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Mark Waid’s Run on Justice League of America – Tower of Babel (Review/Retrospective)

23rd July is Batman Day, celebrating the character’s 75th anniversary. To celebrate, this July we’re taking a look at some new and classic Batman (and Batman related) stories. Check back daily for the latest review.

Although actually published in 2000, Tower of Babel is the third definitive Batman story of the nineties. Running only four issues instead of a massive sprawling crossover across an entire line of comic books, Tower of Babel is certainly more condensed than either Knightfall or No Man’s Land, hitting on many of the same themes and concepts. It is very much constructed as a cautionary tale – a warning about taking a particularly cynical approach to Batman to its logical extreme.

Due to his stand-off-ish nature, the nineties iteration of Batman is sometimes affectionately (or not so affectionately) referred to a “Batjerk.” This version of the character has a wonderful knack of pushing his friends and allies away, making enemies, and escalating problems due to arrogance and ego. In many respects, Tower of Babel is a quintessential “Batjerk” story, where Batman’s anti-social tendencies lead to the humiliation and defeat of the entire Justice League using his own plans.

The last temptation of Batman...

The last temptation of Batman…

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Geoff Johns’ Run on The Flash – Ignition, The Secret of Barry Allen, Rogue War

This January, I’m going to take a look at some of DC’s biggest “events.” I’ll be starting with the most recent one, Flashpoint, but – in the spirit of the character – we’re going to have a marathon run through Flash stories before we get there. Check back daily this week for more Flash-ified goodness…

Superman soars above everyone. Batman hides from everyone. Wonder Woman preaches to everyone.

Me? I run right alongside everyone. My name’s Wally West. You probably know the rest.

– The Flash reintroduces himself, The Secret of Barry Allen

Geoff Johns’ run on The Flash can really be split into two distinct sub-runs. The first saw him working with artist Scott Kolins, defining Keystone and building up a supporting cast. The second, following the climax of Blitz, is something of a revised origin for the character – an attempt by Johns to tell his own particular version of an origin story for the character. Of course, it isn’t a literal origin like his own Green Lantern: Secret Origin or Superman: Secret Origin, rather a rediscovery. Although I do have a slight preference for the earlier half the run, there’s no denying that Johns has put together quite a wonderful story during his tenure on The Flash.

What a run...

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