sure to come up.

Pg. X: Catwoman reads what Mr. Unknown (Senior) has been researching. THREE UNIDENTIFIED MURDER VICTIMS. John Does. Much like how Doctor Dedalus’ trap revolves around the number three in the next storyline, Lord Death Man’s also begins with three. Three “unknowns” points to killing Mr. Unknown. The aquatic death trap points to Aquazon. First instance of the importance of the number THREE, but keep in mind … Batman Incorporated is the “THIRD” Season of Grant’s Batman Series.


Pg. X: The three missing men – the John Does – were buried alive. Death Man’s original premise was to be buried alive. During R.I.P., Bruce Wayne was buried alive. Coincidence?

The “Elemental Chain of Death”. The John Does were BURIED alive. EARTH. The Mister Unknowns were to be killed by WATER. Aquazon … hard to say, since Death Man was driving a car blazing a machine gun, but traditionally Japanese (and quite a few other, notably Buddhism) subscribe to a FIVE ELEMENTS philosophy (Earth, Wind, Fire, Water, Void/Heaven). Whatever Oroboro is supposed to be, Dedalus hints that it might be a FIFTH form of matter. (Solid, Gas, Liquid, Plasma, Filaments). Presumably, Lord Death Man might have been leaving the same clues about Leviathan that Scorpiana and Sombrero later leave more overtly.

“I suspect an upgrade”. Lord Death Man is upgraded. Dirty metagenes? We find out that Scorpiana has upgrades as well. Could they have received them from the same guy – Sheikh Farouk from “The Return”? At any rate, we know Leviathan deals in this trade. Create-Your-Own-Supervillain. Except SombreroSombrero was like a local band who got to play in front of his own idol before a rock concert. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Sombrero was a former student of Doctor Dedalus, a member of Spyral, and possibly FRIENDS with Agent-33 in those days. I’d love to think that Sombrero was a student of Dedalus, and Scorpiana was with Spyral as well, and Sombrero and Gaucho were rivals both in skill, and for the love of Scorpiana.

Something to note – Lord Death Man is in a space capsule orbiting the MOON, not the Earth. I guess if they need him, Superman could go fetch him.

Who was Selina’s client?


The speculation really steps up once the Argentina/Falklands arc begins.

Is Doctor Dedalus the one who captured the Metalek Xenoformer?

Others have mentioned this before – Super-Hero team Victory Vs get murdered. Only The Knight survives, this being Percival (which means he didn’t die until oh, the early 80’s. Probably during Dick Grayson’s last year as Robin, or right around when The Outsiders are formed and Jason Todd shows up. Young Cyril is likely off at college and Knight has joined a Super-Team to keep busy. The Outsiders thing feels quite apt, actually, as the Victory Vs seem like kind of a quirky, obscure group. Once again, Knight is kind of ripping off Batman’s latest trends. Anyway, everyone gets killed EXCEPT Percy (who gets killed pretty quickly afterward by Springheeled Jack).

Others have speculated that the only reason he survives is because he’s a normal human being. Better than average, but still just a man. Later we learn that Dedalus has a “Meta-Bomb”.

No need to go too far into the inspirations for the short-lived Victory Vs, other than to say that their style and personas peg them as purely 80’s. DC’s Britain definitely felt the 80’s hard – we saw a bit of it back in Batman and Robin when Squire recounted the terrible tale of the Coalmine.

Pg. X: Can’t be a coincidence that Papagayo “The Parrot’s” meta-weapons lab (he’s a gadget-maker for the super-criminals) is located in an astral observatory. This isn’t the first time Batman’s entrances have been marked as “supernaturally silent” and it won’t be the last, even in this arc.

Pg. X: Tristessa Delicia. “Sad Delight”. Santiago is a common Spanish name with Biblical roots, but the Order of Santiago were revered Knights in Spain. Vargas is a surname stemming from old nobility. Gaucho has deep roots, one would imagine. Much like Bruce Wayne. Interestingly, “Santiago” is the capitol of Chile, and “Vargas” is the capitol of Venezuela. There’s a great Zorro vibe to be had from the whole Gaucho establishment. The macho talking, the tango, the villas.

Pg. X: Tango of Death. Scorpiana. Another thematic “death” character. Another follower of Joker’s trends.

