NML Crossing

NML Crossing, Episode 026 – Batman #557 (1998)

NML Crossing, Episode Twenty-Six

Batman #557 (August, 1998)
“Ballistic’s Evidence”
Writer – Doug Moench
Layouts – Vince Giarrano
Finishes – Sal Buscema
Colors – Gregory Wright & Android Images
Letters – Todd Klein
Edits – Gorfinkel & O’Neil
Cover Price: $1.95

Gotham City gets a visit from… a New Blood?!

The Bruce Wayne Batman has his first team up with the man called Ballistic… and, well… that’s about the size of it!

Plus: A hoppin’ NMaiLbag!

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3 thoughts on “NML Crossing, Episode 026 – Batman #557 (1998)

  • Chris U

    It’s always nice to see a forgotten character make an appearance. Ballistic was never my favorite New Blood character but at least Moench did make his backstory a part of this tale for anyone meeting him here for the first time. But I think it was a swing and a miss at trying to get new eyes on the character to get new people interested in a character that had a special place in Moench’s heart.

    Comics today are following the pro wrestling model. Everything monthly or weekly builds to the crossover or Pay-Per-View. It all just exists to sell the big event in both cases.

    • I also like when forgotten characters make appearances, even Bloodlines ones. (Hitman is awesome, though!)

      I’ve never thought of that pro wrestling comparison in terms of events/PPV, but I like it. I haven’t been into wrestling since the 90s; even back then, they had that build towards the PPV event, and I would guess it’s only been amplified since then. For how similar wrestling is to comics (in content and fans), I feel like I should see more of these types of comparisons than I do.

  • Some thoughts about this episode:

    1) How much explanation we need for comics, how much it needs to have a realistic explanation – I thought it was an interesting and true point that the pendulum swings from Silver Age “just accept it” to (sometimes) more modern attempts at making it more logical. I myself have gone through those pendulum swings–preferring the more logical attempts in my late teens and early 20s, while mainly just taking the accept it approach as a kid and now.

    I agree that trying to make things more logical is partly a response to wanting to show that superhero comics are for grownups. But I don’t necessarily think that’s the best or only way to do that. Making stories that have strong character development, thematic studies, and engaging plots (to name a few things) should be enough to do that. I think if those things are strong enough, we’re more likely to just accept things, and have fun! Trying to make superheroes make sense in the real world largely seems like a fool’s gambit to me, and it also just makes things less fun.

    I’m not saying there shouldn’t be some attempt to have an internal logic and answer some questions, since Silver Age silly stories can quickly wear out their welcome. But sometimes raising and trying to answer questions of how this would actually work just takes a reader out of it, because I don’t think the answers are ever really going to make complete sense (or to make them make complete sense, something more valuable, like character, fun, or proper pacing, might be sacrificed).

    An example of the balanced and more general approach I might like, returning to the Wayne fortune: overall, I don’t like hearing that he might not have enough money to do the restoration and charities he wants to do, although I do think it will have bearing with the DC trip and No Man’s Land becoming a thing. Instead of what we’ve been getting, I think it would be enough in the DC trip to say he’s going there because one company can’t shoulder the burden of rebuilding all of Gotham. That’s close to what we have now, but focusing on it so much now brings up more questions than it answers. I think just making the point once would get the story where it needed to go to without needing to raise too many questions about the Wayne fortune (a fortune, I would add, that should just be explained as being a huge conglomerate that makes and sells many things, so that we have a justification for all his money without creating too many specifics and restrictions).

    2) Killers on elite groups – I generally don’t like this, but since my first deep dive to the JLA came with Morrison’s run, I have a soft spot for Huntress being on the JLA. I don’t think it makes sense with the Bat-family characterization of her and her relationship with Batman, but since she seemed more toned down in JLA (I can’t recall her wanting to kill people there), I think it worked somewhat. Reducing Helena’s bloodthirsty nature in JLA stories made it somewhat work, if only because I would think Helena would be less aggressive when she had to justify a more violent approach to beings more powerful than Batman. Also, while it’s been a few years since I read that run, I know Morrison did give an explanation later as to why Batman recommended it, although I think their explanation was still a little lacking.

    Deadpool on elite groups like the Avengers doesn’t make much sense to me (other than for money-making reasons, sure). But I’m not a huge Deadpool fan.

    3) Zero and one million filing questions – I do view the zero and one million issues as part of the series, but I’ve gone back and forth on whether I have them in numeric order or during the month it was released. Part of me likes having it in a numeric order because that seems to be the easiest and cleanest approach, but I also like the idea of having it in the context of when it was released, of seeing what else was going on right before and after it.


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