Saturday, 4 July 2009

The Caped Crusader

I've recently read three Batman books. This was the first and best:

Batman Year One

I'd read it before, as you might expect, but coming back to Year One after a decent interval it's pleasing how well it stands up. The writing is first rate - Miller's trademark ultra-noir but not overcooked as in his latterday work. The art is pretty special too.

Sadly the other two books both sucked big time. Batman: Jekyll and Hyde is a sort of Two-Face version of the Killing Joke, only really badly done. It completely fails to nail either Batman or Two-Face, which kills the whole thing stone dead. Shame as he's potentially one of the great villains - as The Dark Knight film amply demonstrates - but inserting bollocks about him being a multiple-personality disorder loon with an extremely predictable childhood secret is utterly the wrong way to go.

Batman: Ego & Other Tales isn't any better. Darwyn Cooke draws a good comic, but he writes a below average script. The Ego story where Batman and Bruce Wayne meet is not a bad concept, but sadly beyond Cooke's abilities to do anything with it. His Catwoman tale Selina's Big Score, also included for some reason, is an improvement but only marginally. At least it knows it's pulp.

Of the three books I think they all have lessons for Massacre For Boys, perhaps the bad ones more so than the Miller masterpiece. I am currently working on a new Crusader strip. I am trying to avoid either being one-dimensional junk but also aiming too high and missing by miles. Both Batman Jekyll & Hyde and Batman: Ego come across as wanting to be classics. Alan Moore and Frank Miller Batman comes across as wanting to tell a story.

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