Pg. X: The main thread about “THREES”. Expect to see more pairs of threes come up. Expect them to point toward FIVES. Three Blind Assassins were also the killers in the very first scene of the very first Bond movie, “Doctor No” – the tip of the iceberg that was S.P.E.C.T.R.E., and we know that Leviathan is Morrison’s answer to giving Batman his own version of the classic Bond enemy. Grant’s been building toward Bruce as a better James Bond since his very first issue.

El Sombrero completes the theme for “death”. We get another “Skull & Crossbones” (See the acid vial that Lord Death Man kills Unknown with … and hell, Lord Death Man for that matter). It’s rare that Joker fails to kill … but like with Le Bossu, perhaps Joker’s goals with his devoted fanbase was to maim – he saved the killing for the Black Glove.


The Doctor Dedalus we see here conducting, I believe is the real guy. It’s only next issue when he’s been replaced by a double. The dead giveaway is the Cloak of Smoke, and I suppose the “three men” arriving at the end of this issue.

Pg. X: Kane’s Kolossal Karnival. I don’t know if it’s a subtle dig, but people have pointed out the KKK name. While replacing C’s with K’s (especially to match surnames) is a common business practice, one can’t help but think Grant is trying to further point out the dramatic rich white bastardness of Bruce’s maternal side. First there was the WASP references in “Return of Bruce Wayne”, and now this.

We never do get a solid reason for what the connection between Kate’s “Kanes” and the Gotham Kane family are.

Agent-33 continues the repeated use of THREE. But then again, so does Batwoman. There have been THREE Kathy Kanes (Batwoman I, Batwoman II and Kate’s stepmom, and THREE Elizabeth Kanes (Bruce’s grandma, Batgirl I/Flamebird and Mistress Alice (Kate’s sister)).

Nathan Kane died at 47. Batman was already at Year 3 or Year 4 at this point, so Bruce was 25ish. His uncle was roughly 22 years older. Nathan would’ve been 32 when Martha was murdered.

Nathan was with Kathy for 7 years, married only 4 of them. She was 25 when they met, when Nathan was 40. So she was 32 when she became Batwoman, when Bruce was 25ish. And she left Bruce a year later – she was THIRTY-THREE. Christ.

Johnny Valentine has limited speedster moves. Another upgrade courtesy of Leviathan.

Pg. X: Note the super-subtle panel composition of Kathy (Ariadne) in the background, and the foreground is her ACTUAL Sewing Machine.

Pg. X: More Chris Burnham drawn Bat-Cave. This guy seriously needs to do an “Ultimate Guidebook”.

More Black and Red. There’s always more black and red. Key thing to note here is what appears to be black and red is happening in Kathy’s mind? In that case is it also happening in Doctor Dedalus’s mind? So therefore is the black/red stuff next issue happening in his mind? Is he able to infiltrate people’s minds? Is his control over this fifth element, fifth form of matter, what allows Leviathan to control children’s minds?

“Advanced Meta-Materials”. Military codename. Ultimate weapon. Snake eating its own tale. Filaments. Mirrors. A ring around the world. Satellite base. But if it’s a satellite weapon, what do they need brainwashed zealots for? Weather control seems likely, though. This is what Bruce means when he says things have been covert. Oh, sure, assassination attempts against him and his allies. But what do OROBORO, the Heretic, and all the rest have in common?


So what did Dedalus want in the Falklands? He was “part of British”, on task with U.N. … he went double agent and then the Argentineans claimed him as one of theirs. One feels like in the DCU, the entire Falklands War might have been an elaborate construct of Doctor Dedalus.

Bruce Wayne has seen glimpses of the future. He’s planning – preparing – to FIGHT the FUTURE. On an interesting meta-textual level, we’ve often constructed scenarios where Grant Morrison has been using his stories to “combat” the negative influences of other writers from the same 80’s fulcrum that he came out of. Mandrakk the Dark Monitor was Alan Moore, Grant was shiny Dax Novu taking him down with creativity rather than watching the decrepit old thing leech the life out of the DCU. All-Beard vs. No-Beard. The list goes on and on. There was some talk to whether Rox Ogama might be a Frank Miller … conspiring with the darkening of the DCU … furthering it … zealously defending his own interests. I believe Ogama was even the Monitor of the Multiverse that contains Miller’s Dark Knight Returns. Universe.

