Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Batman, Incorporated

It was a surprisingly good week for comics, if I do say so myself. Freedom Fighters is as weird and wonderful as ever, Secret Six still has its edge, and Superboy was as fun as I'd hoped.

The book most people will probably be talking about, however, is Batman & Robin #16. What exactly can we say about that book? Well, it came out the wrong week for one. It's frustrating to see Bruce Wayne "return" without understanding how it happened.

What went on with Hush as impostor? How did Batman get back to the present? Those aren't the only questions I've got, either. What exactly was "Barbatos"? Is Doctor Hurt really supposed to Bruce Wayne's ancestor? Am I supposed to think that Professor Pyg is an impressive villain rather than some sort of twisted vanity exercise?

This isn't to say I didn't like it. After all, the comic was full of some of the scenes I love in Batman comics. Batman saving the day at the last moment just in the nick of time. A simple and elegant explanation as to why the Joker is -- and always will be -- a notch above any new villains that are created for Batman.

But even though some of the things I love about Batman were on display there, I feel like Grant Morrison has turned Batman into something I barely recognize. Now, I know that there are multiple Batmans; there always has been. Like any fictional character who has lived as long as Batman there will undoubtedly be a great number of character variations (Scipio calls it a "persona-cycle").

I'm not against the idea of a "globe-trotting" Batman. After all, that's nothing new for the character. But something about the direction Morrison is taking Batman feels "off." Maybe it's the fact that Dick Grayson isn't giving up his cowl. Maybe it's the fact that Batman is "franchising." Whatever it is, it makes "Batman" feel less like "Batman" and more like... Something else.

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At 3:17 PM, Blogger SallyP said...

I've been reading this, and enjoying the heck out of it. I don't have a CLUE as to what is going on most of the time...but I don't care.

And I loved...LOVED that banana peel.


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