Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Batman 655, 656, 657

Batman 655, 656, 657
by Grant Morrison, Joe Kubert

Senor Morrison. Opens up with Batman right in the thick of it. Batman pulls out a gun(huh? Wha? Wait a minute) and shoots Joker in the face. It's so surreal that you almost expect it to be a dream. And then when Batman tosses the body into the garbage...Well we know we're dealing with a Grant Morrison book.

The art isn't as good as some of the more stylized takes on Batman that I've seen. But it's passable. The writing is not as strong as some of Morrison's other work. We're missing a certain grit here. I feel like I should be disturbed by Gordon when he's gone nuts, but it's just kinda "meh". Morrison can do loony-bin better.Tim Drake is annoying. I can't pin it down precisely, but his dialogue is so whiny.However the interactions between Bruce Wayne and Alfred are very good. More Alfred this book needs!Anyways.

I'll probably try and follow it because it's Morrison we're talking about here, and right now I think he's just getting things started, the real fun should be a couple issues down the line. Though the next issue's cover has Batman fighting Ninja, Were-Bats on the cover. Which honestly....is promising.

And then I read 656. Woo za. This is the book I imagined when I saw Morrison's name on the cover. The bulk of the book is just Batman fighting the aforementioned Ninja Were-Bats(A brilliant combination by the way) but probably the best words for it are: And HOW. The fight takes place in a comic book art exhibit, so there are constant intertextual moments of brilliance between the fight as it is happening and the classic comic book panels presented in the background. The entire thing is delariously delicious, and I reccomend it to children of all ages.

To add further spice to this dish Morrison takes the age old Batman staple of the gritty first person narrative during a fight, and takes it to absurd new heights. The metaphors he has Batman using to describe Ninja Were-Bats weilding katanas are surreal.

All the while Frank Quietly's art just sings across the page in concert. Every note is hit, it's an amazing symphony of the absurd.

All of these things lead up to a dramatic conclusion, which could have a major effect on where the character goes from here...

That conclusion is primarily what 657 deals with. So to say, Batman is a daddy, and his son is an assassin trained psychotic arrogant snarky jerk of a bastard--which kind of erases any doubt as to whether or not Batman is the real father. The boy named Damien(appropriatly) begins to put his wrecking ball to Wayne Mansion, Alfred, and Robin.

657 slows back down to 655 speed, but because of the explosive tastes of 656, the break is perfect. This is a book to be making the effort to check out. Besides having important cannonical things happening, it's also just a barrell of fun. This is the kind of book that you read on a Monday and it feels like a Friday.

As a side note, I absolutely love this kind of Batman story that we're getting right now. This Talia, Ras, Son of Demon type story has been missing from Batman for awhile it feels like, and rather unexpectedly, I'm REALLY enjoying it. I'm actually now hoping the movie goes down this kind of supernatural bend. It's a lot of fun.

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