Graphic novel: Superman Earth One (vol. 2)

The graphic novel Superman Earth One (vol. 1) was published in 2010 but I only recently discovered it. Oh, how I loved it! Therefore, I was even happier to discover that DC Comics had apparently decided to publish a second volume in 2012, which meant I could get another Earth One Superman fix!

Volume 1 – cover

Superman Earth One – Volume 2 does not disappoint! I guess in great part because its creative team is the same as in Volume 1: acclaimed writer J. Michael Straczynski has teamed up once again with well-known penciller Shane Davis; the inker, colorist and letterer from Volume 1 have stayed on as well. This creates high consistency between the two volumes, both in content and artwork, which adds to a great reader experience.

Story

The story is built beautifully and carefully. We start with Clark, who is now a reporter at the Daily Planet thanks to his “interview” with Superman at the end of Volume 1. His co-worker Lois Lane doesn’t trust the new guy however. Suspecting he’s hiding something about himself, she decides to dive into his past to ferret out who he really is.

Also, we get to see Clark’s new appartment in one of Metropolis’s poorer neighbourhoods and meet his lovely neighbour Lisa Lasalle, with whom he strikes up a quick friendship that seems to hold some ‘more-than-friendship’ promise for the near future.

Entertaining banter: check!

Clark is still trying to get his bearings as Superman when he’s forced to face his first real threat: the creature Parasite, who can siphon his powers away, making them his own. In a way this forces Clark to become more human than he’s ever been, since now he suddenly has to share all the vulnerabilities humans have to face every day.

Meanwhile the army still considers Superman a security threat and is spending more and more time and resources to find a way to kill him…

Likes

For the second time Straczynski and his team have delivered a quality story. It reads like a movie, with interesting characters and conversations, exciting action and, most importantly, a reimagining of Clark Kent/Superman that speaks to the imagination and even managed to actually move me – which to me is quite a feat for a comic.

Touching? This is just the set up. The panels following it really tugged my heart strings…

Furthermore, there are definitely elements in the story that have the same feel as the 2013 movie Man of Steel – having now read both Volume 1 and 2, I have the distinct impression that the script writers for Man of Steel used significant elements from these Earth One graphic novels – which I have no evidence for at all, except that some plot elements seem to be taken almost literally from the graphic novels. Anyway, I like the idea, for I think the quality of the graphic novels is certainly high enough for a movie to be based on.

Although it is a self-contained story, Volume 2 leaves lots and lots of room for more sequels, with more adventures, more character development for the lead figures and, of course, more of Clark/Superman.
Straczynski’s rendering of the character, by the way, is actually one of the few instances in which I can’t say whom I prefer: Clark or Superman. Usually I’m interested in the one, but less so in the other (which of the two I like may vary with different writers), but Straczinsky’s characters are well-built, including both Clark Kent and Superman. So, what a treat! 😉

Add to that Davis’s outstanding artwork, with a very good grasp of facial expressions and emotion, and I’m well underway to becoming a true Superman fan after all!

Dislikes

Given that Volume 1 was an epic heroic adventure and given that this is only the second volume in what may hopefully become a very long-lasting series, I felt the villain of this story, the man-monster Parasite, somewhat lacking. True, he presented a very serious threat to Superman, but I was at best only mildly interested. The Parasite origin seemed, to me at least, a bit contrived and far-fetched (yes, even in something as far-fetched as a comic universe ;-), I still had a hard time suspending my disbelief with this particular plotline). Moreover, even though the Parasite’s past and his bond with his sister had great potential, there was hardly any complexity to him. Frankly, I found the character a more interesting villain before he became the Parasite, in the first pages of the comic, but of course we didn’t get to see much of that.

Buy/Borrow/Skip

I give this comic a Quality score of 8/10 and a Relevance score of 7/10. Although this is a little bit lower than I’d score Volume 1, which I would rate 10/10 for Quality, Volume 2 is still a definite buy, thanks to Straczinsky’s great characters and plot, and Davis’s splendid artwork. This is why I’m really excited that Straczynski will continue publishing many more Superman Earth One graphic novels (as he told MTV Geek this April, yay! 🙂 ) and can’t wait to lay my hands on Volume 3!

Superman Earth One, Vol. 2 – cover by Shane Davis

Which Superman villain is your favorite? Tell me all about it (and also: what you think of this graphic novel) in the comment section below! 🙂

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How to create website icons on iPad’s & iPhone’s homescreen

There are several ways to bookmark your favorite websites in Safari on your iOS device (iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch). You can simply add a bookmark to your bookmark list, or you can add it to your bookmark bar so as to have it easily accessible in Safari all the time.

