Batman #44 Review

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I’ve spent a week trying to write a poetic and profound introduction to an article about Batman #44, which features a story that involves the murder of a black teenager at the hands of a police officer. But after my fourth time reading the issue, I realized that there’s no kind, poetic or soft-handed way to go about this and that I should approach this review with the same amount of honesty that Scott Snyder approached Batman #44.


If you’re a fan of VixenVarsity.com then you know how fervently we preach the gospel of diversity in comics. We don’t just want stories about marginalized people, but stories written by those same marginalized groups. And if you follow me on Twitter, then you probably remember me (at various points over the last 2 years) tweeting in all caps, “STOP TELLING OUR STORIES!”. While I stand behind that point of view, I realize that I should start approaching this topic with much more nuance than I have in the past.

Batman #44 is, for the most part, a story about police brutality, gentrification and the effects of white privilege on the inner city penned from the point of view of a privileged white man.

This has been over done in mainstream media, and when I heard what the issue was about, I was admittedly apprehensive. While I appreciate when “Allies” devote time, money and their platforms to address these kinds of tragedies, they usually lack the lived experience to properly tell these stories.

Scott Snyder, on the other hand decided to approach this issue from a slightly different place; his own. I imagine It would have been much easier  to write a story about Batman bringing another crooked cop to justice, but instead Snyder forces the readers to confront their own privilege and examine their participation in the racism and violence that plagues our inner cities.

One of the most interesting parts of the issue, is the amount of confusion and concern in Batman’s response to the realization that he, the protector of Gotham and bringer of justice, had a hand in not only the murder itself, but the deterioration of the worst part of the city. There’s no doubt that Bruce Wayne’s intentions were pure, but his refusal to listen to the pleas from the actual people stuck in these conditions may have indirectly led to a horrible string of events that ultimately ended in murder.

It’s a refreshingly honest take on a topic that is usually that’s usually met with a heavy dose of naivety and white guilt. Snyder doesn’t have all the answers and neither does Batman. It was really exhilarating to see people in positions of power admit that. The first step in making any kind of progress, is listening. And I’m glad see both Snyder and Batman doing so.
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Image Comics Postal #5 Review

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Issue 5 of Postal begins with a news report about a triple homicide somewhere near the town Eden. Around the same time, protagonist Mark is taking a ride somewhere to pick up the mail for Eden. On his way to pick up the mail he comes across a young woman with a gun, she forces Mark to make a detour and stop at a strange house up the road. What happens in the ensuing pages takes the story in a completely different direction than anyone could have expected.

One thing that separates Postal from most other comics is how well they handle Marks mental illness. The protagonist lives with Autism, and in issue 5 we get a very well written and honest look into the way the lead character handles it. Mark lives his life, for the most part as a spectator. He looks at the world around him like he’s watching a movie and he never really reacts to what’s going on around him in a visceral way. Writers Matt Hawkins and Bryan Hill do a phenomenal job conveying what Mark feels inside his head. He’s confused, scared and trying to find a way out of an extremely dangerous situation. Artist Isaac Goodhart does a detailed and nuanced job balancing the chaos happening around Mark with the blank look on his face think and  the confusion happening just below the surface.

while the other characters in this story, who happen to be part of a masked murderous cult are interesting and multifaceted, they aren’t built to last. I got the feeling Hawkins and Hill put them there for the sole purposes of adding a new dimension to Mark. The leader of the cult, a man named Leland Ball has a lot to say to Mark and for the most part, it appears that Mark is ignoring him and is more focused on trying to get out of the situation alive. But we find out at the end that what happened may affect Mark in a very deep and profound way.

As a man living with autism, the ending also affected me. What the cult leader offered Mark was everything he’s always wished for, a way to get everything he wants. But what he wants isn’t money, or fame, or even a way out of the town he lives in (where he is the only non criminal), it’s a way to decode the world around him and get what he wants. Its a beautiful, tragic and suspenseful ending to the finest issue to date.