Grant has on the other hand, used works by Moore and Miller. But what future did Bruce glimpse? There are a lot of Bat-Futures out there. Is he trying to prevent Frank Miller’s future?

I think it’s far more likely that the future he’s trying to prevent is the very same future we have been catching glimpses of all along – and none more strongly than in Batman # 700 (TIME AND THE BATMAN, if you’ll recall). The Damian 666 future where either Bruce or Grayson was killed, Michael Lane went back to being the Third Man, souls were sold, devils were dealing, Damian ends up training Terry McGinnis because Bruce is dead, Iron Heel of Fura. That sort of thing. Tough to say for sure at this time, though, but the operations of LEVIATHAN could be the thing that spurs the Damian 666 future into existence.

Pg. X: Doctor Dedalus raid of ancient caverns talking about primordial fallen empires, presumably in England, with Celtic knots and patterns, hints at a possible relationship between the Fifth Form of Matter and say, Camelot – that is the Camelot seen back in Seven Soldiers: Shining Knight. Tough to say though – the connection is probably as tenuous as Charlie English’s supposed line of descent, or the Lazarus Pit being related to the Cauldron of Rebirth.

Dedalus timeline:

- Nazi during WWII

- Betrays Nazis, works for UK

- Goes solo in Argentina, semi-retirement (trains Sombrero?)

- Comes out of retirement in Argentina to head Spyral for UN

- Sends Kathy to infiltrate Batman’s operation

- Betrays UN during Falklands campaign, sealed on island

- Contacted by Leviathan. Sets up trap for Batman

- Freed from island before Batman gets there

T.H.E.Y.? Now what in the hell could that stand for? Matron?

Batwoman vs. Scorpiana: One of the all-time greatest fights. Notice how Bruce uses his allies to do ground work while he goes in by himself and gets all the main clues. He trusts them to get the job done so he can put his brain to use as the world’s greatest detective.

Scorpiana has 500 accredited kills. Leviathan has 500 agents in their first wave.

The NATO Marines were PSY-OPS. This would certainly go right alongside my theory regarding Doctor Dedalus’ “Fifth Element” being a mind-controller. Not telepathy, but something more tangible.

We still never got an answer about Kate’s relationship to Kathy, let alone the nitty-gritty details about Gaucho’s affair with her. The imposter Dedalus also wears a Cloak of Smoke. And has the cane.

The WASPiest weapon on the planet could plunge the world into war. Go figure. Albion being the eldest known name for Britain, being an anagram and from the same root word as Albino (Alba) meaning WHITE. WHITEY. Whitey’s gonna get us all killed.

Dedalus is an old-school dude if he’s been killing everyone with Foxglove poison.

And of course, David – Batwing – is tracking The Heretic. It’s good that he is, since he’s equipped with a new WayneTech flying bat-armor suit, and Heretic was tough enough to cast Damian off with armor like that.


Pg. 1: Speaking of video games … two of the Average Joes are clearly patterned after Mario & Luigi. Nero Nykto is another in a long line of aliases used by Bruce like Matches Malone.

Pg. 2: As others have duly noted, there’s Ellie, in classic “1, 2, 3” writer’s technique.

Pg. 3: Emoticon-Man?

Pg. 4: Prototype Bat-Knights, ala Kingdom Come. I’d just like to point out that the over-the-top ludicrousness of Bat-Robots really only serves to make Bruce Wayne look like a cocky, smug bastard who overcompensates, and further distinguishes him from possibly ever being the real Batman.

Pg. 5: Dick calls Gordon “Commissioner”, Bruce calls him “Jim”. Dick smirks, Bruce scowls. All this change, but some things don’t, including the Dynamic Duo.

Pg. 6: Batman and Red Robin just doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, but Grant reaffirms that “Bruce and Tim” is still as strong a partnership as ever. Handing Tim command of the Outsiders? Fascinating … the Outsiders debuted back when batman split from the JLA (shortly before it disbanded and Aquaman had to build a new JLA … imminently Pre-Crisis. Jason Todd was Robin.). They’ve had their ups and downs. Got a nice kickstart two years ago when Pete Tomasi wrote a one-shot featuring Alfred rebuilding the team himself. Have been floundering ever since. Wonder what pairing them with Tim Drake will serve to do, but this is most of the classic lineup. Katana, Metamorpho, Halo and Looker. The big guy, Freight Train, is a Dan DiDio contribution. Random – but if Incorporated is about anything, it’s about how a more loose, creative Batman can lead to better play for all the writers at DC.