The bookmark bar is a nice place to keep those faves handy

But there’s even a third way that not everyone seems to have heard of so I thought I’d share it with you here: adding bookmarks as an icon to your homescreen! This way, your most frequented websites will be just one tap away, no need for you to first open Safari, then access the bookmarks and then tap on it.
It’s always easier to learn these things by seeing them demonstrated, and fortunately I found a demo video in my grandmother ComiGran’s closet, who has been gathering iPad tips since before the War – and apparently recording them! Therefore it’s with great pride that I now present to you:

ComiGran’s Homescreen Bookmarks Demo!

(Click here if you can’t see the video below)

Now that you’ve tried that for yourself: are you going to add your favorite websites to your homescreen or do you prefer another way of bookmarking?

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Graphic novel: Ravine – high fantasy epic adventure!

When I discovered artist Stjepan Sejic while browsing through his deviantart page last year, I immediately fell in love with his artwork. At the time he was working on graphic novel Ravine, together with well-known and critically acclaimed comic writer Ron Marz.

By the way, here’s a video of the artist at work, click here if you can’t see it:

As soon as – finally! – Ravine was published, I bought it, read it without taking any breaks in between and then couldn’t wait for part 2! Oh, that cliffhanger…

Anyway, as I wrote on my About page, I sometimes contribute to the Spiritblade Underground podcast, and although I didn’t write a review this time, I did record an audio version – talking as I thumbed through the graphic novel’s gorgeous pages.

So, here’s episode 268 of the Spiritblade Underground podcast – go to 5:46 minutes for my

Ravine review! (Just click on them bold words ;-))

If you like the Spiritblade Underground podcast, you can subscribe via iTunes or go to The Spirit Blade Underground Podcast Home Page. To summarize from my podcast review: I scored Ravine with 9/10 for Quality and a Relevance score of 7/10!

Here’s where the artist offers the first twenty pages or so for free: Sejic’s deviantart pages. And he’s doing the same for issue 2 and will be doing so for #3 as well! Surely that wets the appetite 🙂

Edit Febr. 2014: The second volume is now available as well!

Thank you so much for listening to my Ravine review, and of course now I’m curious: Will you check out Ravine? And if so, what scores would you give it?

Add some flavor to your gadgets – and skin them!

If you like your gadgets clean, stark and simple, then by all means skip this post. But if you’re in for something different and personalized, and also, if you’re tired of your gadgets getting scratched just by looking at them, then you should consider skinning them. A skin is a special kind of sticker, made of thin yet sturdy material, that is customized to fit your particular gadget.

You can skin almost every possible gadget, and frankly it’s a bit like getting a tattoo! (…) Ok, not really I guess, but it is, in the sense that “once you’ve done one, you want to do more (and more!)”. Anyway, I’m just saying: I’ve skinned every gadget in my house that I could find a skin for.

What I like about it, is that you can completely customize the design of your skin. You can do a photograph (or a compilation you created), pictures of some nice artwork, “look-a-like” woods, metals, fabrics, abstract digital patterns, and so on and so forth; the possibilities are literally endless!

Furthermore, the material is easily removable which broadens the horizons even more, for now you can get a new one when you’ve had enough of your current one. It’s addictive that way (see remark about tattoos…); when I ran out of gadgets to skin, I decided that there was still one left: my Apple TV’s remote. Ridiculous, I know, but what can you do… I’m telling you it’s like getting a new gadget – except for a fraction of the price 🙂

My iPhone 4’s skin – with a customized wallpaper to match

Thirdly, the skin is durable and protects your gadgets against scratches. This is the material they use in the car industry, so you do the math. I’ve had the above skin for two years, then I got a new iPhone – and was sad to see my beloved skin go. After all its use, it still hadn’t worn out!

Last but not least, I particularly like that a skin keeps your gadgets own design intact. The beautiful thin design of your new smartphone or tablet is not hidden like when you use a case or a bumper. You’ve just added color and your own personal style to it, how cool is that!

The only downside is that a skin of course does not offer the same kind of protection that a case does. To me that is in no way a deal breaker however: I simply bought some nicely fitting sleeves for my mobile gadgets and keep them in my handbag whenever needed. Done.

Being the comic geek that I am, I of course skin my gadgets with comics :-). Like my little iPod Nano here, and my first iPad.

iPod Nano – Green Lantern New Guardians. You’ll notice that I’ve used scenes with a lot of pink, since my cute little Nano is pink as well! 🙂

 

Green Lantern Hal Jordan visits Odym, the Blue Lantern home world. I just love those colors on my iPad!

