Batman Annual #3 had a terribly lame villain but turned out to be overall a touching story about Batman and Alfred. The sad thing is stories like this might as well have “Elseworlds” written in big letters on each page as Batman seems doomed to be the emotionally stunted jackass in every other book he appears in.
I know… Apparently Tom King has Bruce being real erratic and violent over being heartbroken.
It’s not just King, it’s been the norm since the mid '80s.
Yep. I like what Frank Miller did with Bats, but no one wanted 30 years of that one version.
Morrison got away from that for a time. Dini succeeded on that too, but they’re about the only ones that come to mind.
Y’know that’s nonsense. The Frank Miller Batman really only existed for 2-3 years after “Year One”.
Marv Wolfman came on board, and immediately started softening his rough edges; introducing Tim Drake as the touch point to his humanity.
Alan Grant’s Batman continued that. Introduced Harold and Ace the Bat-Hound. Had him developing a relationship with Vicki Vale, that progressed to the point he considered revealing his identity to her.
Doug Moench and Chuck Dixon developed the whole Bat-team (Robin, Huntress, Nightwing, Oracle, Azrael, Catwoman, Black Canary, and so on). Whilst putting Bruce through the wringer, at Bane’s hands, teaching him the value of his relationships with others.
The Rucka, Grayson and Brubaker era had him regress in the immediate aftermath of “No Man’s Land”, but also introduced Sasha Bordeaux into the mix. And strengthened his relationship with Jim Gordon and the GCPD.
There was a dark year or two after that, where Bob Shreck decided to follow Miller’s lead a little too religiously, with neither the skill nor finesse to do so.
After which, we had Morrison, Dini, and Tomasi introducing his biological son and progressing his on again/ off again relationship with Selina.
And, Scott Snyder and James Tynion’s Batman has been all about his family.
In fact, Tom King’s Batman hasn’t done anything new or revolutionary with the character except for wussyfying him (and even Geoff Johns did that before him).
The only way you could genuinely feel different was if you hadn’t been reading the core Bat-family books for the last 30 years. And, your only exposure to the character was from Justice League, or his many guest appearances, or outside comics media.
I really take writers to task for leaving their characters in a emotional mess. Those are uncomfortable, and people move on. To have unresolved conflict that does not change for forty years is a horribly bad role model. Bruce Wayne has an externally-inflicted trauma that he has (in the past) internalized and settled. That’s the story that needs to be told, not ongoing angst. And that’s why I read all of one Tom King issue. He has not resolved his own problems, and he’s not going to take Bats anywhere I haven’t been.
I loved the Annual too. I’m hoping Tomasi can bring some of this Bruce out in Detective. His past work on Batman and Robin suggests he can.
Any reactions to Batman: Damned #2? I’m surprised there’s been so little chat about it. I’ve only heard a couple of things in passing - that there’s a lot of gratuitous swearing and that the ending basically apes the end of Killing Joke, but with Harley - but after the strengths of the first issue there must be more to recommend it than that.
I feel as though all the fuss over issue #1 has kind of overshadowed the rest of the book at this point.
Haven’t had the chance to read it as yet, unfortunately.
I’m waiting on my physical copy, which won’t arrive until second week in January unfortunately
I picked it up but I’ve been too busy to get to my comics this week.
Thanks for the replies everyone. It’s one I may return to in trade so I’m interested to hear how it plays out, especially now that the media circus over issue #1 is largely behind us.
Brian Azzarello’s Twitter handle hasn’t put the controversy behind it.
He’s just a fan of Grant Morrison’s run
I’ve even reading Batman for the better part of 35 years. While you do make great points, writers seem content to add to or emphasize his family only to have him do some dumbass thing to make them question their loyalty.
I’d love for the Batman from this annual be the permanent version of him.
Same as Robert. My plan is to read it tomorrow morning before everyone wakes.
A few recent reads:
The Green Lantern #2: this was goofy fun, with some imaginative character concepts, and I like that Morrison is being explicit about mapping the Green Lantern concept onto a police-procedural-type story. But at the same time it feels like the overall plot isn’t very coherent and isn’t going anywhere fast. Which is fine - it’s an enjoyably zany and light read regardless - but after setting up some big ideas in issue #1 it’s a surprise to see this second issue spin its wheels a little bit.
Cinema Purgatorio #16: the lead story in this issue deals with the history of George Reeves, with Moore drawing some smart parallels between his life story and the Superman saga, and laying out the odd circumstances of his death in a succinct and slightly absurd way. Code Pru is ok but a bit unmemorable, and Modded has some fun with an extended reference to ‘Bubble Bobble’ that’s well worth it for the seven readers who will probably get it. And the last two strips have great art by Gabriel Andrade, even if I’m not that engaged in their stories.
Black Hammer: Quantum Age #5: this issue brings a lot of story threads together, with a lot of references to the main Black Hammer series. Lemire is weaving a nice big tapestry with this universe of books, and it’s fun to see various pieces fall into place across various time periods. By the end of this issue, we’re not only ready for the climax of Quantum Age, we also have a slightly better view of the bigger picture.
Black Hammer: Cthu-Louise: a disarmingly cute and light book at first glance, this spinoff-of-a-spinoff (the character first featured in the Black Hammer: Sherlock Frankenstein mini) features some twists and turns that take it to surprisingly dark places, and set up a conclusion with a bittersweet tone. It’s also pleasingly accessible - you could read this with no knowledge of the wider Black Hammer world and enjoy it in the main, although longtime readers will obviously understand the context a little better.
I didn’t get that allusion to Killing Joke until I read your post but I guess I should have. I’m sure there’s more to what we saw than that, though.
This issue has Batman meeting more of the DC magic based characters, reimagined as realistic versions. It’s odd but kinda works given the tone of the book. But even if you don’t like that, the art is worth the price. It’s gorgeous.
Yeah, the great art is what has me thinking I’ll come back for the trade.
There were a couple of allusions to Killing Joke in the first issue too if I remember rightly.
Didn’t Azzarello write the script for the animated version of that? I guess he’s very familiar with and close to the story for that reason if nothing else.
I honestly don’t know if he did or not. Their animated comic adaptations have never been my thing.