Posts Tagged ‘Batman’

  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

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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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Dark Knight Rises

Posted: March 16, 2015 in Movie
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  The final act in the Christopher Nolan trilogy of Batman movies. A follow-up to one of the best Batman movies ever, it does an okay job. As a movie about he Dark Knight, it leaves me a little disappointed.

Acting is good enough, all the returning cast does their job, most notably Christian Bale as Batman, Gary Oldman as Commissioner Gordon and Michael Cain as Alfred. Newcomers Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Anne Hathaway, and Tom Hardy as Blake, Selina Kyle, and Bane respectively due a good part and add the mythos of the characters to a new universe.

I know what you’re thinking and yes, Blake is not a character you would recognize. Until the end where they reveal his real first name is Robin, then if you are like me you go, right, sneak in this character integral to Batman this other way. It’s a change, I’m not sure I like it, but it’s different.

Then there is the biggest problem I have with the movie. One giant glaring mistake sitting right out in front. Two words that should never be part of Batman in any form. Batman quit. In Bruce’s words he “retired” eight years prior, after Harvey Dent died. Right. The most determined unwavering character in all comics quits because both his friend and his “girlfriend” died. Right. Sounds more like a Spider-man plot than Batman to me.

So let’s put the Marvel-like story-work aside, Bane is a pretty awesome character in this. He is cold, calculating, and too powerful or the Bruce Wayne who has been hobbling around because of a bum knee for almost a decade. Put a brace on that leg and it seemed that the years didn’t slow down Batman one bit. The first confrontation between Batman and Bane in the sewers of Gotham was memorable, and Batman loses, hard. Bane broke the Bat in spirit. Not to forget, Tom Hardy’s Bane voice, easily replicated by speaking with an english-type accent into a Solo cup is much more pleasant than that horrible gravel filled throat that Batman does. Even though both are sometimes hard to understand.

Did Bane brake Batman’s back and send him to a hole in the ground prison where the only way out is to climb up an insurmountable wall? If Bruce healed up and climbed out to fight Bane later, without immediate medical attention, no, Batman’s back was not broken. It’s a little sketchy how long Bruce was down in that hole, or where it was, or how he was able to get back to Gotham from random place on earth. The scene at the football game was grandiose, but as a person who has watched an NFL game or two, I’m surprised the headset microphone worked as well as it did for Bane.

Selina “let’s not call her Catwoman ever, but let’s give her cat ears every opportunity” Kyle works as a love interest, for Bruce. Sort of. It’s not like another character could handle the duality of Bruce Wayne and Batman without having herself a dual personality.

Overall, the movie is decent enough to give it a watch, it’s a nice send off to this series Batman, even though it is a little weird. Even if it just to see a Batsuit that’s more agile than those stiff rubber looking ones you can’t turn your head in. Though it does look like a giant rubber tire suit in some scenes. You might come away saying they used the whole name someone just to have them reveal their true self later, because people who are Batman fans would figure it out in five minutes. You should watch the movie and close out the trilogy.

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