Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Batman #2

What's up with the Batman logo? Is the name supposed to emulate the bat shape?

Batman is a very good comic book. That means I end up reading it and forgetting to blog anything. And now I'm stuck with a read comic book and I want to read #3 but I haven't said anything yet about Batman #2!

Batman #2 is a good comic book.

Whew! That was a tough review. By the way, what makes a good comic book? What makes a great comic book? My rankings off to the side there are just going to have less and less value as it fills up to all 52 titles. This is because I can't adequately compare the titles with each other to place them in actual order of best to worst. Mostly it'll just be the ten titles I enjoy the most on top, the ten titles I can't stand on bottom, and a bunch of titles in the middle that vary from pretty good to practically undreadable.

But what do I consider a good comic? A good story is probably first. But story can easily take a backseat if other aspects of the comic are good. For instance, the first Aquaman story was not enthralling. Cannibalistic fish creatures from the deep. But how Aquaman reacted made up for any disinterest I had with the fish things.

So maybe good characters are actually first! One of the reasons I loved the TV show Lost so much was the way it was told based around getting to know the characters. Each episode we got to see some of the character's past and the reasons why the character made the decisions they were making on the island. All the mystery stuff was just glitter and tinsel. It was the characters that made the show.

But even if the story is fairly awful and the characters are one dimensional and shallow, I can still consider a comic good if it is fun. Fun goes a long way in the comic book world. Mister Terrific fits well in here. I don't really care for the character. Maybe I would if the comic ran long enough (it's dead at Issue #8). And the plots resolve with a lot of scientific hoodoovoodoo hokum-pokum spewed forth by Mister Terrific. But the comic book is fun. I actually like that he gets to solve the problems with some pseudo scientific bullshit. I'd be disappointed if he didn't! Justice League International is also fun. Maybe that's just because it has a lot of characters I like and am familiar with.

The art I can give or take. I like good art! But a shitty read is still a shitty read even if it's pretty. A pretty shitty read!

Here's some of my favorite comics:

Transmetropolitan. An amazingly complex and thought out world. A believable future dystopia. And an awesomely cantankerous hermit curmudgeon journalist observing it all. Fun fun fun. Great character. Great story.

House of Secrets. Beautiful work. Beautiful to look at and to read. So well structured it would amaze me page after page. Another fuck you leave me be character. Maybe I just like those types.

Fables. Another fun comic that's told well and looks great. When I stopped reading comics back in 2003, Fables is one of the few comics I kept reading whenever a collected edition came out.

Sandman, of course.

Watchmen and V for Vendetta. Damn, V for Vendetta. Just. Just. Damn. Read it. And I'm not one of those fanboys out there who hate the movie because it's so different from the comic! The movie is also amazing. Every change they made in the movie was just right. They still both tell the same story, thematically. But they did what needed to be done and I think both works stand on their own as great stories. And they're worth contemplating side by side as well.

Watchmen the movie, on the other hand, I have a few issues with. I'm going to spoiler the fuck out of the movie right now, so, you know, I warned you. Whereas V for Vendetta changed everything that needed to be changed, Watchmen went for the "we'll make it as closely authentic to the comic book as possible until the end when it's more believable now to have a terrorist threat to band the people together instead of an alien threat". That's fine and dandy that they did that. But in trying to make the movie so close to the comic, they chose horrible actors just because they looked like the comic book characters. Seriously. These actors bored the measles out of me.

As far as Super Hero comics go, some of my favorites were Hitman (sort of a reluctant super hero?), Demon (um, not really but kind of), Justice League (Giffen), Suicide Squad (Ostrander), and The Outsiders.

Anyway, maybe I should say a few things about Batman #2 now that I've Nebuchadnezzared this entire blog post.

I don't care if that doesn't make sense. I think the fact that it doesn't make sense means it makes sense.

Bruce Wayne is gonna die!

So this happens in the 2nd issue. On the 2nd page. Which gives way to, you guessed it, a "24 Hours Earlier" caption. When time finally catches back up with the reader, we see that Batman was fighting some Owl Assassin guy the Batman doesn't believe in. He doesn't believe that he's an Owl Assassin, that is. He believes he's actually kicking Batman's ass.

So Batman gets kicked out of the window of a tower and is falling to his death. And then the assassin does this:

Yes. That's the assassin diving out of the window to catch up with Bruce Wayne and beat him up on the way down to his death. The assassin screams, "How I love killing Waynes" which might explain why he just couldn't resist killing Bruce with his bare hands instead of watching Bruce splatter on the ground. Except then why did he kick him through the window? Because as Bruce explains at the beginning, the windows are unbreakable "that is, unless--like the assassin who just kicked me through them--you know how to hit the glass just right." So the assassin kicked him through the window on purpose. And then dove out to join Bruce in his free fall to death.

But the assassin is dressed sort of like an owl and it does look like his outfit has little flying squirrel underarm wing things. So maybe he intended to slice Bruce up and then glide to safety.

Except it doesn't work and Bruce saves himself. The owl thing crashes to the ground, landing on a car. It's picked up by an ambulance and then, duh duh DUN!, comes back to life in the back of the ambulance, killing the EMTs and hijacking the ambulance!

We also learn the soon to be Gotham Mayor has a crush on Bruce Wayne:

Actually, this heart in the eye is because of some other tender this is how MY parents died story he tells. But he does act like he's got a bit of a crush on Brucy.

We also learn that Dick Grayson has a reason for why his DNA was under the murdered man's fingernails. And also that Batman has trust issues.

That's about it! Time to read Issue #3!



    Our lists aren't different, really. But you know that. Never followed the Outsiders, SS, Hitman or Demon like you did.

    Ellis on Transmet was glorious. Planetary is really, really well executed. I liked his Wildstorm stuff, too.

    House of Secrets! And Fables! Hoping Fables doesn't fade. The novel wasn't something I could get into, either.

    Sandman, of course.

    Seems like you have to pay attention to everything Alan Moore does. From Hell was so freaking good. I actually didn't care for V for Vendetta so much -- felt under budget, I guess. Like they shot most of it on a soundstage. Should have been bigger. Oh, and the Lost Girls collection is pretty much the last word Moore has on comics, I think.

    I still like Grendel, but perhaps it's not aging well. Mage, too. Were you with me at the SD Con when Matt Wagner said it wouldn't take 10 years to get the third part out? And now it's like, 12 years? Lord.

    Y the Last Man is also among my favorites. That guy's coming out with a new comic, I think I'll pick it up.

    1. I still have the first Y the Last Man graphic novel but I haven't read it. I'll just shove it in with the other stuff I need to get to. Also, I never finished Planetary! So I need to pick up those books as well.

      I was there when Wagner made that claim. And forgot all about it! I read Grendel but really don't remember it too well.

      Did you know that now with the new 52, they've merged Vertigo, Wildstorm, and the mainstream line into one universe. So Martian Manhunter is in Stormwatch with Apollo and Night, um, person?!