Pg. 7: Bruce keeps telling everyone all about Leviathan … except us. We aren’t trustworthy … but then again … we could be part of Leviathan. 10,000 eyes, 10,000 fists … sounds a fair bit like Darkseid’s Justifier army, actually. Oracle’s avatar now has bat ears. Huntress is sporting her Cully Hamner duds, sans Ed Benes belly window. Pep rallies in the Bat-Cave are a new thing, right?

Pg. 8: Little details are great. Dick and Damian drink some cocoa or coffee or something. Alfred’s legs can be seen climbing back up the ladder to Wayne Tower – we’re in Dick’s Bat-Bunker now, Bruce is popping in to use Dick’s stuff and talk to his two prodigals. Dick is crazy loving the humor of the whole “online rumor mill” scheme.

Pg. 9: Attempts will be made to expose secret identities. Their identities have been less secure than usual of late. How many people know Bruce Wayne is Batman? Catwoman … Hush … Red Hood … Ra’s al Ghul … certain members of the Black Glove … quite a few. It’s gotten out there over the years. Now nobody can be quite sure. Note that Bruce’s CBR forum avatar is a singular eye. Barbelith? Mickey Eye? “Why does anyone build an army?” Good question. Misdirection, I’d guess. An army is a big distraction and allows covert types to move easier. It spreads the targets out into an anonymous mass rather than individual duels of wits.

Pg. 10: Good at improv: See, entire run of Batman and Robin. Saw the future? Could Bruce have seen the Damian 666 future? “Not everyone’s going to survive it” … recall that in the 666 future, Damian vowed revenge when “Batman” died. There’s a few Batmen now. Another callback – the Azrael railcar last seen in B&R#13 is back – it’s the standard transport between Wayne Manor and Wayne Tower.

Pg. 11: Alfred basically sums up the answer to “Why does anyone build an army?” – While the enemy looks in the wrong place, you get to survive.

Pg. 12: “They know not what they do.” Average Joe quotes Jesus Christ.

Pg. 13: More brainwashed children. I’ll give Leviathan this – (and Grant Morrison as well) – if we’re getting a string of enemies that take “elements of Batman” and make them eevil – like Flamingo as an evil Zorro, or Hurt as an evil Wayne, and so on and soon – where we have an enemy that brainwashes children. Bruce is a man who has taken in children and the unwanted over the years and taught them – but he does have a tendency to initiate them into his world. Leviathan goes way beyond that.

Pg. 14: Batman and Cassandra Cain follow the trail to Hong Kong. No need to go into too much detail. Cain is Batgirl # 3, predecessor of current Stephanie Brown, heir of Barbara Gordon, daughter of Lady Shiva and David Cain, and all wrapped up in League of Assassins jazz. Blackbat references classic pulp hero Black Bat, CIA group Black Bat Squadron, and probably some other stuff, too. Also vaguely references Red Robin’s name. And hell … do I need to point out RED & BLACK? Neo-Heroin speaks to the kind of meta-drugs that were getting peddled back in Batman and Robin as well.

Pg. 15: Dark Ranger II, formerly the Scout, is Aboriginal.

Pg. 16: Batwing. He’s Shaft, Jim Brown, Super Fly and Mohammed Ali all combined. We gotta find out where Bruce found this guy at some point. Spidra and Traktir from The Return. The new Wingman is a hot mystery. Money’s on Jason Todd, but I’m not buying. Then again, I have no clue who it could be, except that it’s somebody who knows Bruce Wayne is Batman and might be taller than him.

Pg. 18: Guess criminals trying to pull crimes in Gotham will have to be better than Average.

Pg. 19: Doctor Dedalus, Leviathan. We know a good deal about Dedalus, and that he’s a great candidate for helping Leviathan with super spy evil operations. Is Leviathan himself a burnt up husk of a man? A skeleton in robes? A guy in a mask? The “youngest and most zealous living weapon” that’s barely “eighteen months old” is presumably The Heretic from Batman: The Return. As for secret satellite bases … it’s old hat. The Injustice Gang pulled this routine in Morrison’s JLA, which in turn had pulled it prior to that even in Libra’s first appearance.