 
 
The aforementioned Apple TV remote sports a scene from Fathom (Aspen Comics), click here if you can’t see the video below.

 

Here’s my iPhone 4S – all dressed up in Red Hood and the Outlaws:

Sticker sheet with my iPad’s second skin – when I got tired of the first one… (scene is from Grimm Fairy Tales’s Escape from Wonderland)

And finally, my Macbook Air proudly rocks DC’s New 52 Justice League! (I still like to stare at that thing a little while every time I use it :-)).

Skinning your gadget is very simple, although at first it may take you a couple of minutes extra just to get it right. But once you get the hang of it, it’s “Go, and Skin your Gadgets!” For instance, it took me only about 15 minutes to skin my entire Macbook Air, top, bottom and keyboard. I’ve made a little How to video for your convenience so you can see how simple it is!

 

Guess now all I have to do is wait for the availabity of skinning a television! 🙂 🙂

 

 

Total Must-See: Pacific Rim

This review is also available as an audio review for the Spiritblade Underground Podcast; you can play the video below (it’s just audio however) or listen to the Spiritblade Underground Podcast, episode 277; just click the link, you’ll find my review at 2:43 minutes.
The written review has some extras however that the audio review doesn’t have, like specific links to source material, several illustrations, and two panels from the graphic novel prequel!

 

Review

Purely based on the title I wouldn’t have picked out this movie from the long list of movies in our local theatre. I mean, to my knowledge Pacific Rim wasn’t any particular idiom or expression, nor a well-known location. But as soon as I saw the movie trailer in the theatre, I think it was during Star Trek Into Darkness or maybe Man of Steel, I immediately knew I just had to see this movie!

Director Guillermo del Toro turns out to have been a fan of Japanese anime from his childhood. In a recent interview with Simon Mayo of Kermode & Mayo’s Film Reviews on BBC Radio 5 Live (you can check out their podcast here or in iTunes), Del Toro recounted his love for the mecha and kaiju creatures that often fill the anime worlds. In very general terms, mecha is the Japanese word for basically any creature or vehicle that is robotic, which in anime are often huge, and by huge I mean really ginormously large. Think Transformers or the gigantic Tripods in War of the Worlds – which by the way, also a GREAT movie, with Tom Cruise. Go find some time and see that one too!

War of the Worlds – one of the enormous Tripods that would be considered a “mecha” in Japanese anime

The mecha’s organic counterparts in anime are called kaiju – giant creatures, sometimes reptilian, sometimes amphibian or even deepsea fish, but basically any superlarge man-threatening creature. Think Godzilla and modernize him with 21st century special effects. You catch my drift.

Story

One day, not so far into the future, a giant monster emerges from the depths of the ocean. Think 25 stories high “large” (according to director Del Toro). It takes some effort but the people from earth manage to kill the beast, using current weaponry like tanks and fighter jets to shoot it down with missiles. Worldwide people celebrate their victory over this primal threat, and move on. To everyone’s great shock however, new monsters appear a couple of years later. Time to develop some new weaponry to fight these Kaiju: through worldwide technical and strategical collaboration the people of earth develop gigantic robots, a kind of mobile weapons of mass destruction which from then on are called Jaegers (after the German word “Jäger” which means hunter).

They are so large and so complex that the neurological stress would be too big for only one pilot to bear, which is why they have to be manned by two people: one for the left brain hemisphere, one for the right hemisphere. To accomplish this there has to be a neurological connection not only with the robot, but also between the two pilots, and this connection is called the Drift.

Drifting is necessary since the pilots will have to think, move and act in perfect unison – just like the two hemispheres of one human or animal brain control one body. This is why every pilot cannot be matched to just any other pilot: to be able to literally share eachother’s mind, instincts, memories and secrets there has to be a deep fundamental trust between the pilots in order for the neurological connection to hold, especially in combat situations. In other words, they have to be “drift compatible.”

 

Or, as the recent graphic novel prequel Pacific Rim, Tales from Year Zero puts it, love is the key:

For a while the Jaeger programme is very successful: every Kaiju that emerges is eventually killed. So governments start feeling comfortable again and the international community decide to prioritize differently: the Jaeger programme is considered too expensive, so let’s dismantle all Jaegers and build giant walls along densely populated coastal areas instead, surely they will be more than sufficient to keep potential future Kaiju at bay. (…ehh, say what?)

