Posts Tagged ‘Batman 75’

  Batman Year One is Frank miller’s take on The Dark Knight’s rookie period, that’s told through a comparison of lieutenant James Gordon new arrival in Gotham as well.

In the sort of Miller-trilogy of books you could put this in first, then All-Star, and finally Dark Knight Returns, this one is definitely my favorite. David Mazzucchelli’s art is solid throughout the book, there aren’t a thousand panels of news casts like there are in Dark Knight, but you get all of the information you need, it’s certainly an evolution in Miller’s storytelling from the book about Batman’s end.

The story starts as both me arrive in Gotham, Gordon comes by train, thinking that is no way for him and his pregnant wife to get a good first impression of the city, they should have flown in, to see the lights and the skyline. Almost simultaneously Bruce Wayne is on a plain thinking he should have taken the train in to see Gotham as it is, like he needs to be on street level in his home city he hasn’t been in a dozen years. Throughout the book, it also has inner monologues from both Gordon and Batman. The future Gotham commissioner’s sound like a seasoned policeman, while Batman makes a bunch of rookie mistakes. However in their respective personal lives the opposite is true, James is never sure that bringing his wife was the right idea to bring to Gotham, and his affair with his partner Sara Eisen shows how rocky that life is for him at this point. While Bruce is determined to come into his city and clean it up from the ground up. And yes, his first night out he gets shot and injured, but technically he wasn’t Batman until that night when he was ready to die and give up, a bat flew through his window, fortifying his resolve to the city.

Which, if you think about, and I have, for a moment is strange. There Bruce was, bleeding out in a chair in one of the rooms of his mansion ready to give up and meet his parents in the after world, teetering on whether or not he should ring a bell to have Alfred come and save him. Then just on the moment of deciding Gotham can do it on its own, a disoriented bat crashes through his window, giving him just the right amount of inspiration to drive onward and make his parents proud. Lucky for him he still had enough conciseness left at that point to ring the bell.

After reading this for the first time, I have this forming opinion that, had there been told entirely from the perspective of James Gordon, and have Batman take a minor side story role might have been more interesting. Year One shows Gordon raising through the ranks of the Gotham Police Department, and Batman only shows up a handful of times. It would have shown a more Gordon sided perspective and kept The Dark Knight as an elusive entity, and you could play with the fact no one knows if this masked man is a beast or man, or good, or criminal.

All is good though, the two stories blend where they need to, and you see where James and Bruce are when they aren’t crossing paths, I never felt like there was ever a part where someone was in multiple places. There is an appearance of Selina Kyle, who starts out as a prostitute in a leather outfit, then becomes a jewel thief who dresses like a cat. Where one of if not only, minor complaint comes from. The decision of Selina to go from hooker to jewel thief was lost on me, especially the part where she thinks it is a good idea to dress up like a cat. Catwoman was just in it a few pages and maybe I missed something another reading would clear up.

Year One is well worth a read if you haven’t, it is an enjoyable time that show both the introduction of Batman to Gotham, and Gotham to its future police commissioner.


With that being said, this is the 52nd BatMonday post, making it a full year of Batman. Meaning, this is the last post for my year-long Batman project. I think I learned a few things for my next endeavor, whatever that is, like make things more clear where things are going. I would really like to write more Batman, there are tons of things I hadn’t gotten to, like A Long Halloween, or Arkham Asylum: A serious House on Serious Earth. A lot more characters to show a small spotlight on, I totally would have done Bat-Mite and Azrael if I had more time. I also had this idea of highlighting people who put on the cape and cowl, that werent’ Bruce Wayne. I still might, but I’m at least going to take a break beforehand.

If you have been here for the whole thing Thank You, hell, if this is your first time stumbling across my BAtman ramblings thanks for showing up there is plenty more if you liked what you read. I hope everyone liked anything I said, even in a small nondescript kind of way.

Good Luck and have Batman

~Jason

Batman of Zor-En-Arrh

Posted: April 6, 2015 in Character
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  First appearing in Batman #113 in a story called “The Superman of Planet X” the alien Tlano takes up the mantle of the Bat on a far away planet. In the Silver Age, The Batman of Zor-En-Arrh was a combination of Superman and Batman. He has many of Superman’s powers and grew up on a farm on his home planet.

In the origin story, the alien Batman summons Earth Batman to help him fight invading robots. Due to the different elements of the planet Bruce Wayne has “enhanced abilities” as well, and conveniently the two team up to defeat the robot force.

Modern incarnation of Zur-En-Arrh’s Batman is less fantastical. Batman hired a psychologist to under see him in an experiment of isolation, where a connection of the word “Zur-En-Arrh” as a miss hearing of Thomas Wayne’s last words, “…they’d probably put someone like Zorro in Arkham.”  leads to an altered state Batman.

