Friday, February 13, 2009

Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?

by Scott

[My comic book store sold out of this one so unfortunately I do not get to weigh in on this. Sorry.]

I enjoyed this issue. I like Andy Kubert's art, had he drawn the entire Morrison run I probably would have payed much more attention. I like how, here, he evokes different eras/interpretations of Batman characters by subtle changes, not only in costume design but also in the architecture of the city. Another great, yet subtle, bit of this is when we see the Joker, when he is paired with Harley Quinn at the funeral, takes on an appearance similar to the dini/Timm animated series (note the pointed nose and the hair).

The paralell to Robin Hood in the Catwoman story is interesting, however, It's not part of the Robin Hood myth I'm familiar with. I'm sure Gaiman probably is though. Anybody else?

I like how in "The Gentleman's Gentleman's Tale", Alfred takes on the role of a very different sort of 'enabler' This story also has a very subtle callback to Moore's "Whatever happenned to the Man of Tommorrow" when Bruce says "Even if there never WAS a Batman I'm still Batman." In effect saying, "even if Batman doesn't really exist, he is Bruce Wayne and he DOES exist in the realm of this fantasty world" which is not all that different from Moore's admission at the beginning of "Whatever Happenned to the Man of Tommorrow" that "This is an imaginary story... but then alll stories are imaginary stories" Gaiman is also playing with the idea, seeing as how Batman dies at the end of each of the stories so far, that while, yes, Batman is dead in THIS story (i.e. the mainstream DCU) that he lives on as Batman in 'other stories' (movies, cartoons, Batman Confidential etc.). In a way, as Gaiman is eulogizing him, he is also confirming his immortality.

I'm reminded of something Geoff wrote about The Dark Knight Returns that Miller attempted "to make sense of fifty years of Batman continuity." Now that I think about it, Miller didn't try to 'make sense of it' so much as he distilled it down to its essential parts; Morrison and Gaiman, however, in their stories DO attempt to make sense of all the continuity and different versions of the character that have appeared over the years. Thus far, Gaiman seems to be more successful in the endevour and, seeing as how HIS version is only two issues, more effecient.

7 comments:

Jake said...

I find your Kubert comment suspect. He was totally phoning it in during the start of Morrison's run. Especially with that art gallery issue. His pencils didn't have the depth needed to properly display all the visual puns. This last issue though, he was great. Unrushed.

scott91777 said...

I think you're right about Kubert not being the best artist for morrison, I liked the gallery issue... there are some spotty bits here and there though (Robin sliding down the batpole in the first issue for example... looks like someone used way to much starch last time they washed their bat cape!) As you said, this can be attributed to the demand of a monthly title, in that case we can say that just about any artist working with Morrison is at a bit of a loss on a montly schedule in therms of getting in all the nuances that need to be there (Richard case seems to have done the best job at this during Morrison's Doom Patrol run... and he was pretty unimpressive at the start of that run but, by the end of that run he was blowing me away)

You're totally right about the last issue of the Morrison run though, awesome art!

Here, (in Batman 486) he's definitely unrushed here, and definitely showing a much more subtle range than he did in Morrison's run.

On an art note: The cover is gourgeous.

Geoff,

I seem to remember you having issues with Kubert's art; he's no Jim Lee or Frank Quitely, but I feel he is certainly one of the stronger artist out there (still not too crazy about the other Kubert brother though).

Christian said...

Is it TOO MUCH like Whatever Happened To the Man of Tomorrow? That's the major complaint that I've heard, and knowing Gaiman's writing, I have to admit, it's not sounding entirely unfeasible to me at the present time. He always did have problems escaping his influences.

scott91777 said...

Christian,

Not in an sense that I can see, I mean if you're asking if it apes the plot of the Moore story but with Batman... I don't see it, but the second issue isn't out yet.

If anything, it steals from the already much stolen from "The Batman Nobody Knows" they Gaiman gives different versions of Batman and his death.

Jake said...

Scott, I wasn't talking about the last ish of the Morrison run, I was talking about "this last issue," meaning this most recent issue, meaning 686. Sorry.

I haven't even read RIP yet, my friend is going to loan it to me.


I flipped through the Batman & Son trade today, and reaffirmed my feelings about Kubert really being rushed. It was just sloppy. Batman's head was an amorphous blob. Not so in WHttCC. I love the Mazzuchelli-esque Bats lying in the casket. That's how he should always be drawn, in my book.

Anyway, Kubert's WHttCC stuff is more in line with the quality I remember him delivering on Origin (man, was that like 8 years ago already??)

scott91777 said...

Jake,

Also to clarify, I meant the last issue of the Kubert-Morrison run (issue 666... which also had awesome art) as opposed to the last issue fo the Morrison run in general.

I also look forward to seeing what other Batmans Kubert will draw artistic inpiration from in future issues.

Oh, another art bit I spotted:

The page where the Joker pulls into the alley (stupid non-numbered pages); the very last panel with a frowning Joker is a callback to an image from the character's first appearance in the very first issue of Batman.

Jake said...

I actually missed #666. It is one of my great shames in this life.