Pg. 20: Interesting that each member of Batman, Inc. seems to be fighting a group of fanatics. Batwing battles more Leviathan goons. Nightrunner fights a Knight Templar. Gaucho battles what look like Crime Bible cultists. Blackbat takes on … well, it looks to be Triad dope dealers, likely connected to the ones connected to Leviathan from earlier this issue. Red Robin beats on Obeah Man. They have history, looks to be in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Voodoo cultists, presumably, and ties to the whole “Death Theme”? I don’t feel too much need to go over twice. Jiro takes on the Japanese Clayface. Dark Ranger, hard to say. Very commando-esque scenario. And of course, Batman finishes off Joe Average.

A NYKTOMORPH would literally be “Night Shape”; a “Night Species” or “Night Animal”. Kind of like how the Xenomorphs of Alien would mean “Strange Shape”. The very bogeyman Batman is talking about – shapeless fear like flapping wings and rumor.

Friday, March 11, 2011


Black is death in the DC Universe. And lately, there's a lot of it. Not so much in "character deaths", but weighing on the souls of DC's biggest characters. In Hindu mythology, another name for Kali is "The Black One". More later.

Batman faces the black on a daily basis, and in Granty's run, he talks about it all the time. "My soul feels black." "Black Mass." On and on it goes.

Darkseid is dead. Demons were exposed as tangible imaginary curses - which are a genuine threat in a universe made of literary paper and text. (Weird that 2D characters are more capable of processing the 5D than we are ... but we 3D folks at least can see 4D in real-time.)

So if Darkseid's dead ... why's the Crime Bible still kicking? Who becomes their next Dark God? Nekron maybe? The Crime Bible of Darkseid worshiped the Evil God and pretty much any analogue you could think of. The Christian Devil, Satan (Not Lucifer, mind you.) Archaic demons. Evil for evil's sake. Think of every damn theory about Dr. Hurt's identity and it's all a tool for Darkseid.

So change gears. Final Crisis is averted. Darkseid is dead and gone. The BLACK RACER came and got him, and every Crime Bible thumping cultist knows that the only thing more powerful than Darkseid's evil ... is Death. For one Gothamite, this isn't news. Our old pal, John "Jack" Joseph Kerr, Napier ... whatever ... has been spreading the s/laughter far and wide for years. To paraphrase a Roy Brizby line ... "Years before the big trivia craze, but Joker always was a trend-setter."

Our old pal, J. Kerr, incorrectly described as an anarchic "force of nature", who listens in on private conversations between big-wigs like L. Luthor and Neil Gaiman's true-Death, is way ahead of the game. But how does a murderous clown "stay original" when suddenly EVERYBODY is stealing his routine?

Joker is the Black in Batman's world. We'll ignore the psychological traits for now, because these aren't psychological Batman times - that torch was passed to Dick Grayson. This is the Joker as Death, playing chess against the Knight, with the Black Plague hanging in the balance. If a major Batman character was killed, odds are Joker did it. His earliest appearances described him as a ghoul with a corpse-like face. His secret hideout was under a graveyard. He cheated Death on a constant basis. He had no remorse, and often had no motivation for killing.

So now, here's Kultek. Or Leviathan, or whatever Dr. Dedalus is calling himself. Granty didn't spell it "Daedelus", you'll note (But expect labyrinth references anyway). The James Joyce reference couldn't have been lost on him, but I'll warrant the emphasis on the first sound in the surname is far more important. DED. Dr. Dead. Can't be that obvious, though. We've already got a pretty cool "Dr. Death" running around.

With a big Kali symbol for a logo, "Cult" and "Tech" right in the fucking name, why call yourself Leviathan?

At first glance, the obvious route is to go back to Batman and Robin for help. Leviathan in Christian dogma is one of the Seven Crown Princes of HELL. Is the vicious cycle not over for Batman? Let's look back a little further and get out of this Christian stuff (Although don't rule out the whole "sea monster" angle - there's fine odds we'll see the Club of Villains "Kraken" before this is over). Because we need to be looking at the Book of Job.

Remember that talk back in BLACKest Knight, where the BLACK dying Batman clone said "SACRIFICE OF THE SON" or "SUN"? Sacrifice of the son. Book of Job. (Duly note that God rapidly sent an angel to prevent the sacrifice once he was sure Job was willing to do it on faith.)