Personally, I like the more outlandish rendition of the character, which came back in an episode of Batman: Brave and the Bold, voiced by Kevin Conroy, I remember that being a fun episode, but that series is full of fun episodes.

If you were unfamiliar with this Batman,  you would notice the two Batmen have different taste in costumes. Bruce Wayne’s Batman wears dark colors, sneaks around in shadow and uses fear against his enemies. The off-Earth Batman uses a brightly colored costume of mainly red and yellow with a purple cape, and doesn’t use shadow like Bruce. Of course the mind-crazed version of Zor-En-Arrh uses the gaudy colors as well, because he wants to attract attention. Maybe the modern version likes the color of Robin’s costume and wants a little of his own.

In any case, this version of Batman shows up a handful of times in Batman’s history and every time something crazy happens, whether it’s Bruce being teleported to a far away planet by a snooping alien needing a hand to stop robots, or a hypnotized and drug induced Bruce Wayne.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Cavalier

Posted: March 30, 2015 in Character
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  A lesser known bat-foe, The Cavalier has only shown up a handful of times in the many years of Batman compared to others, and let’s be honest, never had an impact on anything.

There were those few episodes back on the ’66 Batman television series were he threatened Gotham, no different from any other week on that show. I remember his schemes not being very good, but his Shakespeare quoting gave him a little flair. Little.

He appeared in the comics from time to time, with multiple origins. In the early years he was Hudson Pyle, an aspiring superhero who through a stream of events was blackmailed into committing crimes. Finally having a fight with Batman, ending up being gunned down by the police.

Later a new Cavalier showed up in Gotham. Mortimer Drake, an antiques dealer, who robbed museums to find valuable artifacts. Drake wound up working for Black Lightning at one point as an informant. At one point even found himself up against both Batgirl and Batwoman, which caused him to go into some self-reflection because he couldn’t hit a woman. Well, that didn’t last long because he wound up punching Batgirl in the face. I don’t know if those acts took place in that order, but those were both pre-crisis. His story most likely has changed since then, and I don’t know if he’s even in the New 52 as of right now.

When he did show his face in the Batman: Brave and the Bold series those handful of times, The Cavalier is the perfect villain to show up, quote a Shakespeare line or two, then get promptly handled by Batman, so The Bat can take on greater enemies. It always got a chuckle out of me, so that’s something.

Is The Cavalier in the cavalcade of great villains in The Batman Rogue’s Gallery? No, but when he does show up he plays the small part kind of okay.

 

Night of Owls

Posted: March 23, 2015 in Comic
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  The second volume, of sorts, to Scott Snyder’s run on The Dark Knight in the New 52 is just as fun of a read as the first volume.

Well, “of sorts” only because the Night of Owls trade paperback doesn’t cover just The Batman parts of the storyline, which Spilled over into the other Bat-related books such as Batgirl and Nightwing, so if you just got one part of the story it would have been short, disjointed, and confusing.

The different books in the collection were also written and drawn by their respective creative teams, which makes them fantastic chapter breaks if you can’t get through it all in one sitting, this is thicker than an average trade. And since time is somewhat important, the books go in order of time throughout the night, making a strong timeline of events. There is an emergency call from Alfred at the Batcave that went out to all  Batman’s allies in Gotham that went out through all the books, which put where everyone was at a specific time when things were going down. Except for Catwoman’s chapter, she came later on in the book, but earlier in the night, and not as integral as the others.

This takes place right where the last volume left off, with a legion of The Court’s Talons woken up to set Gotham “straight” by killing a bunch of people on a hit-list. And at the end of Court of Owls, there were a lot of Talons flying of to get their targets.

howSince the Court of Owls has a lot of history within Gotham untold to us, there are many flashbacks showing  some of the Talons came to serve The Court. For instance, the Talon that fights Batgirl has an interesting back story, she was a schoolgirl making balloon bombs that Japan sent over  across the Pacific during World War II in Nagasaki. Another Talon was a poor kid in Gotham who fell in love with a girl from a higher class, a more told type of story, but it did give an origin to Dick Grayson’s last name, an unexpected revelation. Then there are some Talons, like in Batwing’s chapter who don’t have a background, or anything. He just shows up,  out to get his target, in that case it was Lucius Fox. Luckily most of the chapters are more interesting than not.

Night of Owls as a whole has a good pace going with interconnected scenes between the members of the bat-family, until the end. Catwoman doesn’t feel out-of-place, but if they mysteriously left her out you wouldn’t notice, and the final scenes are of Bruce and Alfred at the grave of Alfred’s father, who had also served the Wayne family. Which leaves with a lot of questions to ask, like where did all the Talons in the Batcave go after they had been frozen? Or, how did Dick’s great-grandfather, a Talon captured by Batman escaped the cave and found Nightwing, I thought he was on ice as well.