As the next Kaiju emerges and breaks through the first of these coastal Walls (duh), the governments realize their mistake. But it’s too late: prognoses indicate that more and more Kaiju will soon appear and now humanity’s only hope are the last four Jaegers, piloted by a small group of people who have kept resisting the new Wall-policy and kept maintaining these four giant battle mechs as best as they could with the limited resources they had. Now the task falls upon them to close the interdimensional access point between the world of the Kaiju and Earth: a rift deep in the Pacific Ocean. Due to some extra vehement Kaiju-Jaeger battles only two functional Jaegers are left when the mission starts and the remaining four pilots embark on a suicide mission in a race against the clock.

Likes

Despite the rather two-dimensional plot – very big robots fight very big monsters – Del Toro has delivered a movie that captivates from beginning to end. This is largely thanks to the characters: the surroundings may be enormously grand, the interactions between the main characters are still close-up, intimate, focussing on matters of the heart just as much as the head. As a viewer I was swooped up by the story from the beginning and right to the end I cared enough for each of the main characters that I wanted to know what happened to them, and rooted for them to beat the near-impossible odds. I consider this quite a feat by Del Toro, considering the total mayhem, the tumultuous chaos, the deafening sounds of fighting monsters and mechs, and the destruction of cities that keeps you on the edge of your seat for large portions of the movie.

Furthermore, the special effects are magnificent, from the cool hightech computer interfaces with which the Jaegers are piloted, to the enormous but yet very detailed Kaiju’s and Jaegers, each and everyone of which has a unique design.

“…both would be a very modest 25 stories high…” Guillermo del Toro on the stature of both Kaiju and Jaegers, during his BBC interview.

More importantly, I’m very happy that Del Toro paid enough attention to building his characters and their relationships: he takes time to show us how a newby pilot is trained, what it’s like to enter the neurological connection for the first time and why it’s so important for entering this “Drift” to have a stabile mind. And he adds some humor to the mix through the sidekicks: two bickering scientists who work for the Jaeger resistance.

Last but not least, the joining of minds in the Jaeger could trigger a number of relevant conversational topics, like What is trust? What is intimacy? What is friendship? and, furthermore, a question that will probably resonate with Christians in particular:

What does it mean to be truly one with Another (and do you have the nerves for it?). After all, it was one of Jesus’s most well-known prayers for His followers to be “one”:
“I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to You. Holy Father, protect them by the power of Your name – the name You gave me – so that they may be one as We are one.” (John 17:11, NIV)

Although I doubt that Del Toro had that bible verse in mind, he nevertheless touches upon these themes, without claiming to have the definitive answers – nor does he go “soft” on you, but instead he manages to have these underlying themes both fascinate the viewer and add to the movie’s action.

Dislikes

Ehh… Yeah. Can’t think of any. Maybe if I tried again……
Sorry, no.

Score

Quality: 10!
Relevance: 8

Which makes this movie is a total Must See, and also a strong contender for my personal Movie Top 3 for this year!

Also check out my review of the graphic novel, it’s 52 pages of very good backstory!

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Restoring your Apple TV (when its white light is flashing)

I’ve been a very happy Apple customer for a couple of years now, their adagium “everything just works” is holding with very few instances that it does not “just work”. One of the biggest exceptions however is my 2nd gen Apple TV. I bought the thing shortly after it came out, so I’m guessing it’s about two years old now, and the first year everything was fine and good. After one of Apple’s many Apple TV software updates however, my troubles started and although I can’t say they’re completely over now, I was able to manage somewhat of a mutual cease fire agreement with it so I can still watch my stuff.

That took a lot of troubleshooting and many (many!) hours of searching the web, which is why I thought I’d share this with you all, so you won’t have to, hoping that you’ll be able to handle your Apple TV’s bugs far more quickly after reading this article.

Most of the workarounds below are not of my own devising; I did however, for mine and now your convenience, make a summary of everything I’ve read and tried out, to figure out the most relevant steps and put them in the order that worked for me.

Again, I have a 2nd generation Apple TV, so these steps are primarily aimed at 2nd gen devices. They probably won’t work for 1st gen devices and I’m not sure about 3rd gens either but you could try since Apple TV 2 and 3 have much in common. 

So here we go.

Symptoms

Apple TV 2 is not working, doesn’t seem to connect with your TV and/or your computer’s content (black TV screen). Its little white light is flashing once or twice per second.