In the Book of Job, God lectures Job about Leviathan and Behemoth:

Job 40:15-24 describes Behemoth, and then the sea-monster Leviathan, to demonstrate to Job the futility of questioning God, who alone has created these beings and who alone can capture them.[2] Many scholars have understood both beasts as chaos monsters destroyed by the deity at the time of creation.

Highlight "Chaos monsters", and interpret "God created 'em, only God can destroy 'em" as them being part of the divine plan. Jewish texts speak of Leviathan living in the Abyss. Abyss typically either describes the depths of the oceans ... or the proverbial "Abyss" we're always looking into. Take Leviathan out of the Blue and into the Black. It was there at creation, and it comes back into play during destruction. In that way, Leviathan is analogous to Kali.

"Hence, Kali is considered the goddess of time and change. Although sometimes presented as dark and violent, her earliest incarnation as a figure of annihilation still has some influence."

She's a very Graham Greene's "The Destructors" kinda gal. I'll ignore the prominence of black and red in her imagery.

Joker established the "Death" motif. A LONG time ago, although Bruce's supposed death seemed to make him embrace it much more ironically and put all his theatrical, stage and drama club skills into it, distilling it into a fusion of playing card, Hamlet and Voodoo references. But really, all those things have street life and poison in common anyway. But keenly note that he's been wearing a top-hat and traveling the world. Signs point to Joker's possible ties to the Pearly Court of London, and they're in-the-know regarding some serious Old World secrets.

Dr. Dedalus seems much like DC's "The Shade", in that he's surrounded by shadowy BLACK shadow-tendrils. Like if Moriarty had a nightshade superpower. He wears a top-hat, immediately calling to mind The Shade ... Jack the Ripper ... Dr. Hurt on the boat to England ... Moriarty ... and probably something from some Alan Moore story somewhere. The type of guy who'd hire a "Springheeled Jack" to kill Percival Sheldrake, the only survivor in a failed attempt to "super-hero" him. This is a guy who summoned a Metalek Xenoformer to Earth from Galaxy X. Those things can't have good intentions ... leveling the planet is a likely scenario.

Lord Death Man fits the mold, too. Chaos and destruction. Given new powers and a new lease on life, very likely by "Leviathan". Given the power to be a real-life video-game massacre machine, the respawn powers, and set loose on the video-game capital of the world. He's a poor man's Joker, but he's different enough to warrant interest, because he's so over-the-top he could only be funny in a post-Grand Theft Auto world.

El Sombrero continues the trend. Sombrero is back. ALIVE. Cheating death is a Joker standby, and so the Club of Villains who idolize Joker get some credibility by cheating death themselves ... but cheating death at the hands of the Joker? Who is this guy, Jason Todd? Sombrero lives to torment Gaucho and Batman another day, although life isn't great. But a mysterious "patron" (read between the fairly wide lines: Leviathan) has given him the means to throw together some more mish-mash of death-dealing, and we're learning that he's basically the avant-garde artist of death-traps. He's thematically linked to the Day of the Dead. He's an intellectual, using clues that are highly obscure references to his avant-garde literary predecessors, and sending Scorpiana to poison Bruce Wayne with a clue to his patron himself - a well-thought Oroboros ring (Oroboros, serpent, Leviathan) that also symbolizes his paralysis at the hands of a broken neck, Joker style.

And the earliest known use of the Oroboros? The Egyptian Book of the Dead. And let's bring right to the forefront the Oroboros' position on the belt of a Magician in a Tarot deck. Because we've already had the Tarot lend us clues toward Death and The Devil.

Scorpiana represents as well. Any of the Joker-idolizing Club of Villains can fit quite well, really, but her Tango of Death and her commitment to poison really help up the comparisons.

The trend of the "Leviathan" or "Kultek" or Dr. Dedalus organization enabling chaos-makers and massacre-artists will continue, but it's anyone's guess who turns up for future installments. Well, except we already know Grant's got Dai Laffyn down the pipeline for Knight & Squire. But expect chaos-lords and death/trickster gods to dominate the thematic imagery. Will a Manitou, or Whiskey Jack, face down Chief Man-of-Bats (Frankly, there's no need, since his damned mortal enemy is already named "BLACK Elk"? Will a Horned God try a Samhein sacrifice on The Hood or Jack O'Lantern?

I'm mostly curious about how Joker will take it when his gimmick becomes mainstream.