Monday, September 29, 2008

The 3 flavors of Batman

Batman, DC’s poster boy and one of the most iconic and beloved heroes of all time. It’s no surprise that his latest movie, The Dark Knight, was a huge success and has been named one of the best movies of all time, and one of the highest selling of all time. But one problem that came with the Dark Knight was in the comic shop. Outside of collection books, there was no one specific Bat-book that possible new readers could jump on if them where now curious about the Caped Crusader.

This inspired me with the idea to give a bit of a refresher to all who may be interested in getting back into Batman, or want to start getting into Batman. My clever name for this helpful guide to getting into Batman? The 3 flavors of Batman.

Now I say 3 flavors because I’m only reading 3 Bat-books so obviously those are the only 3 I can talk about. Now let’s start off with the flagship title


Written currently: Grant Morrison

Art currently: Tony Daniel

Current story: R.I.P

If you’re looking to jump right in during the middle of R.I.P, you’re out of luck there. The story has been fairly confusing and tends to jump from reference to reference to piece itself together. For one, you’re going to need a Wikipedia since there are some references that are out of print, case in point, Zur En Arh.

However, with the release of the Black Glove story in HC recently, pick that, along with Batman and Son up and you should be fine. I reviewed Batman and Son, which you can read that Collection Spotlight if you click the link in this sentence. Now I’ve yet to get my hands on the Black Glove collection, but it is important in how the Club of Heroes ties into this story, as well as the Club of Villains.

Really though, all of Morrison’s run on Batman has felt very specific, in the sense that you can tell this is a Morrison story in how off the wall and insane it gets. I’d say that outside of Zur En Arh, the Ninja Man-bats are as crazy as it gets.

If your concerned about the current state of the Dark Knight, then shell out some extra cash and pick up Batman and Son and The Black Glove before you get all the back issues to R.I.P first and you should be fine.

Tony Daniel’s art has been great, and if he could keep a timelier schedule, he’d be golden. Alas, it seems hard for him to keep a more than 2 month straight schedule without at least a 1 week delay. Let’s hope he gets out the final chapter sooner than later, eh?

Overall, Batman is a currently good title but a little too steep for new readers.

Detective Comic

Written currently: Paul Dini

Art currently: Dustin Nguyen

Current story: Heart of Hush

A bit more new reader friendly, you only have to go back a few issues to get in on this entire story. Dini has made a fairly easy to read story here that is a great opener for those who are either unfamiliar with the villain Hush, or don’t want to spend all that cash on the several Batman: Hush volume books.

The story centers around Hush mainly, looking back on his past and what made him the man he is today, but we also have Batman of course who is more or less doing what he always does, fight crime. Whereas Catwoman is having a much more interesting plot, her struggling with her feelings for Batman and wanting to be with him.

If your looking for a strictly Batman comic, you may want to look elsewhere as Dini seems to have his heart (pun intended!) on this being more of a tale of Hush and Catwoman really. They seem to eat up the spotlight and be the 2 most interesting characters. Batman is simply being Batman with rare moments of inner monologue. Then again, Dini understands that it’s best that Batman not have a constantly running thought stream, so I don’t mind it.

The story itself has been nothing really but builds up to what comes now, in the final 2 issues, and what may be the death of Catwoman. Hush has…somehow…removed her heart and kept her alive. It’s strange and I’m not sure where Dini is going with it, but this is his best story so far in his run on Detective Comics, so I don’t mind.

Dustin Nguyen is doing a great job on art duties, giving a real unique take on Batman and having a good dynamic with Dini. That, and he’s not just good, he’s able to be timely unlike our other Bat-artists.

Overall I really like Detective Comics and if you can’t afford to go buying 2 books your not even sure you’ll like, just go get the past few issues of this and it should be fine.

All Star Batman and Robin, the annoyingly long title

Written: Frank Miller

Art: Jim Lee

Yes, that’s right; I hate the title to this comic. Why in the hell does it have to be so long? Was All Star Batman too simple? Robin doesn’t even become Robin until issue #9!

Well…that’s about my only gripe with this. I was going to do a huge and epic “A different opinion” like I did with Ultimates 3, on this, but I figured since I’m talking about Batman and Detective Comics, I might as well just do this now and here, only a little more condensed.

This seems to be the book that gets all the crap flung at it. No one ever praises it, and if they do, they get ripped to shreds from all the “serious reviewers” who spend too much time reading Grant Morrison to appreciate anything else.

I know the series if flawed, I’m not kidding myself. I don’t blindly praise and love it, but damned if I don’t enjoy the hell out of it. I just can’t see what is with all the hate and disdain towards it. My only real clue is the delays, which don’t bother me at the slightest. Sure, their annoying, but whatever. As long as I eventually get my hands on it, I can live without it for a few months.

Now as to if it’s subscribed for new readers. The first volume recently came out, so if you don’t want to jump on in with #10, pick up the HC of volume one then #10, you should be all set.

Miller is doing a good job on this and I personally, as a fan, enjoy it. Of course Jim Lee’s art is great as always, but one thing that an IGN guy noted was how Miller seems to be pushing Lee to do his very best. I’ve read some of his scripts; Miller is incredibly detailed in what he wants to see and how he wants to see it. He does a great job of getting his vision out there and working well with Jim Lee.

Now anyway, I highly suggest this if you’re tired of the same old same old with Batman and want a bloody good read. It’s sick, twisted, wicked and all kinds of fun.

So there you have it, the three flavors of Batman. I hope this little guide was helpful and that you may now be interested in checking out these books.

Now I’ll see you Wednesday with my next post, that big announcement I never shut up about. See you then.


Keith Gammage said...

I like keeping up with Batman even though I don't buy any of his books, and i must admit I was a bit lost with the recent storylines, so thanks for this.

Andrenn said...

Your welcome, I may and try to do this again sometime with other comics. I'm not sure what, though.