Working towards a solution

Step 1. The first thing to try is: take your Apple TV’s remote control and press both your menu button and the down arrow, holding them simultaneously for approx. 5-10 seconds until the white light starts flashing rapidly. Normally this would restart your Apple TV. If you’re lucky, this will do the trick for you and you can enjoy your content once again. Done!

Step 2. If step 1 does nothing for you, or if your Apple TV tells you to “Connect to iTunes”, then try the following:

  • disconnect all cables from your Apple TV, including the power cord
  • connect your Apple TV to iTunes on your computer with a micro USB cable. After that, connect the power cord as well. If you’re wondering if you even have a micro USB you can check out the image below. Perhaps you have some other gadget that uses these, like your smartphone (not an iPhone), a Kindle, an MP3 player, etc. Otherwise you’ll have to buy one. They’re not expensive. Here’s a picture:
  • your Apple TV will now show up in iTunes. Select your Apple TV in the source list and click Restore. Wait until it’s done; this may take a while since it’s not only resetting to factory settings but iTunes will also download and install the latest software version. Ready? Then done! Now you can hook up your Apple TV to your TV again and go have fun.

Step 3. If step 2 didn’t work because your Apple TV didn’t show up in iTunes at all, try the following:

  • Disconnect the HDMI, power and USB cable
  • Wait for 10 seconds
  • Reconnect the USB cable
  • Immediately hold the menu and play buttons on the remote for 15 seconds
  • Apple TV 2 should now start flashing the LED wildly and appear in iTunes with the restore button.

If it still doesn’t show up, maybe it’s your mini USB cable (even if it works just fine with other devices). Sometimes you need to wiggle the USB plug or put a little weight on it in order to have a reliable connection. Or just try another cable if you have one, sometimes that helps too.

If that still doesn’t work, try the above but add the power cord after the third bullit (and before the 4th).

Step 4. Sometimes step 2 doesn’t work and iTunes tells you the restore has failed because “an unknown error occurred” and then some number, like 1602, 1611, 2006 or 2009. I mostly got 1602, but I know other people have gotten the other ones as well.

Now it’s getting tricky for I’ve read a number of possible solutions by different people, depending on their respective situations I guess. The one that worked for me was:

  • First, try to restore again, taking the above steps; sometimes this really helps
  • If it doesn’t and the error message in iTunes keeps persisting, then ignore the error message and hook your Apple TV back up to your TV anyway. In my case, nine out of ten times the Apple TV had been restored after all, in spite of the error message in iTunes!

Other solutions might be (I haven’t tried these because the above worked for me, but other people have):

  • Try a different mini USB cable
  • Try holding your mini USB absolutely stock still during the entire restore process (this will take several minutes, so just hang in there)
  • Reboot your computer
  • All of the above

Now what?

So, what if this restore thing is working for you now, but the blinking white light just keeps returning? Will you have to keep restoring it like every month or so?

There was a period that I literally had to go through that every week, and it seriously bummed me out. Still, I wasn’t ready to buy a new one yet, since I’d only had the thing for a little over a year, I mean, come on!

So I kept on digging a little deeper. After much searching and reading I concluded that it somehow had something to do with my Apple TV’s communication with my router. The experiences I was having confirmed this: the blinking white light usually happened either when the Apple TV was waking up from sleep, or when it had been restarted after for instance, a software update (did I mention there’s quite a lot of those?).

So I thought: you know what, my router is like 5-6 years old anyway, I’ll buy a new router – and I did: I got an Apple Airport Extreme. That definitely sped things up for my other devices, but in the end it didn’t do away with my Apple TV troubles.

Then I remembered another tip I read about from a very technical person: if you didn’t want to go through all their very technical steps (including completely reprogramming your router etc.), you could simply leave your Apple TV on all the time!

So simple it’s actually brilliant. It has turned out to be the single most useful tip in all of my troubled time with my danged Apple TV! I went into its settings menu, turned off its automatic slumber mode and refused all software updates from then on so as to avoid the mandatory restarts.

From that moment on my Apple TV 2 has never stopped working. No more flashing white lights! 🙂 🙂

So yeeeeaaaaah! I’ve been a happy Apple user ever since. Even including my li’l ol’ Apple TV.

Micro USB port

So, do you have an Apple TV, and if so, what are your experiences?

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Batman Night of the Owls reading order

Although I love a good comics event once in a while, I’ve found that it’s not always easy to dive into them simply by reading the first issue and then keeping up with all tie-ins by sticking to their order of publishing. First of all because many times multiple tie-in issues are published on the same day so you would have to figure out at least their reading order, and second, because the storylines within the different tie-ins aren’t always published in chronological order, or in any kind of logical order.