Volume two into “new” Batman is as good as the first a definitely worth reading, adding an entire new mythology to something that has been well established is hard, The Court and Night of Owls does it better than you would think.

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Alfred

Posted: February 23, 2015 in Character
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 Bruce Wayne’s longest friend, and the closest parental figure after the death of his parents, Alfred. Publicly Alfred has been the Wayne’s butler for years, but has many more jobs thanbutling when it comes to Bruce Wayne.

Sure, he is the care taker of Wayne Manor and cooks and cleans. However, when Batman comes home beat up with lacerations and bullet wounds, he can’t exactly go to the hospital. In steps in Mr. Pennyworth to play doctor and perform surgery, removing small projectiles or stitching up cat scratches. You might think that’s something way above a mere butler’s knowledge. It is, but in comics everyone has a secret origin, Alfred was/ is a secret agent. I like that, it gives his character a little more flavor what he was originally, short, overweight, and a thing for Sherlock Holmes. 

In comics there are a few ways writers use Alfred. In the Court of Owls story I just read Bruce has a contact lens linked up to the batcomputer giving him access to all the file. One of the features it has is facial recognition, giving him names of people at a party. Dick Grayson and Damien pop up with their respective names and level of member access to Batman, high. Alfred’s level shown as highest, which makes me think what Alfred has privy to and not Dick. Then there are times in something like an All-Star Batman where Bruce tells Alfred to shut up, and tells him to not feed a boy Batman leaves in the cave to fend for himself.

Television and Movies takes a more mentor and father figure in the background of most of those adaptations. The Gotham series Alfred takes a more foreground approach when it takes a look at what young Bruce is doing, because they’re showing you Alfred’s guiding hand to a young recently traumatized Bruce. And the Beware of the Batman t.v. show has Batman’s butler as more of a rough and tumble former English secret agent type, from what I’ve seen which admitting isn’t that much.

We wouldn’t have the same Batman we have today if it wasn’t for good old Mr. Pennyworth.

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Master of the Future

Posted: February 16, 2015 in Comic
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  A sequel to the Victorian-era set Gotham by Gaslight Batman story sounds like a good plan. Brian Augustyn returned to write Master of the Future, although Mike Mignola didn’t return as well, Eduardo Barreto handles the turn of the century Gotham style.

Taking place a few years after the original, The Bat-Man has retired from crime fighting in the public eye. The person who killed Bruce’s parents had already been  dealt with, stopping all the petty crimes in Gotham doesn’t interest this Bat-Man.

Of course Wayne still fancy’s excitement, betting on boxing matches. Then when the match doesn’t go his way, and his friend fussed about the outcome, Bruce steps in the ring to take on a giant man. We never see the fight, just a crowd reaction then Bruce and his friend walking away talking about giving the money they won to an orphan relief fund.

it serves its purpose as an introduction to this new old style Batman, and his new companies. His friend from the boxing match Teddy, and Bruce’s love interest. A woman who was saved by Bat-Man one night.

The main plot of the book is that, Alexandre Leroi bursts into a courtroom where plans for Gotham’s entertainment are taking place. There’s a Buffalo Bill look-a-like trying to get the mayor to let him have his show in Gotham and make a few dollars. The mayor is not having any of what the man wants and shuts him down jus before the crazy french Leroi bursts through a window nine stories up declaring that he is the master of their future, a man of tomorrow, and to give him the city of Gotham and it is saved.

They mayor doesn’t give in and the big Gotham City fair will go on. Gordon is a little uneasy about not having Bat-Man around, but Bruce isn’t going to let the opportunity pass him by.

Alexandre pulls a stunt, on the mayor making finalizing the fair plans, where he sends a machine gun  on wheels covered in a circus clown mask trying to kill the mayor. Of course Bruce was there to save its intended target and take it out with one thrown pipe.

The day of the fair Leroi kidnaps the mayor as he’s getting ready and takes him up to his blimp driven by a mechano-man. The antagonist Alexandre is successful at try to destroy the fair, he set buildings on fire, and kills the mayor. However Bruce does save a few people and Alfred is there at the right moment to give him his Bat-clothes. Bat-Man does manage to save some people before going after Alexandre himself. One of the people he saves is his love interest. In the end, she figures out who Bat-Man is. Something simple like having Bruce Wayne’s girlfriend get repeatedly saved by Batman and have them not put two and two together gets old. 

Ultimately, if you like the beginning of twentieth style Batman story that was Gotham by Gaslight, Master of the Future won’t disappoint. DC’s Elseworld tales aren’t for everyone, but I like them, they tend to be different and interesting, and this book is both.