Therapy pt 3 – Coping With The Loss Of Your Therapist

 

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Although Sarah promised that my new therapist would be good for me, I was convinced that they would never understand me, and would dismiss all of my problems as laziness. I spent most of the 2 weeks after she left in a constant state of panic as I moved closer and closer to my first session with my new therapist. I had met him briefly before, he’s an middle aged, soft spoken guy named Peter. Every time he walked past me in the lobby he’d say “hi!”. This bothered me, as I find chipper people to be incredibly annoying and harder to connect with. But I promised Sarah I would try my new therapist for at least 6 months before giving up completely. I won’t lie, I walked into my new therapists office with a healthy dose of cynicism and suspicion. I spent the entire time waiting on him to say something that would bother me so I could leave and not have to deal with Sarah not being there. I even had his contact name as “Dr Not Sarah” in my cell phone. I answered almost every question he had with one word, I refused to even look his direction, choosing instead to stare at the clock as if it could hear me begging it to move faster.

 

No matter how uninterested I tried to look, Peter kept trying to get me to lower my walls. Sometimes he’d ask questions, others he’d just sit in silence until I spoke. He told me that we didn’t have to talk at all if that’s what made me more comfortable. I never got the feeling that he was trying to force me to talk, he never once seemed frustrated with me. After a month or so, I noticed that I was opening up and that Peter and I were having actual conversations during our sessions. Even though there wasn’t a connection there in the beginning, I believe we’ve formed one over the last year.

 

When I sat down to finish this a few weeks ago I intended for it to be about how I overcame the situation. I wanted to tell everyone that even though I was hurt and scared, I pushed through and I made it because I’m so strong and resilient. But the truth is that I’m still hurt. I miss her and I’m not sure I’ll ever completely get over it. It’s been close to 2 years and I still have to take the long way to the bathroom so I can avoid walking past her office, which still has the stickers of her favorite TV shows on the door.

 

I’ve accepted that Sarah isn’t coming back and that Peter will never be her, but it’s ok because he’s great in his own way. Sarah without a doubt changed my life. I am a better person because of the time we spent together. But I’m starting to realize that my personal growth doesn’t have to stop because she’s not my therapist anymore.

UFC Champion Jon Jones Taken Into Custody

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Earlier it was reported that and arrest warrant had been issued for UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon “Bones” Jones in connection with a hit and run accident that saw a 20 year old pregnant woman injured. At the time, no one had seen or heard from the fighter since the incident. However, that’s come to an end as he’s turned himself in and is now in custody.

So far there has been no official word on whether his fight against Anthony “Rumble” Johnson has been cancelled or if he’ll be stripped of his title. If convicted of the crimes, Jones could face years in prison.

Felony Arrest Warrant Issued For UFC Champ Jon Jones

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Yesterday UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon “Bones” Jones found himself right in the middle of an enormous social media storm when FrontRowBrian revealed to Twitter that the fighter had been involved in a hit and run accident in Albuquerque, New Mexico. At the time, most of what we were hearing were rumors. Wading through the storm of BS has been a challenge, but what they’ve been able to confirm is deeply troubling and could mean the end of Jones reign as champion for the foreseeable future.

 

What we do know: According to the albuquerque Police Department, Jon Jones hit a car being driven by a 20 year old pregnant woman on April 26th. According to the police report, an off-duty officer on the scene identified Jones getting out of his car and running away from the scene of the accident, coming back to grab a handful of money and then again running off into the hills of New Mexico. After searching the rental card Jones was driving, police recovered a pipe and some marijuana. The amount of marijuana recovered has not been reported. Jones has not been seen or heard from since the incident.

 

Ariel Helwani has also just reported that the APD has issued a felony arrest warrant for Jones. Although the pregnancy of the victim in this crime was unaffected, she did suffer a broken arm which elevates the charge to Felony Fleeing The Scene Of An Accident and could mean significant time in jail for the fighter.

 

This is not the first time Jones has been in trouble with the law. Back in 2012 he was arrested for Driving Under The Influence after wrecking his Bentley and then earlier this year, after handily winning his fight against Daniel Cormier, the Nevada Athletic Commission revealed that he tested positive for a substance most commonly found in cocaine. Even though Jones claimed that his use of cocaine was a one time thing, many of us had heard otherwise. Jones has a bit of a reputation for partying a little too hard between fights. We all wondered if the one night he spent in rehab was enough and now we all have to wonder if he’d be in this situation had his coaches and the people he surrounds himself with had been more serious about his recovery.

 

Although his bout with #1 contender Anthony “Rumble” Johnson has not been officially cancelled, it’s hard to come up with a scenario that doesn’t at least leave Jones stripped of his title.