I guess this is why there is no “final definitive list” for most events, at least, not officially. So what I tend to do is pick one suggested reading order, for instance the publishing order list, start reading accordingly, and then note down every list placing that seems off in order to try and find a more fitting placing.

I have only one condition that I place on myself: I’m not willing to spend hours or days on the compiling of said lists, as I’m sure other, more dedicated comics readers than I, have done. And I salute them. But I just want to get on with my reading, with a general “Hop to it!” attitude. Therefore, internal clues or references to other issues within the tie-ins themselves as well as the logical order of content are the two main criteria that I tend to apply most.

So, here’s the results of such a reading list that I compiled in the above manner. The event is DC Comics Batman: Night of the Owls. It was published in 2012 – it’s been only a little while and I think it could be still very useful. Especially if you’ve just started reading the New 52 Batman.

Enjoy!

The build-up:

  • Batman series from #1
  • Nightwing series from #1

Prologue:

  • Catwoman #8 (has nothing to do with the event yet, except it ends with Owls preparing for their Night)
  • Batman #7

The Night of the Owls:

  • Batman #8
  • DC One shot “Night of the Owls”
  • Batwing #9 (can be read on its own, but I put it relatively early on the list because chronologically Batwing has one of the first actual confrontations with Owls)
  • Red Hood and the Outlaws #8
  • Nightwing #8
  • Nightwing #9
  • Batman and Robin #9
  • Batgirl #9
  • Batman #9
  • Detective Comics #9
  • Red Hood and the Outlaws #9
  • Birds of Prey #9
  • The Dark Knight #9
  • Batman Annual #1
  • Catwoman #9 (I put this one last because it is placed last in event time)

Epilogue:

  • Batman #10
  • Batman #11 (Finale)

Most of the above issues are collected in a cool trade paperback.

Night of the Owls TPB

Officially All Star Western #9 is counted as a tie-in as well, and it has the event banner, but my advice to other readers is to skip this one entirely, unless of course you’re already reading this entire series. As a stand alone Night of the Owls tie-in it does not make any sense at all, except it sports some Talons – apparently to demonstrate that the Owls and their Talons have been living secretly in Gotham City for hundreds of years. Well, whatever, good for them. As if we hadn’t read about this same piece of Gotham history already in the Batman en Nightwing titles!
So content-wise All Star Western #9 doesn’t add anything of importance at all, and to make matters worse, it caused bewilderment (“Wait, why am I supposed to be reading this?!”), soon followed by the annoyment caused by the anti-climactic nature of this issue in relation to the thrilling story of the rest of the event issues.
Therefore, unless you’re an All Star Western reader: please, do yourself a favour and skip this issue!

Overall I thought Night of the Owls was an exciting story, with just enough suggested reality that you could believe such things might, perhaps, exist in our real world – that is, if you’re enough of a conspiracy theorist to not dismiss the concept of secret societies. Anyway, the plot grabbed me from start to finish and I like how writer Scott Snyder took his time and built his (rebooted) Batman story towards this crossover event during the first seven issues.

Night of the Owls booklet. Cover art by David Finch, Richard Friend and Jerome Cox

PS: The above cover art of the separate booklet Night of the Owls is the same as The Dark Knight’s #9. I haven’t been able to find any reason at all for Red Robin (Tim Drake) starring prominently on these covers. He seems to be in some important hand-to-hand combat with a Talon, whereas in reality he hardly shows up in the entire event at all! Let alone fighting and winning important battles.

And I have proof! There are only two issues he’s in (sort of):

1. As a word balloon (left), during a conversation with Jason Todd (right) in Red Hood & the Outlaws #8

Ok, after that there’s a couple of more pages with Tim in it, but I don’t count those as “Night of the Owls attendance” because they concern a memory flashback by Jason, thinking about a meeting with Tim two months before the Night of the Owls.

2. Tim appears as sort of an extra behind leading actor Batman in The Dark Knight #9, without any action or even suggested action: the Talon has escaped and none of the Robins can find him. So he’s just… hanging there, shall we say.

So, with only one word balloon and one rather silly panel without words, it’s difficult to suggest that Tim Drake a.k.a. Red Robin plays an important part in the Night of the Owls, Q.E.D. – hardly worth a cool combat scene on not one but two covers, I should think.

Anyway, enjoy your own Night of the Owls! And when you’re done: do you agree with my reading order? I’d love to read your thoughts in the comment section!

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