Batman fights alien invasion in Fortress from Star Wars writer Gary Whitta

The writer Gary Whitta, of Star Wars and his Animal Crossing late-night talk show, is digging into the world of Batman alongside his frequent comics collaborator, the artist Darick Robertson. The two launched the first issue of Batman: Fortress, advertised as the story of Batman defeating a global extraterrestrial threat at a time when Superman is unnervingly nowhere to be found.

So, we knew the series would show Batman stepping up and out of Gotham City to a much larger purview, and with the name of the series and Superman’s absence, it seemed clear that somehow the story would point to the Man of Steel’s secret base/trophy room/museum, the Fortress of Solitude.

What we didn’t know is the particular and odd wit that Whitta is putting into the story, as in a scene where Batman arrives home after a night of pacifying rioters, muggers, the Penguin, and the Joker all during a global electric blackout. Alfred asks him how the city was, and Batman replies “Crimey.” Is this stupid? Yes. Do I kind of love it? Also yes.

You might argue that Batman shouldn’t have a sense of humor, and I might argue that his jokes should simply be terrible, but the best gag in issue is actually at Batman’s expense.

What else is happening in the pages of our favorite comics? We’ll tell you. Welcome to Monday Funnies, Polygon’s weekly list of the books that our comics editor enjoyed this past week. It’s part society pages of superhero lives, part reading recommendations, part “look at this cool art.” There may be some spoilers. There may not be enough context. But there will be great comics. (And if you missed the last edition, read this.)

“It’s like that movie, where all crime is legal for one night and the cops can’t do a damn thing about it,” says Commissioner Gordon. “That’s a movie?” responds Batman, with a look of mild horror on his face in Batman: Fortress #1 (2022).

Image: Gary Whitta, Darick Robertson/DC Comics

Commissioner Gordon explains the situation in Gotham by comparing it to the Purge franchise. Batman, obviously, has no idea what that is. But it’s Robertson who sells the emotion here, not of a normal person expressing skepticism at a wild movie concept, but of Batman reacting with horror that some folks would make entertainment out of a situation he finds himself in about once a month.

A carved stone wheel on a cold, snowy mountain depicts a cyclical journey of an armored figure with a baby as the baby grows, the armored figure becomes more worn, and eventually the two return to the beginning in Step by Bloody Step #4 (2022).

Image: Si Spurrier, Matías Bergara/Image Comics

Step by Bloody Step wrapped up this week, with artist Matías Bergara pulling out all the stops. Am I sure how I feel about the ending? No, but I can say that the wordless book is an enthralling and beautiful interlude.

“Oh crap,” says an enormous

Image: Si Spurrier, Jan Bazaldua/Marvel Comics

Like SBBS, the latest book in Marvel’s X-Men line, Legion of X, is written by Si Spurrier, though with a lot more words. Spurrier and artist Jan Bazaldua have the high-concept task of figuring out what policing looks like on the paradise of Krakoa when most people can’t even figure out how to do that in real life.

Meanwhile they’ve introduced this idea that the strength-obsessed Arakkii mutants will allow the presence of no god that cannot defeat their entire people in arena combat, an absolutely buck-wild idea. Gods help Thor if he ever runs into them.

Image: Brian Michael Bendis, Michael Gaydos/Dark Horse Comics

On the cover, writer Brian Bendis and artist Michael Gaydos’ Pearl is about a young woman with the skills of an expert killer — and a unique ink-less tattoo that only becomes visible when she’s mad — taking her mother’s place as the operator of yakuza business in San Francisco by bloody force. In practice it’s about Pearl Tanaka, tattoo artist, shooting the shit with her normie friends and occasionally having to deal with some mafia stuff, and this is just to say: I really enjoy the comic about Pearl Tanaka shooting the shit with her friends and occasionally doing some dope mafia stuff.

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