cyberghostface: (Two-Face)
[personal profile] cyberghostface


"I'd also like to stress that the portrayal of Batman presented here is not definitive and is not necessarily how I would write the character otherwise. The repressed, armoured, uncertain and sexually frozen man in Arkham Asylum was intended as a critique of the '80s interpretation of Batman as violent, driven and borderline psychopathic. My own later portrayal of Batman in the JLA comic was one which emphasized the character's sanity and dignity; in the end, I figured that anyone who had gone so far and been so successful in his quest to avenge his parents' death and to help other people would have ended up pretty much straightened out. Bruce Wayne would only have become conflicted and mentally unstable if he had NOT put on his scary bat-suit and found the perfect outlet for his feelings of rage, guilt and revenge." - Grant Morrison

Scans under the cut... )
[personal profile] lego_joker
Love it or hate it (I sadly lean toward the latter of the two), Gail Simone's impact on post-2000s DC is immeasurable. It was she who made the Birds of Prey soar out from under the shadow of the Bat; she who finally gave Bane some manner of dignity and characterization to lift him out of his post-Knightfall slump; and she who took several villains that no one remembered anymore, assembled them all under the name of an equally forgotten team, and made both awesome beyond imagination.

All told, there are probably a hundred other accomplishments to her name, but there is one that remains of particular interest to me: what is arguably the most badass Mad Hatter appearance in the history of DC.

(Okay, so there's not really much competition, but still.)

It's a moment that's been talked about quite a few times on S_D, but I find it sadly unposted (perhaps a victim of the Great Purge?). So I present it here, in all its creepy glory.

Behind the cut: Don't mock the turtle. )
[personal profile] lego_joker
Ah, Jervis Tetch. Generally regarded as little more than a third-stringer in the Batman mythos, with a nauseating appearance, a creepy personality, and an utterly stupid gimmick. Batman: The Animated Series is rightfully remembered for turning him into something more: a pitiful and sympathetic creature who was nevertheless just as creepy (perhaps even moreso) than his comics counterpart.

But once in a while, some story from the mainstream comics will rise to the challenge. Case in point: Detective Comics #841, in which the mastermind behind the BTAS version of Jervis, Paul Dini, sees if he can make lightning strike again.

The result? Well... it's not quite as memorable as the BTAS Hatter episodes (though that might be because the former sadly lacks Kevin Conroy and Roddy McDowall). Nevertheless, I regard it as one of the high points of Dini's hit-and-miss run on Detective, and the art from Dustin Nguyen doesn't hurt, either.

Warning: Spoilers for the issue's big twist ending, for those who haven't read it yet.

Read more... )
thehefner: (Two-Face: FOREVER!!!)
[personal profile] thehefner
This is a big one. Grab a snack.

I've been putting off reviewing Batman: Face the Face for five years now. Every time I started, my criticisms melted down into curses and incoherent ranting, until my computer screen became obscured by rabid spittle. Okay, it wasn't THAT bad, but still.

In some ways, it's actually an ideal introductory trade paperback to get into Batman. Like Hush, it's a murder mystery that also serves as a tour of Gotham's inhabitants, and it was immediately followed by Grant Morrison and Paul Dini's runs. Unfortunately, it's also deeply frustrating, especially if you're a fan of Harvey Dent.

This was the first story to use the character in the three years since Hush, since Loeb supposedly had plans for Harvey hich kept him in limbo until those plans would reach fruition. They never did, and I think folks at DC wanted their precious status quo back in place. I also understand that Two-Face is Dan DiDio's favorite villain, which may have been a factor. In any case, Face the Face is one of the most significant Two-Face stories in canon, and also one of the most painfully frustrating. After five years, I finally have the words to explain just why.





The lost year of Gotham's Unknown Protector, Harvey Dent )




Batman: Face the Face can be purchased here if you wish to read the story in full, including the Tim Drake subplot, several other Rogues doing their Rogue things, and the entire issue dedicated to Harvey and Two-Face's discussion. As mentioned above, it also serves as a gateway to the comics which are coming out today, leading directly to Dini's Detective Comics and Morrison's Batman.
thehefner: (Default)
[personal profile] thehefner
All good things, and all that.

If you haven't been reading these strips, you can find them all at over here, which I figure will be easier than giving you a whole bunch of links. For those who have been reading it, thanks for all your comments. This has been a labor of love, and I'm gratified by all the thoughtful responses for this lost gem I've been obsessed over for the past month.

I don't know why the Batman strip ended on what I can only assume was due to cancellation. Poor response from readers? The impending release of Batman Returns? Some editor didn't like it for whatever petty reason? Maybe we'll finally get the answers should this strip ever see print someday.

Either way, it's strange that the strip should end with a Mad Hatter story. But even still, Messner-Loebs manages to bring the story to an end which I found surprising and moving. As with the entire strip, this final story is not without its flaws, but it's also more bold and intriguing--in its own quiet way--than many Batman stories in recent memory.





Final showdown in Arkham Asylum, behind the cut )


So at the end, what is there to say about the Batman comic strip? It wasn't perfect, partially due to the daily nature of the format, and partially due to creative inconsistencies. The series ended abruptly, with little in the way of a last word for major characters like Dick, Alfred, Jim Gordon, the Joker, or even Alice Dent. Even Bruce's own arc seems only sketched out at best, leaving us to fill in the blanks.

But as I said before, the true protagonist of this strip--at least, ever since Messner-Loebs and Infantino took over--was actually Harvey Dent. His arc frames the entire strip, which ends exactly when his own story does. Warts and all, this is one of the greatest Two-Face stories I have ever read.

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