I generally feel disconnected with the current era of Batman, and have pretty much since Morrison left. The character can be dickish, but the idea of him being an insane asshole who hates and distrusts everybody is so counteractive to how I grew to know the character, and how writers portrayed him for years before that. My main thing was in Bruce Wayne: MURDERER/FUGITIVE, where Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka addressed his mental problems and he came out of that better than ever. There was no "Bruce Wayne is a mask" BS. But then Identity Crisis has him all paranoid, and Geoff Johns tries to address and fix that with Infinite Crisis and One Year Later. But the general idea is that these moments: Jason's death, Gordon getting shot, having his mind wiped, all these explained his behavior. Now it's just he's like that all the time, and it's more than a personal preference. It doesn't make sense for the character. In Dark Knight Returns, he was grinning from ear to ear being Batman. It's how he copes. If he's really supposed to be eternally morose, he would've killed himself a long time ago. It's like Morrison says, you cannot go through all that training and mental preparation and end up an asshole. I better stop before I pollute this thread more...
While it has been, somewhat, disheartening to find that others don't enjoy this as much as I do I find it interesting that it is dividing people. If you'd asked me when we began what the most divisive show we'd cover would be I wouldn't have said Dark Season in a million years.
Yeah, between A Death in the Family and Tim becoming Robin, there's a solid reason for him to be so cold and driven. After that, it's writers not realizing why that characterization came about, and not wanting to change it.
I love this era of Batman, but I think it's really interesting that his reaction to Jason's death - becoming super grim, angry, "I don't need anyone's help", really just a huge asshole - which was presented as precisely the reason why it was so important that he bring Tim Drake on board, essentially became the default Batman characterization within a few years.
Batman #430: Reading these out of order, the reason for the tension between Batman and Gordon in #432 becomes clear: he's yet to tell Jim that Robin is dead. So here, when Gordon asks if Robin is with Batman tonight, your heart breaks for Batman. Besides that, the small addition to Batman's origin is interesting, and it makes it seems like this was meant to be a soft jumping on point for new readers. (One imagines there were a lot of new eyes on Batman post-A Death in the Family, so it makes sense.) While not the most memorable issue of Batman, there are good moments in here: Gordon hinting he knows who Batman is, Batman being slightly off his game, and the seven pages containing the origin and contemporary stories spring to mind. Batman #431: Batman throwing a frying pan at a ninja has to be my new favorite Batman moment. This one is jumbled. Skip it. Comics: 221
Lucas Stand #6: ok. Weird. Not sure what I was expecting. Moonshine #2,3: pretty solid. I like the slow game they're playing. Nightwing #12: this was just ok. Comics: 284 Trades: 21 Graphic Novels: 9 Omnibuses: 5
Batman #432: Along with the three issues mentioned above, this is another Batman comic I very distinctly recall buying off the newsstand. The cover made it an absolute must-buy: Batman fighting the FBI on the steps of a burning building? Hell! Yes! The one-issue story is a solid detective tale, in which Batman falls backwards into a seven-year-old cold case revolving around a missing boy. At any other time, he would have acknowledged it was too cold to be worth his time, but this is weeks after Jason't death and Batman cannot bare the thought of another dead boy going unavenged. So he pushes everything to the side; cases are ignored, his friendship with Gordon is tested, and he virtually dares the FBI to come after him. It's fantastic. For many, I think, the best bit will be Batman (disguised as a firefighter) fighting the FBI, but for me it's when he confronts the suspect and said suspect realizes it's over. The way Jim Aparo sells the fear in three panels is a masterclass in storytelling. Comics: 219
Not exhaustive by any means, pretty much just off the top of my head: 1997: Jackie Brown 1998: Rushmore 1999: Magnolia 2000: Unbreakable 2001: Y Tu Mamá También 2002: Punch-Drunk Love 2003: Lost In Translation 2004: Napoleon Dynamite 2005: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire 2006: Borat 2007: No Country for Old Men 2008: The Dark Knight 2009: Where the Wild Things Are 2010: Blue Valentine 2011: The Tree of Life 2012: The Comedy 2013: The Wolf of Wall Street 2014: Approaching The Elephant 2015: Victoria 2016: American Honey
Agreed. There are only two words spoken in the entire book, and they are so powerful. Upon seeing the first dead "Batman" in the morgue -- not knowing this is just the beginning of a crime spree and that the body isn't really Batman -- Gordon tells the beat officer to "get out" before unmasking the corpse. It's fucking brilliant. My other favorite moment is Two-Face flipping his coin to decide if he should be happy or pissed that someone killed Batman.
I'm calling it. That was the best episode since the first season. I was not disappointed in a thing. It would cheapen it slightly if they did this kind of thing again, but right now I'm too high off of just finishing the episode to care.
Batman #433-435: This is the three-part story The Many Deaths of the Batman, which was the first Batman storyline I ever read month-to-month off the newsstand. Thing is, no matter how many times I read it, I always misremember the plot. For some reason, I recall it as being this: a man has deduced that Batman must be rich and athletically fit, so he begins murdering Gothamites fitting that bill, forcing them to dress up as Batman before delivering the killing blow. But that's not the plot at all. It's actually this: Stone, the man who trained Batman in defusing bombs, realizes Batman's technique is one he himself invented and only taught to one person. Since Batman uses it, the person he taught must be Batman. Worried Batman's greatest foes will also realize this, he fears they will stalk and kill him to get to Batman. So Stone begins tracking down the other men who trained Batman, killing them (after forcing them to wear Batman costumes), then faking his own death. This way, Batman's foes will think Batman's trainers are all dead, keeping Stone and his wife safe. If it sounds convoluted, that's because it is. But I still love it. John Byrne writes a great Commissioner Gordon, in that he's tired and world-weary, but he's not morose and pessimistic. Sitting behind a desk has not slowed him down. His Batman is a brilliant detective, putting all of the clues together quickly but not so quickly he feels omniscient. And his Alfred has the perfect level of dutifulness and snark, and he's clever in his own way. Jim Aparo nails each page; every death is gruesome without being gory, every player has their own way of moving, and, as always, his Batman is slim and sleek and oh-so powerful. Most people will probably see this as a short Batman storyline with nothing too memorable within (and it probably is), but it holds such a special place in my heart. Comics: 218